Minnesota Classical Education Conference 2023: 

“Illuminating Classical Pedagogy:

Putting Philosophy into Practice.”

7th Annual MN Classical Education Conference

Connecting & Uniting Classical Schools

2023 Conference Schedule

9:00-9:10 a.m.: Welcome

9:10-10:00 a.m.:

Keynote: “Why the Stages Matter: A Case Study in History” – Susan Wise Bauer  (Salon BCD)

In this examination of how a true understanding of the stages of classical education affects teaching and learning, we will look at how methods of instruction in history should shift from grammar, to logic, to rhetoric—both what should be assigned (and required), and what should be avoided at all costs.

10:10 -11:00 a.m.

The Connection between the Science of Reading and Classical Education – Amanda Jensen, Brian Chiu, and Kim Grutsch, Seven Hills Preparatory Academy (Salon BCD)

Join us for an engaging and enlightening session that delves into the connection between the science of reading and Classical education. In this session, we will explore the foundational reading skills that should be developed in the grammar stage, the critical role of building background knowledge, and its connection to Core Knowledge content. This session is aimed at grades K-6.

Recitation Ready! – Paige Schneider and Suzannah Toso, Eagle Ridge Academy  (Edinburgh Room)

Join us for an interactive session as we explore the power of recitation to breathe new life into curriculum, make things stick for your students, and ultimately, cultivate a classroom culture of joy. Helping students find and develop their voice is one of the most impactful things we can do as educators, yet too often it is thought that there isn’t time. Learn simple ways to make this a natural part of your day with specific strategies to make it stick and walk away with a plan in hand. In the end, you’ll see it isn’t about making the time, it’s about filling the time and of course, their hearts. Why not do that with beautiful words that feed the mind and the soul? This session is aimed at grades K-6.

Classical Pedagogy and the Pedagogy of Classical Education – CarlaJoy Strand, St. Croix Preparatory Academy (Calhoun Room)

The Classical Education movement values the Greco-Roman world as its inspiration, but doesn’t take much actual pedagogy from the “classical” era, especially at the Logic stage. Why is this? Where does the middle school approach come from, if not the classical world? What can we learn from past and present approaches to the awkward middle child of the classical model that will allow us to use historical precedent to reach our modern students? This session is aimed at grades 5-8.

Classical Education in the Modern Language Classroom- Cole Conlin, Nova Classical Academy (Belfast Room)

It is not always easy to see how modern languages fit into a Classical Education curriculum. In this session, we will consider the roles of grammar, logic, and rhetoric in an approach that prioritizes communication. We will discuss how to use Comprehensive Input to serve both the classical model and the communicative approach. This session is aimed at grades 5-12.

Introduction to Seminar – Ali Alowonle Augsburg Paideia Program (Cambridge Room)

​​Come participate in a Paideia Seminar, a collaborative, intellectual dialogue that delves into questions about a specific reading and the big ideas within the text! With students at the helm and teachers as facilitators, classrooms transform into student-centered learning communities abuzz with discussions around thought-provoking ideas and themes. Seminars engage all students across all content areas! This session is appropriate for all stages of the trivium.

Yes, and… – Becky Lund, Nova Classical Academy  (Dublin Room)

Some days it can feel like classical education is a world of “no”. No, we don’t do _______. No, we don’t do _________ either. How, then, are we supposed to create a culture of wonder and excitement? How do we set up our students to be life-long learners who enjoy their time at school? That’s the power of “Yes, and…”! Together, we’ll think about how to use this improv standard to create positive attitudes and improve instruction and learning experiences in every stage of the Trivium. This session is appropriate for all stages of the trivium.

“Fulfilling the Promise of Human Relations” – Kriscel Estrella and Dr. Missy Johnson, Nova Classical Academy (Bristol Room)

The importance of hiring well and creating a culture that encourages staff retention in alignment and conjunction with school values and mission. This session would endeavor to uncover and discuss the driving principles of WHY we need to consider more than just ‘the job’ for which we are hiring, but how what we do throughout the hiring continuum also impacts onboarding, employee experience and retention, and leadership success. Key points will be the values and methods of transparency, consistency, and resiliency that school leadership can utilize to identify their most qualified candidates and retain their best teachers. This session is intended for current school leaders only (limited seating).

11:10 – 12:00 p.m.

How To Misunderstand Classical Education – Heith Wetzler, Great Oaks Academy  (Dublin Room)

How can a teacher who has not been classically trained, teach students classically? Classical educators may find themselves asking common questions like: “Who am I to teach Classically,” “What does Classical Education look like?” or “How do I teach Classically?” These are worthy questions, no matter how long one has been in education. This session will use the negative image to illuminate the positive “tyrannizing image” (or “ideal type”). In this session, our goal is to create a helpful contrast so that teachers may develop a strong foundation of classical education. Our discussion will be interactive, and it’s likely that attendees will not only benefit from hearing one another’s reflections, but will find that they too have practical wisdom to offer. This session is applicable for K-12.

Reading Strategies: Supporting Students with Fluency – Emily Taylor and Kirsten Osberghaus, St. Croix Preparatory Academy  (Belfast Room)

During this session, we will discuss the components of fluency – accuracy, speed, and expression – and will look at research-based practices that will support students in each of these areas. Attendees will leave with some practical, easy to implement strategies that they can use in their classrooms with students to further support their reading fluency instruction. This session is aimed at grades K-6.

Plato’s Music in Practice – James DeCaro, St. Croix Preparatory Academy  (Bristol Room)

Plato believed that the right music shapes morality for good. Whether you agree that music brings about harmony in the soul, this session will show you how music can be used by all teachers to foster character and culture in the classroom. Some content will be directed specifically at music educators, but all teachers will gain a better understanding of how to use music in their regular teaching. This session is appropriate for all stages of the trivium but is aimed at grades 5–12.

Aristotle’s Table of Means: A Virtue Primer – Sarah Brown, Nova Classical Academy  (Oxford Room)

In this session, we will review both the structure and vocabulary of Aristotle’s Table of Means. After comparing current assumptions about the given terms to Aristotle’s use of them, we will consider the wider function of his structure in coaching students toward a growth mindset in the process of personal choice. This session is aimed at grades 8-12.

“But when am I ever going to use this in real life?” The argument for teaching Latin, sentence diagramming, and other so-called “obsolete” content – Laura Buri, Nova Classical Academy and Heidi Reynolds, Great Oaks Academy  (Edinburgh Room)

We’ve all been asked some version of this dreaded question, whether by a student, a parent, or even a colleague: “But how will this ever help in real life?” In this session, we will talk about the value of learning content such as Latin and English grammar, as well as the hidden “secondary curriculum” that lies in everything we teach. We will challenge the misconception that what is worth learning in school is only that which has the potential to be directly applicable in some future career. Finally, we will work together so that you will leave knowing how you will answer the dreaded, “When will I ever use this in real life?” in your own tricky or “obsolete” subjects, units, or lessons. This session is appropriate for all stages of the trivium.

“Why the Stages Matter: A Case Study in Writing” – Susan Wise Bauer  (Salon BCD)

In this examination of how a true understanding of the stages of classical education affects teaching and learning, we will look at how methods of instruction in writing should shift from grammar, to logic, to rhetoric—both what should be assigned (and required), and what should be avoided at all costs.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00-1:50 p.m.

How to Use Portraiture to Enhance Understanding – Anna Maakestad, St. Croix Preparatory Academy  (Edinburgh Room)

Using two strategies developed by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, attendees will learn how to use portraiture as a vehicle for Socratic discussions/seminars as well as background knowledge and igniting curiosity. “Jump In” and “See, Think, Wonder” will be taught alongside step by step lesson plans, visual printouts, and practicing question strategies for diving deeper into how to use art images in the classroom. This session is aimed at grades K-6.

Participatory Reading – Missy Madigan and Christine Kelash, Eagle Ridge Academy  (Belfast Room)

Participatory reading is about elevating and amplifying the voices of poets and authors whose words strike a chord with the human experience. In this session, participants will both learn the anatomy of this seminar-adjacent strategy and participate as a lover of great works of poetry. This session is aimed at grades 4-10.

Strategies for Great Conversations: Structured Academic Controversy – Elaine Bransford, St. Croix Preparatory Academy  (Dublin Room)

We will learn about the Structured Academic Controversy Protocol, a helpful way to encourage thoughtful debate in the classroom. We’ll learn by doing, and try out the strategy ourselves. This session is aimed at grades 5-12.

Capturing Beauty in Motion: An Epic Simile Workshop – Sarah Brown, Nova Classical Academy  (Oxford Room)

This session will explore ancient philosophies of beauty by considering the epic simile form in Homer and Virgil. After reviewing the grammar and logic of epic similes, we will apply that knowledge to sample epic similes drawn from Homer and Virgil. This session is aimed at grades 8-12.

Why Classics? – Dr. Noah Segal, University of Minnesota  (Calhoun Room)

Noah is a social and cultural historian of the Late Roman Republic. His research focuses on Roman political culture at the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Imperial period. He is particularly interested in the construction, policing, and fluidity of aristocratic identity in this period. He is currently working on a book that provides a more nuanced account of the late-republican aristocracy’s retreat from its traditional military ethos.

Introduction to Seminar – Ali Alowonle Augsburg Paideia Program  (Cambridge Room)

​​Come participate in a Paideia Seminar, a collaborative, intellectual dialogue that delves into questions about a specific reading and the big ideas within the text! With students at the helm and teachers as facilitators, classrooms transform into student-centered learning communities abuzz with discussions around thought-provoking ideas and themes. Seminars engage all students across all content areas! This session is appropriate for all stages of the trivium.

Strategic Planning that Sticks – Jason Ulbrich, Eagle Ridge Academy and Dr. Steven Bourgeois – Ahart Solutions  (Bristol Room)

Jason and Steven have teamed up to provide charter schools a joyful and efficient way to conduct Strategic Planning that will stick.  In this interactive session, we will explain how to understand our past and present to dream about the future of our schools.  Strategic Planning does not need to be boring, ambiguous, or stressful.  Jason and Steven will present a way to efficiently use data and conversation to have joy and hope for your charter school’s future. This session is intended for current school leaders (limited seating).

2:00 – 2:30 p.m.:

Keynote Closing – The Virtues of Classical Education” – Susan Wise Bauer  (Salon BCD)

How the four cardinal virtues of ancient classical education (temperance, prudence, courage, and justice) are taught, trained, and reinforced in the pattern of classical education.

The 2023 Minnesota Classical Education Conference is proudly sponsored by: