Our Philosophy

Understanding Liberal Education at LCHS

Liberty Common High School is a classical, liberal-arts, college-preparatory institution accentuating math, science and engineering. We believe a high-quality, rigorous education is the “great equalizer” among individuals allowing all students to achieve mature literacy and obtain the ability to thrive in college.

PhilosophyOne's economic and social status, race, physical attributes and other conditions become less relevant in the pursuit of happiness when armed with superb intellectual aptitude oriented toward true freedom.

The founders and leaders of Liberty Common High School share a genuine concern for both the general decline in the quality of American public education and the preparation of American students to live free and compete well in a dynamic economy. Our remedy is Liberty Common High School and the philosophy described herein.

We reject the anti-intellectual traditions that have become so prevalent in American schools and colleges, particularly colleges of education. We find fault with the progressive, romantic theories of education that have come to dominate American education systems.

Instead, we advocate the systemic acquisition of broad knowledge, superior language and active, engaged minds consistent with the idea of “intellectual capital” described by Core Knowledge Foundation founder E.D. Hirsch, Jr.


Our students are expected to excel in history, literature, English, fine arts, math, science and engineering. They are expected to be familiar with at least one foreign language and to maintain physical fitness.

Instructional strategies at Liberty Common High School build upon the standards-based instruction delivered through Liberty Common Elementary School, Liberty Common Junior High School and the Core Knowledge Sequence.

Liberty Common High School believes in placing higher emphasis on academic rigor than is the norm in mainstream American high schools. Minimum requirements for core subjects at PhilosophyLCHS are significantly higher than those of the local Poudre School District (one of the state's top-performing school districts)—twice the district's minimum requirement in Math and Science. Additionally, LCHS requires 30 hours of Foreign Language, where the district has no minimum requirement.

As a classical-liberal academic institution, Liberty Common High School endeavors to cultivate the minds of its scholars in preparation for authentic liberty. While all citizens enjoy unalienable and civil rights, the full and responsible exercise of our fundamental individual rights is a direct function of a well-prepared mind and internalized virtue.

PhilosophyA high-school diploma should warrant that a graduate is capable of independent thinking and understanding of what is required to “live the good life.” A graduate must have acquired accurate familiarity with essential concepts rooted in literature and philosophy – joy and despair, happiness and tragedy, dignity and corruption, and other indispensable juxtapositions.

All high-school graduates should possess the ability to objectively evaluate the nation's place in the world through a deep appreciation of history, an intensive study of civilizations including their rising and falling. They should grasp nuances of relevant cultures including their languages, religions, governments and economies.

Graduates must know well the background of America's allies and adversaries. A survey-level treatment of economics further promotes a solid understanding of America's imprint on human civilization and its future.

Liberty Common High School believes all scholars must fully appreciate art, truth, beauty, goodness and perfection. Robust exposure to these values renders specific genius marking creativity, imagination, inventiveness and moral seriousness.

PhilosophyDeveloping practical leadership qualities and supporting skills in students is a proven strategy toward applying comprehensive knowledge in constructive ways. Lessons learned in the classroom should be deployed by students through organization, advocacy, persuasion, implementation of supporting projects and wholesome community leadership.

A proper liberal education gives honored stature to science. Key scientific contributions and the scientific method should be taught to all students throughout high school.

Scholars should be cognizant of significant scientific achievements in biology, chemistry and physics especially those that elevate the human condition, promote prosperity and enhance freedom. Students should also be taught to understand the limits of science.

Liberty Common High School believes all students should be exposed to the fundamentals of engineering. The synthesis of Philosophyapplying scientific and mathematic principles to meritorious social and economic situations draws upon the multiple disciplines taught at Liberty to solve important problems.

Competition and choice in public education result in schooling of a higher quality. Teachers should be treated like real professionals. Parents should play the most influential role in the management and maintenance of the school.

It is the obligation Philosophyand responsibility of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Liberty Common High School exists to assist conscientious parents in this fundamental duty. The school exists because of parental leadership and parental oversight of the institution.

Liberty Common High School graduates are intellectually awake and able to engage in meaningful, mature conversations about any academic and philosophical topic. They are vigilant, active and brave.

Our goal is to educate for freedom, to achieve excellence in all we do, and to become the best high school in America.


Underlying Philosophy of The Liberty Common School (K-12)

Assumptions about how one learns, the purposes and goals of learning, and what constitutes effective teaching are what define an educational philosophy. Liberty's educational philosophy is known as agency education, or classical education.

It forms our decisions on how knowledge, skills, and democratic values should be taught and how students, parents, and teachers should work together to accomplish the portion of education that occurs during formal schooling.

PhilosophyThe individuals who have most clearly identified and characterized the major issues of education reform as well as put forth the best solutions are E.D. Hirsch (The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them, Cultural Literacy), William Kilpatrick (Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong), Neil Postman (The End of Education, Amusing Ourselves to Death, The Disappearance of Childhood), Diane Ravitch, Thomas Sowell (Conflict of Visions), and Jacques Barzun (Begin Here).

We ask all parents to please read The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them and Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from Wrong. Copies are available in the elementary-school library at 1725 Sharp Point Dr.

We also encourage parents to read the other books from this list in order to gain a better understanding of the philosophy of this school. The chief metaphor of classical education is the journey.

PhilosophyThe journey is the individual's own quest in life and includes responsibility for one's own education, which is a lifelong endeavor. The purpose of a liberal education is to lead young people on an odyssey of the mind and heart, which will steer them toward self-reliance.

The classical allegories for a liberal education, such as the journeys of Odysseus, Aeneas, and Faust, represent a journey of the soul from one's particular time, place, and attachments to the universal and back again.

The beauty of this journey is its applicability to the actual development
of mind, heart, skills, and knowledge in each child. Children begin their cognitive development by first developing a broad framework of knowledge through early acquired curiosity, much as they acquire their early spoken vocabulary.

PhilosophyAfter students have gained a wide familiarity with literature, history, science, math, music, people, and places, as one does in the early years of Core Knowledge, they begin to appreciate patterns and forms.

Following this, particularly when trained in the Habits of Mind of different disciplines, the student is able to engage in mental modeling, which is possible only when one's broad background knowledge allows one to associate ideas and to observe patterns.

By persisting in both these Habits of Mind and the search for patterns, discernment is applied to deeper levels of knowledge, enabling one to solve problems and exercise judgment. The beginning of the moral journey follows a similar course.

At first the focus is obedience to parental authority. Later the child focuses on rules, or the required patterns of expectation.

As in writing or thinking, it is only through the formation of good habits that the ability to act rightly and act wisely becomes instinctive. As those habits become more and more internalized, the student journeys closer to self-reliance.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Liberty Common School is to provide excellence and fairness in education through a common foundation. This is achieved by successfully teaching a contextual body of organized knowledge, the values of a democratic society, and the skills of learning. In short, we teach “common knowledge, common virtues, and common sense.”
Our mission statement was developed from the following set of principles:

  1. Children yearn for meaning and require a basis of solid contextual common knowledge for the development of mature literacy and critical thinking, for growth and communication in a diverse society.Philosophy
  2. The educational “playing field” between students of differing backgrounds should be level to provide all students a basis, to the greatest degree practicable, upon which they can build further knowledge, and to develop the skills necessary to communicate and succeed.
  3. The skills of learning—reading, writing, speaking, calculation, and thinking—are most meaningfully learned from a combination of the knowledge or content of the curriculum, modeling, coaching, and sensible practice.
  4. To thrive in work, citizenship, and personal growth, children must be taught the values of a democratic society. These values include among others: Respect for others—their property and rights; Responsibility for actions, honesty and social justice; Resourcefulness—being ready to learn, to serve, and to share.
  5. Inclusiveness is fundamental in responding to the diverse needs of children and raising academic standards. All parents, regardless of economic status, should be free to choose this educational program for their children.Honor Roll
  6. Teachers are professionals. This implies considerable autonomy, mastery, and independence. Having accepted the academic and philosophic mission of a school, the teacher needs to be free to exercise informed judgment in order to fulfill his or her primary role as an educator.
  7. The principal determinants of individual academic success are individual ability and effort. The policies of Liberty (grading, discipline, homework, and teaching) must support the student's adoption of a personal quest for academic growth using the clearly marked path of expectations in knowledge, skill, and character. The guiding philosophy of Liberty acknowledges that children can and should be held accountable for their own schoolwork and behavior, with the support of teachers and parents.
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