The Enrollment Lottery is now completed.
We are continuing to accept Letters of Intent for all grades,
and children will be added to wait lists, first come, first served.
Please visit the Enrollment Process page for more information.
Vision and Mission
Thomas MacLaren School opened in 2009 to educate students in the sixth through twelfth grades. We expect each student to master history, mathematics, science, literature, Latin and English, as well as to gain familiarity with at least one other language and fine arts.
Students follow a common academic core curriculum which includes seven years of history, mathematics, science, writing, literature and foreign language (four years of Latin, three years of modern language). Students also take four years of drawing and painting, seven years of music, and two years of drama.
Thomas MacLaren School stands in the tradition of these successful schools: Trinity Schools and Tempe Preparatory Academy. Academy Project, an educational corporation located in Falls Church, Virginia, has been hired to provide the curriculum and ongoing faculty training.
We believe all students should be immersed in the best our tradition has to offer. We believe all students can be active and useful participants in the ongoing and enduring conversation that is a vibrant civilization. We believe all students can be formed in a habitual vision of greatness that makes lifelong learners of the doctor and the mechanic, the homemaker and the professor. Thomas MacLaren School strives to build a lasting community of learners in which each student is the agent of his or her education.
From the seminar to the science lab, from the music room to the playing field, we begin with the conviction that all human beings can know truth, create beauty and practice goodness. To that end, we expect students to develop basic tools of learning, ordered basic knowledge, moral seriousness, breadth and depth of imagination, artistic ability and sensitivity, and a sense of wonder.
We believe all students can be active and useful participants in the ongoing and enduring conversation that is a vibrant civilization. Jacques Maritain, the French philosopher, described education as a human awakening. The goal of Thomas MacLaren School is to develop young men and women who are fully human and fully awake to the world.
- Single-sex classes: Research supports the understanding that boys and girls learn best in single-sex classrooms. It is well known, and confirmed in over twenty-five years of experience at Trinity Schools, that boys and girls learn in quite different ways. In a single-sex setting, Thomas MacLaren will be able to use approaches and strategies that complement those differences. The single-sex classroom also avoids the documented sexism of the co-ed classroom, frees boys and girls from the distraction of the presence of the opposite sex in the classroom, and generates a high degree of personal confidence and freedom.
- Original texts, Socratic seminars and colloquia: In seminar, students read original texts. Commentaries, introductions, reviews, or summaries are not allowed. Students deal directly with the thoughts and words of the author, not with the ideas of some other reader or expert.
- Performance-based program: In the music program, all students will play a stringed instrument in the school orchestra. In the visual arts, they will paint and draw. In drama, they will act. In seminar, they will discuss and write. In mathematics and science, they will solve problems and be engaged in experimentation.
Rigorous curriculum for student success
Thomas MacLaren welcomes students of ordinary ability as well as the very brightest. As Mortimer Adler cogently argues in The Paideia Proposal,
“Those who think [a common, core curriculum like MacLaren’s] cannot be successfully followed by all children fail to realize that the children of whom they are thinking have never had their minds challenged by requirements such as these. It is natural for children to rise to meet higher expectations; but only if those expectations are set before them, and made both reasonable and attractive.”
The pursuit of learning
Thomas MacLaren School is a community of learners. It is anchored by the teachers’ own passion for learning. Learning is a life-long human endeavor and the faculty is committed to pursuing knowledge for its own sake. All faculty members, regardless of their areas of expertise, study different disciplines together. Although there will be days in which the teacher must lecture and the students must take notes, the culture of Thomas MacLaren is to encourage students to think about what they are learning and to respond with their own insights.