Unlike most schools that provide a classical education, the TLC Classical Academy in Miami does not have centuries’ worth of tradition. In fact, it was founded just last year by a group of parents concerned about the effect of the pandemic on their children’s happiness and education.
“I have been a schoolteacher in the State of Florida for over 38 (thirty-eight) years focusing on preschool and elementary children (ages 4 through 13),” explains its founder and headteacher Tery Marquez Silva Aguirre in an interview with El American.
“Realizing and concluding that schools, in general, were lacking classical, traditional, and formal education, I decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of setting up a home school during the pandemic from my home in South Dade which I called TLC Classical Academy Prep, LLC. ‘TLC’ reflects both ‘Tender Loving Care’ and ‘Tery Liz Cares’ which is my first name.”
Now the school has become a reality, Silva Aguirre and her staff are determined to build a curriculum that focuses are instilling traditional values and providing a classical education that includes the teaching of Latin and Greek from an early age.
“Our classical, Catholic and conservative values set our School curriculum apart from other schools in that we focus on History, Geography, Latin, and Greek as a basis to understand the roots of other languages and Catholic Religion including preparation for Sacraments,” Silva Aguirre explained. “Our students can also advance at their own pace in both Mathematics and Reading. We have small classroom settings for individualized attention and success.”
“All children will fall in love with learning and therefore continue lifelong and fulfilling educational goals,” she continued. “Central to our philosophy is to instill in our children self-esteem, self-actualization, confidence, faith, and motivation so that no matter how difficult the challenges of life may be, that they will find the internal strength through faith to overcome them.”
Education has become a hot-button issue over the past year, with many children prevented from going back to school as a result of severe lockdown policies forcing them to learn remotely. The success of Republican candidates in Tuesday night’s elections, particularly for Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, has largely been attributed to their willingness to lift all restrictions and allow all children to go back to school.
Silva Aguirre hopes that the school will one day have as many as 250 students, all of whom are referred to as “scholars” in homage to the traditions of classical education. She also insists that the school will never bow down to the demands of progressive activists, whether it comes from parents, outside groups, or even the government.
“This is a very traditional school that respects the differences between boys and girls. The same values apply to all our staff and the way we teach,” she explained. “We will also never embrace so-called cancel culture or any other progressive orthodoxies such as declaring your pronouns or changing history to meet your political world view.”
Despite launching just last year, Silva Aguirre also says that their traditional methods of education are already leading to fantastic results, with one child catching up two entire grades after falling behind as a result of receiving individualized attention.
“We had a first-grade child who entered at a beginning kindergarten level that is a full grade behind,” says Aguirre. “They could not read at all and in one year were eventually able to complete two grades both kindergarten and first since at TLC the children receive individualized attention and work at their own pace.”
The school also offers opportunities for underprivileged youths through the Siempre Norte Foundation, which Marquez describes as “a non-profit corporation to solicit funds for the specific purpose of providing scholarships to qualifying families in order to provide financial assistance.”
The Siempre Norte foundation was created in remembrance of our Mother who instilled in her four children the importance of our faith and traditional values,” added Marquez. “We hope that as the school continues to grow we will be able to provide bursaries to dozens of students from underprivileged backgrounds. The concept of sharing with those less fortunate than ourselves is central to our Christian faith.”