Veritas Academy finds a location

A new private school in Marietta has found a location, with plans still moving forward to open its doors for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Veritas Classical Academy, a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school formed by a group of local parents, will open in the fall at the old Fairview School, 115 Victory Place, located on Harmar Hill.

The traditional one-story brick school building will house the academy’s Pre-k through sixth grade classes, with room to spare for the school to annually add grades up through high school.

The building is currently occupied by the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center, which sold the building to Marietta Classical Academy LLC and plans to move to its new location at 1338A Colegate Drive.

According to the Washington County Auditor’s Office, the transfer was made through an exempt warranty deed, which means there is currently no dollar amount attached to the transfer.

“We are currently working on some minor renovations to get it ready for the fall,” said Austin Rehl, who currently serves as the school’s spokesman. “It has been used by the ESC for the past three decades, so it hasn’t been actively used as an elementary school recently as it was originally designed.”

Rehl said the nine classrooms inside the Fairview building will allow the school to reach its targeted future capacity of grades Pre-k through 12.

“Each classroom has a large wall of windows for a lot of sunshine,” Rehl said. “It’s that single-story, sturdy elementary school that we’re excited for.”

The property sits on five acres, and includes a gymnasium and auditorium.

“It will also allow us to have a library, fine arts room and music room,” Rehl said.

The Veritas Academy is built on the concept of classic Latin education, with emphasis on memorization and heavy integration of liberal arts subjects, a concept that school officials say rejects outcome-based learning.

The school also uses a cluster system, where two grades are held within one classroom and with one teacher, clustering Pre-k and kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth, and so on.

“In high school there will be more variability, but we want to keep challenging students in math and language arts,” Rehl said. “They’ll be able to move in their abilities without having to advance to the next grade.”

The concept is that clustered grades encourage younger students to challenge themselves while allowing older students to act as role models to be pushed further academically.

Because of the school’s private status, it has the ability to reject Ohio’s new implementation of standardized tests and Common Core curriculum standards, which founding parents originally cited as one of the primary reasons for the formation of the school.

Veritas already has most of its faculty in place and a full curriculum and reading list is published on its website.

“We solidified all of our teachers, and they have gone through and will continue to go through preparation until fall,” Rehl said. “This classical style demands a lot of the students and teachers.”

The school plans to add seventh and eighth grades in the 2015-2016 school year, then continue to add high school grades each year so beginning students can stay in through high school.

In addition to its primary education, Rehl said Veritas will offer after-school programs like German, drama and chess on a demand basis, and administrators plan on setting up online courses open to the community, including public or other private school students wishing to take unique courses not offered at their school.

Rehl said school officials will continue to do landscaping and renovations to make the school all it needs to be on the outside, while remaining in contact with the community through open house events.