Classical Education in an Urban Context

Peter Vande Brake July 16, 2017

Presented at:
SCL Summer Conference 2017


This seminar will explore the challenges of providing classical and Christian education in the urban context. I have often used the following analogy: doing classical education in a suburban context is to doing classical education in an urban context as as general practice physician's work is to a trauma surgeons's work. The needs of students in an urban context are often much more intensive than the needs of a student who is in a suburban context. In the urban context, the basics of food, clothing, and adequate shelter must be considered along with grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Urban students often qualify as "at risk" students and come to school far less prepared for academic work than their suburban counterparts. The urban context demands a different approach to classical education. What does classical education look like in the urban school? This session will look at the kinds of solutions that urban schools have devised to deal with the problems that confront them as they aspire to teach urban students classically. This seminar is also designed to encourage discussion and a sharing of ideas and best practices from teachers and administrators involved in urban education.


Classical Education context urban school urban students


Peter Vande Brake
Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI where he was a 4-time All-American decathlete. He went to seminary at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids obtaining a Ph.D. in systematic theology in 2000. He was ordained in the PCUSA in 2001. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996-2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and a teacher and administrator at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, MI. H He is married and has two daughters.

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