First ever first day of school for new Capstone Academy in Fargo

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 12:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The doors opened for the first time this morning for a new school in south Fargo which aims to teach students the ‘classical’ way.

“Well, good morning! I am glad you’re here!” Capstone Academy’s Headmaster Paul Fisher said as he greeted a student walking up the school’s sidewalk.

A warm, personal greeting waited for each family and student Monday morning as they walked through the doors of the main campus for Pre-K through third graders located at 3910 25th St. S. Another campus at 2506 35th Ave. S. holds fourth through sixth grades.

“It’s the first time you get a new beginning like this. No school can do this twice,” Fisher said.

Fisher says enrollment numbers far exceeded the original goal of 60 students. As of Monday morning, 116 are currently enrolled between the two campuses. Fisher says despite the nationwide teacher shortage, Capstone had the opposite problem. He says more people applied than they could hire, and most are veteran teachers from across the Valley.

“I think when you explain the Classical method and the vision for the school, teachers are inspired and then they talk to each other,” Fisher said.

“This is where we are supposed to be at and this is a perfect fit for our family,” Melissa Bishoff said.

Bishoff’s son is a second grader at Capstone, and made the switch from another local private school. Bishoff says her family has been waiting for this day since first learning about the concept of Capstone a few years ago.

“Our faith is important to us, but also the Classical model of education,” Bishoff said.

“Classical is teaching kids the way that they learn. It’s kid-friendly learning and there’s three stages of it. At first, it’s grammar school, then it’s a logic school and then it’s a rhetoric school,” Fisher explained.

Capstone is the first school of its kind in North Dakota, and is affiliated with Hillsdale College which provides faculty, staff and board members with annual training on classical education as well as curriculum and evaluations, officials say. Hillsdale College is a private college of 1,400 students in Michigan which describes itself as a conservative liberal arts and nonsectarian Christian school.

Fisher emphasizes compared to the traditional model of teaching, Capstone focuses on much more than giving students skills for jobs.

“We don’t teach for standards necessarily; it’s about the tried and true life-long values. We read the classics, we teach logic, we teach Latin and we’re a Christian school,” he said.

Officials say families can still enroll, but say spots are limited depending on the grade level. Officials say class sizes will remain small until its new campus is built in the 6400 block of 43rd St. S., which is aimed to open in August 2024.

Several families tell Valley News Live Capstone already feels like home with its own tightknit community for their kid, and say they’re excited to watch the school grow and advance in the years to come.

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