Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions from prospective parents to The Geneva School.
Be sure to also check out FAST FACTS.
What is the significance of the name The Geneva School?
The Geneva School is named for the city of Geneva, Switzerland, which played a pivotal role in the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. The transforming effect of the Reformation was felt throughout the city of Geneva, which in turn wielded cultural, social, religious, educational, and political influence over its region and over other parts of Europe. Christian classical education flourished there and contributed to the changes brought about by the Reformation. The city of Geneva adopted as its official motto the expression post tenebras lux (“after darkness, light”) as a testimony to the transformation that God had brought about.
At its founding, the board of The Geneva School adopted the name Geneva and post tenebras lux as the motto of our official crest. It is our goal to foster the growth of the Christian classical movement, so that its transformative effects will be as enduring and widespread as was the city of Geneva.
Is Geneva affiliated with a particular denomination?
No, Geneva is an independent school, not affiliated with any church or denomination.
Do you have to be Christian to attend Geneva?
While being a Christian is not a requirement for entrance to Geneva, about 90% of our students attend a Christian church regularly.
What textbooks or curriculum does Geneva use?
Geneva’s curricular objectives are determined not by publishing companies, but by what comports best with the western liberal arts tradition—the humanities, mathematics, and the sciences—and with the fine and performing arts. We employ the best texts, materials, and resources that we can find in order to accomplish these objectives. For more information, please visit the academic pages of this website. Specific details about the curriculum at each grade level can be found in the on the Grammar School pages, Dialectic School pages, and Rhetoric School pages.
What elective courses do you offer to high school students?
One of the hallmarks of the Christian classical model of education is that it provides deep and foundational training to every student. Before students are ready to make the most out of more individualized pursuits, we want them to focus on the skills and content that teach them how to learn and discern. Therefore, we are intentional about the electives we offer, ensuring that they support and enhance our curriculum. Beginning in the ninth grade, students can choose their courses in both languages (Latin, Greek, French, or Spanish) and in fine/performing arts (drama, stagecraft, yearbook/journalism, photography, studio art, video production, or choir). Beginning in eleventh grade, students can choose from several options in math and science. For further information, please consult the rhetoric curriculum page.
Do you offer Honors and AP courses?
Yes. Many of the courses offered to students in the rhetoric school (grades 9–12) are at the honors or AP level. We also offer honors algebra I to students in eighth grade. For more detailed information on the courses offered to students in the dialectic and rhetoric school, please see the dialectic school and rhetoric school pages on the academic navigational pulldown.
What standardized tests do students take?
All students in 2nd–8th grade take the ERB CTP (Comprehensive Testing Program) assessment test in the spring. CTP is a reasoning/achievement test battery that is available to more than 1,600 ERB-member public and independent schools. It is designed as a challenging test to measure learning and distinguish achievement even among the higher-level students.
For more information about the ERB test, visit the ERB website.
All 9th–11th grade students take the College Board’s PSAT test in October. When taken in their 11th grade year, this test also serves as the National Merit Qualifying Test (NMSQT). The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives 11th grade students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills.
Students in 11th and 12th grade have the opportunity to take The Classic Learning Test (CLT) each spring. The CLT was introduced in 2015 as a traditional alternative to standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Continuing in the tradition of historic college entrance examinations, the CLT provides “a highly accurate and rigorous measure of reasoning, aptitude, and academic formation.”
All students in 10th grade take the CLT10, the exam designed to prepare high school sophomores for taking the CLT.
My high school child is looking to transfer to Geneva. Will (s)he be able to meet Geneva’s graduation requirements?
In many instances, if a student comes in from an academically rigorous college preparatory and/or a liberal arts preparatory curriculum, the answer is generally “yes.” Over the last number of years we have done our best to accommodate students who are transferring from others schools or homeschool, but which do not conform to our “classical distinctive requirements”—especially with regard to the teaching of logic, Latin, philosophy, theology, and rhetoric—thus still allowing them to graduate from The Geneva School. The closer one is to graduation, the more difficult it is to make accommodation. All of our graduates, however, need to meet or exceed the requirements for Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, which we believe to be the bare minimum.
Why do you teach Latin?
The Geneva School’s rationale for learning classical languages (Latin as well as Greek) is simple: we learn classical languages in order to be able to read the literature written in them. And history has shown that this Greek and Latin literature has time and time again been the motive force behind so many crucial developments in our society and culture. Behind Luther’s call for reform, behind the scientific advances during the Age of Reason, behind the principles of freedom espoused by America’s founding fathers moved the literature and thought of the Greek and Roman past. As a result, the student who has learned one of these crucial languages has unmediated access to this heritage, and a grasp of the past that translates to a wise and rational attitude toward the present.
There are countless other benefits as well. Because the classical languages are inflected languages (meaning they change their meaning and function through a variety of different forms), they develop a student’s analytical skills like nothing else. Consequently, better standardized test scores follow. Also, because some 75% of English is derived (directly and indirectly) from Latin, with Greek trailing not far behind, students gain a much deeper understanding of English and acquire a firm foundation to make learning modern languages much easier, faster, and deeper. Once again, because these inflected languages develop a student’s analytical skills, they focus attention, encourage reflection, and promote a healthy work ethic in those who study them. In the end, though, our goal at Geneva for learning the classical languages is to read these foundational authors in their own words, be it Plato, the New Testament, Vergil, Horace or Augustine.
Most published works go out of print quickly and permanently. The many classical works that have survived have survived precisely because of their depth, timelessness and artistry in style, thought, and content. When we read classical literature, we are able to enter directly into a “dialogue” with some of the wisest souls and most fertile minds that God has given us. When we read such literature in its original language, and do so without the interference from translators, we can only be made better.
To which grades do you teach Latin?
Latin studies begin in third grade and continue as a required course through the eighth grade. Latin in grades three–six emphasizes acquisition of vocabulary and an introduction to the case system and verb conjugations. Graded Latin readings are also undertaken in order to develop reading fluency. Grades seven and eight (Latin I and II, respectively) refine the student’s understanding of Latin even more, through an extensive graded reading, further expanding the student’s vocabulary and giving the opportunity to discuss in more depth various important aspects of Latin syntax.
Latin electives through AP Latin (Latin III–VI) are taught in the rhetoric school. These electives focus on an in-depth reading of various Latin authors from a variety of genres.
My child is an incoming seventh or eighth grader but has never studied Latin. What, if anything, should (s)he do to catch up?
Latin is taught at Geneva using a unified curriculum that begins in third grade and continues through seventh and eighth grade respectively, and, if a student elects to continue in their study of Latin, culminates with AP Latin in twelfth grade.
Students who enter The Geneva School in seventh or eighth grade with no prior Latin instruction may need remediation. Any remediation is customized for each new student in accordance with their previous academic performance and their new student assessment.
What other foreign languages, apart from Latin, does Geneva offer?
Students at Geneva study Spanish in K–2nd grade and Latin in 3rd–8th grade. In addition, French, Spanish, Latin, and Greek are offered in 9th–12th grade.
What colleges or universities have The Geneva School students chosen to attend following graduation?
Each year, our seniors are accepted to a broad range of schools, including some very prestigious colleges and universities (e.g., Davidson, Emory, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Purdue, Rice, Richmond, UF, UVA, and Wheaton). In making their college decisions, Geneva students do their research, talk with their parents, receive guidance from our college counselor, and visit their top choices. Each Geneva graduate confidently attends the college or university that is the best academic, spiritual, geographic, and social fit for that particular individual.
Note: Please see our Upper School Profile for a full list of schools of acceptance.
How does The Geneva School approach the use of technology?
Technology is all around us at Geneva, whether it be low tech (a mechanical pencil) or high tech (an oil objective microscope used for observing bacteria in a gram staining lab). At The Geneva School, we introduce students to technological tools and resources beginning in the grammar school seeking to employ them where it helps us meet our overarching educational goals.
TGS uses the Google platform for our students to learn and use applications. Applications used in the classroom are taught and expected to be used as part of a student’s coursework (i.e. Google docs, sheets, slides, email, blogging, etc.). Each student, beginning in eighth grade is required to bring their own device to school for use in the classroom as directed by faculty.
We understand technology to be tools used by man to accomplish tasks. However, these tools are not inert or neutral—much to the contrary. As a tool, technology is a fundamental way that humans shape, come to know, and seek to understand the world in which they live. These two principles—the notion that technology is a tool and the recognition of the limits and possibilities—form the basis of how we employ technology.
How is technology employed in educating students in grades K4–3?
In a child’s most formative years, the most important interactions are with parents, teachers, and other children, not devices or media. Faculty use technology to present and demonstrate concepts and skills already presented in the classroom to reinforce student discovery when appropriate. By design, student use of computers will not be required in the early grammar school years, however some optional activities are computer-based. The importance of the classroom teacher during these years cannot be overstated.
How is technology employed in educating older students?
Beginning in fourth grade, additional classroom technology is utilized each year. In fifth and sixth grade, students begin to use computers for research, writing, and presenting. Google Apps for Education are used by students in grades 6–12 to encourage student and faculty communication and collaboration. Students in 6th grade are required to have access to a computer with an internet connection at home. Students in grades 7–12 are required to bring their own device (chromebook, laptop, or tablet) to school to allow for classroom writing, research, and collaborating as directed by the faculty. In addition students in grades 6-12 are required to have access to a printer.
What is your philosophy regarding homework?
The majority of learning takes place in the classroom. Our teachers assign homework to reinforce classroom lessons. The amount of time a student needs to complete homework varies from day to day, from grade to grade, and from student to student. A general daily guideline is about 10 minutes for each accumulated grade level in the grammar school (i.e., 10 minutes per day for a first-grade student and 1 hour per day for a sixth-grade student) and 10–15 minutes a day, for each accumulated grade level in the dialectic and rhetoric (i.e., 70–105 minutes a day for a seventh-grade student and 120–180 minutes for a senior).
What kinds of field trips do your students go on?
Field trips are integral to Geneva’s ideal of an incarnational and experiential education. The best education appeals to all five senses. To experience on some level what they are studying will contribute more substantively to the students’ learning than merely reading something in a book or acting something out in a classroom. Students, particularly in the grammar school, participate in age-appropriate, curriculum-related field trips and in-school events.
Overnight field trips include:
- 5th grade: Five-day trip to Williamsburg in the spring
- 6th grade: Five-day trip to Washington DC in the spring
- 7th grade: Five-day science excursion to north Florida in the fall
- 8th grade: Four-day trip in the spring – destination TBD
- 9th grade boys: Weekend trip to Gilchrist Club in September
- 9th–12th grade: Three day retreat at the beginning of the school year
- 9th grade: Five-day biology camping trip to the Florida Everglades in the early spring
- 9th–12th grade: Periodic European trips
- 12th grade: Two-day senior boot camp just prior to the official start of school
- 12th grade: Senior trip at the end of the school year
More detailed information on the overnight field trip schedule offered to students in grades 5–12 can be found on the field trip pages.
Does Geneva have programs for children with special needs/learning differences?
Geneva does not currently have programs in place to accommodate children with significant special needs/learning differences. However, if a child’s condition is mild in nature it may be possible for them to succeed at Geneva. Please contact Candy Houk in the admission department to discuss your child’s individual needs.
At what age can my child begin attending Geneva?
Our youngest children are K4 students.
K4: Children should be 4 years old by September 1
Kindergarten: Children should be 5 years old by September 1.
Please note that all students applying to Geneva will be assessed in order to determine their readiness for the grade for which they are applying. Please refer to the Apply Now page.
What are the school hours?
- K4: 8:20 am–12:30 pm for the first few weeks of school and 8:20 am–1:30 pm for the remainder of the year.
- Kindergarten: 8:20 am–12:30 pm for the first few weeks of school and 8:20 am–2:40 pm for the remainder of the year.
- 1st–6th Grade: 8:20 am–3:00 pm
- 7th–12th Grade: 7:45 am–2:55 pm
Please note: classes begin promptly at these times. An earlier arrival allows your student time to prepare for the day.
Early Dismissal Schedule (no lunch program and no aftercare is provided on these days)
- K4–6th Grade: 8:20 am–12:00 noon
- 7th–12th Grade: 7:45 am–12:15 pm
Does Geneva require students to wear uniforms?
The Geneva School believes that uniforms play an important role in maintaining a culture conducive to cultivating virtuous scholars. In many respects the uniform is the face of Geneva. Uniforms encourage a sense of school identity and cohesion and also help to raise the standards of the school’s academic and cultural pursuits.
In addition to cohesion and identity, uniforms also serve to minimize distractions in the classroom thus contributing to a stronger learning environment. Non-conformity to the uniform code is a distraction we seek to avoid. This principle applies equally to distractive hair styles, hair color, makeup, and also to distractive behavior. Minimizing distractions allow us to maximize learning.
For specifics about the uniform guidelines and where to purchase uniforms, please visit the Uniform Guidelines page.
Does Geneva have a lunch program?
The Geneva School lunch program is run as a fundraiser for our athletic department. It is also our hope that this program will be cost effective, enjoyable, and convenient for you and your family.
Geneva’s lunch program is for students in K4–12th grade, beginning the first day of school.
For further information about the lunch program and to submit an order, please visit the lunch program page.
Does Geneva offer summer programs?
At Geneva, engagement in learning does not stop at the end of May. Each summer Geneva offers a variety of summer camps for students of all ages.
Information about the Summer Camp Program can be found HERE.
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