Thales Academy opened the doors of its brand-new building in Pittsboro, North Carolina, Monday, as about 100 students from the academy’s Cary campus moved to the new facility in rural Chatham County.
“Chatham is the first time that Thales has been in a rural county,” Bob Luddy, the founder and chairman of Thales Academy, told The Star News Network. “So, my thought was having a facility of that quality in a rural county that’s a private initiative is going to change the way people think about K-12 education.”
Drone shots of our beautiful new Pittsboro, NC campus!
Come see it for yourself at our Grand Opening Extravaganza!
April 30, 1-3pm
200 Vine Parkway, Pittsboro
We will have a bounce house, face painting, balloon twisting, tours of the school, food trucks, and more! pic.twitter.com/mySzoG6zFM
— Thales Academy (@Thales_Academy) March 30, 2022
Luddy, who visited the Pittsboro school Tuesday, observed the features Thales offers: “beautiful facilities, excellent teachers – and it’s affordable – essentially barely exists in America anymore, much less in rural counties, that can be even more challenging from an economic standpoint.”
Heather Brame, senior administrator at the new Thales Pittsboro facility, told the Chatham Journal the school’s calendar consists of four quarters throughout the academic year:
So, we typically start mid-July; we go until about mid-September; we have a three-week break; we start back October, go for about nine to ten weeks; have three weeks around Christmas; come back, we just finished quarter three. We usually have about a three-week break in the spring, and, as I said, we’re about to start quarter four. Usually, summer is about four to five weeks.
As the Pittsboro school opens, students are beginning the fourth quarter.
Luddy explained the current building is K-5, but can easily accommodate K-8. Another site next to it is already prepared for a 6-12 school, he noted.
Thales has been expanding its private school network throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and, soon, South Carolina.
The Tennessee Star reported the expansion of Thales Academy in Franklin, Tennessee, to include middle and high schools.
“That’s our current model,” Luddy said. “So, you have two buildings that are the same size. And they have a lot of flexibility in terms of the grades, depending on the local demand for grades.”
Tuition for the half-day pre-K program at the Pittsboro school is currently $4,800 for the school year. For grades K-5, tuition is $5,300, and for grade 6, added next year, the cost will be $5,500.
“It’s super-important to our founder to make sure that we’re offering this education to as many families as possible,” Brame told the Chatham Journal. “And, so, that’s one of our big goals, to offer that high-quality education at an affordable price.”
“I think oftentimes families are surprised,” she added. “Because, really, when you look at $5,300 a year, that’s significantly cheaper for families with incoming kindergartners than what they’ve been paying in daycare.”
Families can apply to Thales Academy schools at thalesacademy.org and click on “APPLY NOW.” The new school will host an open house on Saturday, April 30 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. for interested families.
Thales is the first school that has opened in the Chatham Park planned community.
“Everything’s brand new, so the development is massive and new, and the school is essentially surrounded by housing developments,” Luddy explained, adding the logistics are such that many students will be able to walk to school.
He added the housing project includes a wide range of costs for housing:
So, you’re going to have a whole range of people living there economically. And the building is just absolutely stunningly beautiful. It’s almost the equivalent of going into a college town and seeing this magnificent college and the city built around it. That’s how I viewed Chatham Park. The ceilings in the rooms are high, with an abundance of natural light. And the students were really happy. I went into quite a number of rooms and you could tell they were just thrilled to be in this facility and learning from these excellent teachers.
Luddy explained the Thales Academy philosophy includes “direct instruction,” in grades K-5, and the “classic curriculum” in grades 6-12.
The Thales founder described “direct instruction” as “a whole methodology of teaching reading, math, phonics, reading comprehension, spelling.”
“And the idea’s by the time they get through the fifth grade, they’re good readers,” he said. “They have a high level of focus. They know how to learn. They have a high level of discipline. And the kids like it because they do a lot of things that are fun.”
When students at Thales Academy move up to the sixth grade, they begin the classic curriculum, which Luddy calls “Learning from the Masters.”
“So, from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, they learn from original books – the Masters,” he explained. “They learn Latin, rhetoric, writing. And it creates individuals that can think, can write, and can take on issues.”
Luddy referred to the teaching of the concepts of systemic racism, equity, and forced diversity in government schools as “completely wrongheaded.”
“Most Americans go out of their way to help minorities, poor people, etc.,” he asserted. “So, it’s completely wrong in thinking, and what those individuals need, and if they’re coming from poor cultures, is a really good education. That’s how you overcome biases, prejudice and lack of ability to access the American way. So that’s what we focus on.”
The founder’s primary goal is to further expand Thales to be able to offer all children – regardless of their background – a high-quality, private education, at an affordable cost.
“It’s just staggering in my mind why our society won’t do everything possible to help every student in every county,” Luddy stressed.
“Why they have fought progress and opportunity for kids to have a better schooling opportunity, I’ll never know,” he said. “Except they’re stuck way in the past.”
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