Ten Core Values » #6 – High Standards of Academic Excellence

#6 – High Standards of Academic Excellence

Academic excellence requires the application of high standards of intellectual and moral virtues. It is at the intersection of virtue and intelligence where our special excellence or arête is found and brilliance thrives. Excellence is lauded and recognized as a mark of distinction, quantity, and quality; these are the natural result of our best efforts. For quantity and quality, our best efforts frequently entail doing assignments over and over until we exceed the standard.  Good grades, however, are only one measurement of achievement, for the attainment of excellence involves constant improvement because this formulated plan is a continuous journey, not a final resolution to learning, not even a concluded destination.


JAA scholars seek academic excellence by acquiring the content knowledge and skills to become future leaders of our country.  Key skills include:


Reading comprehension

JAA scholars read and comprehend important philosophical treatises, key political documents, fiction and non-fiction literature, and scientific treatises.  They are able to link key works of art, music, architecture, theater, and fictional and non- fictional literature to the philosophical ideas and historical events that influenced them.


Verbal communication

JAA scholars verbally articulate their thoughts with precision, persuasiveness, and clarity in a variety of situations, including 1) class discussions, 2) speeches, 3) presentations, and 4) various forms of formal and informal debate.



JAA scholars communicate well by using multiple types of writing, including: narrative, expository, persuasive, and scientific.  Their structure is organized. They write with clarity, choosing precise words that convey the correct denotative and connotative meaning. Their writing is free from spelling and grammatical errors, and their handwriting is clear and legible. Their style, support, tone, and vocabularies are appropriate for their chosen audience and purpose. Using source documentation for all assignments for verifying information used in writing assignments is an integral part of the John Adams Academy. This assures there will be no plagiarism.


Logical and Precise Thinking

JAA scholars demonstrate inductive and deductive logical thinking, using words, mathematical objects, scientific and mathematical symbols.  Their work demonstrates a carefulness and precision of logical thought and action.  All statements of fact are accurate, and all assertions, whether verbal or in writing, are supported by appropriate evidence.


Key Content Knowledge includes:



JAA Scholars have a broad knowledge of ancient world history including various creation myths and religious practices, major forms of government, and key legal structures. They understand classical Greek and Roman history, the origin of Athens, Sparta, and Rome, the Greco/Persian wars, the Peloponnesian War, the conquest of Alexander the Great, the formation of the Roman Republic, the Punic Wars, the Fall of the Roman Republic, the rise of the Roman Empire and its eventual fall.


Our scholars comprehend medieval European history including the continuation of classical culture in the Byzantine Empire, the great migrations of Germanic and Asian peoples, the rise to power of the Christian Church, the formation of monastic orders, the founding of the Islamic religion, the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, the schism of Orthodox and Catholic Christianity, the Crusades, the Hundred Years War, the War of the Roses, the Black Death, and the rise of secular power leading to the Renaissance.


Our scholars understand modern history including the Renaissance and Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, global exploration, the rise of the nation- state, absolute monarchy, Colonialism, the Scientific Revolution, the English Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, the French Enlightenment, the American and French Revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars, the balance of power doctrine, Manifest Destiny, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of Communism, Decolonization, the Cold War and fall of the Soviet Union, the threat of terrorism, and the danger of enforcing multiculturalism at the expense of individual freedom.


JAA scholars understand American History, including the culture of indigenous peoples, the formation of Spanish, French, and British colonies, British colonial life, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the founding of the American Republic, the rise of party politics, the establishment of universal manhood suffrage, the compromises concerning slavery, the Transcendental Awakening, nullification, American Expansion, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and Reconstruction, American Industrialization, Native American Relocation Acts ,  populist and progressive movements, Women’s Rights Movements, America’s internationalist role, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the New Conservative Movement, and the war on terror.



All JAA graduates will have knowledge of key literary texts that have contributed to the formation and modification of America including The Iliad, The Odyssey,

The Aeneid,


Everything in the K8 sequence


Know the following texts:

Shakespeare:  Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet; The Bible; Iliad; Odyssey; Oedipus King; Aeneid; To Kill a Mockingbird; Paradise Lost; Pride and Prejudice; Tale of Two Cities; Great Expectations; Scarlet Letter; and O Pioneers.