The Real Treasure in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, Treasure Island, unearths a world of seafaring adventures complete with a cast of ragamuffin pirates, English gentlemen, and an adolescent boy thrust into a situation that will force him to choose the type of man he wishes to become. Furthermore, the language of the sea that Stevenson so aptly conveyed […]

Read More about The Real Treasure in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

A Special Relationship: The British and the Americans—Lessons from the Colonial Period

There’s something unique about the relationship between Americans and the British—one that has endured for centuries through war and peace. Indubitably, that relationship stems from the fact that the first settlers and the customs they brought with them were British in origin. In a presentation for the Barney Charter School Initiative teacher training seminars, Hillsdale […]

Read More about A Special Relationship: The British and the Americans—Lessons from the Colonial Period

BCSI Staff Spotlight—Becky Holland

By Avery Lacey, ’20 When Becky Holland started her senior year at Hillsdale College in 2008, she thought she was going to be a pediatrician. Eleven years later, she works as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Barney Charter School Initiative. After spending hours in Director of Career Services Joanna Wiseley’s office applying […]

Read More about BCSI Staff Spotlight—Becky Holland

The Scarlet Pimpernel: More Than Meets the Eye

By Brent Falke, ’99 Hillsdale Academy 7th-grade teacher On the surface, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a simple book full of swashbuckling adventures, daring escapes, and an obvious “good guy vs. bad guy” plot. However, underlying the simplicity is thematic depth. Themes such as courage, deception, power, and pride permeate the book, with the most important being pride […]

Read More about The Scarlet Pimpernel: More Than Meets the Eye

BCSI Teacher Spotlight—Sarah Kiesewetter

Sarah Kiesewetter teaches fifth grade at Golden View Classical Academy in Golden, Colorado. Golden View Classical Academy emphasizes seven core virtues: courage, moderation, justice, responsibility, prudence, friendship, and wonder.    Who are your teaching inspirations? I had a literature teacher in high school, Mr. Doyle, who knew more about the classics than anyone I’d ever […]

Read More about BCSI Teacher Spotlight—Sarah Kiesewetter

Henry V: Studies of a Young King

By Katarzyna Ignatik, ’20 As Assistant Professor of English Dr. Benedict Whalen recommends, putting Shakespeare’s Henry V in context is beneficial in studying it at the high school level. Henry V is the last of a series of plays following the central character of the king. In the earlier historical plays in the set, we […]

Read More about Henry V: Studies of a Young King

Studying Virtue in Painting and Poetry

Each year, millions flock to Vatican City to view the art that defined the Italian Renaissance—including the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museums. While marveling at the artistry of these works, we may ask what we can learn from these frescoes, particularly about teaching students the virtue of prudence. Like Raphael’s frescoes, poetry also offers […]

Read More about Studying Virtue in Painting and Poetry

The Wonder and Enjoyment of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

By Carin Harner Barney Charter School Initiative Instructional Coach Charlotte’s Web is the wonderful story of a young girl, a young pig, and a spider. It is a story about friendship, loyalty, and the sacrifices that come with friendship. It is about growing up. It is about life and death and how the two are intertwined. While being honest […]

Read More about The Wonder and Enjoyment of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

The Original “Selfie”: Beyond the Surface of a Rembrandt Portrait

These days, it’s easy to take a “selfie.” One tap of your phone screen, and you’ve got it. Self-portraits in paint, on the other hand, are difficult—a thousand brush strokes, a thousand judgments, and hour after painstaking hour of intricate work. The Dutch artist Rembrandt, renowned for his self-portraits, understood that this task of creating […]

Read More about The Original “Selfie”: Beyond the Surface of a Rembrandt Portrait

BCSI Staff Spotlight—Eric Coykendall

By Katarzyna Ignatik, ’20 Eric Coykendall has been with the Barney Charter School Initiative for five years—watching the program grow from a staff of three to a staff of 15. The number of schools affiliated with the BCSI has also grown during that time from the single digits to over 20. “We have an affiliation […]

Read More about BCSI Staff Spotlight—Eric Coykendall

Little House on the Prairie: A Journey into America’s Westward Expansion

By Monica VanDerWeide, ’95 Beloved by generations of children for more than 80 years, the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder holds a special place in the canon of classic children’s literature. While the stories in themselves are entertaining and delightful, they also offer an entry point from which to delve […]

Read More about Little House on the Prairie: A Journey into America’s Westward Expansion

Second Chances: Discussing The Secret Garden with Sarah Kiesewetter

By Avery Lacey, ’20 “The Secret Garden is one of my very favorite books to teach,” says Sarah Kiesewetter, 5th grade teacher at Golden View Classical Academy. The novel’s sympathetic characters and themes of friendship and renewal engage 5th graders particularly. Kiesewetter likes to focus on this theme of revival throughout the novel: “Despite hardship […]

Read More about Second Chances: Discussing The Secret Garden with Sarah Kiesewetter