High School with a Higher Purpose


St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy is raising up a new generation of joyful leaders and saints, educated in the classical tradition and the truths of the Catholic faith. St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy serves high school students in grades 9-12. Catholic classical curriculum prepares students to succeed in college, in professional life, and in service of family, of country, and of God.

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An Integrated, Classical Curriculum


Students at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy enjoy a cohesive, content-rich education. A broad exposure to many different disciplines helps students expand their interests, uncover hidden talents, and improve their ability to think critically.

The Chesterton Academy model begins with a classical, integrated curriculum. This award-winning curriculum promotes revelation to the transcendentals: what is good, beautiful, and true. Students read Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, Dostoyevsky, C.S. Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton.

Chesterton students study the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. History, literature, philosophy, and theology are braided together within a historical time period. The sciences and the humanities are intimately connected, so the logic of math is seen in philosophy, and in God’s handiwork in the sciences. Faith and reason meet in every class. Equal emphasis is given to the arts, so that every student learns to draw, paint, sing in a choir, act on stage, give speeches, and engage in debate.

Each year builds on the previous, so that by the end of senior year, our students are articulate, clear-thinking, well-rounded, and joyful individuals.

Nothing could be a better preparation for success at college. Our classically educated students fare very well on standardized tests and college admissions. Yet our mission does not end with merely getting students into college. We are preparing them for life, which includes finding their vocation. A Catholic classical education at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy helps students discern and follow God’s calling for their lives, for the greater good and glory to God.

Curriculum Overview


Humanities Sequence

History, literature, philosophy, theology, and languages are braided together in an integrated curriculum utilizing the Socratic Method.

Grade 9: Ancient World
Grade 10: Early Medieval Period
Grade 11: High Middle Ages to the Renaissance
Grade 12: Modern World


Our study of literature is tied to the study of history and the rest of the humanities. Students are first introduced to classical epics of Homer and then exposed to early English classics such as The Canterbury Tales and modern literary renderings of medieval history. Moving towards the modern period, they read Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Chesterton, and American literature. Reading and writing go hand in hand, and each student masters the art of the essay in their writing assignments in all subjects.


Philosophy, “the love of wisdom,” exercises the brain while it elevates the soul. The ability to understand abstract concepts leads to clear and systematic thinking in all things. We use philosophy to connect the humanities, but also to show its obvious connection to logic and mathematics. We study the development of philosophy from its classical roots focusing on Plato and Aristotle, its dramatic encounter with the early Church, its christening by St. Thomas Aquinas, and its deterioration in the modern era.


The history classes at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy form the backbone of our curriculum. The four-year history sequence covers ancient history through the Greek and Roman civilizations, early Church history, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation and Counter-reformation. In senior year, students study the modern era, including the American and French Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, the Communist Revolution, and the Sexual Revolution. Each history course is tailored to provide a colorful backdrop for literature, art, and science classes.


Theology, “the study of God,” is the context by which all other texts are studied. The principal theological texts studied are the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We also read selections from the Church Fathers, Documents of the Church Councils, and Papal Encyclicals.


The study of language is required of all students. All students are required to take two years of Latin and then go on to choose Latin III or Spanish. 

Summer Reading 2023-24

Each summer, students in the Chesterton Academy are assigned summer reading to support ongoing learning and explore stories and characters who will play a role in their studies the upcoming school year. Below are links to the required reading and study guides for each grade level for the 2023-24 school year. The books are available for each student through St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy, upon enrollment.

Questions? Please contact Mrs. Wurth at jwurth@stignatiuskaukauna.org.

Math and Science


Mathematics is the art of measuring. Science is the study of what can be measured. While math is woven together with the sciences, it is also connected to the humanities. It teaches logic, which is a basic philosophical principle. It teaches balance, which is a basic aesthetic principle. Math at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy covers Euclidean geometry and algebra, all the way through advanced Calculus.


Science is the study of the physical world, that is, of God’s creation. None of these subjects can be approached without a sense of wonder. It is fitting, therefore, to begin by looking up at the heavens, at the lights in the sky: Astronomy. Then we take a look at the world God created (Geology), the creatures he created (Biology), and the intricate substances of which all things are made (Chemistry). We end by gaining an understanding of the nature and properties of matter and energy (Physics).

Grade 9: Astronomy and Physical Science
Grade 10: Biology
Grade 11: Chemistry
Grade 12: Physics

Fine Arts


Music appeals to the ear and the mind, the emotions and the intellect, the senses and the spirit. St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy students are exposed to a wide variety of music that they perform chorally several times a year.

An education at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy includes music theory, performance, ear training, note reading, and musical analysis. Music history is taught according to the grade level with an emphasis on music development within the Church, and corresponds to the historical period in which the students are immersed.

Students perform in the choir at choir concerts, Masses, community events, and the Gala.


Music appeals to the ear and the mind, the emotions and the intellect, the senses and the spirit. Band instruction at St. Ignatius includes individuals lessons as well as band class.

St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy students are exposed to a wide variety of music that they perform instrumentally several times a year. Students perform in the band, or as solos, at band concerts, Masses, community events, and the Gala.

View the 2023-24 Band letter here.


A complete education must include the development of the creative nature and must provide students with the tools and the technique with which to express their ideas, their feelings and their love. It must also include the analytical skills with which to judge a work of art and exposure to great art. Finally, the mechanical skills and the aesthetic aptitude must be put into the proper context of eternal Truth. A good artist is a complete thinker and vice versa. The influence of the arts in today’s society cannot be overstated, and this is why art is mandatory at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy all four years.

Grade 9: Ancient Art History | Drawing and Calligraphy
Grade 10: Late Roman and Early European Art History | Pastels and Colors
Grade 11: Late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque Art History | Oils
Grade 12: Classical, Romantic, and Modern Art History | Oils

Drama / Debate

The dramatic arts are particularly powerful in our present culture where movies and the media are often the primary source of knowledge and ideas for many young people. Drama involves the study of how words are brought to life, and in order to successfully do this on stage the actor must learn to see the work as a whole, to understand the author’s vision and the time in which it was written. In other words, the actor must learn to be a good literary critic, philosopher, and historian. Drama ties together the information students learn in the classroom and asks them to actively participate in its performance.

Grade 10: Comedy
Grade 11: Drama
Grade 12: Shakespeare

Students also take a debate course their sophomore year.

Grade 10: Debate

Post-Secondary Academic Partnerships

Franciscan Advantage

St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy juniors and seniors have the opportunity to earn college credits in select courses through Franciscan Advantage. Franciscan Advantage is a partnership between Chesterton Schools Network and Franciscan University of Steubenville that allows students earn credit by taking designated high school theology courses that align with the university’s curriculum and successfully completing college-level examinations.

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This first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Chesterton Schools Network and Franciscan University serves the intellectual and spiritual needs of students, families, and communities while simultaneously ensuring affordable Catholic education.


What is Franciscan Advantage? 

  • Franciscan Advantage allows qualified St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy students to enroll in Franciscan University courses that align with their existing St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy curriculum in philosophy and theology prior to high school graduation.

What are eligibility requirements?

  • Students must be at least 16 years old and in their junior or senior year at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy.
  • Possess a cumulative 2.4 GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale.)
  • Receive recommendation from St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy.

What courses are taught, who teaches the courses, and when will they be taught?

  • St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy teachers teach the Chesterton courses that align with Franciscan University courses.
    • Theology 11 aligns with Foundations of Catholicism (THE 101)
    • Theology 12 aligns with Christian Moral Principles (THE 115)
  • St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy students concurrently enroll in a Franciscan Advantage course and complete Franciscan University assessments.
  • Courses are taught at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy during the normal school day.
  • Direct instruction between students and Franciscan University faculty is limited.

How is student learning evaluated?

  • Students earn a grade for their high school course and credits, reflected on their high school transcript.
  • Students will also take a Franciscan University mid-term exam and final exam, which will be administered at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy through the University’s online learning management system during a normal school day, to earn the college credits. Study guides will be provided each semester.

What is the cost?

  • Course tuition is $100 per credit hour ($300 per 3-credit course) for the 2023-24 school year. This will be billed directly by Franciscan University, and payment plans are available.

How many credits can a student earn?

  • In the program’s second year (2023-24 school year,) each of this year’s offered courses are three credits each through Franciscan University. This agreement could expand across additional disciplines in future years.

Where can students use these college credits?

  • Credits earned are immediately applied at Franciscan University. In many cases, credits earned are transferable to other colleges and universities. Each college or university has its own policies regarding transfer of credits. Students may request a transcript with grades and credits earned.

Are there other Franciscan Advantage benefits for students?

  • Students enrolled in this partnership can also take part in Franciscan Life Online, which provides opportunities for community and faith formation through virtual events such as small group meetings, Rosary, and live-streamed lectures.
  • Students who enroll, successfully complete, and earn credit through Franciscan Advantage will be eligible for a Chesterton graduate-specific scholarship (up to $2,000/year) at Franciscan University if the student chooses to enroll there for college.

What are the deadlines for enrollment and course completion?

  • Enrollment must be completed no later than September 15, 2023. All Franciscan Advantage coursework must be completed no later than May 31, 2024. Enroll at franciscan.edu/advantage.


St. Ignatius contact: Alex Wolf,

Franciscan University contact: Tom Constello, tjcostello@franciscan.edu


Advanced Placement (AP)

St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy does not offer College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses as part of the school day. However, due to the rigor of our Catholic classical curriculum and academic excellence of many of our high school students, Chesterton Academy students may choose to independently sign up, study for, and take AP tests for potential additional college credits.

We encourage upperclassmen at St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy to consider Franciscan Advantage for co-enrollment and an option potential college credit.

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