Great Hearts academies are public, independently operated charter schools with open admissions policies. Each school promises a traditional liberal arts education with small classes, a campus student/teacher ratio of no more than 15 to 1, and an advanced, honors, core curriculum. Each Academy requires a common and rigorous sequence of courses for all students; there are no electives (except some choice in foreign language study).
The sequence in math, science, foreign language, fine arts, and the humanities exceeds the state standards in duration and content. All students graduate as critical thinkers, coherent writers, and confident speakers. High expectations for student conduct are co-equal with the school's academic standards. Students profess an honor code that calls upon them to practice and defend academic integrity. Schoolwork is viewed as an objective good, but grades and competition between students are de-emphasized.
The primary goal of a Great Heart’s academy is to graduate thoughtful leaders of character who will contribute to a more philosophical, humane, and just society.