The Rhetoric Level

School of Rhetoric

Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric is a Christ-centered, academically vigorous college preparatory program. All students (grades 9-12) engage in a comprehensive core of classes that integrate the study of the seven liberal arts, known as the trivium and the quadrivium. They learn to view and evaluate all learning through the lens of God’s holy word, known as a biblical worldview. They participate in the Great Conversation, reading and discussing ideas from the literature, philosophy, and history of Western Civilization from the ancient world to the twenty-first century. Students in the School of Rhetoric are taught according to a purposefully designed curriculum by passionate, highly trained teachers. Most hold advanced degrees. Students are prepared for a lifetime of learning, creating culture, and serving God’s kingdom.

Portrait of a Graduate

Arma Dei Academy intentionally nurtures a graduate who

  • seeks Christ in all human endeavors supported by a comprehensive biblical worldview;
  • lives the character of Christ with wisdom, virtue, and compassion;
  • graduates college ready with a strong foundation in the classical liberal arts;
  • contributes joyfully to authentic Christian community;
  • and creates culture as a beacon of Christ’s love in society through an intentional calling while countering the culture at large when needed, intelligently, and with conviction.
School of Rhetoric Philosophy

It is difficult to find a school that maintains excellent academic standards while building a strong biblical foundation; this is Arma Dei Academy’s goal. A classical Christian education teaches students how to think, not just what to think. The Academy encourages thoughtful, intelligent faith and helps students pursue excellence with humility. The Academy’s partnership with parents helps students thrive and flourish intellectually and spiritually in a community of like-minded Christian families. Arma Dei Academy raises the standards beyond what the current culture expects by training students to reason, discern, and aspire.

In grades 9-12, classical rhetoric is emphasized as the fundamental skill of speaking and writing persuasively. It is taught, practiced, and refined throughout every subject and class including science, mathematics, theology, languages, and the humanities. Building on the foundation of grammar and logical reasoning, rhetoric is the skill of finding the best available means of persuasion in order to lead others into what is true, good, and beautiful. The culmination of an Arma Dei School of Rhetoric education is a senior thesis presentation and capstone travel.

Unified Core Liberal Arts Curriculum
Arma Dei Academy pedagogy unifies the School of Rhetoric course of study. The general educational purpose of a core course of study is to ensure that all students take and complete courses that are considered to be academically and culturally essential. These courses teach students the foundational knowledge and skills they will need in college, careers, and adult life. Students gain a strong foundation in theology, humanities, mathematics, the sciences, and foreign languages; additionally, students earn at least two credits in the arts and two credits of conditioning and athletics. Students are encouraged to achieve beyond these requirements and explore electives.

The Great Ideas and the Great Conversation
The curriculum promotes the Great Conversation and Great Ideas in the context of a biblical worldview as a permeating school culture. Teachers engage students in Socratic discussions of great works of history, literature, poetry, art, music, math, and science. Students study dozens of original works such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, Antigone and Oedipus Rex, the Bible, Divine Comedy, the Koran, Beowulf, Hamlet, Paradise Lost, Pride and Prejudice, The Communist Manifesto, and American founding documents. Scientific and mathematical works by such authors as Euclid, Archimedes, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton will also be studied.

Earn College Credit while taking Arma Dei Academic Courses
Most high school courses to be offered by Arma Dei Academy will be honors level in academic vigor. Those studied in eleventh and twelfth grades will prepare students to earn credits through programs like Dual Credit (DC) through accredited institutions, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or Advanced Placement testing (AP). It is paramount for the students to take all core courses designed and taught by Arma Dei Academy faculty to assure achievement of the portrait of a graduate, especially considering the importance of biblical worldview integration. 

Arma Dei Academy’s Rhetoric School has been blessed by God with extraordinary teachers—men and women that possess a rare combination of academic expertise, pedagogical proficiency, and profound love for both God and students. While qualifications are admittedly only one test of quality, it is nevertheless noteworthy that, as of the 2022-2023 school year, each of the Rhetoric School’s seven full-time teachers possess a Master’s degree and three possess Doctoral degrees. Having highly qualified teachers is, of course, critical to the success of Arma Dei’s mission relative to Rhetoric students, which is to provide them “an excellent classical Christian education, founded upon a biblical worldview, which equips [them] to live purposefully and intelligently in service to God and others.” Having highly qualified teachers has also, however, allowed the school to pursue Dual Credit status (i.e, both high school and college credit) for its core classes, with an ultimate goal that students might earn an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts during their tenure in the Rhetoric School at Arma Dei Academy.

Recent years have witnessed the emergence of several options for high school students to get a head start on their college education; namely, Clep Exams, Advanced Placement classes, and Dual Credit classes. Clep Exams do not require any specific course work; they merely test a student’s proficiency in college-level subject matter with the expectation that colleges and universities will be willing to translate proven proficiency into college credit. Colleges and universities with higher admission standards generally will not accept college credit “earned” through Clep Exams. Advanced Placement classes offer a better option for obtaining college credit, but still rely on standardized tests at the conclusion of courses to prove proficiency, which potentially obligates high schools to alter their curricula (i.e., to “teach to the test”), and necessarily obligates students to perform well on “test day,” which is not always the best measure of a student’s mastery of material comprising a particular subject. Dual Credit classes, by way of contrast, give schools the freedom to define their own curriculum (in keeping with objectives higher than the attainment of college credit) and students the freedom to earn college credit based on their actual mastery of material and performance throughout an entire course. Dual credit classes are courses designed entirely by a secondary school as part of their own curriculum, which courses are examined by an accredited university to determine equivalency (in terms of content, academic rigor, and quality of instructors) to courses in their own Academic Catalogue. Where such equivalency can be established, students are permitted to enroll in the college course equivalent to their high school course and obtain college credit from the accredited university while simultaneously obtaining credit from, and meeting graduation requirements at, their own high school.

In summary, Dual Credit classes preserve the prerogative of secondary schools to develop their own curriculum and offer students the most reliable method for getting a head start on their college credit requirements insofar as they place actual transcripts from an accredited university in the hands of those students. When those students subsequently matriculate in the college or university of their choice, they will appeal to the registrar of that institution to receive their previously earned college credit by way of transfer. (Alternatively, students might continue their studies at Colorado Christian University, which offers a tuition discount to students who have taken Dual Credit classes in partnership with CCU at their high school.) As noted above, Arma Dei Academy’s goal is to obtain dual credit status for enough classes to offer an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts (60 credits) to students during their tenure in the Rhetoric School, thereby allowing them to enter university with half the credits normally required for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Students thus stand to save significant money (in the form of college tuition fees) and significant time, having already achieved genuine mastery of the content comprised in those General Education courses that constitute university degree programs. To put the matter another way, students will be able to bypass the large, impersonal lecture halls where 100 and 200 level courses are taught and move directly to the smaller, more intimate classrooms where the 300 and 400 level courses
constituting their college majors are offered.

Arma Dei Academy has partnered with Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, to obtain Dual Credit status for its core courses. Colorado Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which is one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). As of the 2022-2023 school year, the following Arma Dei Academy courses have been approved for Dual Credit status. Each year-long course at Arma Dei Academy translates into one semester of college-level learning at the credit value noted below.

The course of study includes Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric distinctives with a table detailing the subjects to be studied, credits necessary to graduate, and courses normally offered for each grade. Arma Dei Academy enjoys much freedom to design a mission-appropriate course of study for the School of Rhetoric. There are few constraints from the state of Colorado, none from the local independent school district, and the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) accreditation requirements for graduation will be easily exceeded. The course of study recommended is consistent with the finest classical Christian schools in the United States.

Download Curriculum Overview

Class Size
Optimal class size at Arma Dei Academy is 16 students, enabling more individual attention and facilitating effective studio, laboratory, and discussion-based learning.

Student Life

  • House Leadership and Community Service: Rhetoric students become or continue as members of one of the school’s houses. Through the Arma Dei Academy House system, students serve in leadership roles, mentor younger students, compete against one another in athletics, and partner with community service organizations to contribute many hours of community service.
  • Galas and social events center around the joy of experiencing the countries, cultures, and the time periods students have studied.
  • Important Events: The culmination of the Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric education includes a senior thesis presentation and a capstone trip where students experience first-hand some of the history and heritage they have studied in class.
  • Athletics & Conditioning (coming)
  • Arts (coming)

Alumni Life Outcomes (from the Good Soil Report) The Good Soil Report is a 2018-19 comparative study of 24-42 year old alumni from public, secular private, Catholic, evangelical Christian, religious homeschool, and ACCS (classical Christian) schools, on topics of life-choices, preparation, attitudes, values, opinions, and practices. This research seems to confirm what history has repeatedly demonstrated – classical Christian education can influence the course of a home, a community, or a nation.

Beyond College, Alumni Outcomes Differ Greatly Because Of Their K–12 Experience 

As adults, ACCS (Association of Classical and Christian Schools) alumni think and live in a markedly different way than their peers from other educational models. Nearly 90% of them attend church at least 3 times monthly, and they participate in other church activities at a higher rate. They are 2.6 times more likely to pray alone and 6.7 times more likely to be readers. While they do not give more money overall, they are much more likely to believe they have the obligation to give. They stand out as they seek jobs that fulfill their religious calling, and they prioritize pay at a much lower rate than other groups (which may explain the giving). ACCS alumni have healthy families. While they report no significant difference in marital satisfaction from the other segments, they are much more likely to hold to traditional beliefs about marriage than their Christian school counterparts. And, this shows in their lives. They have much lower divorce and cohabitation rates compared to the other groups. They send their kids to Christian schools at a higher rate, and they volunteer more.

ACCS alumni are more grateful, more hopeful, and more trusting than their peers from other types of schools. And they are willing to sacrificially serve wherever they are called.

In our communities, ACCS alumni are the best prepared academically, more than double the next highest group. They respect the authority within the church, and are more likely to believe the Bible is infallible, and much less likely to believe it has errors with regard to science and history. They are less likely to accept gay marriage. All of these beliefs are complimented by a much higher rate of knowing LGBT people and atheists, and respecting scientists. Their ability to think for themselves despite their personal relationships is evident when these facts are considered together. Finally, they are the most influential group of alumni as adults by the widest margin of all the profiles. 

These results are predicted for those who have studied paideia and its impact through classical Christian education whenever it has been practiced. The results of this survey reinforce this historical evidence.

A full report can be downloaded at

The Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric teacher professes the Christian faith consistent with the Academy’s statement of faith, endorses the mission statement, especially with respect to a biblical worldview, defends and applies classical Christian pedagogy, models the Arma Dei Academy portrait of a graduate, demonstrates subject matter expertise, and exhibits characteristics of professional excellence. Most teachers in the School of Logic and Rhetoric hold advanced degrees.

Dr. Aaron Denlinger
Dr. Denlinger holds degrees from Colorado Christian University (BA in History), Westminster Seminary California (MA in Theological Studies), and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (PhD in Church History).

Dr. Janine Knedlik
Dr. Knedlik holds degrees from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada (MA in British History) and the University of Pennsylvania (BA, MA, and PhD in European History).

Mr. Josh Catron
Mr. Catron holds a BA in Economics and an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

Dr. Kristen Ault
Dr. Ault holds multiple degrees (BS and Doctorate of Pharmacy) from the University of Colorado.

Arma Dei Academy seeks to admit mission-appropriate students who aspire to live the portrait of a graduate. Rising and entering students need to meet a standard of academic qualifications to thrive in an Arma Dei School of Rhetoric education. Academic readiness will be based on a school of logic/middle school transcript, achievement tests, and results of the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE). Minimum academic readiness would be demonstrated by the above data, confirming students are average to well above average in academic ability. The Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric seeks to balance its high standards of admission with the unique situation of each applicant.

You may begin the application process at

Financial Aid

Approximately 16% of students receive tuition assistance.

Our Admissions office is here to serve you during this process. Please call (303) 346-4523 or email with your questions.

School of Rhetoric & Homeschool Partnership

Arma Dei Academy is pleased to offer its Rhetoric classes to local homeschooling students in high school. By participating in as many as three Rhetoric classes per year at Arma Dei, your student will have the opportunity to:

  • Experience a positive and joyful classroom culture
  • Form friendships with peers in a Christian environment
  • Pursue the possibility of dual credit through Colorado Christian University
  • Have the option to join social events, PE days, retreats, and academic capstone trips
Course of Study

A minimum of 1 & maximum of 3 of the below classes may be taken per year:

  • History
    • Ancient History
    • Medieval & Early Modern European History
  • Literature
    • Introduction to Classical Literature & Philosophy
    • Renaissance & Early Modern Literature
  • Bible
    • Theology I: Christ and Creeds
    • Theology II: Medieval Christianity & the Reformation
  • Science
    • Biology & Biology Lab
    • Chemistry & Chemistry Lab
  • Math
    • Geometry
    • Algebra II
    • Pre-Calculus
  • Latin - Requires prerequisites and approval from Dean of Rhetoric

Students interested in taking History or Literature must register for both, as they are taught concurrently. Space is limited in each course.

All of the courses listed above (excluding Geometry) have been approved or are in the application stage for Dual Credit through Colorado Christian University.

Extra Curricular Activities

Students may also participate in extracurricular activities and events. These include quarterly PE days that range from mountain climbing to Scottish dancing and snow sports. Students also attend overnight retreats and camping trips at the start of the school year, and each grade has a capstone academic trip either abroad or within the US. Additionally, there are multiple opportunities each semester for students to participate in social events like escape rooms, country line dancing, and other gatherings that cultivate fellowship and friendship. Students may also choose to participate in Arma Dei sports and/or clubs.

Additional fees apply for these optional activities; please inquire if interested.

Application Process

The application process is the same for all Arma Dei students and requires an application, references, and family interview. Students must meet prerequisites and have approval from the Dean of Rhetoric. Contact with any questions.

  • Cost: $2,500 per each year-long class
    • Dual Credit Enrollment is an option for most courses at the price determined by CCU
    • Financial Aid is not available
  • Additional Information:
    • Students must wear an Arma Dei school uniform, including formal chapel uniform on Mondays
    • Parents and students must adhere to the Parent-Student Handbook

Next Steps

Admission is now open!

If your family has questions about the Arma Dei Academy School of Rhetoric please see the Frequently Asked Question section below or contact our admissions department at

Why is Rhetoric class only taught in 11th and 12th grades?
Students will study formal rhetoric in 11th and 12th grade, but in other grades, across subjects, they will begin the process of engaging with texts and winsomely persuading their audience in speaking and writing. In 11th grade, the formal study of rhetoric gives students a deep understanding of the use of communication in speech, civic engagement, advocacy, and all forms of social interaction. In 12th, they will have the opportunity to research and write a thesis, culminating in an oral speech and defense.

Why are there no alternatives to Latin until 11th grade?
Students will be required to complete 3 years of a foreign language. At Arma Dei, all students will take Latin I, II, and III. If students have taken 7th and 8th grade Latin at Arma Dei, they will enter the School of Rhetoric with 1 credit of Latin already. Thus, in 11th grade, many students will be free to study another foreign language. The foreign language offerings at the upper grades are still under consideration.

What electives are being considered?
We are looking into many options for electives. Some may be offered as full classes, as a semester class, or even as an intensive or club.

Is there a vision for AP classes or for dual credit arrangements with universities?
Yes, we intend to pursue Dual Credit and potentially add AP courses as well. These options will apply to 11th and 12th grades and are still under development.

What is the deadline for the application?
While there is no deadline, we are capping admission to 9th grade at 16 students. Beyond that, students who apply and are accepted will be put on a waitlist. If you desire a classical Christian education for your rising 9th grade student at Arma Dei Academy, please do not delay beginning the enrollment process. Please see the Important Deadlines on Arma Dei Academy’s website here.

Will there be uniforms?
Yes, the School of Rhetoric will wear uniforms. They will be differentiated from the Schools of Grammar and Logic. Arma Dei will maintain a separate Friday chapel uniform across grade levels.

Does Arma Dei plan on incorporating college advisors and college application assistance?
Absolutely! Arma Dei recognizes that over time, an Admissions Officer/College Counselor will become a necessary addition to our faculty.

What is the tuition for 9th, and what do you expect the annual increase to be?
The tuition for 9th grade will be $15,500 in 2021-2022. The annual increase will align with that of previous years.

What is the homework philosophy for the School of Rhetoric?
In the School of Rhetoric, as in Arma Dei’s Schools of Logic and Grammar, homework is viewed as an opportunity for students to engage with what they have learned and to prepare for the coming day. While being diligent in our pursuit of academic rigor, we also want to be intentional in encouraging our students to rest, pursue extracurricular activities, and have time with their families outside of the classroom.

Time spent on homework at the 9th grade level, therefore, will be comparable to that of 8th grade, with perhaps a slight increase. Of course, completion of homework varies for each student according to their aptitude and focus.

Is there a recording of the School of Rhetoric Information Meeting that was held on September 23, 2020?
Yes! If you would like the recording please email

Will the School of Rhetoric keep the House System?
Yes! The School of Rhetoric seeks to provide opportunities of servant-leadership and mentorship to its students. To that end, the House system will be implemented in both the Schools of Logic and Rhetoric. We will expect students in the School of Rhetoric to become culture-creators by participating in service outside of and beyond Arma Dei, in the broader community.

How will the School of Rhetoric use technology?
Arma Dei recognizes the utility of technology, especially as students get older. There will be a gradual increase in the use of technology. Students in the School of Rhetoric will have the opportunity to bring their laptops to school, or use the school’s resources,
when researching, writing papers, or preparing other assignments.

Will the policy on phones, laptops, smart watches, etc. be different in the School of Rhetoric?
Students will not be permitted smart watches or phones on their persons during the school day. Laptops will be utilized judiciously. While the School of Rhetoric recognizes and desires that older students have greater responsibility, it is not necessary for students to have their phones accessible during the day.

What are the ninth grade course offerings?
Please see the Course of Study, found here.

Will the School of Rhetoric host events and other galas?
Students will have the opportunity to learn about cultures, countries, and time periods that they have been studying in class. Arma Dei Academy will host various dances and opportunities for students to engage socially while learning new dances, all in a modest and God-honoring setting.

Will students have the opportunity to travel?
It is our hope that seniors take a capstone trip, where they will experience firsthand some of the history and heritage they have studied in class.

How will the academics be different from Valor, Regis, Lutheran, etc?
Students will experience a unified core and liberal arts curriculum; an education focused on the Great Ideas and Great Conversation; and the opportunity to obtain college credit while taking Arma Dei academic courses. Most teachers in the School of Rhetoric hold advanced degrees. All of these distinctives fall under our Mission Statement, which states that Arma Dei seeks to provide an excellent classical and Christian education founded upon a biblical worldview.

Will the School of Rhetoric space look different than Arma Dei’s K-8 program?
Yes. Rhetoric students will have dedicated classroom space and a library, which will include a Harkness table for discussions as well as plenty of soft seating for collaborative learning and tutoring. Next to the library is a lecture space which will be available for lectures and performances. They will also have access to an outdoor patio space that serves as an outdoor classroom and lunchtime area.

Will there be extracurricular activities like sports or theater?
Yes, the School of Rhetoric will offer Drama and Oration as a ninth grade elective, culminating in the production of a play. For the 2021-2022 school year, the School of Rhetoric hopes to offer several sports options, either CHSAA sanctioned or as club teams.

Will students be able to participate in sports at other schools?
Yes! If Arma Dei does not offer a sport, students will have the opportunity to pursue that sport at another school.

Arma Dei Academy was founded in 2012 by four families who desired to pursue an excellent Christian education for their own children and for the greater good of generations to come. Arma Dei Academy (Latin for Armor of God) quickly grew from 7 students to over 300 students. In 2018, Arma Dei expanded into Phase I of a new structure on the adjacent 6.5 acres. By His grace, God has continued to bring like-minded families. The Academy has responded to parental requests by developing the next stage of classical Christian education, the School of Rhetoric. Phase II construction began in May 2020 and is scheduled for occupancy in 2021. Beginning with grade 9, the School of Rhetoric will continue to add grades 10-12 in the subsequent years until the school is complete in offering preschool and K-12 in 2024-2025.

The following comments are from current Arma Dei Academy parents.

“The classical Christian education my children have received at Arma Dei Academy holds a great track record; we must continue. We must finish the course.”

“Arma Dei Academy must complete what they have begun; grammar, logic, and now our students need training in rhetoric level learning.”

“We want an excellent high school with biblical perspectives; one that really aims at training disciples.”

“There are no other options for our priorities as a family; to provide what we really want for our students.”

“We have so much confidence in the direction of this school; it would be more of an experiment to go somewhere else.”

School of Rhetoric Questions?
Dr. Aaron Denlinger, Dean of Logic and Rhetoric Schools

Admissions Questions?
Lora Hollaus, Director of Admissions
You may begin the application process at

School of Rhetoric Pamphlet (download)
Good Soil | The Classical Difference (video)
Association of Classical Christian Schools

It is no wisdom to make boys (and girls) prodigies of information; but it is our wisdom and our duty to cultivate their faculties each in its season, first the memory and imagination, and then the judgment; to finish them with the means, and to excite the desire, of improving themselves, and to wait with confidence for God’s blessing on the result.  –  Thomas Arnold (1795-1842)