Desert Springs Christian Academy is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico – a border town and the second largest city in the state. Las Cruces has a population of just over 101,000 people with 63% of its residents identifying as Hispanic. There are seven public high schools, five charter high schools, and four small, private, faith-based 1 – 12 schools. Las Cruces is the home of New Mexico State University and the majority of high school graduates who attend college go to NMSU.
Desert Springs Christian Academy is a K-12 classical Christian school that opened in 2011 and graduated its first class in 2017. The diverse student body numbers 72 with 64% of students identifying as White, 22% Hispanic, 7% African-American, 6% Asian, and 1% Native American. Desert Springs is accredited by the Classical Latin School Association (CLSA). The academy collaborates with St. Mary’s Catholic High School for athletic competition, and with New Mexico State University to host the annual Kachina Classic cross-country meet. Desert Springs is a member of the Southwest Christian Athletic Association and the USA Track and Field Association.
Fifteen percent of the faculty hold a doctoral degree, 33% have master’s degrees, and 25% have additional certifications beyond a bachelor’s degree.
Desert Springs Christian Academy is a classical education school. It boasts a rigorous curriculum of the seven traditional liberal arts, as well as Latin, Logic, and Rhetoric. Students take seven credits per year and the school day operates on a traditional schedule with class times ranging from 50 minutes to 70 minutes. Students at Desert Springs take three sets of examinations each year. The examinations are cumulative and comprehensive. Students must earn a 70% on each exam before progressing further in the class. The final examination determines the student’s grade for the year. Extra credit is not given.
Desert Springs offers AP® courses to students in 9th – 12th grades. The courses offered are: English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Latin (Virgil), Calculus A/B, United States History, and United States Government and Politics. Students are encouraged to pursue other AP® courses as an independent study and a faculty member is assigned to guide those endeavors.
In order to graduate from Desert Springs Christian Academy, students must attend one year of Teenpact Leadership School, take a course on Personal Finance, be trained in CPR, compete in one oratory competition, and take the National Latin Exam annually. Additionally, Seniors at Desert Springs are required to write a senior thesis using Quintilian’s six parts of arrangement. They must present their findings, employing Cicero’s five canons of rhetoric, to their peers and defend their work to a panel of judges.
The Upper School students at Desert Springs spend 7th – 12th grades in a house to which they have been assigned. There are three houses: Virgil, Homer, and Cicero. The house system provides friendly competition in academics and sports, while providing a framework for school and community service.
Desert Springs Christian Academy activities include Junior Classical League, National Latin Exam, National Latin Honor Society, Greek Day, Chess Club, Choir, Art, and Performing Arts. The school also offers Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Cross-Country, and Track and Field teams. It is possible to earn a varsity letter in athletics.
Grading & Ranking
Desert Springs reports the percentage earned on the final examination of each subject. Letter grades are not given. For the purposes of calculating an unweighted Grade Point Average for college admissions, the following conversion chart applies:
|Examination Score||Letter Grade||Quality Points|
|Below 50%||F||No Credit|
Weighted Grade Point Averages for Honors Classes and AP® courses are calculated on a 5.0 scale.
Desert Springs Christian Academy does not rank students except for determining Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
Books taught in the Upper School include, but are not limited to:
- Aristotle’s Rhetoric
- Aristotle’s Poetics
- Cicero: On Obligations
- Cicero: The Republic and the Laws
- Augustine: City of God
- Dante Alighieri: Divine Comedy
- C.S Lewis: Mere Christianity
- G.K Chesterton: Orthodoxy
- Homer: Iliad, Odyssey
- Selections from Shakespeare
- Aeschylus: Oresteia
- Virgil: Aeneid (English)
- Virgil: Aeneid (Latin)