A community the size of Craig might not have the range of educational opportunities you might find in a bustling, diverse metropolis. But, for those who want a different option outside the public school system, there are alternatives.
Calvary Baptist School will be going into its fourth year as an educational institution this month. Housed within the Calvary Baptist Church, the establishment is a private school focused on helping children to reach their potential.
Although it has taken place within the church since beginning in 2010, the school has seen plenty of students from outside the congregation. Administrator Jamie Tipton said they employ a non-denominational approach.
“We’ve gotten kids from churches all around town and even some who don’t attend a church,” she said. “It’s good to get variety.”
For its 2012-13 school year, the school recently received its second consecutive Quality Status award from the Accelerated Christian Education program, which provides Calvary and other such schools, as well as home-schooled children, with their learning materials.
“It’s an individualized curriculum for the student themselves, it’s not a big lock-step classroom,” Tipton said. “It’s designed for the student and where their knowledge is.”
The ACE program and Calvary Baptist emphasizes students’ full comprehension of what they’re learning before being pushed along to the next step. Conversely, students who excel can get a head start on the next level.
The coursework includes the full gamut of typical school subjects, like math, English, science and social studies, as well as some occasional Bible study and every child’s favorite, recess.
The school currently caters to students in kindergarten through seventh grade, but Tipton said as they progress they’ll incorporate high school level work to accommodate the older students.
Twenty-seven students already are registered for this year, but there still is room for enrollment with six slots open in kindergarten and five more for the higher grades. The staff supervises three different classrooms, one for kindergarten, one for first through third grade and lastly, fourth grade and older.
Tipton said intermingling students with those a few years younger is one of the things kids have most enjoyed about the school in previous years.
“It’s been really amazing,” she said. “Because of the love that the staff shows them and how welcomed they feel, they have just taken on a big brother, big sister mentality with the younger kids.”
Additionally, the formation of cliques doesn’t occur as often as it might in other schools.
“It’s a family setting,” Tipton said. “We try to keep positives going all the time.”
This is Tipton’s third year with the school she helped put together. She took a break last year to give home-schooling a try with her own daughter.
However, after some reflection following some staff upheaval, she felt her place was back with Calvary.
Among the people glad to see Tipton return was church secretary Janet Wright, who assists with some of the technical aspects of the school and has seen it grow from humble beginnings.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for children here to learn about the lord and have a great academic education,” Wright said. “It’s a great ministry of the church.”
For more information about getting involved with Calvary Baptist School, call 970-824-3111 or visit with organizers during the Back-to-School Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Alice Pleasant Park.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.