Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Open enrollment starts Friday at Jacksonville Christian School, the city's only private Christian pre-K through 8th grade program and probably it's “best-kept little secret,” said school administrator Sharon Beall.
The program's beginnings are rooted in a 1971 kindergarten class taught in the home of Bunny Beall then moved to a church facility. Over the years the school has blossomed to include classes up to 8th grade.
Currently, there are 55 youths in the program at 1218 Corinth Road, “playing hard, praying hard, pleasing God,” according to the school website.
“We believe the home is the chief place to (educate) a child, and our position is to help in that training process, not only academically, but spiritually as well,” Beall said.
Because teacher-student ratios are so low (1:10 for pre-K classes, and 1:8 in other grades), “the kids get one-on-one attention,” she said, explaining how this helps students prepare for their academic career.
For example, “we're able to spend more time with reading – we believe that if a student can read, they can do anything. So we concentrate on reading with our pre-K students, and we focus on adding and subtracting, so that by the end of second grade, they're doing multiplication” in their math class, she said. “We don't teach tests like public schools do, we teach the national standards.”
The school – a member of the Association of Christian Schools Inter-national – uses the ABEKA and Bob Jones University Curriculum, and incorporates the Princeton program for math.
“We teach pre-algebra in seventh grade, and algebra in eighth, and our students do great in the schools that they transfer to,” Beall said. “They're getting a good, strong foundation – we're teaching the whole child, and they're getting a strong Christian foundation.”
Along with core subjects, JCS offerings include art, music, physical education and Bible study. “We teach the Bible each day in the classroom, and we hold chapel (services) on Thursdays,” she said. Students also are involved in community service events, like visiting nursing homes.
Mindful of the economic needs of residents, Beall said that tuition is intentionally kept low.
“Everything is offset through donations and fundraisers,” like the fall benefit prize drawing and a candle fundraiser at Christmas, she said. “We have a parent who makes the candles for us.”
Monthly tuition for the 2013-2014 school year is based on a graduated scale, starting at $295 for kindergarteners and caps at $350 for students in fifth grade and above.
Pre-K rates – for students ages three and four – are $140 per month for students in the half-day program held three days a week, and $175 for the full-week program. The full-day tuition, assessed only those days a child attends the program, is an additional $9 per day. The half-day program dismisses at noon, while the full-day goes to 3 p.m.
There is a $200 annual registration fee plus book and supply fees, which vary per grade level.
Jacksonville Christian School also offers tutoring and day-care from 3-5 p.m. for an additional $3 per day for pre-K students, and $9 per day for older students.
In addition, discounts are offered to families with more than one child in the program.
For more information about Jacksonville Christian School, contact administrator Sharon Beall at 903-586-8801, or visit the school's webpage at http://jacksonvillechristianschool.org.
Tours of the campus, located at 1218 Corinth Road, are available upon request.