Candies Creek Baptist Church in Charleston has been accepting students in K-4 (preschool) through 12th grade to attend the Candies Creek Academy starting in August.
So far, school officials have been interviewing the families of prospective students, interviewing teachers to fill remaining vacant positions and meeting together to finalize the process for this fall.
“Things are moving extremely fast,” Josh Brown, the school’s headmaster, said. “There’s a lot to do before we launch in August.”
What will make Candies Creek Academy unique, Brown said, is its approach to teaching. The school will follow a curriculum designed to be consistent with a Classical Christian Education.
According to the Association of Classical Christian Schools, of which the school has already become a member, students are taught school subjects in ways that are meant to be tailored to how they are able to learn.
Just as students might normally be divided by elementary, middle and high school grades, schools that follow the Classical Education model have different teaching methods that depend on how children are believed to learn best at different ages.
Students in kindergarten through second grade are said to be in the “pre-grammar stage,” and Brown said students will be doing things like singing and reciting as they learn the “grammar” of everything from the English language to math.
Third through sixth-grade students are in the “grammar stage,” and their classes are set to include more hands-on projects and field trips, as well as more of an emphasis on memorization.
Seventh and eighth-grade students are said to be in the “logic stage,” and Brown said they will be encouraged to think through what they are learning through debates, persuasive writing and presentations, among other activities.
Ninth through 12th-grade students find themselves in the “rhetoric stage” with activities that urge them to continue with higher-level debates, speeches and papers, along with more in-class discussion.
“I think that all really fits children where they are developmentally,” Brown said. “There is a need for that in this area.”
Another factor that is different from other schools is that students will be taught Latin.
Beginning in the third grade, students will begin studying the language along with English and other subjects. Brown said teaching Latin is a tenet of Classical education that focuses on students learning the origins of English and other languages in order to assist in the study of language.
Since students just starting out at the school this fall will likely not have studied Latin before, all students in third grade and above will receive beginning-level Latin instruction.
The school’s board is still in the process of making final decisions on the exact textbooks that will be used this fall, he added. However, the school curriculum is set to meet the “major criteria” of fitting with both the Classical model and a Christian world view.
Candies Creek Academy will operate on a traditional school-year schedule, and Brown said the schedule itself has been modeled after the type of schedule that has typically been followed by the Bradley County School System. The first day of classes at the academy will be Aug. 11.
Like many private schools, Candies Creek will require students to wear uniforms that Brown said will include polo shirts and khaki pants for boys and a choice of pants or skirts for girls.
Other aspects of campus life, like athletics, will be reviewed after the school gets its start. Brown said the school may add a sports program in the future, but starting out, the main emphasis will be on academics.
The school plans to charge $3,500 for one student for the entire school year, and a rate of $3,000 will be available to the second student a family chooses to enroll. While that may be less than what some area private schools are charging, Brown said families can still expect a “quality” education.
He added that the fact that it is part of a church meant he and the other school administrators wanted to keep costs at a certain level.
“We didn’t want money to be a deciding factor,” Brown said. “We’re looking at this school as a ministry.”
The school will be located inside the church’s children’s ministry building, which was constructed “with the foresight of building it to code for a school,” the headmaster said.
He pointed out the building has a capacity of around 200 students, but the church may “look at other possibilities” in the future if enrollment exceeds 200.
“We don’t know what enrollment will look like,” Brown said. “But it has been very encouraging. There has been interest.”
For more information about the school, visit www.candiescreekacademy.com.