Cherokee Christian Schools kicked off the new school year Aug. 6, Furtah Preparatory School began Aug. 15 and Lyndon Academy started school Aug 17.
Linda Murdock, headmaster of the Woodstock private school Lyndon Academy, said enrollment at the school is up about 15 percent, with about 130 students attending the pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade school.
Tuition for junior kindergarten and kindergarten students has not been raised for the past three years. However, sixth-grade tuition was raised 2 percent after holding steady for the last three years.
In preparation for the entire 15-student sixth-grade class to receive iPads, two Holly Springs Police Department officers visited the students recently to discuss internet safety.
Murdock said all of the sixth-grade coursework will be completed using the iPads for the first time this year. The iPads will be distributed to students within the next week after all course materials have been downloaded to each device.
“We have not given the children the iPads yet,” Murdock said. “This is a big commitment. The responsibility is on their shoulders to use them properly… It’s a learning process, but we’re excited.”
All students also receive 40-minute courses each day in both Spanish and Mandarin, Murdock said.
Lyndon Academy has also expanded its sports offerings to include Taekwondo, tennis, golf and soccer.
Other major goals for the year include an additional facility to include added classrooms and a gymnasium, with construction planned to begin later in the year.
“We’re looking forward to the forthcoming addition to serve more of our students and expand our services,” Murdock said.
Also located in Woodstock, Cherokee Christian Schools, a kindergarten through 12th-grade school, has seen a decrease in enrollment with 375 students, which is down about 15 pupils from last year.
“It’s not as bad (of a decrease) as it was the last few years,” Superintendent Mike Lee said. “I’m glad we have the numbers that we do have.”
Tuition at the school ranges from $6,750 for half-day kindergarten to $10,750 for high school students.
In its second year, the school’s science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM program, has nine new high school students this year who will be able to take courses like robotics and programming. Lee said many of these courses, as well as regular curriculum classes, will use supplemental online resources.
“We’re using online education more than we ever have before,” Lee said. “We’re looking to use the internet and other technology to bring more opportunities to our kids.”
Lee said the STEM track at Cherokee Christian is designed so students are exposed to these types of classes prior to entering college.
For middle school students, Cherokee Christian now offers a math and science track.
“We’re giving the opportunity for a little bit tougher math and science courses in middle school with the idea that students can be better prepared for our STEM track in high school,” Lee said.
Middle school students can also take high school level foreign language courses online at an additional cost and taken outside of the regular class day.
Lee said high school students were provided four Advanced Placement courses last year, which has been expanded to 12 course offerings.
The school has also extended the kindergarten class day an additional hour with no extra cost to parents.
Lee said parents of students have also coordinated a new community service program called CCServes. So far, the parent and family-led group has helped clean up The Joy House in Jasper, a Christian ministry dedicated to helping teens and families. The group will also be visiting Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in September.
Cherokee Christian will also host a quarterly seminar series this year called “Family Matters,” which will give Christian families professional expertise from various speakers. The first event will be held Oct. 12 and will feature Tim Keeter, a biblical counselor and elder at Grace Community Church in Huntsville, Ala., who will discuss monitoring children’s access to technology.
Major goals for the year include expanding the campus, but details have not been determined yet, Lee said.
“We’re not building (another) high school like we did a few years ago, but we’re looking at land acquisition and upgrading our entire campus, including technology,” Lee said.
Frederick Furtah, the southwest Cherokee County Furtah Preparatory School’s founder and headmaster, said his school has seen an enrollment increase of about 12 percent this year. Furtah said he anticipates having about 120 students in attendance prior to the Labor Day holiday.
About 10 of the enrolled students are international and school officials are working to find more host families to bring in more students from out of the country. As of now, the school has students from Turkey, Montenegro and China, Furtah said.
The school now has state-of-the-art projection systems in every classroom, Furtah said.
“It’s enhanced the educational process tremendously in our classrooms,” he said.
Furtah said the school is working toward a “totally digital” educational process through blended learning and using different technology devices.
“We’re experimenting with all of those approached to individualize the learning process to have more student-centered learning,” Furtah said.
His motto for teachers is to “become a guide on the side rather than a sage on a stage,” he said.
The school serves pre-school through 12th-grade students, with tuition ranging from $7,500 for pre-kindergarten to $11,500 for local high school students and $13,500 for international students.