Making the Decision
Area private schools offer spiritual and academic advantages for our children.
By Jackie Perrone
For parents, where their children go to school is of top concern. When grappling with the decision between public and private school, there are many factors to weigh. One major consideration is class size. In public schools, the average class size is 25 kids, compared to 19 in private schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Private schools also have a lower student-to-teacher ratio of 12.2, compared to 16.1 in public schools. Among many other factors, private schools are reported to focus on better preparation for college entrance exams and have the freedom to enforce precise codes of behavioral conduct.
The Midlands is fortunate to have several exemplary private schools for parents to consider when making their choice.
Northside Christian Academy
Executive Pastor Scott Crede knows why Northside Christian Academy has prospered during the eight years of its existence. “Everything we do is built on God’s word, and the way the Lord continues to work in our school never ceases to amaze me.”
The recently issued Annual Report of NCA provides compelling evidence of the mission-oriented achievements of this home-grown Midlands school. The 20 graduates of May 2019 achieved multiple honors, and college scholarships totaling more than $1 million. Recent advancements include the completion of their recreation complex, the opening of a new art lab, and the addition of digital media technology in all classrooms. NCA also partners with multiple colleges and universities to offer online and on-campus elective classes that provide college credit.
Spiritual development in students is a top priority for Crede and his team: “We believe Christian Education prepares students to live in the world, so they are influencers of the world and not being influenced by the world. We are ambassadors for Christ,” he says.
Address: 4347 Sunset Blvd., Lexington SC 29072
Chesterbrook Academy Preschool Columbia combines academics and structured play for students ages 18 months to kindergarten in a fun, safe and nurturing environment. They are proud to have been part of the community of Columbia since 1995 and their preschool is a caring place where children grow, learn and thrive. The administrative and teaching team at Chesterbook is passionate about caring for and educating young children.
Their Links to Learning curriculum lays the foundation for skills that will help your child succeed academically in elementary school and their convenient hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. make it easy for you to pick up and drop off your child. A nutritious, child-friendly breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack is included with tuition, and teachers and staff are always happy to discuss your goals, needs, and concerns for your child.
Their robust parent communication program includes parent boards, providing daily and weekly classroom updates and a monthly take home folder with skills, goals and work samples. They also offer Links 2 Home, a program that lets teachers send daily reports and photos, accessible through email and a mobile app.
Address: 1050 Wildwood Centre Drive, Columbia, SC
Dream Big. Pray Much. Serve Others. The mission of Ben Lippen School in Columbia is to model those aspirations while instilling them in the students they are sending into the world. Offering education from a Biblical perspective, this school’s curriculum is designed to prepare tomorrow’s leaders with the message of Christ.
Ben Lippen is situated on two campuses in Columbia: Its 7401 Monticello Road campus houses pre-K through 12th grade, and closer in, at 500 St. Andrews Road, pre-K through fifth grade. They hold academics to be primary, while offering a wide range of
athletics, art, discipleship and leadership programs. Boarding is available for upper-school students.
Address: 7401 Monticello Rd., Columbia
500 St. Andrews Road
Phone: (803) 807.4000 (Monticello Rd. campus)
(803) 807.4400 (St. Andrews Rd. campus)
Thinking ahead is more than a slogan at Hammond School. “What will these students be doing in 2036, or 2050? What can we do now to prepare them?”
Hammond’s answer includes the STEAM approach: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Classrooms and laboratories have recently been enhanced with an Innovation Center at the upper school and a Wonder Lab at the lower school. These facilities create a Makers Space where students are free to dream, design, and experiment with state-of-the-art tools such as 3-d printers, sewing machines, and a water resource. Hammond focuses on getting ahead and staying ahead.
Address: 854 Galway Lane, Columbia
For parents wishing to learn more, the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) is a non-profit voluntary association of independent schools. The SCISA is located at 134 SCISA Dr. in Orangeburg, mailing address, P.O. Drawer 690, Orangeburg, SC 29116, ph. 803-535-4820, website scisa.org.