VillageChurch to open K-12 school in August 2023

VillageChurch is located at 574 Rimer Pond Rd. in Blythewood.

BLYTHEWOOD – VillageChurch is expanding its ministry in the community to include Christian education beginning in August, 2023. The school will be called Village Christian Academy and will offer classes for K-12.

Pastor Erik Estep said he got the idea for a Christian school after he received several requests from church members during COVID to fill out private school forms. He said he wondered, then, what the church could do to provide education with a Christian aspect. 

“Private school is not always a workable solution as most parents can’t afford to send two or three children to a private school,” Estep said. “We started thinking about what we could do with the facilities we have right now.” 

Katie Bemis, a member of VillageChurch and an educator, told Estep about a hybrid education program in which students come to the church two days a week and on the other days they complete assignments at home. 

“We have church members whose children attend private, public, or homeschool, but more and more they also want the Christian aspect of education,” Estep said. “We felt we had to be a part of this.  We have to be careful, though, because we have teachers and school administrators in our church, but the things we see in public schools is adrift from basic Christian morality in education,” he said.  “We want to provide an option.  Science is science but it needs to be taught that it comes from God and acknowledge that,” Estep said. 

While parents of students enrolled at the Academy don’t have to have the same beliefs as VillageChurch, they will be expected to sign a statement of faith, acknowledging that their child will be taught traditional Christian values and participate in devotionals and chapel on a weekly basis. 

 Bemis, who will be director of the Academy, explained that the school will offer social studies, science, math, literature, composition, Bible class and electives.  She said there is no online component in hybrid education. 

“The school will be run by a board, of course,” Bemis said.

Elementary grades will attend school Monday and Tuesday at the church and on the other days will work on their assignments at home. 

Middle school and high school students will attend classes on Wednesday and Thursday with the other days at home.  The school days will be from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

“Parents will be required to be active in their child’s education,” Bemis said. “As their child gets older, our goal is for them to be independent learners.  Parents do not have to sit with their child and teach, but have natural conversations about the assignments.  Parents need to serve as guides and encourage learning, and make sure their student is completing the work,” Bemis said. “There has been a lot of research showing that the hybrid model of education better prepares students for college, not just academically but as independent learners with time management skills.” 

“Our mission statement is that we are committed to equipping students with a Christ-centered education.  We are committed to challenging students to grow in their faith and Christ-like character,” Estep said.  “We are committed to developing Godly leaders who impact our community for Christ.” 

High school students will have the opportunity to participate in sports at the public high school they are zoned for as well as other extracurricular activities. They can also enroll in a flex option which supports dual enrollment at local technical colleges.  Estep said parents are encouraged to research the dual enrollment program they wish their student to participate in prior to enrollment to make sure all requirements are met. 

 The school will also offer guidance on SAT and ACT prep,” Estep said

“The church is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes in every school in the community,” Estep said. “We’re actually very involved in all schools in the area. The Academy will participate in Grits for Grandparents, Muffins for Moms, and Doughnuts for Dads, just like in other Richland Two schools.  We pay for it and have volunteers who serve,” said Estep.

There will be one class per grade level and 16 students in each class.  Enrollment will be capped at 208 students. 

Elementary students will be taught the ABEKA curriculum, a Christian, traditional program that emphasizes biblical character building through rigorous K-12 textbooks.  Middle school and high school curriculum will be decided upon prior to the upcoming informational meeting on Jan. 5, 2023, at 6:30 pm at the church located at 574 Rimer Pond Road in Blythewood. 

While children of church members will be given first consideration, applications may be filled out on Jan. 9, 2023, by church members and the public. Each application will be date and time stamped and will be processed on a first-come first-served basis after church members are given first consideration.

The following links have further information on the school and for teacher applications: School Information; Employee Application

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