While many of Christian schools in the U.S. are either experiencing low enrollment or even closing their doors, Heritage Christian School in Park View, Iowa is expanding.
Since the early 1990s, the school’s enrollment has increased from the 30s and 40s to about 140 students last year. For the coming school year in the fall, Heritage School expects about 160 students.
Recently on National Teacher’s Day, second grade teacher Alice Hager at Heritage Christian School was recognized as “Teacher of the Year" by Wal-Mart, which reveals Heritage’s strength in education that it offers.
When asked for the reason to such increase in enrollment, Heritage’s school administrator Cindy Nees said the school was able to grow because God was with them.
“I think the reason is God. God doesn’t quit until it’s completed. He has been building and creating foundation. We haven’t done anything different,” she said, “We follow Christian curriculum for each subject area. We offer smaller classes with limited number of students, which helps them to get individual assistance. We offer reading comprehension program, music, PE and art. They are nothing radically different.”
Nees added that Heritage School is being promoted among many family members in the town through their mouth, one family telling other families.
“For advertising, we have Christian radio station we can access and use. Since we are nondenominational, there are 25 different churches that represent our school. That’s a lot of school,” she said.
The nondenominational, independent school, started in 1991 serving K-8th graders. Then in 2003, it included 9th and 10th grade. Heritage will expand even further starting the new school year as they offer 11th and 12th grade.
Suzy Gainer, president of the Heritage school board, said the new 11th and 12th grades likely will only have a couple of students each but she was hopeful noting that the small beginning is part of a growing process.
In addition to its main building, Heritage occupies 5,000 square feet of the plaza and rents space out to several tenants. Board members hope to renovate the plaza and add a gymnasium.
Nees pointed out that the lack of a high school had made some parents reluctant to send their children to Heritage but now with the new upper grade levels, Heritage is expected to grow even more in number.
Nees said Heritage is up to the responsibility of preparing kids for college.
“We’ve done all the rest,” she said. “The school has all of the foundation it needs to be solid at the kindergarten-through-the-eighth-grade level. So to step out and go beyond that, we’re ready.”