Danville Christian Academy is planning for the future

November 14, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

A school that started with just one teacher and a little more than a dozen students has blossomed into an institution with more than 140 students and a new vision to construct its own facility.

Danville Christian Academy, which currently meets in the basement of Calvary Baptist Church, was the aspiration of Ernest Martin, who started the school in 1995. Since then DCA has grown into a full-scale elementary and middle school, which not only offers a mix of spiritual growth and instruction, but has the test scores to show its children are exceeding expectations.

"(We) have excellent, excellent scores," said principal Delmer Warren, speaking of a percentile ranking of scores from the 2003 Stanford Achievement Test given to students last spring. A percentile score can be anywhere from 1 to 99, with the average being 50.

At DCA, 6th graders scored an 88 last spring, 38 points above average. That means 88 percent of other 6th graders - in public and private schools -scored worse.


"When you look at ours (scores), we're way, way above average," said Warren. Compared to just Christian schools, he said, DCA is at least seven to nine points above average.

DCA uses the Abeka curriculum, which not only is academically challenging, but includes studies of the Bible, Warren said.

"What attracts parents here is the high academic standard, low pupil-teacher ratio and the Christian environment," he said. Only 10 students are in each four-year-old kindergarten class and the cap is 12 for students in five-year-old kindergarten. All other classes have a cap of 20 students. Warren believes the students' success is due to smaller classes.

"They get a lot of attention," he said. "With the parent involvement ... they know what's going on, they have good dialogue with the teachers."

Danville Christian Academy recently held a long range planning session, part of which included talk of moving the school out of Calvary Baptist into a stand-alone school building.

Search has started for location of new school

A "futures" committee is currently looking at places in the Danville area where a new school could be built.

"They have looked high and low," Warren said. "I feel strongly that they can have land very possibly by the end of this calendar year."

Once land is either donated or sold to DCA for what Warren calls a "reasonable price," he hopes the building process could start within the next year to year-and-a-half.

"Land close to Danville is hard to find. We may have to move out of Danville some," he said.

"We want to have a building that looks like a school," Warren said.

A gymnasium will be needed along with a chapel for weekly services.

The rest will be for classrooms and administrative areas, according to Warren.

Each room would be wired for technology.

"Everything that you would find in a public classroom, we want in ours," Warren said.

The challenge however, to building a new school is money.

"Education is an expensive proposition. Whether you are a private school or a Christian school - don't have that state funding behind you - it becomes a very critical issue. "

DCA is funded primarily by tuition, which is $2,800 a year for full-time students. Several fund drives are also held through-out the school year.

"We have a very active Parent-Teacher Fellowship. They raise a lot of money," Warren said.

In the past, PTF raised $11,000 that was used to help buy teacher supplies and a school bus.

The funds collected through donations are used primarily to help in their tuition assistance program.

"(If) somebody gets laid off in a family and they're struggling, we have some money during the year to help those people."

Central Kentucky News Articles