Private schools report growth

Published 10:25 pm Monday, August 19, 2013

As they prepare to start the new school year in coming days and weeks, area private schools are mostly reporting modest enrollment gains.

According to spokeswoman Ashley Greene, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, opening Wednesday for kindergarten through grade 12 and Thursday for pre-kindergarten, had 740 students enrolled at the end of last week.

This total was “approximately the same, (or) maybe slightly higher than last year’s start date,” Greene said.


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Summer preparations have included renovating the cafeteria, lobby and breezeway after “the best fundraising year in the school’s history” reaped $1.1 million, she added.

“Improvements in the cafeteria include new sound and lighting systems that will enhance the performing arts programs and events there,” she said.

NSA will also start the new school year with new administrative faculty: Mike King, as head of the upper school, and T.W. Johnson as director of boys’ athletics.

Other changes this coming year, Greene said, include study of world languages for sixth-graders, “preparing them for more formal language study starting in seventh grade,” and a new middle school Lego team.

Head of School Debbie Russell welcomed back NSA faculty and staff on Aug. 12.

Isle of Wight Academy, which educates a large contingent of Suffolk students, should start the 2013-2014 school year next Wednesday with about 675 students from preschool through grade 12, said Joseph Whitley, admissions director.

“Last year we had 670,” he said. “We actually have a few more students than we did last year.”

He described the coming school year as a “big transition year,” with the academy to start constructing a new building with preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

“It will be six new classrooms,” he said. “We are looking at them opening in the 2014-2015 school year.”

The additional instructional space will meet growing demand, he said, adding, “We have been growing over the past 10 years or so.”

Teachers were to start back this week, Whitley said, and the academy has an open house planned for next Monday.

Suffolk Christian Academy, resuming classes next Monday, has 166 students enrolled, said Tamra VanDorn, its interim headmaster.

Middle and high school divisions have both seen increased enrollment, she said, from 36 to 41 and 36 to 37, respectively.

SCA has been raising money to fund new sports uniforms reflecting its recent name change from First Baptist Christian School, VanDorn said, and is planning a Nov. 1 golf tournament.

The middle and high school campus has new soccer goals, and a new school bus will be painted with the new school name, she added.

Meanwhile, VanDorn said the school would have assistant principals at both campuses for the first time: Dana Feeney at the elementary school, and Michelle Malven at the middle and high school.

“There is a lot of excitement,” VanDorn said. “We have some new staff at the upper school. I’m just amazed at the talent and expertise that has been coming to us.”