Christ Centered Academics, Well Rounded Graduates
Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Greenwood Christian Academy’s niche is providing students with a challenging curriculum in a Christ centered environment. Over the last 17 years, the school has successfully capitalized on that niche.
The K-12 academy primarily serves south-central Indiana, drawing 70% of their enrollment base from the Johnson county community, 23% from nearby Marion county, and the rest from surrounding areas Martinsville and even as far away as Hendricks County.
At the heart of Greenwood Christian Academy (GCA) is the rigorous curriculum. The school separates the age groups in to three wings, the K-4 elementary wing, the 5-8 middle school wing, and the 9-12 high school wing to give each group the greatest attention possible for effective learning. The program produces results for the students starting in the elementary grades; 100% of their third graders pass the IRead.
The results in the high school are even more impressive. GCA offers the promise of a 100% graduation rate, and 100% of the graduates are accepted to a four-year university. One of the gems in GCA’s pocket is their tremendously successful SAT and ACT prep course. “It’s so successful we had one student get a perfect score on the ACT,” says Annie Houston, the school’s Development Director. Contributing to the high school’s success is a program that includes the offering of dual credit courses. It’s a program made possible by the school’s partnerships with Grace College, Vincennes and Grand Canyon Universities. GCA also has a popular Chemistry class taught by a Franklin College Professor.
But something more stands out for GCA. “It’s the family atmosphere at the school, the integration of faith, love, mercy and community,” Houston explains. Providing foundational faith with the bible woven in to every subject daily is something you would expect from GCA whose students come from 87 different Christian churches of a wide variety of Christian denominations. “We work hard teaching kids to learn God’s truth to carry through to adulthood to live out their faith,” explains Houston. Having a student led chapel team that plans themes and bible discussion is an important part of teaching that.
Grooming their students to be well-rounded is another goal at GCA. “We want them to succeed spiritually, academically, and socially,” Houston says. The staff at the school put a lot in to creating a well-rounded student. Houston adds that one of her favorite things about the school is how each teacher is invested in the kids, in what they do and in each other to create a creative, caring community environment. “Even the school Superintendent stays connected to the students by planning age appropriate after school activities like taking one age group fishing in a pond on the school property, building a sledding hill inside the school for another, even stopping to take selfies with the kids. He really works at building relationships,” Houston says.
The Athletics and the Arts programs at GCA offer even more ways for students to become well-rounded. The school offers a wide variety of sports for middle schoolers and high schoolers including basketball, soccer, track, volleyball, swimming, and cheerleading. The school also offers a full music program with orchestra, band and choir. The high school drama program will be presenting Hello Dolly, with 6-8 participating and K-5 students doing cameos.
Even more remarkable than all the K-12 program at GCA is the way their alumni carry on the school’s tradition. “We have alums who coach at the school or run the after school clubs like Yearbook, Robotics or Math,” Houston says, “We have second generation students in our classrooms today. Our alums come back and stay in the community.”
The school has exciting plans for growth. They want to continue increasing their enrollment which is already up from 20 students per grade to about 50 students per grade. With an enrollment of 585, the building is at max capacity, so first on the list is expanding their current building and buying some land for a football field. Long range plans include building an athletic complex and perhaps even another school facility.
To learn more about Greenwood Christian Academy, go to www.gcak12.org. Houston encourages prospective families to “Come visit our open house in January. Sign up to take the tour. We’d love to meet you and find a spot for you here.”