Parents around the country are looking for alternatives to public schools in a post-COVID environment after struggles with lockdowns and resulting declines in academic performance.
Frustrated families are also seeing the sobering statistics regarding the social and emotional state of school children and are looking for solutions. Ann Arbor Christian School is seizing this opportunity by expanding from elementary and middle school education into high school level courses.
Ann Arbor Christian School will soon be offering high school grades beginning in August for the 2023-2024 school year. Traditionally a pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school, AACS will begin by offering a freshman class, and will continue to offer additional grades until it is a fully-formed 9th-12th grade high school in 2027.
Wayne Sit, Head of School, is looking forward to this new challenge.
“A Christian high school is an option that is not widely available in our area, which inspired us to take the big steps to create a new high school opportunity for families,” Sit said. “We will become the first interdenominational Christian high school in Ann Arbor.”
Sit noted that there has been a sharp increase in enrollment in recent years.
“We attribute this to two main factors: Public schools had a harder time navigating the pandemic, whereas private schools were more nimble, able to adjust quicker, and return to in-person school much sooner. This drove many families to look at our school,” he observed. “Second, more families from a Christian faith background are feeling that their values and voices are becoming increasingly unheard and unacknowledged in the public school sphere that should represent all voices, and they are seeking a school in which their family’s beliefs and values are affirmed.”
A sense of community
A faith-based approach to education is important to Amy Brink, mother of three. Her son, Caleb, will be one of the first freshmen enrolled at the school.
“Raising children well is a monumental task, and it is a true gift to do that alongside so many families who share a common vision. That is one of the key factors that led us to the decision to have our son, Caleb, be a part of the inaugural 9th grade class,” Brink said.
The Brink family children have been enrolled in AACS for eleven years. Students Caleb, 8th grade, Genevieve, 4th grade, and Silas, pre-K, have benefited from the program.
“In our home, Christian faith and practice shape all areas of our life. We love having our children at a school that shares that frame of reference and promotes the same virtues and teaching we do at home,” Brink said. “In some faith-based schools, there can seem to be a sacrifice of educational quality in favor of the spiritual element, but we have so appreciated the academic standard being upheld and taught by teachers who are not only skilled professionals, but are also men and women of genuine character and integrity.”
A unique experience
Sit sees a number of ways that AACS high school offers a different educational approach to families.
“One, our focus on faith and integration. While learning about different subjects and while participating in different activities, the school will always be able to find ways to encourage our students to grow in their faith,” Sit said. “Two, our small size will mean that the students are truly known and cared for. This has been a hallmark of our school for over 30 years, and we fully intend to make our high school a place where students feel known, understood, and loved by their teachers, and parents know that their students are known in this manner. Lastly, we passionately believe that the unique leadership and learning opportunities of being a part of a new high school will provide our students with something rare and ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ that no other high school can offer.”
Families interested in the school are encouraged to schedule a tour by calling 734-741-4948 or visiting the website: annarborchristian.org.