Genesis Classical Academy greets second year with changes
Genesis Classical Academy has run into a bit of a snafu for the 2016-17 school year.
“We are growing too fast,” reports GCA headmaster Rene Doyle with a smile. “We have gained 13 students for this year, and we are adding fifth grade to our school, and are looking at the possibility of incorporating sixth and seventh grade for the 2017-18 school year.”
And it cannot grow fast enough, adds Doyle, which, in reality, is great news for the school.
The small, classical-learning-based academy in Winnebago, whose first year, was just this previous school year has grown exponentially.
As the teachers prepare for their coming school year, with mounds of curriculum books, learning tools and colorful classrooms to prepare, Doyle looks to the building that the school shares with senior living center, Parker Oaks.
“We have been so fortunate to have building partners who have been more than accommodating. We can only compliment each other,” Doyle says of the building owned by Heartland Rural Services.
And with the growth of the school, even more new components are coming to Genesis Classical Academy; including expanding space in the building for classrooms, adding piano classes and learning Latin in the second grade, as well as adding two new teachers, Susan Grover, and Natalie Sabol.
Doyle says the reason for the expansion in space is because the school wants to keep Dikker’s Hall open for everyone.
“We want to be able to welcome our community to use Dikker’s Hall for banquets, concerts, and other events. Our community has been so generous to us, this is one of the smaller things we can do for them. It is such a lovely space to share,” says Doyle.
But, that is not all for the academy; their preschool is growing as well.
Doyle reports the preschool students will have formal music training and a new curriculum that includes saxon phonics and A-Beka math.
“This will prepare our preschool students exponentially for kindergarten and beyond. Our goal is to have every preschool student knowing their alphabet and all the letter sounds, as well as reading three-letter words before they get to kindergarten,” says Doyle.
The preschool also offers extended hours until 5:30 p.m., but reminds parents and caregivers that the preschool is not a day care.
“We are a school. We add elements of fun to a distinctful, purposeful learning environment,” says Doyle.
In its first year, Genesis Classical Academy found success with their students and their dedicated families and community members.
“Christ, character, and classically educating are what we do here,” says Doyle. “We always put Christ first in our day because when we have students that know they can depend on Christ, the students become unlimited in their abilities. And character is everything. The first few weeks of school, we are learning about basic rules of self-control, and respect for other people.”
Doyle emphasizes that character is lacking in many children’s day-to-day life, and it is character that can help distinguish a GCA student to other students their age.
“We use learning tools that continue to prove to work over 2,000 years. It is the classical method that matches the child with the stages of their development,” says Doyle. “We don’t have preconceived notions of what our students can do. We challenge the whole student.”
And as far as being able to afford the cost of a classical-based learning atmosphere like Genesis Classical Academy? Doyle says money is not an obstacle.
“We work with every family of every size to be able to get the education their children deserve. We work with families so they can afford to bring their children to our institution of teaching the entire student,” she says.
And with class sizes being as small as they are, Doyle says that each teacher has an extraordinary amount of time with each student.
“Our school is working slow enough to focus on the student and their progress, but fast enough to grow,” she says.
And Doyle says there are three things she wants to make sure community members and families know.
“First, we are here to serve the parents, not take over their role. We are here to serve our parents to engage the student into a higher learning environment. Secondly, there is no reason for people to feel like they can’t come to Genesis because of money, we have multiple programs and will work with any family who is committed to the education of the whole child, and thirdly, our registration is still open for the 2016-17 school year.”
And with school just around the corner, the good news of GCA could not come at a more opportune time.