By Sadie Hunter
Noblesville is getting its new high school, but probably not in the expected form.
Legacy Christian High School will launch in the fall of 2016, making for an easy transition of their current eighth graders into a familiar setting. Aug. 3, 2016 marks the first day of school.
The private school system currently offers education to preschool, elementary and middle school-age students at its campus at 470 Lakeview Drive in the heart of Noblesville.
Administrators say the implementation of the high school will make progress through 2020, when it will see its first graduating class of Grizzlies.
Legacy Christian was founded out of White River Christian Church in 1999.
“We got to the point where we needed to separate out for size and space, and we spent a year over at the Noble Naz Church. Then we were able to acquire this building four years ago,” said Chuck Williamson, chair of the Legacy School Board.
Legacy’s building was formerly a Noblesville Schools building and was home to Forest Hill Elementary. Forest Hill closed in 2011 to build a larger elementary school, Promise Road Elementary. Noblesville Schools sold the building to the city, and Legacy Christian purchased the building from the city.
“The parents and board have been talking about a high school on and off for four or five years,” Williamson said. “We’ve all had kids who graduate out in eighth grade, and we just haven’t had the space or maybe the momentum to start [a high school]. We put a committee together last year. The committee gave us a recommendation on how we could start, and we decided to go forward with it.”
Williamson said staff, parents and students alike are excited.
“I’m excited, and for 14 years I’ve been waiting on this,” said Head of School Lana Thompson, who has had both teaching and administrative roles at the school and has been head of school for the past four years. “It’s great to see the school grow, and having our own property was a big piece of that.”
Thompson said the new high school students will use the unused classrooms of the school. “We’re using them for sharing other classes, so we do have room here,” she said.
Thompson said because the school is both private and Christian, the curriculum is both traditional and unique.
“We are a state-accredited school with ISTEP scores and a passing rate that has us as the 19th school in the state, public and private. We have a very high standard, and we keep our curriculum moving pretty quickly,” she said.” In some cases it’s a grade level ahead. For instance when our kids graduate from eighth grade, they’ve had three years of Spanish, and they’ve done math all the way through Algebra 1. We use a lot of secular curriculum, but … all of our kids from preschool all the way up have Bible classes and Bible curriculum. We really work on servant leadership and teaching the kids how to defend their faith. That’s especially big in the middle school and will be in the high school, too.”
Williamson said the board has made efforts to limit class sizes.
“As a board, we’ve kind of made a commitment to say that 18 students is when we would split a class,” he said. “That’s what our target has been, K through eighth (grade). Some of the public schools have 28 to 35 kids (per class). That’s not what we’re about.”
All new students to the school go through an application process, which Williamson said was similar to schools like Guerin Catholic High School and Heritage Christian School.
“There’s no geographic [limitation], so there’s an application process,” he said. “We really want to get the word out to the community that there’s another alternative here from a Christian standpoint.”
For more about K-12 education at Legacy Christian, visit legacychristianonline.org.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 15—Years Legacy Christian has been operating
- 4—Years Legacy Christian has had its own facility at 470 Lakeview Drive
- 19—Rank for passing ISTEP scores among public and private schools
- 18—Goal for maximum students per class
- 298—Days until Legacy Christian High School opens