Weatherford Democrat

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August 15, 2012

Private schools start this week

PARKER COUNTY — Summer is quickly wrapping up, and two private schools in Parker County are already preparing for the emergence of faces to kick off the new school year.

Trinity Christian Academy had its opening day of school today, with an enrollment number of 495.

“We have more than 100 new students enrolled at TCA, so one of every five students is new,” chief administrator and secondary principal Michael Skaggs said. “We have about 70 new families joining the community and we give all of the glory to the Lord. We don’t pretend it's anything we’ve done.”

The school, which is celebrating its 20th year in existence, has a few new amenities, in the form of a new academic building and Barber Gymnasium, named after TCA founder Marsha Barber.

The project, which took about 18 months and was completed in May, was helped along by an anonymous $1 million donation last fall.

“We finished the new secondary building and Barber gym in late spring, and we had our first volleyball game in there [Tuesday] and won,” Skaggs said.

Another recent change came in the form of Barber’s transition from chief administrator to development director. Barber also has plans to retire at the end of this school year.

“There are lots of things to celebrate and with our growth, we’re excited for the new school year,” Skaggs said. “We’ve stuck with what works the last 13 years I’ve been here.”

Weatherford Christian School is also unveiling a new look, with renovations to the downtown campus.

“We’ve added a science lab to the elementary, and purchased and renovated a home that was part of that property, and turned that into a library and teacher workroom/breakroom,” Leslie Chalmers, WCS director of development, said. “We’re real excited about the new look taking place.”

The start time for both WCS campuses is 8 a.m. Thursday.

“We start a little earlier than some of the other schools, but that’s because it gets us a full week off for Thanksgiving and we finish the year before Memorial Day,” Chalmers said.

To inform parents and staff, the schools staged two open houses, with the elementary’s held Tuesday night.

“Once school starts, we’ll set a date for secondary parents to come and walk through the classrooms and follow the schedules,” Chalmers said.

Though overall enrollment has taken about a 20 percent hit from last year, Chalmers said the main hit was a 20-student graduating class.

“Everything else has stayed pretty true to the numbers,” she said. “We replaced the ones we lost to moving or transferring to public schools, and we were able to put on a rock-hard recruiting campaign this summer.

“We’ve enrolled about 40 students since last spring.”

The school is arranging a back-to-school bash Friday, weather cooperating, as an opportunity for families and staff to mix and mingle.

“We’re just looking forward to another great school year, and we’ve got the greatest groups of parents and support systems, as well as a highly-talented group of teachers that care about our students,” Chalmers said. “We’re ready.”

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