New School Year Begins
With its first day of school now completed, the 2012-13 school year is off to a new and exciting start at Bethany Christian Schools with 265 students. While most are returning students, 65 are new to Bethany: 53 in the lower grades (4-8) and 12 in the high school.
Among those new students are 14 fourth-graders who will have their own self-contained classroom this year. Last year Bethany began a two-year pilot program with one combined 4th-5th grade classroom. However, as a result of increased interest in grades 4 and 5 this spring, Bethany decided to offer separate classrooms for each grade this year.
Changes in the middle school include several new courses and a Gaga Ball pit for use at recess and in phys ed. Both grades 7-8 have added a period of sustained silent reading (SSR) that will meet every other day (opposite phys ed) to help students become better readers and provide time for increased reading assignments in Language Arts and other classes. Language Arts teacher Evie Nafziger says, “Reading is foundational and helps students become better learners in all courses—not just language arts.” Additional new courses include theater for seventh graders and art and FACS for eighth graders.
Updates in technology continue to enhance instruction for all students beginning with digital communication in grade 4. A significant change in high school is the addition of six new courses that will be taught in guided independent study. Benji Hurst and Eileen Becker-Hoover will teach journalism, desktop publishing, and interactive media; technology director Peter Shetler will teach computer repair and maintenance, network technology, and information support. Additionally, Eileen Becker-Hoover and her grade 9 and 10 English students will each have a computer to use in the classroom as they experiment with learning in a one-to-one program.
Another successful program begun last year, bussing, continues to grow and make a significant impact for families living further from Bethany—especially those with younger children. More than 30 families are signed up to date. Bethany offers a route that takes just over one hour from the first pick-up until arriving at school. Students may ride to or from school regularly, just occasionally, or as needed.