Excel is prepared to launch new school year

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Excel Christian Academy is ready for a banner year in 2016-17.

Students returning to class at the Cartersville private school Friday will find some new sports programs, new faculty members and a focus on community service.

“Our teachers, parents and students are on fire,” Principal Tammy Griffith said. “The excitement in the air is palpable, and I cannot wait to start the best year that Excel has had in many years.”

This year, the faculty and staff will be “re-focusing on our mission to provide an excellent education in a Christ-centered atmosphere,” Griffith said.

“Our school theme for the year is ‘We Believe,’” she said. “What is driving our excitement right now is our belief in what we stand for: We believe in the Savior we are serving; we believe in the teachers who are giving their time and experience to provide the love and excellent education to our students and to each other; we believe in the students who work so hard to learn all they can and to make the world a better place; we believe in our parents who give so much to support Christian education for their children; and we believe in our community supporters who are so quick to partner with us on so many projects.”

The school has added three new sports to its athletic department this year, Griffith said.

“Because of increasing demand, we have added high school golf, middle school baseball and middle school boys soccer,” she said. “Additional programs — athletic, academic and in the arts — continue to be added as numbers increase and students express their interests.”Griffith also said students will participate in community-service projects throughout the year that will go toward meeting the requirement of accumulating at least 100 hours of community service before they graduate.

“As a Christian school, it is our goal to equip students to live out the Christian faith as Scripture teaches that we should ‘… be doers of the word, and not hearers only...’ (James 1:22),” she said. “Participating in community service is one way we enable students to do for others by not being ‘… ministered unto, but to minister…’ (Matthew 20:28).”

Students in third through 12th grades will complete required, documented community service each year, based on the following scale: third through fifth grades, seven hours; sixth through eighth grades, 10 hours; and ninth through 12th grades, 25 hours.

This will be the first year for the elementary and middle school requirement, “but it was already in place for high school,” the principal added.

The school has “not made substantive changes from last year,” Griffith said, but it has added new staff members “about which we are very excited”: Kenn Baker, assistant principal and athletic director; Sheila Langford, assistant principal and curriculum director; Tiffany Garland, counselor; Donna Garland, marketing director; Heather Doyle, second-grade teacher and middle school cheerleading and golf coach; Megan Geisen, fourth-grade teacher and middle school cross-country coach; Nick Holsomback, middle school science and Advanced Placement biology teacher and Junior Beta Club sponsor; Kristi Hardin, middle school social studies and AP human geography and middle school soccer coach; Connie Smith, Tammie Stewart and Keisha Fulton, secondary mathematics teachers; and Michael Adcock, high school history.

Below is a back-to-school guide on things parents and students might need to know.

OPEN HOUSE

Open house for all students is Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

NEW STUDENTS

It’s not too late to register for the new school year. Parents of new students must submit an application, along with the $125 registration fee and the Association of Christian Schools International Statement of Faith. Next, they must submit immunization records, academic and discipline records, standardized test scores and confidential teacher recommendations from the school their children are currently attending. Finally, they must schedule a parent interview with the prospective student and appropriate administration. A separate student-only interview may be requested for students entering grades 7-12.

Students who have been in programs for behavior or learning disorders are ineligible for admission due to the lack of services provided in this area by ECA.

Students entering the school must have at least a 2.5 GPA in core academic subjects and satisfactory standardized test scores and be unmarried.

School hours are 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for kindergarten, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. for first through fifth grades and 8 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. for sixth through 12th grades.

MEALS

Lunch is $3.75 a day.

CALENDAR

Students will be off Sept. 5 for Labor Day, Oct. 10-11 for fall break, Nov. 21-25 for Thanksgiving break, Dec. 19-Jan. 2 for Christmas break, Jan. 16 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Feb. 20-24 for winter break, March 10, April 3-7 for spring break and April 14 for Good Friday.

May 23 is the last day of school and graduation.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Principal Tammy Griffith, 325 Old Mill Road, Cartersville, 770-607-6616 (elementary), 770-382-9488 (middle and high school), excelca.org.