July 26, 2008

New School to Open in August: Back to the Books

By Michelle Scharmack, Alamogordo Daily News, N.M.

Jul. 26--What started as a vision by a small group of teachers and parents dedicated to Christian education is now becoming a reality: Imago Dei Academy. Latin for "image of God," Imago Dei Academy is a newly formed school in Alamogordo that provides a classical Christian education for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Founders Adair Paul, Dee Ann Cason and Cathy Grace were concerned about education in schools and, about a year ago, they started researching classical Christian education. Paul and Cason have both been involved with teaching students while Grace has been a member of both the Alamogordo Public School board and the Christ Community School board.

"We are concerned not only about the students learning and development, but that some Christian students are not portraying God in their daily lives," said Paul, a former public school teacher.

After searching and researching Web sites, Logos School, a classical Christian school in Moscow, Idaho, came up. The founders visited and toured the school and brought back ideas for Imago Dei Academy.

"What Imago Dei Academy is trying to do is go back to the basics," said Maritza Marte, headmaster for the academy.

The term classical, or

traditional, refers to a time-tested teaching approach that emphasizes basic subjects such as math, logic, language, history, literature and the arts. According to the school's pamphlet, a classical education begins with the fundamental "rules" of each subject, which include age-appropriate activities that engage students and start the thinking process. Through the methods of memorization, critical thinking and communication, students first learn the material then are challenged to understand what they have learned. Students then focus on honing their abilities to communicate persuasively.

The founders realized that students were learning, but due to the faster pace in schools now, the students were learning things that they developmentally are not ready for. Paul, who taught middle school age children, was teaching critical thinking that his students did not have the knowledge for.

"We want to give these students a good, strong foundation for learning the basics that keeps them interested in learning," said Paul.

Utilizing smaller classroom sizes, the school will provide an environment that instills biblical values, discipline and training in Godly character. Students will also learn Latin beginning in third grade, take formal logic courses in junior high and rhetoric courses in high school, and wear uniforms.

"Statistics have shown that students who take at least two years of Latin scored higher on the SAT exams," said Paul.

Students will also receive formal art, music and drama training. A classical Christian education integrates Scripture into every subject area so students see the connection between subjects and the Bible.

Imago Dei Academy opens its doors to Alamogordo Aug. 25. School days are Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a lunch period.

The school observes the same holidays as the public schools, but not the same in-service days. Tuition can be paid in full with a discount or can be broken up into 10 equal payments. Book fees can also be paid in full or in payments.

The academy also offers part time classes for home-schooled students.

Registration is going on now at the school office, at 1100 Michigan Ave. The academy will add one grade per year until a full kindergarten through 12th grade program is offered. For more information, call (575) 415-0546 or visit www.imagodeiacademy.net.


To see more of the Alamogordo Daily News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.alamogordonews.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Alamogordo Daily News, N.M.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.