Hollandale Christian adding option for 9th, 10th graders

May 9—High school parents will soon have another option for child education when Hollandale Christian School opens its doors for ninth and 10th graders this coming fall, and for at least the two years afterwards.

Following inquiries from parents curious to know if the school would add a high school option, last school year a committee to explore the proposal was formed. This year the school has researched curriculum, where classes would be held, who would teach and how much the project would cost.

"There has been increased interest, and more and more phone calls to the school, and more and more families asking during our open houses [regarding a high school option] more than we've ever had before," said Susan Kozelsky, principal at the school.

Those calls are coming from parents wanting more input on their child's education showing up to meetings asking them for that high school option.

There are also parents who homeschool and want another option.

According to Kozelsky, the high school will operate separately from the rest of Hollandale Christian in order for her and her team to gauge things.

Currently, the school has teachers and a curriculum in place for next year.

She also noted the high school option would be monitored closely for three years.

"I think the first year you try anything new you need to be open to making changes depending on how things are going," she said, adding that those modifications could be made once the school moves into its second year.

It's her hope by the third year of the project the high school would be "in a good rhythm."

Currently, next year's high school option includes math (either algebra I or geometry, depending on how students score), history, science (biology or earth science) and Bible study. Everything will be taught by a teacher who already works at the school, with the exception of a Spanish elective, which will be taught online through Bob Jones University.

"We're also looking into having other electives," she said, noting there were parents who wanted to teach life-skills classes, gardening/horticulture, cooking and finances, among others. She also preferred to have classes in-person.

The high school option will not be available for juniors and seniors, but did say if their high school option proved popular they would be happy to extend it to older students.

"We wouldn't have the staff to teach 11th or 12th grade — or the room to teach..." she said, noting that one reason why they weren't offering 11th- and 12th-grade options was because students were electing to take classes for college credit through post-secondary education options.

Currently there are five confirmed students who will be in ninth grade, and two confirmed 10th graders, something Kozelsky described as a blessing as smaller numbers would allow them to make changes easier.

The plan is to have current seventh- and eighth-grade teachers instruct the high school students, while a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher will teach history.

"I think between the three of them that we've got it covered," she said.

Classes would be conducted in the library, something the school did during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have a pretty good picture of what that's going to look like, but things are not concretely in place yet," she said.

There is an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Parents interested in enrolling their student must also go through an interview with Kozelsky and one or two school board members. School records would also be required.

"The sooner we know and the sooner we have commitment the better," she said. "Our classes are filling up. We've had to talk about capping classes for the first time in a long time."