People are sometimes surprised to learn that students at Carter Christian Academy use regular textbooks and study state-approved lesson plans.

“It's not just a glorified Sunday School,” said Principal Nikki Rice, chuckling softly as she reviewed a short list of a few of the misconceptions encountered by staff and students at the private school.

While there are distinct challenges associated with renovations and modern technology in a building made of hand-cut stone, Rice said Carter Christian Academy continues to grow and prosper.

“We have grown 20 percent every year for the last five years,” Rice said, adding the school has also doubled staff with the addition of a preschool program “for twos, threes and fours.”

“We can grow to 150 people before we will be at the limits of space and our septic system,” the principal noted.

New bathrooms have been added downstairs, and renovation of the school’s heating and air conditioning has been completed.

“Every room is finished,” she said. Built in the 1940s to serve as Hitchins High School, Carter Christian Academy’s primary building remains in excellent condition with many original features, including wooden floors, intact.

“With a stone building, it can be difficult for the Internet, so we have invested in additional routers,” Rice explained.

Future projects include development of the Isaacs Performing Arts Center. That effort will require an estimated $75,000 for building concerns “and about the same amount for a sewage processing plant.”

The school also hopes to begin a V-Tech program this fall with the introduction of a woodworking class, she said. Rice said the school also hopes to develop a quality hot-lunch program. Staff and students now buy lunch at the nearby Hitchins Post or bring food from home, she said.

CCA has no bus program, which Rice said sometimes allows them to have school when others are closed due to bad weather.

Rice was quick to offer her praise of public school programs and educators, and explained the goal at CCA is to provide an equally good education option with a different foundation.

“We consider ourselves a great alternative for parents seeking a different type of education.”

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