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W.Va. church to explore need for area Christian school

January 25, 2002

W.Va. church to explore need for area Christian school



SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Covenant Baptist Church has hired a Hagerstown firm to study the need for a Christian school.

Harry Young, chairman of the church's School Exploratory Committee, said the church has hired Insight Research and Planning to explore the need for an academically enriched Christian school.

The proposed school would be based on the Covenant campus in the new 14,000-square-foot educational wing, planned for completion in the summer of 2002.

The market research firm plans to hold focus groups with congregational and community parents as well as conduct a comprehensive regional survey to ascertain the need for a new pre-K through 12th grade independent school. The firm's evaluation will identify growth characteristics of the school population within a 20-mile area of Shepherdstown, perceptions toward existing educational institutions, and the type of curriculum and electives desired by parents who favor the development of a new school.

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"This initiative comes in response to the desire for our congregation to explore whether an independent, Christian school based at Covenant is needed to enhance the regional opportunities for educational excellence," Young, who recently retired as dean of students after 31 years at Shepherd College, said in a news release.

Alford Ottley, also a member of the School Exploratory Committee, currently serves as associate provost for Academic Affairs at the University of the District of Columbia and on the Board of Trustees at St. James School in Maryland. From 1992 to 1995, he served as headmaster of Faith Christian Academy in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"The school we envision will empower our students to think critically, write effectively, and solve problems," Ottley said in a news release. "As simple as that sounds, educational systems today seldom 'stretch' our children's intellect to stimulate intellectual curiosity and exploration beyond what they are asked to put down on an exam. We will, and we will do so emphasizing traditional Christian values. Students who graduate from the school we envision will be prepared to matriculate to the most challenging institutions of higher learning, and/or excel in the professions of their choice. It's all about equipping our students to make the best choices for their lives."

Founded in 1986, Covenant Baptist Church is a contemporary Christ-centered church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Notes Young, "Covenant has grown rapidly to a congregation of more than 1,200 under the leadership of Senior Pastor Ron Larson and the Church Elders."

For information on the school at Covenant research, or to participate in a focus group or community survey about local education and the proposed school, contact Insight at 1-304-754-8199 or 301-766-2047.

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