New private school in Addis slated for 2017-18


Breanna Smith


Photo by Quinn Welsch/The West Side Journal

The Church Academy hopes to create an academically superior environment with a new campus installment on the West Side for the 2017-18 school year.

Located at the Church at Addis, the state-accredited academy will provide an education comparable to private schools in Baton Rouge with a tuition lower than the cost of daycare, said Rev. Tom Shepard, who is leading the charge.

The academy has already filled 119 of its 140 available spots with pre-registration and is looking to fill the remaining spots now, Shepard said.

During this transition year, seventh through 12th-grade students will be bussed to the Baton Rouge campus from the Addis campus. K3 through sixth grade will be held in several temporary buildings located on the back lot of the church’s property on La. Hwy. 1.

The school will take a departure from what Shepard sees as a “culture” of moral ambiguity in public education and common core standards.

“We don’t want the culture to capture the kids,” he said.

The inability of teachers to effectively discipline students in public schools makes other students and teachers suffer, Shepard said. Students wishing to attend the Church Academy at Addis must sign a covenant along with their parents to instill corporal punishment, should discipline be necessary.

“This makes us better able to control the environment and avoid problems you see in public schools,” Shepard said.

Students at the academy will also take classes in etiquette, separated by gender, as well as a life skills class, Shepard said. These classes will ensure students are well-rounded and prepared for success in interviews and jobs, he said.

Critical thinking and college preparation will be the focus of curriculum at the school, Shepard said. Dual enrollment will also be available for high school students to earn college credit.

Academic success and rigor will be the focus, not making a profit, he said.

This year’s enrollment will be 20 students per grade for K3 through sixth grade in order to maintain a 20-1 student-teacher ratio, Shepard said.

Over the next three years the Academy will grow in enrollment and facilities, Shepard said.

The Church at Addis has been offered 40 acres of property across the highway but has yet to be determine whether that land will be used to expand the rapidly growing church or to build the academy, Shepard said.

“It’s gonna come down to the people,” he said.

Tuition for K3 through sixth grade will be between $4,200 and $4,700. That price increases to about $5,300 for seventh through 12th graders. Scholarships will be available for middle to low income families as well.

The Church Academy already has campuses in Livingston, East Baton Rouge and St. Amant with plans for a Lafayette campus as well.

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