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Private schools in region offer alternatives

April 30, 2012
By John Clise - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Private schools offer parents many options and opportunities for the education of their children with smaller classrooms, specific goals or for religious affiliations.

St. Patrick Elementary School, in Lewis County, is one of 29 private Catholic schools operating as part of the Charleston-Wheeling Diocese in the Mountain State.

Offering instruction from pre-K through sixth grade, the school has an average class size of 17 students, eight full-time teachers, two part-time teachers and five classroom aides.

"Our mission statement is to provide a safe, caring and learning environment to students," Principal Paul Derico said. "We treat students as individuals. We develop them spiritually, physically and mentally."

The school has been instructing students since 1914.

For more information, call 304-269-5547.

Meanwhile, Lewis County Christian School presents a very personal, one-on-one learning experience to its students, says Kathy Strauss, principal.

"We want to get God involved in the lives of the students," Strauss said.

The school's biggest concern is the students' relationship with God and knowing the word of God.

Operated through the Word of Life Ministries, the school offers individualized curriculum and study that allows students to learn at their own pace rather than having to keep up with 30 other students in a classroom.

Students are allowed to progress at their own rates to learn as they need to learn.

Strauss said Outreach Christian School is the place for parents looking specifically for a Christian atmosphere in an educational setting.

"We believe God can do miracles in people's lives and turn things around," Strauss said.

The school offers a family atmosphere keeping families involved, and is always looking for a new students.

"We welcome inquiries from parents," Strauss said.

For more information, call 304-269-6492 or visit them at

Feed My Sheep Christian School, in Barbour County, also has its mission firmly placed in feeding God's sheep both spiritually and academically.

Led by Sharon Arnett, administrator, the school serves 44 students with seven faculty members that includes five full-time teachers, one part-time teacher and one part-time teacher's aide.

The school utilizes the A Beka curriculum, which Arnett said "puts God in it."

The school currently educates students in grades kindergarten through eight.

For more information on the school, call 304-457-1135.

In Elkins, the Montessori Early Learning Center offers students ages 2 through 5 the chance to learn in a group environment and at their own pace.

The school's founder, Ginny Zuboy, a Montessori educator for 35 years, said the thing that makes the school special is it mixes together age groups from 2 through 5. The school has 50 students all learning together.

"Often students have three years with us before they move to public schools," Zuboy said. "They grow each year, and are attracted to different things each year. It is truly a developmental individualized approach that allows 2- to 5-year-olds to share a learning experience."

Students can learn at their own pace, whether it is in reading, math or other subjects.

"The Montessori school allows children to show who they are," Zuboy said. "We let children show us the way."

For more information, call 304-636-1550 or visit

Brushy Fork Christian School in Upshur County is small but growing, said Kingsley Whitsett.

"We are a small school, but trying to grow," Whitsett said. "We have property across from the church and want to eventually build a separate school."

Currently, the school is housed in the educational wing of the church. The school serves grades kindergarten through eight.

The mission of the Brushy Fork Christian School is to provide quality Christian education for young people in Buckhannon and the surrounding areas that will motivate and inspire excellence in their mental, physical, social and character development.

Whitsett, a former superintendent of schools for the West Virginia Adventist parochial school system, says students learn through a hands-on individualized program of instruction to motivate learning.

Bonnie Cutright, a West Virginia Wesleyan graduate, serves as a teacher at the school and Charlene Carver serves as a classroom assistant.

For more information, call 304-472-0962.

Meanwhile, Highland Adventist School in Elkins has a theme of "Christ Centered ... Student Focused."

The school is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to provide a spiritually oriented education for children.

Goals include developing a personal relationship with God and fellow man as stated in Matthew 2:37-39; mastering the basic academic skills and having a value on both mental and physical labor as the blessing of God intended.

For more information on the school, call 304-636-4274 or visit them online at



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