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Updated: 08/13/2014 08:14:00AM

LP private schools set to begin year

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Private school students in Lake Placid will be returning to class the same day as their public school buddies. Lakeview Christian School, Lake Placid Montessori Academy and Lake Placid Christian School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 20.

Lakeview Christian had 84 students enrolled as of the end of last week according to Kathy White, school administrator. That includes VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) for 4-year-olds through fifth grade. Classrooms at Lakeview will be open Tuesday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. so students can meet their teachers and pick up the student handbook.

“We’re offering parents a Christian choice and not following Common Core,” White said, referring to the math, language arts and literacy standards that outline what students should know at the end of each grade. “It’s more of a classic approach to education.”

The school doesn’t schedule early release days but, other than that, Lakeview Christian follows the calendar of Highlands County public schools.

A major change this year for the Montessori Academy in Lake Placid will be the addition of a middle school. Jennifer Payne, who is co-owner, director and principal of the school, said the new addition gives parents and guardians “another option for middle school.”

Payne explained that the Montessori philosophy is to combine age groups. “We had our own fifth-graders so it was a natural thing to do,” she said of adding sixth, seventh and eighth grades. “Children learn best from other children.”

There is a mentor-type situation with the older kids being an example.

Payne said the school doesn’t identify grade level and that the teachers teach to the individual child. She noted they do a lot of one-on-one instruction.

Space is being leased for the middle school in a building that housed a daycare center on Michigan Avenue.

The Montessori Academy also follows the public school calendar with the exception of early release days.

Payne said as of last Friday a total of 175 children had enrolled there and the school has already held orientation. Three more teachers have been hired to bring the number on staff to 24, Payne said.

Lake Placid Christian School anticipates 40 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders when school starts, according to Headmaster Dennis Griffin who said last week the school might gain a couple of more students before opening day.

Griffin noted that the school tries to limit enrollment to provide better one-on-one instruction.