Mimio Global Press

Spiritual education

Highlands Today

Tampa, FL – April 1, 2012 -- St. Catherine Catholic School started four years ago with about 12 to 15 students in prekindergarten through second grade.

The school now has 3-year-old preschool through fifth-grade and a growing student body.

"Our enrollment just keeps going up," said Principal Anna Adam. "Last year we had 58 and this year we have 75."

A number of upgrades are underway at the school, including a school library and a computer lab.

Adam noted that each classroom will soon have the MimioTeach Interactive White Board System, which is similar to a Smartboard. Also, all classrooms will have document cameras and they are all wirelessly connected to the Internet.

Next year's tuition will be $5,300, she said.

The school accepts the Step Up for Students Scholarship, which helps a lot of parents financially, Adam noted. They can apply for a $4,100 scholarship through the state.

"We are doing swell; we have wonderful children; great support from the parents and the parish," she said. The school also has children from the parishes of Our Lady of Grace (Avon Park) and St. James. (Lake Placid) Catholic churches.

Lake Placid Christian School offers the middle school grades of six through eight.

Head Master Dennis Griffin said the school is "doing great … we have 40 students and we couldn't be doing any better than we are."

The school was established in 1978 and at one time offered grades five through eight. When the school district moved fifth grade back to the elementary level in the early 1980s, the school's fifth-grade moved to Lakeview Christian.

The two Christian schools are not affiliated, but many students from Lakeview Christian continue their studies at Lake Placid Christian.

Tuition is $3,950 annually.

Due to their small size, faculty and staff at area private schools wear many hats and Griffin shared some of the roles he fills, including: headmaster, math chairman, math teacher, yardman, finance chairman, complaint department head, etc.

Statewide the number of private schools peaked at 2,304 in 2004-05. The state had 2,055 private schools in 2010-11.

Private school enrollment peaked at 381,346 in 2003-04 and has declined every year since, and was 305,835 in 2010-11, according to the FDOE.

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