Christian school enrollment dips slightly

Sioux Center Christian School sixth-grade teacher Gretchen De Wit asks her reading class a question about the chapter she’s reading aloud to her students Monday, Oct. 25. Sixth grade is the school’s largest grade with 67 students.

SIOUX CENTER—Though Sioux Center Christian School saw a decrease of four students for the 2021-22 enrollment, school administration is pleased with its overall enrollment.

With a total of 511 students in transitional kindergarten through the eighth grade, a change from 515 last year, this is the school’s longest stretch of high enrollment — having more than 500 students in the last five years — in the school’s history.

“We continue to see families move into the area because this is a great place to raise children,” said head of school Josh Bowar. “Our current families are very faithful and supportive, and we continue to see more interest in quality, effective, Christ-centered, child-focused education. It’s an exciting time to be at SCCS.”

Of its 511 total, the school’s smallest grade is seventh with 47 students. It’s largest grade is sixth with 67 students.

While the number of classroom teachers remained the same, the school added two staff members in its inclusive education department to best meet the needs of its current students.

“We do our very best to individualize the educational experience, and we want to make sure we have enough hands, hearts and minds on the team to be able to do that well,” Bowar said. “We treasure each of our students as God’s stunning creation, and to do that, we need to make sure we have excellent faculty and staff in place.”

Due to the school’s longest stretch of high enrollment, its board is exploring the potential for a campus expansion. Tentative plans call for building a flexible gym/chapel/performance/gathering space outfitted to house chapels, plays, concerts, athletic events, PE class and more. Also included are 10 classrooms for third, seventh and eighth grades plus expanded student work areas and some remodeled restrooms.

Open house sessions for the school’s parents and supporters to see the potential plans and provide feedback and ideas are in the works for January and February. Final plans will be shared with the school’s society during its March meeting for a vote on whether or not to approve going forward.

Bowar said the project makes effective use of the school’s current and future space and provides opportunities for enrollment growth. He also noted that the entire school will make use of the new spaces.

“We believe what happens at SCCS is so important that we need to do what we can to make sure that it continues until Christ returns,” Bowar said. “We want to be a place that endures, thrives and grows. We are a school that treasures God’s kids and trains them in His Way so that they may be transformed. We are teaching for transformation.

“To be a ‘school that endures,’ we are working to keep creating an environment where students, faculty and staff learn and thrive, providing spaces for academic, physical and creative pursuits that foster joy and glorify God.”

Bowar said God has been faithful to the Christian school for 117 years.

“We build on a legacy of faith,” he said. “SCCS is uniquely called to equip children to be effective disciples; today’s world needs our students; we educate and ignite lifelong agents of transformation. We relentlessly pursue God’s Truth, training students to discern God’s Story versus the stories of the world.”