Integrity Christian Academy is moving into the Snellville Oaks shopping center this December. The school will be one of just a few alternatives to public school education in the Snellville area.
a private school located at , also serves elementary students. also is located in Snellville.
But, Integrity Christian Academy will be the first such school to land in the Snellville Oaks shopping center, where private schools have not typically been allowed. Located in the newly adopted Town Center District, the school also will occupy space vacated by Wal-Mart, and then by Gold's Gym, but space that city leaders want to see rejuvenated.
Founded by Djuana Ferguson in 2006, the school was originally located in Lilburn, then moved to Loganville. The school's reputation as a facility focused on the individual spread quickly, and as enrollment grew, so did the need for space.
“We are at capacity as far as enrollment,” Ferguson explained.
Around 100 students currently attend Integrity Christian, with some 80 percent of students coming from Snellville. It currently employs some 16 staff members.
The school's Loganville building is approximately 10,000 square feet. The new center has approximately 38,000.
Ferguson attributes their success to their “teacher/student ratio, and more flexibility to create specialized programs.”
In fact, the school is working on becoming the first performing arts private school in the area. A long-term goal, according to city documents, is to implement a music arts program that allows students to compete with students in such traditional programs.
“We have drama, dance, voice, and piano classes,” Ferguson said, but they also have basketball, track and cheerleading.
Another unique aspect of the school is its selection of foreign language classes in elementary school. Integrity Christian Academy now offers Mandarin Chinese, as well as Spanish, for kindergarten through fifth grade.
In addition, the school also hosts four foreign exchange students; two are from Brazil, while the other two are from Vietnam and Thailand. Last year, they hosted one student from Ecuador and one from Pakistan.
Bonnie Gerald, a parent and head of the Parent Teacher Fellowship at Integrity Christian, looks forward to the move to Snellville.
“The majority of the children who attend are from the Snellville area,” she said. “[Snellville Oaks] is a better location as far as being seen. Snellville is definitely growing and thriving.”
Gerald, who has four children, enrolled her two younger children last year. Her older two graduated from public schools in Grayson and enjoyed it. However, she did not feel they received the level of attention her younger two now receive at Integrity Christian.
“I really feel very comfortable with the school because they are very personable with the children,” Gerald said.
When her youngest child reached school age, she was concerned that he might not be ready.
“He's a talker, constantly,” she laughed. “We were afraid no one would let him talk as much as he wants to.”
His teacher, Ms. Williams, took him under her wing immediately. With class sizes that average around ten students, the teachers have more opportunity to discover each child's learning style.
One of the mission statements of the school is that "individual uniqueness is respected and provided for, and every effort is made to adapt learning experiences to the wide variety of student needs.”
Integrity Christian will celebrate a milestone this year by recognizing its first graduating class. A total of nine students will graduate from the school in the spring.
As a faith-based school, there also is a a focus on moral and spiritual growth.
For more information, visit the school's website or call at (770) 554-0909.