Risen Savior Academy is welcoming a new kindergarten class to its school starting in August.
The Christian school has been constructing a wing to add 20 kindergartners to its school, which already has pre-K, as part of its expansion to start an elementary school on campus.
Pastor Caleb Free said the vision for an elementary school on its campus began in 2021.
The 5,500-square-feet elementary wing with four classrooms is the first step in the church’s expansion. Construction has begun and is expected to be complete in July.
“We have parents who are thrilled there’s a private Christian elementary school right here in Lakewood Ranch,” said Jodi Batsch, an elementary school administrator. “That is a continuation from our preschool, so that Christian education they’re getting in preschool is then tied into their elementary school.”
Batsch said one reason for the expansion is to “reach more families with the word of God.”
“Having students here for six-and-a-half hours a day and having their families invested in that education gives us an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them every day,” she said. “That’s our core mission.”
The kindergarten classroom will mimic the school’s pre-K classrooms but with more technology. Each student will have an iPad assigned to them, and there will be interactive displays for teachers and assistants to use to teach.
“One of the coolest things about starting a school from scratch is that the canvas is blank, and we are able to shape and mold it in ways that are going to serve our students and their families,” Free said. “Families will be able to help us do that as they get to know us and we get teh school off the ground and running.”
Free said there will be a hands-on approach to learning rather than students sitting at a desk working on worksheets.
The new wing will house kindergarten through third grade. The school will then build another wing for fourth through eighth grade starting in 2025 to become a K-8 school.
“It’s a ministry of the church because we saw a need in our community,” Free said. “God has given us an opportunity to meet that need. We’re excited to serve the community with that Christian education for the students and to be a place where families can come.”
Free said there is space on its 10-acre campus to build a small high school, but those plans will depend on the need and desire from the community.
Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.