The school on Burton Road now has nine eighth-graders and plans to have a ninth grade class next year.
Upon constructing the school, Unity’s 11-member board of directors planned to add a grade each year until a high school was completed, said headmaster Glenn Getchell.
He added that this plan had been followed since its inception in 1998, with the exception of the 2002-2003 school year, when a lack of enrollment and tight finances prevented Unity from starting an eighth grade.
Getchell is optimistic the school will add grades 10 though 12 as next year’s ninth-graders move forward. “Having a ninth grade is a plus for us because now people know they can send their child here from the time they’re 3 years old to when they graduate as a 12th-grader,” he said.
He hopes for about 30 ninth- grade students to enroll next year — students who would be Unity Christian’s first high school graduating class in 2008.
Unity’s middle school and emerging high school will both operate from a new location that Getchell declined to discuss.
He wasn’t sure how much the move and the expansion would cost, but he said the school was prepared to make the investment.
“We have some rough ideas about renovations for the new building and other plans, but we’re not ready to say what they are yet,” he added.
In addition to the grade expansion upward, Unity’s kindergarten and first grade now have two classes each, and next year grades K3 — for 3-year-olds — through second or third grade will all have two classes each depending on enrollment numbers, according to Getchell.
These expansions will require Unity to hire about 10 more teachers — five for its high school and middle school and five for its elementary school.
Getchell plans for teachers in Spanish, science, math, history and Bible study for his upper-level grades, but said the staff additions for the lower grades will depend on growth figures.
Teachers at the high school will also have their subjects departmentalized, said Getchell, which means that students will have a different teacher for every subject.
“As we grow, each department will become its own identity,” he said.
New extracurricular activities will also begin next year, including band, fine arts, music and three competitive sports — cross country, basketball, and track and field. Those courses will be offered as electives for any interested students, Getchell said.
Getchell plans to disclose the new location for the middle school and high school in two weeks