Private School Opens, Tripled in Size

Private School Opens, Tripled in Size

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Sammy Linebaugh Reporting A local private school has tripled in size this summer. That sounds like a lot, but then, it started with just one classroom.

The school is housed in the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in West Valley and today students and teachers celebrated back to school. With balloons carrying messages released into the air the Prince of Peace Lutheran School has officially expanded.

Mark Kaiser, Principal/Teacher: "When we started seven years ago we were a one room school with 18 kids, and throughout the years we've added another teacher -- happens to be my wife."

Jill Kaiser teaches the kindergarten through third graders while her husband Mark runs fourth through eighth grades, all out of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. The Parochial setting differs in many ways from public school -- class opens with prayer, Bible study is central to the curriculum, and grades are intergraded.

Jill Kaiser, Teacher: "The first graders get to hear what the third graders are learning, so they learn in advance some things, and if they don't catch on the first time, they hear it again after some of the other kids are learning it."

But there's something else that has made the school here unique -- even a little chaotic. Imagine teaching 35 kids ages six to 12 years old all in the same classroom. They all shared one room until this year.

Stephanie Quandt, 7th Grader: "It used to be really crowded and noisy, and now it's less noisy, and it's still kind of small, but it's a neat way to get closer to one another."

So what happens if the school again outgrows its learning space? Some are already praying for such problems.

Tristan Fraser, 1st Grader: "When we let the balloons go we were hoping they would pop and go to someone in the valley that's never been to our church before and maybe they would come."

The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church has built two new classrooms and a gymnasium to accommodate its largest student body yet -- 47 students.

A pre-school has also been added, now operating out of the original classroom.

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