Lawrence private schools are planning to add grades starting in the fall of 2011 when the public school district changes its school configuration.
The board of trustees at Bishop Seabury Academy last week approved adding sixth grade to the seventh- to 12th-grade independent school, 4120 Clinton Parkway.
“The faculty is very excited. The board members are very excited about what we’re capable of doing here by having the advantage of getting students in sixth grade,” said Don Schawang, Seabury’s head of school.
The academy, which will already have a record enrollment of more than 140 students in August, has space within its existing building, and Schawang hopes to get 30 more students in the first sixth-grade class.
Seabury will also hire more teachers for the change.
Lawrence’s two Catholic schools, which serve students up to sixth grade, have been exploring adding older grades since the public school district announced it would change to four-grade high schools and sixth- to eighth-grade middle schools in 2011-2012.
Currently, public school students attend elementary schools up to sixth grade, then seventh- to ninth-grade junior high schools and high school for 10th to 12th grades.
Mary Mattern, principal at Corpus Christi Catholic School, said the parish school at 6001 Bob Billings Parkway is in planning stages to add seventh grade in the fall of 2011 and eighth grade in 2012. It will also align Corpus Christi with other kindergarten to eighth-grade schools of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
“Being able to offer a quality Catholic education for an additional two more years will benefit the children,” Mattern said.
Corpus Christi has room in its building for the students, she said. School leaders are working with an architect on things like adding to a science lab and other classroom changes for older students.
Pat Newton, principal at St. John Catholic School, 1208 Ky., said parish leaders are interested in adding seventh and eighth grades. The parish would need to add to the school to accommodate more students, so it is looking at a capital campaign.
“We’ve done surveys and feel that we have the parish’s support as far as adding seventh and eighth grades,” she said. “It’s just now a matter of seeing if financially we can pull it off.”