Highlands Christian Academy
(Published in 2012)
Pompano Beach – Highlands Christian Academy (HCA), located on 30 acres in Pompano Beach, has been strengthening the community through educating South Florida’s youth since the 1960s.
The school, an outreach of Grace Baptist Church, serves families with children aged 3 through the 12th grade and truly focuses on developing children and supporting families. In fact, the school’s motto is: “Building Faith, Family, Future.”
To provide an example of the importance of community at Highlands Christian, one only needs to look as far as the faculty. Several HCA staff members are graduates of the school, and some teachers have taught at the school for more than 30 years.
“Our staff members are dedicated to these children and have proved that through their longevity here,” Headmaster Ken Lopez said. “We are blessed to have positive role models who sometimes are teaching two or three children from one family throughout the years. We are able to watch many of our students grow and learn, from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. It is like an extended family.”
Highlands Christian Academy operates under the belief that each child is uniquely gifted with individual abilities, interests and skills, and it provides an array of opportunities for students. HCA offers honors classes and dual enrollment at several local colleges and universities, including Florida Atlantic University, Advanced Placement courses, and Florida Virtual School. In addition to the rigorous academic program, students at Highlands Christian can participate in sports such as football, volleyball, golf, soccer, baseball, softball, cheerleading, cross country, and track and field. Students also are encouraged to express themselves through the school’s arts department, which offers theater, band and choir programs.
This diversified and well-rounded approach to education is certainly working for Highlands Christian. Approximately 98 percent of high school seniors go on to college, while others enter into the Armed Forces. Lopez, who has been in education for 37 years, recently processed a group of seniors to sign up for the Bright Futures scholarship program.
“The majority of our seniors normally qualify for the program, which indicates that they are succeeding academically and are involved in community service,” he said. “We are proud of our history; our students go on to outstanding colleges, including all of the major universities in Florida, and we are happy to help prepare them for future success.”
As a testament to the quality of the school, Highlands Christian Academy is fully accredited by four separate associations. “For us, it stems from a philosophical approach,” Lopez said. “We have been called to serve these families, and our goal is to provide a quality education. It’s nice when the accreditation agencies agree with what we’re doing, but our final standard is really the impact we are making on these students academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.”
The student body is comprised of more than 600 students, 83 of whom benefit from the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program. “We are trying to help families as much as we can, and we know that in these tough economic times, it’s organizations like Step Up For Students that are making a difference in people’s lives,” said Lopez. “We’re very grateful to be a part of the program, and we hope it continues. It truly works, and you can see the results in these students.”
Tuition at Highlands Christian Academy ranges from $6,340 to $7,955, and students are tested annually using the Stanford Achievement Test (Stanford 10).
The typical scholarship school
Is small in size: The average total enrollment is 161 students.
Serves mostly private-paying students: Step Up students make up an average of 30 percent of total enrollment.
Serves elementary students: About 66 percent in grades K-5.
Is faith-based: Seventy-five percent of the schools are faith-based. The 193 Catholic schools represent the largest single group.