Indian Rocks Christian School

(Published in 2010)

indian-rocks-christianIndian Rocks Beach – When Indian Rocks Christian School opened its doors in 1984, its classrooms were devoted to 42 preschool and kindergarten students. Twenty-six years and thousands of students later, Indian Rocks has blossomed into a K-12 campus that boasts accreditations from several top associations and more than 500 students.

Over the years, Indian Rocks has sought to provide its students an education that fosters both their academic and spiritual growth. Advanced placement, dual credit and honors programs are available to students, 99 percent of whom go on to attend college. Indian Rocks students are tested annually using the Stanford Achievement Test.

In addition, students are required to devote themselves to serving others and must complete 20 hours of community service for each year they are enrolled in the high school.

But the school environment isn’t all study and no play. Students also are able to participate in activities outside the classroom that are just as important in their development, such as sports, Superintendent Don Mayes said.

“We use balance,” he said. “That has characterized our school. We balance the academic and the athletic and the character building.”

Indian Rocks students can enhance their learning experience through participation in the school’s missions program, Ministry Mester. Open to high school students, the program began in 2000 with just six students traveling to one country and has grown to include more than 100 students serving 13 countries. Eleuthera, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are just a few of the international locations Indian Rocks students have visited. Mission trips to Tennessee, Montana, and Miami are available for those who wish to serve a little closer to home.

“It gets students in the mindset to see how other people live, caring for other people and dealing with materialism in their own lives,” Mayes said.

Mayes, who has headed the school since 2001, said Indian Rocks has managed to keep its academic offerings strong and missions program intact despite the effects of the recession on the school’s enrollment. The school serves 700 students, 30 of whom are Step Up For Students Scholarship recipients. The average annual tuition ranges from $4,400 to $8,800.

“Some of our families wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Step Up For Students,” said Kelly Jones, Indian Rocks’ finance director.

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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.