Edifying Education

Edifying Education

Standing Stones Christian Academy to open soon


By Shelley Sakala

If you’ve recently driven on North Valley Parkway, you may have noticed a new structure rising from the fields. Standing Stones Christian Academy will soon be open.

For more than a decade, Standing Stones Community Church has been serving Phoenix from its original campus on 16th Avenue, providing worship services, spiritual growth, and community resources through its various ministries. A few years ago they expanded their children’s ministry into a full preschool, and the response was both amazing and immediate. In less than two years, enrollment grew to capacity, with a waiting list for new students. These space limitations conflicted with the church’s desire to serve as many people in the community as possible. School officials realized they had a problem – but they also had a plan.

Through a strategic real estate investment, a previously acquired parcel of land just off North Valley Parkway was to someday serve as the home for their brand-new church and school. Fundraising and donations helped them move steadily toward groundbreaking and construction. But the success of their preschool program enabled them to accelerate the construction timetable. The new school is now tentatively scheduled to open in November of this year. The new church will follow, with construction targeted for the year 2020. Current students will transfer to the new campus, while new students can register now to begin classes in the new building.

Standing Stones Christian Academy will accommodate children from birth to preschool, featuring before and after care, with plans to eventually add kindergarten classes. The facility will feature 12 classrooms, with dedicated rooms and play areas for infants. Although licensing capacity allows for 278 students, enrollment will be capped at 240, so as to maintain teacher/student ratios that are better than the state requirements. Tuition and registration information is available at SSCAonline.com.

School director Sandy Saunders shared details about the student experience at Standing Stones: “Our teachers and curriculum are top-notch. We emphasize reading for preschool students and sign language for the infants as an early form of communication.” When asked why parents would choose Standing Stones Christian Academy for their kids, Sandy responded with a smile: “Because we’re great – but I’m biased. Our low student-teacher ratios allow us to take a more personal approach to teaching and learning, which benefits the students.” For parents curious about the Christian aspect of the school, SSCA leadership is very clear. “We are a Christian facility,” Saunders says. “So Christianity will be taught. But we respect everybody, and enrollment is open to anyone who wants a good education for their children.”

With safety being top-of-mind for any parent of young kids, Standing Stones has made commitments to maintain a secure campus for everyone. Access to the building will be controlled with security doors, a digital code and video cameras. A video monitoring system will also be installed in each classroom. All SSCA teachers undergo thorough background checks, and must be CPR-certified and trained in first aid. Additionally, state fingerprint clearance is required of every member of the teaching staff.

Standing Stones Christian Academy is hiring teachers and staff for its new campus. Résumés can be submitted to ssaunders@standingstonescc.org.

While it has been a years-long journey to get to this point, a once ambitious building project is now ever-so-close to becoming a reality. Dave Bowen, pastor of Standing Stones, sums up the motivation behind the expansion: “We realize there’s a great need for child care and preschool in our community, and we want to be a blessing.”

– Shelley Sakala is a local realtor with The Sakala Group, and an 85085 resident.

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