School choice helps Christian education. That’s the message of three Kansas City metro Christian schools who rallied at the Missouri state capitol last week.
Staff and students in Christian education from around Missouri made their way to the capitol to celebrate School Choice Week. The midweek rallies highlighted the benefits of school choice policies for all kinds of students, including those who attend private schools or homeschools. The rally was also an opportunity to thank state lawmakers who passed school choice legislation last year for the first time in Missouri.
Northland Christian School superintendent Bryan Prewitt said, “NCS is excited about the movement of our state into the school choice realm. Because of our location, students living in Jackson and Clay counties could be eligible to receive scholarship money enabling them to attend the private school of their choice. … I believe school choice can help Christian education by allowing more families access to the programs available.”
Prewitt described the experience of seeing his middle and high school band play in the rotunda. “They performed beautifully and represented our school and the Kingdom of God very well that day,” he said. “The day also provided a great opportunity for myself and everyone present to offer our gratitude to the representatives that fought hard to make school choice options available for Missouri students.”
Northland Christian started with 25 students in 2007. Today, the school features two campuses and over 450 students. Their mission is to “infuse biblical truths into every classroom, life lesson and extracurricular activity.”
During the ceremony, state Rep. Josh Hurlbert of Smithville recognized Northland Christian and another Kansas City-area school, Outreach Christian, which also celebrated at the capitol.
Kandice Martinez, a 4th-6th grade supervisor and alumna of Outreach, told The Lion how the school choice program enables low-income students to attend the school: “The majority of our families are low-income and cannot afford private education without outside support. With the scholarships provided by the school choice program, OCE would not have to turn anyone away simply due to their lack of funds.”
Martinez also described how the rally impacted the students. “[It] was a beautiful experience for my students, as it provided them opportunities to serve others and rally in a classy and positive manner,” she said. “We were honored by the several congressmen and women who took time to talk with our students and compliment their hard work and professional dispositions.”
Outreach Christian has provided biblically-based education for over three decades and multiple generations. With three campuses across the Northland, OCE has a strong legacy of investing in the next generation.
Another metro-area school, Providence School of Arts, celebrated at the capitol by singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Alisha Joyce, Director of Student Learning and Engagement, spoke of the benefit that school choice brings parents.
“School choice is important because it expands options for parents who want something different for their child’s education,” she said. “For many parents, tuition is a barrier to private school enrollment. School choice can enable access to Christian education, which means that parents are empowered to choose Christian education.”
Joyce also described the benefits of specialized private schools like Providence. “Private schools are unique opportunities for variety and specialization in education,” she said. “For example, our school is a private Christian arts school, where students can get biblically founded instruction in the fine and performing arts.”
Launched in 2012 and located in the heart of Kansas City, Providence aims to “bring the visual & performing arts to the urban core and provide a quality, affordable private school as an alternative education option.”
In Missouri and across the country, the demand for school choice is growing. In its 12th year, this year’s School Choice Week included an estimated 26,000 independently-planned events in all 50 states.