Gainesville Christian Preparatory School to offer individualized learning 

Gainesville Christian Preparatory School will start its fall semester on Aug. 13.
Gainesville Christian Preparatory School will start its fall semester on Aug. 13.
Courtesy of GCPS

Christian Preparatory Schools (CPS) has about a dozen schools across Florida, including one in Alachua, and now it is opening a location in Gainesville. The school offers individualized learning for each student. 

The school will be able to accept about 100 students for now, ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. 

“What [we] offer the community, really, is a place that has that flexibility,” Jonathan Whiteacre, Gainesville CPS’s principal said in a phone interview. “The schools do a great job of what they do, but as a parent, if you are in that unfortunate position of it just not quite working out, or them not being able to flex to your needs, and there’s a chance that I can, that’s great.”  

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Applications are now open for the fall semester, which starts Aug. 13, but the school will also host a summer camp from June 3 until the beginning of August and will offer courses-by-credit throughout the summer. 

The CPS learning model works with each student to create an individualized learning plan. Using A.C.E. School of Tomorrow curriculum, students work through multiple workbooks at their own pace and take 12 tests for each credit they earn. 

The students also work through courses as a whole at their own pace, not taking tests until they are ready. If a student fails a test, they have the opportunity to retake it, working as an open book exam to reach a 100% score and understand what they missed before. 

Gainesville Christian Preparatory School Principal Jonathan Whiteacre
Courtesy of GCPS Jonathan Whiteacre

“They don’t get full credit for that grade,” Whiteacre said. “But what we’ve done is taught them mastery… they’ve learned this is what it takes to succeed. And the next time, they might not get 100 but they’re going to know what it takes and how much work it is to do it and they’re gonna get a higher grade.” 

A CPS classroom does not include the same type of planned lectures as a traditional classroom. It does not contain a teacher desk, only extra chairs for teachers to use as they make their rounds, answering questions and helping students who are working through their books individually. 

Every so often, Whiteacre said, a teacher will see a common issue and offer a supplemental lecture to help the class as a whole. 

Whiteacre said for high school students, the model works almost like college, allowing customization of their high school diplomas, and creating a space for dual enrollment. 

He said the CPS mission statement is to prepare students for a successful future by providing spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, social, moral and academic learning opportunities, designed to meet each student’s individual needs and priorities. 

“Academics is the last on that list because our goal is to do a really, really great job with the kid,” Whiteacre said. “To make sure that they love to come to school, that they’re healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally… And then we believe and have seen, not just wishful thinking, we’ve seen that healthy, happy kids are going to produce academically.” 

While CPS wants the community to recognize its schools as places where students excel academically, Whiteacre said it is a ministry first, and academic success follows “automatically” when the students are comfortable at the school. 

Whiteacre said the Gainesville school has been in the works for two and a half years, since he told his boss he would be moving from Kissimmee, where he was principal of a CPS school, to the Gainesville area. 

Recently, CPS acquired the building at 2500 NE 15th St. in Gainesville. The school already has some teachers, but still has openings. Whiteacre said CPS’s goal ratio is 10 students to every staff member, but 15:1 is the highest it will allow the ratio to get. 

The school does not charge anything above Florida’s school choice scholarships, according to Whiteacre, except for a one-time registration fee. 

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ImARealTeacher

This sounds like home schooling with extra steps

Mart

Sounds like indoctrination camp.

Real Gainesville Citizen and Voter

Yes. Read the Wikipedia article on “Accelerated Christian Education,” creator of the “A.C.E. School of Tomorrow curriculum.” Very revealing.