A new Christian high school is slated to open in Kirksville this fall for its first school year.
Northeast Christian High School is accepting student applications as it prepares for fall. Dawn Fountain, a former teacher and administrator of Christian education, is the head of the project and will now be the principal of the school. Northeast is a non-denominational school that will be based in Cornerstone Church, although there are plans for its own building in the future.
After graduating from William Woods in the mid-1990s, Fountain began teaching at Ashland and Harrisonville Public Schools. She moved away to become a stay-at-home mom and moved to Kansas City. After five years of absence, she wanted to resume teaching and applied to several schools, including a Christian.
Fountain said she wondered why this option was even necessary. After teaching and serving as an administrator in this kind of school for over 15 years, she felt that question had been answered. She said she saw her own children become more confident and compassionate towards others. That’s, she says, why she thinks Kirksville needs this kind of school.
“I watched (my kids) want to serve others and really have this compassion for others, and they still have it,” Fountain said. “… Honestly, if we could have God – just God, just His love, that’s all – if we could just have that in our schools, we wouldn’t need a Christian school. We just need to be able to pray with our children. They just need to be pointed to the truth, that they were created. They were created by an extraordinary God who loves them. That’s honest – if you’re going to scripture, its commandment is to love, to love other people. This is what we are supposed to do.
Fountain moved away from teaching after her three daughters graduated. She and her husband moved to Kirksville in 2019 to be closer to loved ones in Palmyra. Fountain worked as a non-commissioned officer at Faith Lutheran and did adult education on the Kirksville campus of Moberly Area Community College. Fountain said she came up with the idea for a Christian high school in the fall of 2019, but it was only an idea at this point. It wasn’t until the spring of 2020 that she felt compelled to do so. She saw that students were going through difficult times during the pandemic and that there was no Christian high school in Kirksville.
“I just asked God, ‘How do you want me to like Kirksville? And he was the one who said, “Start a high school,” Fountain said. “… I know how much work it’s going to take. We can have this school accredited; I know what to do with it and I’ve been there. ”
While working in the Northland Christian High School System, she attended the accreditation process with the Association of Christian High School International, so she feels confident to get their approval. If all goes well on the Northeast side, it could receive accreditation as early as 2023.
Northland staff helped advise Fountain on what to do to get started. She held an interest meeting in February at the First Baptist Church. Fountain said more people attended the meeting than expected, and that there have been additional meetings of interest since.
“Families have told me so many times, ‘We’ve been praying for this for years. Since our children were little, we have prayed for this. Honestly, God is only providing options, ”said Fountain. “It’s nothing against any other school here; it has nothing to do with it. It literally has to do with options and choices.
Currently, eight students have applied and a teacher has been hired. Fountain said she spoke with other teachers, saying all instructors need to be certified. And she organizes meetings with interested families to see if the school is right for them. Even if only one student was enrolled, she said they would continue anyway.
Northeast Christian High School uses the program that Fountain knew in Northland. There are 29.5 credits required for graduation, which cover standard English courses (four credits required), Mathematics (four credits), Science (four credits), Social Studies (four credits) ), languages (two credits), fine arts (one credit), practical arts (one credit), health (one half credit) and physical education (one credit). Bible studies require four credits, and there will be half credit for personal finance and 3.5 credits of elective courses. Dual credit courses will also be available.
For comparison, Kirksville High School requires 24 credits for graduation. This includes four credits in English, three in Social Studies, Mathematics and Science, 7.5 elective credits, 1.5 in health / physical education, one in fine arts, and half credit in technology and personal finance.
Tuition costs $ 4,000 per year, of which $ 400 is due for registration. Fountain said she hopes to work with local businesses and churches in the area to create scholarships for students. Fountain attributed the right timing to the making of this school as Missouri passed a voucher law, where private donors can donate money to nonprofits that distribute scholarships. This money can be used for private school tuition, transportation to school, extra lessons, and other education expenses. These donors would then receive state tax credits equal to the amount of the donation.
To register, an application form must be completed, along with a copy of a birth certificate, immunization records, a copy of school records and a pastor’s reference, statement of faith, and personal testimony.
Students will also participate in the For Him Fridays, where they will complete a community service project in the area every other Friday. Fountain said they will do this on the first day of school as well.
Activities and athleticism will be important, Fountain said, as they grow older. She wants these to be led by the students, where they present what they would like to do. The school has already chosen Defenders as their mascot. Fountain said discussions are underway with the Kirksville R-III School District to see if students in the Northeast who want to play a sport or other activity not offered in the Northeast can do so at KHS.
And Fountain sees mission travel as another crucial piece of this puzzle. To begin with, she wants to partner with local churches for this before making it an internal project for students.
Northeast has a five-member school board, but adds two more members. Current members include Jeremy Broach, the pastor of Cornerstone; Danny McCubbin, the former superintendent of Northland, who is now at the Heartland School District in southern Kansas City; Randee Rae Phelps, Patrick Nolan and Fontaine.
Fountain said she looked for Bible verses to help her and the school throughout the first year. She thinks that 2nd Timothy 1: 7 could be that one. He said, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
“This is what I want our kids to know,” Fountain said. “Especially those who have this anxiety, this fear in them. God didn’t give them that fear. They have power through the Holy Spirit, through the blood of Jesus – they have the power of love. They have the power of a healthy mind, peace and joy, and they can walk with confidence.