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Faith-based institutions offer carefully crafted curricula that are built around a traditional biblical understanding. Source: Highland View Academy

Ask graduates to voice what their faith-based education was like, and you’ll get earnest reviews of how they got an unimpeachable moral footing and how their teachers nurtured compassion. From all ages and Christian backgrounds, from Catholic to Evangelical, many spoke — and are grateful — of their schooling, enthusing how it shaped their lives and worldviews.

A well-taught faith-based education gives students a broader perspective on life than their peers in public schools. It operates from the principle that the education of a person is not limited to the intellectual sphere, although many now prepare its students for the vagaries of the data-centric, digital-first 21st century. Rather, it goes beyond to encompass the spiritual aspects of the person. It typically offers a carefully crafted curriculum that is built around a traditional biblical understanding of the world and human nature. The setting? Nurturing environments in which pupils feel safe and happy.

At these schools, students immerse themselves in a diverse community of friends, teachers and clergy with the same moral base – fostering an inspiring, educational experience that builds character. Here are four faith-based schools in the US that do just that:

Highland View Academy

Set on a beautiful campus in the hills of Western Maryland, along the Appalachian Trail, Highland View Academy is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian day and boarding high school. 

Here, students grow and become well-rounded graduates as they participate in a wide variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities, including STEM certification, college-level credited courses, competitive team sports and a robust music programme

HVA is a home away from home for a diverse student body representing 14 nationalities. The school’s small size — the student-to-faculty ratio is 5:1 — enables individualised support. Its semi-rural location eliminates distractions and its Christian worldview develops outstanding outcomes. 

At HVA, education isn’t the only point of focus; the school emphasises on the importance of the whole person, nurturing the mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being of students.

As a STEM-certified school, HVA prepares students for college and beyond. Incoming freshmen are enrolled in a first-year science course called Integrated STEM during the fall semester. Those who are interested to pursue this further can progress into the STEM Certificate Programme. Nationally certified in 2019 by the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE), it empowers students to become technologically-literate, logical and innovative problem-solvers and thinkers. 

At HVA, knowledge goes beyond academics. Students benefit from the school’s growing music, sports, and gymnastics programmes. They make friends for life as they share vegetarian meals. During events — such as retreats, weekly workshops, community events, inter-class tournaments and student-led spiritual programming — they build memories they will never forget. 

Thanks to its semi-rural setting just an hour away from Washington, D.C., HVA students get to take invaluable trips. Many get to explore the Senate and Congress halls at the US Capitol, the Library of Congress and other historical places. To learn more about how HVA educates for eternity, click here.

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy

If you’re looking for a Christ-centred, college-preparatory learning community, then St Michael’s Catholic Academy is the place for you. Exclusively for students in grades nine to 12, this is a school built on four pillars: service, integrity, intellectual curiosity, and courage. 

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With a prominent focus on academics, arts and athletics, SMCA has built a balanced framework. Source: St Michael’s Catholic Academy

“St. Michael’s is committed to being the best school it can be – fulfilling the mission promise to assist our students to grow in their faith lives, embrace learning, and give back to the local community and beyond,” says Dawn Nichols, Head of School.

The school moulds students into well-rounded graduates through its Winter Term Programme and Global Studies Programme that have life-changing potential. Both are unique academic, cultural, service, travel, and language immersion programmes.

Under the Winter Programme, for instance, students can choose to attend mini seminars, take on internships, or participate in a travel programme that includes exchanges with sister schools, service travel to solve real-world problems in diverse cultural environments, as well as academic travel.

St. Michael’s is also building a new academic wing, the Hub for Advanced Learning Opportunities project, which aims to meet emerging education model requirements that go beyond the classroom and expand the school’s ability to respond to the need for immersive, aspirational learning space. 

Ultimately, learning at St. Michael’s does not only prepare students for academic success but also facilitates students in developing 21st century skills and a global mindset, in addition to promoting character development.

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

At the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA), students thrive academically, socially, and spiritually. This Christ-centred, multi-denominational, college-preparatory academy prepares students to make real-world impact. 

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CHCA’s curriculum is designed to challenge students and ensure that they’re college-ready. Source: Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

Here, students conduct independent research projects, run small businesses, learn in a teaching kitchen, participate in real-world internships, perform on stage, and win in athletics. Students learn outside the walls of the classroom during Intersession, engineer and build robots, and serve hundreds of hours at home and abroad. Through it all, they are challenged to grow spiritually and develop a resilient faith. Each student’s experience is as unique as they are.

CHCA’s curriculum is designed to challenge students and ensure that they’re ready for college and beyond. “We’ve carefully designed our college-preparatory programme — from preschool through grade 12 — to foster lifelong passions for learning and providing thoughtful, effective leadership,” says Randy Brunk, Head of School. 

At CHCA, athletics and the arts are much more than just activities outside the classroom. These are opportunities for students to discover their passion and talent. There is a wide range of top-notch facilities and athletic options here, including football, cross country, volleyball, golf, tennis, swimming and more. 

Hands-on learning and real-world application are also essential components of the International Student Programme (ISP) at CHCA. International students receive a tailored, personalised experience that cultivates academic, cultural, and social integration into the school community.

Heritage Christian Academy

The Heritage Christian Academy has one aim: to glorify God by serving Christian parents and their children while providing a high-quality, Christ-centred educational programme. HCA is an evangelical Christian, college-preparatory school in southern Johnson County, Kansas for preschool to 12th grade students.

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HCA believes that education should be about empowering their pupils to be successful, confident and respectful. Source: Heritage Christian Academy

Christian schooling presents an unparalleled opportunity to equip students with a biblical perspective on every subject area for all of life. HCA passionately believes that education should be about empowering their pupils to be successful, confident and respectful of the world around them, ready to make a difference in our global society.

The school is committed to providing a quality STEM-based educational programme for students. Students benefit from extracurricular learning opportunities such as a bridge building competition, FIRST Robotics, FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC), Scholars’ Bowl, National Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, etc.

Pupils are immersed in a culture of hard work where excellent academic achievement is made possible by small class sizes, dedicated teaching staff, and superb facilities. When they’re not focused on their studies, pupils participate in extracurricular activities such as basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, soccer, and track and field. 

As one seventh grade parent shares, “We appreciate HCA very much. It has been a blessing to us, we can’t be happier.”

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International