After only one year as a prekindergarten through eighth grade school, Inverness Christian Academy at Fort Cooper Baptist Church is adding a high school, one grade level at a time.
"We want to provide for our children all the way through 12th grade," said principal Mike D'Ambrosio. "We thought it would be unfair to tell them they could go to eighth grade and then stop. We want to provide a Christian education for our students through high school."
During ICA's first year there were 61 students. D'Ambrosio said the year was good with no major problems.
Changes for the upcoming school year include addding the ninth grade and changing the K-3 class to a 2- and 3-year-old preschool class called In His Steps. The K-4 class will continue.
High school students will have four core teachers for math, language arts, social studies and science. D'Ambrosio will help with the Bible classes and the yearbook. The church's choir director will cover music electives such as chorus, voice and instrumentals. Art will be another elective this first year.
"We do want to do sports and all kinds of clubs," D'Ambrosio said. He is waiting to see how enrollment goes. The current ninth-grade class has six students.
The school also plans to provide field trips. Last year the older students went to Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville for a three-day youth seminar.
The school is behind the church at 4222 S Florida Ave. (U.S. 41) in Inverness. Most of the classrooms are in a two-story building with the elementary school classes downstairs and the middle and high school upstairs.
Wallpaper strips that run horizontally along the middle of the walls say "The Lord is my light and my salvation." The gymnasium doubles as a cafeteria.
The school day is 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and they use a calendar very similar to the Citrus County School District's. Enrollment is open and tuition for high school is $2,500. There are 10-month and 12-month payment plans and a $100 enrollment fee.