Rutherford Co. School Promotes Excellence, Character - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Rutherford Co. School Promotes Excellence, Character

Sheila Given, co-founder Sheila Given, co-founder
Student Hannah McKnight Student Hannah McKnight
PCA parent Tracy Jones PCA parent Tracy Jones

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's been in operation for 12 years and it started in a stable.

But the Providence Christian Academy in Rutherford County has come a long way with its unique but classical way of educating students.

During a recent visit, a first-grader portrayed the Statue of Liberty. With a torch in one hand, a tablet in the other and broken chains on her feet, Audrey made a fine if slightly weary version of the national landmark.

As she stood in front of Debbie MacKay's class, the students shared facts about the statue.

One student said the broken chains mean "they're freed but when it's tight on you, that means that you're not free. You're captured."

The 300 students at this Rutherford County private school are all being taught in the classical or Trivium method.

"We do a lot of memory work," said MacKay. "We learn jingles then we teach them how to apply those things they've memorized."

Sheila Given is a co-founder of the school, which started in a Murfreesboro riding stable.

"We did not have a piece of paper. We did not have a pencil. We did not have one thing," she said.

But what they did have was a dream to offer parents such as Tracy Jones, an alternative.

"I have to say ultimately, the bottom line was, we wanted out children in a spiritual environment where they were encouraged spiritually and grounded in Christ, but also were challenged academically," she said.

Hannah McKnight began kindergarten and will be in the first graduating class next year.

"It's individual attention. I feel like I'm learning the material a lot better because if I have a question about something, I can go to the teacher and they'll take time to talk to specifically me about what it is I'm struggling with," she said.

"I'm passionate about what they do here. I love it," Jones said.

Although Providence is a Christian academy, students of all beliefs are encouraged to enroll.

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