Private Schools Capitalize On Small Classroom Sizes


Parents who prefer to send their children to private school have three choices in the Rim country Shelby School, Payson Community Christian School and Community Presbyterian Child Learning Center. All three schools have small student populations, provide intimate learning environments and charge tuition.

Shelby School

Shelby School, a nine-classroom, K-8 school in Tonto Village east of Payson, currently has 63 students enrolled in Kindergarten to eighth grade. The school has nine full-time and three part-time teachers and emphasizes individual instruction.

The State Board of Education recently voted unanimously to grant Shelby School a K-8 charter this summer. The school will become public at that time.

A number of Shelby students excelled in extracurricular activities last year. Chase Kamp joined the Rim Country Orchestra at the young age of 12; Chorie Houdek and Dinah Walker danced as soldiers in the Arizona ballet production of the Nut Cracker; Daniel Gordon has become a nationally recognized chess master and the youngest chess master in Arizona; and the Shelby School chess club won a national title last fall. The players on last year's Shelby basketball team have all gone on to become starters on the Payson High freshman and junior varsity teams.

The parents of Shelby students are highly involved in their children's education. They recently published a cookbook featuring 450 recipes to raise money for the school and Shelby School Director Steve Rensch and his wife, Marlow, have worked tirelessly to produce the Copper State Jam, an annual state basketball tournament

The school operates on a trimester system. The summer trimester begins April 25 and ends Aug. 8. For more information, call the school at 478-4706 or 478-0357 or send an e-mail to

Payson Community Christian School

Number of students: 73

Average number in a classroom: 12

School's student capacity: 120

District boundaries: Payson School District

Campus profile: three classrooms

Location: 1102 West Lake Drive in Payson

Teachers: 8

School specialties: Bible studies; teachers emphasize moral teachings.

Special programs: Faith in action, linking Bible doctrines to everyday life.

Academic and extracurricular awards: Optimist Club Oratory Contest, ACSI Spelling Bee, Daughters of the American Revolution Award on American Heroes.

Other extracurricular activities: Students participate in field trips throughout the year and school fund-raisers.

Community Presbyterian Child Learning Center

Number of students: 60

Average number in a classroom: 15 with two to three teachers

School's student capacity: 77

Location: 800 W. Main Street

Number of teachers: 13

Administrator: Barb Harris, director

School specialties: A full-day day care center, the center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and has a morning preschool and pre-kindergarten program for children ages 3 to 5.

Extracurricular activities: A summer day camp program for children ages 1 to 10 that includes swimming, bowling, movies, arts and crafts, river trips and in-town field trips.

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