By Stacy Nadelman
Pilot staff writer
This is an exciting year for the Brookings-Harbor Christian High School.
For the first time in its 11th year of operations, the school has a student government and a student intern program. They will also have a graduating class this school year.
And, they just received provisional accreditation through the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS).
"It's been a long process," administrator and principal of the elementary campuses, Chris Hudson, said. "We started the process as soon as we started the high school."
The Christian school is currently in its fourth year of teaching junior and high school.
However, school officials weren't able to give the accreditation application process their full attention until just last year when Candi Lawson, the junior and senior high director, was hired.
"God has put me in a place where I'm able to watch children become young adults," Lawson said. "To have small part of that is a joy I cannot describe."
To qualify for accreditation from the NAAS, the school needs to go through a three-step process. The process involves an initial visit and 12-month self-study of reviewing all the school programming. Then the school will receive another on-sight visit.
Officials of the school have three years to complete the process.
Once the series of actions is completed, the school will receive full accreditation.
Meanwhile, while waiting for the complete accreditation to be in place, students can still receive the same benefits when applying for college: they can carry over credits they earn during high school.
"NAAS considers us now one of their accredited schools, even though we're under provisional accreditation," said Lawson.
NAAS looks at the school's curriculum, instruction, school assessment, leadership and organization, student services, scholarships, faculties and finances, and the school's improvement plan, before it will allow a school accreditation.
One thing the NAAS takes into consideration when accrediting an institution is the school's mission statement.
The school's mission statement states its purpose is to guide students into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and instill Christian values and morals through a Christ-centered education.
The school currently has 127 students, 39 of which are in high school classes.
"Typically you will find students praying in class," Hudson said. "Before tests, partially," she laughed.
The school began as Cotton Patch Christian Preschool, a small preschool founded in 1996 by Robin LaThorpe and Kelly Watterson, who are both still involved with the school.
In 1998 the school expanded to include preschool through fourth grade. That is when the school's name changed to Brookings-Harbor Christian School.
Since, it has expanded to include one grade each year.
The school has three separate campuses within five minutes of one another.
The Nazarene campus, located on Chetco Avenue, houses the main office and preschool through third grade.
The Brookings-Harbor Christian Church campus, located on Fifth Street, holds fourth through sixth graders, and the Calvary Campus, located on Fir Street, is for junior and senior high students.
Brookings Harbor Christian School is a nonprofit and nondenominational Christian School.