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Moving ahead for Crossroads

A new building and more ...

TISKILWA — Crossroads High School is looking at some changes in the coming months.

For starters, the school will move into a different building this summer.

A private Christian school, Crossroads High School is in its fourth year of operation and has been located since its early beginning in the former Tiskilwa bank building, located on Main Street. The school will move this summer into the Reagan Middle School building in Tiskilwa, which is part of the Princeton Elementary School District. The PES Board voted recently to no longer use Reagan for its own students but to rent out the space to Crossroads and the Bureau/Marshall/Putnam County Special Education Cooperative.

On Tuesday, Crossroads Administrator Andrea Horst said the school will use the Reagan gymnasium and the four upstairs classrooms on the two-story portion of the building. With the additional space, Crossroads could conceivably triple its enrollment, she said.

When the school started four years ago with 13 students, the school board knew 20 students would be the maximum number of students it could teach in the bank building. Horst said, the school currently has 17 students with only one graduating senior this year. The bank building was never considered a long-term home for the school, she said.

The additional space will also mean the school could expand its programs, including looking at developing sports and instrumental music programs. Also, the move into the Reagan building will bring with it some additional furniture since 1st Farm Credit Services of Princeton is donating some cubicles, desks and office chairs to the school.

Current Crossroads students are excited about the move but haven’t been in the Reagan building, so they don’t really know what to expect, Horst said.

There will be no change in the students’ schedules; students will continue to meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday for classes with three to five hours of homework planned for Tuesday and Thursday.

Another change coming to Crossroads is becoming accredited by the Classical Latin School Association, which will hopefully be approved by the time school starts in the fall. The association has said Crossroads makes an excellent candidate for accreditation through the association.

To become accredited, Crossroads has begun a six-month accreditation process, which includes using more curriculum from the association than is already used, Horst said.

As an example, the association requires students to read the “Iliad” by Homer, which is a very difficult book and one which would probably not have been chosen for Crossroads students, Horst said. However, she has just finished teaching the “Iliad” and found it quite manageable. Now the students have that excellent work in their storehouse of knowledge, she said.

As another adjustment, students are now required to take Latin every year until they have completed a four-year grammar course.

Crossroads High School follows a classical model of education, Horst said. However, since its students come without a classical education background, Crossroads does not look like a typical classical school, she said.

In its classical approach to education, Crossroads teaches history, classical literature and fine arts with an interdisciplinary approach. Each year focuses on a different time period of history, such as modern history, American history, Rome to Renaissance, and ancient history. In addition to Latin, students also take rhetoric and logic. Teaching is done from a distinctively Christian world view, she said.

In addition to its academic work, students are also required to perform 25 service hours each year, Horst said.

Currently, Crossroads students come from all over Bureau County, including Walnut, Ohio, LaMoille, Spring Valley, Princeton, Tiskilwa, Buda and Neponset. The teaching staff includes Beth Jones from LaMoille, Burl Cole of Spring Valley, Paula Gunning of Neponset, Yasi Bouwman of Tiskilwa and Horst.

Since its start, Crossroads has had nine graduating seniors, Horst said. Some have entered the workforce, but most have gone on to college. One graduate took a year after high school to travel with a mission organization to Australia and South Africa and is now enrolled in an aviation program at college. Another graduate is enrolled in an intercultural leadership major and has travelled to Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Cuba. Another graduate is on the dean’s list in the engineering program at Northwestern University.

“Since we have had only nine graduates so far, we feel like we’re starting out with a pretty good record of preparing students for college,” Horst said.

Looking to the future, Horst said there are some exciting days ahead for the school.

To learn more about the school, Crossroads High School has its own website and Facebook page and will also host an open house/registration kickoff on Feb. 17 at the school.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.


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