Private school enrollment doubles
By Reggie Ponder
Monday, March 19, 2018
Thanks largely to word of mouth from parents happy with their child’s experience and an assist from the state’s school voucher program, a private school in Elizabeth City has doubled its enrollment in the past three years.
Albemarle School’s total enrollment in grades K-12 is now 167 students, up from 81 in September 2015.
The school, located on U.S. 17 South in Elizabeth City, also has a preschool department.
Holly Glenn, Albemarle School’s headmaster, attributes much of the school’s growth to parents telling other parents about their children’s positive experiences.
“A lot of it is word of mouth,” Glenn said. “Word gets around.”
The school is rigorous, has great teachers, provides an orderly environment, and students are respectful, according to Glenn.
“The overarching philosophy is respect,” she said.
Students are expected to treat teachers and each other respectfullty, Glenn said. “Nobody’s perfect, so if that’s not happening it’s addressed and taken care of,” she added.
The cost of tuition at Albemarle School this year is $4,200 for grades K-5 and $4,500 for grades 6-12.
Some of Albemarle School’s growth also can be attributed to the state-funded Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides money for tuition to private education to parents who meet the program’s income requirements.
Glenn, who wrote a dissertation on school choice, said the scholarships help parents be able to choose private schools for their children when they believe that is the best option for them.
In addition to the state’s Opportunity Scholarships there are a limited number of local scholarships that help parents defray the costs to attend Albemarle School, Glenn said. The amount of local scholarship funding varies from year to year because it’s based on donations, she said.
Asked how many Albemarle School students receive scholarships, Glenn said “a few.”
Glenn said Albemarle School’s enrollment growth has also helped expand the school’s athletics programs. The school now offers middle school basketball, JV and varsity softball and baseball, cross country, JV and varsity volleyball, and boys and girls JV and varsity basketball.
Having those athletics programs also helps boost enrollment because it allows some students to participate in sports who would not be able to at a larger school, she said.
The school also has excellent board members who donate a lot of time to the school, Glenn said.