Engaging Hearts and Minds
One need not look far to understand why readers of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2016 voted Silverdale Baptist Academy their “Best of the Best Private School.” The Academy was named an International School of Excellence by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and received ACSI’s highest index of education quality accreditation score in the Southeast.
The non-denominational Christian school welcomes students from all faith backgrounds and challenges them to engage both the heart and mind in a Christ-centered environment, all the while providing them with a rigorous college preparatory education.
“Our mission is to partner with families in order to provide an environment of academic excellence with a Biblical worldview, which is conducive to developing educated young people of character, while preparing them to represent our Lord Jesus Christ in all walks of life,” states Becky Hansard, Silverdale’s Head of School. “We also provide an award-winning Specialized Academics department that offers a program for students whose processing issues warrant a more specialized type of learning environment. We teach using the mode that helps students to best absorb and learn the curriculum while working on strengthening their diagnosed processing weaknesses through therapeutics and academic modifications.”
A Widow’s Mite
The Silverdale Baptist Academy of today, among the largest private Christian schools in the Tennessee Valley, is a ministry of Silverdale Baptist Church. While the Academy officially opened its doors to students in 1999, the seed for its growth was planted in 1960. It was at that time that long-time church member Mary Houser donated the first dollar to begin the growth and expansion of Silverdale Baptist Church. Continuing to grow throughout the years, church members had been presented with research from a feasibility study which showed, among other things, that Chattanooga parents wanted more options regarding the education of their children. After much prayerful consideration, the members of Silverdale Baptist Church voted to begin a Christian Academy.
Mary Houser undoubtely had no idea that her widow’s mite would leave such a legacy. From the original six students in a single Kindergarten class in 1999, the Academy’s reputation of excel-
lence led to steady growth over the years. In 2015, more than 1,000 students were enrolled at Silverdale in pre-K through 12th grade.
The 25-acre campus includes buildings housing classrooms as well as the facilities that accommodate the Academy’s competitive athletic programs in elementary, middle, and high school. Students also benefit from a growing fine arts program, including drama, dance, band, chorus, and the visual arts.
“One of the desired outcomes for our students includes offering intentional opportunities of service to them in an effort to help them to understand that the purpose of life is not about always being happy,” Hansard notes. “It is rather about living in a way that makes a positive difference in the lives of others through their ability to serve. God has called us to serve others.”
With their new Outdoor Education Initiative, Silverdale is taking the classroom outdoors. With deliberate curriculum planning focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) development, Silverdale is constantly striving to offer unique and relevant courses to prepare students for their future careers.