For the past three years Redeemer Christian High School (RCHS) in Nepean has seen an increase in enrollment with a jump in numbers at the end of August of this year.
Principal Leo Van Arragon says there are a number of factors to which the increase could be attributed.
“I’m cautious about saying that it’s any one factor,” he says.
Three years ago the school leadership determined that increasing enrollment had to be a priority for the school and Van Arragon was given the task of overseeing recruitment and development.
Since then he has focused on working with elementary Christian schools in the area, developing relationships with them, and broadening RCHS’s feeder school network.
He has made connections with pastors, youth pastors and local churches to raise the school’s profile in the Christian community. Van Arragon says doing follow-up on initial contacts and visiting with families has been important throughout.
Word-of-mouth appears to be a factor in drawing people to the school as well.
“People are talking to each other about the school,” says Van Arragon. “I guess they’re satisfied with the service we’re offering.”
While the local public schools seem to be satisfactory in general, some families are concerned about the spiritual direction they provide, so they are turning to independent schools.
“They’re looking for something more for their children.”
Van Arragon also mentions that an independent Catholic elementary school has decided as a group to make Redeemer school its high school of choice, which has significantly increased the number of Roman Catholic families in the school. This past August four families from that school transferred to RCHS.
The school’s promotions committee will be researching the growth more in-depth to hopefully determine definite factors, says the principal.
“It’s always good to know why you’re growing,” he says, adding that he has been in the business long enough to know enrollment can also decline without warning.
RCHS was formed in 1974 by a small group of educators and parents committed to faith-based schooling. It currently has 178 students encompassing Grades 9 through 12.