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Classroom size, teachers’ interest in students as individuals attracts the Mitchell family

When Wes and Johari Mitchell were looking into a school for their children’s education, Nathan and Nia, they said Worthington Christian School wasn’t even on their radar.

“Prior to starting school, our children had been admitted to two other private schools with very good reputations,” Johari said. “We had committed to another school, but we didn’t have a peace about it. We were seeking God about finding the right fit.

“A colleague told me about the school. I had not heard of it, but it came highly recommended.  We wanted to help our children to thrive by finding a just-right fit environment where the incentive to provide equitable, high-standards education was also ‘baked into the context of the independent school and Christian worldview.’”

From the moment the Mitchells started looking into WC, they sensed a difference. Even the school’s webpage looked different.

“The website first got our attention, with its focus on knowing each child,” Johari said. “The application questions were very detailed and seemed very fine-tuned. They were not just for the purposes of gatekeeping to see who to keep out, but to really give the school a chance to pursue the mission of understanding every applicant.

“Then when we did the assessment visit, our kindergartener-to-be raved about the school and we agreed as a family to go in this direction.”

Academics was one of the items that stood out to the Mitchell family. Wes and Johari said the school provides a rigorous curriculum that is backed up with Christian principles. That particularly stood out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are happy with the level of challenge our children receive at WC,” Wes said. “During the pandemic, the work given to the students was helpful to practice instead of just busywork.  The school is on par with all current state standards but we’re also happy that learning and memorizing scripture is a part of students’ grades.”

The teachers and the smaller classroom size at WC has made a significant difference in the Mitchell children’s thoughts about school. They create activities such as theme days and special learning days.

But the most important thing about Worthington Christian is how teachers treat their students as individuals rather than a faceless group. The Mitchells saw this after both their students had Denyse Smith for kindergarten.

Smith “went out of her way to be encouraging to Nathan and to give him guidance in making right decisions” as well as making the transition to school. The following year, the Mitchell’s daughter, Nia, also had Smith. Nia was not treated simply as Nathan’s sister, but celebrated for her own uniqueness.

“Their personalities are different, and Mrs. Smith discerned these differences. She gave them both individualized attention and affirmation through her genuine interest and commitment to excellence,” Johari said. “As educators in the public school system, we have seen the overload educators experience. Sometimes it’s very hard for teachers to find the time to connect in meaningful ways with individual students.

“Our kids know their teachers care about them, and their previous teachers stay connected to them. The small class size allows the teachers to give attention to each child.”

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