Each year at Hillcrest, the faculty and staff set aside a regular day of instruction for a focused time to speak into the spiritual life of students at Hillcrest Academy. The day is made up of various seminars on issues relating to Biblical manhood, Biblical womanhood and how to live as Christians in the world. Students are given time for contemplation and prayer as they walk through this unique day-schedule on the HLA campus. Spiritual formation day has proven over the years to be a valued part of what students receive, as well as a fitting benefit of the school’s mission to equip students for a life of significance.
Principal Isaac recently returned from a national conference in Colorado, presented by Summit Ministries. Summit Ministries trains Christians in apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement. Hillcrest’s Bible curriculum uses Summit resources to assist instructors as they incorporate Biblically-based worldview in their classrooms. Mr. Isaac found this conference to be of great value and plans to sends teachers to future conferences as an important part of their ongoing training.
Private Schools in Minnesota
Hillcrest is a member school of the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) headquartered in St. Paul, MN. MISF represents the concerns of private schools throughout the state of Minnesota. Recently MISF sponsored a rally at the State Capitol inviting nonpublic schools to gather at the Capitol and celebrate the importance and value of private and independent schools. At the rally, both state and local representatives spoke on the value of private education.
Representatives commented on the ability of private schools to keep both operating costs and tuition rates down. About 60% of private schools in Minnesota reported annual income and expenses of less than $1 million. According to the Statewide Census of Private Education (SCOPE) survey, the private schools’ estimated average per student costs was $8,688.00, which included consideration for operational expenses covered by host organizations (churches or denominations, primarily). While every educational institution is forced to do more with less these days, private schools consistently demonstrate an ability to maintain high academic outcomes in spite of tight budgets.
Minnesota’s private education system is a $500 million industry that contributes to Minnesota’s
economy through privately financed school buildings and infrastructure, and by employing about
3,800 FTE teachers, managers and administrators. From 2008 to 2011, pressures on the economy led to an 11.2% decline in enrollment in private schools and the closure of 48 private schools in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.
Hillcrest was fortunate to maintain a consistent student population during those years, and has seen an increase of 5% over last year’s enrollment. Hillcrest also maintains a balance between day-students and dorm-students, including national and international students.