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When is the best time to apply to New Covenant?
If your student is rising to pre-kindergarten or kindergarten in the next 18-24 months, you should apply now. We matriculate 36 kindergarten students each year, and priority is given to early applications. For K4 students should be four years old by September 30 of the admission year. For admission to kindergarten, students should be five years old by September 30. Family interviews begin in October for placement the following year, and developmental screening is usually conducted on the first Saturday in February. Students rising to all other grades are considered on a rolling basis.
Do you have a waiting list?
We prefer to call it a waiting pool. Wait pools develop in selected grades depending upon the time of year. It is important to realize that rosters often shift before the first day of school, and even during the school year, depending upon a number of factors beyond the control of parents who are holding seats. Qualified students who are accepted to the pool are considered for placement as openings occur. Placements are made according to the needs of the class and the qualification of a particular student. New Covenant does not disclose the number of students in the wait pool for any class, and the wait pool is unranked.
What is the class size limit?
Each year New Covenant forms three kindergarten classes of 12 for a total of 36 students. These classes rise to two first grades of 18, which is the standard limit. Additional students may be accepted up to 21 according to the “sibling rule,” meaning that if a student is placed in another grade, a sibling can also be placed even if the class is full.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes. New Covenant is committed to developing a student body that is socially and economically diverse. We commit significant funds each year to ensure that the school maintains this distinctive composition. You should contact the Business Office or the Admissions Secretary for details. Applicants for financial aid are qualified through a third-party vendor by a separate application.
I’ve heard you begin Latin in kindergarten; can you tell me more?
Yes, Latin instruction begins in kindergarten and students receive instruction two periods weekly through the second grade. The primary goal is to use fun and engaging methods to introduce students to the language that is foundational to English. In grade 3, students will begin to write Latin vocabulary. In middle school English and Latin are taught side by side so that student learn English grammar through the Latin. In grade 8, our students are ready for high school Latin I for which they obtain credit.
Sounds impressive, but how will my child fare if he/she transfers after kindergarten or first grade?
You shouldn’t worry. Students do this all the time. While there is a period of adjustment, most students quickly come up to speed. We offer a summer Latin Camp each year for students rising to fourth through ninth grades to help them make the transition. Students lacking a Latin background entering higher grades are placed in a section of Latin I that moves at a slower pace. They integrate with other students in Latin II.
Do you offer other modern foreign languages?
Not presently. New Covenant has chosen to establish a strong Latin/Greek program, and, as funds and student enrollment increase, to add modern languages as academic electives. At present, most students take 3-4 years of Latin, and a significant number go on to take 1-2 years of Greek.
Do you offer computer training at New Covenant?
Students in grammar school (K-4) do not take computer classes. Instead, we emphasize penmanship, reading, and writing skills. In the 7th grade, students take keyboarding and word processing in with a mobile lab that features high quality student laptops. After appropriate instruction in the School of Rhetoric, they are required to submit all major papers in MLA format.
What about laboratory sciences?
New Covenant maintains two science laboratory offers lab sciences in physics, chemistry, biology and environmental science. We also offer mathematics through calculus.
Do you offer Advanced Placement courses?
New Covenant currently offers AP Calculus (AB / BC), AP Environmental Science, and AP Latin. Students are encouraged, however, to sit for the AP exams, and our students have a very high pass rate on AP exams in English, literature, writing, mathematics, Latin and biology.
Is New Covenant accredited?
New Covenant is fully accredited through the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). The school is also a consortium member of Independent School Management, and the Educational Records Bureau (ERB).
Does New Covenant follow the Virginia SOLs?
No. The Standards of Learning only apply to Virginia’s public schools. They are neither applicable nor relevant to any private institutions in the state, nor do our students take the SOL examinations.
Are you a religious school?
Yes, we are affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church, a tradition Episcopal denomination. Our students represent more than 60 churches. All of our faculty are required to embrace the Christian Faith, and we strive to maintain an authentic, spiritually nurturing school culture. Chapel is held once a week for all students (by grade sections) and a traditional Book of Common Prayer is used in the fourth grade and above. New Covenant does not discriminate in its admissions on the basis of religious faith.
What is the Reformed Episcopal Church?
It’s a traditional Episcopal denomination (Anglican tradition) that began in 1873. It adheres to the ancient creeds (Apostles’ & Nicene, etc.) and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the English Reformation. No matter what your background, however, our goal is that our Baptist students become better Baptists, our Methodists, better Methodists, our Presbyterians, better Presbyterians, and so on. Above all, we encourage all of our students to become better Christians.
How do you handle discipline?
We consider discipline as training, and it’s largely positive in nature. Every grammar school teacher posts her classroom rules, and every class maintains a regular routine with clear expectations. Thus, most correction, when necessary, is handled in the classroom. For more serious correction, a student would be sent to the principal or headmaster, and you, the parent, would be contacted immediately. We seek to achieve a heartfelt obedience and respect for authority, and to that end, correction is always accompanied by giving a student the moral reason “why.” We are not concerned merely with external conformity to rules — although outward obedience is important — but equally important is a heartfelt and cheerful compliance to those in positions of authority.
As a religious school how do you teach evolution?
Not as scientific dogma, but…yes, we teach this and other theories. On this particular question we are careful to maintain that it is not fundamentally a question of science, but of religion and philosophy. As such, it is the religious/philosophical framework of modern science. In accordance with historic Christianity we teach that the world was created by God. At the same time, we do not hesitate to discuss other worldviews (particularly in the rhetoric school) that diverge from the Christian tradition. It is our desire that students embrace a worldview consistent with their faith, but we believe that this entails a thorough knowledge of ideas that may challenge that faith later in life. A wide variety of topics may be treated in this fashion, including ethical issues such as abortion and the death penalty. Other faith traditions, such as Islam or Eastern religions, may also be discussed in the same way.
What about religious differences?
Our policy is to respect your faith tradition. In the lower grades, our teachers will defer to you, the parent, in matters of faith, and will protect your child in a way that does not compete with how you teach at home. At the dialectic and rhetorical levels, students may be challenged in classroom discussions to own and defend their views as they maintain them among their classmates. At the same time, the school maintains its own point of view, although New Covenant instructors are not required to embrace the particulars of the Anglican tradition.
What about sex education?
We don’t actively address human sexuality beyond the curriculum objectives in biology and other science classes. We also teach moral purity and chastity at every grade level, and in ways appropriate to the students’ ages. We will always act as an extension of your home and defer to you on this important subject.
May I sit in on a class?
Sure. We can even arrange to have your student (grades 1 and higher) visit for a day. Just call to let us know when you wish to make your visit and we’ll notify the host teacher that you’ll be joining the class.