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Higher Learning
A look inside the areas Catholic and Christian schools
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Ripon Christian English teacher Mrs. Darla Haveman has the attention of her sophomore students at the long established school. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON – Ripon Christian Schools has consistently sent 98 percent of its graduates on to college – a record that has continued into the 21st century.

Superintendent of the K-12 campus Kerry Manus noted that the school has also serviced the surrounding communities’ children for over 80 years.  Manus, like other staff members, encourages students to achieve in academics as well as in sports activities from basketball to football competitions.

Bible study is also an important and cherished element in the school’s curriculum toward well-rounded graduates.

The mission statement beginning with Preschool is clear: “It is our philosophy for the children who enter our program to feel secure and accepted as individuals.  Our goal is to help them develop the skills they will need for a successful transition to elementary school.  We will equip them with the tools needed to cultivate their imagination and creative ideas and learn socially appropriate behaviors.

“Our school offers a hands-on approach to learning.  In this way the children will be immersed in the learning process while still having fun.”

Maryann Sybesma is the principal of the K-8 elementary school and Eric Segaar is principal at the high school with 226 students.  The elementary school has an average daily attendance of some 400 students.

The school is a private co-educational, parent owned, directed and supported facility.  It was established in 1928 and is recognized by the California Office of Education and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

While having a comprehensive curriculum the program is primarily college prep.  All students are required to have four years of English as well as four years of math and science and typically two to three years of foreign language and four years of social science.  

Honors courses at the high school level include Honors English II, and Anatomy and Physiology.  Advance Placement courses are offered students in Calculus AB, Computer Science, English 12, Spanish and U.S. History with average class sizes set at about 24 students.

Tuition for the high school is $8,600 a year dropping to $4,300 when there are four students in a family going to the Ripon school.  Elementary level students’ parents pay $7,100 for kindergarten through fifth grade.  The junior high level student is charged $7,400 a year to attend, dropping to $3,550 when three siblings attend the school.

In those elementary years the school library has recently launched a new reading program, crediting reading as the key that will open the door to the rest of a child’s education.  All students are in need of developing strong reading skills that they will use every day in and out of school in the new Scholastic Reading Counts Program.

The Christian school also offers busing for its students who live outside the Ripon community.