FORT WAYNE – Months after closing their doors, the two Imagine Schools buildings will reopen next week for the new school year at two locations, this time under the name Horizon Christian Academy.
Imagine Schools Inc. announced June 7 that its two Fort Wayne charter schools would reopen this fall as campuses of Horizon Christian Academy, a private, Christian school serving grades 6 through 12.
Horizon Christian Academy has operated out of its Coliseum Boulevard location for the past several years but now will add two new campuses.
Horizon on Coliseum, 3301 Coliseum Blvd. E., serves kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Horizon on Broadway, 2320 Broadway, serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade and Horizon on Wells, 2000 N. Wells St., serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Horizon students will start school Aug. 21.
On Tuesday, the three schools hosted registration that included activities for children, a meet-and-greet with teachers, classroom tours and information for parents about curriculum, transportation and tuition assistance programs.
Heather Flowers and her son Julian made their way from booth to booth at Horizon on Wells, making sure the seventh-grader was ready for his first day at his new school.
Julian, 12, attended sixth grade at Woodside Middle School before the family decided it was time to look for a school that could better fit his needs.
They were on block scheduling at Woodside so he would have four classes one day and four the next, Heather Flowers said. We were looking for something more straightforward.
Flowers said they learned about Horizon from a family member and liked the idea of a Christian education.
Julian Flowers said he was interested to start school and was looking forward to math classes, a subject he enjoys.
Were excited to start the year, his mom said, grinning at her son.
Horizon on Wells Principal Amanda Hernandez said since the announcement in June, parents have been calling to learn more about the changes ahead.
The schools were closed after their charters with Ball State University expired. Ball State officials decided not to renew the charters of the two schools, along with the charters of five others across the state, citing poor academic performance and insufficient growth.
Imagine will continue to operate the schools, Imagine spokesman Tim Phelps said in June.
Horizon will pay Imagine for operation and facility support, and the terms of the agreement will not be made public, Phelps said.
Imagine MASTer Academy, the site of the new Horizon on Wells, had an enrollment of about 630 when it was forced to close June 30, Hernandez said.
Weve been able to get the word out pretty well, she said, explaining that a majority of Imagine students would be attending one of the three Horizon schools this year.
As of Tuesday, about 400 students were signed up to attend Horizon, she said.
About 90 percent of those students were Imagine students, she added. The rest are students who are new to the area or who are coming from other private schools.
Those who didnt return cited the cost of tuition, the decision to teach religion, and wanting something different as reasons for taking students elsewhere, Hernandez said.
As a private school, Horizon will charge tuition, but tuition assistance is available through Indianas Choice Scholarship program, she said.
Hernandez said the biggest change from Imagine to Horizon is the faith-based learning, which will include Bible classes for older students and weekly chapel for younger students.
Danice Johnson said the focus on faith-based learning was one of the factors that helped her make the decision to send her daughters to Horizon after hearing that Imagine Schools would be closing.
It seems like they kept it mostly the same and we liked the smaller school setting, Johnson said as she filed paperwork for her daughters Latayvia Porter, 12, and Vanity Jackson, 8.
Both daughters attended Imagine last year and did well with their classes, she said, so it was a shock when she received word that the school would be closing.
I did look elsewhere at first, but then when I heard more about Horizon, I decided this was what we would do, she said.
Latayvia said she was excited to return to school next week and hoped there would be many more of the things she loved most about Imagine – dances, basketball games and spending time with her friends.
I want to be a better person. I want to learn more than I already know, she said.