Elementary School: SMA to Add Fourth and Fifth Grades in Fall 2017

Two new elementary school grades will be offered at San Marcos Academy next year as the 109-year-old institution expands its program to include both fourth and fifth grade instruction. The two elementary grades will make up a Lower School to complement the Academy’s well established Middle School (grades 6-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12) programs.

Initially, Academy administrators had planned to add just one new grade, fifth, for the 2017-18 school year. But after receiving several requests for a fourth grade, the Board of Trustees approved the addition of both elementary school classes for local day students.

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Dr. Brian Guenther with students at the SMA Middle School. Dr. Guenther will also guide the Lower School next year.

Dr. Brian Guenther, Associate Academic Dean for the Academy’s Middle School, will be the administrator for the Lower School and has been busy developing a curriculum for the fourth and fifth grade classrooms. In addition to the core subjects, the curriculum will include Bible study, physical education, music, Spanish and art. After-school care will be offered for an additional cost to families if needed.

“Parents can expect a high quality program focused on excellence in academics while preparing students for the rigor of the Middle and Upper School programs,” Dr. Guenther said.

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Sherry Christensen, with daughter Athena, will be a teacher in the new Lower School.

One instructor, Sherry Christensen, has already been selected to join the Lower School faculty. Christensen, who currently teaches fifth grade at Negley Elementary in Kyle, has 20 years of classroom experience with state certifications in Early Childhood through 8th grade (Generalist) and K-12 Special Education. She holds a BS degree in Learning Disabilities and Elementary Education from the University of Missouri and a Master’s of Education degree from Lindenwood University.

As the mother of one SMA graduate, two current SMA students, and one future SMA Bear, Christensen said she knows the Academy well and believes in the school’s mission.

“I am elated to be joining the San Marcos Academy faculty family,” Christensen said. “As a parent of SMA students for the last 7 years, I am a firm believer in the first class education and Christian values taught by the quality staff of SMA.”

Dr. Guenther said he looks forward to having Mrs. Christensen as a part of the SMA family. “Her experience and certifications will build a foundation for future growth and expansion in the Lower and Middle Schools,” he said.

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A Lower School art class at the Academy in 1941.

Providing instruction to elementary school students is not new to the Academy. From the 1920’s until the 1960’s, the Academy offered all 12 grades on its campus. Gradually, however, the younger grades were phased out, and by the early 1980’s, only the Middle and Upper School programs remained.

“In adding a fourth and fifth grade for the 2017-18 school year, we will return to our historical configuration of offering lower, middle and upper school instruction here at the Academy,” President Jimmie Scott explained.

Applications for grades 4-12 at San Marcos Academy are now being accepted for the 2017-18 school year. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 512-753-8000.

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