LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Saint Stephen's Episcopal School will expand to Lakewood Ranch for the 2015-16 school year with one classroom each for kindergarteners and first-graders at the Harvest United Methodist Church.
Saint Stephen's main campus on Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton serves more than 675 students in prekindergarten through the 12th grade. More than 120 students live in the Lakewood Ranch area.
"We've formed a really great relationship with the families out there," said Saint Stephen's Head of School Jan Pullen, adding families with children in kindergarten and first grade often want their children to attend classes close to home.
The Manatee Avenue location will continue to offer two kindergarten and two first-grade classrooms. Pullen said she expects to be able to fill those classes.
The school is renting space at the Harvest United Methodist Church off Lorraine Road at 14305 Covenant Way because it is convenient, Pullen said. The church runs a preschool facility called the Sprouts Child Development Center, and often students come from the preschool to Saint Stephens, Pullen said. The direction and mission of the preschool is in line with Saint Stephen's mission.
"This feels like a really great fit for us," she said.
Steve Price, church co-pastor, agreed.
Price and his wife, Catherine Fluck Price, have a son who is a senior at Saint Stephen's this year. The church has empty classroom space during the day and renting it to Saint Stephen's is a natural fit, he said.
"We're really excited about it," Price said.
Marketing the program is still in the works, Pullen said. The applica
tion process begins in January.
The new kindergarten and first-grade classroom will be capped at 14 students each, and school administrators will hold open houses and parent information sessions on the program, she said.
"This mirrors exactly what we're already doing," she said. "It's the same program we offer."
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.