The Ephesus Junior Academy in Winston-Salem was recently awarded an $18,000 SMART grant from the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Southern Union.
The funds will be used to accelerate the progress of the school’s continuous improvement action plan to earn the prestigious Adventist EDGE School of Excellence designation. This enviable distinction has been conferred on only 10 percent of the nearly 300 schools in the eight-state territory.
Ephesus Junior Academy officials say that the school is well on its way to meeting the comprehensive academic and curriculum criteria specified by the governing body.
Founded in 1957, the school now serves first-eighth grade students. The school maintains a low student-teacher ratio, a factor School Board Chairperson Don Wood says is one of the school’s biggest assets.
“It provides a wonderful opportunity for our experienced and dedicated teachers to educate the whole person,” Wood said.
The faculty, staff and administration envision every student receiving affordable, God-centered education in a results-oriented environment that is safe and nurturing, aligned with Adventist and national standards and is the result of a team effort.
To incentivize schools to gather significant local support, the Southern Union has promised to match $2 for every $1 that a school deposits into the SMART grant fund. Ephesus raised $6,000 (the maximum allowed for the matching fund program) in a matter of weeks last spring when the School of Excellence application was initially submitted.
In the few days that have elapsed since receiving the $18,000 grant, many of the needed technology and physical plant upgrades identified in the School of Excellence application have already begun to materialize.
It is anticipated that by the end of the next academic year, all criteria will be met, and Ephesus Junior Academy will be proudly flying the highly-esteemed School of Excellence flag.