Our family moved to St. George, Utah from Boise. We had heard good things about the schools in St George, but we wanted to understand our options, so we spent a significant amount of time investigating the local schools.
In the end, we couldn’t find the type of educational experience we were looking for, so we started our own private school, called Trekker. I’ll tell you about it in this post, but I also realize that there is no one-size-fits-all with schools. Some of the other private schools in the area may be a better fit for you, so I’ll tell you some great things about each of them.
Trekker Entrepreneur School
Trekker is a K-12 private school about doing rather than sitting. It’s a stark departure from traditional public schools. It feels like a modern office with stand-up desks, bean bags, and couches. Rather than having teachers that lecture, students work in a self-motivated environment with adult mentors always available to assist.
Students spend mornings learning traditional academics like reading, math, and science, but in the afternoons they develop themselves in their own interest areas. Entrepreneurship is used as a way to develop a love of learning. For example, a student who loves soccer may develop a Youtube channel with soccer drills. A student interested in survival may make survival kits to sell. They make real businesses in their own interest areas, and adult mentors help to make sure they are applying what they learn in math, English, and other traditional topics.
Trekker is about purpose-driven learning. Rather than being given endless worksheets with grammar rules, older kids take small jobs in editing books for authors. Rather than being given made-up writing assignments, they write real blog posts on their websites. Kids thrive when they feel that their work has an actual purpose, and won’t just be thrown away when it is completed.
The school is currently accepting students. Trekker is renting a nice building for the school, but a state-of-the-art building is being constructed now at 1988 East Riverside Drive which will be the permanent location. To find out more about Trekker School, visit the homepage. You can also text or call 208.477.9332 for more information.
Liberty Youth Academy
LYA is one of the largest private schools in St. George. For parents bringing kids from public school, much of LYA will feel familiar. It very much runs like a traditional public school, but they add the element of religious education following the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We loved knowing our kids were learning the gospel at school. The teachers at the school were great and we liked that too.
LYA didn’t end up being the right school for our kids, but for others, it may be perfect. We experienced three issues: (1) Our kids felt the rules were extremely restrictive, (2) our boys didn’t like how much time they had to spend singing patriotic and church songs, and (3) there was some administrative disorganization that was difficult to deal with. They weren’t set up for autopay, so we had constant Venmo requests for tuition/pizza day/events/etc. Also, school uniforms are required but they didn’t have a jacket in our kids’ sizes, so our kids wore their own and then were scolded for not wearing the right uniform. As a parent, that was frustrating.
We did love a lot of things about the school. Class sizes are small. The kids at the school were very kind and there was no bullying, the teachers were caring, and they have a great park next to the school for the kids to play in. The school focuses a lot on patriotism and liberty in its teaching. Liberty Youth Academy is a special place and there is a LOT going for it. Be sure to tour the school and see if it’s a good fit for your family.
Tuition at Liberty Youth Academy is very reasonable at $495/month, but keep in mind there is also a $300 curriculum fee, a $150 registration fee, and school uniforms must be purchased. They also do a lot of fundraisers. Still, the price is definitely lower than most of the other private schools in St. George.
Liberty Youth Academy is located near the Harmon’s on River Road.
If you’re looking for a very classical education, then Caritas Academy is probably your best bet in St. George. In addition to traditional academic topics, students study Latin and Greek, theology, penmanship, and are required to take private music lessons starting in third grade.
The school does instruct students on religion according to a specific faith tradition. Their statement of beliefs includes that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one physical being, and that there can be no scripture outside the Bible.
Caritas Academy may be a good program to investigate if your child has special needs, as they are an approved program for providing special education services since 2010.
Caritas Academy is located at 359 E Riverside Dr., Saint George UT 84790. Tuition and fees total to $865/month, but remember that starting in third grade, parents must also pay for required private musical instrument instruction.
Trinity Lutheran Academy
Trinity Lutheran Academy offers schooling for Pre-K through 7th-grade. I don’t have as much familiarity with this school as I do with some of the others, but my wife went in and chatted with them recently and came off with a very positive impression of the people who work there and the facility. It’s definitely one to investigate.
According to their website, here is the focus for Trinity Lutheran:
- Small teacher-student ratios
- Opportunity for academic advancement
- Caring and nurturing teachers
- Safe environment
- Rigorous academic program
- After-school programs
- Technology-based testing
The Academy is a non-profit organization linked to the church they hold the school in. Trinity Lutheran is reasonably priced at $560/month, plus an additional $320 enrollment fee. School uniforms must also be purchased.
Acton Academy is a franchise of schools throughout the country, and we’re happy to have a location here in St George. The school is currently run out of the owners’ home, but they are renovating a 2,100sqft house in downtown St George (163 North, 300 West) that will be their permanent location.
Acton Academy focuses on self-driven learning. Students are given very wide latitude to choose to work or not work. For example, in the mornings they may work on math and reading. Rather than the teacher teaching those topics, students go to their computers and learn the topics themselves by using resources like Khan Academy. This helps kids to motivate themselves and to learn leadership and self-discipline.
Our own kids attended a different location of Acton Academy and they LOVED it. They loved not being harped on by teachers all day, and having the permission to explore learning on their own. In my opinion, the best thing about Acton is that our kids became more confident in their ability to solve their own problems, which is quite a gift. Acton is a very cool way for kids to learn. We did find, however, that after two years of Acton, our kids had fallen behind the public school academically.
After investigating the local Acton here in St George, we felt it wasn’t a fit for our family, but it may be perfect for you. No one school is perfect for everyone, so definitely check out Acton. You may want to read the book Courage to Grow by the founders of Acton to understand the learning model.
Acton Academy charges $9,480 per year, plus an additional $500 enrollment fee when you begin, and another $300 enrollment fee every future year. School uniforms are not required.