Looking for a private school?

It can be a difficult decision for parents choosing a school to send their children to, driven by a number of factors. Sometimes, the decision is made based on finding a curriculum that incorporates religious beliefs and values.

Public or private?

It can be a difficult decision for parents choosing a school to send their children to, driven by a number of factors. Sometimes, the decision is made based on finding a curriculum that incorporates religious beliefs and values. Other times, the choice is made to help feed a skill in a child or to give him or her additional opportunities that might not be offered at a public school.

Proponents of a private education often tout smaller class sizes, stellar arts programs, a safer environment and a more challenging academic curriculum.

No matter the reason, once the choice has been made for a private education, it is important to pick a school that meets your child’s educational needs — and is a good fit for your family.


Founded in 1964 as an independent, nondenominational school, Canton Country Day was created, said Director of Admission Paul Monks, to provide an enriched learning environment for families.

Monks said the small student-to-faculty ratio allows teachers to know their students very well, which means they are able to customize their teaching techniques for the best way each student learns.

“We’re blessed to be technology-rich,” he added, noting that the school’s computer-to-student ratio is more than 1:1.

A grant allowed the school to create a one-to-one laptop program so every student in grades four through eight could have his own Mac laptop.

The students are permitted to take their laptops home and are involved with running proprietary websites. They are able to work collaboratively with other students and teachers from home.

“It’s an incredible advantage,” Monks said, explaining that it is a key way the school provides a 21st-century technological education with a personalized learning environment.

An integrated curriculum weaves art, dance and music into learning, which encourages creativity and a greater understanding of their subject.

While Canton Country Day faces the same challenges as other private schools in Stark County due to an economic slump and declining population, Monks said, the school is doing well.

“The business side is very well managed,” he said.

Mission statement: Canton Country Day School offers children in preschool through eighth grade a solid educational foundation by cultivating an environment in which scholarship, responsibility, and respect for others flourish along with creativity, enthusiasm and self-respect. Within this stimulating academic environment, the school encourages children, with the support of their families, to:
Be active seekers of knowledge;
Examine their convictions honestly and embrace them humbly, both in word and deed;
Recognize themselves as participants in a common humanity and citizens of a common universe;
Discover their own creative powers and labor patiently to surpass ready achievement; and wonder at the mysteries that transcend their understanding and challenge their imagination.

3000 Demington Ave.NW Plain Township
Enrollment: 200, (preschool through eighth grade)
Student/faculty ratio: 9:1
Tuition: $3,100-$14,500



Founded as a toddler/pre-primary program in 1968 by a small group of parents interested in the Montessori method of learning, Canton Montessori School now offers an infant program and elementary school through fourth grade. The school building was built as a house in the 1920s. An addition was built in 1988. Head of School Pam Butler said the Montessori method gives students the ability to learn at their own pace.

“We provide the resources for them to create their own learning experience,” she said, noting that children are self-motivated and independent learners. “We are child-centered. We’re here for them to go through the discovery process and learn for themselves.”

A big part in achieving that, she said, is through what is called “control of error.” This means activities may not be completed if there is a mistake made along the way, and students can figure that out.

Classrooms are multiage grouped by ages 3-6 and grades 1-3. Fourth grade is by itself. No testing is done as students progress as they master their tasks. Butler said their students are a diverse group from all over Stark County. Future plans for the school include eventually adding grades 5 and 6 to complete the upper elementary three-year cycle.

Mission: Canton Montessori School (CMS) provides quality programming based upon the education philosophies and principals of the Montessori method. CMS’s purpose is to meet the developmental needs of children of all economic background through an enriching and nurturing environment. CMS also strives to support and assist parents and staff in the development of their roles and to share its experiences and expertise with the wider community.

125 15th St.NW, Canton
Enrollment: 100
Student/teacher ratio: varies according to grade level.
Tuition: $7,000-$10,000



Picturesque Central Catholic High School sits on a tree-lined, 65-acre campus in Perry Township. It was founded in 1945 when Mount Marie Academy and St. John High School merged to become a coeducational high school.

Recent improvements include a new football stadium, baseball stadium, five new science classrooms with labs, new art rooms, math rooms and renovated cafeterias.

Principal the Rev. Robert Kaylor said the school has a 100 percent graduation rate, with about 98 percent of each graduating class attending college.

“Our graduates play an active role in business and service organizations in Stark County,” he said.

Kaylor adds he is proud of the school’s honors and advanced-placement programs offered in several subjects. He said Central students also take four years of theology courses, including social justice, morality, the Catholic faith and religious film, plus a service program in which students volunteer in nursing homes and hospitals.

Kaylor said the staff is very dedicated to the school — and that its stability helps to set it apart.

“They don’t come here to get their feet wet,” he said. “They come here and stay.”

Although 90 percent of the students are Catholic, Kaylor said, the school welcomes all faiths.

Mission statement: The mission of Central Catholic High School, as a faith community of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, is to develop academic excellence, leadership, faith, and as a commitment to service and social justice, guided by the light of Jesus Christ.

4824 Tuscarawas St.W Perry Township
Enrollment: 440
Student/faculty ratio: 18:1
Tuition: $6,500, with various tuitionassistance programs available.



Heritage Christian School opened in rented space in a church in 1968 with 62 students. During the next five years, it tripled in size and added athletics. By the late 1970s, the school needed more space for what was then preschool through 10th grade and staff and parents began a six-week fundraising goal to raise $90,000 to purchase the former Lincoln High School building.

In 1979, it graduated its first seven students and today, the school enjoys the support of the Lincoln Alumni Association.

Wendy Nowak, director of communications, said students and Lincoln Alumni raise funds together.

“It’s a great way to interact with these people who still love their building,” she said.

A dedicated staff — some who have served for 25 to 30 years — and small class sizes allow for a family atmosphere and opportunities to be involved.

“They don’t get lost in the shuffle,” Nowak said of the students.

The biblical aspect of their college prep education, she said, is most important.

“I’ve seen the word of God transform them. We give feet to their faith,” she said of their community service program, Christians in Action.

About 80 local churches are represented in this nondenominational school.

Mission: A- Academic Excellence, B- Bible-Based, C- Community Commitment
Heritage Christian School’s vision is to provide an exceptional school experience with academic excellence which fosters Christian character and a biblical worldview, complementing the family and the church. Students will grow in the knowledge of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in order to serve our community, nation, and world.

2107 Sixth St. SW, Canton
Enrollment: 275
Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
Tuition: $4,295-$5,470



Lake Center Christian School opened in 1947 with 181 students from Amish and Mennonite families. Today, about 13 percent of the student population is from Mennonite churches, with more than 120 other congregations represented in this nondenominational Christian school. Students come from a four-county area.

Ron Robinson, director of development, said it’s the school’s atmosphere that sets it apart.

“When you come in, it’s supportive. There’s a good feel to the building and the people,” he said. “It’s a feeling that we care who you are.”

Students, he said, are respectful of others, and the teachers stress character building and the importance of values as they teach core classes from a biblical worldview.

“A spiritual foundation is important so when we take what we learn into the world, we have a basis of moral and ethical conviction that makes (students) more rounded in their career pursuits,” he said.

Robinson said visitors are impressed by the state-of-the art facilities and addition of interactive SMART boards to their buildings. Even more impressive is that its 36 graduating seniors were offered $1.5 million in scholarships in 2011.

This year, Lake Center adds preschool to its curriculum. Scholarships are available at all levels.

Mission statement: Lake Center Christian School assists Christian families and their churches in equipping students for lifelong learning and service to Christ. Lake Center Christian School offers an accredited K-12 education that is centered in Jesus Christ.

12893 Kaufman Ave.NW
Lake Township
Enrollment: 600
Student/teacher ratio: 25:1 for grades K-6; 20:1 for grades 7-12
Tuition: $2,220-$6,450



St. Thomas Aquinas High School opened in 1964 with just a freshman class. Each year a new class of freshmen was added, with the first graduating in 1968. For the first six years, boys and girls were taught separately by the Brothers of Christian Instruction and the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, respectively.

“The charism of both groups were important to the development of the school,” said President and CEO the Rev. Thomas Dyer, who noted the influence of the brothers on the children of working-class families and the sisters’ role in teaching hospitality to the girls.

Today, Dyer is the only religious community member working at the school, and the curriculum is college preparatory, but he says the same charism of teaching still exists.

Students come from all areas of Stark, Portage and Columbiana counties.

“Students find a home here and we hope to help them to flourish academically, socially, athletically and religiously,” Dyer said.

A close relationship with Walsh University allows St. Thomas to fulfill its mission of offering students college courses, he added.

“People say we’re a pretty well-kept secret. That’s not what we want to be,” Dyer said. “We could easily handle more students. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to envelop themselves in the spirit of St. Thomas.”

Mission statement: As a Roman Catholic High School in the Diocese of Youngstown in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas, we value scholarship and excellence in all that we do. We are a college preparatory high school whose primary purpose is to educate and prepare our students in all areas of academics, extracurricular activities and service activities, while at the same time being firmly rooted in Christian values. Our school tradition is to give to the world community as we pursue truth and journey toward the Kingdom of God. We are committed to challenging each individual student to live up to his or her full potential, to become a person fully engaged in mind, body and spirit. We seek to instill in our school community, respect, integrity, justice and responsibility.

2121 Reno Drive NE
Enrollment: 340
Student/teacher ratio: 16:1
Tuition: $6,100 for parishioners, $7,650 for nonparishioners

CANTON COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL: 3000 Demington Ave. NW, Plain Township. 330-453-8279. Grades K-8.
CANTON MONTESSORI SCHOOL: 125 15th St. NW, Canton. 330-452-0148. Grades PK-3.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL: 4824 Tuscarawas St.W, Perry Township. 330-478-2131. Grades 9-12.
FIELDCREST MONTESSORI: 1346 Easthill St. SE, North Canton. 330-966-2222. Grades PK-12
GOOD SHEPHERD SCHOOL: 7775 Pontius St. NE, Marlboro Township. 330-935-0623. Grades 1-12.

HARTVILLE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: 10515 Market Ave. N, Lake Township. 330-877-2529. Grades K-12.
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: 2107 Sixth St. SW, Canton. 330-452-8271. Grades PK-12.
LAKE CENTER CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: 12893 Kaufman Ave NW, Lake Township. 330-877-2049. Grades K-12.
MASSILLON CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: 965 Overlook Ave. SW, Massillon. 330-833-1039. Grades K-12.
MINERVA AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: 300 W. Lincolnway, Minerva. 330-868-5728. Grades PK-8.

OUR LADY OF PEACE SCHOOL: 1001 39th St. NW, Canton. 330-492-0622. Grades PK-8.
REGINA COELI/ST JOSEPH SCHOOL: 733 Fernwood Blvd., Alliance. 330-823-9239. Grades PK-8.
SACRED HEART OF MARY SCHOOL: 8276 N. Nickel Plate St., Nimishillen Township. 330-875-5167. Grades K-8.
SS. PHILIP & JAMES SCHOOL: 532 High St. NE, Canal Fulton. 330-854-2823. Grades K-8.
ST. BARBARA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 2809 Lincoln Way NW, Massillon. 330-833-9510. Grades PK-8.

ST. CLEMENT SCHOOL: 402 N. Market St., Navarre. 330-879-2645. Grades K-8.
ST. JAMES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 400 W. Lisbon St., Waynesburg. 330-866-9556. Grades PK-6.
ST. JOAN OF ARC SCHOOL: 120 Bordner Ave. SW, Perry Township. 330-477-2972. Grades PK-8.
ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL: 126 Columbus Ave. NW, Canton. 330-454-9787. Grades PK-8.
ST. LOUIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 214 N. Chapel St., Louisville. 330-875-1467. Grades K-8.

ST. MARY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 640 First St. NE, Massillon. 330-832-9355. Grades PK-8.
ST. MICHAEL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 3431 St. Michael Blvd. NW, Plain Township. 330-492-2657. Grades PK-8.
ST. PAUL SCHOOL: 303 S. Main St., North Canton. 330-494-0223. Grades PK-8.
ST. PETER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 702 Cleveland Ave. NW, Canton. 330-452-0125. Grades PK-8.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS HIGH SCHOOL: 2121 Reno Dr. NE, Louisville. 330-875-1631. Grades 9-12.
STARK COUNTY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY: 2651 Market Ave. N, Canton. 330-454-3737. Grades PK-2.