students are better prepared coming out of Joshua Christian Academy. Our student population is 85% minority, meaning African-Americans, Latinos, Native Africans, and Asians. Caucasians make up 15% of our student population. Celeste: How were you able to enroll such a high percentage of culturally diverse students? Rev. Ratliff: We put it out there on our website, which is www.gotjosh.org. We visited with a number of churches where the congregations consisted of a majority of African-Americans. We also visited churches with a majority of Caucasians in their congregations. Additionally, we reached out to churches that have multicultural congregations. We sent out fliers. Information about our school also spread by word-ofmouth that there is an urban Christian school that is not only teaching about our ABCs with smaller class sizes, but also teaching about God and Jesus…and the word has spread. Celeste: Generally, African-American students do not perform well academically in the public school system. What academic future do you envision for such students who enroll in the Joshua Christian Academy? Rev. Ratliff: We have smaller class sizes that average 15 students per class. We feel that having smaller class sizes is very important. We also take the Iowa Assessments (an achievement test for grades K-12 which measures a student’s knowledge in subject areas that students have learned in school) like public schools, and our Iowa Assessments are higher than public schools…we do a better job. Third through twelfth grade is tested and we get better results. Our Ms. Chris Hurley is the president of our board of directors. A partial list of our staff includes Reverend Brandon Spriggs, our secondary school principal; Ms. Andrea Terry, our second grade teacher; Reverend Toni Jenkins Harris, our teacher associate; Ms. Marjorie Shade, our fourth grade teacher; Ms. Lois Edwards, our secondary social studies teacher; Ms. Alice Boyd, our social studies teacher; Ms. Phyllis Ousley Voss, our resource teacher; and Ms. Allonna Stovall, our third grade teacher. We utilize what is called the Abeka curriculum. For example, if you are in third grade, you are actually learning at the fourth grade level. So, we are a year ahead in our teaching and learning activities. We know it is very difficult and we are very positive. We never want to put anyone down, our public school teachers are doing the very best that they can, many of them have to teach 35 to 40 students in one classroom. We are blessed that we average 15 students per classroom and have to place children on our waiting list. Celeste: How can parents in the Des Moines community, especially African-American parents, enroll their child(ren) in the Joshua Christian Academy? Rev. Ratliff: View our website, www.gotjosh.org. Stop by our school, we invite everyone to speak with our staff and get a tour of our building. I am humbled and blessed to be the executive director, and the elementary school principal.

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