By Chelsea Madden MAR 2016
When it opened in 1970, First Presbyterian Day School (FPD) offered grade levels kindergarten to eighth grade and was comprised of a slim 205 students. Today, FPD offers grades 3K–12 and possesses a student body of a whopping 965.
FPD was originally established by the First Presbyterian Church of Macon, and the “independent, Christ-centered, college-preparatory school” upholds a meaningful mission statement: “to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory.” FPD does so by preserving an indisputable “set of core values,” that seeks to glorify God and advance God’s Kingdom.
“At FPD, we believe children are created by God, unique and special with unlimited potential,” comments Headmaster Gregg Thompson. “As image bearers, they are naturally creative, problem solvers, and seek to understand the world around them. Our role as a school is to partner with parents in their efforts to challenge their children to take responsibility for independent learning, develop godly discernment, make tough decisions for what is right and good, and grow in maturity,” he says.
Thompson has served as Headmaster of FPD for nineteen years, but prior to his years at FPD, Mr. Thompson served as Principal and Assistant Headmaster of Westminster Preparatory School in Augusta, Georgia from 1991 to 1997. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Wheaton College and a Master of Education Administration from the Reformed Theological Seminary, Graduate School of Education.
Accredited by AdvancED (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), the Southern Association of Independent Schools, and certified by the Council of Educational Standards and Accountability, FPD carries membership with the National Association of College Admission Counselors. The school fulfills the Statement of Principles of Good Practice. In addition to the College Board, FPD also has involvement with the Educational Records Bureau and several other professional organizations. With these accreditations, its sound biblical principles, and stimulating academia, FPD delivers a remarkable learning experience. However, the execution of this is no small effort.
In FPD’s preschool and elementary grades, age-appropriate strategies are taught by nurturing teachers. These strategies assist the young demographic of students in understanding fundamental concepts and applying them in everyday situations.
As students enter middle school, they will notice a significant shift in the curriculum, as it is designed to prepare students for high school. At this level, students take classes in English, mathematics, science, social studies, Bible, language, physical education, and fine arts, as well as electives which include computer science, mass media, study skills, and problem solving. At the high school level, students can enroll in college-level studies through 20 AP or 16 Honors courses.
Additionally, high school students also incorporate community service into their studies: FPD’s class of 2015 accumulated 15,497 total hours of community service and served 700 different agencies. FPD’s mission “is supported by student service to directly assist and affect changes,” states Headmaster Thompson. “Meeting real community needs and having face-to-face time with an under-served population greatly enhances students’ understanding of the world.”
First, through FPD’s 1-to-1 Technology Initiative, students in grades 5–12 use school-issued tablet PCs to take notes, complete assignments, and collaborate with teachers and peers.
Next, FPD’s new Educational Gardens complete an array of outdoor learning opportunities for students that include nature trails and a butterfly garden; this feature not only enhances hands-on learning, but students also explore God’s creation while doing so.
A third way that FPD breaks free of educational normalcy is through its International Program, which has enrolled 12 international students at FPD. Complimenting this program, FPD signed a Sister School Agreement in October 2015 with the Guangzhou Xiehe School in Guangzhou, China, in hopes of promoting cultural understanding between students at both schools.
With all of these aspects and more, it is certainly no surprise that FPD’s Elementary School was named National Blue Ribbon School for Exemplary Performance in 2003 and 2015, while its Middle School was given the same honor in 2012. #