Times aren't tough everywhere. One local business, , is growing up and expanding.
The 8-year-old school, located on Pin Oak Parkway in Avon Lake, is planning to add elementary grades 1 through 4 starting in the fall of 2012 with a first-grade class of 10-14 children. The school currently provides preschool, afterschool and kindergarten programs for Avon Lake and the surrounding communities.
Steve Caris, who co-owns the school with his wife Andrea, said the Pembroke Day program will offer an integrated curriculum for grades K-4 that is challenging, but developmentally appropriate.
The couple, who live in Avon Lake, put significant thought into expanding the school.
Transitioning to a non-public, private charter school has taken a lot of hard work, they said.
“It’s not easy,” Andrea said. “We have to meet Ohio Department of Education guidelines.”
Becoming a charter school requires a multi-year process including an inspetion, letter of approval and an 18-month wait before a final charter is received.
The Carises wanted to make sure they moved forward carefully with the school’s growth.
“The kindergarten is three years old,” Andrea said. “We resisted expanding for the first year. The kindergarten program has proved successful. We’re filling a niche for parents looking for an alternative."
Steve said the biggest selling point of the school is the one teacher per 14 student ratio.
“With that comes vastly increased individual attention,” he said.
He also noted he and his wife, both of whom hold Master’s degrees in education, have backgrounds in public and private education.
“We bring both an independent and public school background,” Steve said. “We are creating an independent school.”
He said small class sizes taught by experienced, licensed early childhood educators will allow for flexible grouping of students and encourage children to grow cognitively, socially and emotionally.
“Pembroke is an alternative for families who seek a smaller, more individualized setting,” Andrea added. “We’ve brought together outstanding teachers, an exciting curriculum,and created a school dedicated to child enrichment.”
The school will expand one grade at a time. It will add first grade in 2012, second in 2013, third in 2014 and fourth grade in 2015.
The expansion is the latest move for the growing business. Its current 7,500-sq.-ft. facility sits on three acres of former farmland, and was completed in 2008. The school features an outdoor play area including a fenced playground and well over an acre of nature trails and playing fields. Pembroke has its own vegetable and flower garden and sledding hill and boasts a staff of 14.
The curriculum will include physical education, foreign language, art, technology, music and outdoor education activities. Field trips will be carefully incorporated into the curriculum.
The center is hosting an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Visitors can meet the faculty and staff and tour the facility. Pembroke is located at 32900 Pin Oak Pkwy.