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Building Community Through Faith-Based Education

Great Hearts Christos - Gilbert March 1, 2024 -

Marissa Stafford’s children, Caleb, a third grader, and Lydia, a first grader, both attend the Gilbert campus of Great Hearts Christos, but their journey with Great Hearts didn’t begin there.

After relocating to Arizona, Stafford and her husband were drawn to Great Hearts, recognizing it as an educational network they wanted their children to be part of. When their oldest child reached kindergarten age, they wasted no time in enrolling him in a Great Hearts academy. “We loved the curriculum, the emphasis on virtues, and the model for teaching children how to think logically,” said Stafford.

While impressed with the classical education their child was receiving, Marissa and her husband felt a void in the school’s ability to align with their values in Christian upbringing. Because the academy was a public charter school, the faculty was unable to partner with the parents around training the scholar up in the Lord, something that was important to the Staffords. “We longed for there to be a marrying of what we teach in our home and what they are taught at school.”

Then in the spring of 2023, Great Hearts announced the expansion of its school network to include Great Hearts Christos, private Christian Classical Academies. “We were excited to become part of the community of this new school,” recalled Stafford. “Blending the best of the Great Hearts curriculum, but adding in Chapel, Bible, and teachers that would come alongside us to exhort, encourage, and reprove our children in the Lord.

Christos Academies are a separate, faith-based, non-profit, private school arm of the Great Hearts organization committed to creating and offering the best ecumenical Christian academies in the country. Because they are private schools, the Christos Academies’ programs can, and do, integrate Christ-centered faith formation along with the proven classical model that has made Great Hearts academies the national leader in classical education.

For their family, the prospect of a school community where families shared similar faith-based values was immensely appealing. “Until you experience sending your children to school with peers from other families that are like minded, it’s hard to fully understand what you are missing,” she explained. “Christos has been a huge blessing in our children’s lives this past year. Our family life is richly blessed and enhanced as we do life with other families who love the Lord and are striving to raise their children up in the Lord.  We longed for our children’s school community to be the body of Christ coming together to support our kids in the goal of raising them to love the Lord.”

The smaller class sizes and dedicated, Godly teachers and staff at the Gilbert campus, played a pivotal role in their children’s academic and personal growth. “Our daughter needed some extra help with reading and math, and her teacher has been able to identify her weak areas and focus on helping her gain understanding so she doesn’t fall behind.” The supportive Christos community served as an asset in navigating the challenges of parenthood, reinforcing Stafford’s efforts in raising their children with faith-based values. “Raising children is hard work, but having the Christos community to come alongside us is a great gift.”

The Stafford’s story underscores the importance of school choice in Arizona, where families can select educational environments that align with their beliefs and values. For families like the Staffords, the option of a Christian school within the Great Hearts network provided an opportunity to integrate faith seamlessly into their children’s education, fostering a sense of community and support in their journey of raising children in their faith.

Families are invited to become part of the Christos community alongside others who share their values. To enroll your K-6 student for the 2024-2025 school year at Great Hearts Christos, simply visit our application portal. You will be asked to select your desired campus location during the admissions process. You can read through our Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions for questions about enrollment or contact our Director of Operations, Lisa Horak, at as questions arise regarding the admissions process or regarding tuition and financial aid.

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