This year, two beloved schools in Takoma Park, Md.—John Nevins Andrews and Sligo Adventist School—will unite as Takoma Academy Preparatory School (TA Prep). TA Prep will offer kindergarten to 8th grade as well as high school credits to make for an easy high school transition to Takoma Academy (TA), located across the parking lot.
“Bringing these rich academic and historical backgrounds together makes TA Prep strong from the start,” says Carla Thrower, principal of TA and who will also oversee TA Prep. “Each school brings a unique vibe and specialty which we want to honor. Our mission is to provide high-quality Christian education for every student who enters our doors. This is inclusive of preparing our students to be thinkers and doers on and off campus.”
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The anticipated student enrollment for TA Prep is 300 students—about the combined total of JNA’s and Sligo’s ending enrollment. “We are focused on keeping classroom sizes to about 20 students,” says Thrower. “There will be two teachers per grade and are excited to have almost all of our JNA and Sligo teachers on board with us at TA Prep this year.” Grace Ameyaw, principal of JNA for the past two years, will oversee the TA Prep campus as vice principal, Keith Beckett, TA’s student services and athletic director, will be vice principal for TA, a returning position for the school. Principal Thrower will oversee both campuses.
TA Prep will be science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused like TA, and will also emphasize the arts and community services as inspired by programs and initiatives from both JNA and Sligo. “It’s no easy task to start a new chapter under a new name,” says Thrower. “We are very sensitive to how revered and loved both JNA and Sligo schools have been throughout the decades. TA Prep will include a heritage room with old photos, mascot outfits, trophies and other memorabilia to honor the history of both of these namesakes and provide a place for alumnus to reflect.”
“For the past two and a half years, countless board members, parents, teachers and church members have been in ongoing conversation of how to create a sustainable school, an innovative model of Adventist education, unify a community of churches, provide affordable education and create a new school that everyone can have ownership of,” says Keith Hallam, vice president for education. “We are excited to open this new chapter in Takoma Park. TA Prep will be a school that honors God, nurtures its students, pursues academic excellence and prepares students for a life of service.”