Innovative teaching means innovative learning; private school offers real-world, wholesome environment

ST. GEORGE — In the face of an ever-changing education system, one in which tests seem to set the only standards for learning, guiding a student to their full potential can be a daunting task. Add to the pressure of a results-driven system an environment that can be difficult to control in terms of code of conduct and you might find a child who has lost the joy in learning and a parent at their wit’s end trying to drag that child to school on a daily basis.

Parents and students gather in the devotional room at Providence Innovation Academy, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo Courtesy of Providence Innovation Academy, St. George News
Parents and students gather in the devotional room at Providence Innovation Academy, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo Courtesy of Providence Innovation Academy, St. George News

Providence Innovation Academy, 1746 Blackridge Drive in St. George, a private pre-K-12 school is on a mission to change that … and it all begins with the school’s middle name.


Co-founder and Principal Gregg McDermott said:

Why wouldn’t we find and search for better ways to educate?

Innovation means that we are willing to stay on the edge and try new things that we feel will work better. It’s a continual refinement of something that works better and better and better.

I mean, just like the light bulb or stereo equipment over the last 50 years … everything has been improved upon, improved upon, improved upon.

Because it is a private school, Providence Innovation Academy has the ability to shape and reshape its curriculum to provide an experience that is both educational and practical.

From the onset, students are taught how to resource so that they know where to go to find answers and truly learn beyond testing. This approach, McDermott said, creates leaders.

One of the things they want to improve on at Providence Innovation Academy is to bridge the gap between school culture and real life so students can transition between the two more readily. There is a big disparity between what happens in schools and what happens in the real world, McDermott said.

McDermott cited discipline as one example. In school, you might find a system of demerits, detentions and suspensions to deal with unwanted behaviors; whereas, in the real world there is a court system in place.

“Why wouldn’t we have a court system in school? That just makes sense,” McDermott said.

Beyond discipline, they want the education kids receive at Providence Innovation Academy to reflect real-life experience, particularly as students start to take subjects that lend themselves to a career.

McDermott said he is building a dream team of faculty and teachers that combine teaching with real-life experience and together they are creating the curriculum on the idea that students can graduate with more than just a diploma.

“The goal is that they graduate with a diploma and a resumé,” McDermott said.

Students will get experience both in the classroom and out as the school works with businesses in the community to provide internships and other growth opportunities to guide students in their talents, passions and career pursuits, McDermott said.

“That being said, we emphasize our first core goal for every student, which is reading, writing and math,” McDermott said. “These are the foundations of daily life.”

Wholesome environment

Providence Innovation Academy is a Christian-based private school. More specifically, McDermott said, they foster the morals and  family values that are espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as other Christian faiths that teach true success principles such as integrity, honor, trust, courage, respect, love, kindness and hard work.

“That being said, we do not teach church doctrine, that’s not our job,” McDermott said. “But we do  want a moral environment. We teach that it is important to foster a relationship with God for comfort in times of trial and to guide our footsteps when seeking truth. After all, He is the one who created us and the earth that sustains us.”

Enroll today

Sports-minded students can attend Providence and still play sports at public school. Utah law allows for that, McDermott said. There is not a sports or drama program at this time.

“Our niche is in computer technology, programming, graphic design and design illustration taught by business owners who are successful in those fields,” McDermott said. “This allows students a full circle understanding of all aspects of succeeding in business … the goal is book smarts and street smarts.”

Another niche is in music production, McDermott said. Students are able to write their own music and perform it and through the school are given the direction and opportunity to develop and record it.

Providence is a paid private school serving grades pre-K-12 and tuition assistance and scholarships are available for those who need financial help, Administrative Assistant Shelyce Maxwell said.

Classes for the 2015-16 school year started Sept. 1 but the school has open enrollment all year long, McDermott said. If you are interested in Providence Innovation Academy call to set up a time to take a tour of the school and have your questions answered: telephone 435-674-5555.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •


  • Providence Innovation Academy | 1746 Blackridge Drive, St. George | telephone 435-674-5555 | FacebookWebsite

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