Luke 2:52 (KJV) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. From this scripture derived the model for the Zion Baptist Academy: “Developing children in wisdom & stature, in favor with God and man.”
The Zion Baptist Academy (ZBA), whose history we will sketch herein, opened its doors to students on Tuesday, September 4, 2007. It is owned, in total, by Zion Baptist Church, 165 Lemon Street, Marietta, Georgia 30060. The hours of operation are from 6:30 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening. ZBA is licensed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning/Bright from the Start.
The sagacity for the Zion Baptist Academy began long before its inception. The pastor of Zion Baptist Church, the Rev. Dr. Harris T. Travis, is a visionary and career educator for more than twenty-eight years, and holds “learning” as crucial to life, and of particular importance to the spiritual growth of the people residing in the Zion community.
As Zion Baptist Church continues to grow and evolve demographically, it is immensely blessed to attract members who bring with them outstanding skills and knowledge that propel Zion as a pillar in the community and aid Pastor Travis in his vision for this Evangelistic and Missions oriented church. The Academy is integral to the vision.
On Sunday, April 15, 2007, the new Zion Baptist Church Sanctuary held its grand opening service. Members marched from the old sanctuary to the new one for the second service. At this juncture in Zion’s history, it was common knowledge that the Zion Baptist Academy was researched, licenses applied for, and scheduled to open its doors on July 2, 2007.
As processes continued to move forward, ZBA conducted its first formal Board of Directors meeting and elected officers on Thursday, April 26, 2007, at 10:30 a.m. in the conference room of Pastor Travis. Member of the Board included: Thomas Webster, Chairperson, Carolyn Rickards Williams, Vice Chairperson; Darlene George, Secretary/Treasurer.
The 2007/2008 premiere year for the Zion Baptist Academy was legendary with 104 enrollments. This number included the After School Program, Summer Camp, and seventy students from six weeks old through pre-kindergarten. Classes comprised 2-Georgia Pre-K/40; 1-Private Pre-K/12; 1-Young Toddlers; 1-Advanced Toddlers; 1-Infant; 2-Before & After School; and 1-Summer Camp. There were fourteen (14) permanent staff members: 2-Co-Directors; 3-Lead Teachers; 2-Assistant Teachers; 1-Infant/Toddler Teacher; 1-Toddler Teacher; 2-After School Teachers; 1-Administrative Assistant; 1-Evening Supervisor; 1-Assistant Director.
The curriculum ZBA utilizes is faith-based, has been researched, and is developmentally appropriate for infants, pre-school, and school-age children. Because of its biblical foundation, it is spiritually dynamic.
At the onset of its opening, ZBA was selected by the United Way Organization to participate in the Light Generates Hope for Tomorrow (LIGHT) grant through Smart Start, an Early Reading First (ERF) program. The goals include increasing each child’s capacity to reason and encourage a spirit of inquiry in a creative learning environment. Most of all, Zion Baptist Academy wants each child to know that he/she is a worthy person, acceptable and lovable just as God made him/her. To have a good self-concept and the opportunity to learn in a developmentally appropriate environment are gifts that last a lifetime.
Co-Founders Brother Thomas and Mother Doris Webster have created a safe Christian Learning environment that embraces the diversity and spirit of the community it serves. Their passion and commitment are evident by the success the community has enjoyed since the inception of the Zion Baptist Academy. These Christian brethren held fast to the words as they are written in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
2011/2012 This year would realize new leadership in Deaconess Bernadette Keitt. She was requested by the Pastor to serve on an interim basis while the Zion Baptist Academy Board of Directors sought permanent leadership. While in the role, Deaconess Keitt augmented processes and diligently sought accreditation for the Academy. Pre-School Teacher Mrs. Linda partnered with the Hattie G. Wilson library participating in a reading and library card program for the students.
At the close of calendar year 2012, the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation (NAEYC) was awarded and in effect until 2018. The first Zion Baptist Academy Parent Group commenced and was introduced to the Academy at the Holiday Celebration on December 21, 2012.
The Zion Baptist Academy continues to grow and master the vision of the Pastor, Rev. Dr. Harris T. Travis, and embrace the legacy left by so many others.