New Day dawns in Port Townsend with private school

PORT TOWNSEND — When Maxine Peirson, Gabriele Babik and Sheri Moore decided to start a new Christian private school, they looked for models that bridged the gap between a day school and home-schooled students.

What they came up is a schedule that allows students to attend class two days a week or five, take one specific subject, and sign up for activities and courses that require a group: dramatics, field trips, spelling bees and science fairs.

“We’re offering families options and solutions,” Peirson said.

Located in the former Nazarene Church on Airport Cut-off Road, New Day Learning Academy opened Sept. 8 with three certified teachers and 12 students.

“At New Day, teachers apply a Christian world view that fosters an appreciation for beauty in art, literature and the world,” according to the school’s Web site,

Monthly tuition ranges from $120 for 3-year-olds to $450 for grades first through fifth. Annual tuition is $1,500 for sixth grade, and $1,700 for seventh and eighth grades, with discounts offered for siblings.

Peirson teaches the older elementary class, Babik teaches the kindergarten/first grade and Moore teachers the pre-kindergarten class for 3- and 4-year-olds.

With small class sizes, New Day is a good fit for children who are not ready to enter a structured classroom environment, Pearson said.

‘Made to fit every child’

“Some kids thrive in school, some don’t,” she said. “New Day is made to fit every child.”

In the kindergarten/first grade class, Babik offers a balance of structured instruction, hands-on practice and discovery, she said.

Students also participate in multi-age learning groups. As a private school, New Day is not bound by age or grade level.

Day classes are also open to students who want to attend part-time, or sign up for one or more subject blocks — math, reading and writing workshop, science and social studies.

New Day also offers art lessons/art history class taught by Sharon Bastian, and beginning and intermediate German language classes taught by Babik, a native speaker.

“Parents are making more choices about how much time students will be in school,” Peirson said. “Because we’re a small school, we can be flexible.”

The teachers based New Day on schools like Christ the King Academy in Poulsbo, which offers home-schooled students a range of options, both core classroom instruction and enrichment activities.

New Day also offers home-school students one-on-one tutoring, “Able to Teach” parent course and use of the school library, Peirson said.

“We’re blessed with these books, and want families to come and check them out,” Peirson said.

No church affiliation

An accredited private school, New Day is not affiliated with any church, Peirson said, including Cornerstone, the mission church that leases the upstairs meeting room for Sunday services. The rest of the week, the school occupies the entire two stories.

On the upper floor is the main entry, school office, counseling and resource rooms, plus the library and meeting room with a stage. That’s where the Shakespeare Club meets on Wednesday afternoons.

“It incorporates physical education, drama and music,” Peirson said of the class, which is led by Dottie Holland.

“They do gymnastics and tumbling to loosen up. They play music on the recorder, and do scenes from Shakespeare.”

The lower daylight level has four classrooms, a commercial kitchen and large communal area with doors opening to the playground and backyard.

‘It gives us so many possibilities of what we can do,” Babik said of the facility.

New Day will offer a public tour of the school at 13553 Airport Cutoff Road during an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

For more information, contact Nancy Krieg, school office manager, at 360-379-1334 or academy@newday


Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter-columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at

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