Believing it is God's will that children be taught the content and practical application of His word in every aspect of life (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), Altamonte Christian School, a ministry of Palm Springs Drive Baptist Church, exists to challenge students to become well-balanced, Christ-like persons who are academically, spiritually, and socially prepared to serve Christ and others.
Pastor L. W. Carlson is the founder of Altamonte Christian School. Upon accepting the pastorate of the Palm Springs Drive Baptist Church in 1966, he established the school with a five-year old kindergarten program. He was its first teacher, displaying from the beginning his strong conviction for the need of providing Godly, Biblical Christian education for Christian families. In 1971, the school was expanded to K4 through grade three, using the single church building on the south side of the property, which today houses the administrative offices, library, church nursery, and after care room. The 1972-73 school year marked the beginning of a major expansion effort when the second building was erected which provided for the addition of grades four through nine. A full-time principal was hired at this time, Mr. Don Epps, who served for a total of eight years. By the fall of 1973, the gymnasium was completed to provide, not only for physical education and an athletic program, but also for the addition of grade ten and the separation of grades seven through ten into a traditional departmentalized secondary school. Today it contains eight classrooms, a high school science lab, a kitchen, and boys’ and girls’ locker rooms in addition to the gym itself. By 1974 the church auditorium was completed which accommodated elementary and secondary chapels. Grade eleven was added this year. Finally, with the 1975-76 year, the high school was completed and witnessed its first graduating class.
With the 1988-89 school year, came the beginning of a major remodeling project that began with the gym building and included carpeting in all classrooms and a beautiful new hardwood parquet gym floor. Improvements have continued each year including new student lockers, A/C and heating for the gym, relocation of the elementary playground to a shaded area with the addition of new equipment and outside basketball courts, and landscaping. With the 2007 school year came the addition of a facilities fee to be used toward capital improvements. The first project undertaken was the restrooms in the gym building. They were completely gutted, the area redesigned, new fixtures, tile, and showers added making a beautiful facility the end result.
In the fall of 1998, some progress was made in the area of technology. In our computer lab, the number of computer workstations was increased to 25, and internet access was secured to make online research possible. In the summer of 2000, the computer room was moved from the secondary building to a newly designed lab in the elementary building. Computer classes were added for the elementary grades in the fall of 2000. By January, 2015, ten of the classrooms were equipped with interactive Star Boards, and several others with document cameras. Additional technology continues to be integrated by our faculty. The PTF was able to purchase a classroom set of computers and a portable charging station which allows for the teachers to have computers for each student when working on class projects. High school students now have the option of using e-textbooks.
A Parent-Teacher Fellowship was established in August of 2009. The purpose of this organization is to work hand-in-hand with the administration and faculty to improve the overall program of ACS. All parents are encouraged to be involved with the PTF. Some projects the PTF has accomplished include upgrading our school busses, adding EdLine which enables our parents to access student grades from home, purchasing new library software, replacing chalkboards with magnetic white boards in every classroom, sponsoring the faculty and staff Christmas party, and giving teachers a monetary allowance to be used in the classrooms. This organization is a blessing to our school.
Altamonte Christian School is operated as a ministry of the Palm Springs Drive Baptist Church and is financially self-supporting through tuition and fees. The pastor of the church also serves as the director of the school. After thirty-eight years of faithful service, Pastor Carlson retired in December, 2004. His oldest son, Scott, accepted the call to leadership and now serves as the pastor of the church and thus, director of the school. Mr. Gale Callaghan served as the school's third principal from 1981 to 1998. The 1998 school year saw the formation of an Administrative Team. Mrs. Johnette Barton, on staff since 1971, serves as the Assistant Director; Dr. Sharon Nix is the Academic Principal and serves as the College Advisor for high school students; Mr. Richard Smith is the Dean of Students; and Mrs. Kelly Smith is the Administrative Assistant, also in charge of enrollment.