History of AICA
AICA was established in 1994 as a private, Christian school committed to providing a biblically based education to young people in primary and secondary grade levels. Education at AICA is intended to be inherently different in philosophy and content than that offered in the public schools. AICA strives to operate as a servant of the family under the assumption that the education of young people is the responsibility of parents and the immediate family rather than the responsibility of the State. AICA provides a biblically based curriculum and teaches all subjects as parts of an integrated whole with the Scriptures at the center.
In conjunction with the biblical emphasis, AICA strives to follow a classical model of education, as described in the following books and articles. Within their first year of employment, all AICA teachers, staff, administrators, and board members must read these books:
- The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers
- Repairing the Ruins edited by Douglas Wilson
- The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Gregory
- Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson
- Spring, 1993
In the spring of 1993 God was pleased to establish the vision of a Christian School in the heart of a young mother. As Susan Bailey sought counsel from her family and pastor, her convictions grew stronger to move forward with plans to establish the first Christian school ministry on Aquidneck Island. Upon much prayer, in the fall of 1994, the first class of three students began the history of the Aquidneck Island Christian Academy (AICA). Today, AICA serves 30 families with an enrollment of 50 students in grades K-12.
- March-April 1994
The first prayer meeting was held in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Pastors in the community and other individuals, who were concerned about education, were invited. There were over forty people in attendance that night. One month later the first public meeting to discuss the founding of the school was held at the Grange Hall in Middletown. Pastor Fred Poulin, Principal of the New England Christian Academy (Swansea, MA) was invited to address the meeting. He challenged the group to form a steering committee and start a Kindergarten class for the 1994-95 school year.
- May, 1994
A steering committee was formed. This included 12 evangelical Christians from area churches. They gathered and assumed an active role in establishing a solid foundation for the school. Their goal was to establish a school with strong academics and with the Word of God at its center. In the months that followed, the hand of God was evident as the process of school licensing, incorporation, location, and other details for the school year were completed.
- September, 1994
Aquidneck Island Christian Academy opened its doors to a Kindergarten class of three students. The first day of school was held in the Kindergarten teacher’s home while the final inspections were completed at the First Presbyterian Church in Newport, the school’s eventual home.
- September, 1995 – 1997
The school moved to freshly remodeled facilities in the Evangelical Friends Church in Middletown. The school grew to twenty-three students and added grades first through third in its second year. When grades forth through fifth were added in its third year, the school grew to thirty-eight students. In 1996-1997, grades Three through Eighth were added to our configuration, also at this point in our history we were growing by leaps and bounds in our understanding of what true education is in the eyes of our Lord.
Through God’s mighty providences we were introduced to the Classical Model of education and began traveling down the road of transition. The Classical model of education is a historically superior model of instruction as outlined in Dorothy Sayer’s “Lost Tools of Learning”. In this publication Mrs. Sayer’s outlines the Trivium, the three roads of learning, as Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Included with this model is a Christian Worldview, which recognizes that all things fall under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Word.
On April 10th, 2002, Aquidneck Island Christian Academy formally joined hands with the Association of Classical and Christian Schools. Membership in the organization was granted to AICA as a member school committed to all stages of the classical Christian model having completed all requirements established in the ACCS by-laws.
- September, 2003-2005
In the spring of 2003 the Board of Directors voted to move forward with the vision of Aquidneck Island Christian Academy by implementing the next stage of the Trivium, Ninth Grade. Our first Ninth Grade class enrolled four students. This decision moved the school forward in vision and it’s commitment to the classical model of education. God has been pleased to continue the ministry at AICA enabling us to minister in the whole model of education as a mandate of the Scripture as seen in (Deut. 6:4-9 and Eph. 6:1-4).
In the summer of 2004 the Board of Directors continued to trust the Lord to provide in great ways, testing our resolve to move forward. In the spring of 2004, AICA moved from its location at EFC after nine years. On August the 11th, the town of Portsmouth granted the ministry of AICA to lease the premises at the former Coggeshall school building at 321 East Main Road. With an increased financial concern and a desire to continue the classical model of education as well as provide for our families, the Board voted to again increase our configuration to include the Tenth Grade for the 2004-2005 school year. We opened the doors of this “new” facility thanking God for His sovereign care and mercy in His provision for His school.
- September, 2005-Present
The Board of Directors continues in faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, once again expanding the configuration of the AICA ministry to include grades K-12.
What a mighty God we serve!