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News Detail

Head of School Report - May 2023

May 23, 2023
 
 
Dear Lakeview Family,
 
Allen Nivens, chairman of the Lakeview Board of Trustees and a parent of a Lakeview student and a Lakeview alumnus, and I have collaborated on this state-of-the-school report as we come to the close of the 2022-23 school year. We hope you will join us in celebrating the many successes of the year.
 
EMPLOYEE RETENTION
We are thankful to report that the overwhelming majority of our teachers and staff will be returning next year. We know our teachers and staff are our greatest asset and our primary differentiator, so we are grateful the bedrock of our school remains in place for next year. The few employees who are leaving Lakeview are doing so to retire, to take a position at a school closer to where they live, to move out of town, or to experience a new/different work environment.
 
The retention of excellent employees and the recruitment of new ones is an annual priority and not an easy one with the ongoing shortage of teachers since the pandemic.
 
STUDENT ENROLLMENT and RETENTION
We began the 22-23 year with 550 students (prek 3-12th grade) and will close the school year with an enrollment of 539. We are projecting an enrollment of 535 returning and new students when the doors reopen in August. (We have already enrolled 50 new students across all divisions who will begin school in August.) Our student retention rate is 89 percent.
 
Here are comparable data points from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) for 2023. The comparison group is all NAIS member schools (1,272), of which Lakeview is one.
  • Average enrollment 484
  • Average student attrition rate 10% (Average retention 90%)
  • Average day tuition (non-boarding) $29,653
With the growing number of school options, including in Hall and surrounding counties, this data shows that Lakeview is in line with national trends.
 
A marketing committee was created mid-year by the Board of Trustees to address our opportunity to increase enrollment. Additionally, DeAnna Browne was named Director of Marketing in addition to her annual giving responsibilities. Committee initiatives include increased digital advertising and social media presence, neighborhood meet-and-greets, and campus open houses. As a result, we have seen an increase of 161% in traffic to our website since January. Additionally, a student marketing committee has been formed and will bring a student perspective to marketing efforts beginning in August.
 
ACADEMICS
The 40 graduates in the class of 2023 earned $3.34 million in non-Hope scholarships and received an impressive 162 offers of admission, including from 10 schools in the SEC. They will attend 23 different colleges in 13 states. Sixty percent of the class will attend college out of state.
 
ATHLETICS
In Lakeview’s first year in the Georgia Independent Athletic Association (GIAA) our students and coaches accomplished the following:
  • Girls basketball Final Four and Regional Coach of the Year
  • Boys basketball Elite Eight
  • Boys and girls soccer Elite Eight and Boys Regional Coach of the Year
  • Individual Hall County golf champion
  • Football and baseball teams made the state playoffs
  • Boys and girls cross country teams as well as the swim team qualified for state
  • State champion in shot put
FINE ARTS
Fine arts touch every Lakeview student from visual art, music, band, Samba, and theatre. The partnership with Brenau University to use the Downtown Center’s Charles D. Walters Theatre has been a contributor to the department’s increased visibility within the school family and wider community. Outstanding results this year from Upper School students include:
  • GISA state runner-up in one-act competition
  • Literary team state champs
INNOVATION
Lakeview Academy was one of four schools from Georgia to participate in an international robotics competition in April. Here’s an update from the team’s coach and teacher Mikhail Lovell:
 
“Our team competed in the Edison division of the FIRST Tech Challenge and placed 28th out of 48 teams. Although the competition was tough, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our skills, collaborate with other teams, and learn from some of the best teams around the world.
 
“In addition to our team's success, one of our students received the "You Inspire Me" award from one of the judges. Each judge can recognize a single student from the entire competition who demonstrated exceptional teamwork, leadership, and perseverance.”
 
SUMMER FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS
Extensive renovations to all bathrooms in the lower school will begin in early June and be completed over the summer.
 
THE LION FUND
This year’s Lion Fund has raised $295,000 in unrestricted (non-designated) gifts. Restricted gifts, designated to a specific project, total $210,000. Final totals will be known at the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
 
Your gifts this year have made possible repaving the drive into campus, an additional security officer and security checkpoint, ongoing updates to upper school science labs, software to allow teachers to monitor students’ computers, digital resources for student research (Galileo), new sound system in the Brenau downtown theatre, operational funds for professional development, and a gently used but new to Lakeview charter bus. Thank you to all of you who have contributed.
 
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
We are in the quiet phase of a capital campaign to fund improvements to fine arts, the lower school, and our teacher retention and recruitment efforts.  We are seeing great success with early donor commitments and will share more when school resumes in the fall. 
 
ALUMNI SURVEY
This spring we sent a short survey to our alumni asking them to share updates as well as reflections on their Lakeview education.  Here are sample comments from respondents on what they gained from Lakeview:
 
Learning how to study, how to work on a team, how to speak publicly, and how to manage time – all HUGE life lessons that are still paying dividends today.”
 
“My family chose Lakeview initially because of the reputation, small classes, chance to play sports, family atmosphere, and safety of the campus. Those were all accurate, however, I didn’t fully appreciate the value of the education until I got to college and realized how much more I was prepared than my peers. Lakeview’s curriculum and rigor gave me an invaluable head start for college and for life.” 
 
In summary, our directors and staff will be working over the summer to continue to make Lakeview Academy the best it can be. We appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you for entrusting your children to us and have a wonderful summer break.
 
It’s always a great day to be a Lakeview Lion!
 
Sincerely,
 
John SimpsonAllen Nivens
Head of SchoolChairman, Board of Trustees  
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Lakeview Academy is a private, coeducational day school for students in preschool through 12th grade, located in Gainesville, GA minutes off I-985/Hwy 365.
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