Shown in front row; Nora, (5); 2nd row, Courtland (6), Father Hung, Lydia (8), Damien (9), Principal Samantha Kaufman, and Tatumn (8); back row; Christian (13) (Photo by Ashley Benkarski)

By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN — St. Pius X is kicking off the 2022-2023 school year with some big changes.

While the school boasts new windows and fencing, most of the talk has centered around the recent opening up of Education Savings Accounts (ESA).

“The ESA program allows eligible students who are zoned to attend a Shelby County district school, a Metro Nashville public school, or a school that was in the Achievement School District (ASD) to use state and local money toward education expenses, including tuition and/or fees at approved private schools,” said the Tennessee Education Savings Account website (esa.tnedu.gov). 

Families must meet a series of eligibility requirements, such as proof of address, income, federal tax returns, and documents pertaining to programs such as Tennessee Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). There’s a lot of paperwork involved but it’s crucial to the application process, said St. Pius X Classical Academy Principal Samantha Kaufman.

Kaufman said the school is eager to assist interested families in applying for a spot in the school and keeping up their eligibility requirements. “This is really the moment for us,” she said enthusiastically, adding that the new application option has been a popular one.

A California native, Kaufman is excited to enter her second school year with St. Pius X students. 

“You know, it’s a special place,” she beamed. “Everyone knows everyone; we’re a little family.”

While St. Pius X Classical Academy is rooted in the Catholic faith, the school accepts students with other religious beliefs. 

Anchored by tradition while moving forward into modernity, the academy strives for inclusivity that Kaufman said is part and parcel of the Catholic faith. St. Pius students often connect and partner with schools outside of the Diocese, forming larger connections with the community.

Embracing that journey, the Diocese has supported new curricula that include fascinating electives such as jazz band, coding, LEGO robotics, forensics and 2D/3D art classes. Teachers at the academy gather in weekly cross-curricular meetings to plan together and achieve cohesive growth.

“We’re setting ourselves up for success with more opportunities to reach the classical approach,” Kaufman said.

To apply, visit https://esa.tnedu.gov/. To reach Principal Kaufman with questions or concerns about applying for St. Pius X Classical Academy using an ESA, call 615-255-2049 or email Kaufman at skaufman@stpiusnashville.org.