Canaan Academy

Canaan Academy is a private school in Urbana, Illinois under the auspices of Canaan Development Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The Foundation supports children primarily through its education program.

Scholarship a student at Canaan Academy

Canaan Academy Students are doing AMAZING work: contributing to the community; teaching in Ecuador; practicing as performing artists; attending law school and college, and so much more!

You can help more children to achieve excellence by becoming a “Friend of Canaan Academy.”
Financial support is needed for tuition, after school programs, and basic supplies.

There are 3 Ways You can Give!

1. By Mail: Send a check made payable to Canaan Development Foundation, 404 W. Main Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801

2. Online: Visit to give by credit card and select “Donate to Canaan Academy.”

3. In Person: Stop by the Administrative Office at 404 W. Main Street, Urbana

Become a “Friend of Canaan Academy” by making a tax-deductible contribution to scholarship a deserving underprivileged student (s)! Canaan Development Foundation is recognized under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

For more information on scholarships and how to support Canaan Academy, please contact us at:

About Canaan Academy

Commencing in the fall of 1996 with classes at the pre-kindergarten through second-grade level, Canaan Academy held the lofty goal of taking students who had been unresponsive to the standard teaching methods used in area schools and placing them in an environment where they would succeed. Its mission is: “To provide a Christian-centered social and educational program that will maximize the intellectual, spiritual, social, and cultural potential of youth.” This challenge is one that the Academy’s administrators and faculty attack with vigor.

The student population is 94% African-American and 6% Hispanic. Many of the students are from single-parent homes. At Canaan Academy, these students score two grade levels above average in all subject areas. Literacy rates for the students are three to four grade levels ahead of national averages. These students have indeed found success at Canaan.

Canaan Academy presently serves students in grades pre-kindergarten through five from the Champaign-Urbana community and surrounding areas of Central Illinois. Each classroom is staffed by one male and one female teacher to ensure that every student is exposed to positive influences of both genders. In addition, Canaan Academy uses a collegial model, which requires equal participation of home, community, and the Academy in the education process. In addition to core subjects, Canaan‚s curriculum combines multiculturalism, daily Bible instruction, and philosophical investigations that seek to foster inner discipline, social skills, and critical thinking.

To ensure that no child is left behind, Canaan Academy desires to provide educational opportunities for at-risk children and children from needy families. The Academy sustains an environment where children, whose parents did not feel the public school system was right for them, can learn in an environment that understands their individual needs. Canaan Academy teaches children not only academics but also about life, and emphasizes the importance of morals, appropriate behavior, discipline, and love.

Canaan Academy is an independent Christian school designed to teach ethics along with academics. In the past six years, Canaan Academy has proved its effectiveness in educational excellence. Kindergarten students recently scored in the 99th percentile in reading on the most recent Stanford 10 test. Third and fourth graders scored above the 90th percentile in math and reading. In contrast to many area schools, Canaan Academy’s third, fourth, and fifth graders are performing at or above grade levels. Test scores are not the only way of measuring the success of the Academy. Both parents and teachers see a marked improvement in student behavior and their contribution to their neighborhood.In the year 2001, Canaan Academy received recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education. This recognition is given after a school has been in existence five years and passed a rigorous examination by Board inspectors.

Canaan Academy is the vision of Rev. B.J. Tatum, Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church. More than 25 years have passed since he first set out his idea for a school that would fuse influences from educators, the home, and the community. The 1996 opening of the Academy signaled a departure from the fate that several of the youth of the Champaign-Urbana community faced. An option to choose education in an environment supported by family, church, and community was now available. Those children enrolled in the Canaan Academy saw their destiny redefined.

Download the Canaan Academy Application for Admissions here. Interested Parents may fill it out and mail it to us at:

Canaan Academy
207 North Central Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61801

How Does Canaan Academy Do It?

1. We start by recognizing that every child is a unique individual!

We seek to understand how God has designed each child, taking into account their individuality and inclination, and training him or her according to his or her unique purpose. Our educational methods take each child's learning modality into account. Instruction is provided through multiple methods so every style of learner has the opportunity to fully develop. Canaan students are free from limitations on their abilities. In other words, no one ever puts a lid on our students' pots!

2. We know that it takes a village to train up a child.

Education is a collaborative effort by visionary Administrators, skilled Teachers, supportive parents, and eager children. Recognizing this, Canaan Academy teachers will schedule home visits at the beginning of the academic term, NOT WHEN THE CHILD IS IN TROUBLE, so that parent, teacher, and student can meet and collectively plan the student's academic program.

America's diverse village is becoming increasingly diverse. Right here in Champaign-Urbana, our city officials are beginning to grapple with the coming reality of a majority ethnic population. Canaan knows the blessings of dwelling together in unity! Our staff brings a rich mosaic of cultures, ethnicities, and religious traditions to the classroom. They serve as living role models while they labor to instill alove for each child's own cultural and ethnic background, as well as an appreciation and respect for others.

3. We give students individual attention from caring, competent professionals who have the time to support your child's efforts.

* Class sizes are kept small to facilitate individual attention and nurture social development.

* Canaan strives to support single parents by giving students dual gender (male and female) team-teaching.

* There are fewer behavior problems that detract from learning at Canaan Academy.

Simply put, our Christ-centered curriculum, demonstrative respect for each child's dignity, clearly established routines, codes of conduct and uniform dress, produce remarkable results! Canaan has no student infractions. Past 'problem behavior' students have blended in seamlessly.

* We believe in your child's personal worth.

Every employee of Canaan Academy is dedicated to serving the needs of students. Explicitly and implicitly, each child is made aware that he/she is a unique, gifted individual who is loved and respected by every Canaan Academy staff member.