Thursday, June 28, 2012

Introducing the Annual Fund

Though we have not quite settled on a name for it, Portersville Christian School will be introducing an annual fund, beginning with the 2012-13 school year.  The main purpose for the fund, according to its case statement, is to expand the donor base of the school beyond the immediate community of parents, reaching alumni, extended family and friends of the school with the need to provide additional funding.  This funding would help increase the amount of financial aid that can be distributed to families who would like to have the choice of Christian education for their children, but cannot afford to consider it without assistance.  It would also be applied to some of the fast growing budget needs of the school, much of it related to maintaining and expanding our technological base.

PCS is an educational bargain.  It costs each public school district in Pennsylvania an average of over $12,000 a year to put one student through their system.  It costs PCS approximately $7,000 per student to provide an education that is, by the available measurements, superior to what their counterparts in public schools are getting.  We already bridge the gap between cost and actual tuition and fees by providing about $1,500 per student in funds from other sources, including other fundraising, transportation income and contributions made by school supporters.  The goal of the annual fund is to raise $100,000.  That will go a long way.

If you are a family that sends children to the school here, you are the beneficiaries of many blessings that can't be measured in monetary amounts.  However, there are some things which we can see a clear financial benefit.  For one thing, if our teachers received a salary and benefits within a 20% range of what their colleagues in the public education system received, it would require each family in our school to pay an additional $700 per student.  That would bring our lower level teacher salaries up to the lowest level of the public school system.  What that means is that each teacher at PCS is making a sacrifice of potential earnings of almost $23,000 every year they teach here.  

Look at the measurable results.  Our students do much better on standardized tests, and on their SAT's and other college entrance exams than their counterparts in public school.  Our elementary students read better, read earlier, and deal with communication skills at a much faster pace.  The progress we make in reading and math is outstanding, documented by our Terra Nova test scores.  That's a nationally normed test, by the way, meaning that our students are generally in the top half of students nationwide. 

Ideally, we are always working to improve the Christian atmosphere on our campus.  That's something we can always work to improve, but in a recent survey conducted by GraceWorks, the company that is helping us with our annual fund, it is one of several aspects that the vast majority of our parents and students rate as "Outstanding."  Our students are involved in a variety of ministries that provide benefit to the community.  Visit the Passavant nursing care facility in Zelienople with one of our classes that goes there on a regular basis, or join our students in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip and you'll see a lot.  PCS is most definitely a cause worth supporting.

You can send your checks to the Annual Fund at Portersville Christian School, 343 E. Portersville Rd., Portersville, PA  16051 and mark them designated to the Annual Fund.  It will get in the right place.  And thank you for helping out.  God will bless you for your generosity.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

End of the Year Analysis: Why PCS is an Excellent Choice for your Child's Education

You'll be getting this in letter form, but I thought I would share this with you here. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for partnering with us in helping provide a distinctively Christian education for your child. This school year has gone by fast, and yet, while it seems time was flying, our students were making great strides forward in their educational experience. Please allow me to share a few of these accomplishments with you.

Our senior class graduated as a very accomplished group of young men and women.  Achieving a class average score on their Scholastic Aptitude Test of almost 1700, which was almost two hundred points above the national and state averages, was a nice compliment to having a class member make the list of National Merit Scholarship finalists, an elite group that represents the top 5% of all high school graduates in the country.  Many larger schools rarely, if ever, produce a National Merit finalist, but at PCS, nominees have become a relatively common occurrence in the past decade.  Our graduates found getting into the college of their choice relatively easy, with students entering Grove City College, Geneva College, Westminster College, with others going into specialist programs in nursing at Carlow University, Pharmacy and Pre-Med at Pitt.  Some are also looking at officer training and careers in the military.

Three members of our sophomore class also appear to be headed toward National Merit honors, with a little hard work and commitment.  I believe they are in the right place to achieve their goals.

Our elementary students have also been busy.  We took the Terra Nova test, which is a nationally-normed achievement test, for the first time this year, in place of the Stanford Test we have used previously.  Most private, Christian schools now use the Terra Nova because it is an updated test, and we get almost immediate feedback.  Our students, for the most part, scored in the “High Average” and “Above Average” range in Reading and Math, and as a whole, placed above average on the whole battery of tests.  Our Dibels scores in reading also came in pretty high this spring, and our teachers and students deserve a pat on the back for a job well done!

In Fine Arts, students from both elementary and high school came together for a tremendous performance of the musical “Annie” this spring.  Choir and Band have done very well with their performances this year, students are making real progress, and we once again hosted the regional band workshop here.  Two of our students have been selected to perform in community theaters in their respective communities this year. 

PCS Warriors athletic teams brought home four league championships, three tournament championships and one runner up this year.  Several athletes were selected for all-conference or all-tournament honors at their respective levels.
As we look ahead to 2012-13, there are some new things on the horizon.  One, the school is beginning an “Annual Fund” drive to expand our financial resources and bring in giving from outside the immediate tuition-paying parent community.  Of course, you are welcome to contribute in any way you are able, either with a donation, or by serving in some capacity to help the annual fund committee.

Second, we are beginning a re-accreditation process through the Association of Christian Schools International and Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.  Accreditation is of vital importance in aligning our curriculum, and getting our students into college.  As it stands at the moment, PCS is the only fully accredited, private, Christian school in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties with an educational program that runs from Pre-K through 12th grade, and also offers AP and dual credit college courses. 

For a small school, we’re blessed.  I hope to see you in the fall.