Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's New at Portersville Christian School

We're into our third week of the school year at Portersville Christian School, and it has been a good one so far. We want to share some news about some exciting things which will be happening during the course of this year so that you can have an idea of where we are and what is going on.

Theme Scripture for 2012-13
"Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor."  Romans 12:10, ESV

Actually, we are focusing on that whole passage, from verse 9 through 13 in emphasizing the dynamics of being a Christian community as we come together as a school community.  We want to teach our students that genuine love is a sign of sincere faith in Jesus.  "This is how we know what love is," says the Apostle John.  "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."  

New Students
Last spring, we said congratulations, and goodbye, to 26 seniors.  This fall, we welcomed 42 brand new faces to PCS.  From Pre-Kindergarten all the way to the senior class, new students came from Cranberry Township, Butler, Slippery Rock, Ellwood City, Riverside, Laurel, New Castle, Grove City, Zelienople-Harmony, Evans City, Grove City and everywhere in between.  In September, we welcomed a foreign exchange student, Jemima, from Brugg, Switzerland.

New Teachers
Three new faculty members joined our staff this year.  Mrs. Kristin Charles teaches fourth grade, Mr. Ryan Wise teaches Bible 8,9 and 11, and 7th Social Studies, and Pastor Bob Frye teaches 7th Bible.

New Worship Team
One of the members of our senior class, Tara Tyson, has volunteered to lead the worship team for chapel services.  She is currently enlisting other students to help with playing instruments or with the praise team.  We've already had several great worship experiences in both high school and elementary school chapel.  If you know a pastor, youth pastor or other church leader who would enjoy the opportunity to share a message from scripture and the spirit with our students, please call the office and let us know.

PCS is going through the process of self-study to prepare for a re-accreditation visit from ACSI, the Association of Christian Schools International.  We are accredited by both ACSI and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  Accreditation is very important to our students, especially when they are considering attending a college or university.  Contrary to what some people believe, accreditation does not involve the state telling us what to do.  Rather, it involves our school setting standards and goals related to our mission and purpose as a school, and having those goals and standards evaluated for their effectiveness by other Christian school leaders.  PCS is currently the only fully accredited, private, Christian school offering a comprehensive education in grades PK through 12 that serves Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.  Most of our 2012 graduates who stayed in Pennsylvania enrolled at Grove City College and Geneva College, while a number of students went out of state to Liberty University in Virginia.  However, all of our graduates were admitted to their first choice, including several students in special pre-med, nursing or pharmacy programs at Pitt and Carlow University. 

Expanded College in High School Program
PCS now offers five dual credit courses for a total of 15 semester hours of credit at the college level.  In addition to English 101, Communication Skills, Psychology and Sociology, we also offer English 102, allowing students to complete their basic college English requirement before graduating from high school.  Students can also take AP Calculus AB, and Statistics and Probability through the Advanced Placement program, and by earning a 4 or 5 on the exam, receive an additional six hours of math credit.  This means that students can graduate from high school here at Portersville Christian, and transfer 21 hours of college credit upon admission.  That is the better part of the freshman year, and in addition to the credit, and the GPA, represents a substantial financial savings.  They also count toward high school graduation, and of course, are taught in the Christian environment of the school, under the banner of our Christian philosophy of education.

Home School students can earn both high school and college credit through our College-in-High School and AP programs as well.  The schedule is arranged so that these courses are taught back-to-back in a block.  Home school students enrolled in either program are eligible for athletic and fine arts activities at PCS.

Academic Achievements
Our SAT scores can't be released until September 24.  However, I can tell you that our students, once again, performed with an excellence that reflects the quality of the academic program at Portersville Christian School.  One of our 2012 graduates was named as one of the two National Merit Scholar finalists in Butler County.  Though our current senior class only numbers 8 students, six of them achieved scores which were in the top quartile nationally.  And, as has been the normal pattern for almost a decade, our average scores were significantly greater than the local, state and national averages. 

Our elementary students took the Terra Nova achievement test last spring for the first time.  Though we did not have previous year's scores to compare, our students exceeded the national norms in all subject areas, and we were especially proud of their accomplishments in Language Arts, Reading and Math, where their overall average scores exceeded the "high average" range, averaging in the 80th percentile.  About a third of our students scored in the 90th percentile range. 

Annual Fund
We are in the process of launching our first "Warrior Legacy Fund."  We are raising money to provide financial aid to families who qualify to receive it, as a supplement to our EITC and Pennsylvania Family Foundation grants.  Many people don't realize that PCS provides extensive financial assistance to families in order to enable them to take advantage of the blessing of a distinctively Christian education which we offer.  We want to give people who have a connection with the school, whom God has blessed with resources and a heart for giving, an opportunity to invest in the lives of students who are training for "Kingdom Citizenship."  Our goal is to raise $100,000 during the school year, of which $70,000 will go to scholarships, and the remainder will go to upgrading our technology capabilities, including a do-over of the elementary computer lab.

Athletics and Fine Arts Activities
As of this writing, our varsity soccer and volleyball teams are off to a good start.  The soccer team finished third in the Slippery Rock Baptist tournament, and has an overall record of 4-2, 3-1 in conference.  The volleyball team got a fourth place finish at Slippery Rock, and is 4-1 overall, 3-1 in conference play.  Junior high soccer is also off to a good start.

The fine arts department is gearing up for a performance of "Return of the Pink Panther" this fall. 

Distinctively Christian, Academically Excellent, Financially Affordable
We desire to serve the churches and families of our area by partnering with parents to provide a superior, quality education in a distinctively Christian environment at a reasonable cost.  We believe that what students learn at school should be consistent with what they are taught at home, and what they learn at church.  We recognize the Bible as God's revealed word, infallible, and without error, and we strive to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Please keep us and our ministry of preparing Kingdom citizens for their calling in your prayers.