Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Do You Need Another Good Reason for Your Children to be at PCS? Here's one.

"RELIGIOUS LIBERTY is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women—which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress. Not surprisingly, then, the Left believes society will be best served if Christians are limited in their influence on public life. And in the short run this view is likely to succeed. There will be many arguments urging Christians to keep their religion strictly religious rather than “political.” And there won’t just be arguments; there will be laws as well. We’re in the midst of climate change—one that’s getting colder and colder toward religion." 

That's a quote from a speech made by Dr. R. R. Reno, the editor of First Things, a journal of religion in public life.  The speech is adapted in the April, 2013 edition of Imprimis, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College in Michigan, a Christian college dedicated to pursuing truth and defending liberty. 

The "left," which Reno refers to, is in control of the public education system in America.  And as a consequence of that, the public education system views Christianity in America in exactly the way he describes in the cited paragraph.  So they have implemented curriculum objectives which are intended to set students straight on those issues, and others.  They call their perspective a "Progressive Worldview."  It is designed to limit the influence of Christians on public life, and to produce successive generations of students graduating from high school and college who will perpetuate their view.  Many of those students will be children raised in Christian homes by Christian families, because it becomes increasingly harder to resist accepting and adopting the views you are taught in the classroom five days a week, six hours a day. 

Reno says that the growth of a group of people he calls "Nones," those who check the "none" box when asked a question about their religious affiliation, has contributed to the growth of a progressive worldview, and the decline of Christian influence.  Nones represent more than 20% of the current population, a significant increase from the 1950's when they represented less than 3%.  But their influence is greater than their numbers because "a great deal of higher education is dominated by Nones, as are important cultural institutions, the media, and Hollywood," says Reno.  And if they dominate higher education, then what does that say about who is training the teachers in the elementary and secondary school classrooms of this country?

The progressive philosophy has already engaged in competition to reduce the number of students studying in schools that teach a Christian worldview and integrate Biblical principles into their curriculum.  Charter schools and cyber schools pull students away from Christian education because they do not charge tuition and they offer an option that does get kids out of the public school environment.  But environment is not the only problem.  Curriculum objectives that promote values which are at odds with Christian teaching are just as problematic in a charter school or a cyber school funded by public money.  They are still teaching objectives which are counter to the Christian faith.

In recent years, a new development, pushed by progressives to advance their agenda, has been put in place.  The Common Core curriculum is a nation-wide program developed by the U.S. Department of Education to set national standards for students for the purpose of improving the quality of education offered in the public school system.  While the announced intent is related to improving educational quality, the Common Core removes local school district control over curriculum, and it includes objectives and elements that Christian educators have evaluated as anti-Christian.  There are objectives that are written to combat what progressives see as "troublesome, retrograde and reactionary" in religion, and in particular, Christian churches.  Pennsylvania is one of the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core so far. 

And that's one more good reason for your children to be in the distinctively Christian educational environment of Portersville Christian School.

Here's a link to Dr. Reno's entire article in Imprimis.
http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp




Thursday, May 2, 2013

The PCS Ad on WORD-FM

We have discovered that there are some benefits to radio advertising, mainly in getting our name and some basic information about our school, which some people think has been a well-kept secret, out to the Christian community.  We've been running advertising at strategic times of the year for a little over a year now, and we are seeing some results from it.  Our new student application process has picked up, and is about 25% ahead of where it was a year ago at the same time, our open houses have been well attended, and inquiries have increased. 

The ad runs for 30 seconds, mostly on the weekend music show with Kenny Wood.  Beginning this month, it will run at several other times during the week, mainly during the afternoon talk show.  The blog gives us a little more opportunity to elaborate on the benefit of attending PCS related to the radio ad.

PCS is distinctively Christian.

A Christian school is a place where parents can send their children for help with their God-given task of educating them, and work in partnership with teachers and staff.  The school, in all aspects of the educational program, supports and undergirds the principles, values and morals that children learn from the Bible at home and at church.  This is a safe environment to express their beliefs and learn the truth about God.

We are the only fully accredited, PK through 12th grade private, Christian school in a three county area. 

Well, first of all, thirty seconds doesn't give us much time to elaborate on this.  Obviously, we are referring to the three county area where we are located, which does not include Allegheny County.  It is, in fact, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.  And those are all the unique distinctives of our ministry.  We are the only private, Christian school in that area that offers educational opportunities from pre-school all the way to 12th grade that is fully accredited.  There are other accredited Christian schools in that area, and other schools.  But we're the only one that meets all of that criteria.

What that means is that parents can put their children here in Pre Kindergarten, and leave them here until they graduate from high school.  They can be assured that the course content is academically rigorous, and that their credit will transfer to other schools, and to the college of their choice.  It means that the students at other accredited Christian schools in the area can come here when they finish the highest grade level at that school, and find the transition relatively smooth, and the academic rigor similar. 

The word on accreditation is this.  Accreditation is the mark of an excellent school.  Excellent schools seek accreditation. 

For a small school, we offer a lot.

We have a fine arts program that offers students the opportunity to participate in a fall play, a full blown spring musical, band, including a choice of four different ensembles, and vocal music.  We have individual instruction in both voice and instrumental music available.  Our students can play coed soccer, girls volleyball and basketball, boys basketball, and next year, coed archery. 

Our course selections include five dual credit college courses in English, Communication Skills and Social Studies, and two AP courses in Calculus and Statistics.  Our elementary students participate in computer skills instruction, art, vocal music and physical education.  The athletic program extends to elementary level students. 

In spiritual life, we have student led worship services each week, and we offer numerous opportunities for students to participate in local service projects and short term missions, including a week long missions trip to cap their senior year. 

Our senior class averaged over 1700 on their SATs.

The hallmark of our entire academic program is excellence.  Our elementary students collectively score well above the mid point on their annual Terra Nova achievement tests.  The PSAT and SAT scores of our high school students put them among the highest achievers among their peers in our local area, and have consistently been above the state and national averages.  The "over 1700" mark was achieved by members of the class of 2012, which included a National Merit Scholarship finalist.  The class of 2011, which included three National Merit semi-finalists, came very close to that mark.

Our students usually get into their first choice college.  So they can pretty much go anywhere they want to go.

In addition to Geneva College, Grove City College, the University of Pittsburgh, Slippery Rock University and other local schools, students from PCS generally find that getting admitted to their first choice college is relatively easy.  Many of our students are in some highly selective academic programs, like nursing, pre-med at Pitt, electrical engineering at Geneva and Grove City, and music business at Belmont University in Nashville.  And a high percentage of PCS graduates choose a Christian college for their continuing education.  Along with Geneva and Grove City, groups of students from here can be found at schools like Liberty University, Cedarville University and Moody Bible Institute.  The previous article highlights one of our alumni who received Duquesne University's highest honor. 

None of this happens in a vacuum! 

We have a plan and a purpose.  We believe that we can seek, and know, the will of God for this ministry.  Our staff and faculty is expected to demonstrate competence and commitment as a direct result of their faith in Jesus.  Within the limitations that are imposed by facilities, finances, and an uncertain economy that affects our enrollment, we operate what I proudly call one of the most efficient organizations around in terms of getting the most out of what we have.  Parental involvement and an army of volunteers help us stretch our resources of both time and money.  The bar is continuously raised as we face new challenges. 

We would ask you to pray, and seek the will of God for your children.  You are welcome to join us as we move forward.