Friday, August 29, 2014

Aren't You Glad You're Here?

Well, we just finished our first full week of school, and have a nice, Labor Day holiday to celebrate! 

There are some other things to celebrate at PCS.  God has brought our little school a long way in the past few  years.  It's not been without a lot of hard work on the part of the whole school staff. 

  • The school successfully completed a re-accreditation process.  For Christian schools, accreditation is especially important because it is a mark of excellence, and it tells prospective parents that the quality of the education their children will receive will be high.  
  • We were commended, in the accreditation report, for our Christian distinctiveness.  More than anything else, including the academic excellence we were also commended for, this was our main goal. 
  • Our current senior class has achieved an average SAT score of 1658, quite a bit higher than the state and national averages. 
  • Our Terra Nova achievement test scores, in grades 1-8 continue to show improvement that is well ahead of grade level expectations. 
  • We had 7 special needs students in our school in 2010.  Today, we have 27. 
  • 34 of our students spent their spring break in the Dominican Republic, doing mission work.
  • 95% of the students enrolled in our school last year, minus the senior class of course, returned to school here this year, and we added 44 new students.  Enrollment has broken the 250 mark for the first time in at least six years. 
  • We are working to initiate an IPad in the classroom initiative with our ninth grade students.  Hopefully, there will be some patience with this, as we have encountered some glitches, but we'll work those out and get it going! 
There are challenges.  We continue to face each day looking to the Bible for our sense of mission and purpose.  We are committed to maintaining our distinctive Christian atmosphere, and our academic excellence.  Please join us in prayer as we ask for safety on our campus for our students and staff, and for God to bless us.

Oh, and by the way, we are beginning the third year of our Warrior Legacy Fund, which provides scholarship money for qualified families.  We have some needs which must be met, and a commitment to keep.  If you would like to contribute, please put your check in an envelope and send i to
Portersville Christian School
343 E. Portersville Rd. 
Portersville, PA  16051.  

And thank you!   

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Portersville Christian School Begins its 51st Year

The Christian school movement in the United States has, historically been part of our history since the earliest days of colonial settlement here, but the "boom years" began in the 1970s.  Churches and church groups were establishing new schools at an accelerating rate, and it didn't look like it would stop.  But a saturation point occurred fairly quickly.  Schools appealed to conservative evangelical Christians, but couldn't find a way to finance their operations outside of tuition and fees, and once the top 20% of the constituency had been reached, there was no place else to go.  There wasn't much "out of the box" thinking, not much in the way of locating resources to expand, and schools began to close. 

Portersville Christian School started just a few years before the "boom" in 1963.  It was founded by a church pastor who, reacting to the Supreme Court decision removing prayer from the public school system, founded a school with prayer as its foundation.  We've been here ever since. 

There are some factors that have helped many Christian schools survive, where others have had to close.  As far as our school is concerned, there are some principles in place which I believe have contributed to our survival, and in fact, our "thriving" during a time when many schools are declining and closing their doors.
  • The school has remained faithful to its foundational Christian principles, and has worked through its mission and purpose.  It is committed to being a distinctively Christian discipleship ministry.  While that has not always been easy, it has "prayed through" hard times, and has been blessed.
  • We have been committed to academic excellence.  We remain as the only fully accredited, private, Christian school with a PK-12th grade program in our area, and our accreditation is a mark of excellence.  While our program offerings are limited by size, the academic rigor of our classes is high, and our students are generally able to secure admission to their first choice college. 
  • We have kept costs as low as possible in order to keep the price of the school affordable to a wide segment of the evangelical constituency. 
  • Ultimately, we depend on God.  As long as we are obedient to his will, he will keep the school open.
So we begin our fifty first year. 

Our enrollment is at or near the school's capacity.  While many Christian schools have seen steep decline in enrollment over the past five or six years, PCS has experienced both an increase in the percentage of students who return from year to year, and in overall enrollment due to an increasing number of applicants.  We are once again over the 250 mark.  And while we have increase our publicity and promotion, much of the increase is due to internal factors as well.  Many improvements have been made in recent years, and the increase in enrollment indicates an increase in the satisfaction level of parents whose children are here. 

Our recent accreditation noted areas of the school's program that have shown significant improvement over the past four years.  We already have strong programs in athletics and fine arts, and adding to those has helped.  The visiting committee commended the Christian distinctiveness and academic excellence of our school. Those are all factors in our growth.  But there are a lot of internal improvements that have been made, which may not be as noticeable.  We continuously upgrade and improve our curriculum guides to reflect best practices in education.  Our teachers put in a lot of effort when it comes to continuing education, several of them pursuing Master's degrees for the benefit of their students.  In the spiritual life of the school, we have pursued several Biblical themes in the past three years which place an emphasis on teaching our students about relationships with each other as fellow believers in Jesus.  We've softened the arbitrary tone of some school policies, evaluating their necessity and value, finding better ways to work together. 

We've come a long way, and we want to keep moving in the right direction.  When things go well, and when God blesses and people benefit from it, the enemy is not too far behind.  Your prayers can help shelter our school ministry from attacks that are designed by Satan to interfere in a good thing that God is doing.  We're prone to failure and weakness, and he knows it.  Don't contribute to unproductive gossip, but instead, find positive words to uplift this ministry, and bring it to the throne of grace.

We're looking forward to great things happening.