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PCA Curriculum

October 16, 2017
By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
PCA Curriculum

If you ask teachers what curriculum they use, 95% of them would respond with “We use [insert book publisher here].” I want to clear something up before we begin: curriculum is not a text book.

 

Many of you may have been under the same assumption.  At Penn Christian Academy, we approach curriculum the same way we approach everything else – differently through a biblical lens.

Curriculum at Penn Christian Academy (PCA) is the sum total of how children are taught – the resources, the guest speakers, the field trips, and the activities.  Let me say it again - curriculum is not a text book.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) document is a list of standards that students should achieve - it is NOT curriculum in and of itself.

PCA's curricular guides were written from 2002-2009 and were based on state or national standards at that time. Each year a committee of teachers, and sometimes parents, reviews a different section of the curricular guide to ensure that we are continuing to meet or exceed current state or national standards. Last year, teachers took the extra step of embedding the PA Core standard numbers for English/Language Arts and the Common Core standard numbers for Math within our documents. Our Science Lab instructor also rearranged some of our Science units and added others, to include Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Having our outcomes/objectives tied to standard numbers paints a clearer picture of how we align with important educational updates.

PCA filters all instruction through the biblical worldview. If at any point CCSS would conflict with bibilical worldview teaching, we would stay true to who we are and teach biblically. So far, we have not come across this type of discrepancy.

When our Math curricular guide was written, the National Council of Teaching Mathematics (NCTM) was a basis for the content. In August of 2013, NCTM posted a position statement on Common Core standards, stating that "When properly implemented, the Common State Standards will support all students' access to, and success in, high-quality mathematics programs." (http://www.nctm.org/) This is one of the reasons that we have "aligned with" rather than "adopted" Common Core. It is not a stand-alone curriculum.

We will continue to use current best practices in instruction, the creativity of the expert teachers that God provides at PCA, and resources that support our instruction.


 

         Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed.

         Principal

         agillis@pennchristianacademy.org

Christian Worldview Thinking

October 10, 2017
By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
Vine & Branches
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  1 Corinthians 3:5-7
 

What if you sat down and wrote a letter to Jesus discussing your spiritual maturity? Well, at Penn Christian Academy every student writes such a letter annually, and that’s just one small example of how young lives here are changed. Our perspective is that anyone can teach your children academics, but how can their worldview be shaped so that God’s truth plays a role in the decisions they make for the rest of their lives.

Everyone has a worldview, if we are not intentional about developing our worldview, we will naturally absorb the worldview of the culture in which we are immersed. At Penn Christian Academy we talk about graduating young leaders and scholars who think and act from a Christian worldview…but how does that work? Here, students learn about God’s love for them and how they are made unique among all created things. They learn that their identity and value comes from being made in the image of God. Students help each other apply Biblical teachings as encouragement for daily living. 

For example, in a fifth grade reading class this year, a connection was made between Father Christmas from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Jesus. To emphasize the students’ self-worth in Christ, as well as the importance of others in our school with gifts that are different from our own; students read John 14:26 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-31, and learned about Jesus sending the Holy Spirit and the individual spiritual gifts God gives each of us.  The discussion included students identifying times they have prayed for others, and Mrs. Maria Kletzli (teacher) affirmed their compassion for others and their intercessory prayers. This is the type of integration found regularly in PCA classrooms, which is so much more than just a Bible class or religious instruction.

In sixth grade, students use the solid foundation they have received in the Christian worldview to learn about other worldviews. At the Leadership Retreat, they answer hard questions about why they believe what they believe, so that when the world says something contrary, they will be prepared to confidently answer. After this year’s Leadership Retreat, all 18 sixth graders confirmed that they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior! We’re thankful for what God is growing at PCA.

PCA’s academic programming has proven to be first rate, but our ability to shape worldviews will bear fruit for a lifetime.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

         

         Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed.

         Principal

         agillis@pennchristianacademy.org

PCA Students Go Global with STEM!

October 02, 2017
By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
It’s called Project Down to Earth, and it provides an opportunity for K-6 students to interact with students in New Delhi, India.
 

Two years ago, Mrs. Traci Ramey, PCA’s Global Learning teacher, launched the Passport program which enables students to “visit” four countries per year to learn about their language, culture, religion, clothing, food and geography.

Countries visited in the Passport program include Russia, France, Mexico, Korea, Nigeria and Italy. Mrs. Ramey uses language learning apps on the iPads as well as Google Earth to educate PCA’s young leaders about the world around us. She also utilizes Skype to provide face to face encounters with people in each country of study.

This spring’s project partnered Penn Christian Academy students with students from New Delhi’s DLF Public School and will continue when classes begin again in the fall. Students will compare weather conditions and the varieties of soil available that affect the growth of the crops grown in India and Pennsylvania. Activities include collecting samples of different types of soils, seeds and saplings; as well as sharing interviews related to farming.

Due to the time difference, Skype is not an option, so Mrs. Ramey and her DLF counterpart, Mrs. Parmar, have creatively orchestrated all communications through vlogs (video blogs). Students have already shared introductory information and exchanged videos about the types of agriculture in each of their regions of the world. In the fall, the experiments and data collection will take place. The students are enthusiastic about the scientific and cultural exchanges.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

                       

            Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed

            Principal

            agillis@pennchristianacademy.org

Student Leaders Who Serve

September 25, 2017
By Mrs. Holly Depew, LSW
Raise the Roof Campaign Fund

“Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).

 

At Penn Christian academy (PCA), we understand the critical need our society has for young leadership. That’s why sixth grade students participate in a weekly class that examines 13 leadership concepts rooted in the Bible. The goal is to help students understand that true leadership revolves around the desire to serve. Many PCA students begin to see themselves in the role of leader, often for the very first time.

Each year, these sixth graders attend a Middle School Leadership Conference. They are challenged to commit this season of their lives to a much greater purpose than just enduring the awkward years between elementary and high school. Participants interact with older students and learn to speak with their own voice. They are challenged to find a need in their scope of influence and formulate an action plan. Even the most timid, find a place for themselves in this mission and help lead others to accomplish a common goal.

This year, PCA students came together and identified the need for a new roof for their school. Awash in a leadership mindset and charged with the potential to act, the class of 2017 proposed a Chili/Soup Cookoff to raise the funds for the roof. These eleven and twelve-year-old student leaders began creating, staffing and running this fundraising event that garnered $4,000 in one evening. The momentum of the event continued beyond expectations, and the dollars kept rolling in. Just weeks before their graduation from PCA, it was announced that the goal of $100,000 had been met.

If faith without works is dead, surely leadership training without opportunity to serve is frivolous. Penn Christian Academy does graduate young leaders…trained, tested, true.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mrs. Holly Depew

             

              Mrs. Holly Depew, LSW

              Guidance/Student Activities Director

              hdepew@pennchristianacademy.org

All Posts

10/16/17 - By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
10/10/17 - By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
10/2/17 - By Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed
9/25/17 - By Mrs. Holly Depew, LSW