Thoughts on Common Core

(Here’s a letter that was sent to our CCCS parents back in November).

Dear Parents,

One of the biggest issues in education today is that of the Common Core curriculum. We have been asked how our Biblically-based Bob Jones University Press (BJUP) curriculum corresponds to it. BJUP does respond to this issue, so I encourage you to review what they have written at http://www.bjupress.com/resources/common-core-standards

When CCCS had a high school we gave the state Regents Exams. That was part of the requirement for us to issue legal diplomas for our graduates. In recent years we have administered the NYS math exams for grades 3, 4 and 5. We have not participated in ELA state testing because of the concern of “politically correct” and/or potentially offensive material being included in the testing content. For ELA we are satisfied with administering the Stanford Achievement Tests to measure our students’ abilities.

After contact with two local public schools about Common Core, I have discovered that the NY math curriculum is still a work in progress. As of a few weeks ago it was not even completed for this school year because it is being revised to Common Core. These two public schools are not using math text books, but curriculum that they print from a website.

As a private school CCCS is not required to teach Common Core curriculum, nor are we required to give state testing for grades K-8. My intent going into this year, however, was to continue participation with the NYS state math testing. After some reflection, I feel it best to not have CCCS participate in any state testing during the current school year. We will take a “wait and see” approach. Once the state math curriculum is actually completed we will review it to determine if it is appropriate for us to participate in future state tests.

Some have questioned the quality of Christian school education. In a study released by CAPE (Council for American Private Education) in their May 2013 edition of CAPE Outlook, it was found that students in faith-based schools had greater academic achievement, and better student behavior than in public school options.

While we are certainly open to improvement in our academics, I want to assure you that we stand committed to provide your children with a Biblical worldview at CCCS. Thank you for your sacrifice in sending your children here!

In His Service,
Pastor Mark

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moving Forward

Pastor Scott announced from the pulpit a number of weeks ago that CCCS would indeed expand into grade levels 6,7 and 8 next year!   With that confirmation of direction, there has been great excitement about CCCS adding a middle school. The decision has also been made to use online classes from Bob Jones University Press (BJUP).  While other curriculums were considered, BJUP is a Christian curriculum that we trust, and there are textbooks available for all online courses.  While textbooks may not sound like an unusual feature, some online curriculums do not have them. With these curriculums, printed material is provided when you use your own printer.  Personally, I like the idea that after class a student could study a subject with a pre-assembled book in hand, without having to be online all the time!

At our recent Science Fair, I announced that our new middle school teacher/facilitator will be Kevin Consul.  “Mr. C”, our current 4th grade teacher, has a master’s degree in education, and has been teaching here at CCCS since 1999.  He was actually part of our middle school teaching team for 3 years when we were a K through 12th grade school.

Kevin Consul student picTo help prepare for our new online classroom, Kevin will visit Maranatha Christian Academy (MCA) in Oakwood, Georgia on April 9th.  MCA has utilized Bob Jones University Press DVDs and/or online streaming in their classrooms for the past 4 years.  He will be there to meet the staff, observe classes in session, and glean from MCA’s online experience. 

Parents interested in having their children in next year’s CCCS middle school are encouraged to submit completed student applications soon!   Should additional computer equipment be needed, we would like to have that in place by early summer.

Pastor Mark Leckie

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Online For Middle School?

ImageSince CCCS downsized a few years ago to a K through 5th grade format (now Pre-K through 5th), there have been inquiries as to whether or not more grade levels would be added in the future. At this point we sense that the Lord’s leading is for CCCS to eventually be a Pre-K through 8th grade school.

It is possible that we could have grades 6, 7 and 8 as early as September 2013 with an online middle school approach.  Online learning is a growing trend in education, whether it is middle school, high school or college.  With this format there would be a teacher/facilitator in the classroom (and possibly an aid) to keep the students on track, provide assistance, and grade homework and tests.

Tentatively, our classes online would be Math, Science, English, and History.  Subjects that would be “live” and not online would be Bible, Art, Phys. Ed., Music, Apologetics, and Spanish.  For online courses there are two Christian programs in consideration, Alpha Omega Publications and Bob Jones University Press.

Should we go this route, our online middle school classes would be in the Library during the first year, utilizing our updated computer lab.  In subsequent years we would have students using school-owned laptops in a classroom, and thus free up the Library. The final decision concerning the 2013-2014 school year will be made in January.

Some may be curious about extracurricular activities for our junior high students.  This is an aspect of school that also needs to be put to prayer.  It is possible that CCCS could have after-school activities and/or competitive teams in things such as fencing, archery, chess club or robotics.  We are open to having a variety of activities as long as: 1) there is enough student interest;          2) adequate, appropriate adult supervision and transportation are available;      3) the Lord provides the equipment and supplies; 4) our spiritual and academic focus is not compromised; and most importantly, 5) the Lord is glorified by our involvement.

We appreciate your prayers for Calvary Chapel Christian School, and ask that you join us in seeking the Lord for the direction of His school!  Your questions and comments are welcomed.

Pastor Mark Leckie

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Article in The Good News newspaper

Check out the article about CCCS in The Good News newspaper.                    Click on the Sept. – Oct. 2012 issue and scroll down to page 21.  http://www.thegoodnewswny.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What If We All Pulled Together?

 

 

 

 

 

A few years ago we had a survey in the church to find out what members of the body thought about education. It included some questions concerning their opinion of Calvary Chapel Christian School.  There were certainly a number of interesting comments.  In response to why parents would not consider having their children in our Christian school, some remarks of concern were:

1)    There are ungodly attitudes from children in the class.

2)    Some felt as if the school would be raising their child.

3)    The tuition is too high.

I would like to pass along my thoughts to the above comments.

First, the “turn off” for some parents is that students at CCCS may have ungodly attitudes.  My wife, Lynn, and I are currently home schooling our high school daughter.  I teach the Math and PE.  From time to time I have definitely seen an ungodly attitude spring up in this class of one!  Being at home doesn’t prevent that problem, unfortunately. The fact that there is an attitude problem is not the main issue, but how to properly deal with it is.  Learning how to handle life’s challenges is part of the growing process. Obviously, there is no perfect school, just as there is no perfect church or home.

Second, the purpose of CCCS is to help, not replace, the job of parents. The role of the school is to come along side with support. There are subjects that can be better done in groups.  Class settings provide this opportunity.  At CCCS we encourage the parents to review homework and be aware of what their children are learning. Encouraging children in diligence is a parental duty.  In a sense, school is the child’s first job, apart from any chores at home.  The student must show up on time, respect authority, receive instruction, produce satisfactory work and get along with others.  Since God is a God of order, it is good for our children to learn these responsibilities while they are young.  (It is amazing how many Christian adults still struggle with these same issues!)

Last, tuition is certainly a concern.  When my children approached school age, Lynn and I purposed that our goal was to pay for education while they were young, rather than wait for them to go to college. Obviously, their foundation was most important.  The incredible thing is that the Lord always provided for this, even when we couldn’t figure out how!  Each of our 5 girls was able to attend CCCS.

One of the most intriguing portions of scripture is Acts chapter 4.  Here you have a young zealous church ready to work together for the cause of Christ.They prayed for boldness, and the Lord answered, responding with the pouring out His Spirit on them (v. 31).  The scripture says they were of one heart and one soul, selfless with their personal possessions (v.32, 34).  As a result they were blessed with great power and great grace (v.33). Their resources were brought to the leadership for distribution for the common good of the body (v.35).  The result of this focused, collective effort was God’s blessing!

What if we did the same thing for the education of our children?  What would happen if parents in the church decided to pool all their talents and resources together into the school?  Currently, it seems as if efforts are now fragmented in slightly different directions. What if our church facility was a center for academic instruction, with Apologetics, Bible, Drama, Music, Band, and sports?  What if Christian moms and dads, instead of sending their children off to public school or teaching at home, brought them together to the central location of the church-school?  These adults could help as a monitor, assist in teaching and pray together!  Parents could be part of the process of church centered, group educational effort.  (Interestingly enough, in the book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim speculates that even Jesus may have attended a synagogue school in Nazareth.)

Obviously, schooling is a parental choice, but would not our children receive more blessing and benefit by this collective effort for the common good, just as in the books of Acts?  What impact would such a school have on our community if there were a vibrant unified effort such as this? In Paths to Power, A.W. Tozer comments on Psalm 133 and states, “Here the unity precedes the blessing, and so it is throughout the Bible.”

I would love to talk and pray with those who want to see this happen!

Pastor Mark Leckie

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

CCCS Video

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized