Christian Education

GPCSN Recognized for Supporting School Choice

As Pennsylvanians, we appreciate the ways our state recognizes school choice. One way PA helps Pennsylvania’s children is with the EITC! Watch the video to learn more. This is a program that could help your child attend a private school OR a way you can help create private school scholarships if you owe PA income tax! Go here to learn more!

Christian Education Positions Open

Our schools are located throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area and accept applications for substitute teachers all year—and we have a few other job openings! Follow the links to learn how to apply!

Penn Christian Academy in Butler is accepting applications for substitute teachers.

Trinity Christian School in Forest Hills is accepting applications for elementary teachers and substitute teachers.

Pittsburgh Urban Christian School in Wilkinsburg is accepting applications for the following part-time positions: Admissions Coordinator, Coordinator of Student Services, and Financial Secretary.

Greater Works Christian School in Monroeville is accepting applications for elementary teachers and substitute teachers.

Cheswick Christian Academy in Cheswick is accepting applications for a part-time Spanish teacher and a part-time literature teacher and substitute teachers. Contact them with your information.

GPCSN Giving Tuesday Opportunities

Love Christian education? Partner with us for #GivingTuesday! Every one of our schools works very hard to keep tuition as low as possible! Our schools are thousands to tens-of-thousands of dollars less expensive than many of the non-Christian private schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area, while giving students great educations in wholesome, loving, safe environments!

Here are ways to give to any of our wonderful, deserving schools!

Cheswick Christian Academy
Your gifts can become scholarships with the Tom Mellars Scholarship Fund!

Former CCA student Jamie Aiken has initiated the establishment of a scholarship fund* in memory of Thomas Mellars. Tom was with the school at its inception in 1978, and served faithfully until 1983 when he unexpectedly died on the job of a sudden heart attack. Jamie Aiken’s generous gift, and all other donations to the fund, will be applied to the tuition accounts of current students experiencing financial hardship. Go here to give!

Greater Works Christian School
Your gifts help students year round!

Did you know that tuition covers only sixty percent of our operating expenses? This funding gap must be made up through fundraising and donations to our school. Please consider joining the many school families, alumni, churches, businesses, and friends who support Greater Works Christian School. Go here to give!

Penn Christian Academy
Every gift to Penn Christian Academy makes a difference!

Your donation helps fuel our mission and your gift makes a difference each day in blessing the lives of our students and teachers. Through your partnership, our students are equipped to KNOW who God is, LEARN about God through creation, SERVE as Christ did, and LEAD others to Christ. Go here to see different ways to give!

Pittsburgh Urban Christian School
Special Opportunity: Donor matching gifts to Pittsburgh Urban Christian School!

Thanks to an anonymous donor, all #GiveBig donations will be matched as part of a challenge grant we received!
Your generous gifts help us expand our academic programs, improve our facility and provide scholarships for children from low-income households. Go here to give!

Trinity Christian School
Special Opportunity: Donor matching gifts to Trinity Christian School!

A generous donor has committed to match the first $50,000 in donations! When you contribute to our endowment, you’re building up a resource that will work hard for our students and will bolster the stability of our school. Our goal is to achieve $50,000 by the end of the school year, which will turn into $100,000 because of our donor match! Together, we can move the TCS Endowment closer to the million dollar mark, achieving one of our long-term goals for the fund. Go here to give!

Free lecture—Ecclesiastes: What the Strangest Book in the Bible Teaches Us About Education

Scholé Academy Lecture Hall Presents
Ecclesiastes: What the Strangest Book in the Bible Teaches Us About Education
with Author/Teacher/Consultant Josh Gibbs

Monday, December 6, 2021  |  7:30pm ET

This lecture might interest some of our friends and members of Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network.

From Scholé Academy: No book in the Bible offers a more glum assessment of this life, or inspires deeper yearning for the life to come, than Ecclesiastes. This glum assessment is a caution for those who believe that classical education can “change the world” or that reading old books can help students “get ahead in the world.” And yet, Ecclesiastes also insists that refusing to “love the world or the things of the world” will actually make a man’s life tolerable, joyful, and spiritually fruitful.

This event is free to attend, but registration is required. Click here to register for this Lecture Hall event. (Nota bene: Personal information provided in the registration process will be shared with Josh Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Classical.)

Book Review: For the Children’s Sake (a good gift idea for teachers!)

For the Children’s Sake presents a picture of a Charlotte Mason-inspired education that sounds like many Christian schools.

Charlotte Mason gives us a plan that is beautifully balanced. The children are given tasks, so that they learn basic skills. Their minds are nourished. They are put in touch with the whole of reality. They have structure and yet they are given time, half the day, for freedom. This was up to the age of 13 years [ in the Charlotte Mason style school] without homework. They can develop their own affinities. They can be, imagine, play, ponder, create, read. They can move, be noisy, quiet, social or alone…This growing time produces integrated people who understand their own limitations, desires, interests, gifts, and tendencies. One person will end up in the garage tinkering with an old motor; another will be playing with toddlers; another will draw pictures and tell stories while yet another thinks of ways to earn money. Children are respected and accepted as valid persons, but they are not left on the island of their own limited resources. Through careful choice they are nourished with the best we human beings have to offer. Mind is introduced to mind. Child to nature and activities. Pray that our children may be so educated in a total life that they are enabled to have clear, realistic, and true thinking and action, based on thought and principle.

Really, the whole book is full of quotable passages to inspire your favorite teacher:

We don’t have to chart exactly what a child has ‘learned’ from any of these sources to make it worthwhile using them. This is a different way of thinking about learning. Our job is to give the best nourishment regularly. The child takes what is appropriate to him at the time. A good example is when we enjoy a book together as a family. The nine-year-old enjoys hearing J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He extracts nourishment for mind and spirit. The fourteen-year-old also is fed, but extracts something different. The parents enjoy it in yet another way. There is no ‘right’ way to react, no list of items one has to remember. Living life isn’t like that. We are individuals, and we leave it that way.

Children should have relationships with earth and water, should run and leap, ride and swim, should establish the relation of maker to material in as many kinds as may be; should have dear and intimate relations with persons, through present intercourse, through tale or poem, picture or statue; through flint arrow-head or modern motor-car: beast and bird, herb and tree, they must have familiar acquaintance with. Other peoples and their languages must not be strange to them. Above all they should find that most intimate and highest of all Relationships – the fulfillment of their being [their relationship with God].

This is not a bewildering program, because, in all these and more directions, children have affinities; and a human being does not fill his place in the universe without putting out tendrils of attachment in the directions proper to him. We must get rid of the notion that to learn the ‘three R’s’ or the Latin grammar well, a child should learn these and nothing else. It is true for children as for ourselves that, the wider the range of interests, the more intelligent is the apprehension of each.

The strength of this book is in encouraging teachers to treat their students as people who have their own worthy minds and interests and abilities and to remember to give them some freedom, while putting the best of the best material in front of them.

Churches Partnering With Parents

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

Psalm 78:4

As Christians, we all know what we are supposed to do: raise up the children in our homes and our churches in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The question becomes, how? We know pastors preaching the word faithfully is of utmost importance. But for the children in your church, school takes up most of their time. Beyond Sunday, how can the church best help her families who choose public school, home school, or Christian school?

If you have children in your church who go to public school, the church can equip those families with assistance throughout the week. Maybe you could supply your parents with devotionals, or serve the kids with youth groups, small groups, after-school tutoring, and more. Maybe your church could pray regularly for the schools in your neighborhood. Or maybe churches could step in and help families move on to homeschooling or Christian schooling if their public school isn’t the best fit!

Perhaps your church already has some homeschoolers. There are a lot of ways you could help here, too. Perhaps you throw social events in your fellowship hall (swing dancing, anyone?) or educational seminars in your auditorium. Or you offer your building affordably — or free — for co-ops to meet there regularly. Maybe it’s as simple as connecting a child who would love to learn to sew with a woman who could teach it. Maybe the budget is extra tight for a one-income homeschooling family and your church can purchase some books — or start a church library for all of your children.

And perhaps your church has children who go to Christian school — or some who would love to. While Christian schools are often the first choice a lot of parents would make, like homeschooling it is not always the easiest choice financially. Perhaps this is one great place where the church can really help. I know some of our students attend churches who give scholarships to any member’s child who wants to attend Christian school. Maybe your church could do that: Count the children of your church — how much could you afford to give toward each of these children’s education, even just for next year? A couple hundred dollars? Five hundred? A thousand? MORE? Or maybe your church wants to choose a nearby school to adopt — your church could pray regularly for this school and your members could surprise teachers with encouragement: Donuts. Lunch. Books. (This works also for public schools! But I am thinking about the smaller salaries many Christian school teachers accept as part of the many efforts to help keep down tuition for students.) Or perhaps you have a great gym, soccer field, or bus (and a licensed bus driver in your congregation) that you could share with a school. Buses cost a lot of money for schools to transport kids to sporting events! This might be something a church would never think of, but it could be a huge blessing to the kids in your congregation and their schools!

There are challenges to all three types of schooling and there are many ways churches can support all parents. These are just a few. If you have any other ideas, leave a comment for all to see and consider! Or leave a comment about successful ways your church already partners with parents — you just might help other churches look at this in a new way!

And if you are a part of a church in the Greater Pittsburgh Area seeking new ways to support Christian education, contact us if you would like to be connected to a Christian school near you!

Wonder in the Science Classroom

To study science increases our wonder at the majesty and mystery of God.

Susan Koppendrayer

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11

Have you ever wondered what exactly was the Star of Bethlehem? We can use scientific tools to explore what it might have been, but, as is common with many wondrous acts of God, sometimes we find that there may not even be a scientific explanation. The best and truest scientists (and science teachers!) embrace wonder!

Here are two articles, one secular and one Christian, that look at the Star of Bethlehem in a way that allows for the possibility of a miracle.   

This article from secular quotes professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame, Grant Mathews: “Nothing in science is ever case closed, nor is it in history,” Mathews said. “We may never know if the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction, astrological event or a fable to advance Christianity. Maybe it was simply a miracle.”

The article from the Christian publication, Answers in Genesis, discusses the science and ultimately concludes “that the Star of Bethlehem cannot be explained by science! It was a temporary and supernatural light. After all, was not the first Christmas a time of miracles?”

While the tools of science may someday be able to explain the light that led the three wise men to that baby born in Bethlehem, even scientists agree that there may be no scientific explanation at all! Like our science teachers within the Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network, it takes a wonder-filled scientist and science teacher to be able to embrace mystery.

Choosing Who Influences Our Children

What a blessing it is that in the United States, parents still choose where we send our children to school!

When we choose a school for our children, whether we choose homeschool, our neighborhood public school, or a Christian school, we are choosing who teaches our children.

We are choosing which worldview lenses our children will be shown the world through; whose tradition gets passed down; which books are celebrated; which ideas cultivate their minds; and finally, we are choosing which adults are entrusted with shaping our children’s hearts.

What a blessing we have to be the ones who choose these important influences over our own children!

Christian Community and Where to Find It

The local Christian school isn’t the same thing as the local church, but the believers there are a part of the Church Universal.

As believers, we are best suited to living life in community with other believers. For this reason, many of us look for ways to be together more than just on Sunday mornings. We have fellowship dinners, youth groups, Bible studies, ladies’ brunches, men’s lunches, Christmas parties, and Easter teas. We invite one another into our homes and our hearts. We walk and talk and sing and pray together. We serve each other and we love one another.

For those of us with school-aged children, one more way we invite our children into a life of community is through their daily education. We might homeschool and find Christian friends to meet with throughout the month. We might public school and send our children to a before-school Bible study. And finally, we might send our children to Christian schools where their teachers, classmates, coaches, and more are united in love for Jesus.

The necessary thing is to live in community with other believers, the Church. Thankfully, there are many ways to find fellowship for ourselves and for our children. Any one of these ideas (or others I haven’t mentioned) might be the best fit for our children. I personally have experience as a homeschooling mom–filling our weeks with activities with Christian friends–and as a Christian-school mom, where the fellowship opportunities come a bit easier. And even in my public high school as a Christian high schooler myself, I remember finding before-school Bible studies to attend.

While fellowship may not be all of our main concerns when considering school choices, it is a valid concern. If you have been looking for daily Christian fellowship like what is found in our schools, please reach out to us.