Faculty at Faith Christian Academy in Palmhurst are revamping the technology available at the school.
This year, the academy has been making moves to keep students and parents engaged with the philosophy that a Christian education will prepare them to live a life of faith and success, however the tech on campus is outdated; they house about 20 models of older desktop computers in a lab.
Students do not have individual logins when they access the computers. They and teachers alike have also gotten used to using USB drives to share and store information. Many students bring in laptops, but not every student can.
Enter John P. Taylor, the new Interim School Administrator and Christian School Consultant brought in by Faith Christian Academy to find and create ways to show the community what they have to offer.
“It’s all about having more students to disciple for Christ, that is the basis of having a Christian school,” Taylor said. “The school also has to be relevant for a student’s economic life as they become employees, employers, leaders and ministers – ultimately it’s about training young people up to live for Christ during their time on Earth, in the workplace, at home and in the community.”
Administrators came across Taylor, who lives with his wife in Ohio, on LinkedIn. He had worked with them previously in service of the school board and teachers, then returned home for a period. Taylor was in education for several years, and has experience in both private and public schools.
“God kind of hooked me up, because a lot of their needs reflected problems that I have been through before [in other schools],” Taylor said about returning. “Their leadership just felt like they would like me to come back and serve as an interim, which is very difficult.”
When faculty found Taylor and made contact about his return to Faith Christian Academy, he knew he was being called by God to serve. They worked it out so he spends three weeks out of the month at the school, and one week back home in Ohio.
“They knew they had to make changes, and they had to make them quickly in order to survive as a school,” Taylor said. “They’re a great staff, they’re humble and they’re moving ahead.
To update the technical aspects of the school, Faith Christian Academy is aiming to spend $50,000. Once the funds are collected, they will be able to start implementing the new technology by January or February of next year.
“We hope that everything we do pleases the Lord, and we hope that we have our needs met with technology,” Taylor said. “We would love to have technology in place so that all of our students can be efficient and effective.”
He specifically stated that their first goal is for their high school students to be able to take Christian college dual credit courses online during the day. They also plan to start using the Cloud in order to store information and streamline the process.
“Our goal is for every one of our students, K-12, using computers to enhance their learning weekly,” Taylor said. “We want them to be able to use all the 21st century tools so they can enhance their ministry and their vocational opportunities.”
According to the school, new strategies including an investment in technology, a focus on bilingual education and training to be good members of the community will retain their mission of discipling students in Christ and preparing them for the next level of their education: college.
“Jesus Christ is God, so in everything we do, we should attempt to please him, worship him and honor him,” Taylor said, and cited a study conducted by the University of Notre Dame (funded by the Cardus think tank) that measured whether a school determines the spiritual development in young people. “Only one kind of school had a major impact on the spiritual development of a student and that is a Protestant, evangelical Christian school.”
Faith Christian Academy has also seen a decline in student population due to competition with other schools in the area, a “loss of buying power in the middle class” and the “secularization of the broader society.” They are working to get funding for new tech in order to highlight the merits of their education.
The school also plans on offering financial aid for families who need assistance affording tuition.
“We want to reflect the Christian community,” Taylor said. “We want to draw students from families who can afford and cannot afford a Christian education.”
“We really do need financial aid so that we are truly reflective of the Christian community and not just those who can afford to go to a Christian school,” Taylor added. “We want to continue the spirit of students writing, speaking, praying and living in a manner that looks like they have the joy of the Lord in them without the physical restraints and limitations of not having available technology.”
Several events are planned for the next few months to keep ties within the community strong, and offer new residents the chance to learn about what Faith Christian Academy has to offer. These activities include a Pastor Appreciation Breakfast happening Oct. 31, a Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 11 and their weekly Volunteer Parents and Friends Prayer, which they hold every Tues. morning at 8 a.m. in order to pray for students and faculty.
For Taylor, it’s not about the money, or even the job – it’s about the ministry that he is able to help with “because of what Christ has done.”
“Not only will a Christian school enhance the spiritual relationship of the students with Jesus Christ, a Christian school naturally will enhance the student’s ability to work in the workplace,” Taylor said. “It has also been found to enhance community involvement, and furthermore, students who come out of a Christian school seem to have a better hope in life.”
Faith Christian Academy can be contacted at (956) 581-7777, and they are open to visitors.
This article originally appeared in the Friday Oct. 11, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.