A couple of years ago I sat down with a preschool parent who was considering continuing on with the CBA elementary program. His biggest question was, “What is the data to prove the elementary program will be a success?” Great question! Recently, I met with another family and they asked, “What if we start with a bilingual elementary program but one day we move, will my child be able to thrive in an English only environment?” Another great question. In this blog I would like to answer both of these questions, as well as share the vision for our facilities as we continue to accommodate amazing growth (there are almost 200 students enrolled this school year!).
While my explanation will be brief, we will unpack this theme further in our September 17, 2019 Director’s coffee and chat.
This past school year we launched our full day elementary program (1st-2nd grades). This year we will add 3rd grade. Students spend two-thirds of the school day in Spanish and one-third in English. We wrap our instruction around hands-on, project-based learning where students actively engage with our learning objectives. They learn how to listen, think, solve, speak, read and write as they study fascinating science and social studies topics (the solar system, the anatomy of birds, the civil rights movement…). We also employ Singapore Math and robotics, teaching students strategies and applications to think mathematically (as opposed to just memorizing), which serves as a basis for logic-based, critical thinking. Here are just 4 crucial data points we are tracking:
Children love school. In line with our mission to “Inspire”, we are cultivating a desire to learn in each student (output data tracked in faculty meetings, observations, parent surveys). Joy is crucial, especially when our culture is witnessing a massive increase in students with mental health issues from elementary through college.
Students take a nationally normed, standards-based test (Measures of Academic Progress) 3 times a year that allows us to monitor their growth and compare it to local and national norms. The class average superseded the national average student growth in English Language Arts and Math (in English) even though we only teach English 2 hours/day. The class average also superseded the national bilingual norms, demonstrating more growth in Spanish Language Arts and Math (in Spanish). Let me restate that, CBA students grew more in language arts and math than the average US student, and they did that in 2 different languages (output data)!
Students are stronger critical thinkers (predictive data and output data observed in science, math and robotic class observations/ classroom assessments)
Children are loved at school. Parent satisfaction surveys overwhelmingly confirmed what we see in classrooms every day (output data). Students are protected and loved deeply by CBA faculty. And beyond the faculty, students learn daily through our Gospel Project curriculum that God loves them even more, which we see powerfully through the life, death, resurrection, and current reign of Jesus Christ (input data tracked in lesson plans, class discussions, and observations).
CBA is constantly being crafted to prepare students for the unpredictable, globalized 21st century by preparing multilingual thinkers who desire to serve others through the love of the Triune God. Each year we are pursuing more data to demonstrate this reality. And as a result, the school continues to grow. And yes, our bilingual, critically thinking students are prepared to thrive in any environment (bilingual or English only).
Here is the final question to answer in this blog, “How will CBA maintain this unprecedented growth?” The entire CBA story is a God-sized story. He gets all of the credit for starting the school, equipping it, staffing it, and growing it. And we invite you to join us in expectant prayer that He will give us a new elementary building. God is currently providing 4 modular classrooms that we will install this year. Additionally, in the last 2 years we have raised $440,000. $50,000 has been reinvested into facility renovations (including our new basketball court!) The remaining $390,000 are in CDs earning interest. We are praying this year that God will provide anchor donors to cover $2 million toward the $3.5 million elementary wing that we have designed.
We are starting our 5th full school year, and like Ezra in the Bible, we give thanks to God for the firm foundation He has established.
“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord , "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord , because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”