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Curriculum

 

Pella Christian adopts curriculum standards for learning through a process of review completed by a team of teachers, administrators, board representatives, and parents.  As we create a curriculum that promotes the mission and values of our school, we choose to use standards that reflect our desired rigor and do not conflict with our beliefs. Because we are independently accredited in the state of Iowa, we have the ability to add, delete, and modify Iowa Core standards, as well as, select or write standards that match the mission of our school.  Craig Juffer, PCGS's Head of Teaching and Learning, oversees the adoption and implementation of the Pella Christian Grade School Curriculum.  If you have questions about the curriculum, please feel free to reach out to him.  You can also explore our current standards for learning and learn more about the curriculum in the links that follow. 

 

Iowa/Common Core

What is it? 
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a set of standards developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in 2010. The standards are intended to provide direction to schools in determining what students should know and be able to do at each level of the educational experience so each student will exit high school with the necessary knowledge and skills for college, career, and life. The IOWA CORE includes the Common Core with some additional standards. 

Does PCGS use the Common Core/Iowa Core? 
When each curricular area is reviewed a team of teachers, administrators, board representatives, and parent volunteers examines the Iowa Core to determine the desired level of alignment in that curricular area. As we create curriculum that promotes the PCGS vision, mission, and values, we choose to use standards from the Core only if they reflect our desired rigor and do not conflict with our beliefs. Because we are independently accredited, we have the ability to add, delete, and modify the Core.   


For further information: 

Christian Schools International (CSI) Position Statement 
"Christian Schools and the Common Core" Sheri McDonald in Christian School Educators Magazine
Iowa Department of Education Iowa Core Website

 

Early Literacy
December, 2014
 

We are all aware of the importance reading skills can play in a student’s success in school.  Research shows that children’s reading skills can predict future success and readers who are skilled are more likely to be successful following their educational career. 

In light of this information, the state of Iowa has initiated the Early Literacy Implementation efforts, which is a part of a 2012 state law to improve literacy.  This initiative is not mandated for non-public schools such as our school.  However, even though this initiative has not been funded or mandated for our schools, much of what is required is deemed best practice in literacy development and has been the practice of the educational program in our school.  This letter will explain the steps our school has been and will continue to take to ensure quality literacy development for the students in our school.

Public schools are required to use a universal screener, or assessment, to determine student reading ability and pinpoint areas of weakness that can be targeted by teachers.  Our school has been using assessments for this same purpose for many years.  Students’ reading skills in comprehension (understanding what is being read), fluency (the rate of reading), accuracy (correct reading), and phonetics (correctly sounding out words) are targeted during these assessments.  The administrators and teachers use data from these assessments to design instruction that will assist students with skills they struggle with in order to strengthen reading skills.  Students are assessed multiple times throughout the year in order to monitor progress and note growth.

You may have heard that beginning in May of 2017 those students who are identified as substantially deficient in reading by the end of third grade will be required to attend a summer reading program and/or may be retained unless they qualify for exemptions.  This does not apply to our school.  We already offer summer programs to assist and challenge students in their learning.  The determination of promotion for students remains a decision made by the school and parents. 

It is important to remember that literacy development does not stop at third grade, but continues through a child’s educational career.  As partners with you in your child’s educational journey, don’t hesitate to contact the teacher and ask what kinds of activities you might engage in at home.  Many teachers have links on the school website to quality learning sites. You might consider these ideas as well, all free!

  • Play the Alphabet game in the car (either noting letters or things that begin with that letter).  Use other games like Memory, I Spy, and Twenty Questions with your children. 

  • Reading together is also a powerful practice with your child.  As you read, ask them questions such as:

    • What do you think will happen next?  Why do you think so?

    • Who is your favorite character?  (Don’t forget to share your favorite!)

    • What has been your favorite part of the story?

  • Use your child’s spelling words and challenge them to create sentences or stories with the words – this will develop their vocabulary.

  • Pull a cartoon from the paper and talk about why it is humorous.

  • Find out what novel is being used in class and read it too; then you can talk about it when you are together.

  • You might also check out resources from the Iowa Reading Research Center at http://www.iowareadingresearch.org/literacy-resources/teacher-family-resources

We work hard to use research-based techniques in the classroom in order to give your children the education that will help them be the person God has intended for them to become.  Our mission is to challenge students to develop their individual God given gifts for a life of service in God’s Kingdom.  We are proud to partner with you in this important work. 

 
Where is your child at in his or her relationship with Jesus Christ?

Key text: 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

Question #1 = Does your child understand salvation?
Mark 10:15 -“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Although this text is addressed to adults, it references the genuine faith a child can posses.

Romans 10 - 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

A child should:

  1. Understand Godʼs plan of salvation at an age appropriate level.

  2. Understand that Godʼs plan of salvation is meant for them personally.

  3. Be able to articulate their personal “faith statement” at an age appropriate level.

  4. Begin to understand Godʼs purpose for them in the world.

 

Question #2 = What are some indicators your childʼs faith walk is developing?
This could be called the “faith walk,” and can only occur after personally understanding Godʼs plan of salvation. Luke 9:23 states: Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” As Christians, Jesus calls us all too personally follow Him. This is the process of discipleship. What does this entail?

  1. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 This is the process of discipleship, of becoming a disciple of Jesus and beginning the process of walking through life with Him.

    • Here a child should grow in his or her knowledge of Jesus Christ through scripture teaching that clearly explains the Gospel and correct doctrinal understanding of the teachings God has revealed in the Bible.

    • Fruit of the spirit begins to be demonstrated in behavior and life. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

    • Scripture memory should support this knowledge.

    • Development of spiritual disciplines: personal Bible reading, prayer and giving

    • Worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

    • Service: An attitude of service to God cultivated through projects etc.

    • Giving: Personal giving can happen through school activities and projects.

  2. The continual development of a Biblical worldview can only happen if the above are happening for each student in a personal way. To grow the childʼs world view:

    • All subjects are taught from a Biblical and distinctly Christian point of view.

    • A Biblical worldview begins with an understanding of how God created the heavens and the earth, and that we are his handiwork. The concept of stewardship of Godʼs world and what he has given us to manage are to be developed.

    • The concept of a Biblical world view builds in all the grade levels and eventually moves into concepts of Godʼs call for each person to kingdom service. In essence we are learning our place in Godʼs creation and exploring Godʼs personal call to serve Him in our lives.

Question #3 = What are some indicators your child is walking by faith, not by sight?
“The Christian walk” is the culmination of a personal faith and an age appropriate Biblical worldview, which guides daily living, behavior and life choices.

This is where we begin to train children to walk “not by sight, but by faith.” What then is “sight?” It is “what seems right in our own eyes.” Judges 16:7, Proverbs 12:15 How then do we train students in this aspect of their personal faith walk so they live authentic lives based on Biblical principles, “not by sight?”

  1. Teaching that affirms the origin and inspiration of the Bible.

  2. A Biblical understanding of the origin of all things.

  3. Teaching Biblical norms, standards and guidelines for living in obedience to God.

  4. Age appropriate exploration of the fallacies of secularism with affirmation of the wisdom of Godʼs plan for mankind.

  5. Age appropriate defense of oneʼs faith and oneʼs Biblical worldview.

  6. A clear understanding that all of creation belongs to God and that all aspects of my life are service to Him. No part of my life is truly secular.

 

Benchmarks

View Curriculum Maps
View by Grade level by viewing the PCG maps in the drop down menus