COVID-19 and Distance Learning

 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Portsmouth Christian Academy has temporarily shifted instruction to an online format. While our physical campus is quiet these days, our offices remain open and able to assist PCA families and members of the community. We’ve compiled a list of helpful contacts and links below that may be helpful during this time.

Office Hours and Contact Information

Admissions:
The Admissions Office is open! To learn more about PCA, schedule a virtual tour, or ask questions about the application process, email admissions@pcaschool.org or call 603-742-3617 ext. 121. The Admissions Office is open from 8 AM – 3 PM Monday through Friday. You may also learn more about PCA by browsing our website.

Lower School:
Lower School families may contact Sue McKenney at the Lower School Office with questions. The Lower School Office is available via email during regular school hours on Monday through Friday, and by phone at extension 112 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-12. In addition, Lower School parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher. Contact information for each teacher can be found in Veracross.

Upper School:
Upper School families may contact Kim Cummings at the Upper School Office with questions. The Upper School Office is open during regular school hours on Monday through Friday. In addition, Upper School parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher. Contact information for each teacher can be found in Veracross.

Head of School:
To contact the Head of School Office, please contact Shirley Tuten.

Advancement:
If you are interested in learning how you can support the mission of PCA, the Advancement Office is open during regular school hours on Monday through Friday. Please contact Dan Schmunk, the Director of Advancement, with questions.

Updates from Head of School Mike Runey

What is PCA's plan for in-person classes in the fall?

PCA is preparing now to bring students back to our classrooms this fall. By planning now how best to meet the needs of our families, we maintain the quality of our current model while improving differentiation by incorporating the use of technology.

We are developing an enhanced hybrid learning approach that will allow PCA teachers to teach from PCA, to students at PCA, and reach beyond PCA to offsite students. This means our teachers will be delivering instruction from our campus to onsite students in the classroom, with the capability to deliver the same instruction to offsite students. Offsite students will participate in the full traditional school day including lectures, class discussions, Socratic seminars, group projects, and more, just as they would if onsite, through video conferencing technology and learning tools that engage them where they are.

Hybrid learning is designed to integrate the best of face-to-face and online activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate one another, offering opportunities of choice, extension, and skill reinforcement.

You might be asking, “Why so much emphasis on a different model of learning?” There are two major reasons: rapidly changing health and safety guidelines and the unique health situations within families that may force families to deem onsite learning unsafe. This hybrid learning approach allows for agility, permitting high quality, familiar learning to continue without interruption.

What is PCA's plan for graduation?

Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) has announced plans to hold graduation for the class of 2020 in person at a drive-in, walk-through” graduation ceremony on the school’s 50-acre campus in Dover. 

Click here to learn more. 

Community update 4/5/20

Dear PCA Parents and Guardians:

I hope you have had a restful and healthful weekend. That last point has increasingly been the prayer for many of us for each other. 3rd John 1:2 says, “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” On this Palm Sunday, a day that points us to our Jesus’s suffering and physical death at Calvary, my hope is we can continue to be drawn deeper into fellowship with Him in light of the increasing suffering and death in our world, our nation(s), our communities, and our families.

Our theme at PCA this week is connection in light of the cross and resurrection. This week, when normally we would be connecting and reflecting together in our different services and small groups—Palm Sunday today, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday…all in anticipation of Easter—we are accustomed to do so in community, probably more than any time of year. As a Christian school, the hope of the cross and resurrections– which we normally would recognize this week together–gives us our purpose and power to pursue excellence and serve and love others well. Yet, for valid and understandable reasons, we cannot gather this year. Yet, we are committed to connecting as we can.

This week, culminating on Good Friday, our school is going to be working to connect more meaningfully and deeply. Some key points:

  1. We will be using the same tools—no additions! What you are used to, we will continue to use; for those who raised concern about Zoom overall (stories that made national news), we did not have any incidents I am aware of and have taken several steps to increase security, as has Zoom. We still believe that, with these measures in place, we can continue to integrate the best of Microsoft Teams and Zoom to enable us to connect remotely most effectively and securely.
  2. Several fun, easy activities are planned throughout the week, all in an effort for bring us together more effectively this week. Both principals have standing challenges aimed at doing this—can the High School meet the challenge and get Mr. Foley to shave his beard by Friday?
  3. We will be connecting this Friday, Good Friday, in different ways than normal. Each principal will provide further guidance, but the focus is learning through connection, fellowship, and reflection this Friday—not primarily academic work. We will also have forms of chapel.

Feedback and communication. As I have done in the past, I have asaked for your feedback on last week with an eye to the coming weeks. For those who have not responded yet, you can find a link in the PCA NOW. For those who have responded, here is what you are telling us already:

-Need for prayer support. Your biggest request is for prayer—know we will be praying for you. I would also encourage you to connect with our prayer teams:

Moms in Prayer every Tuesday at noon and every Thursday at 8:00 pm via Skype! Please provide Glory Koshy or Stacey Hornbeck with your email address, and she will send a Skype invitation to you.

Fathers in Prayer,” Please contact Anders Lund with questions about our upcoming virtual prayer meetings.

PCA Leadership Team prays daily for the PCA community. If you have a specific prayer request which you would like to share with the team, please CLICK HERE.

-Need for tech help. Two families have asked for tech help. If that is a need for your family, please visit  PCA’s Tech Exchange by following the link in the resources section of Veracross’s parent portal. Have a hardware need? Have a question? Post it here. Together we can meet the needs. We have several laptops (Windows and Chromebooks) available to loan at the school. If interested, post on the Tech Exchange.

Need for relief of workload. We continue to hear from some families that you feel overwhelmed with the work and remote learning load. At least three families, of nearly twenty, are really struggling in this area. Because the feedback form is anonymous, I don’t have a way of reaching out to you. Each family is different and unique, and we WILL come alongside you in this season. At the town hall we emphasized this point. But if you continue to be overwhelmed with everything, please call us, or write me (mruney@pschool.org) Please, please, do not let this continue without talking to me, a principal, or Dr. Lawrence. You are not alone. We are here to help, extend grace, create workarounds. Remember, we support you, the parent, in directing/limiting the load with your child.

In closing, thank you for your support and partnership in all of this. We continue to especially thank and lift up in prayer our healthcare professionals, front-line workers, and first responders, as well as their families. As a group, your families are the largest single professional group among all our PCA families. And for all of us, this is my prayer:

Lord, help us individually and collectively to seek You and learn from You this week—even amidst the threats and challenges we are facing. Help us grasp hope this Holy week, in that as You suffered and died, yet You live, and you extend such life to all who call on your name and believe, regardless of who we are, where we are, or what we have done or not done. And help us to come and help others, as You helped, encouraged, and ministered to so many in your suffering. Give us Your wisdom, courage, and faith for our daily needs and for the needs of all those around us so we can live kindly, graciously, and boldly to Your glory and others’ good in these difficult and perilous days. We claim this hope, because we are learning to put our hope in you, Lord. With your strength, may we put our faith in action. Amen.

Thank you, and may you sense the Lord’s presence, love, and grace.

Mike Runey

Community update 3/23/20

PCA Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update (As of 3/23/2020)

Today (Monday, March 23) we begin week two of distance learning at PCA. Last week we successfully implemented a distance learning plan for our students, and we are looking forward to continuing to improve our instruction in this new week.

One way that we seek to build on our instruction is by providing the necessary technological resources to our families. At this time, we are seeking donations for new or gently used laptops to be loaned to families for the purpose of remote instruction. If you are able to help, visit this link. 

While our learning is now happening from a distance, our offices remain open. Please continue to reach out with any questions by calling 603-742-3617.

During this time of social distancing, we encourage PCA families to continue building community via our online social networks. PCA parents are welcome to join the PCA Community Facebook Group, and students and Friends of PCA are encouraged to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Update to families 3/15/2020

PCA Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update (As of 3/15/2020)

Dear PCA Families:

At 1PM today, SUN 15 MAR 2020, Governor Sununu held a press-conference in which he directed all public schools to transition to remote learning starting tomorrow (MON, 16 MAR) through 3 April. His team also updated the community on COVID-19 in NH, and other educational impacts/ways ahead. The link is HERE—the total time is 1 hour; I believe it is well worth your time. My notes follow at the end of this message.

What does this mean for PCA? In short, we have already begun down this path and will continue to execute what I laid out Friday: MON is in-service for staff and faculty (students have learning already assigned); TUE we start  remote learning.

At the Governor’s request,  we will prepare to conduct remote teaching and support until 3 April—his reassessment date. Although his press conference indicates private schools are included in the order, a follow-up email from the Governor’s office clarified that we are not bound as a private school by the Governor’s decision. But as members of the greater community we take his requests as a key factor in our decision-making process as we do what is best for our students, families, staff, and faculty. Our local and state governments have been very supportive of us, and their requests deserve great consideration. They are also reasonable based on the circumstances as we know them today.

Thank you for your continued support. We will be communicating with you in the coming days as we begin the transition to remote learning. Know we are praying for you and trust God to work with you and alongside you. We remain committed to excellent Christian education, in all mediums.

In Christ’s service for everyone’s good,

Mike

Community update 3/13/2020

Updates from Head of School Mike Runey

Updates from Head of School Mike Runey

PCA Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update (As of 3/13/2020)

Dear PCA Community:

As of this writing, there are no known cases of COVID-19 among our student body, faculty, or parents.

Recognizing that the risk to PCA students, families, faculty, and staff from Coronavirus (COVID-19) remains low but is evolving in our county, state, nation, and around the world on a daily basis, we are preparing for the possibility of temporary distance learning for our students.

As part of our commitment to providing an excellent education to our students, and to ensure that our teachers, students, and families are equipped for the online learning that may be necessary as the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we will not hold in-person classes this Monday or Tuesday, March 16 and 17.

On Friday, March 13, students will be sent home with assignments to complete during the day on Monday while PCA personnel will be on campus training in preparation for remote learning. On Tuesday, March 17, remote learning will take place for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12.

On Tuesday, March 17, we will make decisions about whether classes will resume in-person on Wednesday, March 18. We plan to continue monitoring the situation day-by-day, and updates will be made to this webpage as the situation changes. In addition, an FAQ is included below.

During the next few days, we are following the recommendation to limit large-group gatherings. As of this writing, we’re postponing tonight’s Jazz Night, weekend activities, and all after-school activities for Monday and Tuesday, including Kaleidoscope, theatre practice, sports practices and the Athletic Banquet. As new plans are made for these events, updates will be shared on our website.

We are confident that this plan ensures that we will continue to serve the PCA families who have entrusted our school with the education of their children. We know that our God is bigger than coronavirus, bigger than school closings and travel cancellations, bigger than our finances, and bigger than our fears. I encourage you to be smart about personal hygiene and group gatherings, and to follow recommended protocol. Beyond that, I encourage you to trust the Lord during this period and to remember that His plans for us are good, even when we can’t see it in the moment.

Blessings,

Mike Runey

PCA Community

Compassionate Community is a theme for PCA this year, and that is no accident! While social distancing means we are not physically coming together as a community, there are many ways that we can continue to build community from afar. First, if you haven’t already, be sure to join the PCA Community Facebook Group to interact with other members of the PCA family. Second, check the Better Together Blog for posts from members of our community, which may include resources, advice, or reflections meant to encourage and support the PCA family. Third, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with information from PCA!

Resources for PCA Families

Prayer

The PCA Community is praying for you! To get involved or to submit prayer requests, see the details below:

“Moms in Prayer” meet every Tuesday at noon and every Thursday at 8:00 pm via Skype!

Fathers in Prayer” Please contact Anders Lund with questions about our upcoming virtual prayer meetings.

The PCA Leadership Team prays daily for the PCA community. If you have a specific prayer request which you would like to share with the team, please CLICK HERE.

Technology

Have a hardware need? Have a question about technology? Post it at the PCA Tech Exchange, which can be accessed via the parent portal in Veracross. Together we can meet the needs of our community. PCA has several laptops (Windows and Chromebooks) available to loan to PCA families who need addiitional resources to accomodate at-home learners.

Parents, here’s a link to information about how to protect your children while using Zoom.

Volunteer: Requesting + Offering Help

We invite you to connect with us and each other by completing this short questionnaire to let us know how we can help you and how you may be able to help others, as we unite in Christ to help each other through these uncertain times.

Click here to find the form in the Veracross Parent Portal.