July 28, 2020 – Dover, NH – Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) students are returning to campus full time, five days a week this fall through the school’s Enhanced Hybrid Learning model.
PCA, in cooperation with parents, State officials, and local supporters will begin the 2020-2021 school year safely on campus on August 31. Enhanced Hybrid Learning, according to Head of School, Mike Runey, is an approach that enables PCA teachers to teach from the PCA campus to students at PCA with the capability to deliver the same instruction to off-site students simultaneously. More specifically, according to Dean of Academics, Dr. Connie Lawrence, this model of instruction facilitates learning without interruption through daily instruction by transitioning through multiple, developmentally appropriate modalities throughout the day.
“Partnering with parents for their children’s growth is our ultimate goal. To achieve this aim, with COVID disrupting our entire society as it has, we’ve developed an Enhanced Hybrid Learning model,” says Runey. “The overwhelming majority of families want to be back on campus as much as possible. Some others feel it will be best for their child to learn from home. Whatever the family situation, we want to ensure that PCA students are receiving an exceptional education. PCA’s unique Enhanced Hybrid Learning approach allows us to deliver excellence both on-site and off-site through our dedicated teachers, proven methods of excellent teaching, and the integration of new technology.”
Some changes are coming, but consistency of community, love of learning, and faithful growth continue. “Our campus and day-to-day rhythms will be a bit different, but at our core we remain the same,” continued Runey. “We’re still going to take a potential-based approach and differentiate instruction to meet the unique needs and learning styles of each child. We’re still going to emphasize the relationships within the classroom. Our mission and vision are not changing. How we educate and how students learn are adapting to the situation and even improving.”
PCA’s Dean, Dr. Connie Lawrence, says she saw the need to adjust instruction models as an opportunity. “While Enhanced Hybrid Learning is, in part, a response to the changing educational needs due to COVID-19, we welcome this opportunity to select the most appropriate tools and instructional strategies to continue delivering an excellent Christian education, within a nurturing environment that meets the needs of modern learners,” she said. Since June, Dr. Lawrence has guided PCA’s transition to Enhanced Hybrid Learning, leading a group of teachers and technical staff to adapt the school’s approach.
Planning for Enhanced Hybrid Learning began early in March, when the PCA leadership team began discussing the best approach to return safely to campus. Based on the research, a model was selected and refined. Over the summer, multiple task forces have met regularly to discuss implementation of health and safety measures, technology changes, and strategies for adjusting instruction to meet the needs of off-site and on-site students.
Health and safety are key elements of PCA’s return to school plan. Runey states, “We’re taking appropriate, focused measures to clean and sanitize regularly, implement health screenings, and require masks when social distancing is not possible. The health of our students, staff, and families is always priority, even more so as we operate with COVID in our environment.” The school leaders have been holding regular online town halls with current and interested families through the spring and summer and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. Those forums are key to communicating what the school is doing as well as listen to parents to receive their input. Together, they will be ready to start a new school year on campus, and beyond as needed, on August 31.
Since mid-June there has been a marked increase in interest in PCA. Some grades are filling up. Runey says that seats are remaining in several grades for fall enrollment. Families interested in applying to Portsmouth Christian Academy for the 2020-2021 school year should contact the Admissions Office at email@example.com or by calling 603-742-3617 ext. 121. More information about Enhanced Hybrid Learning can be found at pcaschool.org/covid-19.
Portsmouth Christian Academy has been inspiring students on the Seacoast to maximize their potential for forty years. PCA provides a nurturing educational environment that emphasizes Christ-centered community, outstanding academics, differentiated learning, and exceptional character. Located just minutes northwest of Portsmouth, NH on a beautiful fifty-acre riverfront campus, PCA is a dually accredited, independent, college-preparatory, day school where young people from Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire in Preschool through Grade 12 are challenged to thrive academically and grow as servant-leaders prepared to impact the world for good. For more information, visit pcaschool.org.