Broadband technology is helping to enrich education at area schools
The children begin each day with a devotion service in the chapel. They make prayer requests — sometimes for a sick family member or sometimes for a lost puppy.
Betty Madden, director at the Annville Christian Academy, says it is a great way to start the day, and it sets the tone for the school’s Bible-based curriculum.
Annville Christian Academy was established in 1985 on the historic campus of the Annville Institute at the request of parents who believed in the benefits of a faith-based education. The school offers students from any background a non-denominational Christian-based A Beka program.
“Our faculty and staff strive to share God’s love, exhibit his grace and teach his word daily, preparing students educationally, physically and spiritually to be Christian citizens wherever they go,” Madden says.
And with a broadband connection from PRTC, students at Annville Christian Academy are traveling across the globe through online streaming videos, they’re researching information online, and they’re exposed to new teaching styles through broadband.
Connecting educational institutions to the world through broadband is one reason the PRTC service area was designated a “Smart Rural Community” by NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. NTCA developed the Smart Rural Community award as a way to recognize cooperatives that are promoting and using broadband networks to foster innovative economic development, education, health care and government services.
The academy serves children from preschool through the eighth grade. There are currently 33 students enrolled, but there is room for about 70. Madden says the enrollment fluctuates from year to year.
“A lot of the kids we get struggle in larger public schools,” she says. “They sometimes don’t do well in crowds, but they thrive here in our small environment. They get a lot of one-on-one, individualized attention.”
Recently, younger students were working on an art project, older students were in the computer lab researching a history project and others were studying math.
“They get everything here they get in public schools, plus some things they don’t get,” say Madden, who points out that many public schools no longer teach cursive writing or have devalued the importance of spelling. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication, but it works.”
Madden says many of the teachers are retired from other school systems, which benefits the students because the teachers are more experienced and know the techniques that resonate with their students.
The school is privately funded, meaning it receives no government money. They operate with some grant money, but most of their operating cost is generated from fundraisers and donations from area churches. “Other than that, if we don’t raise the money, we don’t get it,” Madden says.