Plan now to attend the Ultimate Frisbee tournament scheduled to be hosted on our own Petra sports field on Saturday, May 4. We’ll publish a schedule as soon as it’s available, but if you and/or your students have never seen the sport played, it’s worth coming out to watch this fun, fast-paced game that’s enjoyable for all ages to watch.
On April 26, Petra’s students and staff will gather together for our third and final all-school feast of the year: our Resurrection Feast. As with each Feast, we are in need of parent volunteers willing to make crockpot mashed potatoes (potatoes and recipe provided) and help set up, serve, and tear down tables and decorations afterward. Here is a schedule for the morning:
- 8:30-10:00 Set up tables, chairs, and decorations in the atrium; begin prepping feast food for servers
- 10:30-11:30 Servers arrive to finish prepping Feast food
- 11:30-12:30 Feast time food serving
- 12:30 Early dismissal from school along with tear down in the atrium
Sign up to volunteer at the front desk. Thanks!
As a classical school, music is important to us – a “muse” whose presence and inspiration we trace throughout history as both source and soundtrack for so much of humanity’s existence.
Likewise, as a Christian school seeking to train students to worship God, we resonate with Martin Luther’s claim that, next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world for such a purpose.
All year, our Secondary staff and students have been considering classical music and its variety, ideas, melodies, and study through four different Lyceum messages (1, 2, 3, 4) written and presented by Humanities teacher Ginny Owens.
As part of this study, choir director Heidi Hornung selected and led our Secondary Choir in rehearsals of a chorale (a musical composition consisting of or resembling a harmonized version of a simple, stately hymn tune) written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Here’s how it turned out (from last week’s Spring Schola Cantorum performance):
In addition to the night’s musical offerings (clips of which you can watch at our Petra Academy Vimeo channel), we displayed art created by students in our Secondary Houses in consideration of Christ’s death and resurrection. The pieces were beautiful and thoughtful reflections to help prepare us for Good Friday and Easter later this week.
In “Art for Whose Sake?” in the spring issue of The Classical Difference, Tom Garfield writes,
Turns out that art, as with all created gifts, is for God’s sake, not its own – which means it’s for the sake and blessing of others, too. That means that Christian artists, students and adults, should offer God (and their neighbor) the best works of art possible. Skill, craftsmanship, beauty, clarity, balance, and other timeless elements are to be studied and practiced to produce an almost endless variety of quality artistic works…It’s all about imitating Him, our Father, as beloved children.”
Giving of ourselves on behalf of others – this is what we at Petra seek to do through music and art, because this is what God has done for us through Jesus. Reminding us of this Gospel truth in audio and visual forms is the highest calling that music and art – musicians and artists – can fulfill.
While many Petra graduates have moved on to post-secondary schooling at over 30 different colleges and universities, transitioning to college immediately after graduation may not be the best option for every high school graduate.
At Petra, we believe God’s call on a young person’s life may or may not include a four-year degree, with graduates pursuing military service, mission work, or technical/vocational options (including coding schools).
With this in mind, Petra’s Academic Advisor Beth Stohlmann invites parents of students – regardless of grade – to our Academic Advising Night on Tuesday, April 16, from 7-8:30 p.m. Come get your questions answered about the variety of options after Petra!
Parents are encouraged to sign up at the front desk for our mid-semester Parent/Teacher Conferences, scheduled for Monday, April 8. There is NO SCHOOL for students, so if you are able to find childcare for your child(ren), that is ideal, but we understand this is not always an option.
Schedules can be seen on the homepage of INow and will be updated (daily). If you need help accessing this information in INow with your user name and password, please call Mrs. DeGroot at 406-582-8165 or email her. NOTE: We unable to accommodate walk-ins Monday, April 8, so please plan ahead!
In recent months, we’ve offered a few posts here in our Scholar’s Forum having to do with the impact and opportunity of Petra Academy’s particular brand of classical Christian education.
In January, we introduced you to Petra senior Valerie Lewis and the significant impact that her time at Petra has had on her life (Educational Freedom). In February, I recounted a conversation with a mom weary of the cultural tension she felt in sending her kids to a classical Christian school (Preaching What We Need to Hear).
As we open up enrollment and finish the month of March, I’d like to combine an interesting 2017 study by the Barna Research Group (What Parents Look for in Christian Schools) with a few takeaways from Association of Classical and Christian School president, David Goodwin. Whether you’re a current or prospective Petra parent, I trust you’ll find yourself somewhere in the study.
THE GOALS OF EDUCATION
One question we always ask parents (current and prospective) during enrollment season is, “What are your education goals for your kids?” Barna posed a similar question and received familiar answers:
When it comes to what they consider to be the goals or ultimate purpose of education, parents of both current ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) students and prospective students want more for their children than a list of accomplishments or path to wealth. Parents clearly think of schools as meeting a complex range of student and family needs. Of course, that includes academic subjects. It also includes other ways of developing and nurturing children.
Barna asked these parents to choose the top five purposes of education. For both groups of parents, the most selected goal of education is to instill strong principles and values (current: 69%, prospective: 53%).”
While it may seem there are differences between prospective and current parents’ views, they are not so much qualitative as quantitative ones; both sets of parents want similar things, but the ordering and value of their priorities is not the same. For instance:
Prospective parents are more focused on objectives related to personal achievement and social skills like ‘practical life skills’ (51% compared to 31%), ‘increased opportunities in life’ (45% compared to 29%), and a ‘fulfilling career’ (38% compared to 22%). On the other hand, parents of current students place a higher priority on spiritual goals and a lower value on personal achievement…In addition to instilling strong principles and values, a majority of parents of current students place a high priority on five goals that include ‘love for God and other people’ (65% compared to 33%), the ‘ability to apply their knowledge’ (referred to as wisdom) (60% compared to 47%), ‘faithfulness and obedience to God’ (54% compared to 21%) and ‘leadership skills’ (52% compared to 46%).
Some parents may be vocal about STEM, sports, or AP electives. And some may care about these things. But, we should not take our eyes off what they really want the most.”
WHAT PARENTS WANT WHEN CHOOSING A SCHOOL
It’s no surprise that what Barna learned about what parents most want when choosing a school had to do with safety and staff:
Most parents are looking for a school that aligns with their general ideas about education—what a school should do. However, parents’ specific priorities when it comes to choosing a school seem to reveal another side to what they value in an education—what a school should be like.
Safety’s first. Next come quality teachers, academic excellence, and character development. Barna asked parents to rate 23 characteristics of a school from ‘essential’ to ‘nice to have’ to ‘not necessary.'”
Safety is at the top. This could be physical (building security). But, these days, it’s often the safety of their child’s feelings within the community…And genuine love cares for the souls of the students; it’s not simply a synonym for niceness. Parents can perceive the genuine love of a school as they interact with it.
There’s no substitute for good teachers. If your school values caring teachers who are accessible, it will be noticed.”
Regardless of whether you’re a current or prospective Petra parent, do these findings resonate with you? Are these some of the reasons you’re at Petra…or are thinking about being so? I’d love to hear your thoughts and interact with you if you’d care to email me.
In my next post, I’ll share some revealing findings from a survey conducted among our 7th-12th graders just before Spring Break. I think you’ll find it encouraging from a student point of view.
Through a grant from an anonymous Petra family and in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and their world-renowned Robotics Academy, Petra Academy will pilot a new robotics program this April and May. The program is open to Petra’s 7th-12th grade students and will cost $95 per student, which covers the opportunity for students to test for certification through Carnegie Mellon.
Class will meet on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4-5:30 p.m. and will not conflict with Ultimate Frisbee practice. Note: This is an academic class, not a club; attendance throughout the course is required to be eligible for certification. Interested students should sign up on the Secondary bulletin board and bring a check for $95 to Mr. Koenen, who has been certified by Carnegie Mellon to teach the course.
Currently-enrolled families have one more week of priority to lock in your returning students (including new siblings) for the 2019-20 school year; after March 15 (and as spots are available), new families may enroll – first come, first served – until classes are filled. Check your email for enrollment credentials and enroll before Spring Break to take advantage of your $100/student registration fee ($400/student fee after March 15). Questions? Contact Office Manager Karen DeGroot.