Written by The New Pittsburgh Courier
OPEN HOUSE—Niela Nelson, Rosemary Moriarty and Shanaeh Sly chat during the Renaissance Christian Academy open house on Jan. 21. (Photo by Gail Manker)
On Jan. 28, Petra International Ministries opened their new academy, Renaissance Christian Academy, with just 17 students, a drastic decrease from the student population at Imani Christian Academy, the school the church founded and amassed to a student body of more than 200 before being ousted by the board of directors. Still Petra is hopeful the new school will further the church’s mission to provide students with a Christian centered education.
“I really feel that the missing factor in what we do day-to-day is God,” said RCA Principal Rosemary Moriarty, a veteran educator who has been a Petra member for 18 years. “The school that Petra developed and established decided they wanted to separate from the church and we felt there was a need. It’s very important for God to be part of our education process.”
The K-12 school curriculum is in line with Pennsylvania State Educational requirements and centered on accelerated and experiential learning to prepare students for careers in a technology driven workforce. The school with an extended day, which runs from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., plans to maintain its low class sizes and student to teacher ratios to provide students with a more individualized learning experience grounded in Christian teachings.
“Our students’ parents were interested especially because we’re a Christian school. Our children are purposed to do great things, we just have to be focused on developing their purpose,” said Moriarty, the former principal of the now closed Miller African-Centered Academy. “Being in the public setting we weren’t able to do that. With the separation of church and state you couldn’t get kids into really connecting. We have an opportunity to really develop our students holistically.”
Students attending RCA will be able to choose a mastery focus in areas such as math, science, performing arts, and athletics to be studied in the afternoon of the school day. In the summer, students will have the opportunity to participate in various programs to compliment the mastery program, such as career development and summer internships.
“It develops them all the way around. I know a lot of our education facilities are cutting a lot of the activities students should be exposed to, to develop a complete student,” Moriarty said. “I believe it motivates them; it stimulates them. Statistically our children are opting not to go to school because a lot of those activities are being cut out.”
The school is being primarily funded by the church, tuition from parents and individual donors. Scholarships and financial support are available to help parents pay the $5,500 annual tuition.
“We had the ability to really design a school that was focusing in on the needs of the students and being flexible enough to do the things we wanted to do,” Moriarty said. “I was retired and I felt my job wasn’t over. We’re really excited to develop a school we think will meet the needs of our students. We will develop them into champions if they put forth the effort.”
RCA is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year. For more information on enrollment, call 412-436-1011.