After 28 years, Raintree Christian Academy in New Port Richey will expand this winter to reach more students.
The school, open to children in kindergarten through eighth grade, will move from 4917 State Road 54 to a larger facility at 3852 Prime Way.
The relocation means an opportunity to increase enrollment from 50 students to 120 while maintaining small class sizes.
I asked principal Marilyn Tiglao about her thoughts regarding the school's success and the benefits of a Christian education.
What is your background as a Christian educator?
I received my bachelor's of science in education and master's in English language while living in the Philippines. It was important to me to find a school that I could instill Christian values and lead children to the Lord. My faith has always come first.
Tell me about the school and the curriculum?
Our school uses the A Beka Curriculum, which emphasizes strong Christian values. The A Beka Curriculum teaches specific examples aimed at Christian character building.
What makes the school unique?
Raintree Christian Academy maintains small classroom sizes, not exceeding 12 students per class. This allows our students to receive one-on-one teaching as needed and raises our standard of education. Our school is reminiscent of the little red schoolhouse, when parents could participate in their child's education.
Our small-school atmosphere welcomes all children, and they have a sense of belonging.
One of our eighth-grade students, Kristin Snyder, recently thanked us for changing her path. She didn't know God or have respect for her education until she came to our school.
Students feel safe here.
What do you think are the benefits of a Christian education?
The final aim of Christian education is production of an individual who will habitually choose to do right because it is right to do right. Students will act upon the teachings of that standard, which is the word of God.
As a Christian educator, do you worry about things such as school shootings? Is there a greater sense of safety at a Christian school?
We have a strong faith in God that he will protect us. However, there is evil in this world, and it would be irresponsible for us not to take the necessary precautions and protect our students. I think our Christ-centered atmosphere and protective teachers allow us to have a greater sense of security.
How do you teach students to handle the less-than-Christlike things they encounter in the world?
This is important as our students face challenges on a daily basis. We teach them to pray, read the word of God and seek advice from a Christ-filled individual. Perhaps a parent, pastor or teacher can help give them the direction they need during these challenges. Our Bible class encourages students to share the obstacles they face as an opportunity for us to give guidance.
What are your hopes for your students for high school and beyond?
We help the students at Raintree discover their talents that God has blessed them with. We hope they use these talents and abilities to further their education and be future leaders in our ever-changing world.
What makes you smile going to work every day?
The mere thought of seeing the smiling faces of our students and their eagerness to learn makes me smile going to work every day.
For additional information about Raintree Christian Academy visit raintreekids.com. Enrollment is now open.
Faith United Methodist Church, 12128 State Road 52, Hudson, has a Supper at the Church at 5 p.m. each Thursday, serving a main course with two side dishes, bread, dessert and beverage for $7 per adult and $3 per child. Carry-out dinners are available until 5:30 p.m. For information and the menu, call (727) 856-5000.