Prestonwood Christian Academy

Hybrid Learning Comes to Plano: Prestonwood Christian Academy Launches Hybrid School

BY MEREDITH KNIGHT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GREG WEGHORST, PCA

From its inception, Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) has had a clear mission: to assist Christian parents by helping equip students to embrace biblical truth, strive for academic excellence, and model Christ-like leadership to influence their culture, churches, and homes for Christ. What began as one school in Plano in 1997 has grown, as the Lord has blessed, into a school system which now includes six schools serving more than 2,000 students.

Those schools include PCA Online which began in 2009 and PCA North in Prosper established in 2014. St. Timothy Christian Academy relocated to the PCA Plano location in 2018 and The King’s Academy opened in South Dallas in 2019 with God orchestrating every step along the way. This year, PCA added a hybrid school now available to kindergarten, first, second, fifth, and sixth-grade students at their Plano campus with plans to serve kindergarten through seventh grade in 2022 and add eighth grade in 2023-24.

The Hybrid Learning Model

Long before the COVID pandemic motivated many parents to reconsider the traditional model of schooling, PCA leadership was already contemplating what the future of Christian education might look like. Enter the new PCA Hybrid, which sees students learning in a traditional classroom three days a week with two days of satellite learning at home (or another location that allows for continual learning to take place).

“Hybrid learning offers flexibility for our families,” explained PCA Hybrid Principal Bill Wendl. “It’s a great solution for parents who wish to spend more time engaging with their children and their education. Hybrid students have access to the same services, curriculum, and activities as full-time students and receive the same Christ-centered, kingdom education. One primary focus of PCA Hybrid is developing students to become more self-directed and take additional responsibility for their learning. This is often referred to as student agency.”

Wendl says the hybrid model wasn’t necessarily in response to the COVID pandemic but that the past two years have certainly been a time of discovery for many parents. “Some parents discovered their child’s school couldn’t meet all their needs,” he said. “Others realized how much they enjoyed having more time with their children. Through the hybrid model, our families receive that additional time with their children as they oversee their lessons. But parents aren’t expected to recreate any curriculum. Students tackle the same curriculum as PCA’s five-day students and are working on content already presented to them by the teacher in the classroom.”

This has been a great model for students who participate in outside activities such as competitive dance, martial arts, or competitive soccer, which require them to be out late on school nights and for young parents who themselves grew up in a hectically paced world and would like to slow things down a bit for their own kids.

“Hybrid students are getting the same Kingdom education as five-day students, including participation in chapel, Spanish, music, art, band, and additional co-curricular activities, and they enjoy lunch and recess with their five-day friends on the days they’re here,” said Chief Vision Officer Dr. Clarence Williams. “Hybrid teachers are the same highly credentialed individuals held to the same high standard as all PCA faculty. But hybrid learning allows us to expand our offerings to fit more families’ needs.”

“There has been a real awakening globally among parents who realize they only have one shot at raising their kids,” said PCA Superintendent Dr. Michael Goddard. “They want a highly morally based education for their children and are looking at many options. Hybrid school is one of them. It’s really the best of both worlds, and we feel it will be trending upward.”

Another way PCA Hybrid seeks to enhance their core program is through project-based or service-based programs. One example of this is their partnership with Engage Hope, a local nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to transforming lives and communities through the power of God’s love in Uganda, Mexico, and around the world.

“Research shows one way students learn well is finding a need, researching solutions, then looking for ways to meet that need,” Wendl said. “One need we found was the need for a Christian education in third-world countries. We presented it to the students and asked, ‘What can we do?’ They decided to plant herbs, sell them to the community, and then use the profits to sponsor children through Engage Hope. They’ve adopted two children, providing them with one meal a day plus tuition for their entire academic careers. They’re also writing to the children they’re sponsoring, children of their own age, and are sometimes able to have Zoom calls with them.”

Through this project, the students are learning the science of botany as they chart the growth of their plants, money management as they calculate their net and gross income, writing as they journal about the process, entrepreneurship as they interact with the community, and kingdom lessons as they’re responsible for children accessing a Christian education.

“From the beginning we’ve sought to invest in our students and families,” said Dr. Goddard. “We know excellence in anything is only achievable through our Savior Jesus Christ. As we’ve sought to be a better reflection of Him, He has grown our one school into six, now with the hybrid component added. This is the fastest-growing area of the country, and we’re the fastest-growing Christian school in the country. Parents are choosing to invest in their child’s kingdom education, and we’re doing everything we can to meet that need. With increased enrollment comes increased staff, and we’re working hand-in-hand with the church to see where we’re going to be and what we’re going to be as we grow. God is giving us the chance to service our community deeper. And we’re seeking to refine excellence in all we do.”

If you’d like to find out more about PCA’s Hybrid School, plan to attend one of these events:

  • March 24, 2022, at 9:30 AM at PCA Leadership Center Plano
  • March 31, 2022, at 6 PM via Zoom
  • April 21, 2022, at 9:30 AM via Zoom
  • April 28, 2022, at 6 PM at PCA Leadership Center Plano

Contact

6801 West Park Boulevard
Plano, Texas 75093
(972) 820-5300
PrestonwoodChristian.org/Hybrid