We are looking for community help to fund intensive tutoring and focused teaching to overcome learning gaps that the recent Covid-19 outbreak has caused. These are students who try, but who want to learn and succeed.
The First Baptist Church of Lady Lake was founded by Dr. Paul Harsh, II, more than twenty-five years ago. Two years ago, we reopened Heritage Christian Academy (it had been open for nearly ten years, but suspended operation while our Pastor was extremely ill and not expected to survive). This was in response to a great need in the community caused by school closures and remote learning situations forced on the parents in response to Covid-19. Currently 94% of our students are classified in the low-income bracket and receive state and local aid.
These past two years, Heritage Christian Academy has identified the need for intensive tutoring and focused teaching to overcome learning gaps that the recent Covid-19 outbreak has caused in primary school education. During this time, some students have failed to thrive and progress during the Covid-19 isolation period. Even after they have returned to school, the lost face-to-face education left an issue. We saw that this gap is further exacerbated in students that already had difficulty learning due to problems at home, single parent households, students’ experiences as the target of bullies, and living in dangerous communities (such as gangs, drugs, or fear of finding their next meal). These are not students who fail to try, or are otherwise disinterested in succeeding at school. These are students that the public education system has failed.
To address this, Heritage Christian Academy is looking to staff a special education team that will focus on children with the education, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. In the right setting, support, and with sufficient one-on-one assistance, these students can be brought up and beyond the grade level appropriate to their age. Unfortunately, this cannot happen in a public school setting that does not recognize the necessity for God’s helping hand in the children’s lives.
We are seeking assistance from the community, for funding this program. It is calculated that staffing a teacher specialized in this area and focused on a small group of students (ideally keeping the teacher/student ration to no more than 1 to 5) will cost $65,000 above the current Florida State scholarship funding levels for the initial three years. Although some of this will come from State scholarships for these special needs children, to guarantee a successful program and keep the teacher/student ratio small enough for the added one-on-one teaching required, community funding will also be required.
If you or your organization can assist us, by donating some or all of that funding, it would be a blessing to the church, the school and most importantly the children.
Our financial credo is simple and Biblical. We know that we are all simply stewards of the resources God has made available. To this end, we maintain a debt free church and operate strictly on the Free-Will Offering of our congregation and supporters. The school operates in a similar fashion, and we operate entirely on funds received for the actual cost of operation. Since the Step-Up Scholarships received by students is extremely limited and does not usually meet our actual expenses, our congregation matches outside scholarship amounts with local donations to enable students to learn in an environment that shows them the guidance and miracles of God.
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