Editor’s note: This week concludes our overview and update on what’s new at faith-based schools. A number of local church schools were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, so we wanted to revisit all the schools on record. If you know of one that includes elementary school (not those offering just daycare or pre-kindergarten) students that was omitted, please let us know.
Friendswood’s Galloway is a private, Christian academy which suffered substantially from Hurricane Harvey.
“Last school year proved to be one of resilience and for us to aim high no matter what obstacle got in our way,” said Sherryl Gutierrez, whose portfolio here includes a kindergarten class, student life and heading up marketing efforts. “Each member of our school family from teachers, students, parents, school board, and now our extended community showed their grit during the post- Harvey rebuild. Great things happened when we put student and family needs first. We are fortunate to look back and see our school family persevere through the greatest challenges imaginable for any school. Physically, we’re almost put back together, but spiritually we are solid as a rock.”
Everything below the four-foot mark was a loss after the storm and teachers could be seen moving their materials on carts from room to room as reconstruction took place.
“More than half of our students’ families suffered major damage to their homes, and some were displaced; all but two families returned after Harvey,” Gutierrez said. “Despite all this, the school recorded its highest academic scores ever during the year of recovery and started our International Baccalaureate World School journey. To say we are a special school is an understatement. We have faith in God and we have grit, because we seek to exemplify the fruits of the Spirit as listed in the Book of Galatians.”
Galloway can be reached at 281-338-9510.
Dickinson’s True Cross Catholic School was also rained out of its home on FM 517 after Harvey. The old campus was completely gutted and has been rebuilt as an all-new home for the 70-year old school.
“We’re offering a strong curriculum for all students beginning at Pre-K3 and continuing through 8th grade including science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, Spanish, technology, physical education and fine arts with fully-equipped science and computer laboratories and an air-conditioned gym,” Tracy Sheridan, the campus coordinator said.
It may be the only school with its own fife and drum band. Jazz band and choir are also electives here.
True Cross can be reached at 281-337-5212.
Bettie Rac is a teacher at Dickinson’s Pine Drive Christian Academy which was previously known as Pine Drive Christian School.
This school lies across the street from True Cross and took in even more water. It has just now returned to this campus for the new school year.
“We’re excited to be back home in Dickinson with a name change and a new philosophy toward the education of their students.” Rac said. “Recognizing children learn in different ways and at different rates, Pine Drive has amped its curriculum to challenge students in all areas. We’ve added “Reading A to Z” and the Raz Kids online service to our reading programs to better assess students’ progress and reward them for their work completion.”
The high school here has gone on-line as well with a new course offering that includes exotics such as marine biology and Russian as a foreign language.
“We’ll also be integrating students from the Oasis Foundation for Autism into varying classroom activities and will be participating in an interactive music and phonics program used by the Oasis,” Rac said.
Pine Drive can be reached at 281-534-4881.
On the island, O’Connell College Preparatory School has long been a respected name. Katherine Hogan, who serves as both development director and a college prep adviser, said that there are new programs and faculty for the 2018-2019 calendar.
“We have launched the Acellus program complete with software, tablets and robots,” she said. “It allows students to proceed at their own pace. Our new teachers include Letitia Knipe, who brings to our school the Pi Epsilon—The Environmental Science Honors Organization. Plus, Knipe is a Master Naturalist for the Galveston Bay Area and volunteers her time in support of coastal conservation.”
Also new to O’Connell is teacher Tabitha Peña.
“She boasts a bachelor’s degree of mathematics and master’s degree in instructional design for online learning, and is currently working on her PhD in instructional design.”
O’Connell can be reached at 409-765-5534.
Next week in Our Faith: Anchor Point began as a crisis pregnancy center, but over the years has expanded to a number of other ministries. We’ll find out what else they are about.