Spiritual engagement facilitates a deeper dimension to learning, as students discover who they are and who God created them to be. At CHCA, as students probe the mysteries of God’s created order, they come to understand their individual roles in Christ’s ongoing redemptive plan for mankind. This is the unique lens through which we approach education at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. This is what sets us apart.
We begin with the youngest grades learning about Jesus and what it means to walk with Him.And from helping our adolescent students grow spiritually as they grapple with social, emotional, and physical changes, to encouraging our oldest students to ask and wrestle with the tough questions as they prepare to enter an increasingly complex world, we support our students in their faith walk every step of the way. We are called to serve students and help them discover their passion for God’s world— and their unique place in it.
To continue to strengthen our unique position among independent schools, we are integrating programs to educate teachers and facilitate their ability to build faith and reason into their subject matter. These new professional and personal development opportunities will help our faculty strengthen their individual skills more deeply and provide even more opportunities to take advantage of theological moments across every part of our curriculum. As always, our ultimate goal is that if someone sat in any class at any time at CHCA, it would appear significantly different than a similar class at ANY other school.
“Theological integration is unique to CHCA,” says Dr. Dean Nicholas, Upper School Principal. “We want students to be thinking in Christ-centered ways in everything they do, from math and science, to literature, history, and the arts.”
At CHCA, being a Christian educator is more than being an educator who is a Christian. “We want teachers who are not just believers; we want them to think about their academic discipline differently because of what they believe,” Nicholas explains.
Enabling theological integration means empowering teachers to bring their faith into the classroom in new ways.
“I want us to intentionally work with faculty to affect how they think about faith and Christian theology in their discipline. Workshops, in-services, and retreats can dynamically shift who the teachers are, and help them transfer that understanding to their students,” he added.
And how does this approach affect the students of CHCA?
“Theological integration limits the students’ abilities to compartmentalize faith and belief from everything else they do,” Nicholas says. “I want them to realize that everything they do from this point forward—the way they think about entertainment, the way they shop, the way they think about family, the way they think about where they live and how they live—that faith should infuse all aspects of their lives.”
All of that begins here in the classrooms at CHCA. From the time they’re young children, our students are thinking about everything they’re learning through a Christ-centered lens. Education is not just something used to better themselves, get a good job, make more money, or be important. Education is a tool to further the Kingdom.
“As a student, the Light the Way campaign means a whole new horizon of opportunities for my faith,” says student Emma Treadway ‘17. “Sometimes, among work, school, and other responsibilities, my faith can, sadly, sit on the back burner. With the enlightened curriculum and faith-integrated learning, I can nurture a deeper relationship with God while being challenged to my limit academically. Rather than focusing on faith just in chapel or Christian Studies, I can constantly delve into my faith throughout all of my classes. Now, I can better make my relationship with God #1 in my life.”
Relational engagement is fostered by caring faculty, staff, coaches, and parents. Students who care for each other and believe they are in a relationally secure environment feel a sense of belonging and are more motivated to learn than their peers who don’t enjoy this sense of community at school. From the beginning, our founders intended CHCA to be a school where students could find connections, with small class sizes and opportunities to build lasting relationships with peers and mentors.
Students who care for each other ...feel a sense of belonging and are more motivated to learn.
With this in mind, we have reconfigured our school programs to best meet the relational needs of our students while helping them reach their full God-given potential. Moving from a building-centric approach to a program-centric strategy ensures that student transitions from one grade to the next are more developmentally appropriate, resulting in increased independence and confidence. While some of these programmatic changes have been instituted, the physical spaces to support these will further enhance this experience.
To facilitate the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, CHCA has reconfigured the Upper School program to consist of grades 7-12, with grades 7 and 8 remaining in their own
By the time students reach the upper elementary years, their worlds are expanding, and they have an increased sense of independence as they try to understand their place in their widening community. That’s how CHCA’s Upper Elementary Principal Nancy Buckman explains this critical period in pre-adolescent brain development known as “brain pruning.”
“At this age, students have increased abilities in memory, reasoning, and planning. Children are becoming logical and beginning to develop abstract thinking,” she shares.
CHCA’s Upper Elementary program (grades 4-6) bridges these important transitional years by creating an encouraging environment where students discover their strengths and build a toolkit of study skills and learning habits— all while developing confidence and resilience in the face of new challenges and opportunities. Students are prepared intellectually, socially, and spiritually to dive into the next phase—and relationships play an important role in the transition.
“Pre-adolescent children strive to balance their desire for adult attention and affirmation with the increasing importance of peer approval,” explains Buckman. “Establishing one’s role and place in the school’s social world takes on an ever increasing importance. It can be a frustrating and challenging time as they navigate through the academic, athletic, and social arenas.”
For optimal academic and emotional success, our Upper Elementary uniquely addresses the needs of pre-adolescent children. Teachers design lessons incorporating hands-on activities with in-depth discussions where the children wrestle with challenging questions. Teachers are aware of the importance of friends and belonging at this age, and they see the need for our students to experience opportunities within the school walls to develop their social skills and sense of self. They provide opportunities for students to work together, building supportive communities of mutual respect where they learn to work cooperatively and collaboratively.
At every stage of development, we meet the needs of our students while providing a stimulating learning Relational Engagement environment.
Cognitive engagement, supported by experiential, hands-on discovery, is developed through adept teaching, stimulating discussions, and increased expectations for personal responsibility.
Students who care for each other ...feel a sense of belonging and are more motivated to learn.
CHCA is a school comprised of motivated learners. Notably, 84% of our students take AP classes, with 41% earning AP Scholar Distinction. Thanks to our dedicated faculty and students, we have an Aquaponics program that has gained national recognition, and our robotics team is ranked in the top 5% in the world.
Establishing a Teacher Innovation Fund will provide financial resources for teachers to use innovative, high-engagement learning opportunities for students, while reaching their established benchmarks.
Faculty will be able to apply for grants to purchase equipment or technologies, attend workshops, pursue professional development, and explore innovative ways to further advance program opportunities and curricula for our students, ultimately enhancing students’ learning experiences.
“I teach mathematics hands-on, using a ‘concrete to pictorial to abstract’ sequence of instruction,” says CHCA Lower Elementary Teacher Suzanne Kloster. “This sequence is designed to build understanding showing students the why before they learn the how. It enhances engagement. We’re building a foundation of understanding by seeing what it looks like. We’re going to build it before we solve it. When students construct numbers in this way, they understand it. I’ve found that if they touch it and build it, they can work to solve it. My goal is to take them from a place of full support to gradually release full responsibility to them. And I make mistakes in front of them because it’s important for them to know that it’s okay to stretch, take a risk, fail, and try again.”
At CHCA, students are encouraged to be innovators, trying new things as they build on their knowledge. Head of School Randy Brunk explains: “Our students are heading into a world that is far less dependent on just knowing things and far more dependent on what one can do with knowledge. Our new economy depends on embracing what works well and improving on that which does not. In order for this to happen, students must deeply understand how things work first, and then tinker and manipulate to envision something better.”
Our new spaces and resources are designed to build a new level of cognitive engagement for each student that leads to these deep understandings.
“The thoughtful changes occurring across our school system are creating opportunities for my son and daughter that are having a magical impact on their lives,” says CHCA parent Todd Uterstaedt. “My son is able to tap into the math resources of the newly realigned Upper School structure and my daughter’s interest in the theater is nurtured by our school’s ever expanding and strengthening Arts program. I know the work ahead will only add to their vibrant, Christ-filled education.”
With an increasing number of families starting their schooling earlier, the opportunity exists to provide the best Christian education to students at an even younger age. With this in mind, and taking into account the needs of our own families with young children, we will expand our current Early Childhood program.
We will implement curricular enhancements to best serve the developmental needs of toddlers and pre-school age children.
Under the leadership of a new Early Childhood Program Director, we will implement curricular enhancements to best serve the developmental needs of toddlers and pre-school age children in the warm, nurturing environment for which our program has always been known. We are excited to answer the demand for high-quality, Christ-centered programs that stimulate our youngest minds and lay an exceptionally strong foundation for growth.
We want to engage our families and students on a broader level with increased opportunities for athletics, community gatherings, and other activities. To this end, we will build a large multi-purpose facility that will accommodate everything from sports tournaments to multi- campus worship events. Instead of traditional flooring, this facility will have indoor sports rubber flooring. This special rubberized flooring will allow CHCA to easily transition between using the facility as a basketball court (or two) or sports practice space to a Homecoming dance or graduation ceremony.
The new space will be a place to gather in fellowship, a place to make connections, and a place to come together as the CHCA community.
Expanding and maintaining our current facilities will help ensure safe, convenient access for families and visitors. By extending the Founders’ Campus exterior, we can significantly improve the carpool process, facilitate traffic flow, and improve parking; and a centralized bus loading and unloading area will ensure safe arrival and departure of our students.
We listened to the members of our community—and heard requests for more Christ-centered learning experiences for children of younger ages. Our expanded preschool program will provide the high-quality education people have come to expect from CHCA, now available to our littlest community members. Additionally, our new multi-purpose community space will give all of us a place to gather in fellowship. You’ve told us how you feel, and we are delighted to hear how God has used CHCA to change lives for the better.
“When considering the education path for our children, we knew that we desired a Christian-based experience that would provide rich learning opportunities,” say CHCA parents Misty and Brad Meyer. “The academic and spiritual growth we’ve seen in our children has been so exciting to witness. We attribute it not only to the Christ-centered curriculum, but more so to the loving spirit that you feel the moment you walk through the doors of CHCA. The superior faculty/staff and the topnotch facilities create a learning environment that my family trusts and sincerely appreciates; we are forever grateful for the stamp they’ve made on our family’s life.”
For all new or increased pledges/gifts to the Light the Way Capital Campaign, a dollar-for-dollar match will be made - up to $300,000!
This challenge made possible by generous contributions of:
Make your pledge and stop by The CHCA Development Office at 8247 E. Kemper Road
and put your permanent mark on our new foundation. (M-F from 8:30am-5:00pm)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
The foundation has been laid. We have seen what is possible through faith. Now is the time to act: How is God calling upon you to build upon our vision and provide for a new generation of students?
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