Franklin school may close after funding dries up
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#1 Oct 6, 2008
My child attended Kindergaten at Somerset last year.
The school had 97 children last year. In Kindergarten, there was 12 in the class. Miss Rie is an excellent teacher. However, without leadership, her effectiveness is limited.
Mary Martin is not a good principal. She is the reason why the school is not viable.
The school is not culturally sensitive to African American and Latinos.
Martin told me in a meeting the state would pay extra for any child that is identified as needing special ed. My Child is in New COnvenent this year, and is on track to make the honor roll. I live in Somerset so I am driving further and to school for the same tuition. If New Convenant can double in size, what is the real issue at Somerset Christian?
The African American parents in the lower school were offended that she told every paren that their child should repeat their current grade.
I call that the Private School hustle.
I found Somerset Christian did not offer enough expectations and structure. The kids love it because so little is asked of them. I feel my son learned more in the first month of his new school then he did at SCA.
The girls excelled in this lax environment, but the boys did not. To make this school work SCA need a stronger principal.
By the way, Parents are very hesitant to take a child out of private school. So the economy is not to blame for the declining enrollment - Martin is.
Other parents who removed thier children from the school are now going to Cedargrove academy. THis cost twice as much.
Martin also alienated lots of parents because she had no respect for the culture of Somerset. She was intent on turning it into Timothy Christian.
SHe hired a 1st grade teacher that could not control 12 reasonably mannered children. When the parents complained Martin did nothing. Parents had to sit with the class for her to learn control.
One parent, who was on the board, took 3 kids out of the school in the early part because of her unresponsiveness to the lack of experience of the first grade teacher. THat was 4% of the tuition budget.
Somerset Christian demise is bought on by the Board not responding to parent dissatisfaction and not firing Martin.
Until Somerset Christian becomes more sensitive to the cultural requirements of African American and Latino children,the majority last year, they will not succeed. I feel that Martin was ill equipped to handle Middle and upper income African American parents.
I pay tuition because I expect my child, and my concerns to be taken seriously. I could get inexperienced teachers, and dictatorial Principals, in Public school
All you Somerset Christian parents. After Kindergarten, come on over to New Convenent.
This is a school that expects great things; and achieves it.
#2 Oct 11, 2008
It is a damm shame that Pillar of fire doesn't have their prioeities in the right places.How do you just close up 101 years of commmunity serice to others. Lets close down the radio station instead!!! What about the church!!!! Rob Cruver doesn't need a job!! he was all for closing the highschool a year ago.
#3 Oct 11, 2008
Nobody was quite sure who they are.
The Pillar of Fire radio station is what helped subsidize the school
The fact is I blame the PRincipal.
Pillars of Fire and I feel Miss Martin were not interested in serving the community they are in. That is Upper Middle Class African American and Latino families.
The school was to permissive and had no expectations of the students. The kids learned how to make excuses instead of academics.
THe school is viable if they change their Principal and philosophies. If they allowed Cliff to act as Discpline Coodinator a lot of their problems would be solved, even with the new Principal.
The families that were there were wonderful people. The staff was wonderful people.
But 50% of the PREk, Kin, and 1st grade kids parents opted to send them to other PRIVATE school
The families out there can afford the 4500-5500 tuition.
I will say that the high school was not accredited. And I would question the wisdom of sending my son there. SO it made sense to eliminate the high school.
They have alienated a lot of parents. Not just last year, but the year before last. So unhappy parents go to sports events, and talk to their neighbors, and that does not help the school.
They need to change their leadership.
#4 Oct 12, 2008
I ask Pillar. What about the other ministires that are doing well in the ecomony we have today? Are we just going to through in the towel at them too? I hear the radio station isn't doing well. Autumn Blaze. and the college. Why not just close them up. Oh, I forgot we already did away with that life changing ministry to work on new ideas. Shame on all of you. The founding fathers I am sure are turning over in their graves at all of you. You need to be more creative in helping to support you own ministires in your own community then sending money to others.
Wake up Pillar!!!!!!!!!!
#5 Oct 12, 2008
Pillar might have had a good idea - but a bad business plan.
The sad thing is there are good teachers who have spent their lives building SCA.
What is to become of them.
I hope they can find a place to teach. Many are only interested in working in a Christian school. And they are very few in this area.
Franklin, Hillsbourough, Middlesex, Manville, all have very crowded Catholic schools. Most parents choose SCA because it WAS NOT CATHOLIC.
We choose it over Timothy Christian cause they a little wierd over there.
They are leaving a big hole. Hopefull the other 2 little known CHristian schools (Eternal Life and Community Baptist) will step up their marketing an drive.
#6 Oct 12, 2008
It is a terrible decision and a poor choice that Pillar has made. But this was in the plans for several years. We all knew that something was terribly wrong when the entire adminstration team left all in the same year. Only a feww weeks from each other. Wendall, Emir and Danille were smart when they left. Even though it left a hole in many of our hearts. They knew that the schools future was in jeporady. They saw the writng all over the wall. They knew that Pillars interest in the small school that served so many families for over 100 years was coming to the end. Pillars expectaions of enrollment and the amount of money SCA was to make was not reasonable. Many believe that they were not in business for a ministry any more but rather to seek some sort of profit.They would rather send money to other Pillar schools than help, support, and build the model school that SCA has always been. It is a shame that they refuse to support the school that is across the street, in the same community but to support other schools. What is Wrong with you all. What about all the lives that had been changed as a result of all of the dedicated and caring teachers that work effortlessly to minister to children and families. SCA is more than just a school. We are a family with in family.The staff and families are very close. They are connected to each other in ways that you could never inmagine. You will never be able to replace or go to another school like SCA. SCA is a unique school of it own.
#7 Oct 13, 2008
My heart and prayers go out to each and everyone of the teachers. Anita, Rie,Donna,Charlie and Bob. These deciated teachers have helped to crerate what SCA is today. Without their talents the programs would not be what they are today. I have enjoyed being able to work along side of them for so many years. But I also know that God has great plans for all of them. Keep the faith my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Remember Jer 29:11
#8 Oct 13, 2008
At last you had one good year with ms. Rie
#9 Oct 14, 2008
THe SCA I bought did not exist. THe article only told half the story. THe reporter did not bother to look into why parents left.
Furthermore, last year SCA started with 97 students, and about 5 dropped out. These drop outs cost the school at least $20,000.00 in lost revenue.
Martin changed the school which resulted in half the K4, k5, and 1 st grade choosing other schools.
SCA failing has more to do with their program than the Pillars of fire.
Those parents who are now in other schools, some more expensive, have nothing positive to say about the school. Since parents word of mouth drives a school enrollment, there is a lot of bad sentiment out there.
SCA needs to get higher expectations, needs to change thier attitude about encouraging kids, and needs to increase discipline without changing the dress code.
Martin was more interested in finding special ed kids, which were not there, than maintaining the friendly, loving environment which was there under Lia.
Hopefully, SCA will survive.
The only way they will survive is with new leadership.
#10 Oct 14, 2008
Lia was wonderful!!!! It is a shame that Pillar didn't allow eher to stay. I think that the current leadership at SCA was no the right move to amke. They rsuhed into hiring someone inorder to fill a postion, They should have kept Lia andtook another yesr to look. Hiring martin was a death curse for the academy. She lost the vision that was once started. Somehow the two Pillar and Martin do not mix and can't see eye to eye. All we can do is pray that the school can open up again under a knew name, with a even better vison
with the same creative staff and without Mary Martin.
#11 Oct 14, 2008
So why doesn't Pillar fire her.
Lia told me at the interview that she was leaving to complete her doctorate.
So that was not entirely true
I also think that the school sits on prime real estate. It floods. But can you imagine what the ground is worth. You could put some trophy houses on it, with it beatuiful fall setting.
Thier is definately a need for a private school in that location. It is viable. They have to fix the product.
First step. Fire Martin. And fix the culture so that they can properly educate the Minority kids.
Doesn't she remind you of a smarter Sarah Palin.
#12 Oct 15, 2008
Lia was also faced with obstacles similar to what Wendall, Emir and Danielle. Lia planned at one time to never level and retire from SCA. We all discussedthgat m any times over the last few years at lunch. We were all commited to serving the community and serving the LOrd with the many alents that He has given us. I think there was a conflict between all parties Pillar, and SCA. I think Pillar though put many challenges on the admnstration that wasn't ableto be achieved. I think they knew that hiring Mary Martin would bring a sudden death to the community and the School Martin wants to make SCA into another Timothy. Both schools and the cultures are totally differnt. I agree we need totarget the community bettter. I hope that the parents can try to worl together and make the school a parent run academy somewhere near the school I don't think that Pillar will allow the school to reopen. They probably have plans for the building.
#13 Oct 15, 2008
When is the closing effective?
I think for some reason, Pillar thought Timothy was a good school and model.
Timothy has buildings, but their religious philosophy is questionnable. They seem to be on the REligious right sidel
A Pentacostal Bishop thought they were to radical.
Sad that the warm and fuzzy school could not make it.
Great place for girls. Not so good for boys.
#14 Oct 15, 2008
I believe that it will be effective at the end of this school year. This is from what I understand.
They shouldn't have thought of Timothy as a role model. Both schools are totally different. It was sad that Martin came from Timothy and wanted SCA to resemble Timothy. She wanted to make so many changes too fast and too soon. She upset many of our teachers and parents during the first 6 months. She should have used the time wisely and tried to restructure the school to meet the current populations needd and deal with the problems diffeently during her 18 months. It isn't totally her fault. Pillar wanted to close the school for some time. They used Martin to help them close it when they did.
You are correct when saying they are radical and on the religious right side. Many of the people teaching at Timothy attended the same church together in South Plainfield. we attended church together for years. They used to think of themselves as above others. Which is very sad.I am not sure if they are the smae now.
#15 Oct 16, 2008
I am very upset that SCA is closing. I transfered into the academy as a freshman. I hated going to public highschool. I talked to my parents about letting me go to SCA. one of my parents worked at the academy. I was looking forward to graduating from SCA. We were told at the end of the my junior year that the highschool would be closing. It was a shock to all of us. No one ever thougt or knew what was going on behind Pillars doors until the very end. So many parents tried to come up with a game plan to convice Pillar to change their minds. The parents would have done just about anything. But Pillar kept a strong stance and didn't changed their minds. It was tough on those who only had one year left before we too would have graduated.
I just want people to know that Pilar is going to lose a great and awesome ministry. But that is one of the reasons why so many people have walked through the doors of SCA. The teachers at the academy were wonderful. They truly cared abouth all of their students. They weren't just interested in teaching us all the thins we were required to learn, but cared about us as individuals. They cared about what we thought and how we felt. When we hurt they aslo hurt. These teachers were very godly and was a great example of what Christ is.
The school maybe small in numbers. The school may not be making a ton of money. But I don't think that was the reason you guys open opened over 100 years ago. Ministries are not suppose to make a ton of money. The should be in it for the sole fact that are leading young men and wowen to the Lord and helping them to shape the futre generations to come.
I can remember when so many horrible things happened in our small community in one year. Ms. Rie sons Brandon was killed in an auto accident in Montana, we lost our home to a fire, MS. Damani husband passed away after a very long battle of cancer, and then we suffered a flood in the Zarephath community. many people lost their homes and belongings in a flood. One person who comes across my mind is Cliff. This man is awesome. He was a friend to everyone. Cliff would be the first one to stop what ever he was doing and come to hlep out. The school closing with have a defeinte impact on his family.
I have long left SCA. I have since graduated and now attend college. I just want people to know that SCA shaped my life. Without these dedicated and caring teachers I would not be where I am today. I thank God for SCA and its teachers.
I want to especailly that Cliff, Ms. Diorio, Mrs. Stolts, our coach Hamp ( who have since left) and especailly Cliff.
#16 Oct 16, 2008
The collection and support they gave your family was one of the reasons I choose SCA. I was reading their newsletter for a year or 2 on line
The sad thing is the school would be viable if run properly. or in its 2 year ago form.
When you have so many families staying for a year and moving on something is wrong.
Last year, in the lobby there was the class photos for a few years.
There was a large percentage of kids that were only there for 1 year.
I am glad to know you are doing well.
#17 Oct 17, 2008
I am so glad that you felt that way. So many parents and students loved the old SCA with Emir manielle... etc. Whatever conflict that happended with Pillar and the old team is the key reason the school went down hill. The hiring of Mary Martin added the nails to the coffin. They hired her to bring down the death of the school. You are so true. The vision and the leadership/ management techinques used today are not the same as the prior Administration. The school has canged drastically.
#18 Oct 17, 2008
Well at least she (Martin)is an equal opportunity alienator.
The Minority parents, and the white parents did not like her.
I used to call her supporters those who drank to much of the kool aid
Obviously, her supporters are few and far between. Half the school's parents choose to put the kids somewhere else
My son still misses the school.
However, he has learned so much, and grown so much at his new school.
I think the newer groups of private schools, including Christians, will be run by people with a vision. And the structure will have limited board involvement.
SCA made a big mistake gettting affiliated with Pillars. They sould their soul to the devil
SOme have told me that Pillars of fire is really headquartered at Somerset.
Just who are those people really.
#19 Oct 19, 2008
From what I understand SCA has always been affiltiaed with Pillar. Pillar has been the supporter for the school. Which it should be. It was never a problem with the board. The board was in support of the school. The board supported the teachers and staff. Pillar has its vison and support for the academy.
#20 Oct 29, 2008
Pillar is new and emerged after the first bankruptcy. It use to be Zarepath Christian
Pillars is run by the old Principal Kope.
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