“A Light to the City”
The Merger of City Center Academy and Spruce Hill Christian School
In December 2006, the Boards of two great Christian schools—City Center Academy (CCA) and Spruce Hill Christian School (SHCS)—agreed that their calling to provide quality Christian education for the urban youth of Philadelphia would be best served if they merged to become one institution.
A process of diligent and prayerful examination has led to the determination that CCA, a college-preparatory high school, and SHCS, serving elementary and middle school students, were foundationally like-minded and would be strengthened in their mission to serve the children of Philadelphia in the context of a K-12 program. Both schools had long histories of shared experience in providing excellent Christian education, a like-minded theological perspective, love for the city and dedication to the particular needs of urban students.
The goal of the merged institution is to reach more students in Philadelphia with a Christ-centered quality education that prepares young children for high school and trains urban teens to think and act biblically and excel academically. We are dedicated to building a leadership team that will provide a well-managed, well-financed program to support strong academic goals and programs for many years to come. Our excellent faculty teams, provided with the financial resources and management support needed to succeed, are able to offer each student the best Christian education possible.
Spruce Hill Christian School (founded in 1978) and City Center Academy (founded in 1983) began with families who were committed to living in the city for the sake of Christian witness but faced the problem of finding appropriate educational options for their children. As each of the schools was formed, this commitment also involved a calling to extend the same opportunity to other children who were underserved and undereducated in the city’s schools.
Both schools see themselves as being, first and foremost, institutions of learning. We share a dedication to providing the best academic programs.
CCA bears the legacy of its founders, Dr. James M. & Mrs. Linda Boice, whose academic vision grew out of their own Ivy League educational background. They built a curriculum that remains strong in fundamentals and leads to consistent success in preparing students for college acceptance.
Spruce Hill Christian School thrives through a commitment to an academic curriculum solid in fundamentals, yet fresh with creativity. Instruction is formulated to recognize the individual needs of each child, address their differing learning styles, and promote the love of learning.
Both schools have been blessed with teams of dedicated and gifted teachers. These capable professionals are characterized by maturity, discernment, unity of purpose, a spirit of sacrifice and love for God and His children.
Our Christian Commitment
We share a belief that a school based on biblical principles provides the strongest basis for academic integrity. A Christian world-view provides a unified perspective on all of life and is based on the Word of God, which is taught, explained and modeled for our students.
Our schools reflect the strength of their foundational emphases—the Lordship of Christ over all of life, the efficacy of grace, the importance of knowledge in the Christian life, and the sufficiency and authority of Scripture.
The schools present Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Lord and integrate faith with learning, believing that all truth is God’s truth and that “the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10)
A Love for the City
A shared love for the city is seen in our locations: City Center Academy, at 17th and Spruce Streets in the Center City section of Philadelphia and Spruce Hill Christian School, in University City, are both ideally located and accessible to students from all regions of the city.
Our mutual commitment to city families recognizes the challenges and limited educational options many of our students have faced. Our calling to serve urban families requires a determination to keep the schools financially accessible through an unwavering commitment to affordable tuition rates and a generous financial aid program.
Both schools see the city as a rich resource for their students with opportunities for exposure to renowned institutions of science, history and the arts.
We know the particular challenges that our urban students face and seek creative ways to meet those needs. A learning environment that is safe, nurturing and presents clear standards of conduct allows students to fully partake of their opportunities for learning.
Light to the City
CCA and SHCS, characterized by a sense of common purpose, have joined to establish an institution that seeks to glorify God through dedication to educating the students it serves with excellence--not just academic excellence, but excellence based on Christ-centered relationships and practices. As we “build each other up” institutionally, we look forward to the benefits that will surely come for the children we serve.
CCA has used the motto “Lux Urbi” or “Light to the City” to characterize its mission. It is fitting to claim this promise for the newly merged school as we seek to glorify God through working together as a source of His hope and light in our city.
Recognizing that the need we endeavor to meet is great and our efforts are small in comparison, we will be faithful to our task, trusting in the provision and guidance of our Lord.