When Tony and the EAPE Board decided in 1985 to start an academically rigorous elementary school for low-income children in West Philadelphia, they had no idea how great would be the impact of Cornerstone Christian Academy.
Cornerstone is a co-educational, independent Christian school offering a full academic program for its students. It’s mission is to educate children, including those from at-risk neighborhoods in an environment that provides the highest standards for academic achievement and spiritual development. The vision is to be a model urban Christian school where students are grounded in faith, shaped with Christ-like character, and equipped with knowledge and skills to excel in high school, college, and throughout life.
Thanks to the generosity of people like you, what began with only 40 kindergarten through third grade students in 1988, is now a beacon of hope and pillar of the community serving over 200 children grades K-8 and their families each year.
We are committed to help Cornerstone achieve and maintain full enrollment of 230 students this year, but we can’t do it without your help. It costs $20 a day, $625 for a month or $7,500 for the whole year to provide a quality, Christian education in a safe and loving environment for each student at Cornerstone. Your support will help prepare these inner-city kids for academic success and a life of Christian discipleship.
The Latest from Cornerstone Christian Academy
Milestone: Cornerstone Christian Academy Accredited
In our October newsletter about the importance of education for holistic ministry, we noted that when the City of Philadelphia started this school year with 23 fewer public schools, Cornerstone Christian Academy began its 25th year of providing quality, Christian education in a safe and loving environment for low-income children in southwest Philadelphia.
We’re pleased to share the following special announcement about Cornerstone Christian Academy, and to express how proud we are of the faculty, staff, students and you— our supporters—for achieving this milestone!
November 1, 2023
Excitement filled the halls of Cornerstone Christian Academy this week when the official certificate of accreditation arrived from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools. After two years of hard work examining every element of the school’s operation, hundreds of pages of self-study, action plans, policies and procedures, the award of accreditation has become reality. This is the first of two awards the school anticipates, the other being from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) in early 2022. On Tuesday when he received the accreditation award, Cornerstone President and CEO Dick Ollinger, exclaimed, “We did it!” to staff, students, and faculty throughout the school.
Accreditation demonstrates to educators, parents and partners that the school has dedicated itself to rigorous academic standards and transparent governance procedures. When Cornerstone began in 1988, founders Tony Campolo, Jim Sweet and a host of volunteers, donors, parents and educators envisioned a southwest Philadelphia school that would instill in each student the hope that comes from faith in Christ. They saw thousands of children fall victim to poverty, violence and achievement gaps in public schools and wanted to establish an independent school option that was safe and challenged students with high academic standards. Those early leaders wanted to train and educate young people to believe that God loved them and gifted them with a top-quality education. Rather than a way out of the inner-city, the education they were to receive would be an empowering tool for transformation of circumstances they saw each day in their neighborhoods.
Today, accreditation is the next step in achieving that mission. With an increased focus on outcomes, the school can better prepare students to enroll and excel in top high schools throughout the region. Already, Cornerstone graduates report that they are well prepared for high school in Science, Math and Computers. Others tell their Cornerstone teachers and Principal Deb Lee that the disciplined study habits they learned at Cornerstone have followed them to post-secondary education. Graduates like Steve McFarland (Class of 2007), who now attends Swarthmore College in suburban Philadelphia, aim to bring their education and skills back to southwest Philadelphia to educate and train the next generations. Accreditation affirms the belief that a rigorous academic program coupled with a foundation of faith in Christ will produce students who can become effective leaders.
Thank you to each individual, church and business that accompanied Cornerstone along the path of accreditation. Continue to pray with us as the hard work of implementing the Accreditation Action Plan begins – and remember to “Save the Date” for the 25th Anniversary Celebration on May 1, 2022 at St. David’s Country Club in St. David’s, PA.
When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, such as Cornerstone Christian Academy, that love, serve and support at-risk children, youth and their families in Jesus’ name. If you have questions about Cornerstone, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.