Take A Hike, Mr. D

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau

“A basic element of the American Dream is equal access to education as the lubricant of social and economic mobility.” -Nicholas Kristof

As I write this post I am three days away from the start of my long anticipated adventure. I am fully prepared and the moment cannot come soon enough. My gear is purchased and packed and I have poured over numerous Appalachian Trail memoirs, guidebooks, and blog posts. I’ve hiked over 300 miles in preparation and funds have already begun pouring in from generous donors who see the value of a Logos education. In three days time, I will be standing atop Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, ready to begin what I have long set out to do. As I stand on the precipice of my adventure, I reflect back on the school year, looking to take the values that I have learned from my students with me on my journey.

In the United States of America, we as citizens, pride ourselves on being able to provide a quality education for all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and gender. Sadly, this vision of the American educational system is merely a dream. The reality is that the quality of education a student receives depends largely on geography. For families of lower socioeconomic status, the possibility of living in a higher income community, and sending their children to a school with an established track record of high academic excellence is all too often impossible. How can we as Americans, who boast of a quality education for all, continue to uphold and perpetuate this system of inequality? A gap exists between the perceived state of the American educational system and the reality that exists in the lives of American children. And for this reason, I feel called to teach at Logos Academy, a vibrant learning community that is dedicated to providing a high-quality education regardless of a family’s economic status.

A Logos education, however, does not come cheaply. Every year, Logos Academy raises thousands of dollars of scholarships so that all students in the York community can be given a quality education. And for this reason, I am asking you to support the children of York, in giving funds to provide scholarship opportunities, as I hike the southern half of the Appalachian Trail. Every day this school year, I have had the privilege of guiding my students as they exercise their God-given curiosity in the pursuit of knowledge, despite numerous obstacles that society places in their way. Through my students, I have learned perseverance, dedication, and patience, and these values will serve me well this summer as I set off to hike 1100 miles on the Appalachian Trail from Springer
Mountain, Georgia to the Pennsylvania/Maryland border.

~ Jonathan Desmarais, Upper School Teacher

Meet Carolyn: Our Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator

carolynMeet our new Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator, Carolyn Butera. Carolyn is well connected and engaged in the York community through her family’s business, the renowned Central PA wedding florist Butera The Florist, located in downtown York. Her heart for God and people, as well as her business experience and organizational skills, are now blessing our vibrant learning community.

Carolyn has joined the staff at Logos Academy to build relationships with prospective families and assist them through the admissions process. Carolyn and her husband, Vince, recently went through the admissions process for Katie, the youngest of their four children. Katie will enter 9th grade at Logos Academy this fall. Vince and Carolyn believe that the Christ-centered, culturally-diverse, community-minded, and Classical education at Logos Academy, is in alignment with their family values.

If you know of anyone interested in learning more about the educational opportunities at Logos Academy, please invite them to contact Carolyn at or 717.848.9835.

Meet DaNaujzia

D'Naujzia (1)Her Story

DaNaujzia began her school career at Logos Academy in Kindergarten and remained to graduate in our first high school graduating class, in 2015. DaNaujzia’s mom came to Logos seeking a supportive educational partnership for her three children while in the role of a single parent.

The Logos Difference

DaNaujzia’s dad was in prison for a period and, to quote her mother, “Logos was like family during that time”. The family’s relationship with Logos has been a mutual blessing as Mrs. Carabello, a Parent Ambassador, is currently active in the school and the community. DaNaujzia desires a career in the JAG Corps and is currently serving her country as a Navy Yeoman while earning a scholarship for further education.


Standardized Testing in a Vibrant Learning Community

Jesse blog

“What if education … is not primarily about the absorption of ideas and information, but about the formation of hearts and desires? …What if education wasn’t first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?” This is the case made by James K.A. Smith in Desiring the Kingdom. Christian educators contributing to the collection of essays in Teaching and Christian Practices (compiled by David Smith) have also encouraged us to look closely at current testing and grading practices. These educators suggest that we are teaching students to love seeing “A+” at the top of their own tests and papers instead of teaching them to love what they learn when their ideas and efforts fail or when they go out of their own way to help someone else. Faith-based educators are not the only ones concerned about testing practices in American schools. Public school leaders recognize the many downsides of testing requirements imposed by top-down Federal regulations, such as No Child Left Behind. Education journals are full of research about how our testing and grading systems teach students to overvalue their ability to follow directions, sit still, and cram information into their short-term memories. At the same time, these tests burden teachers with artificial objectives. There is even a long-standing debate about whether college placement exams (such as the SAT and ACT) provide any meaningful predictions about success in college (see here and here, for example).

While we are aware of these serious concerns, Logos Academy has always recognized the benefits of a wide variety of testing mechanisms as tools in the hands of loving educators. Alongside our many curricular assessments, we utilize a full array of standardized tests and screenings. [1]

We are committed to staying informed about the best tools to make us stronger and to help our students learn to compete confidently and effectively in the real world. However, we also know that these tools can poison our school life together if they grow out of proportion and push aside more important things. As long as our vibrant learning community prioritizes the partnerships between parents and teachers as well as the celebration of all the good things that don’t show up in gradebooks (such as generous friendships and creative achievements), we can keep students focused on loving others, learning the valuable lessons of failure, appreciating their community, and enjoying the exploration of the wonderful world where God has placed us.

Contemporary society tends to force everything into polarized categories (i.e. competing political parties, faith communities, and educational solutions) instead of recognizing the complex connections and relative priorities that exist across all areas of human life. We don’t have to make a choice between the liberal arts vs. STEM studies (science and math) or between rigorous testing and a lively school culture. We do, however, need to live carefully and to reflect on the priorities and the personal sacrifices that allow us all to enjoy the best things by keeping them in the right place within our hearts.

We are proud that all of our seniors have been accepted into strong colleges and universities for a second year in a row (with this year’s seniors committed to the University of Pittsburgh, York College, and Temple University as well as having been accepted into many other schools including Towson University, Old Dominion, Virginia Union University, and Albright College). We know that success in testing is one key part of this track record. However, we are even more grateful for the character of our seniors (such as that recently recognized in Andrew Radzik for his leadership on the William Penn track team).

I will share more in future posts about the many testing and assessment tools used by Logos Academy. Although these tools are vital to our success, we will always depend on parents, teachers, and students who recognize the value of everything that does not make it into a report card or a standardized test report. Each day at Logos Academy is filled with an incredible variety of good gifts from our loving God. Learning to see and appreciate these will always be our highest priority.

  1. MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) through the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association), DIBELS Next (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment), easyCBM (Curriculum-Based Measurement), AIMSweb (Academic Improvement Measurement System), and W-APT (WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test, an English language proficiency screener required by the state for all students with a second language in their home)

Logos Academy deals with wreckage of budget impasse

Rev. Aaron J. Anderson, Head of School and CEO

Rev. Aaron J. Anderson Head of School and CEO

The nearly 270-day Pennsylvania budget impasse has now ended. Governor Wolf relented, and though he did not sign the budget, he will allow it to stand. It appears that both the Governor and lawmakers realize there are future issues that must be addressed now.

Before we cast our gaze to the future, I propose we survey the wreckage this unfortunate impasse has created.

Our Commonwealth went 270 days without a state budget. For 270 days, schools, nonprofits, and numerous community organizations fretted over funding. For 270 days, organizations were forced to borrow money or make cuts to maintain operations. For 270 days, lines of credit were tapped, creating significant interest expenditures that were not budgeted. For 270 days, the minds of executives and staff members were preoccupied with solving funding issues. For 270 days, teachers and staff members struggled to focus on mission instead of worry.

The 270 days have passed and the political game of chicken is now over. Across PA, many are breathing a sigh of relief. Public schools will finally receive their allotted funding.

Yet, others are left cleaning up the wreckage left by this tornado of reckless irresponsibility. A great degree of damage has been caused that will not be remedied by the passage of a State budget.

Pennsylvania’s two educational tax credit programs, EITC and OSTC, provide a poignant example. These programs provide educational scholarships that make access to high quality educational programs accessible for people who otherwise could not afford them. In the 2014-15 fiscal year, Logos Academy collected and distributed $1,500,000 in scholarships to students in need through this program. Due to the 270-day budget impasse, Logos received only half of last year’s total, roughly $750,000. Half of our anticipated scholarship dollars are gone.

Though our legislators have taken steps to undo the damage, the damage is done. The tax credit program had timelines that needed to be kept. Businesses had deadlines for paying their taxes. Business owners and executives became exasperated by the ‘wait and see’ news we kept hearing out of Harrisburg and opted out of the program. We can only hope they will return next year.

And so, this week, at Logos Academy, we formally launched a 100-day effort to raise $800,000 to fill the financial gap. We granted substantial scholarships to students at the beginning of the year, with the full expectation that funding would be there to fulfill those scholarships. Logos had ten years of history on our side to substantiate this assumption.

The Logos Academy fiscal year closes in less than 100 days on June 30, 2016. In the midst of the impasse, our political leaders have talked at length about students being held hostage. While the damage has been done, we refuse to allow our children to be hurt due to the abject failure of Pennsylvania’s political leaders.

Choices have consequences, sometimes devastating ones. Though this 270-day budget impasse has victimized so many throughout our Commonwealth, we refuse to play the victim role at Logos Academy. We are looking to the faithfulness of God and the generosity of our donor community to step into the financial gap.

Logos Academy is gaining significant momentum. Students are excelling, we will graduate our second class of seniors in May, our growth is both prudent and measured, and we are cautiously considering the expansion needed to house an academic program that is showing great promise.

We will continue to fix our gaze toward securing a bright and hopeful future for our students, but in the next 100 days, we must clean up the mess created by these unfortunate 270 days.

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