By DAVID JONES
FASCINATING SCIENCE: Teacher Dale Coulter shows some of the fourth graders in her class a colorful assortment of fish in a homeroom aquarium. Looking and learning (left to right) are Trenton Cupps, Steven Argo, Molly Albin and Rachel Mathieson.
DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers
A number 25 adorns the walls at Metro Christian Academy. The school has now been in existence a full quarter century.
There are other signs of maturity. The first student council president, Bob Beard, is now the head of the middle school. The first child of an alumnus is going to graduate in 2008.
Beginning with 420 students in 1983 Metro Christian Academy now has a total of 1,023 students counting pre-school.
Its ACT (American College Testing) scores are among the highest in Tulsa, ranking just behind such long-standing pillars of excellence as Holland Hall and Cascia Hall.
The headmaster of Metro Christian, as its widely known, is Tim Cameron. He knows what life is like in the public school system having been principal of both East Central and Sapulpa high schools. Any difference?
“It’s as different as day and night,” Cameron says. “We have a very strong focus on academics as opposed to student management. We have high expectations for behavior and the students, by and large, meet them. Kids, of course, will be kids but we have extremely strong parental backing.”
The Christian in the school’s name is strongly emphasized. Students who wish to attend the school must sign a statement affirming their belief in the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
“We focus on Christian discipline and character,” says Cameron. “We place great emphasis on the word of God, on prayer and on the student’s personal relationship with Christ.”
“Our school is very pointedly Christian, teaching kids what it means to be a Christian in today’s society. We consider ourselves to be the private Christian college prep school in Tulsa.”
Metro Christian Academy has students from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade. Tuition is $5,900 for elementary school students, $6,500 for middle school and $6,900 for high school.
“We are a stand-alone school. We get no money from any church nor are we affiliated with any denomination.
“We are professional in our education, with all our teachers credentialed by the state.
“Over the last six to eight years we have become one of the most professional learning environments for children.”
Metro Christian Academy opened in 1983 when it signed a lease with Tulsa Public Schools for Mason High School. The facility was purchased from Tulsa Public Schools for $6.5 million in 1998.
Life is not all reading, writing and arithmetic at Metro Christian. Cameron is enormously proud of his sports teams’ many conference championships and co-championships and the artistic achievements Metro’s students have gained. In addition to top prizes in a host of artistic competitions by several students, one won a $500 cash award and an $8,000 scholarship for a self-portrait. The Metro mixed choir received an overall Excellent rating on prepared pieces and a Superior rating on sight reading at a district contest. Three senior students were among only 100 students statewide recognized as “Arts All-Staters” chosen by the Oklahoma Alliance for Fine Arts Education. The list goes on and on.
But a school is supposed to teach and it is here that Mr. Cameron is proudest.
Individually he can point to high school students who placed first, second and third in Algebra II, Geometry and Trigonometry at the NEO match competition. Another student won for Algebra I and two students tied for second in Calculus at the same competition.
The 2006 student body as a whole racked up superior numbers. In all the students Received $3.2 million in scholarship offers. The were offered a number of scholarships from University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Baylor, John Brown, Oklahoma Baptist, Southern Methodist, Arkansas, Wabash, Westminster, Wheaton, Coffeyville Community College and Southern Nazarene among others.
The student body included National Merit Scholars and a National Merit Commended scholar.
On the ACT tests 14 percent scored a 30 or higher and 48 percent scored a 24 or higher.
In Metro’s Middle School’s Stanford Achievement Test scores the average for the sixth grade was 77 percent, for the seventh grade was 80 percent and for the eighth grade was 82 percent.
In elementary school 34 percent of the students scored at or above the 90 percentile level and 93 percent were above the 50 percentile level. The numbers tend to go up as the students progress from earlier to later classes. The fifth grade levels showed 55 percent of the students above the 90th percentile, 92 above the 75 percentile and 98 percent above the 50 percentile.
A quarter of a century ago a group of parents had a vision of an interdenominational Christian school that prepares students for college; Metro is fulfilling that vision.