Hi we’re the Cunha/ Flowers family! There’s my husband and I, Patrick and Liz Cunha and our 4 grandchildren. Dominic, Bryceson, Ewan and Kati Flowers.
Please list which family members are in which type of school environment (public, private, homeschool, ESA)
Dominic is a Senior at Valley Christian High School, Bryceson is a Freshmen at Basha High School and Ewan and Kati are in fourth grade and kindergarten and attend Valley Christian Elementary School.
Please share your current model of schooling and some of the reasons why you chose it:
Currently we have three in private Christian schools and one who is on the spectrum that attends public school. We wanted their education to partner with the same Christian character and principles they are being taught at home and at church. We felt the Special Education program (for Bryceson) at Basha High School was the best fit for him for right now.
Why do you feel this model of schooling best meets the needs of your children? How have you seen them grow and thrive in these environments?
Our three children that attend Valley Christian are actually our grandchildren that we adopted. Having come from a neglectful situation we have seen them transformed in the last two years into happy, healthy kids who have gained confidence and self esteem. We’ve been able to partner and pray with teachers, coaches and administrators who have embraced our family and our situation, and have helped our children heal and move forward. Most importantly our children love their school, they are involved in sports, music, student government and clubs. They have made life long friendships with peers that have similar beliefs and they know what a blessing and a privilege it is to attend their school.
How do you feel living in Arizona and the school options you have in Arizona have helped your children in their academic and life pursuits?
We feel extremely blessed by the educational options available to families in Arizona. We have utilized both the Individual Income Tax Credit Program through School Tuition Organizations (STO’s) for private school tuition and also corporate tax credit scholarships that are based on income. Without the Arizona Private School Tax Credit Program, we simply would not be able to financially afford Christian education. These organizations have made Christian education possible for our children. We’ve seen them not only grow academically and spiritually, but also develop socially and physically by being involved in sports, choir, student council and giving back to others through mission projects.
What do you love the best about your current school environment for your kids? What advice do you have for other families considering this option?
We love Valley Christian. Our oldest Dominic is a Senior there and our two younger children are in Kindergarten and fourth grade at the new elementary school. Our youngest son graduated from Valley in 2017, so we knew when we adopted our grandchildren that Valley Christian was the school we wanted them to attend. We love their mission statement and how it coincides with the principles that are important to us in education. Their goal is to prepare students academically, physically, socially and spiritually and to enable them to make a difference in the world. We love the culture and community of a smaller school and the fellowship our children and family have there. We feel confident in having like minded administrators, teachers and coaches who will pray with our kids and share the love of God. My advice to families considering switching to Christian education would be first and foremost pray about it! When we first thought about changing our son from public to private school it seemed overwhelming financially. There are so many School Tuition Organizations available that can help you. Ask for a list at your prospective school and apply to all of them. Ask relatives and friends to do the State Income Tax credit for your student.
What advice do you have for other families?
Ask your prospective school if they have a shadow day your child can attend, where their partnered with a current student and go to class with them for the day. This really helped our older kids get a sense of what the culture of the school was like and to see if it’s going to be a good fit for them.