In late 2008, Tammy Dawson, one of the CrossPointe Preparatory School Board members, encouraged the Board to be prepared for its “ob portu,” a Latin phrase describing a ship waiting for the precise moment when the tide was exactly right to carry it into harbor. She desired that the Board recognize, and be prepared for, the opportunity to move forward with CrossPointe when God provided it. Over the three years prior to 2009, God had orchestrated the paths of many to prepare for the opening of CrossPointe Preparatory in Searcy in 2009.
It is clear, though, that God‘s hand was involved in the very experiments that led to the development of the University-Model® idea. University-Model® Schooling (UMS) is a unique concept that began as an educational project in the early 1990s. This effort, called the GPA Project, sought to test the effects of parental involvement and character development in the educational success of students, especially on their preparation for college and the ability to assist students at risk for dropping out of post-secondary schooling. The model depended on a university-structured schedule, and the test school opened in the fall of 1993. The test school experienced such success that outside interest in copying the model led organizers to develop a structure and methodology for replication of the school within just two years of the opening of the initial school. By 1995, a distinctly Christian organization existed to promote University-Model® Schooling and the values of parental involvement and character education.
In February of 2006—thirteen years after the opening of the test school—Searcy residents Dr. Brian and Carriann Harlan shared with Jeff and Cindy Kreh their recent discovery of University-Model® Schooling. They had learned of this unique academic environment from Dr. Wade and Beth Ann Fox, whose children were attending Providence Classical Christian School, a UMS near Rogers, Ark. This discussion led the Harlans and the Krehs to work together with a goal of opening a new school in the greater Searcy area. In the summer of 2007, a job relocation took the Harlans to Utah, and the dream of a UMS in Searcy was put on hold. The Krehs and other interested families experienced disappointment, but the time was not yet right.
In the fall of 2007, Mark Benton, then Headmaster of Harding Academy, was just completing his doctoral work with a focus on character development. Although he was the head official of a strong PreK-12 Christian school, he was intrigued by how the model of a UMS partnered with families. Passionate about the opportunities that UMS offered families, Benton began looking at ways for a new UMS to open under the sponsorship of Harding Academy. He tapped Tammy Dawson, one of his faculty members, to formally investigate developing a UMS for Harding. He and Dawson visited several existing University-Model® Schools and attended workshops on developing a new school. In 2008, Benton’s efforts became more public, and several in the Searcy community developed deep interest in the proposed new school. Benton worked for many months to arrange the particulars of the two schools operating either side-by-side or with some degree of loose affiliation. However, once again, the time was not yet right for the school to open in Searcy.
Although a UMS school had still not opened in Searcy, the awareness of a possible UMS had brought additional families into the planning stages for such a school by the summer of 2008. These families included Dan and Tammy Dawson, Jeff and Cindy Kreh, Garret and Rachel Myhan, and Jimmy and Mary Alice Brooks; Jenny Henderson, Todd Miller, and Patrick Barber also worked with the team of founding families at various points in 2008 and 2009. Benton did not have formal affiliation with the developing UMS, but he continued to encourage the founding families and made available his considerable administrative experience as the founding families—now a formal School Board—began setting in place policies and procedures for the development of a new school.
In December 2008, the emerging school was named CrossPointe Preparatory. After much prayer and planning, the process that started in 2006 led to the opening of a University-Model® School in Searcy in August 2009. In an effort to remain faithful to the intention of its founding families, CrossPointe Preparatory desires to integrate home and family in producing disciples of Christ, encouraging godly character, and providing academic excellence. It is likely that those connected to the development of CrossPointe have only a glimpse of the threads that God has woven together as He has provided the “ob portu” for a UMS to partner with families in the greater Searcy area.