When Bobby and Anna Postal of Bradley wanted their children to have an education that centered around Christian principals, they decided the public school system wasn’t where they wanted to send their kids. Instead, they started their own one-room schoolhouse in their community.
“It’s about implementing Christ in their education and into the lives of our youth,” Bobby said. “It’s about making that be a bigger part of the (education) process.”
The Postals started Bradley Christian School in September 2012, several years ahead of the original plan.
“When we started thinking of doing this, we were thinking for a couple years down the road when our kids were ready to start school,” Bobby said.
Their children are ages four, two and four months. However, he added that once the Bradley community heard about our idea, they started rallying around them.
“There’s been a ton of support from the community,” Bobby said. He said the positive feedback has been an encouragement to them and helps reinforce the idea that what they did was right. “We weren’t planning to start something for another two years.”
For Anna, the defining moment in starting BCS was when other parents of the community said they would send their kids to whatever school she sent her children to.
“When people started saying that they trusted my judgment that much, I decided it was time to get serious about doing something,” she said.
Bobby and Anna say they’re not trying to downplay the public school system. They just wanted to create another option for a Christian school in the area.
“The public school system doesn’t fit everyone,” Anna commented.
Add that to the fact that there are no other schools in Bradley and starting a school there just seemed right. Anna, who grew up in Bradley, says that she thought there would be set steps to go through for starting a school. However, she was surprised at how things ended up coming about.
“Things just fell into place,” Anna said. “I think that’s the perk of doing things for God…(things) just fall into place.”
The one-room building that they’re using is being leased from the city of Bradley. It was once the Senior Citizen Center of that community but was being used for storage. The Postals completely renovated the interior.
When BCS was started, the Bradley School Board voted to teach prekindergarten through eighth grade. However, the Postals say there is a need to reassess the option of teaching high school at BCS.
Anna says BCS is considered a homeschool by the state of South Dakota. She added that South Dakota homeschoolers have core requirements that BCS is also bound by. The emphases are in the areas of math, science and English. BCS differs from a public school by doing devotions in the morning and by the addition of a Bible study class. Much of the students’ curriculum comes from A Beka Books, a Christian textbook company. Also, on Wednesday mornings at 10, they have a worship service in the school with minister Marion Grimes. These services are open to the public. Anna says they get the students out into the community as often as possible, to do things like caroling at Christmas and handing out cookies.
Since BCS operates on donations, Anna says she is thrilled about the two individuals they have for teachers.
“To have two teachers with such wonderful backgrounds is awesome,” Anna said. “Our teachers are such a blessing. With their backgrounds, the kids have a great male and female role model.”
One of the teachers is Bev Schlotte, who taught at Webster for 17 years. “I’ve always wanted to teach at a Christian school,” she said. “Our society needs a lot of positive Christian influence right now. We’re looking forward to these first few years and the chance to guide young people along and keep them in God’s word.”
The other teacher, Ray Olson, grew up in Bradley and has moved back to that community. He and Anna are siblings.
“Anna approached me about coming, and the more I thought about it, the more this felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “We’re here to be a positive influence to the community and to the kids here.”
Currently, there are two students enrolled at BCS.
Tyler Scoromo is an eighth grader who had attended public school before this. He says he likes the one-room schoolhouse.
“It was a little strange at first, but I’m used to it now,” he said.
Austin Finstad, a seventh grader, was homeschooled last year, but had attended public school until fifth grade.
“It’s interesting and different,” he says. “Different in a good way.”
Within the next couple of years, the Postals expect more students to be attending BCS. Besides their own, Olson’s children will likely attend there when they are older.
“There’s a large number of young kids in the community, two and three year-olds that will soon be eligible,” Bobby said.
More information about the school and how to enroll can be found at their website, www.BradleyChristianSchool.org .
“God is amazing. We’re just following His lead,” Anna said.
“You know you couldn’t do something like this yourself,” Bobby said. “I believe He has a very big part in this coming together.”