For the 20th consecutive year, Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) is sending multiple teams of students to the Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) Conference. In April 1999, PCA's first FPS team placed at state and advanced to the international competition, and this year, PCA is sending 19 students to the 2019 International Conference on June 5 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
PCA's students will join Future Problem Solvers from around the globe to celebrate the final round of their competitive season at the FPS International Conference. About 2,500 problem solving champions advance to the international level from the more than 23,000 students who compete at local and regional levels throughout the school year from 13 different countries.
PCA places great importance on the FPS program, which begins at the school's Plano campus in sixth grade and at the Prosper campus in fifth.
"PCA is focused on preparing students for the future," said Head of School Dr. Larry Taylor. "In addition to advanced technology and innovative learning spaces we want to cultivate the 21st century skills of Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration. The Future Problem Solving Program is essential to developing these skills."
The success of FPS at PCA has continued to grow throughout the past 20 years thanks to Shannon Lichty, PCA's Upper School FPS coach and Upper School English teacher, who started the program at the school in 1998. "I am incredibly proud of our talented FPS students," she said. "The creative problem-solving process taught by FPSPI is invaluable in that it teaches critical thinking and writing skills in a timed setting which helps students excel in high school and college classes and the professional world."
Each year, PCA continues to excel in this higher-level education program by competing against gifted and talented students from across the state for a chance to compete at the international level. Alumni regularly return to PCA to validate that their time in the school's FPS program was a difference-maker after high school.
"FPS isn't just a school competition, it is a valuable tool that has taught me how to think critically and problem solve in a logical yet creative manner," said Josh Anil, PCA Class of 2017, a biochemistry major at Rice University. "The six step-problem solving process is not an arbitrary creation but is the way that my professors, researchers, and bosses expect me to think. Furthermore, the ability to work in a team setting has been invaluable in the next stage of my life. From consulting to scientific research, problem solving, and teamwork are everywhere, and my participation in FPS has left me well-prepared not only for college but for my professional life ahead."
According to a press release from FPSPI, students will compete in the following events with the theme of de-extinction at the International Conference:
"Global Issues Problem Solving and Scenario competitors arrive equipped to tackle potential de-extinction problems set in the near future. These teams and individuals must research all aspects of the topic to be prepared for competitive events where a futuristic scenario will be analyzed and addressed. Community Problem Solving projects will be a highlight of this event as well. Student-driven, they identified a unique need in their community and implemented a plan of action through service to solve these issues and enhance the world for a brighter future."
"As the students arrive at the International Conference, they bring enthusiasm and creativity ready to tackle the world's toughest problems," said April Dennis, FPSPI Executive Director. "They are equipped with critical and creative thinking skills and ready to collaborate with others from around the globe. Their energy is contagious. The promise of tomorrow that these students bring is a highlight to the year of work behind their efforts. We are proud of all the work these students, and their coaches and parents perform throughout the year. With all the negativity in the world today, these students highlight the positive futures that are attainable."
Prestonwood Christian Academy serves more than 1,600 students enrolled at three campuses: Plano (Pre-K3 through 12th grade), PCA North in Prosper (Pre-K3 through 8th grade) and PCAplus Virtual Academy. PCA North is celebrating its fifth school year with more than 180 students and is now enrolling through 9th Grade as it grows to the first graduating class of 2023! PCAplus is celebrating record-breaking enrollment and has been serving students for 10 years. PCA has been recognized as having one of the strongest Christian education programs in the country providing intentional biblical worldview training and integration. The school places great value on the growth of students' spiritual health in addition to their scholastic endeavors and co-curricular activities. Tantamount to its Spiritual Development plan is PCA's rigorous Liberal Arts academic program. Since its first graduating class in 2002 through the class of 2019, graduates have been offered more than $126 million in scholarship for academics, arts and athletics from universities and other institutions of higher learning.