Christian, Collaborative Education, A Model That Endures to the Next Generation

Katie Beth Pelley
For many CDA Dallas parents, classical, Christian, collaborative education is entirely new. My first real exposure to a University-Model® education was through my husband, Jared. For Jared, and two other CDA Dallas parents, Andrew and Ana Bobo, the University-Model® was not a new concept. It was a concept that profoundly impacted their education and spiritual formation. These three parents graduated in 2008 from the first University-Model® school in the country, Grace Preparatory Academy. 
During my high school years, the focus was on stacking my schedule with AP classes and trying to collect college credits. For Jared, Andrew, and Ana this was not the case. Their teachers taught subjects like English and History from a distinctly Christian worldview. There was a focus on spiritual formation and character development deeply embedded in their education.  

Jared recalls his experience at Grace Prep, “My teachers had a passion that impacted me academically and spiritually for years to come.” He emphasized, “It gave me a lens through which to see the world and helped set me on a path to intentionally pursue God’s calling on my life for things like family and vocation.”  

For Ana, the University-Model® allowed her freedom to pursue unusual educational experiences and to focus more heavily on her specific interests. “Because of the flexibility of the model, I was able to intern with Congresswoman Kay Granger of Fort Worth my senior year and to spend a full day in her campaign office each week,” Ana said. “The schedule also allowed for additional athletic training and piano education, without cutting into all of our family time.” 

Fast forward sixteen years, Andrew and Ana, and my husband, Jared, and I, have chosen to send our children to Coram Deo Academy Dallas. This decision is due to the University-Model® education's significant impact on these three parents.  

When deciding on the right school for their family, the Bobos had three things they were looking for. “We wanted a school committed to Christian faith and spiritual formation,” Andrew said. “We wanted a school that structured its curriculum and teaching approach classically. And we wanted a school that used a collaborative model, where our kids could benefit from being in a structured school environment but would spend the majority of their time at home.”  

Ana noted that she and Andrew both knew that they wanted a Christian University-Model® school for their children because of their experience at Grace Prep. “As we learned more about classical education and decided it would be a good fit, we searched for an established Christian, classical, University-Model® school in Dallas. Coram Deo checked all our boxes!” Ana said.  

Jared recalls our search for the right school, “Katie Beth and I were very prayerful about the schooling decision for our children and felt God was opening a door when our daughter was admitted into a nearly full Kindergarten class in fall 2022.”   

He added, “A huge draw for CDA Dallas was the proximity to our home in Richardson which enabled us to stay with our community of over 10 years at Watermark Community Church and in our neighborhood. We also chose CDA for the 3 distinctives. I graduated from a Christian University-Model® high school and after college grew an interest in reading & discussing enduring classics and works from Western Cannon with some friends.” 

Everything clicked when I visited a CDA kindergarten classroom on a campus tour. I remember hearing students singing songs and reciting scripture together, and it brought tears to my eyes. I was struck by something so entirely different from my educational experience. I witnessed peaceful and purposeful learning. I saw the Transcendentals within the walls of the classroom: truth, goodness, and beauty. Coram Deo, “in the presence of God,” came to life as I saw what was being taught lived out within the classroom. 
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Coram Deo Academy, and I could not be more excited for the mission and vision of this school to continue. I am grateful for the opportunity to have The University-Model® passed down to our children, and for catching the vision of Coram Deo Academy.  


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