The idea of Portland Christian School was birthed during a prayer meeting in 1915. Several families of the Portland Avenue Church of Christ were concerned about “the pervasive secularism creeping into the public school education of their day” and met to ask the Lord what to do about it. They eventually felt led to begin a school of their own which used the same curriculum as the public schools, but taught all subjects from a biblical perspective and included daily Bible classes. By late August of 1924 they had a principal and a teacher, who agreed to serve only for any donations that would come for them. There was no set tuition but only a promise from each family that they would give whatever they could towards their children’s education.
They also had a student roster with the names of fifty children of families from the church. But on opening day September 2, 1924, “the fifty students expected arrived plus fifteen more.” Instead of turning away the unexpected students, who were from Portland neighborhood families that had heard about this new school, the leadership decided to allow them to stay on the same tuition-free, pay–as-you can basis. That same attitude of making room for as many as possible regardless of their socio-economic status remains at the heart of Portland Christian’s DNA today, with over half of our students receiving tuition assistance.
The school opened in 1924 with grades one through nine and had an enrollment of eighty-one students before the year was out. A grade was added each year until the full twelve grades were offered in the 1927-28 school year, which ended with the graduation of the first senior class. There were eleven members of the first graduating class and there has been a graduating class each year since 1928.
From the second year of its operation until the 1957-1958 school year the enrollment of the school remained below two hundred. However, when Kentucky Bible College, which had been occupying the same grounds and buildings for five years, moved to Winchester, Kentucky, the new PCS building, erected in 1949, made it possible for the school to expand. The enrollment was between two hundred and two hundred forty from 1958 through 1969 when another expansion program made it possible to handle approximately three hundred students.
During the 1973-74 school year, the fiftieth year was celebrated with the overall theme being “What God Hath Wrought?” In the fall of 1978, Portland Christian School opened the newly remodeled Montgomery Street campus. The facility, formerly the Emma Dolfinger School, is on the National Historic Register and housed students in grades K-6.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Lord led the board and leadership of the school to begin looking for new locations to open extension campuses for elementary and middle school that would, God willing, feed into the high school at the Portland campus. For several years PCS had small extension campuses on Taylorsville Road, and in Bullitt County and Oldham County. In the early 2000s, plans were made to build a new school building which could accommodate grades K-12 at the Taylorsville Road campus in Jeffersontown, but it soon became clear that the Lord had different plans. In 2012 PCS purchased the former Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church and school at 8509 Westport Road. The other campus locations were eventually closed and all operations were moved to this new location, which is where PCS resides today. Today, PCS serves students and families from seven counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. And, as always, PCS remains true to its founding principles of teaching every subject in the light of God’s Word and making it our priority to teach the Bible and to help our students to live out our theme verse, Colossians 3:17:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NIV)