Begun in 1997 in a Donut Shop in Paradise, Ca., Pines Academy was born out of parents’ concern for the safety of their middle school children. The fledgling school, four students, soon became a ministry of Magalia Pines Baptist Church in Magalia, California, which was itself only six months old with twelve members. The name change to Upward International Schools, Pines Academy Campus, was the natural outcome of nearly two decades of outreach to students and families desiring a quality education in a Biblically sound environment wherever in the world they were found.
In a world of confused social values and physically dangerous educational facilities, it is the vision of UIS to provide quality education with a Biblical worldview in a safe environment. This has become an outreach to groups in other towns and countries who desire to provide a school environment but lack connections and experience to accomplish such important ministries. It has also taken the form of services to Homeschool and remote families, local and afar, including missionary families worldwide.
Malaysia called in 2014. A Christian businessman in Kuala Lumpur connected UIS with his desire to provide Biblical school education for service workers, pastors, and others in the non-Christian nation of Malaysia. What began primarily as a ministry to expats and Christian workers quickly became an outreach to families from nine countries and five language groups, a global opportunity to share the gospel through education. All the K-12 schools are taught in English - thus fulfilling an international need in developing countries. Professional Development and curriculum are provided by UIS along with USA based standards and permanent record preservation. The establishment of two sites known as Upward Learning Centres in commercial malls attracted the attention of another group of people with needs.
CSNE was born. The Centre for Special Needs Education became the inclusive education environment so rarely experienced in Asia. Nearly unheard of in Malaysia and rarely considered important, Biblically based education is provided for families of many different educational, cultural, and religious backgrounds.
The founder of Upward Learning Centres, as a result of successful ministry through inclusive education, was approached to take over Step and Smile, a Hungarian based therapy center for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Now, recognizing the academic potential of these children cast off by society and deceived by their physical bodies, an inclusive education is being provided. More than education is needed by these families. Hope and a future is now within reach.
The village of Bujumba is located on the western edge of Kenya. A teacher in the government schools reached out to provide a safe place for students to do homework and studies in the village. There is no plumbing and very little electricity in their rural and primitive setting. Friends of Upward International Schools connected with the concerned teacher and began to provide the funds to build a block building with outside “facilities” as a library for after-school study. Another need was uncovered. Children are not allowed to attend school unless they have a certain level of mastery of the English language. However, there is no opportunity for them to get that knowledge. Many come from families that only speak Swahili.
St. Jude’s Kindergarten was born. Now forty children aged 4-9 are taught by village teachers funded by Upward International Schools. Abeka's Bible-based curriculum is provided and teachers are trained by American instructors from Upward International Schools.
A tiny school in an obscure Northern California town has reached around the world to places most Americans have never heard of to share the gospel with hundreds and hundreds of families through education.
By the way, the tiny church of twelve in a town of which few have ever heard now has hundreds of members who care enough to provide hope and a future wherever needed.