Onward and Upward

The last student has left the building. We’ve graduated our seniors. Our faculty has a couple of days of end service.  With these milestones reached, we begin looking in earnest at the 2021-2022 school year.  We begin this by looking back at last year.  However, I want to view last year in light of this next year.

In 2020-2021 we took a 12% enrollment hit.  For 2021-2022 at this point, with the whole summer in front of us, enrollment is already 21 students higher than last year with over 15 applications still in progress.  We exceeded our Annual Campaign goal by $35,000.  We did not mention the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign at all, due to the hardships of COVID, however we received almost $35,000 in unscheduled giving to this campaign.   We have been blessed by additional funding that will allow us to repair, resurface and repaint the entire parking lot.  Additional funds have allowed us to install 65 inch touchscreen monitors in every classroom, which will allow greater access to online teaching tools for all of our teachers.  Every room will receive an air purifier.  The gym floor will be refinished, which is a few years overdue.  We have a lot going on this summer!!  While we have some turnover this year, I am very excited about the education and experience of the new faculty we have joining us.

All of this has prompted us to set our theme for next year as “Our God is Faithful,” taken from Lamentations 3:22-23 – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.”  2020-2021 could’ve been a very difficult year for many reasons, however, God protected and blessed and has placed us on a very positive trajectory for the future.

Survey Results

Every year, we ask our parents how we did. This gives us the things we need to celebrate and the areas we need to address.  This year we had 95 responses to the survey over the two weeks it was open.  Below are the results to the questions we asked.

I have a good understanding of Calvary Christian School’s mission and purpose.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 97.9%

Neutral – 2.1%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 0%

I trust that the CCS Headmaster has my child’s best interest in mind when decisions are made.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 96.8%

Neutral – 3.2%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 0%

The faculty and staff at Calvary Christian School were knowledgeable, competent, professional and polite during this COVID-19 restricted year.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 85.3%

Neutral – 10.5%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 4.2%

The purpose and expectations for class assignments were clearly stated by my child’s teacher.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 83.2%

Neutral – 12.6%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 4.2%

I believe that CCS provides a safe environment for my child.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 95.8%

Neutral – 2.1%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 2.1%

I have seen evidence of spiritual growth in my child as a result of attending CCS this year.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 83.2%

Neutral – 15.8%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 1%

I feel that CCS functioned effectively during this COVID-19 restricted year.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 90.5%

Neutral – 4.2%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 5.3%

I feel the education and opportunities my student receives at Calvary Christian School is worth the tuition I pay.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 86.3%

Neutral – 7.4%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 6.3%

I appreciate the fundraising efforts/events at Calvary Christian School.

Agree or Strongly Agree – 68.5%

Neutral – 27.4%

Disagree or Strongly Disagree – 4.1%

I use the Calvary Christian School App.

Yes – 64.2%

No – 35.8%

After I reviewed these results, I was pleased.  It seems that a large majority of our school families are very pleased with CCS.  I think the numbers speak for themselves.  

When asked how likely you are to recommend Calvary to others (10 being very likely; 1 begin not likely at all), the scores are listed below, with an average of just over 9.26.  This is VERY encouraging.

How likely is it that you would recommend Calvary Christian School to a friend?

10 – 66

9 – 10

8 – 9

7 – 3

6 – 5

4 – 1

3 – 1

Looking at the responses to the open-ended questions at the end of the survey, when asked about Calvary’s “Biggest Strength,” an overwhelming number of comments focused on two topics: the Christian environment and teaching and the dedication and commitment of the faculty.  I would agree, these are two of our strengths.  There is always room to improve, but I am pleased that this is so recognizable.  

When I look at the responses to the “Biggest Opportunity for Improvement” and the “Biggest Need,” these two categories bleed together.  The trends in these areas deal largely with facilities, technology and athletics.  There were some comments about some faculty members not updating Renweb/Google Classroom consistently.  (We addressed this with some professional development during End-Service and will address it again during In-Service.)  There were also comments about safety, specifically regarding parents having access to the hallways and classrooms.  (We will be addressing this with policy over the summer.)  Also, the need to offer more non-athletic, extra-curricular activities for students.  Finally, there were a few parents who were displeased with COVID-related decisions that were made.   For the most part, we will be able to address or begin addressing most of these over the summer.

We have some issues to address, but overall, I am very pleased with the results.  Thank you for taking the time to fill this out.  Your feedback is important to us and we value your thoughts!

Kentucky Tuition Tax Credit Scholarship

Some have asked about the Children’s Tuition Fund – Kentucky.  Here is the informational website for parents: https://childrenstuitionfund.org/states/kentucky/information-for-parents-kentucky/.  Here is the informational website for contributors: https://childrenstuitionfund.org/states/kentucky/information-for-contributors-kentucky/.

I hope you have a wonderful, restful, relaxing, safe and healthy summer.  We look forward to seeing you in August.

BREATHE

It has been a while since my last blog post.  It seems that all my communication has been COVID-related and done via email.  But here we are, back at the blog.  COVID has forced many changes in our lives, distancing, masks, no handshaking, the sanitizing rituals we have established, etc., etc.  I am cautiously optimistic that we will return to a level of normalcy as school begins next year.

Have you ever noticed that there is a very fine line between a “sigh of relief” and deep breath heading into something hard. The commonality between the two . . . in both cases we are breathing. That is how I feel this time of year, as one year ends and we are already heavy into the next. Just breathe. We are less than 4 weeks from the last day of school.  In the immortal words of Barry Manilow, “Looks Like We Made It.” (Well, I just revealed my age.)  As we look to 2021-2022, the trend looks like enrollment has rebounded and we should be close to our pre-COVID numbers.  I want to thank you for your faithfulness and kindness this year.  Many of you have showered the teachers and administration with kind words regarding their performance.  You have been very generous with your giving.  With two months left in the fiscal year, we have already exceeded our Annual Campaign goal by almost $7,000.

END OF SCHOOL UPDATES

We will finish the year under many of the restrictions we began the year with.  Distancing is one of those restrictions.  For that reason, the end of year events (concerts, Salute to 6th Grade, graduations, etc.) will have limited attendance and will not be open to the public.  Most will be limited to immediate family only.  High school graduation will be limited to 10 tickets per graduate.  We will utilize “pods” for family groups seating.  If your child is involved in one of these end of year activities, please pay attention to emails regarding attendance and seating.  Because of these limitations, we will not be having awards ceremonies this year.  CONGRATULATIONS to you and your child on their accomplishments this year!! Your child will receive their awards in an envelope they will bring home to you.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and support.  We plan to have “normal” end of year events and programs for 2021-2022.

IMAGINE TOMORROW

One of the things that slid to the back burner this year is our Imagine Tomorrow Campaign.   This was purposeful decision.  Many people were hurting financially due to COVID and it seemed insensitive of me to continue to ask for even more sacrifices.  The need is still there and we are re-invigorating the campaign this summer.  However, there will be some changes . . . let me explain.  As I reflected on the full needs of the school, we are in need of classroom space as well as an area that can be utilized as a second gym and potential performing arts area.  The thought of finishing one campaign and immediately beginning another was mind-numbing.  I went to the Executive Committee with a proposal for the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign and it was approved.  The new campaign is as follows:

  • The name would change slightly to “The Sandy Butler Educational Complex” instead of “Annex”
  • The building would move to the other end of the building and be connected to the existing facility by glass enclosed breezeways.  This would create greater security.
  • It would contain at least 4 classrooms, most likely 6.
  • It would contain at least 4 restrooms.
  • It would contain a gymnasium that could possibly house 2 full basketball courts.
  • It could contain an upper-level walking track.
  • It could also have additional storage, which is needed at CCS.
  • It would also have a separate entrance from the outside and could be locked off from the rest of the building, creating a venue that could be utilized by leagues, creating an income opportunity for CCS.

So, this new facility will provide everything we were looking for, plus more.  Certainly, the cost for this facility will be higher, but it will provide CCS the space it will need for many years to come.

I have contacted our largest donors to get their blessing on this “re-do.”  They have all been very encouraging me.  My goal is to have some new renderings and a new fundraising goal early this summer.  If you have donated to this campaign and you have questions or concerns, please contact me.  My hope is that the new plans for this campaign will also draw in additional donors who will give to this expanded project.  If you would like more information on this campaign, please visit: https://www.ccsky.org/imagine-tomorrow.  We will update the site with new renderings as they become available.

“READY. SET. GROW.” STRATEGIC PLAN

As we wrapped up our 20/20 Vision Strategic Plan last year, we now begin “Ready. Set. Grow. A Strategic Plan to Lead Calvary Christian School into Year 2025.”  You can view this document at: https://www.ccsky.org/about-us/ready-set-grow.

This year has been a challenge, but we have so much to be thankful for.  In Co-Gro this week we talked about thankfulness.  As I reflected, I was reminded that every breath, every heartbeat and every brainwave is a gift from God.  I repeat, we have so much to be thankful for.  Please take time with your children to reflect on the year, recognize the challenges, but focus on the goodness of God through the 2020-2021 school year.

I Want to Live Above the Divide

This week we reflected on Martin Luther King Jr, watched the Inauguration of a new President and in a few weeks we will celebrate Black History Month.  With this as the backdrop, I wanted to reflect on the state of our country and challenge us, as believers to live above the fray.

We live in a day of deep divide in our nation.  This divide has split families, strained friendships, and wrecked churches.  Our national leadership cannot even sit down together and with a show of cordiality, accomplish something for the good of our country.  Our abilities to talk and be civil has devolved over the last several years and campaign cycles.  Now we come to see name-calling, insults and ugliness from all sides, modelled for our children . . . and potentially displayed by our children.  

This becomes problematic when we are told in Scripture to pray for and show respect to those who lead us. (I Timothy 2:1-2; I Peter 2:17; Romans 13:1) These commands are not dependent on their political position or party. Remember VERY anti-Christian Roman Emperors ruled when these passages of Scripture were penned. This discord and divide is absolutely contrary to what Jesus teaches us.  Jesus tells us to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Jesus doesn’t tell us we have to agree with them.  However, I find it hard to believe that I can truly love someone who I insult.  I find it impossible to truly pray for someone whom I call names.

I don’t want anyone to think of me as “woke” or soft on sin.  I do not mind calling sin, sin.  Abortion is sin.  Racism and racial insensitivity are sin.  Lawless violence is sin.   Unkindness is sin.  Not loving God with your whole heart is sin.  Not loving your neighbor as yourself is sin.  However, I am concerned about the treatment of sinners . . . of which we are ALL, and as the Apostle Paul said, “I am the chief of.”  Therefore, I am talking about the treatment of all people, regardless of whether they believe, look, act, think, talk, etc. like me.   Jesus loved people. (John 3:16)  Jesus had mercy on people. (John 8:1-11)  Jesus forgives people. (Matthew 18:15-35)  He expects us to do the same. 

I want to make sure all students at CCS regardless of the political party their parents align with, the color of their skin, their nationality, their intellectual ability, their homelife or their socio-economic level, feel safe, welcomed and loved.  I will do whatever I can to ensure this happens.  As believers, WE should be the ones to stand up for the oppressed, abused, needy and unloved.  

This responsibility to stand for others, reminds me of the poetic statement made by Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller after World War II in reference to the cowardice shown by those with a voice, including himself, in response to the rise to power of the Nazi Party:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out . . . because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out . . . because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out . . . because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me . . . and there was no one left to speak for me.

I’m challenging myself to examine how I view other people, how I treat other people, what I think and say about other people, how I forgive other people and how I love other people.  I challenge our faculty, students and parents to do the same thing.  I have hope for the future.  To borrow a phrase from a great American, “I have a dream.”  Martin Luther King Jr. and I may approach this dream from different perspectives, but as I re-read that speech today, I have the same dream . . . “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” regardless of your political party, your nationality, your socio-economic level, your intellectual ability or the color of your skin.

To help us with this understanding we are doing some special things in January/February.  Over the past month, the elementary students have been introduced to some Christian African-American students in library class.  Because it is Black History Month and we want to celebrate this, we will be having a CCS student share some contributions of African-Americans on our weekly announcements.  On February 17th we will also have a speaker for a MS/HS chapel to address race and a Biblical response to it.

I have hope for this world, this country and our school.  I believe God is at work.  As Matt Chandler, a pastor in Plano, Texas has said about Christians, “We were made for this.”  This world is in desperate need of hope and peace . . . Jesus provides that.  May we be found faithful, living like He expects us to live.

Words of Gratitude

Dear CCS Family, I want to dedicate this blog to you.  You have blessed this faculty, like you never have before.  Between the funds collected from members of Calvary Baptist Church and those sent directly to CCS by parents, grandparents and friends, you have contributed over $26,000 to the annual CCS Teacher Gift!!!  Thank you for caring so much for our faculty and staff.  This blog is long, but I thought it would appropriate for you to read the responses of gratitude from the faculty and staff.

Thank you so much for your prayer and monetary support during this holiday season! It is my joy and privilege to serve with each of you at CCS. I appreciate everything you do for me. Love in Christ,  Mrs. Cindy Wiggins

Thank you so very much for your sacrificial giving to our Christmas bonus’ this year.  Knowing that 2020 was a trying year for so many people, it is very humbling to know that you thought of your student’s teachers and faculty as you gave toward our gift.  I cannot thank you enough, personally for being so generous.  My prayer for every CCS family is that God continues to bless each and every one with all of the needs your family may have and blessings along the way!   Mrs. Lisa Duty

I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve as the fifth grade teacher this year. It is a privilege to be a part of CCS and share in the lives of the students. The support from parents is amazing and encouraging. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. It reminds me of  Psalm 118:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Your gift this Christmas and your support throughout the year is a blessing to me.  Thank you, Mrs. Lori Whiteker

Thank you so much for the very generous monetary Christmas gift that you gave to us this year!  Your generosity means more than we can say.  We know that 2020 was a trying year for everyone, and yet you went above and beyond by thinking of us!  You are a blessing to us! May God bless you in this new year!  Mrs. Melanie Ryan

As a first year support staff member, it came as a complete surprise and blessing to receive a Christmas bonus! Thank you so much for your generosity!  Mrs. Amanda Frasure, ECC Director

During this difficult time, it has truly been a blessing to receive such a wonderful Christmas gift from our school families.  God has truly blessed through your giving and it came at just the right time.  We were struggling with how to pay for some repairs to my vehicle and then your generous gift arrived.  It helped beyond measure and I am so grateful.  Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers.  Mrs. Tanya Copher

What a gracious gift! Thank you for your encouragement  and support in the midst of a diverse year that calls us each one to lean in closest to our Savior! Our family will look forward to using the bonus to help our daughter finish up her degree in elementary education! It is a privilege to be a part of the CCS family! God is good!  Blessings, Mrs. Tonya Burns

Thank you so much for the extra encouragement through your giving!  This year has been trying for everyone;  parents, students, and teachers. It is so thoughtful that you would bless us so well through this crazy time of uncertainty about everything!   Many, many thanks to all of you!  It is appreciated beyond measure!  Mrs. Lara Koogler

Thank you so much for your generosity in giving to our staff Christmas gift! I am so thankful to work at CCS and watch how the Lord uses His people to support us and to support His ministry each school year!  You are a blessing to us! Mrs. Laurie Switzer

Thank you for the generous Christmas gift!  I am blessed by your kindness!  Ms. Autumn Ferguson

Thank you so much for the outpouring of your love through blessing us with a Christmas bonus!  It is always a wonderful surprise to be given unexpected money =)!  This will be used wisely for some house repairs we need to do.  Your generosity is noticed and greatly appreciated!!  Thanks again for blessing us!  Mrs. Melody Dickens

Thank you so much for the generous gifts that you gave this Christmas season.  We were so blessed by the gifts and are so thankful for the families that love the staff so well at Calvary.  We know it is a sacrifice to give and we so appreciate your kindness.  Thank you so much!  Mrs. Le Hahn

My Calvary Family, Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for your giving something that you didn’t have to give! So, when I say THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!! I hope you understand that I sincerely mean it and appreciate YOU SO MUCH!! I wish you the best in 2021, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Blessings,  Mrs. Jessica Hinkle

Thank you for your constant support of CCS! The Christmas Bonus has truly blessed our family this Christmas season.  Mrs. Rachel Cornell

Working at Calvary has been a highlight of my life! The school family is always so supportive with kind words, a helping hand, snacks and various gifts throughout the year! The Christmas gift is just another example of your kindness and thoughtfulness to us. Thank you so much for all you do for us and going above and beyond to make us feel so special.  May God bless you all!  Mr. Jeremy Leach

How timely is our God?  The week before Christmas my stove decided it was time to retire.  An expected expense at Christmas time – maybe for us, but not for our God.  Knowing that we have a “bonus” coming helps relieve the pressure of making this purchase.  Thank you to the generosity of our school family and thank you to the administration for taking care of all of the staff!  Mrs. Sharon Landers

Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am for your generosity and kindness. As for so many of us, this year has been extremely difficult in many ways. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, my wife lost her job. Along with an addition to our family, our budget became extremely tight. This extra gift was an amazing and unexpected blessing and my family is so thankful. One thing that we were able to do with this gift is to get my daughter what she has begged us for as a gift for Christmas. This gift was a small pink drum set. Now every time I hear her bang on those drums, I am reminded how sweet, caring, and loving our school family is. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Mr. Cris Sexton

I cannot thank the Calvary family of students and parents for their generosity and kindness to the teachers! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings you have heaped on all of us! Thank you also for your continued prayer! Mrs.  Kristy Craven

Thank you Calvary family for your generous and thoughtful Christmas gift. It is such a blessing to work with your child and teach them to love like Jesus. A year full of uncertainty however there was nothing random about your act of kindness to end the year. Your gift is greatly appreciated!  Mrs. JoAnn Teter

It is an honor and blessing to be called to serve as a teacher at CCS. Your Christmas offering gift has made what we do a double blessing for our staff. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to instruct your child in a Christ-centered education. It is a privilege to be able to minister to them during these difficult times. I pray that with the new year, God turns a corner on what was 2020 and blesses your school with years of plenty once again. Mr. Marcus Duckworth

Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.  It is so welcomed during a year of constant change and uncertainty.  Thank you again.  Mr. Mark Ross

My walk with Christ has been a true example of trusting HIM to take care of my needs. HE is faithful day in and day out to provide. This gift given from many hearts of love is another way HE shows HIS provision for me when I could not see a way. Thank you is not enough to express how I really appreciate the goodness of the LORD! Miss Sandy Butler

Your generosity and sacrificial giving to the faculty and staff of CCS continues to amaze and encourage me! What an expression of our Father’s love for his children— thank you for being His hands and feet!!! Mrs. Lori Wright

Thank you very much for your generosity to the school staff this Christmas. It encourages us so much to know that we are supported by our families in such tangible ways. My prayer is that the students learn from you what it means to be a “cheerful giver.” May God bless you in the New Year!  Pastor Jason Walsh

Thank you so much for your kindness and giving to the school. I am so blessed to work at a place with parents and family’s that care so much. My family loves being a part of the CCS family and thank you for giving to help out just a little extra during the holidays.  Mrs. Lauren Reiber

I use the word family easily because that is what I have experienced in working alongside you, our students, and my coworkers. Thank you for being an integral part and for being so wonderfully generous and supportive this year. I’ve experienced joy in how giving you have been with your time, prayers, and gifts. Thank you so much! Mrs. Jenny Borden

THANK YOU, CCS Family! It is such a blessing to have you alongside us, praying and encouraging us on this journey…especially the craziness of this year! I am grateful for you and overwhelmed by how God continues to bless our school through each of you.  You are so loved and appreciated! Mrs. Jamie Martin

Thank you so much for the sacrifices you make to send your children to CCS. I am beyond grateful to you for your generosity in the Christmas gift this year. With this money, I will be able to pay for part of a plane ticket for a mission trip to Mexico I am hoping to go on this summer. May the Lord bless each and every one of you. Praying that He keeps us all healthy and safe!  Miss Kara Landis

I want to take a minute to thank you from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me and my children into your community.  From the day I started, I have been overwhelmed by how welcomed and supported I have been by everyone.  I feel so blessed to be here. Thank you all for your generosity!  Blessings,  Mrs. Katie Curby

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous contributions to our Christmas bonuses!  This additional gift allowed my husband and I to provide Christmas gifts to our family members without worrying about financial burden.  Your kindness was a blessing not only to my but my whole family. I’m so grateful for you! Blessings,  Mrs. Meredith White

Thank you, CCS Family for your generous giving this holiday season. I am so thankful to work at a school that goes out of their way to make their teachers feel loved and appreciated. Mrs. Sara Krieger

Thank you so much for the generous bonus.  It was quite a blessing because my husband had to take a decrease in pay this year due to COVID-19. Mrs. Kim Plummer

We would like to thank you so much for your generosity. Through your gifts, we were able to update some of our personal technology at home that has helped us greatly during NTI. We appreciate you! Mr. & Mrs. Bill & Jodi Harding

Thank you so much for the generosity you showed us this Christmas. I was overwhelmed by your love and appreciation. We have the greatest families and students in our school. It is a joy teaching your children! Mrs. Julie Heyob

Your overwhelming generosity is greatly appreciated. May the Lord bless you for your extreme kindness! Mrs. Patty Martin

Thank you for your generosity this Christmas! It has been a blessing to our family. It is so encouraging to be a part of a school family that loves to encourage one another!  Thank you for sharing Jesus love in this thoughtful way.  Mrs. Tiffany Block

We know that this year has been hard. More than hard. Despite this year’s circumstances, you have been so generous to us this Christmas. Thank you for your support and sacrifice. Know that we have been praying for all of our families here at CCS, and we will continue to pray as we welcome this new year. Miss Jennifer Bass

Thank you so much for your generosity during this Christmas season.  Words can’t express enough how much this means to us. And thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to partner with you in the education of your children. It is such a joy and privilege to be part of their lives.  Thank you again!!  Muchas gracias =)  Senora Liza Toro

My heart overflows with appreciation for your generosity!  Thank you for blessing teachers and staff in such a tangible way — we are grateful for your love and support of CCS.  Mrs. Dina McCarthy

Thank you doesn’t seem enough to say to express my gratitude for your generosity during this Christmas season. You have shown the love of Christ through your giving, and you have blessed me and my family by doing so. May we continue to focus on Christ and live in His love throughout 2021. Mrs. Becky Stelzer

We are very thankful for the Christmas bonus and plan to use it this Spring. Mr. Jeff Heyob

Thank you for Blessing my family during this Christmas and New Year Season. I know this last year has been difficult for everyone. To receive such blessing during this time means that much more. Truly, thank you so so much!  God Bless, Mrs. Lynae Carpenter

I just want to say a big THANK YOU for your generosity. It is very much appreciated. It is a blessing and encouraging to teach at a school with great support from parents.  Thank you,  Mrs. April Faris

Thank you very much for the unexpected and truly appreciated Christmas gift. I work part time in maintenance and enjoy the opportunity to continue serving at CCS in this capacity. It is another undeserved blessing from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Thank you again!  Mr. Ron Bedford

What a crazy year to be my first year at Calvary Christian School!  Working with the preschoolers has been such a blessing to me and I have been overwhelmed by the support from families as we work through the many limitations we have faced.  Thank you for your prayers, support and generosity!  Mrs. Holli Shoyat

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the continued blessings I receive from our school families. Not only for the generosity of the Christmas teacher gifts, but the words of encouragement and prayers truly touch my heart! Thank you for all that you do for us. My heart is full!  Mrs. Denise Pack

Thank you so much for the Christmas Bonus.  It was greatly appreciated and needed.  Mrs. Pam Lewis

I am extremely grateful for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Your support and kindness are greatly appreciated. My husband and I cannot thank you enough for the financial blessing you’ve given to our family, it means so much during this time! Mrs. Bridgett Smith

What a blessing it is to be a part of the CCS Family.  Your love and appreciation for all of us who serve God here at Calvary Christian School is amazing. I truly appreciate the Christmas bonus I received this year.  With COVID and other responsibilities, I have not been able to go to the gym to work out as I would like to do.  So, I have decided that since I cannot go to the gym, I will just bring the gym to my home.  With that being said, I am using the bonus gift I received to help pay for the workout station I have ordered and patiently waiting for it’s arrival.  I enjoy working with the students here at CCS, as well as partnering with the parents to help the students become all that God wants them to be.   Thank you again for my gift.  I truly appreciate it.  Love in Christ,  Mrs. Jenny Mann

I am continually amazed at the support of you all. Times are tough as they say but you remain faithful to supporting the staff and students at CCS. It is inspiring and a beacon of hope. Not hope for hope’s sake but hope in a Savior that is bigger than whatever is going on around us.  The Christmas Bonus was unexpected but very much appreciated. Continue to pray for and support CCS. The students that will soon be in the world will take what they’ve learned into the world and it will be an anchor for them. You are all a part of building the foundation of these kids. Mr. Andrew Cole

Thank you so much for your generosity this Christmas!  It was truly a blessing.  It is an honor to serve in this ministry, and I am thankful to get to be a part of it. Mrs. Jackie Keating

Thank you for your generosity and kind support.  Knowing our families support the teachers and staff through this difficult year means more than the donation itself.  Thank you for your trust and support. Mrs. Anna Mulling

Thank you so much for your generosity to Calvary Christian School staff.  Please know that your giving is very much appreciated.  You have shown the love of Christ to each of us. “You are never more like Christ than when you are giving.” Thank you and God Bless!  Mrs. Charle’ Fain

I pray that you all have a safe, healthy and happy 2021!!

Peace in 2020

Well, this is the first post in several weeks.  Most of my communication with the school family has been via email and related to COVID-19.  Indeed, COVID-19 seems to be all we talk about these days.  However, as we move closer and closer to Christmas, I want to take my eyes off of COVID, and put them on Christ.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2:1-14 (KJV)

That “peace” mentioned at the end of this passage, often seems elusive.  We look at the world around and we see very little peace.  Rioting, racial unrest, political upheaval and a global pandemic have attempted to rob us of true peace.  Then there are all the personal disruptions that we experience (family problems, illness, financial concerns, frustrations, NTI, etc.) that make peace elusive.  This season provides a wonderful opportunity to twist the dial and adjust our thinking and vision.  Rather than being fearful of the myriad of things thrown at us daily, let’s focus on God’s goodness and love for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Let’s bank on in His faithfulness during turbulent times. There is a peaceful rest that comes from knowing that regardless of what is going on around us, regardless of what is happening to us, Christ is with us.  

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – II Corinthians 4:16-18

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. – II Corinthians 5:6-7

Jesus Christ is working in our country, our society, our world and  . . . our lives.  If we focus on Him, viewing our circumstances through the spiritual lenses mentioned in II Corinthians, we will live in the peace mentioned in Luke 2.

I hope you and your family have blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!

One Month Check-up

As I sit in Washington, DC and write this blog, I am a little over 2 months from retiring from a 25 year military career.  Time flies when you’re having fun..  This is true in all areas of life, including the school year. We are a month into school and I wanted to provide you with an update.  The processes and procedures we’ve established for before school, entrance into school and during school seem to be working well.  After school was a little rough at the beginning, but most students are out of the building and in their cars on the way home in 18 minutes.  One of our bottle filling stations is still on back-order until October, but other than that, the building is in good order, “pandemically” speaking.

COVID-19 Update

I wanted to give you an update regarding COVID-19 and the faculty, staff and student body.  We have not had any cases appear among our students and faculty.  We’ve had a few students self-quarantine do to possible close contact with someone either exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19.  These students have either completed their quarantine asymptomatic or had negative test results.  We did have an assistant coach test positive.  They immediately went in to quarantine.  The families of the athletes in that sport were notified.  Due to the coach following KHSAA regulations regarding masks and distancing, there was no need for the team to quarantine.  Should the virus appear at school, I am required by law to report it to the state health department.  Please continue to pray that God will keep this virus out of our school.

Morning Temperature Checks – As the days get colder, we will run the heaters in our cars higher.  This has the tendency to make the initial readings on our thermometers higher, which slows the morning process.  It would be helpful, if just a few minutes before you arrived at CCS, you turned your heater down and allowed the interior of your car to cool.  This will us to get more accurate readings on our thermometers. 

I have been working on an update to the safety plan you received this summer, based on updated CDC and KHSAA regulations.  Expect to receive a copy of this document in the next few days.

Athletics

Athletics is a privilege, not a right at CCS.  This has especially been seen as we try to meet the requirements of the KHSAA.  The KHSAA is very serious about their regulations for both the athletes and the fans in attendance.  This is where we need your help.  We have not had any problems with the athletes or the visiting fans.  We have had some struggles with our own fans. Masks are requires and distancing is required, no exceptions.  Masks are to worn over your nose and mouth.  Mr. Leach has worked very hard all summer and into this fall to insure our athletes can play and parents can be there to watch.  However, some of our parents are jeopardizing this for everyone by their actions.  Our goal is for your child to play and you to see them.  However, some or all of that can be taken away if our parents continue to ignore the regulations.  I know masks are uncomfortable and inconvenient.  However, it is a small price to pay to see your child play.  So please help us out by following these two simple rules.  As believers we ought to be setting the example to those around us.  Thank you in advance for your help with this matter.

Bus #1 Update

Many of you have asked questions and expressed concern over the number of times the new bus has been in for repairs.  It has been frustrating to us, as well.  Our Transportation Director has provided the following information. 

“Hello!  My name is Pat Moran, and for those of you who don’t know me, I have had 7 children go through CCS over the past 30 years, and for all of that time I have been a bus driver.  I am also a sub bus driver for Walton-Verona Independent Schools, so I am familiar with what the public schools are doing in their transportation programs.  Seven years ago I became a KY state certified driver trainer so I could train new drivers in-house and give them the annual 8 hr. update training just like they do in the public schools.  I also maintain our fleet of three school buses, getting their annual DOT inspection and tri-monthly inspections from a state certified inspector, as well as getting them fixed when they break.  Over the years we have bought surplus school buses from the public school sector.  While we tried to be very selective in what we bought, they were still old and maintaining them cost us in some years up to $10,000.00 and were subject to breakdowns.  To make better use of our precious resources and to provide more reliable transportation, we asked the school family to purchase a brand new bus that comes with excellent warranties: 1 yr. bumper to bumper, (parts and labor included), and  5 years on the Allison transmission, Cummins engine and exhaust system, and most body components. (parts and labor included).

After consulting with several mechanics and observing the experience Walton-Verona has had with their International buses (which I have driven), we selected Navistar International for our new bus, which we felt had a superior product over Thomas and Bluebird manufacturers.  Apparently the quality control at the factory was not as good as we had hoped and we have had several problems throughout the first year of service.  All repairs were fully covered at no cost to us.  We had a speed sensor failure in the first month, but the rest of the problems were relatively minor, such as dead batteries (they determined it was due to a bad batch of batteries), the fuel filler hose sagged and we couldn’t refuel the bus (they tied it up with steel clamps), the entrance steps rusted (needed repainting) and the landing above the steps had a bubble in it and needed to be taken up and re-glued.  Three times I had to take the bus back for the same work, as their first attempt at fixing several of the problems were inadequate.  This explains why the bus was out of service at various times.  While I know this has been frustrating for many of you, as well as for me, the bottom line is we have a solid bus that we think has the kinks worked out of it.  It drives very smoothly, is comfortable for the students and teachers, and it is a favorite of our drivers.  We anticipate many years of trouble free service for the school family, thanks to all of you who contributed so generously to safe and reliable transportation for our precious cargo: your children!!

Feel free to call or text me whenever you have questions about our buses, I can be reached at 859-250-0710.  Thank you.”

Annual Campaign and Imagine Tomorrow

I encourage you to help us reach our Annual Campaign goals.  With added expenses as a result of COVID-19, the Annual Campaign has never been more important.  Our goal for this year is $135,000.  We are off to a good start receiving $38,224 so far.  We are at $289,525 pledged and given toward our Imagine Tomorrow campaign.  As you plan your family’s giving for this year, please to not forget to include Calvary Christian School and these two important efforts.  

I know that the processes, procedures and requirements to have in-person classes this year has been inconvenient and sometimes frustrating.  However, I want to the thank you for how you have responded and supported us.  Remember, our goal is two-fold: keep your students in school all year and glorify and honor God in the process.

Off to a GREAT Start!!

We are two weeks into this very strange school year and it has been smoother than I ever expected.  The success of these first two weeks belongs to multiple groups of people.   Our faculty has adapted to the changed environments in their classrooms, hallways, cafeteria, etc.  Our maintenance staff has doubled their efforts to provide a clean and sanitized environment.  Our students have been phenomenal, maintaining distance, wearing masks when required, patience with postponed and virtual events, and doing what we have asked them to do.  Our parents have been patient and understanding with temperature checks, masks, limited access to the building.  This is a testament to the success of teamwork to accomplish a shared goal, in-person, in-school education for the whole year.  We are grateful for your support.  We could not do it without you.

COVID-19 has increased our costs at CCS (hand-sanitizer, bottle-filling stations, PPE, plexiglass dividers, etc.).  These additional costs just further highlight the importance of our Annual Campaign.  This year our goal is $135,000.  We have currently received $26,000.  We would love for you to help us reach our goal.  Two ways you can help are by sponsoring a hole and/or participating in our annual golf outing.  This year we are playing on Friday, October 9th at the Kenton County Golf Course in Independence, KY.   You can get more information and register at https://www.ccsky.org/2020-golf-outing/golfer-registration.  You can also donate to the Annual Campaign directly at https://www.ccsky.org/give-to-CCS.

We have seen an upturn in enrollment as people become unsettled with the current NTI and the upcoming hybrid models in many of the public schools.  In fact, we have several elementary and preschool grades that are at their max. Even with enrollment down a little bit, it reminds us of the need for the “Butler Building.”  We are still raising funds for this important addition.  We are currently at $289,525, which is 39% of our goal.  To find out for information on this project, please go to https://www.ccsky.org/imagine-tomorrow.  You can be a true blessing to CCS now and in the future by supporting the Annual Campaign and the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign.  

We are fully aware that we are where we are today because of God’s unmerited blessing and love for us.  We continue to pray for His direction as we move through this time.  We covet your prayers for a safe, healthy and productive year.  Thank you for your continued support. #thisiscalvary

Moving Forward in a COVID World

Dear CCS family, I want to send out an update on a couple of items.  First, I’m sure there are many questions/concerns about the future regarding Governor Beshear’s recommendation yesterday that schools delay their in-person instruction until September 28th.  More than ever, I feel the weight of these decisions for the future of CCS and for the health and safety of our school families.  Only 8.4% of the cases in Kentucky come from the 6 counties that CCS students come from. Plus, there have only been 3,326 diagnosed cases in among the 444,000 inhabitants of these 6 counties.  That is an infection rate of 0.75% (less than 1 per 1,000).  This low infection rate coupled with the protocols and health measures we have put in place, combined with the additional safety encouragements and freedoms given to families is a responsible way to approach our opening.  Therefore, at this time CCS will still open for in-person instruction on Friday, August 21st.  We are not governed by “a spirit of fear” but we are balancing the impact of this virus with a safe and responsible environment for education.  Our mission statement says that we are here to “equip the next generation to impact the world for Christ.”  To do this, we all must exercise a visible trust in God to protect us.  We are not flippant about the warnings and we do not cower in fear.  We have planned and prepared and we will trust God for the results.  We are looking forward to having our students back in the building on August 21st.

Secondly, as we come back to school, we will be coming back to new STEM labs.  After a year and half of raising funds, we are completing the final additions to these two labs.  We still have a couple of things to complete: the cove-base and the installation of new sinks which have not arrived yet.  They should both be completed before school starts.

Finally, I mentioned in an earlier email that we would not be utilizing our drinking fountains and that the health department will not allow us to put a self-service water dispenser in the cafeteria.  However, due to a generous donation from a couple of school parents, we will be adding water bottle dispensers to each of our water fountains.  This will allow students a hands-free way of refilling their water bottles throughout the school day.

Please continue to pray for CCS and the health and safety of its faculty, staff, students and families.  We will see you in a week and a half!!

2019-2020 End of Year Survey Results

I hope your summer is going well.  I also hope that things are beginning to get back to a measure of normalcy for you and your family.   We are working through plans for next year.  We plan on being in session, in the building on Friday, August 21st.   However, we are not sure if there will be restrictions imposed on us.  Yesterday you received an email with a link to a poll to get your thoughts on the 2020-2021 school year.  Please take time to submit your response to the poll as your input helps us plan for next year.

At the end of every school year, we send out a survey.  I would like to share the results with you.  I should say up-front, I’m sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to give you a complete picture of the results.  I am pleased with the results and your comments were helpful.  I am proud of our students, faculty and the mission of Calvary Christian School.  We do have some areas to address and our goal is continuous improvement.  There were 10 statements on the survey and we received 76 responses to the survey.

For the following statements every response was “Strongly Agree” or “Agree”:

Statement 1: I have a good understanding of Calvary Christian School’s mission and purpose.

  • Strongly Agree: 76.3%;
  • Agree: 23.7%

Statement 3:  I trust that the CCS Headmaster has my child’s best interest in mind when decisions are made.

  • Strongly Agree: 72.4%;
  • Agree: 27.6%

To this statement, I want to thank you personally for the vote of confidence.  I am not perfect and my decision-making can be and has been flawed at times.  Certainly when I make any decision, I know that there will be a certain percentage of the school body that disagrees with the decision.  But please know, my ultimate concern is the safety and education of your child(ren).

We asked 3 statements regarding NTI.  If I am honest, I expected us to take a little hit here.  We were undertaking something that we had never done before and teachers were only given a weekend and 2 school days to prepare for this.  Here are the results to these statements:

Statement 4: The faculty and staff at Calvary Christian School were knowledgeable, competent, professional and polite during our time of NTI (Non-Traditional Instruction).

  • Strongly Agree: 48.7%;
  • Agree: 32.9%;
  • Neutral: 14.5%;
  • Disagree: 3.9%;
  • Strongly Disagree: 0%

Statement 5: The purpose and expectations for class assignments were clearly stated by the teacher during our time of NTI (Non-Traditional Instruction).

  • Strongly Agree: 38.2%
  • Agree: 42.1%
  • Neutral: 11.8%
  • Disagree: 7.9%
  • Strongly Disagree: 0%

Statement 6: I feel CCS functioned effectively during this time of NTI (communication, access, educational processes, etc.).

  • Strongly Agree: 39.5%
  • Agree: 34.2%
  • Neutral: 15.8%
  • Disagree: 10.5%
  • Strongly Disagree: 0%

If I were to characterize the comments on these statements, they centered on the platforms used, the volume of work, email communications between faculty, students and parents and technology limitations.  We understand the difficulties and restraints.  We also understand the speed with which we tried to get up and running limited our effectiveness.  I understand my responsibility in giving too much flexibility in the platforms used and not giving a clear vision for what we needed to accomplish during this time to the faculty and staff.  Almost all of our staff members worked longer hours into the night, answering emails and trying to work technology issues and assignment problems with individual students.  If we ever have to do this in the future (we hope we never do), we will use one platform for all classes and teachers will be given guidance on the volume of work and timing of due dates.

We next asked for some financial input:

Statement 7: I feel the education and opportunities my student receives at Calvary Christian School is worth the tuition I pay.

  • Strongly Agree: 34.2%
  • Agree: 43.4%
  • Neutral: 10.5%
  • Disagree: 6.5%
  • Strongly Disagree: 5.4%

Statement 8: I appreciate the fundraising efforts/events at Calvary Christian School.

  • Strongly Agree: 21.1%
  • Agree: 42.1%
  • Neutral: 28.9%
  • Disagree: 6.0%
  • Strongly Disagree: 1.9%

Statement 9: I understand the need for the Imagine Tomorrow Campaign and I have/will support it.

  • Yes: 84.2%
  • No: 15.8%

Most of the comments in this section revolved around seeking donations after paying tuition, the types of fundraising events we hold and the strength of the academics in middle and high school.  On the first two, believe me when I say, I wish we did not need money over and above the tuition collected.  The reality is our teachers’ salaries are well below their public school counterparts.  We function in a building that, while very nice, is approaching 50 years old and will have issues, ie.: $41,000 plumbing issue that prevented us from attending school for three days this year.  One of our limitations is due to our biblical stance on creation, pro-life and marriage, we are not eligible for many public  grants.  So we must ask for donations.  Our current Annual Campaign is less than 5% of our budgeted income, which is good.  Even with missing the final fundraiser we almost made our Annual Campaign goals and that is while raising almost $280,000 toward our additional learning space.  Your giving over the last two years purchased a new bus, HVAC in the elementary classrooms and the new STEM labs that are being built right now.  Thank you for your continued support and generosity.

The other area is the academic strength of our middle and high school.  I will address that more after the next question.

Question 10: Would you recommend Calvary Christian School to other Christian families?

  • Yes: 90.8%
  • No: 9.2%

I’m sure there are a variety of reasons why 9.2% would not recommend CCS to other Christian families.  It could be the cost of tuition.  It could be leadership.  It could be a faculty member.  It could be the number of extracurriculars we offer.  One of the reasons mentioned that I referred to above is the strength of the education for middle and high school.  I’ll be transparent here.  I don’t get this.  The data speaks for itself.  Let’s just look at this year’s senior class (which is consistent with past senior classes):

  • The average composite ACT score was 26.4.  Our scores are consistently well-above the state and national averages.
  • These 35 graduates earned 66 merit scholarships amounting to more than $2.9 million (not including the thousands earned through the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship – KEES).
  • The average GPA for the class of 2019-2020 was 3.87.
  • 34 of 35 will be enrolled in the college of their choice in the fall.
  • The class of 2019-2020 earned 439 college credits while they were still in high school through our dual credit classes and partnerships.
  • We taught 6 dual credit courses here on campus last year.  For 2020-2021, we will be adding two dual credit science courses: Environmental Science 110 and Biology 120 through NKU and hopefully college Spanish.
  • We do not have this year’s scores in yet, but 94.7% of our AP students in the 2018-2019 school year passed the AP exam.  This is a phenomenal number.
  • 89% of the Senior class participated in sports, performing arts or other local and state leadership development and academic programs.
  • We have had an ACT Prep course as a High School elective for the past two years.

Additionally, when we see a graduate we routinely ask them if they felt ready for college.  Almost always it is an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

Every year we look for ways to bolster the academic program at CCS.  While certainly there are areas to improve (we address them each year with individual teachers), the MS/HS academics at CCS are strong and getting stronger.  We are excited about beginning the year with two new STEM labs.  Additionally, I will be offering a couple of on-line history electives on top of the dual credit courses I currently teach.

You may have noticed that earlier, I skipped Statement #2: I use the Calvary Christian School App.  32.9% of you said “No.”  I encourage you to download this free app.  It has everything you need for CCS.  Plus, we have the ability to communicate with you instantly via app notifications.  As I said, it is free.

I am sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to share the results of the survey with you.  We have heard you and will strive to keep your confidence in the future.  I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.  I will continue to communicate with you regarding the 2020-2021 school year.

CCS, COVID-19 & Plans for the 2020-2021 School Year – Part 1

Much has happened over the last few days.  We had our final meetings with the faculty and staff and are closing the books on the 2019-2020 school year – a VERY different school year.  We are now starting to plan in earnest for the 2020-2021 school year.  Additionally, on Wednesday the CDC issued a document entitled “Considerations for Schools” regarding beginning in the fall.  I’m writing you to talk about CCS’s plans for the fall.

The military uses the acronym BLUF.  It stands for “Bottom Line Up Front.”  Here is the BLUF for this email: at this point, CCS plans to open as originally scheduled on Friday, August 21, 2020, in the school building.

Now, with that said, we still have much planning to do and will most likely be opening with some restrictions and new protocols in place.  The CDC document is 8 pages long with almost 75 recommendations for schools.  Some of these recommendations are feasible for CCS.  However, many of them are not feasible for us, due to building size and configuration, as well as, funding and personnel.  What has further complicated this issue is that there is no agreement among medical professionals on the appropriate responses, the issue has become political, and there are varying views among CCS families, faculty and staff.  The one thing we can all agree on is that the safety and health of our students, faculty and families is of singular importance.

Another issue for consideration at the local level is the response of Governor Beshear, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) and the Kenton County School District.  While their responses will not mandate CCS decisions, they could potentially affect our functioning as a school.

With all of this in mind, CCS has formed a COVID-19 Response Task Force.  This task force is comprised of CCS parents, healthcare professionals, Executive Committee members, faculty, staff and administration.  They will begin work soon.  The responsibility of this task force will be to define what school at CCS will look like in the fall.  The product provided by this team will be “The CCS Pandemic Preparedness Plan”.  This plan will guide CCS’s response for the 2020-2021 school year, serve as the starting point for any future pandemics and become a permanent piece of the CCS Crisis Manual.  I believe this will give us guidance to respond as well as build some consensus among the school’s constituency.

I understand that with over 200 families and 370+ students we can never do everything every family wants us to do.  But I think we can all agree that we want our students and faculty to be and feel safe and healthy at school every day.

I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we deal with this event.  I will be emailing and posting to the blog often this summer regarding this process and our plans for beginning the school year.

IMG_3678P.S.: The demolition on the STEM labs has begun and the new equipment has arrived.  I will also keep you posted with pictures of the progress we are making.