Wrapping Up One Year . . . Rolling Into Another

2016-2017

Well, as we wrap up the 2016-2017 school year, we can really see the Lord’s hand on CCS. We graduated a senior class of 39 students, the largest class in several years. These seniors were awarded over $750,000/year in scholarships!! We enjoyed a phenomenal Commencement Ceremony with Chaplain, Major General Dondi Costin, the U. S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains.

Our 2016-2017 Annual Campaign goal was $125,000. We exceeded our goal by $15,000 to date. The Annual Campaign (including the CCS Golf Outing and Cougar Fun Run) and the funds provided by the PTCA, will allow/has allowed us to accomplish the following:

  • Provide lunch for the faculty and staff during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Purchase four new Smartboards and two new projectors.
  • A couple of new AR computers for the elementary classrooms.
  • Place bids on three newer buses to replace our aging fleet.
  • Hardware and software for a music production lab.
  • Replace the carpet in three of our classrooms.
  • Re-key the building, increasing the safety of our students and staff.
  • Purchase new math curriculum for Kindergarten-6th
  • Purchase new science curriculum for the 9th
  • Purchase new anatomy & physiology curriculum.
  • Purchase new physical education equipment.
  • Update signage on the property.
  • Pay-off the preschool expansion
  • New backstops for both the baseball and softball fields.
  • New graphics for the softball home dugout.
  • New “jumbotron” in the CCS gymnasium.

Thank you for supporting the Annual Campaign, the CCS Golf Outing, the Cougar Fun Run and the PTCA fundraising efforts. In addition, we were able to acquire the property at the corner of Taylor Mill Road and Hands Pike, giving CCS an additional two acres that can be used in the future.

A team of 20 parents, students, alumni, faculty, staff and board members put together the “20/20 Vision” which will guide CCS planning and decision-making for the next 3 years.

2017-2018

We finished the year with 399 students, which is 13 percent enrollment growth over the last six years. We set the budget at 390 students for the 2017-2018 school year. Currently, we have a total of 384 enrolled students – only six away from our goal!! Also, we are 10 students ahead of where we were on this date last year.

While we lost several faculty members this year, the Lord has brought us high quality teachers for next year. I am excited about working with the new talent and seeing them invest in the lives of our students. These new faculty members are:

  • Cynthia Wiggins – 4th Grade
  • Laura Reed – 5th Grade
  • Bridgette Smith – Intervention Specialist
  • Jenny Borden – Elementary Instructional Aid
  • Le Hahn – Elementary and High School Computer and Technology
  • Liza Toro – Elementary, Middle and High School Spanish
  • Kristy Craven – Middle School History and 10th Grade History
  • Autumn Ferguson – High School Science
  • Luke Wagner – 10th and 11th Grade Bible, AP Government, AP Language Arts and Latin
  • Pastor Dan Stewart – 9th Grade Bible
  • Laura Kalfas – Testing Coordinator
  • Cris Sexton – High School Math
  • Mark Ross – Dean of Men, Drafting I & II and Photography

We are still looking for a part-time High School Math Teacher. So if you know a qualified individual, please let us know.

We are adding the following course offerings for the 2017-2018 school year:

  • Latin and AP Government as electives in the high school.
  • In a partnership with KONA Ice, we will be adding a videography and marketing class with state of the art technology and training from videography and marketing professionals.
  • More dual credit offerings for our high school students.

As previously mentioned in our “20/20 Vision,” we will continue to grow our technology options. This year we will begin training our faculty in the use of “one-to-one technology” in the classroom with our students. We will also be busy this year preparing for the renewal of our accreditation. A visit by the accreditation team is scheduled for the first week in May.

So to summarize, 2016-2017 was a FANTASTIC year and 2017-2018 is already shaping up to be a MARVELOUS year. It is never too early to start praying for God’s blessing on next year. As I say in every blog, thank you for your continued support for CCS.

SPRING BREAK!!!!!

It’s finally here!! Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama . . . all are wonderful Spring Break destinations. For others it is home to rest. For me it is Washington, DC for reserve duty. Wherever you go or don’t go, I hope you enjoy your break and return refreshed and ready for the last 6 weeks of school.

As we wind down the year, allow me to provide a little encouragement. Yesterday I interviewed a prospective teacher. I asked a question about his Philosophy of Christian Education. He answered by saying that the goal was to make good citizens. He continued to state that the Greek philosopher, Plato, saw responsible citizenship as the goal of education. As a Christian educator, his goal was to encourage responsible Kingdom citizenship. Brilliant answer!! This teaching goes beyond academic subject matter, it goes to the very core of a person’s soul. We not only teach content, but model behavior by our words and responses.

By this time of the school year, students, parents, teachers, and administration are getting tired. Sometimes when we get tired we respond to individuals and situations in not so patient and kind ways.

I do not agree with all points of C.S. Lewis’ theology, however, in Mere Christianity he makes a simple, yet profound statement:

“If Christianity is true then it ought to follow a) that any Christian will be nicer than the same person would be if he were not a Christian. b) That any man who becomes a Christian will be nicer than he was before.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 179)

The Bible tells us:

  • Psalms 19:14“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
  • Proverbs 15:1“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  • Proverbs 18:21“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
  • Proverbs 15:1“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  • Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
  • James 1:26“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

Click Here to go to some short videos by Paul Tripp on the importance of our words.

As we finish strong, lets not allow differences, frustrations, and disagreements to damage our Christian witness.

ANNUAL CAMPAIGN

Our goal this year is $125,000. To date, we have received right at $124,000 (this includes pledges and donations from the fun run). If you haven’t contributed to this important campaign, I challenge you to help us reach our goal. Thank you for your support for the Cougar Fun Run and the Annual Campaign. Please contact Rachel Cornell at rachel.cornell@ccsky.org if you would like to donate.

RE-ENROLLMENT AND NEW ENROLLMENT

We have experienced a strong re-enrollment (over 90%) and we have numerous applications for next year. We are already 20 students ahead of where we were this time last year. Additionally we are only 20 new students away from making budget for the 2017-2018 school year. We have a waiting list started for one of our elementary grades and only 13 seats available PK3 – 2nd Grade. We have tours and shadows almost daily. Please pray that the Lord continues to bless CCS with Christian families who desire a Christ-centered, college-prep education.

20/20 VISION

You can access the CCS Strategic plan online at www.ccsky.org. You can also access it on the CCS App (search for Calvary Christian School in the App Store). Additionally, if you would like a hardcopy of the plan, you can pick one up in the school office.

Thank you again for your continued support of CCS. We covet your prayers for our students, families, faculty and staff. I hope you have a safe and relaxing Spring Break. See you on TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2017!!

“In Like a Lion . . . “

They say that March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” This phrase is used in reference to the difference in weather at the beginning and end of March. I don’t know what the end will be like, but the beginning and middle are definitely like a “lion.”

This phrase can also be applied to the school calendar . . . with the following adjustment: “March comes in like a lion and May goes out like a lamb.” We are beginning the busiest three months of the school year. Just to recap, we began March with a Mission Day, Co-Gro Service Day and an outstanding Cougar Crop. We are currently in the middle of “play week.” (If you haven’t purchased your tickets to the play yet, please do so by contacting the school office . . . you don’t want to miss the CCS rendition of “Cinderella.”) Coming out of play week we have 6th Grade International Day and we begin the events surrounding the Cougar Fun Run, our spring fundraiser. The Fun Run will go a long way in helping us reach our Annual Campaign goal of $125,000. (We are about $29,000 away from our goal!!)

As we move into April, we go right into Terra Nova 3 testing. We finish our testing and then take a week (plus one day) off for Spring Break. We come back from Spring Break with the ACT test for juniors and the practice AP exams for all of our AP students. Then it is class trip time. Our seniors, 8th graders and 3rd graders all have overnight trips. Boom!! It’s May.

We all know what happens in May: volunteer appreciation, Jr./Sr. Prom, concerts, Salute to 6th Grade, Preschool End of Year Program, Kindergarten Graduation, Seniors Last Day, Senior Awards Banquet, Awards Day, Senior Chapel and Graduation. EXHALE!! Things are coming at us fast and furious, so hold on, it’s going to be a fun ride.

20/20 Vision: A Strategic Plan to Lead Calvary Christian School into the Year 2020

Our strategic plan is almost ready for release. You will be able to access an electronic copy of this plan from the school’s website on Friday, March 24th. Printed copies will be available in early April. I want to thank all of those individuals who gave their time to craft this vision for the future. I’m excited about what God has in store for CCS. Please pray that God will give us wisdom as we begin to prioritize our objectives.

Enrollment for 2017-2018

The Lord continues to bless us with strong re-enrollment and new enrollment. This year it looks like we will finish the year with 399 students. Our budget for next year is set at 390 students. We experienced a 91% re-enrollment rate (with a few yet to re-enroll) and have already received 35 new applications putting us at 361 students for next year. Over the last 5 years we have averaged between 80-100 new student applications. While not all of those applications matriculate as students, if we continue that trend, the CCS enrollment should eclipse 400 next year for the first time in 7 years. Classes are filling up fast. If you haven’t re-enrolled, or you know someone who is interested, please act soon.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Calvary Christian School’s continued success is due to God’s blessing and your gracious support.

This & That

I need to begin this blog post with a little preaching.  Occasionally we need a gentle reminder about the power of our words.  I assume that all of our constituencies want CCS to be successful.  After all, why would a faculty or staff member want it to fail?  Why would a parent, whose child is being educated at CCS, want it to fail?  Why would a student, who will hold a diploma from this school, want it to fail?  Of course, the answer is they wouldn’t want it to fail.  They would want it flourish.  However, sometimes we “shoot ourselves in the foot.”  When parents, students or staff talk negatively about the school, faculty, administration or each other in public (or online), it yields irreparable damage to the school and its families.  This could also include potential damage to our individual Christian witness.  If you have a grievance, problem, or conflict I encourage you to respond scripturally and go to that individual.  Then, if not satisfied, take your issue to the administration.  I do not believe it is ever appropriate to talk publicly about private grievances or problems.  If we follow this important, biblical principle, we protect the reputation of the school, we protect our own reputation AND we honor God with our response.  Philippians 4:8 says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  Let’s commit to following this path.

 Thanks for listening.

  • Congratulations to our Lego Robotics Team! They have earned the opportunity to compete at Northern Kentucky University tomorrow!! Thanks for making CCS PROUD!!
  • Congratulations to our Girls and Boys Basketball Teams on winning the Cougar Classic.
  • Congratulations to Steven Wells and Rachel Lain on being selected as our 2017 Spirit King and Spirit Queen.
  • Congratulations to Naomi Belanger (3rd – Science), Nathan Davis (4th – Science) and Erin Riley (5th– Language Arts) for advancing from Districts to Regionals in the Governor’s Cup. This is the first-time CCS has sent more than one student to Regionals.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch our Interim Athletic Director, Jeremy Leach, interact with coaches, students and parents.  I have seen him handle some tough issues with other schools.  His response in those situations have won the praise of other area Athletic Directors and presented CCS in a very positive light.  I’ve witnessed his interaction with the administration in staff meetings.  He not only survived, but flourished during his first Spirit Week and the Cougar Classic.  He is organized, gracious and wise.  I am very pleased with what I have seen.  I am also pleased to announce that we have removed the “Interim” tag from his title.  When you get a chance, please congratulate Mr. Leach on being named our Athletic Director.

 Here is a quick update on the Strategic Plan.  We are currently getting our final approvals and designing the final product.  We hope to have something in your hands by the beginning of April.  I am very excited about this plan for our future.

We are in need of a few more substitute teachers.  If you are interested, please contact Tonya Burns (tonya.burns@ccsky.org) to get an application and schedule an interview.

 Re-enrollment is upon us.  We have already seen a strong response, with over one third of our re-enrollment target attained after only a few days.  Be sure to reserve your spot.  Enrollment will open to siblings on Feb. 21st and the general public on March 1st.   Additionally, on March 1st the re-enrollment fee will increase to $150.   To insure your child’s spot for next year and avoid a higher re-enrollment fee, please re-enroll soon.

 We are beginning our final push to reach our Annual Campaign goal.  Our goal is $125,000.  We are currently just over $91,000 with under five months left in the fiscal year. A great way to help is supporting our upcoming Cougar Fun Run.  This is our big second semester fundraiser.  Help us meet our Annual Campaign goal!!

I hope you have a wonderful Super Bowl weekend.  Let me leave you with a little promo video for our WCCS News team. Click here to view WCCS Promo.

“That God May Be Glorified”

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We have started the 2nd semester and things are going very well.

Enrollment has increased! New students have joined us and now we are at 402. Praise the Lord!! We had a wonderful Open House in January and we are anticipating another strong showing at our February Open House. If you know of any families interested in CCS, please let them know that our final Open House is Saturday, February 11th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Our giving to the Annual Campaign has increased as well. We have reached 72 percent of our goal, just over halfway through the year. Please continue to help us achieve this important goal.

We have many exciting events coming up within the next few months: Spirit Week, Cougar Classic, Cougar Crop, Cinderella, Cougar Fun Run, etc.

We have hired some great coaches for our spring sports programs (please see my last blog post for more info). We have also hired a new Volleyball Coach, Mrs. Becky Stelzer and a new Golf Coach, Mr. Troy Pearce, for the fall. Mr. Jeremy Leach is doing a fantastic job as our new Athletic Director.

We will roll out our Strategic Plan in just a couple of months. This plan will guide CCS decision making for the next few years.  Twenty-five people (school parents, students, faculty and staff, school board members and alumni) have spent many hours working through this process.  We are excited to present it to the CCS family later this spring.

For Christmas I received a number of books . . . 9 to be exact. Books are my favorite Christmas present. They ranged from books about the USS Indianapolis to the impact of World War One on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A number of those books are biographies. One of the books (I’ve already read four of them) is a collection of short biographies. One of these biographies is about George Muller, the German-English Christian who established orphanages in England and cared for more than 10,000 orphans in his lifetime. John Piper, in A Camaraderie of Confidence quotes Muller:

The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1) That God may be glorified should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2) The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3) Their temporal welfare. (p.70)

Muller succinctly establishes what I believe should be our priority at Calvary Christian School. First and foremost, we should exist to unapologetically bring Glory and Honor to God. The challenge for all of us, is that this should be manifested in our efforts in the classroom, hallways, courts, fields, the stage, etc. with students, faculty, administration and coaches; and it should be manifested in our compassionate, patient and kind interactions with each other, whether faculty and staff, students or parents. Second, the very word in our name that sets us apart from other schools is “Christian.” We should always be striving to train our students to think and respond biblically. Finally, if we take care of the first two we will provide a quality, college-prep, Christ-centered education, because God wants excellence and He deserves it. Will we ever arrive? No. Does this diminish our responsibility to “Aim High” (thank you Air Force)? No.

Finally, many of you donated to our Faculty and Staff Christmas Bonus. Between CCS families and members at Calvary Baptist Church, we received $21,000 for this bonus, allowing us to provide our 60 employees with a nice gift.  Thank you for your continued generosity to this staff.

As we begin our second semester. I covet your prayers for me personally and for the entire school family as we seek to Glorify God, care for the spiritual welfare of our students and provide a top-notch educational experience.

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!!!

Well, Christmas Break is upon us.  I hope that over the next couple of weeks, you’re are able to spend time with family and rest up for the second semester.  Most importantly, I hope that the Christmas season provides you an opportunity for renewed thankfulness for God’s intervention in the world and our lives through the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.

For the last several years the CCS Academic teams have improved.  Winning most of their matches and remaining in the top tier of the rankings.  They have fought hard, but have never been able to defeat Bishop Brossart High School at any level.  Those days are now over, CONGRATULATIONS to the CCS JV Academic Team on defeating Bishop Brossart in a head-to-head competition.

Congratulations to our Elementary Spelling Bee Champion, Cristina Toro (6th grade)!!  She will go on to represent CCS in the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee.  If she is unable to compete, our runner-up, Savannah Gray (5th grade), will compete.  GREAT JOB to both of you!!

Our Elementary and Middle School Lego Robotics team placed 7th out of 42 teams and will advance to the State Competition in February.  Additionally, out of all the robots, they won “Best Overall Design” in the competition.  GREAT JOB!!!

The Boy’s Varsity Basketball Team lost a hard-fought game to Scott High School last Thursday night.  However, there was a bright spot.  Akeem Riley, CCS senior, scored his 1,000th point as a CCS Cougar.  Congratulations, Akeem!!

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR NEWS

It is with mixed emotions that I share the following news.  Our Athletic Director, Matt Morrison will be leaving CCS at the Christmas Break.  He was approached about two weeks ago by Madison Central High School in Butler County.  He attended this school and has been asked to return as their Athletic Director.  After much prayer and consideration, he has accepted the position. It will allow him to relocate near his hometown and family.  We have been blessed with his leadership for a year and a half.  We wish God’s blessing on him, Emilie and Teagan as they begin their new adventure.  We will certainly miss them.  Be sure and stop by and tell Matt how thankful you are for his service to CCS.

To fill this void, we have asked Mr. Jeremy Leach to step in as the Interim Athletic Director.  He will spend the rest of the semester with Mr. Morrison and fill this position through the end of the school year.  Having just completed his student teaching at CCS, under Mr. Heyob, Mr. Leach is familiar with the CCS culture.  He is graduating with a Master in Teaching from Liberty University this month.  He played baseball, football and ran cross country in Trimble County, KY.  We look forward to his leadership for the rest of the school year.  Please be in prayer for Mr. Leach and the CCS Athletic Program.

BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL COACHING NEWS

We are thrilled to announce that Jamey Hinkle will serve as the Head Baseball Coach and our new Athletic Director, Jeremy Leach, will assist.  Coach Hinkle has many years of coaching experience with select and traveling teams.  We look forward to another great season under their combined leadership.

Additionally, we are excited to announce that we have Dr. Bobbie Sparks as our Head Softball Coach.  She brings collegiate playing experience from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin as a pitcher, catcher and first baseman.  She is an author, business-owner and has two earned Ph.D.s.  She is a member of Grace Fellowship Church. She has taught and coached softball, basketball, volleyball and track in the Texas public school system.  She desires to make a difference in the lives of student athletes.  We are thrilled to have her lead our Lady Cougars Softball Team.

ANNUAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE

There is still time to contribute to the Annual Campaign and the Faculty/Staff Christmas Bonus.  To take advantage of this opportunity for your 2016 taxes, CCS must receive any donations by midnight on December 31st.  Thank you for your continued support of CCS through your generous contributions.  If you have questions, please email Mrs. Cornell at rachel.cornell@ccsky.org.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you in 2017!!

Fall 2016 Survey Results – Part 2

I want to apologize up front for the length of this blog.  However, I want to address as many of the responses as I can.  The last blog addressed the first 7 questions of the parent survey.  This post will address the final three “open-ended” responses.  Each respondent was asked to complete the following sentences:

  • Calvary Christian School’s biggest strength is:
  • Calvary Christian School’s biggest opportunity for improvement is:
  • Calvary Christian School’s biggest need is:

While it would impossible to answer every response, there were themes that ran through most of the responses.

Two major themes appeared regarding Calvary’s strengths.  As I looked through the 123 responses, 112 of those responses labeled Calvary’s greatest strengths as its spiritual/Christian/biblical atmosphere (64 responses) and its caring faculty and staff (48 responses).  I am thrilled with these responses.  The centrality of Christ and the Christian worldview is what distinguishes us from the other schools in our area.  I love that over half of the responses mentioned this as our strength.  Regarding the faculty and staff, I am encouraged that so many recognized them as a strength.  They put in long hours laboring on behalf of our students and families.  They do this for much less pay than our public school counterparts.  (For 2015-2016, the starting salary for a Kenton County teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience was $40,834.  For 2015-2016, the starting salary for a CCS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience was $23,850.  That is a difference of almost $17,000/year.)  I commend our faculty for what they do!!  Obviously, you do as well.  In fact, many of the responses to the final question about our biggest need was related to raising faculty salaries.  One of the ways you can encourage our faculty is by donating to the Christmas offering for their Christmas bonus.  Contact Rachel Cornell at rachel.cornell@ccsky.org if you have any questions.

Other responses about our strengths mentioned: the family atmosphere, communication, small class sizes, parental involvement and loving atmosphere.

There were five major themes running through the responses to the statement relating to our biggest opportunity for improvement.  These are in no particular order.  The bulk of the responses focused on the need for improved/expanded school educational and athletic facilities, technology and vocational training, MS and HS course offerings, school communication and too much homework.  I will address each of these briefly.

  • Improved/expanded school facilities – This is a major concern as we grow and as this current facility ages.  This has been a point of major discussion with the Strategic Planning Committee.  In the spring, the committee will present a vision to the school family.  This vision will be a strategic plan that will guide CCS through 2020.  Facility needs will be addressed in this presentation.
  • Technology and vocational training – I recently attended a conference and three of the breakout sessions I attended were centered around technology.  The most disturbing/alarming/invigorating/challenging statement made was that we are currently educating students for a world that hasn’t been envisioned yet.  This is a sobering thought.  What it does tell us is that we need to “up our game” when it comes to the use of technology and related vocations in the classroom.  This is also a major point of focus with the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Middle and High School course offerings – Several people mentioned course offerings and course conflicts.  There are advanced courses and various electives we would like to offer here at CCS.  However, those courses require classroom space, funding, student interest and a qualified person to teach them.  In addition, the more classes we offer, the more potential conflicts occur with other classes.  For instance, you might see a reduction in the number of students taking band, if we add electives to that class period.  Middle and High School course scheduling is a difficult task that takes weeks to accomplish each year.  However, we are constantly looking for different classes we can add to the offerings to strengthen the program.
  • School communication – This is simply about finding the balance.  Some like the amount of communication provided, some want less.  We are aware that this is an area we need to improve on and we are trying.
  • Homework – This is another difficult issue.  We’ve had parents transfer their child(ren) to CCS because they had no homework at their previous school.  However, we need to understand it is our responsibility to help protect family time.  We remind our teachers to be cognizant of the amount of time their students spend on homework each night.  We will continue to speak to faculty members about this.  In fact, I will be talking about this at our next Combined Meeting on Monday.

We will continue to look for ways to address the major themes, as well as, the other suggestions provided.

The final statement highlights CCS’s biggest needs.  There were six major themes running through these responses.  Three of these themes are related to the opportunities for improvement listed above (improved and accessible technology, general facilities modernization and expansion, and reduced homework).  The following were other major themes seen:

  • Second Gymnasium – The most used part of the building is the gymnasium.  It is used for PE, concerts, assemblies, plays and musicals, sports practices and sports contests.  It is a scheduling nightmare, especially during basketball season, to schedule all the practices and events.  A second gymnasium would not only provide flexibility, but it would also reduce the wear and tear on our current gym.
  • Funding – Funding for CCS is difficult.  A comparable school in size (about 15 students less than us) and program (however, they are not accredited) receives $5,000 per student per year more than CCS.  Over half of this difference comes from increased tuition with the balance coming from state funds.  In addition, they get free bus service.  At our size, if we had that kind of financial support that would put an additional $2,000,000 into the school budget (almost doubling our income).  Because we do not have this type of funding, we must ask.  When it comes to asking, we are eliminated from some sources due to our restrictive hiring practices, our biblical stand on moral and ethical issues and our standing as a ministry of a particular church.  Moreover, when we find funds we are eligible for, there may be restrictions on their usage.  Additionally, I must be able to sustain the project once the donated funding is gone.  We want to avoid state and federal funds, because at some point, “Peter will have to pay Paul.”  My intention is not to make excuses, but to state our reality.  We continue to look for ways to fund CCS.  We would welcome any specific ideas or sources you might have.
  • The final theme was increased enrollment.  We have seen a 14% increase in enrollment over the past 4 years.  Additionally, we are above 400 students for the first time since 2009.  Enrollment is moving in the right direction.  However, we are reaching maximum capacity in our current facility.  So, enrollment growth is limited by available space.  Unfortunately, funding for private education is 90-95%* based on tuition dollars which rises and falls on enrollment. (*ACSI states that no more than 10% of your anticipated income should come from donations.)

As you can see, we have several areas that require our focus.  On the other hand, we have much to be thankful for, not the least of which are our faithful families.  Thank you for your support and prayers as we strive to serve God and our families.   A special “Thanks” to the 123 of you who took the time to complete the survey.

As we move into the Christmas season, my prayer is that each of us will keep the events of that first Christmas and the eternal impact of Jesus’ birth central to our holiday activities.

Fall 2016 Survey Results – Part 1

I shake my head and wonder where the days have gone.  We are already at Thanksgiving week and staring at Christmas break and the middle of the year!  It has been a good year and we are expecting God to continue to bless us in 2017.  The last blog I reviewed our foundational documents (mission, vision, core values and expected student outcomes.)  In this blog, (please forgive the length), I want to tackle the results of the first 7 statements of our recent survey.  We had 123 people respond to the survey, which provided us with some great feedback.  Overall, as you will see below, our scores were very good.

Statement #1 – “I have a good understanding of Calvary Christian School’s mission and purpose.” Strongly Agree: 85; Agree: 36; Neutral: 2; Disagree: 0; Strongly Disagree: 0.  We received very few comments on this section.  The one response that stood out had questioned our identification as a college-prep school.  We are a college-prep school.  If you look at the percentage of our graduates enrolled in the institution of their choice, following graduation, we run between 90% and 95%.  However, I am interested and looking at the options for expanding our program to include preparing students for various vocations.  It simply comes down to money, space and a faculty to teach those courses.

Statement #2 – “I feel that the frequency and modes of communication from Calvary Christian School are appropriate.” Strongly Agree: 59; Agree: 49; Neutral: 7; Disagree: 8; Strongly Disagree: 0.  Most respondents were pleased with the number and modes of communication.  However, this is an area we need to continue to improve.  This statement had the second highest number of disagrees.  Most of the constructive criticism dealt with two areas: frequency of emails and consistency of emails.  Several comments mentioned our improvement in this area, but we still have room to grow.  We are aware of the number of emails we send, and trying to find the balance and timeliness of information is often a struggle.  Thank you for bearing with us as we seek to get better in this area.

Statement #3 – “The faculty and staff at Calvary Christian School is knowledgeable, competent, professional and polite.” Strongly Agree: 76; Agree: 40; Neutral: 4; Disagree: 3; Strongly Disagree: 0.  While we had a small number of disagrees, there were some comments that mentioned certification in teaching areas and politeness of staff.  On the certification issue, ACSI (our accrediting agency) requires 80% certification.  We have set the goal of 100% at CCS.  So, all of our faculty is either currently certified or renewing their certifications.  We require our elementary teachers to have Elementary Education degrees. Our Middle and High School teachers either have Education degrees, or they majored, minored or have significant coursework or experience in the area related to their teaching subject.  Our faculty attends professional development events that increase their effectiveness in the classroom.  Additionally, each faculty member is observed a minimum of 3 times a year.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve our effectiveness in the classroom.

Regarding politeness, I will be addressing the faculty members in our next staff meeting, reminding them that their interaction with students, parents and each other is a reflection of their Christian commitments.  There are times we all make mistakes in this area (I’ve had to seek the forgiveness of some reading this blog), however, we should constantly be refining our people skills.

Statement #4 – “The education my child receives at Calvary Christian School will prepare him/her for life after college or the workforce.” Strongly Agree: 65; Agree: 47; Neutral: 10; Disagree: 1; Strongly Disagree: 0.  While we received very good scores on this statement, there were some comments related to preparation for the work force, more AP classes, more technology courses. In addition, we do have a growing dual credit program supporting courses both on and off campus.  As a school, I believe this is a direction we should move.  In fact, some of these issues have been brought up by the strategic planning team.  However, while I hate to say this all the time, every improvement has an initial price tag and a continuing cost.  So we must make sure that any improvement we make, we can afford and sustain.

Statement #5 – “I like the uniform options at Calvary Christian School and I wouldn’t change anything.” Strongly Agree: 47; Agree: 44; Neutral: 18; Disagree: 13; Strongly Disagree: 1.  I was expecting more disagrees to this statement.  I also realize, probably more than any other question, this has the capability to divide.  The responses ranged from too many options to not enough options; from too formal to not formal enough.  Then you throw in comments about the cost, quality, etc.  All I can say at this point is we are listening and working on it.  I am well aware that if we make no changes, there will be some who are pleased and some displeased with that decision.  If we make changes, the same will be true.  Any adjustments we make will be made with your comments and input in mind.

Statement #6 – “Calvary Christian School offers the right amount of extra-curricular activities for students of all ages.” Strongly Agree: 36; Agree: 59; Neutral: 21; Disagree: 7; Strongly Disagree: 0. This category had the fewest number of “Strongly Agrees” than any other statement.  Most of the comments centered on the desire for more extracurricular opportunities for Elementary students, in particular, sports.  While we have extended the archery to younger students over the last few years, we are simply limited with practice space for other sports.  An additional concern is the need for a sizeable number of volunteer parents to run those programs.  We will continue to look for avenues to provide these activities. If you are interested in coaching, please contact Matt Morrison at matt.morrison@ccsky.org. Let me just say this OUTLOUD . . . boy, a second gymnasium would certainly help.

Statement #7 – “I feel the education and opportunities my student receives at Calvary Christian School is worth the tuition I pay.”  Strongly Agree: 58; Agree: 52; Neutral: 10; Disagree: 3; Strongly Disagree: 0.  Once again, we had a small number that disagree.  However, I get it that no one wants/likes to pay tuition.  I will readily admit that I hate asking for it.  However, this is the nature of Christian education, it is not cheap.  I will say what I have said before, when you compare similar programs, between higher tuition and state funds, Christian schools in the Cincinnati area receive $5,000/student/year MORE than CCS receives, with three-fifths of that being higher tuition prices.  We have tried to keep tuition costs low at CCS, with much of this burden borne by our faculty.  They do it because they feel called to do it. We have a nice facility which is aging, but well-kept.  We face increasing costs in insurance, utilities, textbooks, overtime pay, maintenance, etc.  I understand the tuition concerns and every year, we weigh the impact of tuition on enrollment.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help your tuition costs:

  • Promote CCS at your church. Talk to your pastor about helping CCS.  More students = more tuition dollars = ability to keep tuition lower.
  • Support the CCS Annual Campaign. Our goal of $125,000 is roughly 4.9 % of our annual operating budget.
  • If your company has grants available to schools, please get that information to CCS.
  • Participate in the TRIP program. This will allow your everyday purchases to reduce your tuition expenses.

We take the results of this survey seriously.  We look for “themes of improvement” for us to work on.  Please know we hear your comments, however, there are certain restrictions we face: ever-tightening finances, space requirements, lack of volunteers, competing interests (parents on different sides of the issues), etc.  We have listened to you and will address as many of the issues that we can.

My next blog will deal with responses to statements 8-10 dealing with CCS’s strengths, opportunities to improve and biggest needs.

Thank you for trusting us with the education of your child, we very much view it as our calling from God.  I hope you all have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Our Foundational Statements

I hope you enjoyed the warm weather over Fall Break.  I am thinking that we might have to “pay” for the extra warm days with some bitter cold and snowy days this winter.  Let me begin by singing “GO CUBS GO, GO CUBS GO.”   Woo Hoo, WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!!  With that out of my system (for now), I can move forward and explain the purpose of my upcoming blog posts.  Recently, we distributed a survey to our school families.  I want to thank those of you who took the time to respond.  In an effort to continue to be transparent, over the next several weeks the subject of the blog posts will reveal and discuss the results of the surveys.  However, before we dive into those results, I thought this would be a good time to review our foundational statements.  These statements guide the way we, as a school, function and make decisions.  When we are faced with difficult decisions (such as the addition of a program or a discipline issue), we seek to make these statements the “grid” through which our ideas run.  So before we discuss the survey results, I thought it would be a good time to refresh ourselves on these guiding statements.

Below you will see our Mission, Vision, Core Values, Expected Student Outcomes (based on our Core Values) and our Goal.

Mission: Equipping the next generation to impact the world for Christ.

Vision: Calvary Christian School students will use their minds and body to actively serve and glorify God with their whole life, wherever His Will leads them.

Core Values: Each student will grow academically, physically, spiritually and socially to be prepared to accomplish their God-given mission. – “Jesus grew in wisdom (academic) and stature (physical) and in favor with God and man (spiritual and social).” Luke 2:5

Expected Student Outcomes

1) Spiritual: We expect Calvary Christian School graduates to . . .

  • be fully devoted followers of Christ and active in His church.
  • love God and spend significant time reading the Bible and in prayer.
  • think Biblically when making decisions.
  • act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
  • “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”
  • understand the Gospel and articulate and defend their faith.

2) Academic: We expect Calvary Christian School graduates to . . .

  • be a problem-solver, thinking critically and creatively.
  • clearly articulate their thoughts, in both written and oral forms.
  • excel at math and science and appreciate literature, the arts and their heritage.
  • be academically prepared to attend the college of their choosing or enter the workforce.
  • understand and utilize technology responsibly and ethically.
  • appreciate the importance of life-long learning.

3) Physical: We expect Calvary Christian School graduates to . . .

  • treat their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • be gracious in winning and losing.
  • value hard work as pleasing to God.
  • be examples of moderation and self-control in all areas of life.
  • discern the difference between what is “permissible” and what is “beneficial.”
  • be a good steward of the world around them.

4) Social: We expect Calvary Christian School graduates to . . .

  • demonstrate the character of Christ in every area of life.
  • love and serve both Christians and non-Christians.
  • think globally, understanding and appreciating other cultures and their place in God’s Kingdom.
  • appreciate the importance of teamwork and practice Godly leadership.
  • engage in appropriate social and righteous civic activities.
  • think globally and practice Great Commission living.

Goal: To Develop the Mind of Christ – “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,”Philippians 2:5

Thank you for taking the time to review these important statements.  I look forward to sharing the survey results with you in the upcoming blogs.

EXCITING TIME!!!

As I left for school this morning, I had to turn around and return home to get a jacket.  For the first time this year, the “chill” of fall was in the air.  Fall is my favorite time of the year, but this one in particular ushers in some exciting days for CCS.  Here are some short updates:

  • Today the Preschool expansion passed its final inspection with the state. In the coming days we will have our ribbon cutting ceremony and we will relocate K3 into this space.  Thank you for your patience and support through this process.  Watch for details on the “move-in.”img_1619
  • We also have acquired the corner lot at Hands Pike and Taylor Mill Road, giving CCS the whole corner from its Hands Pike entrance to the edge of its property on Taylor Mill Road. This is a true blessing from God and provides room for potential expansion.
  • I am excited about the work our Strategic Planning Committee is doing. It is thrilling to make some long-term plans for the future of Calvary Christian School.
  • The Athletic program at CCS is thriving. Two weeks ago we had our first Booster Cornhole Tournament.  It was a great time with almost 30 teams participating.  We hope to see that increase next year.  We had a wonderful Homecoming last weekend with victories for all of our teams.  The Boys Varsity Soccer Team has a 10-3-3 record and plays Scott High School on Thursday evening at CCS.  The Girls Varsity Soccer Team has a record of 7-6-3 and plays Bellvue tonight at CCS.  The Girls Volleyball Team currently has a 9-12 record and is playing at Heritage tonight.  Mark your calendars for 7:00 pm on Novemeber 11th for “COUGAR MADNESS” – the kick-off event for our winter sports teams.
  • Our music program is in full-swing. We have our MS/HS Pops Concert on Tuesday, October 4th and our Elementary Program on Thursday, October 6th.  I’ve been able to hear both of these groups and I believe you will be impressed with what you hear.
  • In a few days (October 7th) we will celebrate Grandparents’ Day at CCS. This is a big event which requires much planning and the coordination of many moving parts.  We need your help.  The breakfast will begin at 8:30 am, no earlier, also the breakfast is for grandparents ONLY.  This will insure that all of our special guests will receive a warm breakfast.  The musical program will begin at 9:30 am in the gym.  As a reminder, the seats on the floor are reserved for grandparents only.  Preschool and Kindergarten parents are welcome to sit in the bleachers.  Students will sit with their teachers and their respective classes.  We strongly encourage other parents to attend the programs  on the previous Tuesday and Thursday evenings, to allow our special guests and students to have the limited seating available.  Please utilize all parking lots and avoid parking in the grass.  Thank you for understanding and helping to make this a special day for the students and their grandparents.
  • Saturday, October 1st is our 2nd Annual Golf Outing. This promises to be a great time and one of our primary fundraisers for CCS.  If you sponsored a hole or are playing in the outing “thank you” for your support.  If you are not participating in one of those ways, please pray for good weather. (-:

With all of the excitement listed above, here are some opportunities for you to help CCS:

  • Add CCS to your prayer list, if it isn’t already there. When the Lord blesses us the way He has this year, the Devil will look for ways to attack.  Please keep CCS, its faculty, staff, students and families at the top of your prayer list.
  • Support two new groups here on campus: the Athletic Booster Club and the newly forming Cougar Alumni Association. These are two excellent ways to support and give-back to CCS.
  • Support our Annual Campaign. Our 2016-2017 goal is $125,000.  We are currently sitting around $20,000.  Please consider supporting this effort, which helps us accomplish our goals and continue to keep tuition $3,000 or more per year lower than comparable Christian schools in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.
  • Take the Upcoming Survey. In a couple of weeks you will receive an invitation to complete a survey, telling us what we are doing right and where our focus for improvement should be.  Additionally, we are looking for your opinions on a particular topic.

Thank you for your continued support for CCS.  It is a privilege for each of us on the CCS staff to serve you.  Have a wonderful day.