Tag Archives: education

AdvancED Results

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A little over a year ago we began praying about taking Central Christian Academy through the AdvancED accreditation process. Our current accreditation expires in June of 2015 and if we wanted to change accreditation agencies, now was the time. We had been accredited through ACSI and attended a conference where ACSI was encouraging their schools to gain AdvancED accreditation along with their ACSI accreditation. For a small school like Central Christian Academy, having both did not seem cost effective, since each carry their own yearly fee. As I prayed over the decision, God sent different administrators and spiritual leaders into my path that guided the decision to go directly through AdvancED. I presented the decisions to the school advisory board, who voted to move ahead with the process. It all began in July of 2014. We submitted the application and were scheduled a readiness visit for August of 2014. Typically the process that a school goes through between their readiness visit and receiving accreditation takes two years. We knew that we needed to complete the process in just nine months, so we set out to do the impossible. After all, we believed this is what God had asked us to do and in Him all things are possible. The task was not been an easy one, it completely took the Lord’s strength and guidance all year.  There were times when we questioned if we had made the right decision. We saw easier paths that tempted us. We were tempted to quit along the way. However, we encouraged one another, saw God provide strength to some who built up others. When time arrived for the team to evaluate CCA, we were prepared and ready to see Him work. Below is a ten minute show of the presentation we gave to the team. They spent a couple days reading through our reports and examining our evidences. The most exciting thing for us however, was seeing God work through our students as they confidently shared their faith in Jesus with the visiting team members. AdvancED is a network of 32,000 institutions serving 20 million students worldwide. AdvancED evaluates three areas of a school.   The scores we received were a testament to the work God does through CCA too.

1. Impact of teaching and learning The External Review Team examined student performance results; instructional quality; learner and family engagement; support services for student learning; curriculum quality and efficacy; and college and career readiness data.

 

CCA’s Scores

AdvancED’s Network Average

     Teaching and Learning Impact

283.33

274.14

Our scores for the domains in this area were:

Domains

CCA

National Average

Equitable Learning Environment

2.78

2.68

High Expectations Environment

3.09

2.81

Supportive Learning Environment

3.42

3.05

Active Learning Environment

3.13

2.95

Progress Monitoring and Feedback Environment

2.86

2.76

Well-Managed Learning Environment

3.16

3.11

Digital Learning Environment

2.27

1.88

 

 

  2. Capacity of leadership The External Review Team examined institutional purpose and direction, governance and leadership effectiveness; stakeholder engagement, improvement capacity and results.

 

CCA’s score

AdvancED’s Network Average

     Leadership Capacity

343.18

296.08

 

 

3. Use of resources The External Review Team examined allocation and use of resources; equity of resource distribution to need; level and sustainability of resources; long range capital and resource planning effectiveness.

 

CCA’s score

AdvancED’s Network Average

     Resource Utilization

314.29

286.32

 

Our overall scores are something we praise God for!

CCA’s Score

AdvancED’s Network Average

Overall Score

305.77

282.79

Reflections of 2013 and Expectations for 2014

I love New Years.

It is a great time to reflect and think about choices we’ve made

and what we want to accomplish in the next 365 days.

I’ve been preparing for a new ladies Bible study in January

that begins with the idea of, “What do I want to get out of this”.

That idea can drive you crazy if you try to search for a good reason

to every decision you make each day.

It has me evaluating everything before I do it.

I’ve discovered my life is so busy that I often find myself on auto pilot,

forgetting why I do what I do.

Those of us that are parents or work with children

know just how fast time can go by.

If we don’t strategically set a course for our lives and the children in them,

we miss some great fruit bearing opportunities!

The teachers at CCA set the course every day.

They write and carry out plans that will allow

our saints to reach their fullest potential!

Personally, as I reflect on 2013 and CCA,

I’m still in awe of what God does in my life and in our little school.

This past year didn’t go by without some very big challenges.

We had some staffing changes that discouraged me in many ways.

I probably had more doubts then I have ever had as I went through 2013.

My Moto has often been, “Fake it till you make it!”

(I work hard at faking success).

But, those close to me know when I’m faking, and at CCA,

we’ve become a very close family.

I knew there were some things that I couldn’t fake with the CCA family.

I once again found myself on my knees,

begging God to make something of me and this little Christian school.

I remember telling Him how alone I felt at this job.

I told him I would need some amazing teachers and staff people

by my side to pull off what I felt He wanted me to accomplish.

Then, He basically told me to get out of the way and let Him work.

I wasn’t supposed to accomplish anything. He was.

So once again I thought of Little Pot and emptied myself.

I humbled myself and began to allow God’s Word to take root in me…

I focused on living straight…

I made new relationships…

I gained more knowledge…

And then, God grow fruit through me.

vision (2)

Sounds like our CCA vision – huh?

The vision of CCA is a journey that God takes us on over and over.

Fruit never stops reproducing itself.

Cultivating our lives,

so we can be the vessels that bear His fruit is a challenge every year.

So, what are my expectations of 2014?

Well, simply to live each day with purpose and

continue carrying out the vision of CCA in my own life.

I will humbly plant God’s word into my life,

live with integrity,

foster relationships,

and bloom knowledge.

I’m leaving the fruit bearing up to God.

As I do that,

I am very excited about some specific milestones

that I and the CCA family have ahead of us.

We will prepare to update our accreditation.

Our enrollment is already showing signs of growth for next year.

Two of our teachers will have new additions to their families this summer.

(I’m so excited to share in their lives as they bring new babies into the world.)

In my own household,

My oldest daughter will graduate from college and then marry a great guy.

(I’m very excited to plan the wedding with her!)

My youngest daughter graduates from high school.

Then she’ll follow my second daughter to Liberty University.

(My house will feel empty in 2014)

I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband.

We will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year too.

While I see the plans our family and friends have ahead,

I know God’s plans are what must be done.

The one thing I count on is that He is in control of 2014.

That makes my expectations miraculous and fruitful!

Kindle Fires for CCA in 2012-2013

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We’ve spent several months investigating the educational aspects of students using personal electronic mediums. (ipads and/or tablets). We’ve been studying the compatibilities of these devices with various on line curriculum companies and the benefits and risks they would bring to our school.

It was presented to our school board on Tuesday evening and the church deacon board tonight that the next year, Central Christian Academy will launch a pilot program that provides every sixth grade student with their own Kindle Fire

The following is a list of benefits these devices will provide for our students and school:

  • The ability to complete inductive studies of Scripture across different translations and concordances from one device
  • Access to online textbooks. Eliminating the expense of obsolete hardcover books. Plus, increasing the ability to use hard-to-find or out-of-print books.
  • Use of e-books allows instantaneous, highlighting, note taking, and locating of select passages.
  • Information can easily be translated to audio format differentiating information to different learning styles and disabilities.
  • Ability to create in class blogs to help further guide instruction and create better critical thinkers by promoting analysis though book discussion.
  • Access to Discovery Education and other supplemental materials online to complete test, quizzes, assignments, and projects diminishing the use of excess paper and textbooks. Also, allowing uploading of assignments eliminating loss.
  • Ease of communication via email, calendar, and agenda applications.
  • Meets and surpasses technology integration standards.
  • Access to educational access to reinforce, remediate, and enrich skills taught in class. Many applications have the ability to be monitored by the teacher to ensure extra study is being completed when needed.
  • Sets Central Christian Academy apart from all other area schools.

We are excited to see the potential this pilot program has and the impact it will make on our unique and distinctive curriculum. One thing is for sure, It is a great time to be a student at CCA!

Back for the First Day

back to schoolAfter an earthquake, a wild fire, and a hurricane, the first day of school arrived. As the teachers and I prepared, God reminded us once again that He is in control. We were so thankful that we were still able to open on schedule. Some of the area is still without electricity. However, our little school made it through the storm. Seeing all our families and students arrive this morning with smiling faces was such a blessing.

So today’s post is better watched instead of read. Welcome Back to school CCA.

 

Little Pot’s Growth Chart

Little Pot grows fruit and we know that the fruit it grows comes from the Holy Spirit. So how does it happen? What are the steps? Recently I worked with an awesome team of educators at Liberty University to develop a leadership model.  We agreed that leadership comes when we can transform what we know into the lives of others (which is also fruit bearing).  Together we came up with five steps.

First we must remember we are created by God and are simply vessels made for His use.  Envision yourself as clay pot.  You are an empty vessel and waiting for the potter’s filling so you can grow into a great leader. 

Step 1- Humility

            To grow a leader, the potter fills you with humus or soil. Humus is “a dark brown or black colloidal mass of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil.  It improves the fertility and water retention of the soil and is therefore important for plant growth” (“humus,” n.d., para. 2).   The word “humility” is derived from the Latin form of humus. In the Bible Christ explains a parable about a seed (the Word of God) and three types of soil. (Luke 8, New King James Version [NKJV]).  In verse fifteen, He says “the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, NKJV). God’s word may be planted within you but without humility it cannot take root and grow. 

Step 2- Integrity

            The seed of God’s word planted in humility will stem integrity.  Integrity is necessary for leaders. It isn’t the prettiest part of a plant or the part that others first notice.  However, it is what holds the plant together.  It is the part of the plant that brings nutrients up from the roots.  Our integrity is what we can have to stand on.  “A person with integrity does not have divided loyalties (that’s duplicity), nor is he or she merely pretending (that’s hypocrisy)” (Maxwell, 1993, p. XI).  Any damage to the stem of a plant can jeopardize the life of a plant.  In the same way, anything we do to damage our integrity will jeopardize our leadership. 

Step 3- Relationships

            Integrity that stems from God’s Word rooted in humility will begin to form relationships.  Consider your relationships to be leaves that reach out as you grow.  By fostering relationships we are able to become a more effective leader.  In every relationship we form we act as either a leader or a follower.  Each has specific roles and relate differently to this model of leadership. 

Step 4- Knowledge

            Once relationships form and integrity has stemmed, knowledge will bloom.  In the growth model, think of knowledge as a flower.  Others are drawn to the flower part of a plant, just as they are drawn to your knowledge.  Knowledge is not the final quality, however.  It is not the potter’s plan for us to simply draw others toward us and admire us.  The flowering part of our leadership plant has a much greater purpose hidden within.  We obtain knowledge so that we can bear fruit and reproduce it into another person’s life.

Step 5- Transform

            The final quality and stage of growth for a leader is being able to transform God’s Word into someone else.  Growth is a cycle and must reproduce itself.  Think of your little pot that you filled with humility so God’s Word could be planted and take root.  You stemmed integrity, formed relationships, and bloomed knowledge, all so you could bear fruit. It is important to know that within each piece of fruit a seed exists.  That seed is still the Word of God and is ready to be planted into another vessel or person who is full of humble soil.

What we can learn from our pets.

dog picAt Central Christian Academy, (the school that I am principal of), we had a very special visitor in our third grade class today. Our third graders recently finished their first literacy unit, “Mr Popper’s Penguins” by Richard Atwater. In the book, Mr Popper has to train his many penguins. He learned a lot from having penguins for pets. Today we asked a local boy to come share with them about his pet, a service dog. The boy explained how the dog is trained to tell him when he needs to take his medicine. The students were fascinated by the story and I thought it would be a good opportunity to share another book. “My Invisible World” is a book written by Morosha Winokur, an eleven year old girl. The book is about her life with her brother and his service dog. Here is an interview I did with Morosha’s mom at Book Expo America in New York City last year.

Click on this link to purchase a copy of the book.

From The Principal’s Office: What is more American – Public or Christian Schools?

principal-officeWant to share this video from Stoplight® with you today. You won’t believe what California school officials found on a classroom wall. In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard shows you what they ordered a teacher to take down.

 

This summer Central Christian Academy is putting up a new flag pole and making sure students are taught pride for our country.  In the past people have been concerned that Christian schools limited the exposure of certain material to students and that their education was not well rounded enough. Now, it seems public schools are the ones limiting what our children can see. And those limitations are much more alarming than any I have found in a Chrisitan school.

So what is more American? – I guess that all depends on what you believe America to be. – or more importantly what you want your children to be taught that America is!

From the Principal’s Office: What is “Platooning” and is it good for Education?

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Today in my office I saw a new debate rising among educators. – PLATOONING

You need to be aware of it and what it means.

Here is where I stand.

Platooning is the next big discussion happening in public schools. It is all about departmentalizing subject matter and teachers in the elem. grades. Children as young as 6 years of age could be changing classes with teachers in specific subject matter. It’s all for the purpose of meeting test scores. I have huge concerns about this method of teaching. I know that curriculum has become more rigourous through the years and our students have much more they must master at younger and younger ages. – But, what are they giving up to do this? The benefits of a self contained classroom are huge both socially and academically. A younger child benefits from having the same teacher throughout the entire day. At a time when families are not as consistent and children sometimes share 2 homes, it complicates their lives even more to come to a school and not have that one loving teacher who can guide them through their day. Curriculum needs to be integrated as well. Life doesn’t seperate skills out for each of. We do a job or experience subject matter in the real world all together. By plattoning or departmentalizing subjects our students don’t gain an understanding of how math and reading skills go together. Self contained classrooms allow more opportunities for integrated learning. It is interesting to me that 20 years ago the public schools were the ones who fostered integrated learning and the private Christian schools departmentalized subjects. Now public schools are departmentalizing under the term “platooning” so that they can teach material younger by more “expert” teachers and ultimately achieve test scores. Being over a small Christian school, we will remain self contained. Yes, partly for budget purposes – But more so, becasue I believe that subject matter needs to be integrated together and teaching isn’t just covering that subject matter. It is also nuturing a child and building a safe environment of a trusted student / teacher relationship.
That is why Central Christian Academy exists. We don’t just add a Bible class to the curriculum. We integrate Bible teaching into every subject. Just as we expect you to do in your daily lives. And the same goes with all the other subjects. Integrating subjects into daily activities and learning. If you would like to read more about platooning here is a link to an article posted for the Harvard Graduate School of Education. http://www.hepg.org/hel/article/426

Feel free to leave your comments below as well. I am sure the discussion will continue.