Tag Archives: school

AdvancED Results


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



Our scores for the domains in this area were:



National Average

Equitable Learning Environment



High Expectations Environment



Supportive Learning Environment



Active Learning Environment



Progress Monitoring and Feedback Environment



Well-Managed Learning Environment



Digital Learning Environment





  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





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




Our overall scores are something we praise God for!

CCA’s Score

AdvancED’s Network Average

Overall Score



Time to SHINE


CCA teacher presentationThe 2014-2015 School Year has officially begun!

On Tuesday, August 26th, our saints will bust through the doors with smiles and anticipations of all that is to come. One of the main reasons I love education is because each year creates a fresh new start.

This year begins my 5th year at CCA and the 25th year since my first year of teaching. Time really does fly when you are having fun!  

At CCA, we will still continue to strive to be like Little Pot  and bear the fruit of the Spirit every day. http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Pot-Dawn-Stephens/dp/193398211X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389929790&sr=8-1&keywords=the+little+pot


We will also remember the lessons Tea Pot taught in 2012, as we serve others. http://www.lulu.com/shop/dawn-stephens/tea-pot/paperback/product-20960223.html


In 2013, we kindled our light with a little clay oil lamp. This year, we are ready for the potter to place up high on a lamp stand, so we can SHINE!


I am looking forward to SHINING with the teachers and staff at CCA. They are amazing and I love working alongside of them.


We will SHINE with technology! This past summer we added new interactive white boards in every classroom. We will continue to equip each of our saints in kindergarten through sixth grade with their own Kindle Fire too. We also remodeled the front office and added new touch screen computers for check in.


We will SHINE with the children’s ministry at Central Baptist Church, Central Station. They will share our classrooms and cafeteria, which now doubles as an assembly area. http://www.discovercentral.org/#/central-station-for-kids


We will SHINE as we achieve AdvancED accreditation this year. AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. It was created through a 2006 merger of the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)—and expanded through the 2011 acquisition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). http://www.advanc-ed.org/


 2014-15 is going to be an amazing year!




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!

making the little BIG

I have been getting the same message from God in several different venues this past week. I suppose it’s something He wants me to take notice of. It’s a pretty simple concept and one that we shouldn’t need reminding of. But, obviously I’ve needed to hear it, so maybe others do too.

His message is “The little things matter to me! – It’s my job to make them BIG!”



downloadI first heard it while I was doing a devotional on Ruth. My youngest daughter and I are doing the Kelly Minter, “Living Room Bible Study” on Ruth together. Doing it with my daughter has given me such a great perspective on this woman and the book in the Bible that contains her story. This week’s lesson focused on the kindness of Boaz and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many people.




download (1)The second time was when I watched a video by Pete Briscoe called The Bema. It is a dramatization of a man who goes to heaven and stands before the throne of Christ where his life is celebrated. I can’t do justice by explaining how powerful the video is, so I recommend you watch it for yourself. The message that amazed me was how the little things that had no effect on him had an eternal impact on others. Heaven celebrated the littlest action when it was done in the name of Christ, and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many lives.



The third time was watching our friend day video for this week. It was by a family at our school that I invited to church on Friend Day. That took such little effort for me to do and I was basically just doing my job without thinking how it could impact lives. Listening to them tell how being invited by me impacted their lives and knowing now how many lives they are impacting by being at Central absolutely amazes me.



1377139_10153349199655431_1285784542_nThe fourth venue was on facebook when I came across pictures of 600 children in Leogane, Haiti with coloring books that I had illustrated a few years ago. The opportunity to illustrate that coloring book seemed a simple little task. Now, seeing how many lives are touched by it puts me in awe of a God who can take a simple thing and multiply it into something so wonderful.


A little boy had five loafs and two fishes (something very small within his own hands). 1383082_10153349189500431_849884290_nBut, given to Jesus it became a means to reach thousands. I’ve been thinking about the little things that take up my time throughout the day. The principal’s desk at CCA has been covered in papers and a list of things that need to get done. Throughout the day those little tasks get interrupted by children coming in to take plastic fruit for the little ways they show kindness and occasionally by a child who is causing a problem that needs an administrative/parental solution.



Some days I leave feeling I haven’t accomplished anything of value. Then, I realize every little thing I did wasn’t about bringing value to me. It was to bring value to Christ; and He asks for very little effort. He loves to take the little and make it BIG!



Report Cards and Grades

kid_report_cardToday we sent home report cards. It is always a joyous time for some students and a stressful time for others. We live in a society that puts a lot of weight on grades. Educators often debate their importance and their value. I even attended a seminar last fall that addressed if grades were Biblical and I realized that God himself operates on His own rubric throughout the Bible. He is the one that stated at His own creation, “It is Good” and since he stated that, You have to wonder if there could have been anything less? – After all, He is God!

I have noticed though, that as parents, we sometimes put too much weight into the grades our kids have. If they have A’s we assume they are doing great and they have learned everything necessary at their grade level. If they have poor grades, we panic and think they have not learned the necessary information. At CCA, we work hard to have grades reflect the child’s ability. However, you have to realize there is no perfect grading system.   I have even known schools in the past to make sure students always pass and get good grades just so the parents are happy with them.   Our curriculum at CCA is a tough one and some of our students work very hard just to earn C’s. Sometimes they even fall lower. We also have not moved to a 10 point grading scale so to earn a C, B, or A at our school is more difficult than schools that operate on the 10 system.

While we are all tempted to celebrate report cards, I think it is more important to celebrate the work your child does. That is why we host the literacy events and post their work on facebook and our school walls. We think the work they do is a better demonstration of what they are learning then a letter grade that spans a nine week period.

As principal, I looked at each of our student’s report card on Monday afternoon. I can honestly say that even though I saw grades from As to Fs … I was proud of all our CCA students. I know the growth that has taken place in each of them these past nine weeks. I see the effort they put forth each day and remain very proud to call each of them a CCA student.

My Life Interrupted

jonahThis coming Tuesday (March 29), I will begin leading the Bible study by Priscilla Shirer titled, Jonah, Navigating a Life Interrupted.

I was searching for a new study to do with our moms and teachers and a friend recommended this one to me.  I first wondered if God had more for me to gain from the very familiar story of Jonah. Then I realized that I am definitely living an interrupted life.

To be perfectly honest with each of you, it is one area I still struggle with when I get alone with God. That is because CCA and becoming the principal there is an interruption to where I thought my life was headed as an author.  I’ve had to make huge sacrifices with my own life goals and plans to successfully do the job at CCA. I knew that going into it. However, it is still a stronghold that Satan likes to work on in my life when I get discouraged with the many pressures of my job. I have learned just in the first few days of the study that being principal at CCA is not an “interruption” to God’s plan for my life but a “divine intervention”.   

I am very excited to work through this study with the teachers and parents at our school. I know God has a lot more to tell me.

We will meet each Tuesday in Room 26 at 3:30

Central Christian Academy

1200 Hodges Ferry Rd

Portsmouth, VA 23701


The schedule will be as follows.

March 29 – Session 1

April 5 – Session 2

April 12 – Session 3

…(Easter Break)

April 26 – Session 4

May 3 – Session 5

May 10 – Session 6

May 17 – Session 7 and Review


I hope you can join us.

Our Morning Announcements on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Today at Central Christian Academy, we are celebrating Dr. Seuss birthday. Here are the morning announcements we had:

little pot in dr suess hat

“It’s time for school,

It’s time for fun,

It’s time for learning,

There’s work to be done.

You can think up new things, that’s what you can do …

You can think about yellow, You can think about blue,

You can think about red, You can think about pink,

You can think in our school … It’s a great day to THINK!

You have brains in your head,

You have feet in your shoes,

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You are at school and you’ll learn more and more,

And YOU are the one who will decide if you soar.

So have a great day, a wonderful day

And grow some fruit, while you work and you play!

Because after all … It’s Dr. Seuss’ BIRTHDAY!




And our lunch today is a real Hoot,

It is spaghetti, and corn, and bread, and some fruit.

Try not to spill it on your shirt,

cause there is milk or juice,

and a special dessert.

Choosing Honor

In this interview with Mary Ficalora, she shares with us how Mom’s can make a difference in our world today. Although I don’t totally agree with Mary’s opinions, I do agree that it is important to know and be aware of what others believe and are pushing on our children especially in schools.

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


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.