Everyone recently received a feasibility survey. I have been able to examine the results of the feedback as it comes in. There are a several points of communication that need to be addressed. Not everyone has the same understanding and context for some of the issues and points being raised in the survey. So I am going to spend the next few posts addressing those points. I will also speak to some of these points at the April 24th Open House event that is targeted at all current families in Maranatha.
Let’s start with the 5 Strategic Initiatives that were included. The first one was: Mission/Culture: Maranatha Academy will create a marketplace distinctiveness based on our effectiveness in carrying out the spiritual components of our Mission.
What is intended here is that everyone that comes in contact with Maranatha should know what we stand for and what makes us unique. I believe that our mission statement, when lived out consistently and passionately, is what sets us apart. Students lives and their family lives are tremendously impacted by our ability to create a culture that is filled with the Holy Spirit and encourages young people to grow in their faith, relationships, and their knowledge. A significant product of that culture is the students’ ability to put that faith and knowledge into action. Therefore, if that is our uniqueness, then everything that we do should seek to elevate that uniqueness and make it of extreme value.
There are many ways to elevate that uniqueness. In our advertising and marketing, we should seek to convey that position in words, design and images. In our pursuit of academic excellence, we should leverage our ability to understand God’s universe through His eyes so that we more fully and deeply know and apply all areas of academia. In our sports, we must use the opportunities for athletes to demonstrate and apply what they learned in the heat of the competition. For our teachers, we must encourage our kids along the path of learning and applying our knowledge of God: arts, sciences, languages, mathematics, music, etc. by being creative in our teaching, helping the kids achieve their individual level of success, seeking to connect to the kids individually, and be involved in their lives outside the classroom.
As you do all of these things and communicate this uniqueness to those around us, our reputation will only increase and become a strong magnet for Christian families.
Maranatha Christian preschoolers were mentioned in the February 23 rd edition of the Shawnee Dispatch.
Children at the Willow Woods Child Development Center may have lost books and toys in a Dec. 29 fire that caused smoke, soot and water damage to the Kansas City, Mo.,-based building.
But it was students at Maranatha Kinder Prep, a preschool in Shawnee, who came to the rescue.
Read the Full Article >>
It is really fun when our students excel and get recognized for their efforts. If you did not already know this, we have a fantastic band. Others have recognized that so we are sending them to Wichita to participate in the KMEA In-Service Workshop. Here is how their website describes the event:
“The 2012 In-Service Workshop will take place Feb. 23-25, 2012, at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita. At this important annual event, speakers, performers, and vendors gather to represent the best of music education throughout the state.”
Did you see that! We are representing “the best of music education throughout the state”. That is really cool! Some of you got a preview of their performance at a band concert at Shawnee Mission Northwest high school on Monday night. Our band shared the stage with the Northwest band to perform all four numbers they will play in Wichita. Mr. Steve Gordon has the band playing at a high level, and it is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our school is such a prestigious event. Plus the House of Representatives voted in a resolution honoring our school for their selection to perform at KMEA. House Representative Kelly Meigs presented the resolution between performances of the two schools on Monday night. Pretty cool stuff!
We are trying something new. We need to use social media to help get the word out about Maranatha, so we are trying a video contest. The flyer provides info you need to know to have an entry. So use your smart phones, pads and video cameras to capture what Maranatha means to you. Be creative! Have fun! We will use the winning entries in various places, but they will definitely be placed on our Maranatha Facebook page.
Students on Train Guided by God's Sovereignty
Rachel Carver did an excellent job depicting how the train of Maranatha needs all of the family on board so that we are all headed in the same direction. As I spoke to all of the high school students this week, I asked them to join us on this train by doing three things:
- Leave a legacy: this means striving to become all that God wants them to be. Be disciplined in their pursuit of excellence in the classroom, in all their school activities, and build relationships that encourage others to join our family.
- Be involved in Discover Maranatha by reaching out to families who might be interested in joining Maranatha and give them information about what Maranatha could mean to them.
- Pray. As Rachel’s picture conveys, the bridge and tracks that our Maranatha train runs on are God’s incredibly secure sovereignty. We want to diligent in our work allowing God to work through us to accomplish His purposes for His glory.
Please join them in these challenges, as we seek God’s face and His blessings on Maranatha.
In November I visited a couple of our art classes and asked a few student in the advanced art classes to take on an assignment. The assignment was to help me convey the truth that we need a vision drawn by God that everyone in Maranatha’s family is participating in achieving. At the same time, I wanted to convey the sovereignty of God as the foundation for those plans. So in January I chose the winning drawing which was done by Brad Gollwitzer, and I have added it to my blog on the right hand side (you may need to scroll down a little to see it). I also had 4 other wonderful entries that I will be adding to the blog in the near future. Enjoy! And take a moment to think about what the pictures convey about having a vision, working toward that vision and how God’s sovereignty ultimately accomplishes His purposes.
Every once in a while we need reminders about why we made a decision in the past. This is especially true when that decision requires an ongoing investment. Here are a few reasons I read recently as to why we should send our children to a Protestant Christian school (Mission Matters by Ray Pennings in CSE magazine from ACSI):
Adult graduates of Protestant Christian schools also tend to
- marry younger, divorce less often, and have more children;
- volunteer outside the church on par with public school and other private school graduates;
- pray together as couples, talk with one another about God, and read the Bible together far more frequently than their peers in other schooling types;
- commit to mission trips in their adult lives significantly more often than their peers in every other sector; and
- tithe three times more often than their public school peers
This is a study sharing observations about graduates of Catholic, public and Protestant schools. Next time I will share another set of positive outcomes from this report. Than I will share one area that Protestant schools struggle in comparison and discuss what we are doing to address that stereotypical issue.
We are working hard to attract new families to Maranatha and seeking people who will invest in the future of the school. So what makes a family choose and then stay at Maranatha? When new families come to our school to visit they are making an assessment of us and our fit with their needs. We trust they are asking questions like:
- Would God want our family in this school community?
- Do the mission, values and goals of the school align with our family’s values and goals?
- Is the offering of the school equal to or exceed the dollars we will invest in tuition and fees?
- Will my child(ren) be better prepared for life and service to our Lord and to be effective, productive people in our world?
If these answers are not yes, then families are not likely to choose us to partner with them in preparing their children for life and service. The first question is solely between the family and God. The last three questions are what we must make sure we present our best efforts so that we positively influence the most families to choose us.
So what are we doing to ensure our best efforts are of highest enough quality and that our presentation of those efforts is strong? Here are some of the things we are doing:
- Assessing our team makeup and motivation – like any new coach, you need to know your personnel: talents and placement. You also need to make sure they are properly motivated
- Asking teachers and staff to think more in terms of customer service and what value they bring that makes them attractive to students and parents. Over the next 30 days, teachers will present to a panel why they are the best department (in high school) or grade (elementary) in KC. Plus at Discover Maranatha, everyone will be engaging with prospective parents in showcasing Maranatha’s strengths.
- Leadership is evaluating our academic rigour to see if we are aiming high enough. Looking at how many credits we require to graduate, how many and what courses we offer, who should be teaching what, time in subject (i.e. how many hours are we devoting to science), avoiding grade inflation, how many college credit courses we offer, etc.
- Leadership is discussing standards for performance and how we incent everyone on staff to continue to strive toward excellence. This includes compensation but goes beyond that as well to include the right mentors, right resources, and right amount time to prepare and plan.
- Examining our culture: rules(do we have the right ones and do we enforce them correctly); things we emphasize and celebrate; discipline (what is the right balance of mercy and justice?)
Some of these changes will take time, but we will be very intentional about the changes and persistent in our follow through to implement them. I ask you to pray for wisdom for the choices, ears to hear wise counsel, and diligence to carry the decisions into implementation.
I shared in my last post the critical concern we have for our future is enrollment. Students are what we are all about. Our mission statement falls on its face if we don’t have students to minister to. Plus, if we don’t have students, our major source of revenue is not there to pay teachers (75% of our expenses) and provide facilities and resources to deliver our mission.
That is reality. Therefore, Rise Up Maranatha is all about asking God to enable us to reverse the enrollment trend and expand His ministry. To do that we are pulling on these 3 financial levers:
- Investing in Marketing: increase awareness of the school and who we are
- Requesting Rise Up capital: asking God to work through those who He has given resources that they will in turn give to the school to bridge the gap until enrollment turns around. I have already been asking and some have accepted the opportunity.
- Increase tuition: to meet expenses if enrollment does not turn around as fast as we need. See my previous post Tuition Rate Increase?
This is the first step in the process for long term viability. The next step, which I will begin to discuss in my next post, is to make sure our value equation (the service we provide is worth the tuition paid) is as strong as it should be. That process has started. Please be in prayer for discernment, energy and unity of our Maranatha team as we engage in that process.
I have created a new prayer guide for February. Thank you for being faithful in your prayers for Maranatha. There are several days on that prayer guide concerning God providing resources for the school. I trust this blog post will give you more guidance on how to pray specifically.