Shawnee Dispatch Article
Maranatha Christian Academy
• Freshman Caroline Bingham, first place, girls 400-meter dash (57.70)
• Freshman Lauren Harrell, first place, girls 800-meter run (2:25.42)
• Girls 4-x-800-meter relay team (freshmen Lauren Harrell, Taylor Marrow, Katherin Smith and Hope Manning), first place, 9:52.44
• Freshman Caroline Bingham, third place, girls 100-meter dash, 12.57
• Freshman Caroling Bingham, second place, girls 200-meter dash, 26.73
• Freshman Lauren Harrell, third place, girls 1,600-meter run, 5:25.76
• Freshman Hope Manning, third place, girls 3,200-meter run, 11:53.59
• Girls 4-x-400-meter relay team (Harrell, Manning, Smith and Bingham), third place, 4:13.42
• Boys 4-x-800-meter relay team (seniors Caleb Hartig, Luke Miller, Ian Bower and sophomore Briar Belcher), second place, 8:15.05
Sports. One of my favorite topics and activities. I consider myself a sports junkie. I mean, I have played sports all my life, and at times I can be obsessive about them…just ask my wife. I love the fact that so many of MCA’s kids are involved in at least one sport. That is why I continue to support the plan for offering as many sports as we can. However, there is a cost both in manpower and money to operate these sports, so we must be careful in our expenditure.
As we plan for this coming year and the years following, we have set a couple of guidelines in place that will help us set a wise course for supporting athletic participation. One of those guide posts will be “depth vs breadth”. When we have to make a choice between quality or more offerings, I want us to make the choice for quality. This will be evident in the fact that we will have to have a minimum number of MCA students participating before we commit our Athletic leadership personnel to administrating the sport. Administrating includes working with KSHSAA, finding coaches, communicating with other schools for games, rules, getting volunteers to help, filling out paperwork for participation, promoting participation, etc. When you have multiple sports going on at the same time and you have a limited number of staff, you can see why I want to defend their focus.
The second guide post is to commit to excellence and participation. We have seen a significant population of our secondary involved in sports. I think that is wonderful. There is so much to be learned and applied about life through the challenges and disciplines of sports. We want that participation to go even higher. Where I think we have an opportunity to take some big strides forward is in the area of excellence. Don’t get me wrong! We have excelled in many areas in the past and are witnessing them today. Of course we can celebrate our girls Cross Country Championship from this year, or come out and watch our track teams compete successfully against bigger schools, and you can see that excellence. However, I think we can go deeper in all of our sports. We can be more intentional about developing those elementary kids who are interested. We can help kids see the benefits of off-season training and conditioning. We can celebrate when our student/athletes get scholarships for college sports. We can require that coaches receive a certain amount of training annually. There are a lot of methods, and I will be looking forward our specific plans for the coming year.
By the way, champions are made in the off-season. If you have not checked out all of the offerings we have for sports participation and training for the summer, I encourage you to do so quickly. For example, I am offering a Country Bible & Basketball Camp that runs June 4-8. The $150 fee is due this Friday, and I currently have 25 girls going. I would welcome more. It will be great fun. Just ask the girls from last year’s camp. Also the boy’s and girl’s teams are offering camps, open gyms, league games. The volleyball team will have a camp. We will have a couple of basketball , football and soccer camps for elementary students. We have a weight training program. See what I mean? If you want to excel, you can make choices that will lead to that success.
One other topic I covered was the area of finance. I have discussed the topic a couple of times before:
However, I made a few clarify points in the presentation. First of all, while we will continue to work under and sharpen our application of biblical business principles, we know that this is God’s ministry and we must be guided by prayer and faith. We can be as clever as we want, but if God does not direct our steps, we are doomed for failure. I also talked about the future of our approach to tuition. I am planning on moving us toward a college based tuition model: State a tuition rate that meets our costs needs and represents a good value for the school, and then communicate that there is a substantial financial aid available. We are committed to making the school accessible to a households of diverse economic means. We don’t have all of the details worked out for exactly how we will apply this model in our setting because I know there is a lot of creative thought out there to consider before we apply it. But in my research, this is the most viable model to keep tuition fair for families and sustainable for the school. We will commit to sharing the details well in advance of implementation so that we can make sure your situation is carefully addressed.
Let me pursue one “squirrel” (have you watched Up!? The dog has an issue with concentration.) One significant business challenge the school has (and it is not uncommon among private schools) is the ability to plan due to lack of information. One reason that I implemented staged increases to the re-registration fee is that I need to encourage families to commit earlier. Ditto for Discover Maranatha and the Reveal/Open House. I can not plan well for budget, personnel and operations when so much depends on enrollment numbers, and I don’t have a firm count until August. Mr. Beck is extremely challenged to create a class schedule that offers the right courses at the right time if he does not know how many students he will have in the secondary. The class schedule is a multifaceted issue that is very troublesome if a plan that took weeks to develop has to be scrapped a week before school starts and another one pulled together. So help us out. If you can’t afford the re-enrollment fees right now, and you are committed to coming back next year, I would personally value having you turn in your paperwork with a note indicating that you intend to pay later. This will help us immensely.
The last thing I will cover in this post is the most important part. We are ending this school year with 453 students enrolled in K-12. 69% of the capacity of the preschool is being used. It is essential for the longevity of the school that we continue to attract and retain students. I trust you know, that we constantly encouraging teachers and staff to connect with students: listen to their needs, dreams and struggles. We want our young people to know they are wanted as part of our family. We are also strategically marketing to people in our community. We are doing that through a redesigned website, targeted magazine ads, putting flyers in preschools, connecting with churches, banners at the 3&2 ball fields, and ads with the local newspaper. I hope you are helping us connect with potential families. I am praying that the Lord will increase the size of our family. We built our budget on a conservative estimate of enrollment of 435 students. I am praying that God will richly bless us well above that number. When that number gets to 447, tuition costs go down. Wow, I never knew 447 could look so good!
Tonight is the final chance to come to the school and visit about the plans for the school going forward. Well at least it is the last chance to do it formally. I trust there will be many opportunities to visit informally. To fully understand all of the points made during my presentation takes considerably more time that the 35 minutes I used to move through the presentation on the 24th. In fact, with Q&A at the first Superintendent Roundtable, we invested an hour+ in dialogue. I have been greatly encouraged with the response to the new logo, school name, and initiatives. Of course the dress code continues to be the most “interesting” topic to people. Perhaps that is because it is the most tangible immediately. Oh well, as much as I would like to invest my time discussing and advancing other items, we want people to understand the intent of why we are doing what we are doing with the dress code.
We started the conversation with a series of illustrations of why we are so excited about MCA. God has worked in mighty ways through the long history of MCA to develop young people who excel in the classroom, in athletics and other co-curricular activities, and most importantly devote their lives to Him both while they are in school and after they graduate. I hope you take time to stop and consider the many wonderful stories, results, and outcomes in the lives of your children and those of the children that surround your child(ren) every day at school. We will be placing many of the results I listed on our new web site that should launch later this week. I was reminded the other day of the quality of our students, when kids from public schools visited and said how impressed they were with the kindness and class of our students. Isn’t that a wonderful testimony!
Next I leveraged the Cardus Study(http://www.cardus.ca/research/education/) to reinforce what a good decision it is to invest in Protestant Christian education. I summarized these into 7 points. We have created a flyer we will be handing out to prospective parents to add to their motivation for investing in a Christian school. For your encouragement, here they are…
Protestant Christian school graduates as compared to public, private, Catholic or home school, are more likely too…
- Have the tools to engage in healthy relationships.
- Have great direction in life.
- Have distinctive hope and optimism about their lives and futures.
- Have significantly more adherence to the church’s teaching than their peers.
- Be foundational, reliable & indispensable members of society.
- Have an uncommon & distinctive commitment to their families: less divorce & more children
- Be more committed to their churches: volunteer more, give more, and go on mission & relief trips.
I will continue this thread tomorrow as I discuss the financial points I covered in the presentation both short-term and longer term.
God really chooses to answer prayer and bless us! What a wonderful day of fun we had on Saturday! 380 arm bands were sold to those young people who wanted to play on the inflatables. Many others joined in the fun by eating tamales, tacos, hamburgers, snow cones, popcorn, etc, by getting their face painted, by buying jewelry and spiritwear, and visiting the Sparkle booth. Add in the wonderful talent presented on stage from young and old alike, the hugely popular petting zoo and of course the dunk tank/pie throwing station, and it is no wonder that people hung around for hours creating a festive atmosphere.
A huge thank you to Cary Shiner who organized the event. He had plenty of help from people who stepped up to coordinate sections of the event and by a huge host of volunteers who came early to set up and then to man all the events and activities. I am considering this a huge success as I saw our Maranatha family re-connecting. I visited with guests from the apartments across the street. I heard of families expressing interest in our school. I saw countless cars go by and notice that something special was going on. I saw young people get involved in a big way to support the school.
So many reasons to praise the Lord today. And I have so many reasons to thank you for what you did to make this event a success.