Gearing Up

Well my first summer getting ready for school has almost run its course.  I leave for a vacation with my wife on Sunday.  When I get back in the office on August 6th, I will jump right into helping orient the new employees.  We have seven new faces this year:

Dave Cox                               High School Science
Eric Smith                              High School Math
Dawn Wilcox                         High School English
Janet Porter                    Elementary Science Lab & Gifted
Kelley Martin                         Elementary Learning Center
Kevin Bergerhofer                Facilities Director
Leslie Bailey                          Student Facilitator

Then on August 8th all of the teachers show up and we orient them to the new year.  Then it is on to welcoming new students across the school.  Then the Ice Cream Social and on the 13th, we crank up for real as the first day of classes will be upon us.

At the Orientation meetings, I will be emphasizing 4 themes:

  • Change – Not change for change itself;  Avoid complacency, so we should always be looking for ways to do things better and avoid the trap of “we have always done it that way” or “that’s too much effort to try something new”
  • Accountability– I believe in and understand the value of rules.  We must have them with two guidelines in place:
    • If we have a rule, I really want it to be enforced.  Otherwise take it off the books.  Same with expectations.  If you are expected to deliver on something or do something.  Do it or remove the expectation.
    • We must have grace where appropriate
    • Balancing the two first points is messy, but we must strive to do both relying on God’s wisdom and grace
  • Professionalism – Look at everything with the eye of a first-time beholder.  Does that look as good as it could?  Whether that is a program, process, classroom, bathroom, hallway, communication piece.
  • Success – We must intentionally, broadly and continuously be promoting the good that God accomplishes in our midst

I am excited about what God will do through us this year.  I hope you are as well.  Please pray faithfully for the school:

  • Teachers have the energy and ability to connect with all of their students and help them be successful
  • Leaders make wise decisions about the people, programs and processes of the school
  • Students come each day ready to learn about God and his creation and build relationships

MCA Cost vs SMSD Cost

Interesting tidbit I learned today.  Last year it cost the Shawnee Mission School District $13,360 per student(K-12) to educate them.  MCA worked on a budget of an average of $6854 per student.  So we are operating a very effective school for just about half of what it takes to run a school in the SMSD.  A pretty phenomenal accomplishment.

I watched a very enlightening movie this morning called The Cartel.  It was a documentary on the state of our public school systems.  They highlighted the New Jersey’s school system as an indicator of how poorly run and how abysmal the results the public schools are obtaining.  New Jersey has the highest spend per student in the nation at well over $16,000/student.  Yet they have abysmal achievement rates in spite of the lavish buildings and grounds.  Teachers make real respectable wages there and administrators, janitors, secretaries, board members and the like reel in big money.  The documentary pointed out most parents in the state would love to get out of the public school system so their kids could go to a caring, safe, academically successful system.

So my question to parents is, what is more important?  Safe, caring and academically successful with a direct price tag or dangerous, just-a-number mentality, and learn-if-you-want-to attitude with a “free” price tag?  And don’t even get me started on the indoctrination of worldly view vs a biblical view – that alone is a game closer for me!  Now, I know these are generalized statements, and I personally know public school teachers who are exceptional, but I think the questions raised in this documentary warrant careful consideration.  If you have already made your decision to make the investment in your child for private, Christian education, congratulations.  Now go rescue some others.  If you have not, please do your homework and think long-term.  If your answer before the Lord says public schools, I will not judge your families’ decision because I don’t know all of the facts for you.  I will plead with you to consider which option gives your child the best foundation for which to be in eternity with God and be called a “good and faithful servant in whom I am well pleased”?

For those of us working in the school, this documentary caused me to ask a few questions:

  1. With everything that is in your power, what could you do to make our school the school of choice (spiritually, academically, socially) in our area?
  2. What would you have to do to help MCA be the shining example of academic excellence in Kansas?
  3. What else could you do to impact the culture, confidence of, preparation for professional life, and critical thinking abilities of our students in a positive way?
  4. Ultimately we are about glorifying God, so what else could you do to bring glory to God through your service to MCA?