One of the key points that I have been emphasizing to leaders, faculty and staff at the start of this school year has been accountability. One of the aspects of accountability is that you either need goals or rules to which you are accountable. My approach to rules is that we must have them to make sure we work well together as a community. They provide a comfortable zone where we can all work to achieve the Mission of MCA. Without them we have chaos and everyone doing what is pleasing in their own eyes. Reading through the book of Judges reinforces that allowing everyone to do as they please is a model for disaster. So my belief is that if you are going to have a rule, then enforce it. Or if not, then do away with the rule.
Now I have been in environments where the rules became more important than relationships. Compliance to those rules became the measuring stick for spirituality. Therefore, I am not interested in operating in that model. I want us to have reasonable guidelines that have explainable rationale as to why we have them. Then we must enforce those rules in love and fairness. If we follow this path with the knowledge that we are all sinners and that we will make mistakes (break the rules), then our hearts must be desirous of restoration. Every situation will be different. Every child will be different. Therefore we must administer grace, justice and consequences in a loving, wise manner…individually. We are not perfect, so we will error at times in administering corrective, restorative actions, but by the grace of God, we will strive to be God’s instruments to help young people be trained and equipped to love and serve our Lord.
What does the word “professional” bring to mind for you? As I have reflected on that word over the summer, these are the things I thought:
- A professional has the ability to 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 or my own personal appearance, I want it to be the best it can be.
- A professional seeks to have strength of process, policy and procedures so that customers, peers and subordinates can have confidence in their ability to deliver.
- A professional knows their job well and applies their abilities in a consistent manner with a high degree of efficiency and effectiveness
I am sure there are other things that come to mind for you, but these thoughts led me to make “professionalism” an emphasis for this year for our school. I want to make sure that I don’t get accustomed to things in a manner that allows for complacency. I want to challenge myself and all those in the school to make sure we are crisp in our appearance and execution. I believe we are off to a great start in this area, but that focus can never subside.
Teachers have done a wonderful job in preparing their rooms and their teaching plans. Kevin, our Facilities Director, is doing a fabulous job tackling the list of things that will upgrade the appearance and functionality of our facilities and grounds. We have people who are addressing the public image of MCA through advertising, how we communicate, our website, how we interact with Corporate Partners, building community amongst our parents, and the quality and appearance of our fundraising events. As all of these efforts gain momentum and work together, I believe we will raise to even greater heights of performance and satisfaction. Even more importantly, I believe God will be glorified in our stewardship of the ministry.
The Secondary had their Back To School Night last night. Parents, if you did not attend last night, you missed out. Getting a close encounter with the faculty to whom are delegating teaching responsibilities is a very important event. As a leader sitting in on a few of the sessions, I can assure you that I would be delighted to have my daughter be under their tutelage. I am thrilled with the people God has assembled at MCA to accomplish his work in helping you train your children. Elementary parents, don’t miss your opportunity to meet your teachers this Thursday(North) or next Tuesday night(South).
Well, the first day of school is under our belts. Those of you that saw me wandering the halls and parking lot hopefully saw my delight in having the students back in the building. I appreciated the summer months to work on projects and plans, but there is nothing like the energy and alignment with purpose that rejuvenates you for another year. If we are not ministering to kids, then we are missing the mark, so it is good to have them back.
One of the themes I have visited with leadership, faculty, staff and some parents as I have had the opportunity is the idea that we want change in our school. We don’t want change for change sake, but we do want to create and sustain an environment that change is welcome as it encourages and rewards creativity. I believe with the renewed enthusiasm of the teachers that have served MCA over the years and add the new staff and faculty, I think we should push into new frontiers.
Many time change requires funds to get new tools, pay for training, etc. We were blessed this summer as a MCA family stepped up and blessed our school with a $40,000 gift. Almost half of it was earmarked for our science department. I am so excited for this investment and for the current and new teachers in our Science Department. The tools that will be provided and the hands on experience the students will experience will vault us forward significantly. Come to Back To School Nights and you will get to see what we have added.
We do have 7 new people joining our Academy faculty and staff.
- Dawn Wilcox – will teach Freshman English this year. She will have her bio on our web site soon, so check it out. I am excited to have her and her two girls who are now attending MCA.
- Dr. Eric Smith – will teach high school math. He has a great sense of humor and wonderful credentials, including teaching at the college level, that will raise the level of effectiveness of our Math Department.
- Dave Cox – with his many years of experience, will teach high school science along with Jeremy Ediger. I am excited about his plans for the Science Department. Your child should see and feel his impact from day one.
- Kelley Martin – will be conducting our Learning Center for the Elementary. I am really excited to have her on board and meeting a vital need in our school.
- Janet Porter – will be conducting science labs in the Elementary and leading a gifted program. She has some great, creative ideas she brings from her experience which should bless our school.
- Leslie Bailey – will be our Student Facilitator and Tennis coach in the high school. She brings a wide variety experiences working in several school districts in art, sports and serving as an aide. It was God’s perfect timing that he provided a resource just in time to help us meet our budget constraints and allow the teachers to not have to oversee study hall and lunch to the degree we thought they might.
- Kevin Bergerhofer – Facilities Director. He has already made some impressive upgrades to our facilities in his 4 weeks with us. With his ability to find good deals and quality contractors as well as applying his bountiful skills in maintenance, construction, plumbing, heating and cooling, he has already saved the school thousands of dollars.
So you can see that there is much to celebrate. I know I am. Let me close this post with another incredible act of God. Enrollment looked bleak in July, but we knew that often there was a little rush just before school opens. Well, some teachers got together about 10 days before the first day of school and petitioned God to send a bountiful harvest. He did! We have processed between 20 and 30 applications in the last 10 days. Praise the Lord! Now we don’t have final numbers as there will be some movement for the next couple of weeks, but we should be at 430+ in K-12, and we are within a child or two of having to start some waiting lists in the preschool. Only God can work that miracle! Spend some time praising him for his graciousness to us.