Maranatha’s Henderson Earns Full Ride

Xavier Henderson Article

Click above to read about Xavier’s full-ride four year scholarship offer based on GPA, ACT score community service and an essay.  Congratulations Xavier!

You Spoke – We Are Listening

Thank you!

Parents, we sent out an email in January asking you to provide some feedback on a few areas of the Academy.  This survey was specifically targeted at understanding parent engagement, so we asked some questions about tenure at MCA, alignment with Vision, and a lot about how you would like to interact with MCA.  We will have another all Academy survey a little later in the year that will ask for your insight into spiritual development, academic excellence, and other important programs.

Thank you to the 166 people who started the survey and the 102 who completed it.  This amount of participation will let us have some indication of how all 250+ families view the Academy, but it will require us to follow up with some validation efforts.

I would like to share with you some themes and observations from the results:

  • 83% of parents chose biblical worldview as one of their top 3 most important educational efforts for their children.
  • 68% of the families responding have been with MCA for more than 3 years.
  • Top reasons for choosing MCA: 1) Christian education, 2) did not want public school and 3) superior academics.
  • Stressful issues that parents would like help dealing with include social media, work ethic and time management.
  • 79% of respondents said that MCA does a good job communicating, however some areas were pointed out that still need some work such as calendar consistency, teacher communication, and urgent updates.
  • 48 of the respondents asked to be plugged into volunteer opportunities that aligned with their abilities and interests.
  • Office 365 implementation has improved communication but there is still work to be done to help everyone use it effectively.
  • The next highest ranked important educational effort was academic high achievement.
  • Many parents indicated interest in volunteering.  Work needs to be done to communicate opportunities.  Since 56% of families have both parents working, it is difficult for parents to commit time, and they are not available during school hours.

The leadership team will be reviewing this feedback next week.  We will also be reaching out to parents to ask them to dialogue about how MCA can build on strengths that were identified, and shore up those areas that need attention.  Additionally, this input will also be shared with accreditation committees for consideration in the school improvement plan.

If you want to participate in discussions and planning, please contact the school office and let us know of your interest.

Eagle Update – College Readiness

This subject is of such great importance to all our families, I have included a copy of Mrs. Susan Hanson’s presentation in complete form:

“Whether you are the parent of an 8th grader getting ready to begin the high school experience or the parent of a 12th grader getting ready to embark on a college campus or join the world of work, or somewhere in between, you want assurance that all measures are being taken to give your child every opportunity for success. And, that’s what the College & Career Center at Maranatha is all about.

I have the opportunity to work one-on-one with your child starting in the 8th grade. Nearly half of the 8th grade class has already finished the one-semester Career Exploration Course. This online course gives students new awareness of occupational fields and career clusters based on results from a variety of values, skills, and interest inventories they take. The other half is in that class now. In fact, this group of 19-8th graders has just explored the differences between trade schools, two-year community colleges and four-year universities and why some students might choose one over the others.

Mr. York and I are meeting tomorrow to finalize the details for the 8th grade parent meeting called “Next Step High School”. We tentatively scheduled this meeting for Thursday, February 11. You will be getting information soon. This meeting is designed to help walk you through the high school experience and what 8th grade parents and students need to do and know to be ready, like the importance of a high school transcript.

As I deal with high school students, the focus is “STARTING WITH THE END IN MIND”—graduation and what follows. So my goal is to help your high school student develop general strategies for college or career readiness. Having the right information is at the heart of making wise decisions. And that starts each September with College Information Night. An informal, one-hour session in September two weeks before the College Fair.  I give parents up-to-date information about college entrance requirements and federal or state funding changes. It’s also a chance for parents to actually navigate the

I want to make sure you are aware of the College & Career Center web page on MCA’s website.  Here there is direct access to regularly needed information like the school’s CEEB code number or the transcript request form, but also live Quick Links to important sites like FAFSA , the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as well as Scholarships Sources that are updated regularly. You won’t want to miss College Information Night next September. There have been some major changes in the way senior parents will be able to file the FAFSA that will link the report directly to your tax return.

MCA also hosts the Kansas City Area Christian College Fair.   This year, 44 colleges from all four regions of the United States were presenteast coast, west coast, north and south. This year over 300 students got a chance to visit with college reps face to face, and parents benefitted from a FREE, one-hour Financial Aid workshop provided by a Fin Aid Officer from MidAmerica Nazarene University.

In January, I begin to schedule times to meet with high school juniors to go over their Graduation Progress Plans. If you are the parent of a junior, you got a letter from me this afternoon about setting up that time.

I also meet with students in the Media Center to create individual profiles on several different platforms using results from standardized tests like the PLAN, the PSAT, and the ACT/SAT. I start with seniors and juniors in the fall and then work down to 10th and 9th graders as time permits. This online profile can then be accessed anywhere, anytime for researching occupational fields, medium wages attributable to those fields in Kansas and across the United States, job growth potential, the educational requirements after high school to enter those fields, and of course, many scholarship search engines.

We are very blessed here at Maranatha to have seen some nice scholarships awarded to our graduating seniors. Last year’s seniors received just over $590,000 in awards. Four of those were full ride scholarships with the potential payout of nearly $229,000. This year’s senior class has already begun to receive award letters. I poled the seniors today at lunch so that I could share some of the news with you tonight. One senior is receiving the Putnam Scholarship, the highest award K-State offers and received the call while at school last week inviting him to interview for the Kasenbaum scholarship. Another senior just got word last Thursday that she has been accepted to Moody Bible Institute—“tuition free”. Another has been awarded the second highest academic scholarship that Oklahoma Baptist University offers. One student has a full academic scholarship for four years’, worth $100,000, to Moorehouse College in Atlanta. Several seniors will receive between $10k and $20k from various schools like Azusa Pacific, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Taylor University. February is traditionally the month when award letters go out, and so we may still have announcements to share.

I thoroughly enjoy connecting our students with opportunities they might not otherwise know how to find or how to access. This includes helping complete college or scholarship applications, giving feedback on essays, writing letters of recommendation, mailing transcripts, or just reminding students of pending deadlines. And because I have had the chance to get to know many of the students well by their senior year, I can include anecdotes in my letters of reference that showcase the applicant’s character and accomplishments in a more personal way. I am very proud of the relationship this department offers our students, and, if I do not already  know you and your child, I hope to have that privilege very soon.

Eagle Update – Winter Sports

This winter sports season saw some major changes for MCA. With new coaches for both varsity girls and boys basketball along with a new girls bowling coach, the addition of 6th grade girls and boys basketball it made for a busier time than normal.

Just to give you an idea of participation. We have 23% of 6th– 8th grade girls participating. Up from 16% last year. We have 49% of our 6th-8th grade boys participating up from 37% last year. They are, as in years past, participating in the Metropolitan Private School league which has 12 schools from the greater KC metro involved. This provides them some great competition but does cause some scheduling nightmares.

In high school our winter activities include bowling, cheer, basketball, and scholar bowl. In those activities we have 45% of our girls participating in activities and 51% of our boys. These teams participate in the Crossroads conference which has 9 member schools from Kansas and Missouri. Scholar bowl is in the final few weeks of their season while bowling and basketball run till the end of February. These activities provide some great opportunities for our students to compete at all different levels.

For us excellence is not defined by the winning and losing on the scoreboard. Each of our athletes are pushed to achieve excellence in the classroom first and then to strive for excellence on the courts. Does this mean we do not strive to win or that winning is not important? Absolutely not. But too many times we get caught up in the wins and losses and lose sight of the fact that we can lose on the scoreboard but still win. Our coaches have been challenged with the fact that they are to look for improvement in their teams over the course of the season, be excellent representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ, and look for opportunities to put their faith into practice. If we can do those things, we can achieve excellence. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean. Note received last year from an opposing player –

“it was so much fun playing your team yesterday. The girls played hard but were such good sports. Playing mostly public schools, I was used to the foul language, dirty play, and hard fouls committed by teams. But I really enjoyed your team and the sportsmanship they displayed. It was not that they did not foul but it was as a result of hustle not dirty play. Just thought I would let you know that I enjoyed it and as a junior look forward to playing your team next year.

This year a note from an opposing AD.

“Just got done watching your boys’ team play our guys. Your boys worked very hard but did things the way they are supposed to be done. As a Christian school that plays both public and private, your guys were the best at competing hard but fair and played at a very high level. Thank you. “

As I have told our coaches before, you perform before an audience of 1. It is not for mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, boyfriends or girlfriends, but the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. If you please Him, you have accomplished your goals and have achieved excellence. Thank you for coming alongside those goals and encouraging our winter sports to achieve excellence.

Mr. Dave Keener


Weeks 4-6 Prayer Calendars

Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for MCA.

Week 4 Prayer Calendar

Week 5 Prayer Calendar

Week 6 Prayer Calendar


Eagle Update – Academics

Several teachers spoke at the Eagle Update covering math, science and art.  Parents were enthused about what they heard.  They made statements like,

“The elementary staff was fabulous at this January Eagle Update meeting.”

“I appreciated hearing how and why curriculum was changed or chosen.”

“Loved the enthusiasm & audience participation of the Saxon math presentation.”

Some key points from these presentations include:

Mr. Dave Cox – Secondary School Science

  • Having success helping the students explore science outside of the text books.
  • Students are applying what they have learned and winning science and engineering competitions at KU and K-State.
  • Examination of high stakes test scores has identified the need to include more Earth Science into our curriculum.  Modifications are being made to 7th and 8th grade curriculum to address this need.

Mr. Tim Warkentin – Secondary School Math

  • Provided reminders of the extreme practicality of challenging our students to master math:
    1. It serves as a tool to deal with myriad counting and computational problems.
    2. In a more sophisticated use it serves as the language of science that allows the accurate description and modeling of the natural world.
    3. It allows mankind to think God’s thoughts after Him.
    4. Many college majors are dependent on high level math, and many more rely heavily on a solid understanding of math.
  • MCA offers three tracks for students:
    1. Calculus College Path – includes dual credit courses in Pre-Calculus and Calculus.
    2. College Algebra Path – includes dual credit course in College Algebra
    3. MCA Graduation Path – Algebra II is the highest level math required or must have 3 high school credits in math.

Mrs. Porter – Upper Elementary Science

  • Shared that students are receiving opportunities to make science come alive with hands on experiments where they ask questions, test for reality, and then assess the results.

Mrs. Feldman – Lower Elementary Science

  • Covered that Science is a journey of discovery of God’s creation ranging from understanding plants, ecosystems and life cycles, to the human body, invisible forces and magnetic fields.   The students learn about force and motion as well the heavens above.  She reminded us that even at young, tender ages, students are asking profound questions about how God reveals Himself through His acts of creation and sustaining of the universe.

Mrs. Ensminger and Mrs. Evans – Saxon Math

  • With great enthusiasm, these teachers shared that Saxon math has been a real blessing to them and to their students.  Some benefits are that
    • More topics are taught earlier and repeated often so that broad and deep understanding happen and show the connectivity of math.
    • Students that struggle and students that excel are easily accommodated through the Saxon program so that all students proceed on an appropriate pace.
    • There are great tools online that help parents and students master concepts and figure out problems at home.
    • The results have been startling
      • Positive student response, “Because of Saxon math, I was able to qualify and place 3rd in the ACSI math competition!”
      • 18 of 35 MCA entrants qualified to go to the next level.  A record number for MCA.
      • 10 of those 18 placed among 3,764 total competitors.  Two placed 1st.

Mr. York presented for Mrs. Williams – 4-12th grade Art

  • Mrs. Williams is so committed to art that she was attending a Master’s degree class instead of presenting.  How cool is that!
  • Mr. York reminded us that Mrs. Williams has several degrees and practical teaching experiences that richly qualify her to lead our Art program.
  • Mrs. Williams not only teaches students about how to use the mediums to be creative, she helps them understand that doing so reflects the Great Creator.
  • Our students have had great success in producing art for which many in the community have expressed appreciation.
  • Finally, Mr. York reminded us that Art is a program that is quick to get cut in many schools.  Our commitment to developing the whole child means that we take Art seriously and want to challenge kids to develop this aspect of who they are in Christ.

Mrs. Daniels – Lower Elementary Art

  • She shared that so much of the learning process is focused on the analytical side of the brain that it is crucial to make time for the children to learn how to use the creative side of their brain.  Her intent with these young children is to develop the creativity God has given each child as that ability is so important throughout life.  They learn about concepts of perspective, using paint, oil and pencil.  They learn about color, shape, space, texture, lines, forms and values.

These subjects are vital to the educational process at MCA.  You can see that we have passionate, committed faculty who are driven to help your children be all that God has called them to be.  That driven nature means does not allow us to stop seeking to learn and grow as teachers.  Our successes inspire us to reach for more.  We are so glad you have given us the privilege to do that with your children.


Week 3 Prayer Calendar

Thank you for continuing to pray for Maranatha.  This week is about seeking God’s wisdom to help us fulfill the Vision He has given us.

Week 3 Prayer Calendar