God Is At Work At MCA

Mrs. Mickelson shared a wonderful story of God working in her classroom.  I thought I would share with you as it blessed me.

Just a praise in Kindergarten… we had a really exciting Bible time yesterday. We were talking about the Tower of Babel and how the people were trying to reach heaven on their own. This led us to talk about heaven and what the Bible says is in heaven and what is not in heaven. Several children decided that they wanted their name to be in the Lamb’s Book of Life in heaven. We talked about how this happens.  On their own volition, I saw them bow their heads (while I was still talking) and talk to God in their own whispered words. PTL! This is what makes teaching so exciting. Only God knows exactly what they prayed and what was going through their minds, but I know He is working in their hearts. We praise Him for that!

The leadership team and the Board are working on shaping the aspirational statement that I shared with you last spring into a vision that I trust will anchor all we do to be intentional about partnering with you and your church to raise up young people who will be world changers who revitalize the earth.  I ask for your prayers as we work through this process in the Board Retreat this Saturday and in leadership meetings each Monday.  We want to be very clear and intentional about what we are doing, and then be able to measure how well we are doing.  I am excited about this vision, but we must make it real.  We must have programs, philosophies, and practices that we do with a purpose of seeking these outcomes.  The good news is MCA has built many such practices into our school now.  We just need to broaden, deepen and add a few more.  I am excited about this vision if we can successfully implement it and send our young people out into the world to be salt and light in a world that desperately needs it.

God gave me this aspirational statement last spring, but he is amplifying it now as I am reading a book called “Roaring Lambs”.  I would recommend it to you if you want to more completely grasp what we want our school to do.  In summary it is challenging churches and schools to produce lambs who so richly prepared with a biblical worldview, Christian character, rock solid faith, and a drive to excel in their profession/calling that they influence our world like Paul, Moses and Daniel did.  I am going to be challenging our school to strive to deliver those kind of outcomes in our students.  Pray for us as consider specific tactics and actions to accomplish this rich goal.

Safety. Yes it is important to us.

Based on the fact that I have not posted to the blog since September 7th, you would think I either had nothing to say or I have been too busy to write.  Well the fact lies much closer to the latter, but I am without excuse.  I really want to get in the habit of covering a topic each week.  So here goes to trying to keep that commitment going forward.  Some future topics – lessons learned from visiting some Christian schools in Nebraska, student outcomes and how MCA desires to offer something different, and I might try to outline some potential impacts of the elections on education.

We have received a lot of good feedback from parents about the measures we have taken to protect students during pick up and drop off at the North Campus as well as the Secondary entrance at South.  This really was a team effort spear-headed by our new Facilities Director, Kevin Bergerhofer.  Our desire first and foremost is to protect the children.  Secondly we want to improve the traffic flow, so that those who need to be efficient in their drop off and be on their way can do so safely.  We are continuing our evaluation of the various improvements we have made as well as assessing the other two areas of drop off/pick up: South Elementary and North Elementary by the gym.  I would ask that during these times of change and experimentation that you would be extra observant to signs and directions by faculty and staff.  If something is not working, give it a little time to see if it irons out, and if it doesn’t and we haven’t made some tweaks, feel free to visit with Kevin, myself or one of the principals.

Additionally, we investigating options for increasing security in the South Campus.  Ideas we are exploring are locks on the door so that during school hours, people must be buzzed into the building.  We also want to place cameras in strategic places to deter those with bad intentions.  The other modification we are planning to make is to cut in windows to the Secondary and South Elementary offices so that the front desk staff can look into the hallway to better identify visitors.  All of this is not in the budget, so we would love for you to consider coming alongside the school for these projects.  Lord willing we will start some of these items before Christmas.

 

Success

In the last 3 posts, I have shared the themes that I have emphasized to the faculty, staff and leadership for this school year

  1. Change = Creativity
  2. Professional
  3. Accountability

The fourth area of emphasis is Success.  Why is that important this year?  Whenever you introduce change, there usually some excitement as well as resistance.  If you are not intentional in celebrating the successes and positive aspects in the change, people will spend more time in the negative areas.  It is easy to go there, and once you are on the “negative train”, you are quickly surrounded by other passengers.  That is why we must focus on the positive, look for the good and then celebrate it.  Please help me in keeping the focus on the forward movement.  We want to hear what we need to improve and we are aggressively seeking out solutions, but let’s not dwell there.

Last Thursday, I took the time to visit many classrooms.  Let me tell you, I was pumped after the time I invested in the classrooms.  Teachers are sharp, enthusiastic and engaged.  Students are likewise engaged and even having fun while they are learning.  Let me give you a couple of examples I got to witness first hand.

Jr High Science – I walked into Mr. Hackathorn’s class with the 7th graders and they were doing lab work.  Pods of 4 students were working together putting together a classification system for plastic fishing worms.  I listened to kids discuss challenges, solutions and questions as they worked in a self-directed manner.  All 20 kids were plugged in and contributing.  Mr. Hackathorn was roaming the classroom helping, questioning, guiding and encouraging.  Loved it!

5th grade – I peeked through Mrs. Steinbrink’s classroom window, and I saw all the kids with something white all over their hands.  Well, I just had to go in and see what was going on.  I thought it might be an art project.  No, it was cursive writing practice.  Mrs. Steinbrink had covered the tops of their desks with shaving cream, and the kids were practicing their writing in the shaving cream.  It looked so fun, I sat down at one of the desks and practiced my “Z” in the shaving cream.  Now that is creative, engaging, fun teaching!

Biology – I am sitting in my office, and I watch Mr. Ediger’s Biology class walk by my window.  They were headed for the lake in the back of the property to do a lab.  That is a great way to make science come to life!

I sat in other classrooms such as American History and Algebra, and I was delighted to see the structure of the lesson plans, the participation of the students and the talent of our teachers.

I have many other examples from the accomplishments of our business office converting to a new system that will strengthen the integrity of our finanacial management to office staff picking up new responsibilities seamlessly with fewer people to do them.  I could, and will at a later time, share all the great people who have come alongside me to help us be successful in marketing, communicating, web management, and fundraising.  I will share how God is blessing us through our Corporate Partner program.  I will share stories of people coming up to me and saying “I want to give my time to…” and they are blessing the school through volunteer hours (it is really special when your wife does that…thanks Honey!).

Won’t you join all these wonderful people on the “Positive Train” and be vessels that God can use to richly bless his ministry?

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