Family Events

One of the key parts of our school that I am thrilled with this year is the leadership of parents in seeking to build an ever growing community and family spirit at MCA.  Their involvement in the Dessert Social and Autumn Fest games helped make those event very successful in terms of attendance, fun and connection.

Next up is the Powder Puff Football game on November 3 at 4:30 on the MCA sports’ field on the South Campus.  With bounce houses, quality concessions and some good fun on the field, I encourage you to come out and make connections with other families who are journeying with you through this education process at MCA.

I am also delighted to have some parents step into leadership roles.  For example Shelley Redmond and Cori Oglesby are leading our Poinsettia Fundraiser that starts November 1 through November 15.   But these ladies are just examples as I could list all those leading our Parents In Prayer, New Family Shepherds, Bless Our Teachers and on and on.  We are so grateful for their leadership, service and enthusiasm for ministering to the MCA family in so many ways.

Especially for families with elementary students, I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to build friendships and start new ones at the Family Fun Fest on November 13th in the MCA gym.  It should be a great time of fun games, food and conversations.

A Pancake Breakfast on December 10th is the last family event this semester, and it should be a great time to sit down and eat with other families at MCA and thank God for His provisions, for what we remember during the Christmas season, and as we anticipate the new year.

So this post is a shout out to Angela Knight as the leader of MAP (Maranatha Association of Parents) and all of the parents who have engaged in helping MCA be a family that is connected to each other in a meaningful way.  MCA is so much better because of you.

Cross Country Character on Display

Thought I would share with you a note I received from the owner of the restaurant where the Cross Country team stopped to eat on their way to the Regional Cross Country meet.

“Good morning.

I had the privilege of meeting the cross country coach/kids/bus driver that stayed over in Seneca Kansas on their way to Washington for regionals.

I want to commend your coach (amy) and the rest of that group. They were very polite, respectful and just overall a wonderful group to wait on.

I got on your website today to see if I could see how they all placed yesterday (I told the kids I would check!)”

President John Adams and Family

Mark Hoduski, our Civics teacher, shared an excerpt from a book titled Descent from Glory.  The book is about John Adams, and this particular excerpt shares the travails of John and his wife Abigail in raising children.  In reading the excerpt, one thought comes to mind that there is nothing new under the sun.  They were concerned for their children in “such matters as slovenly dress, time wasted, sloppy penmanship.”  Education was also on their mind, “Abigail shrank from sending the children to public school, lest they be confronted by corrupting examples.”  Both Abigail and John worried about his long absences from the family and the lack of fatherly influence on the virtue of their children.

My encouragement to all of us as I read this passage is that we should not grow weary in well-doing.  Nor can we afford any carelessness in our decisions about the rearing of young people.  One character trait that seems to have gone out of style with parenting is the instilling of respect for our elders.  Our world does not encourage our young people to respect the wisdom of their elders.  To counter that we need to encourage that respect in the home and in our school.

The Adams’ were committed to teaching virtue before excellence to their children.  “Only after moral excellence had been implanted should the youngster’s desire to excel be encouraged.”  This is biblical and countercultural.  How are you doing with this in your home?  How are we doing with this in our school?

If we want to avoid the fiasco of character failure in future presidential candidates, we need to train the next generation of leaders to have character before they have power and success.

MCA Honored with Award

On September 27th, Mrs. Ensminger, 6th grade teacher, and Mrs. Watt, elementary and preschool principal, attended the City Union Mission Award luncheon at Fiorella’s Jack Stack in downtown Kansas City.  They were invited there to receive an award on MCA’s behalf for faithfully serving City Union Mission for 30 years.

The award was titled “Compassion for the Homeless Award 2016”.  MCA has faithfully given to City Union Mission through donations of time and resources.  . Maranatha has been contributing non-perishable food at Thanksgiving, new toys and gifts for its Christmas Store, and used clothing throughout the years, as well as hands and our hearts.  Students and parents have volunteered to fill and deliver Thanksgiving Baskets, and Christmas gift bags.  Our students develop compassion for those less fortunate than themselves as they prepare for and deliver collections of donated items, and serve with enthusiasm while performing odd jobs and helpful tasks which make light work for many.  Many hands make light work.  In so much as you do it for the least of these, you do it also for me.

What a tribute to the legacy of MCA to have faithfully trained and encouraged young people to see the importance of serving others!  I have visited the Mission while our 6th graders were serving and witnessed the joy and enthusiasm of their service.  We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with City Union Mission and appreciative of this recognition of many people – students, parents and faculty – who have given to the Mission.

Intentional Plan from PreK to Graduation

Recently I posted about what we are working on to maintain and improve our achievement in academics. ACT Scores are in .  I shared some work we are doing in mining data from test scores in a follow up post.  Work on Academics.  I also posted concerning our work in encouraging frequent conversations between faculty and leaders about instruction effectiveness.  Continuous Improvement Conversations.  This post is the last in this series regarding our focus on academics.  The topic today centers on the work being done by principals and faculty to engage a tool to help us review, assess, adapt and utilize an intentional plan to grow our students into the graduates we all want them to be.

The tool is called Curriculum Trak, and its purpose is to have the faculty enter all of their plans for instruction into the software.  As they enter the plans, they will be tying their learning objectives to align with state standards for rigor and biblical integration and worldview training standards.  We do evaluate the state standards to make sure they do not go against our Christian beliefs, but they provide a great starting spot for rigor.

As the faculty get all of this information entered, the tool will help principals evaluate the quality of alignment with standards and the integrity and intentionality of scope and sequence.  In other words, are we effectively building on the instruction each day and each year so that the student is fully equipped to succeed based on what they have learned so far?  This will encourage better collaboration across the academy, better oversight by the principals, and allow principals and department chairs to see how the subjects are being taught from the early grades through high school.

All of the information will be in Curriculum Trak by the end of this semester.  Then the teachers will be using the data and adjusting it based on what works and what doesn’t.  The principals will begin using the information for oversight and planning.  So we are in the early stages, but the fruit of this labor will be reaped for years to come.

Alumni Stands for Defenseless

Anna Hoduski along with her brother Nick, sister Sarah Marie (all MCA alumns) and friend Megan Maier are being world changers for Jesus Christ.  They have a passion to make a difference in the millions of defenseless babies who are yet unborn who will be murdered under the protection of U.S. laws.  Watch this video to hear their story.  Join them in a stand for the defenseless.

Continuous Improvement Conversations

Today, Mrs. Hanson, Mrs. Sutton and I are headed to Summit Christian Academy to be trained on a new tool that will enable us to be more effective in working with our teachers to maintain and improve effective teaching in alignment with our mission and vision. This tool is an app that can be used on tablets and smart phones and is called eWalkThrough.

This new tool provides the ability for administrators and other teachers to use 5-10 minute observation segments throughout the year to observe how teachers are instructing, provide immediate feedback and a record that can be reviewed and discussed with the faculty member.  The tool will include key criteria for effective teaching that are research based and are fundamental to effective learning.  It will include a measurement of what level of learning is taking place in terms of simple to complex.  There is a measurement of how well the teachers integrates their subject with God’s Word.  Other important aspects include class room management, student engagement, instructional strategies and how well resources are used.

The concept is that over the course of the year many short observations will lead to a composite picture and many conversations between observer and the faculty member.  These conversations should encourage the teacher where they are strong and provide opportunities for the observer to help the teacher identify ways to shore up areas of improvement.

This is another part of our ongoing effort to strive to provide a rich learning environment that partners with the home and church to produce young men and women who love and serve Jesus and are enabled to be world changers for Him.