We are excited to announce that Lisa Barlow will be joining us as our new Director of Development! Get to know her in this week's blog, and be sure to give her a warm welcome when we return for the 2019-2020 school year. We can not wait to see how God uses her to further his Kingdom and purpose at our school!
The Director of Development position is a new role at WCCS. Why do you think this new position is important in shaping the learning experience of our students here at WCCS? The Holy Spirit can of course change the hearts of students through excellent teachers in any setting. However, giving students the very best educational setting that we can requires certain teaching tools that unfortunately are not free. I see the role of Development as one of support. The teachers are the heart and soul of the school, being in the trenches every day as they labor to educate the hearts and minds of these precious covenant children. Development labors alongside to give those teachers what they need to provide a superior educational experience. My immediate goal is to determine what needs exist and to prioritize those needs under the supervision of the Head of School.
The WCCS mission statement is "educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ". How do you hope to accomplish this as our new Director of Development? The mission statement in any organization should serve to inform every decision that every employee makes. My role in support of our mission would involve functioning within that statement to help further encourage a community of unity and generosity.
Tell us about you and your family: I was born and raised in Greensboro, NC, and have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 40 years. We have three children who are all products of Christian education. Each one is married; our oldest and his wife are expecting their first child on July 4th, our second son and his wife have two children who are 3 and 6, and our daughter and her husband are newlyweds.
Tell us something that we would be surprised to know about you: I am a seventh-generation bookbinder in a family from Bohemia (Czechia). My family has been binding textbooks and Bibles for many years, and even some antique books and documents.
What are some things that you and your family like to do in your free time? I like to get my hands dirty in the yard! I love cutting grass, digging in dirt, and gardening. My husband and I switched housekeeping roles a few years ago and have never looked back! He does the cooking and grocery shopping, and I do the outside work.
What attracted you to WCCS? The mission of the school! I am very passionate about Christian education and believe strongly that we are in the business of rearing the next generation of ministers of the gospel in order that the King will receive more worship and glory.
What is your biggest desire for each student that walks in to WCCS? Hands down, that they would come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
It's hard to believe that another WCCS school year has almost come and gone. For those parents that have a Class of 2019 graduate, we know that it is even more unbelievable that so much time has passed that you have a student about to walk across the stage! As we begin to wrap up the school year, we thought we would ask Melissa Boyd, parent of a Class of 2019 student, to share some reflections of what WCCS has meant to her family throughout the years.
My daughter, Madilee Ann Boyd, is a WCCS "Lifer". Fifteen years ago, my husband and I walked into Dr. Sandi Jolly’s office to discuss the possibility of her entering the 3K program at WCCS. Not long after, we enrolled her - hoping but not knowing, that she would spend all of her preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school years as a WCCS Indian. As I reflect on those 15 years, please allow me to share what being the parent of a “lifer” at WCCS has meant to me.
A Legacy of Christian Education
The year I was born, my parents enrolled my older brother at Westminster Christian School. It was the year the school began at our church, and Chris was in the first four-year-old class. I joined him four years later and was blessed to attend WCS through sixth grade because Westminster Christian did not yet offer middle or high school. As Christians, my parents recognized the importance of Christian education to support their efforts to instill a Christian worldview in their children. Sending us to Westminster made it possible for us to learn to think biblically at home, at church, and at school. Duane and I also wanted this for our children, and we pray that our children will also want it for theirs.
A Worthwhile Investment
I can think of no greater investment than the Christian education that Madilee has received at WCCS. When Duane and I initially discussed sending our children to WCCS, we considered our own school backgrounds and experiences. While I had been blessed to attend Westminster through my preschool and elementary years, Duane had never attended a Christian school. Now that Madilee’s fifteen years at WCCS are drawing to a close, we look back and give thanks to God for the decision we made in faith to reenroll her each year. We stand in awe of God’s provision for the Christian education she has received and know that she is well-prepared for her college experience and the calling that God has placed on her life.
A Foundation of Faith
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old, he will not depart from it.” They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and as I have traveled this journey called parenthood, I have been thankful that our village includes the teachers and coaches at WCCS that have walked alongside Duane and me as Madilee has grown from a toddler into a beautiful young adult who truly loves Jesus. What a blessing it has been to know that my daughter has had teachers and coaches that have cared deeply for her, mentored her, and taught her from the same perspective that Duane and I do at home. To be honest, the thought of her spreading her wings scares this mama, but there is much peace in knowing that Madilee has received the blessing of an education centered on Biblical truths where she has discovered her gifts, achieved academic excellence, and come to understand the meaning of following Christ in every aspect of her life.
"Because of Madilee's solid foundation at WCCS, we know that she is well-equipped for wherever her path may lead."
Equipped for God's Calling
During her preschool and early elementary years at Westminster, Madilee learned reading, writing, and math, foundational blocks on which to build critical thinking and leadership skills. As she grew, she was able to take advantage of the many opportunities at WCCS to explore her interests, discover her abilities, and expand her horizons. Field trips, SEEK, Odyssey of the Mind, theater, music, art, swimming, soccer, volleyball, yearbook, and many leadership opportunities, to name a few. Service opportunities have allowed her to appreciate the blessings in her life and to understand what it means to be “blessed to be a blessing.” Because of Madilee’s solid foundation at WCCS, we know that she is well-equipped for wherever her path may lead.
Reflections & Precious Memories
Pictures often tell the story better than words and remind me of precious memories. The “first day 3K picture” of Madilee and Mrs. Ferguson reminds me of how much the teachers at WCCS invest in our children; the same wonderful Mrs. Ferguson greets me each afternoon which I pick up my youngest, Joanna, from Extended School Care. Memories of the Triangle Parade, the Teddy Bear Tea Party, Thanksgiving feasts, weekly chapels, and Kindergarten graduations that all three of our children have experienced. The crafts that each has made are lifetime treasures -- butterfly feet, MOTHER frames, and a full box under my bed that I would go after in case of fire!
As I write this, my tears flow freely -- tears of joy and of sadness. Preparing to let my girl go is hard but sending her forth to the future that God has for her is so exciting and what we have prayed for since the day she was born. We know our decision to enroll Madilee at WCCS was the best one we could have made to prepare her for all her tomorrows. Now she steps forward to “make a difference” as she plays her part in God’s extraordinary story. I will always be thankful for the Christian education she has received at WCCS and praise God for His guidance and protection as she graduates and begins the next chapter of her life.
Truly, there is no greater joy than to see your child walk in the truth. All glory to Him, always!
In this week's blog, WCCS School Chaplain, Jake Tassy, shares some thoughts on some important conversations to have with your families as we approach Easter.
“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” Matthew 27:24-26
Who doesn't love a good story? Four different Gospels verify the angles of this particular story. Historians can't disprove it happened. Eye witnesses are sources to it. It is the greatest story ever.
Why? Because it's not just a story, it is what brings about the truest Hope for us all. The culmination of Old Testament verified. The day that changed everything.
So as parents, why don't we share more about it? Maybe we're good with the children's story version? Maybe we don't like studying it deeper, or it’s a little messy to talk about with our young kids? Maybe the baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, peeps, jelly beans, and colored hard boiled eggs are enough to bring in the spring. Perhaps the ritual of going to church and dressing your family in their Easter best is enough to show you're interested in this holiday season.
Really!? Jesus made a commitment to do something no one else could do. That is cause to tell our children what really went down and why they have such great hope. To make sure they understand. Maybe if we really took to heart what Jesus has done for His family, we'd make sure we didn't forget it in ours.
Pilate was the leader in a pinch. If he doesn't succumb in some way to those Jewish leaders, it will seem like he doesn't have control over his section of the Roman kingdom. So he symbolically washes his hand of the situation because he knows Jesus is innocent. Law stated he could release a prisoner for "a prisoner". The crowd wouldn't budge and asked to release the rebel Barabbas ... whose name meant "son of Abba". That's not the rock group either.
Then the crowd had the audacity to make the ironic statement, "Let His blood be on us and on our children!" I'm sure it was with anger and gnashing of teeth. But Wait? Isn't that what Jesus came to do? Even in that terrible moment and mindset, Jesus still went through with His commitment to take the awful punishment for our sins and cover us with his blood.
When we get this, Easter will never look the same. Below are a few suggestions for some conversations to have with your children to help them “connect the dots” as we approach Easter.
In the week leading up to Easter, read the Gospel accounts of the "before & after" of the Passion. Make connections with your children on what events happen when. Take your time and give them a chance to ask questions.
Talk about humility, finishing well, last words, obedience, fear, death, betrayal, loneliness, heaven, friendship, dealing with hurt, sacrifice, joy, motivation, and commitment as they all relate to the Easter story.
Talk specifically about why the resurrection matters – how it verifies that he is God, proves his power over death, and gives us hope in eternal life of our own.
Dig deep in the Word with your family and discover something different, something that touches your heart in a new way each year. Allow it to change how you live this life until He comes again.
Friends, even when we reject what Jesus has for us, He still stays committed to redeem and reconcile all things to Himself. THAT'S WHY WE CELEBRATE (Starburst jelly beans and all)! Even when we don't comprehend how he is working in our daily grind, He will be coming back for His chosen ones. Easter celebrations are just a practice for what's to come! Parents, we are praying for you and your families this Easter season as you reflect on all our Savior has done for us.
Soli Deo Gloria... TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY!
In this week's blog, our Upper School Principal and Fine Arts Director, John Furrow, invites you to experience first-hand one of our most anticipated spring musicals yet!
The book which the reader now holds in his hands, from one end to the other…treats the advance from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsity to truth, from darkness to daylight, from blind appetite to conscience, from decay to life, from Limbo to God. Matter itself is the starting point, and the point of arrival is the soul. - Victor Hugo, from the introduction of Les Misérables
Les Miserables: The Musical premiered on Broadway at the famed Shubert Theater on March 12, 1987 to rave reviews and packed houses. Based on the classic book by Victor Hugo, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, the show became an instant classic, winning nine Tony awards including Best Musical.
Set between 1815 and 1835 in Paris, Les Miserables tells a powerful story of redemption and forgiveness in the midst of some horrible circumstances. The show deals with the social conditions and poverty of the common man that led up to the French Revolution in a gripping and powerful way. The story focuses on one man who experienced kindness and undeserved grace, and in return treats other undeserving people in kind. This pattern of forgiveness and grace empowers a group of common and oppressed people to begin a movement that would impact the very future of their nation.
The characters presented in this show are all flawed and sinful people. They serve as a reminder, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story. The people represented are real, honest, and at times raw. Yet this draws attention to the greatest truth in all of history, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Because of God’s grace, demonstrated to sinful man through the loving and forgiving actions of His Son, the once hopeless sinner can have redemption that restores purpose in our lives.
"But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story."
It is the prayer of the entire cast, crew, and production team that you are entertained and moved by this powerful story and stirring music. More importantly, it is our eternal hope that you will contemplate the goodness of God and treasure those areas of your life where you have experienced the unconditional love, forgiveness and grace of the Almighty Eternal God. There are still general admission tickets available. Get yours by clicking the image below!
As parents, we think a lot about the future. We wonder if the decisions we are making today will best prepare our children for the futures in front of them, partly because we can not even grasp what life will be like for them decades from now. We desire above all else to have no greater joy than for them to walk in the truth and to discover and live out their places in God's world. But we aren't sure how to end up there. We know it takes the work of the Holy Spirit and we are praying to that end. We also know that our parenting matters.
If you are like me, you need all the help you can get. My wife Amy and I have needed to partner with the Christian school and the church in the raising of our four kids. And, I spent time over Christmas break with my oldest son and daughter-in-law talking about the support we received from these two communities and encouraged the same for them in the raising of their newborn son, Jay.
Christian education is a topic for which I am quite passionate, so much so that I was asked to participate in a podcast hosted by our church's denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. As you know, we are currently in the middle of our priority re-enrollment period. I encourage you to take some time to listen to the following podcast at the link I have provided below and consider the value of a Christian education in the world our kids are living in today. It is my hope and prayer that you will continue to seek out your local church and WCCS as partners in raising your children, so that they are educated to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ!
As mid-term election day approaches this Tuesday, November 6, we thought we would have our 12th grade Government/Economics teacher, Deanne Regier, share some of her thoughts as to how Christians should rightly engage in politics in such a divided political climate.
For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of teaching the Government-Economics course to the WCCS 12th graders. To say the least, the current divided political climate has re-enforced my belief in treating others with kindness, respect and dignity. Regardless of what is happening on cable news networks or social media, class discussions and private conversations for Christians should be gracious and God-honoring. As Jesus states in Luke 6:43b, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (NIV). Therefore, our conversations, Tweets, posts and demeanor reflect our heart condition.
In an attempt to create a God-honoring classroom environment, I have four foundational beliefs that I implement in my class:
Christians historically have been on the forefront of politics and reform movements in this country. For example, the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century was a catalyst for the wide variety of movements: abolition, temperance, educational and social. Because of their love for God, Christians impacted their community for social and political change. Therefore, we, as Christians, should not disengage in this chaotic and vicious political culture. Instead, we should be more engaged. Each quarter, I require students to earn points from a variety of projects that encourage local involvement in politics and discourse. Students attend city council meetings or volunteer for political campaigns. We, as Christians, should engage in current events even more during this time of division and controversy as a “light” to a dark world (Luke 5:16).
Dishonoring a person cannot be permitted and must be openly challenged. So how does this manifest itself in the classroom setting? First, students are welcome to disagree with policies but cannot crush or disrespect a person. We actually practice how we should say something. Students cannot say, “I hate_____.” But they can say: “ I disagree with ____ policies for the following reasons.” Second, we should challenge “person-bashing” conversations and encourage the respecting of humans as created in the image of God in conversations and social media. If we say nothing, we in effect condone the comments. Finally, we can simply honor our leaders with the correct title. Simply adding “President” or “Secretary” or “Senator” can show this person respect. Our words have meaning!
Condemning someone based on hearsay or rumors without due process, rule of law or respected journalistic practices cannot be allowed. Therefore, only approved news sources are allowed to be quoted in class and used in research. Of course, I encourage students to analyze differing perspectives (i.e. FoxNews and CNN) but encourage thoughtful interpretation of the presentation and content.
Since God is far above our simple understanding of Democrat and Republican Party, God cannot be limited to a certain party. I start each year by saying, “God is not a Republican. God is not a Democrat. He is far above our political chaos.” As Tim Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City, wrote, “While believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.” (Editorial in New York Times, September 29, 2018) We are commanded as Christians to love your neighbor and defend the rights of the oppressed. But how we “love” and “defend” is open to interpretation.
As I state in my course syllabus, the primary goal of WCCS’s Economics-Government course is to “develop a passion for civic and economic responsibilities as Christians in an international community.” Even though I want my students to be passionate about government and economics that isn’t my primary goal as an educator. My prayer for my students is that they see our hope is not in this government, administration, tax policy, healthcare system or any other current hot-topic. Our hope is in an eternal Heavenly Father who has a purpose and plan for our country and its leadership. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are citizens of the kingdom of Heaven over which Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. We relate to our country as citizens of Christ’s kingdom and direct our actions to please Him. Rest assured -- God is still in charge.
We encourage our families to go out and vote next week in the election! Take your students with you and be sure to have some thoughtful conversation about how we, as Christians, have the opportunity and responsibility to honor our Savior in the political arena and point others towards His grace and hope.
Occasionally, we like to provide resources and articles that might be helpful to you as parents. In this week’s blog, we have asked Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal, to share some pointers about teaching boys and helping them manage their stress at home and school. We plan to address the special needs of girls in a future blog.
In the book, Writing the Playbook: A Practitioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy-Friendly School, author Kelley King offers many great nuggets regarding how to create positive instructional experiences as well as important ideas about dealing with young men in times of conflict and/or discipline. As I continued through this book, I realized that many of the ideas that the author presented in an effort of facilitating a “boy-friendly” environment in the classroom, are concepts that could be helpful to parents of young men as well. Here are a few tips taken from a section on discipline, particularly when the young man’s behavior may have created a stressful situation:
Ideas dealing with Stress:
Don’t ask a boy “What were you thinking?” right after an emotional or stressful incident. He wasn’t thinking; he was reacting.
Allow boys time to cool off after a stressful incident. A drink of water can reduce stress.
When it’s time to talk, go for a walk. The physical movement lowers stress and increases blood flow to the brain.
Talk to boys privately. Do not lecture or punish them publicly. It will seriously damage the boys’ trust in you if he is embarrassed in front of his peers.
Emotion is dominant over cognition. Identify and help resolve student stress so attention can return to learning.
Another category that I found particularly helpful in the classroom that you can also re-enforce at home was a section regarding how to help boys stay organized. Below are some great strategies for helping your boy complete assignments at home:
Ideas dealing with Organization
Insist your boy consults his planner while working on homework.
Remind him to keep his binder organized according to the structure the teacher has advised.
Advise your boy to keep homework in a consistent location where he can easily locate it to turn it in the next day.
Follow up with boys; don’t let them slip through the cracks. Follow up to make sure he is turning in assignments and understands the importance of homework. Too many boys are okay with taking a zero.
I have no indication that the author is a believer, yet this person has done loads of research and has used the research to support her belief that young men can thrive in a school setting when educators provide an environment that supports who they are and how they are wired as young men. Also, let me say that although this particular study was aimed at helping boys reach their full potential in the classroom, it doesn’t mean all of this isn’t valuable and conducive for our female learners as well. Interestingly, these findings completely support how the Lord God would have us to relate to all of those in our circle of influence--peers and little ones alike. It is important to honor the student/child as a person of dignity and worth and be careful to do nothing to strip away his/her dignity.
Enjoyed this blog and looking for more parenting tips? We desire to partner with you as parents. Our Lower School Principal, Sandi Jolly, is continuing to offer Love and Logic training through the month of November. This training provides practical tools for parents in such areas as providing limits, teaching responsibility, consequences, and healthy decision making. It utilizes story-telling, humor, hope and empathy to build the adult-child relationship. Check out the brochures and calendars below for more information!
In the next few days, our WCCS friends and family will be receiving letters from the school asking for support to the Annual Fund. In advance of this, we wanted to share a personal testimonial from former Westminster principal, former parent, current grandparent, and current board member, Kristen Rhyne. Whether it is giving to the WCCS Annual Fund or another worthy cause, we hope you will consider how generous God might be prompting you to be with the resources he has given you!
Money…Is there ever enough? If we are honest, all of us struggle from time to time with this question. When our finances are stretched, we ask ourselves “What is really important?” That question is the starting point of any financial planning, so it is one all of us continually ask and answer.
There is a familiar verse I love that I often use when I speak to families, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Your decision to enroll your children at WCCS is evidence that Christian education is important to you. Because of the significant financial investment, you thought about and prayed about that decision long and hard before you made it.
In 1978, 40 years ago, we enrolled our son in the first four-year-old program at Westminster Christian School. This year, my oldest granddaughter will graduate from WCCS after 15 years of Christian education at WCCS. Over time, children in our family have been enrolled for 61 school years! I bet you are wondering WHY anyone would make that type of commitment over such a long period of time. It must be REALLY IMPORTANT!
Parenting is not easy, and we can not do it alone. As a new believer, I understood the responsibility of teaching my children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tell us: “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to yours sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” God tells us to teach our children His way all the time. Our time to accomplish this with them is short…and precious.
"God tells us to teach our children His way all the time. Our time to accomplish this with them is short…and precious. "
God has entrusted these precious ones to us to raise for Him for His purposes. The home, the school, and the church are three important legs of the stool that work together to teach the child what he needs to know to become all that God gifted him to be. As the home, the school, and the church fulfill their vital roles, day in and day out, for the long term, they shape the child to fulfill the role God planned for him to play in His extraordinary story.
With that in mind, we can surely agree that Christian education is an important investment, one that pays eternal dividends! Westminster Catawba Christian School “educates students to bless our world as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.” It supports your role as parents to shape your children and your family for generations to come. It only takes one generation for the family’s love for and commitment to Christ to be lost. From that perspective, the financial investment is priceless. There truly is no greater treasure or joy than to know your children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)
Did you know that the tuition and fees you pay only cover part of the cost of Christian education at WCCS? It is only because of the Annual Fund that the cost is not greater!
So…why should you give to the WCCS Annual Fund?
The Annual Fund provides money for teachers and programs that expand opportunities for students to explore learning beyond the basics-- including the fine arts, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
We are blessed to be a blessing. God has entrusted His resources to us to use to accomplish His plan and His purpose. Christian education is a vital part of shaping future leaders for Kingdom purpose wherever they serve.
The Annual Fund allows you to make a difference for all our students as they experience the fullness of Christian education at WCCS. Your donations are crucial to making this opportunity possible to many qualified students who could not otherwise join our school community.
Now…I would love to talk to you personally and hear your story! Soon after I retired God gave me another opportunity to share my experience as a Certified Financial Advisor ® and Certified Kingdom Advisor® in the role of Executive Director of Westminster Ministries Foundation. As I serve at the Foundation, I am privileged to chat with many folks to discover ways I can help them. I love to share my passion for helping others live generously and explore ways to give back. My door is always open, and I hope you will stop by any time, give me a call at 803-493-4498, or email me at email@example.com.
In the meantime, I encourage you to consider where your treasure lies. Won’t you join me in supporting the WCCS Annual Fund?
This week's blog comes from Katie Tassy, who we all know as our Upper School Assistant, but did you know that she is also teaching our SALT class (Serving and Learning Together)? Check out this great post about learning to serve in a fallen world!
What is service? How does it fit into the Biblical lens of human history—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration? How do we discern our motivation for serving? What is the difference between Christian service and philanthropy?
This year, I have the privilege of teaching a new elective class called SALT—Serving and Learning Together, and these are just some of the questions and topics we are discussing with students. SALT is the brainchild of Lora Holladay, our school board chair, who has a vast amount of experience with serving in the Rock Hill community. Currently, six seniors are enrolled in this class, and it has been a joy to dig into this topic with students in learning to identify and use our gifts to serve and glorify God.
One of my passions as a teacher is helping students understand how serving in our communities and the world around us flows out of our acknowledgement that God has given each one of us gifts for the purpose of being a blessing to others. At the beginning of the year, I wrote the familiar scope of Creation—Fall—Redemption—Restoration/Reconciliation on the board. Between each of those four captions were arrows to show the flow of human history through the lens of a Believer. My question to the students was this: “Where does service fit in to this model of human history?” Through our discussion, we agreed that the WHY of service came from the Fall—that all of life is broken because of the Fall; therefore, we serve as we respond to brokenness in a sinful world.
Student, Seth Russo, put it so beautifully, “I think service is the arrow between Redemption and Restoration. We are redeemed by Christ, we go out to serve, which brings reconciliation. Some of the ones we serve will then be redeemed themselves, and they also will go out and serve.” Brilliant! I was done for the day!!
"Service is the arrow between Redemption and Restoration..."
One highlight for us has been hosting our outside speakers every Thursday. Our students are hearing from guests with service experience in organizations such as the United Way, Renew Our Community, the Salvation Army, and more. As we listen to the journeys of each one of our speakers, it is obvious that God is so personal in how He utilizes different gifts and passions for His glory in service to the world around us.
This week, we even gave senior students an opportunity to use their gifts throughout the Rock Hill community, serving in various organizations for Senior Service Day. Senior, Ann Preston Campbell chose to spend the day at the Adult Enrichment Center in Rock Hill. “I didn’t realize the number of non-profits in our area and the ways those non-profits extend help to our neighbors. I have come to realize the need for more services to effectively help [others] in our community.”
From these interactions and through various exercises which help us to explore our own gifts, it is a treat to see these students become passionate about various social issues such as homelessness, addiction, mental illness, veteran needs, and others. Our hope is that our students will develop the skills and discernment that they can evaluate any community of which they are a part—college, work, or town—and decide how they can use their gifts to help build into that community. These students have some amazing ideas, and I cannot wait to see how God uses them to continue to build His kingdom!
Below is a link to a comprehensive guide to serving in the Rock Hill Community. My prayer is that each one of us--no matter how old, or how young, would learn to serve wholeheartedly in this fallen world—to look for opportunities to truly be a blessing to those around us. I know currently our 3 year old classes are collecting socks for Renew Our Community (ROC), and in the month of November, our 4th graders will partake in “Box City” where they learn about homelessness and serving in a soup kitchen.
Won’t you join us in serving in this fallen world?
In this week's blog, Joanna Swofford, our EXCEL Director, shares a moment she had observing some of her staff recently that really gets to the heart of what makes a WCCS education exceptional. Read on!
I wanted to share with you all an encounter that I had with our WCCS exceptional ed team at the lower campus the other day, because I think it is so characteristic of what makes a “WCCS education” so distinctive.
I was sitting with three women who—combined-- have 90 years of experience in education. They were asking each other for advice and sharing the recent failed attempts they were working through in trying to facilitate learning. 90 years of experience, and they didn’t have the answers. 90 years of experience, and they were perfectly at ease with seeing ideas not work, not having answers, and looking to each other for insight. I was touched with their humility and dedication to the calling, and most importantly to the success of their students. They were not going to give up on working through the messy until the students could shine. During that meeting, I saw them LEAN IN to our Lord and Savior as they worked together for His Children. What a difference this makes in the education of YOUR child! I thought I would share a few other distinctives that I have noticed over the years of my serving here at WCCS.
A Westminster Catawba Christian School education is:
Christ-centered – whether our teachers are instructing students in math and science, to art and social studies, every part of a WCCS education is taught from a Biblical worldview. Students are taught to think critically in every subject and encouraged to know and support why they believe what they believe.
Led by Experienced, Christ-Called Teachers – Our faculty members are well-trained and meet ACSI and AdvancED certification requirements and over 43% have advanced degrees. More so, I have seen first-hand that each of our WCCS educators strive to see that there is no greater joy than to hear our children are walking in the truth (3 John 4) by pointing students to Christ as they teach through each subject area, desiring that students find and pursue their God-given and individual callings.
Focused on the Individual – It has been exciting for me to see WCCS teachers brainstorm together and be willing to try different and new strategies when working with individual students. They work hard to see that each student finds and discovers his or her unique path to learning and God-given strengths.
Grace-filled – WCCS strives to make the learning environment one in which students are shown God’s redeeming love-- through every learning situation, recess, chapel, and disciplinary moment. We realize that only when our teachers and administrators operate from a place of grace can our classrooms become a place of learning where true and lasting change can take place in the hearts of our students and God’s will shine through in their lives.
Whether you are a teacher, special educator, parent, or student, God has every one of our steps numbered and stays right beside us—especially when we get off track. Each day, when we are blessed with the opportunity of another day, He’s eager for us to get up and do something with it. We may not always have the answers, or many times, even the questions, but we do have each other. We do what we can, lean in to Him when we stumble, recognize failed attempts as opportunities to try something else, and work our way through it—together!
In this week’s blog, we are excited to have our new Upper School Assistant Principal, Michelle Embry, share some of her heart as she reflects on her own calling as a Christian school educator, and what she hopes this will bring to the students of WCCS.
As I look back over the twenty years of Christian school service the Lord has given me, I am confident that every step of the way the Lord has been preparing me for the next call that he has on my life. Most recently, this has brought me to this outstanding school, and I am so excited as I join the Westminster Catawba Christian School community. I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone in these first few weeks of school!
It is such a high honor and a special task to lead and disciple those children and teens the Lord has given to us. It’s also a lot of fun! The fact that educators are placed in a learning environment with our students for such a sustained amount of time each day and over the course of the year, creates a setting in which we can love them well and speak verbal and non-verbal life-affirming messages into their hearts. As Christian educators at WCCS, this is a calling that we do not take lightly!
My desire for the Upper School students at WCCS is that they fully understand that their identity and worth is based on who they are IN CHRIST…that they are beautiful image bearers of God. It isn’t based on academic, athletic, or musical performance. It isn’t based on how well they obey our rules. It isn’t based on the number of extra-curricular activities they involve themselves. I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God.
"I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God."
It is very easy to make a statement like the one made above; but a much harder thing to truly communicate it to students, because in order for this message to be received, it takes time. Students must hear the message of their value communicated in many ways and through many circumstances - when they do well, when they mess up, when they feel proud of themselves and when they disappoint themselves. The message of their great value must be communicated during exciting times and mundane times. Regardless of the circumstances of their lives, we, as Christian educators of WCCS, must pursue our students in a steady, constant, even relentless manner - so that our pursuit further communicates the message of their great value in Christ.
This call of reaching out and investing into others is placed upon all believers; however, as Christian school educators, we are tasked to do this as a part of our job! It is an absolute thrill and a privilege. Would you pray for us as we use every day classroom opportunities to reach the hearts of your children?
As many of you may remember, last spring, our lower school faculty members were privileged to work with Dr. Milt Uecker, an instructional consultant and coach. This was brought on by our desire to continue to improve and establish a strong foundation for mathematics. Teachers were provided with in-service opportunities, demonstration lessons, teacher observation and curriculum alignment across the grades. Dr. Uecker has been brought on staff for the 2018-2019 school year, and we thought we would let him introduce himself and his new role with you in this week's blog!
It was my privilege to serve WCCS last year, and I am thrilled to come on board part time in a school that is committed to providing classrooms where 21st century knowledge and skills are not just talked about but are becoming a reality! The lower school's desire is to take an already exceptional group of teachers and enable them to continue to grow professionally.
The children may have talked about someone’s “grandfather” teaching them math. That is because I am beginning my 50th year in Christian Schools. During that time I taught in all of the elementary grades, was administrator of a Pre-K through fourth grade elementary school, served as program director for early childhood at Regent University and finally as the Dean of the College of Education and the Graduate School at Columbia International University. My doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in early childhood from the University of Virginia. My wife Linda and I have three sons and nine grandchildren. Two of our sons, along with their families, live in Indian Trail, NC and the third is in Waco, Texas.
What exactly does an instructional coach do?
According to the PA Institute for Instructional Coaching, an instructional coach is “ someone whose chief professional responsibility is to bring evidence-based practices into classrooms by working with teachers and other school leaders… instructional coaching involves two people: the classroom teacher and the coach. Coaches work one-on-one and in small groups with teachers, providing guidance, training, and other resources as needed. Together, they focus on practical strategies for engaging students and improving their learning.” (Retrieved on August 18, 2018 from http://piic.pacoaching.org/index.php/piic-coaching/what-is-an-instructional-coach).
As instructional coach my goal is to:
Shift the role of the teacher from telling to asking as a means of facilitating thinking within the classroom
Develops strategies that promote active engagement as opposed to passivity on the part of students
Promote understanding as opposed to memorization and simple recall of information
See that students have a positive attitude toward school and their role as a learner
Continue to develop math teachers that are confident, effective and enthusiastic when teaching math
Assist in providing a successful transition to a newly updated science curriculum
Assure that all students, as image bearers of God, have a greater opportunity to reach their fullest potential as they prepare to serve God and glorify Him.
I look forward to meeting you and interacting with you throughout the year as we together strive to bring up and “educate your students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Scott Dillon, our Head of School, and his wife, Amy, share some wise words to families and students as we begin another school year at WCCS!
Today is the first day of school at WCCS. It is a day that will mark many firsts. And, as in my family, it will mark a day of many lasts. Today is the LAST first day of school (preschool-twelfth grade) for the Dillon family as our youngest begins her senior year today. Having four kids attend pre-school through high school, at the end of this next year we will have accumulated a combined SIXTY-ONE years of parenting school-aged children in Christian schools (not counting college). As my wife and I were talking about this subject, we rehearsed many highs and lows, joys and sorrows, and actually made a list of things that we hope and pray "stuck" with our kids in our decades of parenting. We wanted to share this list with you on this first day of school hoping to encourage and challenge parents with more firsts than lasts in front of them.
Kiddos, we hope you know that…
We have no greater joy than to see (hear) our children walking in the truth. We enjoyed celebrating your accomplishments in the classroom and on the field and court, but our greatest joy is seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your lives.
God's Word is True - seven days a week. This is the primary reason we have had you in Church on Sundays and in Christian schools during the week. God has called us to worship Him alongside His bride (the Church) on the first day of every week - and then to follow hard after Him every day thereafter.
Your family loves you and will always be there for you, although quite imperfectly at times. God, however, loves you so very much more than we do and truly does love you unconditionally and quite perfectly.
God created you to be in community. It is important, even necessary, to have good friends. But, remember that it is often more important to BE a good friend, especially to those who may be hardest to love.
We have chosen Christian schools for you because we want/need other adults coming alongside us, as parents, to partner with us in training you as you have grown. Your parents haven’t been perfect. Neither have your teachers or coaches. But, we have trusted the adults in your lives and believe that you will be better prepared to walk in the truth having had the truth spoken to you from so many.
We would often send you out of the house with the reminder to "make good decisions." We probably too frequently presumed that you knew that this is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit in your lives. Remember that we are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2) and are kept by grace alone (John 15).
We love you more than we can put into words (even though we have tried), but you are not the center of our world or the end of our existence. God is. God has lent you to us for just a little while to train you up in Him. His pleasure is a greater desire of ours than yours!
God has gifted and called you to be used by Him for Him. This is not always comfortable. It is often difficult. But it is definitely worth every tear and bead of sweat. Chase hard after HIS will, not your own.
Since before you were born, we began praying that God would be glorified in your life. This may include marriage and a family or it may not. It may keep you near or it may take you far away. You may see great fruit, but that is not promised. But, remember that God's got ya!
Walking in the truth includes being the light in a very dark world. May you be so thankful that God shed His light on you that you desire to BE THE LIGHT. Don't hide it under a bushel! Let it shine!
We are excited to introduce to our WCCS families several new faces for the 2018-2019 school year! We can't wait to see how God uses these individuals to point our students to Christ!
Click on each of the banners below and get to know a little more about our new Kingdom educators.
As I’m sure many of our current families are well-aware, it’s re-enrollment time at WCCS. Our current families have until February 5, 2018 to have priority in signing up for school next year before we open up remaining spots to new families seeking enrollment. And, for many of us, this time when we make commitments for next year also prompts the question: “Is what I pay in tuition at WCCS really worth it?” This question is one that many families, new and returning, grapple with as they consider how to steward their resources well for their families, and I have the privilege of sharing the value of a Christian education on a daily basis.
Last summer, one such family reached out to me for more information. The request went something like this:
“I am writing in regards to the tuition for my child. My husband and I want more than anything for her to continue attending WCCS. My heart breaks at even the thought of her not being able to attend. With the tuition going up each year, we are struggling to pay for her to attend. My parents have graciously offered to pay a portion but only if they know for sure that there are benefits outside of sending her to “public school.” There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us. However, my parents living over 700 miles away, don’t get to SEE the benefits as we do. We love this school and staff with all our hearts and I pray each day that God will continue to make a way for her to stay at WCCS. If you could help guide us or point us in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it….”
"There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us."
And, I got excited….so excited to share WHY we do what we do and WHY we feel a WCCS education has significant value.
When we use the word value, we expect a number to follow, putting a price tag on an item to communicate its worth. Yes, I can provide you with lots of data and statistics from our school showing student successes, growth, and achievement to suggest that you will see a return on your investment. And, educational excellence is important to us because doing our best brings glory and honor to God by preparing our students well to respond to God’s call in their lives, careers, service, and other pursuits. But, how do you put a number on the intangible? Take the feedback we hear from recent graduates (and their parents - here’s one for example) that they feel prepared for college as well as life, especially in the areas of writing, critical thinking, time management, and spiritual discernment – areas in which statistics and surveys who many of our young adults are lacking.
But, for those of us who also appreciate seeing numbers, take a look at some of our outcomes information, with more available in our High School Profile HERE:
Our Class of 2017 graduated 30 seniors, all of whom planned matriculation at a 4 year college, university or technical school. As a group, they served over 2,000 hours in the school and local community. They were accepted to 39 colleges/universities and earned over $375,000 annually in scholarships. You can read more about individual members of the class here: WCCS Graduate Testmonials.
Over the last 5 years, we give God glory for a 100% graduation rate, with 80-90% of those graduates each year going on to the college or university of their choice.
Over the last 5 years, Our average SAT and ACT scores are consistently above national, state, and local averages, and we’ve celebrated several National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists.
Most importantly, however, what we experience at a place like WCCS shows the eternal value of Christian education. When you count up the amount of time our children spend in school from Kindergarten through 12th Grades, that comes up to a staggering 16,000 hours. Likewise, they have the opportunity to be in church roughly 700 hours if they attend 1-2 hours in church every week for 13 years. And, I’ll leave the formal calculation to you to prove how much time our children spend with their teachers compared to when they are awake with us as their parents. Certainly, the role of parents and churches is critical in the development of our children and youth, but the undeniable truth is that education helps define your child’s worldview. And, we cannot possibly do it alone as parents. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said “the student will become like the teacher,” and these hours spent in the classroom with teachers who are pouring into the souls of our little (and big) ones will undoubtedly have a huge impact on our children.
"Education helps define your child’s worldview."
BUT, it’s not just about OUR kids, is it? Yes, we want the very best, God’s very best, for your children and my children, but it is “so that” our students can take what they have learned here in skills, knowledge, resources, experiences, and training to bless others in HIS name, therefore bringing others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Education is an expensive venture, and we recognize paying private school tuition is a sacrifice. We desire to make a WCCS education as accessible to as many families as possible. And, with the introduction of Variable Tuition last year for Kindergarten – 12th Grades, we have shared in many conversations with parents about how we can partner in the financial burden of that cost. I encourage you to seek us out if you are interested in exploring this option for your family. I would love to have the opportunity to speak directly with you about the value of a WCCS education for your family. It is worth it – every single penny!
Tis the season! We have just opened up applications for the 2018-2019 school year, and I hope you will share the good news about what is happening at WCCS! One of the best ways for prospective families to figure out if WCCS is a good fit for them is to schedule a tour and come visit us in person. Indeed, my favorite part of working here is that I get to meet new families as they visit our school. I think that those of us who have been at Westminster Catawba Christian School for a while can sometimes take for granted just how great this school is. Experiencing a tour alongside a WCCS “first-timer” is a great reminder of the many ways God has blessed WCCS.
Since most may not have the opportunity to join new families on a first time campus visit, I wanted to give you some inside scoop and share a list of common statements/questions I hear from new families as they encounter our school for the first time. For prospective WCCS parents, maybe this blog post will encourage you to come and check out our amazing school for yourself. For current WCCS parents, perhaps this will help you see our school in a new light, possibly even giving you some talking points to share with your friends and family about WCCS!
Here, in no particular order, is my list of the Top 14 (why 14? – it’s a fun number) Things I Hear on Campus Tours:
- “Wow- there’s a lot more going on here than I first imagined!” When you visit one of our 2 campuses for the first time, there’s a lot more going on than most imagine when first driving by. As a ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church, we exist to educate students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ. Our well maintained facilities, caring and professional faculty, vibrant academic, service learning, and extra-curricular offerings, as well as our successful outcomes communicated through alumni testimonials, college and career placement, and test scores all point to our quality. It is our greatest joy to see our students “walking in the truth” as they discover how their education is preparing them for an eternal life of service in God’s kingdom.
- “What does Christian Education look like, and how do you teach Bible/Religion?” Every WCCS student has a mandatory Bible class as a regular part of their education, and we teach all subjects with these statements of faith as our guide. We open every day with prayer and devotions. Students age 3 to 18 worship once each week in chapel. Most importantly, we integrate our Christian faith into everything that we do. As students learn about Christian worldview across the curriculum, we also provide opportunities for students to learn how to respond to God’s call to serve others in His name. Service learning is integrated into the curriculum to provide real-world application to the concepts students are learning at school.
- “This is so different than what I’m used to at XYZ school.” The Westminster Catawba Christian School culture is unique. You immediately feel the difference when you’re on campus. Our learning environment fosters personal growth in a setting that helps students feel comfortable. Students feel loved, valued and respected for their individual gifts and talents, and we value interpersonal relationships that grow our students and families in their relationships with Christ.
- “Are all your teachers certified?” WCCS is accredited by 2 different organizations, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and AdvanCED. In order to maintain our accreditation, our teachers have to meet their requirements, including educational training and licensure, Christian education studies, and further concentration in content areas specific to the particular field in which they are teaching. Our Early Childhood faculty also meet DSS requirements. We are very intentional in seeking out the most qualified, well-trained, and mission-fit faculty to teach our students – view teacher bios here.
- “What is your athletic program like?” We compete with other Christian schools in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC) and often scrimmage with other local teams. We have so many different athletic opportunities in Middle School and High School. Check out our website for a full listing of the sports teams we offer. In addition, ROAR Sports is a sister ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church that offers year-round sports for our PreK and Elementary students.
- “What about fine arts?” We offer a variety of fine arts, including visual and performing arts, throughout our curriculum for all ages as a way to learn how to steward, celebrate, and appreciate God’s amazing creative nature and the beauty of His creation.
- “What if my child needs extra support (or extra challenge)?” WCCS partners with Christian families to give students the individual support they need. This means that we offer a wide range of instructional strategies for students from a wide range of academic abilities and interests. The educational jargon term for this is “Differentiated Instruction.” We meet your child where he/she is and tailor our education to meet those needs. If your child is accepted into Westminster Catawba Christian School, you can rest assured that he/she will receive the appropriate level of challenge and support in order to maximize his/her academic potential. In addition, our EXCEL department provides specific services outside of the general classroom for students that need that extra level of support and/or challenge.
- “What about extended school care before or after the normal school day?” We offer extended school care for infants – 8th grades, before and after school. Check out our brochure for more information on scheduling options and pricing.
- “Do you serve hot lunches?” Yes, for 3K – 12th grades, we offer prepared meals, salads, fruit, juice, and low fat milk as options. And, they are yummy! We faculty and staff even order quite a bit! Monthly orders are placed through our online parents portal, and we also offer a forgotten lunch program for students.
- “What will WCCS do to prepare my child for life after graduation?” We consider it a privilege to prepare your child for wherever God is calling him or her at the “next level”, making sure that we are not just focusing on the next 4 years but, rather, an eternity of service to Him. On average, 90% of our graduates each year go on to college/university, and we also work with students interested in technical training, military service, or missions. Our college and career counselor’s office is very intentional with students as they discover God’s plan for them in their next chapter of life, providing one on one support as families go through application, scholarship, and career exploration processes.
- “How does WCCS use technology?” Smart boards, computer labs, and classroom sets of iPads provide opportunities for our students to develop as 21st century learners, while still valuing the developmental appropriateness of pencil-to-paper lessons and real textbooks. More importantly, we invest in the things you cannot see, like a secure network and trained, professional faculty to help students safely and meaningfully integrate technology across the curriculum. In keeping with our school’s mission, we desire to teach students how to use technology as an educational tool that makes a positive impact for Christ in today’s world.
- “Everyone here is so nice.” Agreed!
- “I really would like to send my child here. But I don’t know if I can afford tuition. Do you financial aid or scholarships?” We desire to make Christian Education as accessible as possible and provide several discount and scholarship programs. Check out our Variable Tuition program, which adjusts your family’s tuition to your family’s unique financial position.
- “I wish I went to school here!” Me too! Think I could pass for a 17 year old?
I hope that gives you a sense of what a campus tour is like. But, don’t just take my word for it – come see WCCS for yourself! I would love to personally meet any prospective families you as you prayerfully consider the best school option for your family.
Contact me anytime to schedule your campus visit!
803.328.5472 | firstname.lastname@example.org