Update from the Head of School
What a week this is! We go from shouting "Hosanna" to "Crucify Him!" We weep at the death of our Savior and rejoice that "He is risen, indeed." As we look forward to Easter vacation, may we be mindful of the reason for this season and worship our God who saves sinners unable to save themselves.
It has been less than six weeks since I last wrote to the entire WCCS community after the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Over these last weeks, we have grieved, we have asked tough questions, and we have sought to shore up our own emergency management plans. In my previous letter, I shared some of the precautions that we have taken over this school year as we focused on school safety. While not complete, I believe our efforts have been successful.
As we look to wrap up this school year and move to next, we are transitioning from our current focus on SCHOOL SAFETY to an intentional focus on SCHOOL CULTURE. We will continue to do all that we can to provide a safe physical environment for our students but need to move beyond this to providing a safe emotional and spiritual environment as well. We are very aware that most of our safety efforts treat the symptoms without getting to the heart of the matter - the hearts of our students!
It is with immense joy that I announce that WCCS has hired a full-time School Chaplain beginning with the 18-19 school year! His name is Jake Tassy, and I believe that God is bringing him (and his family - wife, Katie, and high school son Micah) here at this time to help ensure that every student is cared for, both emotionally and spiritually! Jake has an impressive resume that uniquely qualifies him for this position having been a(n): second grade teacher, professional soccer player, junior high youth director, inner-city (Charlotte) ministry director, school chaplain at international school in Ecuador, and family ministries director. He will organize our chapel programs, counsel students (and families) in need, and point all of us to Christ. Studies have shown that students "thrive" when they have at least ONE adult (often at school) whom they trust and can count on, especially when hurting. Part of Jake's job will be to work alongside the faculty and staff to be sure that every student has that "someone!" As he does so, we all will be working to help students treat each other well. I would ask you to begin now praying for Jake and the rest of us as we seek to broaden our definition of "safety" at school.
You may have already noticed some of our efforts to partner with our parents to impact the culture of our school. Our Lower School has begun Love and Logic training for our parents. On our Upper School campus, we invited our parents to chapel on March 16th where we had a special speaker come in and talk to our students (and faculty and parents) about social media. I have heard from many that both efforts have been helpful!
There are also more efforts on the way through the end of this school year. We are planning one "culture-shaping" activity each week. There will be more information coming, but I wanted to put the big rocks on your radar:
School-wide "day of prayer" in partnership with ACSI on Thursday, March 29th
Lower School "grow a new friendship" activity - during week of April 9
Upper School Love Your Neighbor day / chapel / prayer time - April 20
School-wide "heal a friendship" exercise - during week of April 23
School-wide parent training in citizen active shooter response (tentatively evening of May 3)
Blessing our graduates effort - second week in May
Celebration of blessings from 17-18 - third week in May
Prayer for continued grace in 18-19 - fourth week in May
It is my great hope and prayer that you will join us as we seek to honor Christ, educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ!