Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas around TFCA

There have been so many wonderful celebrations around our school in the past few weeks. What a privilege and joy to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our students!

Above, our kindergarten and transitional kindergarten classes went to see the Nutcracker on Friday. Our teachers names were selected in a drawing for the classes to meet the cast after the performance. 

Our sweet three and four year old preschool students performed their Christmas program on Thursday evening. It was wonderful. They knew their lines and motions to all of their songs!

Friday, we had our annual Christmas chapel service with our middle school and high school students. Our two sign language classes signed Christmas carols. 

Our praise band led in several Christmas songs. 

Our dance team performed a song. Several students sang, played piano and teachers shared favorite verses or stories. One of our seniors, Logan C., shared a sermon. 

Our week included finals for all MS/HS students. I thought they deserved a treat, so I put this on all their lockers on Friday.  

We pray you enjoy a wonderful Christmas season with family and friends celebrating the birth of our Savior!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Signs of Christmas

Last night we had another celebration for the Christmas season featuring our k-5th grade students. They presented a program entitled, "Signs of Christmas", featuring songs and drama. The students did a wonderful job under the direction of Mrs. Adams, our music teacher. 

Here are a few pictures below:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Last week, our middle school chorus and drama groups presented the play, Charlie Brown's Christmas. 

They did a fabulous job!

From costumes, props, backgrounds to good acting and singing, it all just came together wonderfully. 

I really enjoyed seeing the product of their hard work. Mrs. Bourne and Mrs. Adams did an excellent job directing and organizing the production. 

The play was a wonderful reminder of all that Christmas is truly supposed to be about and not the commercialism of the season. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanks and Giving

In this time of year, it is easy to skate right through Thanksgiving and get geared up for the Christmas season. 

I love Thanksgiving. But Thanksgiving is not merely a is a way of living. 





How do we foster these attributes in our children (and us!) on a regular basis?

 I do not claim to have all the answers, but here are a few tips I have compiled. 

1- Acknowledge God's faithfulness daily- be vocal about the many ways God provides for you and your family. Highlight when you see him answering prayer. 

2- Live a life of service- seek opportunities to serve those around you, both those you know and those you don't. Let your kids see this AND involve them in serving. 

3- Put others first- live out humility in front of your kids. Show them what it really means to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". 

4- Use your manners- please, thank you, yes ma'am and no sir still carry a lot of weight. 

5- Be good stewards of the blessings you already have- live each day grateful for another opportunity to share your blessings. Don't enable entitlement attitudes in your children. Do not squander time, talent or money. 

Most importantly, never miss a chance to thank God for all you have been given- in plenty and in want, in joy and in suffering. 

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Psalms 106:1 NKJV

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wonder Projects

My Step Up class finished reading the book, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. They had a choice of doing a power point character study, a diorama, write a letter to the author or film a animated video. 

If was a great project and book. I really enjoyed listening to them present their projects. 

The book prompted some deep discussions about how God made us all unique. The students enjoyed it and love the main character, August. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day

I am so proud to work in a school that honors our history as a nation, the service of our veterans and current military members, as well as emergency responders.

Yesterday, we had a special service organized by Mr. Lewis, our high school history teacher, to honor veterans.  It was a touching service and I am reminded again about the blessings I enjoy every day thanks to many men and women who have served our country.

Our speaker yesterday, Dr. HM Snodgrass, not only serves our school as Board President, but has served our country in the Army.  He spoke of his time in the military and his service in the Vietnam War.  Mrs. Heather French Henry was here and led our National Anthem.  The ROTC from Franklin County High School was here and did a presentation of colors and a rifle demonstration. 

Thank you, veterans, for your service.  We appreciate your service and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  We are also reminded of Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and our freedom from sin!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Notes from Students

We were gone to the MS/HS retreat all day Thursday and Friday.  When I returned, my door to my office was covered in post-it notes from elementary students.  They were encouragement notes to me.  What a blessing to return from a great retreat and have these notes!

It is such a privilege to work with these students and see God at work through their actions!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

True Grit

I have to confess something-- I absolutely love watching John Wayne movies. I grew up loving The Searchers (with Natalie Wood), McClintock, The Quiet Man (with Maureen O'Hara!), The Sons of Katie Elder and so many more. John Wayne was tough. He was savvy and always up for the challenge. I learned  to face a challenge head on and not give up watching these movies. 

The other day in our faculty meeting, we discussed hard work and how we might challenge our students to work through problems and challenges. So many students want to give up when faced with something hard. Working through adversity and challenge will make them stronger, as students and individuals. 

I shared an article with the teachers entitled, "How to do Hard Things", that a colleague had sent me. Here is the link to it:

We had an excellent conversation about what this means and how we can encourage our students to press forward. It made me think of the verse:

“through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:2-4 NIV

I am not claiming that studying for a history test is true "suffering", but in a world where helicopter parenting attempts to protect children from any discomfort or challenge, allowing our students to work through problems on their own is not a bad idea. A student gets a C or D because they haven't studied well or they haven't turned in an assignment or two on time. Many parents will attempt to negotiate with the teacher to wave late grade penalties or to do extra credit. Instead, why don't we allow students to learn a valuable lesson and understand the natural consequences to their choices and actions?

We want to guide and develop students to think for themselves, solve real life problems and not retreat from problems, but embrace them as an opportunity to grow and learn. 

One of my teachers sent me this quote after our discussion:

A life verse for me is Colossians 3:23, "Do everything as if for the Lord and not for man". It is my sincere prayer that our students will embrace this truth. I hope we can develop students who do what is right because it is the right thing to do and to bring glory to God. 

Encourage your kids to keep pausing forward, to try new things, to solve a problem and to not give up because it is hard. It may be difficult to watch, especially if they make a mistake or get hurt, but it will ultimately help them strengthen their character!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Annual Fall Auction

Each year, for many years, our school has hosted an auction to raise money for our school. Although families do pay tuition, it doesn't cover 100% of the funding needed to run our school. To help cover the shortfall, we do a few events each year. This event has both live and silent auction components. 

I truly look forward to this night each year. Students, staff, families and friends of our school donate a variety of items for the event. Art pieces, handmade items, tickets to sporting events, vacation packages, luxury purses, dolls, antiques and more are sold. 

The fellowship and opportunity to come together to support a worthy cause, the ministry of our school, is truly a celebratory occasion. 

As always, God continues to provide and send people to partner with us as we "educate for eternity". Thank you to all the individuals who worked so hard to make last night a big success. If you were not able to attend this year, I pray you will join us next fall!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Brain Teasers

One of the aspects of my job that I dearly love is teaching one of our Step Up classes (Gifted program). I work with our sixth grade group and so enjoy still being able to teach. 

We begin our class each day with some type of brain challenge/mind teaser/lateral thinking skill. Today, I put this problem on the board:

The challenge was that each spoke had a number that denotes how many connections it had. You have to draw the connections so that all spokes match their number and all end up connected. This stumped several students because they were overthinking it!

Here is the answer to the challenge below:

It is truly exciting to watch students try to problem solve and be challenged academically. Many of them are used to knowing all the answers quickly. I want to not only encourage a great work ethic, but foster a love of inquiry, creativity and curiosity in my students. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Way to go Readers!

We received this certificate for our participation in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge this summer. 

Way to go students (and parents)!!

I know many other students read minutes but didn't log them, but I think this was pretty impressive. 

Keep up the good work, Royals!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Spotlight on First Grade

While roaming my hallways at our school this week, I have seen so many wonderful examples of learning taking place.  I was excited to see what the first graders were learning and doing. 

Their theme right now is US symbols.  They have been studying patriotic symbols and their meaning.

Yesterday, they were watching a live webcam of an eagles' nest with two eagles, Romeo and Juliet.  They have learned all types of facts about eagles and made charts about them.  They even called me in my office today to tell me the eagles were back in their nest.  (They weren't in there when I was in their room yesterday!)

They are also learning about our flag, what the stripes and colors mean and what the stars symbolize.

I also saw evidence of center organization, math work and phonics work.

Keep up the good work, first grade!

I Spy With My Little Eye

I LOVE roaming the halls at my school and doing walk-through observations of my teachers and their classrooms.  Why, you ask?  Because I see AMAZING people doing creative, important work with our students!

Here are a few of the great things I saw today:

DNA double helix - 7th grade science work

Art Class work in the hallway - trees and pumpkins


 Transitional Kindergarten - Morning meeting time for phonics, calendar, math and more

Kindergarten -Letter Lessons and Listening and Rubrics

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quote of the Week

I believe this quote speaks for itself.  In order to REALLY learn, students must DO.  Practice, repetition, putting thoughts into action, applying instruction all go together to help a student truly learn. 

By learn, I do not mean memorize and regurgitate information for a test.  I mean REALLY learn. 

Aiding students in connecting information to real-life use and importance helps them learn.

Having them build 3-d models of science vocabulary and math concepts helps them make connections that last.

Reading a variety of genres and then analyzing them through their perspective and Christian worldview helps them make sense of the world and better understand it. 

Worksheets are fine occasionally for practice, but they do not need to be the main form of work, especially for elementary students!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Drive In Movie

We are hosting our second annual Family Drive In Movie night at our school tomorrow evening. Below you will see the results of their votes!

We will have free popcorn and the KONA ice truck will be there for families to purchase ice treats!

We allowed all of our students to vote on their movie of choice through their homerooms.  

Come out and join us tomorrow evening beginning at 6:30 pm in the west parking lot.  Bring your camping chairs or blankets, a snack or drink and come ready to fellowship with other families and watch the movie HOME.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

See You at the Pole

Today, we joined students across the United States in praying around our flagpole. 

All of our elementary students prayed together in their homerooms and then our middle school/high school students joined together for prayer a little later. 

We prayed for:
Our school, the students and their families
Our community, other schools, our elected officials, our churches
Our emergency responders and their safety
Our state, our Governor, our elected officials, our laws and freedoms
Our nation, our President and elected officials, our Supreme Court, our military
Our world, leaders of other countries, missionaries around the world sharing the gospel, Christians around the world being persecuted

It was such a heartwarming experience to walk around praying with students and listening to their heartfelt words of praise and petition to God.

Thank you to the parents that joined us!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Parent Teacher Conferences

Next week, we have a day set aside for parent-teacher conferences. Our teachers prepare information for these meetings. They share progress on academic standards, classroom performance, and behavior. 

I wanted to share some tips for parents as they prepare for conferences:

1- Make a List - What questions do you have? What concerns have you had for this school year?

2- Think about Curriculum- What questions do you have about math work? What do you want to know about spelling? Reading? Biblical philosophy and integration?

3- Be on Time - when one conference gets behind, it has a domino effect on all the conferences

4-Turn off Your Phone- be fully present during that meeting

5-Remember You Are on the Same Team- it is not the parent vs. the teacher but everyone working together to help our students successfully grow academically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally

6- Pray before and during the conference- I cannot stress this enough!

7- Follow-up- if there are items you and the teacher agree to work on, follow up with them a few weeks after the conference and let them know what you are doing at home and what you are seeing/hearing from your student

I hope you have a conference scheduled with your teacher(s). If not, schedule one today. We have a link on our website 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Quote of the Week - Silence is Golden

I do this!!! Sometimes people mistake it as if I agree with them - but I don't think it's important for me to give my opinion and silence is better. KR:

In our culture today, anything and everything we say and do is on display.  You never know when someone is taking your photograph, videotaping you,
using a drone, taking a screenshot of your text conversation, etc.

Often, we feel the need to give our opinion on EVERYTHING.  Truthfully, I listen most to those who speak less.  I have learned that when they speak, it is
typically important and their words well-chosen and composed.

Why don't we choose to be a people that relies more on God's word than our own?

Why don't we choose to be a people that are truly "quick to listen, slow to speak and
slow to become angry" as James 1:19 encourages us to be?

Why don't we choose to simply LISTEN and be still rather than shout and stomp our feet?

Why don't we choose to let our actions truly speak louder than our words?

Let me challenge you-- take an opportunity to remain silent today. Pray instead. Ask God to guide you and know when to speak and when to take a stand. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Centers in the Elementary Classroom

During our back to school in-service, we did a concentration on incorporating more centers/stations in the elementary classroom.  It is so important to have opportunities for students to practice what they are learning.  It is also vital to incorporate opportunities that meet different learning styles: kinesthetic, auditory, visual, hands-on, etc.  Centers really open the doors for so many possibilities.

In an on-going effort to keep this in front of our teachers, each month during our elementary department meeting we will be featuring different center ideas and actually providing materials for teachers to make new centers.  I will have folders, laminating pouches, markers, cardstock, printouts and more!

We know that teachers' time is valuable and we want to honor their time as much as possible.  If we want to see more of something in the classroom, we have to be purposeful about carving out time for it AND help supply their needs.  Accountability also supports the integration of concepts and practices in the classroom.

I am excited to see how our teachers continue to include these in their classroom!

Here are a few blogs and sites I have found that are extremely helpful!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Learners of All Kinds

I saw this quote a few weeks ago and I knew I had to use it.  

We are blessed with students learning at a variety of levels and speeds at our school.

We have approximately 50 % of our students who scored in the 90% or better in at least one academic subject area on our recent spring testing, the Terra Nova 3.  WOW!!!

We also have about 15-20% of students who tested below the 30% in one sub-category.

We also have students who have a variety of academic challenges that need a little extra help or accommodations in the classroom to help them learn and progress on or near grade level.

 Ultimately, we want to "partner with Christian parents to provide a Biblically integrated education which equips students to embrace Biblical truth, to strive for academic excellence and to exemplify Christ-like servanthood in homes, churches and communities."  This is our mission statement and we truly want to live it out each day in our school.  This means we are not a prep school only for academic elite.  We want to help Christian families who desire Christian education for their children obtain that!  It is our intent and prayer to work together with our families to help students in need keep learning - even if it is at a slower and/or faster pace!

Friday, August 21, 2015

First Full Week Down

Just like that......we are finished with our first full week of school!

We kicked off last week and school is in full swing.  I have absolutely LOVED walking the halls and seeing our students learning.  Our classes are exploring, investigating, creating and mastering concepts.  I have witnessed students doing STEM projects, rotating through centers, writing sentences, reading independently, learning sign language, worshiping in chapel, laughing in the cafeteria, running laps in the gym, and so much more.  

It is such a blessing to be able to have a small part in the lives of so many wonderful students!  I consider it a huge honor to work alongside amazing staff and faculty who give 100% every day.  God has been so faithful to our school and we are excited to see what he has in store for 2015-16!

Here are some pictures from our first week back:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Senior Walk 2015-16

We have a tradition at our school. 

On the first day of school each year, our Seniors take a walk around the building. All of the homeroom classes come out into the hallway and cheer as the students walk the halls. 

It is truly one of my favorite things we do!

Today, on our first day of the 2015-16 school year, we started with their walk. I love this group of kids and I am so excited to see them grow in this final year of high school!