Thursday, April 30, 2015

Test Prep for Standardized Testing

Next week is our annual standardized testing week.  We will give the Terra Nova 3, a nationally normalized test, for all students in grades 2-10.  Our 11/12th grade students take the PSAT and the ACT for comparison.  Our kindergarten/first grade will be doing progress monitoring during the testing window.

In preparation for the test window, please consider the following:

* Make sure your child gets enough sleep
* Encourage students to eat a healthy breakfast - lean proteins and not a lot of sugar
* Pray with your child each morning before school
* Emphasize doing their best and not being stressed out about the test!
* Send a healthy snack and water bottle.
* Consider doing something fun at the end of the week to celebrate finishing the test.

We encourage our students to concentrate, do their best and not stress!  We know the test is a great tool for us to evaluate students and our curriculum, but it doesn't tell us everything about our students and their progress.

As in all things, we want our students to "do everything they do as if for the Lord and not for man" as Colossians 3:23 says.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015



Find the link to this here

We are made to be holy, set apart.

God created us in HIS image.  He wants us to be "in the world, not of the world".

What does that mean to you?  How does that look?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ACT data

As a school, we are constantly looking for ways to evaluate student performance, determine areas of strengths and areas for improvement.  One measure for evaluating our high school student performance is the data collected from ACT testing results.  Here is a graph that shows some great comparison data:

As a school, our students exceed state college readiness benchmarks in all four subcategories and composite scores.  As a parent myself, it is always reassuring to know that our students are performing well and surpassing the "average" expectations for students.  It is important to note that many high schools only report/track data on Senior ACT scores.  Our scores factor in students who take and report ACT scores in all four years of high school. 

Way to go TFCA students and teachers!

Monday, April 27, 2015

School Carnival

Our PTF (Parent Teacher Fellowship) hosted a Spring Carnival on Saturday.

It was a wonderful event with games, inflatables, prizes, concessions and fellowship.  What a blessing it was to see so many families there, interacting, playing and serving!

I enjoyed working the cornhole game and the prize table.

A HUGE thank you goes to the many volunteers that set up games, bought prizes, donated cakes/cupcakes, ran the games and cleaned up after the event.  I know the students really enjoyed it and the carnival continues to be a bright spot in our school year!

Here are some pictures from that day:

Friday, April 24, 2015

One Step Closer

Through many concerted efforts and donations from so many faithful servants of God, we are one step closer to completing more of our building. 

Today a large crane was at school placing 5 additional HVAC units that will serve the gymnasium, locker rooms, new science lab and area for additional classrooms. This is such a blessing to our school!

In the past three years, we have seen a steady growth of at least 10% in enrollment. We desperately need at least four more classrooms for next year. 

As many continue to remind me, growth is a good problem to have. But growth is a problem that requires an immediate solution.  We are diligently praying for discernment and wisdom to know what the best solution is for our school. We are also praying for individuals, families, churches and businesses who want to partner with us to continue to "educate for eternity". 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Caught in the Act

I LOVE catching my teachers in the act of doing wonderful lessons with their students.

This week, our transitional and regular kindergarten classes have paired up with our second and third grade classes to do writing lessons.

Mrs. Bevins' and Ms. Shepherd partnered with Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Stout to do a writing workshop utilizing Legos.  The students designed a scene and wrote about it utilizing  pre-writing, writing, editing and revision. The students then were able to "present" their writing for the class. Here are a few pictures from their collaboration:

Under Construction and Looking for Parts

Assembly underway
A finished product and writing taking place

Another finished product

A few students doing their "presentation" of their work

Students are so proud of their work.  The third graders really enjoy working with the younger students and the younger students THRIVE with the attention of the older students.  Group behavior expectations are modeled, technology is used with the use of iPads and students are able to create original work and "publish" it for others to enjoy.  

Way to go third grade and kindergarten!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flexibility and the Quote of the Week


This week in our faculty meeting, I did a devotion on FLEXIBILITY, which by the way, is NOT my favorite word.

I shared with my MS/HS teachers last week and my Elementary teachers this week that my pastor used to hold up a big sign with that word written on it.  He'd talk about how we had to be flexible and share.  We were a mobile church at that time.  Occasionally, he still brings it up and silently, I still cringe a bit.

To me, a very TYPE A gal, flexibility innately meant it was for people who fail to have a plan.

In recent years, God has convicted me otherwise.

I have learned that being flexible is not the absence of planning.  It is the ability to say that another plan may need to take precedence over yours.  It is being willing to bend, without breaking, and take a different route.  Ultimately, you may end up in the exact same spot.

God often uses situations that seemingly spin out of our control to teach us some of the most important lessons.  Being rigid and stuck in the muck may not show your steadfast spirit or commitment to your initial plan or decision.  It may show that your stubbornness has inhibited you from reaping the bounty God wishes to bestow on you.  The image I have is of a potter taking that pile of clay and molding it into a beautiful piece of art.

A scripture that springs to mind is Isaiah 64:8, "But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and you are the potter; All of us are the works of your hand."

In the education world, flexibility is often exhibited in using formative assessment to shape a lesson.  It is redoing your lesson plans the night before because your kids didn't get it that day and need to have the lesson retaught in a different way.  Sometimes it is placing an individual student or family's needs above your own and spending an extra hour after school or during your planning period simply listening.  Other times it is putting a smile on your face when yet another seemingly mundane idea is being forced upon you.






Are you willing to be open to God's leading?

Are you willing to be led by students?  Colleagues?  Administrators?  Family members?  Friends?

How have you been blessed by being flexible?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Xtreme Week 2015

Adventure Week 2015

 This week is XTREME WEEK at TFCA.  What is Xtreme Week?  For more info, check out the blog post I did last year on our school blog, "The Royal Roar", about this extraordinary week of "think outside the box" courses here.
Athletics Variety Pack 101

This year we have middle school and high school students enrolled in eight different courses:  a week long trip to Atlanta, a trip to Philadelphia and Gettysburg, Cultural Cooking (eating, cooking and learning about a variety of world cultures and cuisine), Woodworking, Athletics Variety Pack 101 (coaching, athletic training, managing, marketing, playing and more), College Blitz (info on a variety of colleges and how to evaluate them), Music Industry (tours of radio stations, recording studio, creating original music, touring Nashville and Country Music Hall of Fame, Belmont University and more) and Adventure Week (climbing, zip-lining, hiking, lazer blaze, kayaking, and much more).

Cultural Cooking -Day 1 Offerings

Music Industry - at local radio station
College Blitz - visiting Asbury University, Berea, EKU, NKU, Transylvania, Georgetown College, and Centre

High School Students in Philadelphia

Atlanta Week Crew outside CNN building

There is truly so much students can and do learn outside the traditional classroom.  It is a week filled with hands-on experiences, interacting with "experts" in different fields.  Students get to nominate courses, rank their choices and spend a week learning in a non-traditional way.
If you ask incoming 6th graders what they are most looking forward to about middle school - they always say Xtreme Week.  As far as I know, we are the only school around here doing any thing like this and it is a HUGE hit with our students.  Courses still meet different standards.  Students receive a grade on the fourth nine weeks for the course and high school students may earn 1/4 of an elective credit each year they attend.

What does your school that stands out or makes your students excited?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Xtreme Week Schedule for Elementary

I know a lot of our parents like to come eat lunch with their students or volunteer in our building.  We are in the midst of Xtreme Week 2015 for our middle and high school students.  My post tomorrow will feature each of our courses this year.  Today, I wanted to share the schedule for this week for your information.  Thanks for your flexibility and to our elementary teachers for being so willing to change their weekly schedule.  Due to some specials teachers being out for Xtreme Week courses, students will have PE every day and Art once.  Music, Computer class and Spanish will resume next week.

Extreme Week Specials Schedule
PE Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday
8:00-8:20 3yr old 4yr old 3yr old 4yr old  
8:30-9:20 2nd grade 2nd grade 2nd grade 2nd grade 2nd grade
9:30-10:20 3rd grade 3rd grade 3rd grade 3rd grade 3rd grade
10:30-11:20 1st grade 1st grade 1st grade 1st grade 1st grade
11:30-12:20 TK/K TK/K TK/K TK/K TK/K
12:50-1:40 4th grade 4th grade 4th grade 4th grade 4th grade
1:50-2:40 5th grade 5th grade 5th grade 5th grade 5th grade
ART Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday
10:30-11:15 Stout Morrow Wheatley James Smith
11:30-12:15 Lilly Anderson Wainscott
12:50-1:35 Boyd Cull Bevins  
1:50-2:35 Noble   Shepherd    
Prek 11:45-12:15
TK/K 11:05-11:30 **Monday, TK will eat 11:20-11:45 due to art
1st 12:25-12:50
2nd 11:25-11:50
3rd 11:00-11:25
4/5th 12:20-12:45

Sunday Shout Out

I'd like to take a moment to give a shout out to two of our high school students at TFCA!

Kendall Yount, '16, was recently selected to participate in the Ky Governor's Scholar Program (GSP) this summer.  This is for rising Seniors and applicants complete an intensive application before proceeding through a highly competitive selection process.  Kendall will represent TFCA well in this program!

Thomas Cravens, '17, was recently selected to participate in the Governor's School for the Arts in piano.  This is also a rigorous selection process and rising Juniors and Seniors from all over the state compete for a select few spots in each discipline.  Thomas has a true gift on the piano.  I am excited he tried out and was selected!

It is such a joy to see others recognize the unique, God-given talents and gifts our students have here at TFCA.  I am blessed to work with them and be a small part of their journey!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Summer Reading: To Require or Not to Require

At our last PLC (Professional Learning Community) meeting with faculty, we looked at four different articles regarding summer learning/summer reading assignments.  Here are the links for the articles we read and discussed:

 The concensus of our meeting was:

1- It is important to be consistent school-wide!  If one grade is going to do it, we should all do it.

2- There needs to be some allowance for student choice to get buy in from students.  A teacher may have a specific theme they want to highlight and they may have 3-4 books they are comfortable recommending.  Students then may choose which of those texts to read.

3- How you assess their reading may vary by age, grade and ability.  Multi-media presentations, old-fashioned book reports, posters, a packet to fill out, diarama, a piece of art and other ideas were mentioned as methods to use to assess the students fulfillment of this requirement.

4- Having an incentive to read, as we just did with our Stuck on Reading challenge, (see blog post on this here), is often very effective for students.  We decided to have a celebration when we return to school in August for all the students who meet their individual grade level goals.  We will set these in our April department meetings.

5- There is no question that reading (and math skills, too!) is vital and needs to occur over the summer months.  This keeps students advancing in their skills and helps combat the loss that some students suffer over the summer (as much as 2-3 months worth of reading levels).  

6- Some teachers asked permission to host "book clubs" over the summer for students, especially middle school students.  That was met with a resounding YES! from me.

What does your school do for summer reading?  What methods have been effective for you in the past?  What methods have not been successful?

Monday, April 13, 2015

An "Average" Day for a Principal

I thought I would share what a typical day for me might look like at our school so I picked Monday (today).

Here is what my schedule looked like BEFORE the day started:

7:30- check my own preschooler into his class
7:35-7:45 -Drop Off Curb Duty
7:45-  Morning Announcements
8:00 - Observe teacher in classroom
9:00- 504 Plan meeting (may have to step into this)
9:00-10:00 - Read and review required items for accreditation review team I will be serving on in two weeks
10:00- 504 Plan meeting (may have to step into this)
11:00-  College Signing Day planning meeting  (for Seniors on May 1)
12:50 -1:15 - Meet with teacher about upcoming units in Science
3:00 - Meeting at public school district office about Special Ed. offerings for 2015-16 to private schools
4:00-5:30 - Extra-Curricular Committee meeting

Here is what my schedule looked like as the day wore on:

7:30-7:45 -same
7:45 - walk to gym for update on progress on HVAC installation in gym and other areas of school needed for expansion
8:15 - meet with Assistant Principal to look at week ahead
9:00 - meet with teacher re: classroom concerns
9:45 -meeting re: school remodeling and new developments for next two weeks
10:00 -meeting with staff member re: next year
10:15 -meeting with student re: discipline issue
10:35 -meeting with Student Services Coordinator re: specific student, upcoming testing and meeting that day with public school district
10:50- meeting with parent re: student needs
11:00 -meet with staff re: College Signing Day coming up May 1
11:10-11:30- met with parent regarding student discipline concern
11:30-read and returned emails; worked on minutes for Extra-Curricular committee; developed alternate schedule for elementary specials and lunch during Xtreme Week next week, spoke with parent on the phone
12:15-went over issues with Master Schedule for MS/HS next year for input into SIS
12:30-ate lunch while discussing summer program with Preschool Director
12:50 -met with teacher re: planning for human body units I taught last year for 4/5th grade and shared materials/labs
1:20-scheduled observations for this week and next
1:35 -double checked lesson plans and schedules for Xtreme Week next week
2:00- formulate spreadsheet for Extra-Curricular Budget for 2015-16 for meeting
2:40 -spoke with parent on phone regarding concerns for student for next year and probable enrollment for additional sibling
3:00-read and returned emails, double checked materials needed for 4:00 meeting; talked to my children and arranged after school activity for them; discussed summer program work opportunities with high school students
4:00-5:45 Extra-Curricular Committee meeting
5:45 - signed PO requests and checks
6:05 - made final plans for field trip tomorrow for Junior class to a college fair at nearby college
6:15 -went through my mail box, signed forms needing signature, tossed junk mail, sorted mail for what needs my attention tomorrow; updated weekly calendar; set up trial lessons for teacher candidates for next year for next two weeks
7:15 - locked up and left for home

My attention is constantly redirected.  I knew the day coming back from Spring Break would be a little chaotic so I expected it.  I try to carve out time for specific tasks, but today, I spent most of my time in meetings and in my office.  Tomorrow, I hope to be in classrooms and out in the hallways more.  I really enjoy seeing and working with my students!  It truly takes a balance of the administrative tasks coupled with interpersonal tasks to make my job successful.  Being accessible and approachable is vital to maintaining a healthy school administration.  However, I still have to carve out time to shut the door,  pray, plan, consult, read, think and dream!

What kind of day is your typical day?

How do you cope when your plans are turned inside out and upside down, all before 8 am?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book of the Week - Wonder

There are so many wonderful things I can say about this young adult fictional novel by R.J. Palacio.  August or Auggie, the main character, is a child with major facial deformations.  He has been home schooled for years, but the year featured in this book highlights his first year in a real school.  The story is full of ups and downs.  Students wrangle with accepting August and some torture him.  August wrangles with how to fit in, how to be "different", trusting new people and even having that trust broken.

It is a book of firsts.

It is a book of challenges.

It is a testament to courage, grace, hope and perseverance.

I am planning to use this book, along with two other books, to lead a unit on empathy with my Step Up Class I teach during our elective block on Tuesdays and Fridays.  We are going to explore the many themes, write some of our own precepts like Mr. Browne's (teacher in the book), and put together media presentations about the book.  I cannot wait for the discussions we will have about the richness of this book.

What is a favorite book of yours that teaches and inspires?

Welcome to the Blog

I have had the privilege of serving as the Principal at TFCA for this school year.  Before that, I served as Assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor.  I have grown so much in my understanding of the private education world, counseling practice and in my faith through these positions.  It is truly a blessing to serve in this ministry!

This blog will serve many purposes.  It will highlight special lessons I spot in classroom observations and serve to give kudos to deserving staff members.  It will serve as a point of communication between our administration and our TFCA family where we can share vision, mission, purpose and gain input from students, staff and families about our progress.  I will share research specific to our school and links to articles I read that are particularly poignant and relevant to our mission at TFCA.

I welcome your response and comments as we dialogue and work together to serve our students and community!