Dear SJCA Family:
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly one school year passes. Every student has grown physically, but we are even more impressed with how they have grown academically and spiritually. Last week, I walked in on four second grade girls who were prompted to pray for their teacher, who had suffered a bad ankle sprain (which coincidentally felt much better at the time these girls were praying!). Our teachers finished up their year by meeting and developing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis to identify areas of improvement and growth for the coming year. This information from the nine groups of faculty and staff will be evaluated, prioritized, and inserted into our School Improvement Plan (SIP) for 2017-2018. This is an exciting time for growth opportunities for the SJCA family, and we are blessed with such talented professionals here.
The events of Field Day signaled the end of school for our students, and Class of 2017 Commencement at The Church at Quail Creek finalized a very memorable year. The month of May had a flurry of activities, including our spring concert, Wonderland Night, awards days, athletic banquet, middle school Nook ‘Em tournament, and end of year classroom celebrations. All of these are an integral part of our culture of celebration and character at SJCA. Additionally, we finished the year with 97% of our teachers and staff planning on returning in 2017-2018, which is remarkable.
ACSI informed us that many schools nationwide will have Terra Nova 3 scores delayed due to problems with their processing. We will mail out the results to you along with some information on how to interpret the scores when those documents arrive.
Our last day of school also featured three senior students signing letters of intent. Coltin Lynch, Amy Clark, and Julia Nichols, were honored in a special ceremony attended by many of their classmates and friends. Their example is evidence that athletic success at a Christian school can translate into college scholarships.
This year’s theme verse of Isaiah 43:19 proclaimed God telling us He was doing a new thing. Looking back upon how God blessed us with so many NEW THINGS this year, I am grateful to have seen God bring about many blessings this year, including new:
· First day of school pep rally
· Faculty and staff “difference-makers”
· Belize senior mission trip
· Writing books in elementary, coming soon to middle and high school
· Security cameras in elementary, with more being installed this summer in high school
· Senior capstone defense project
· Senior Patriot Walk
· Dessert Preview for potential families
· Drama production and musical
· Mobile phone app
· 14-passenger bus (one more needed!)
· Batman v. Superman election
· Learning the “Art of the Handshake” and other essential skills
· Uses for duct tape – affixing administrators to the PEC wall!
· Playground fencing, shelters, sprinklers, trees, and benches
· Door lock security in middle school doors
· Presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, making SJCA a more prominent name in the community
· Laptops for every full-time teacher, lessening the demand on our server for the labs
· 30 Chromebooks for MS-HS students and 24 mini-iPads for K-1st grade
· Athletic director and six-man football program
These and other new things give credence to the need to keep our trust and focus on the God who sees the impossible as possible. This summer, we will be installing a long-awaited phone system. Our staff is very excited about that upgrade. The rest of our buildings will receive upgraded cabling to increase our technological capabilities. The middle school walls will be repainted this summer to give them a fresh new look.
As you take a well-earned break from the bustle of school life, please remember to keep close to the Lord. I am an iPhone user, and there is a nifty feature to use when I take an abundance of pictures. It’s called Air Drop. When I want to send 30+ pictures to Tabatha Johnson, I need to have her near to my phone so it can locate her phone. When we are in what I call the “Drop Zone,” we can connect and exchange photos. That is what God wants from all of us – to stay close enough to be in His “Drop Zone” and connect with Him. If we wander or forget where we are, it makes it hard to connect to His “Drop Zone” and receive truth, wisdom, and counsel from God.
So, as we enter the break between now and our Back To School Night on Monday night, August 14th (6:30 pm), commit to stay in the “Drop Zone” with your family and with the Lord. Stay close and stay connected to the Source of all our power! I am blessed beyond words from all the love, notes, and encouragement you have shown to me and our wonderful staff. Have a faith and fun-filled summer, and we’ll be here with a whole new school verse, new plans, and a bucket filled with surprises! My only question is: Are you “All In?” More on that later!
I know your children do not want to see this, but school resumes on Wednesday, August 16th, and it will be a half-day. Know that I miss them already. I hope I received and gave enough hugs and handshakes to your children to last through the summer months! They are gifts I treasure deeply.
The school’s summer hours will begin June 5, and the offices will be open from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. The entire campus will be closed the week of July 3-7.
Honored to serve as your superintendent,
Randy L. Down