a blog to keep you thinking about what I'm thinking, and by God's grace, to help connect the DCS community. Please feel free to respond! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Principal’s Ponderings

We live in a culture full of compromise. What defines many of us is the extent to which, and the areas in which we allow or tolerate compromise. It started in Eden when the serpent tempted Eve to question God’s authority and when Adam failed to exercise his position of headship; and it continues today when we question the authority of scripture (did He really mean “and there was evening and morning, a day”), and when we fail to exercise our responsibility of covenant to “teach these things as you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (wouldn’t that be all the time?) I do not believe that it is merely coincidental that the great creed of the Old Testament, the fulfillment of the law-according to Jesus-the shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5  is placed just before the command to impress these things upon our children-all the time!

Yet we compromise out of a lack of understanding and faith; we think we know a better way, and in our short-sighted wisdom we forfeit blessings that the Lord is literally “dying” to give. It’s like Abraham who thought he knew better than God and took Hagar to be the mother of his child. What a mess that turned out to be! (Read Paul’s commentary on that in Galatians 4:21-31 and see how the Bible truly is “living” and current).

Who can even begin to fathom the richness of God’s blessings to those who refuse to compromise?

The school board at DCS is fully engaged in the process of directing the development of sustaining Christian education in Dearborn. It is a task full of prioritization (also known as discerning compromise). Pray that board members are given wisdom to make decisions that follow God’s will and do not compromise the biblical standards that govern us as a covenant community.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Principal’s Ponderings-Uniquely Gifted

At Dearborn Christian School our students learn that they are uniquely gifted by God to serve him: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” (1Peter 4:10). Students learn to listen for God’s direction in the use of these gifts.

Here the groundwork is laid for what God will use later in their lives to extend His kingdom by

    healing a hurt in a person’s mind or body

    making a beautiful building

    finding a source of water for a poor village

    developing technology for people to commu­nicate across barriers

    managing resources for the good of others (from CSI brochure)

These represent only a few of the ways in which we know Christian education has been part of the foundation of Workmanship through which students have learned they are uniquely gifted. As the world changes before our very eyes one can only begin to wonder at what the Lord is preparing for His people to do…For we are God’s Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good work He has prepared in advance for us to do! Eph. 2:10

Monday, February 28, 2012

Wow! It's been way too long since I last blogged on here, sorry for any of you who may be tuning in!

At the risk of being blunt, but brief, I’ll just get right to the point;

Christian education at is at a critical cross-road. The “value” of Christian education is being questioned by an emerging culture of parents demanding quality, and understanding the necessity of change that leads toward excellence! While the prospect of change is quite intimidating to many of us, I believe it is an exciting time to be part of the dynamic environment of Christian education that must play a prominent role as we merge into an innovation-driven, knowledge society. Therefore, it is essential that we align our precious faith with Christ-centered renewal that is active and relevant in the lives of our children, families and community as we transform, and with the blessing of God, lead through the globalization of culture process in which we find ourselves.

Certainly, these uncertain times present very real challenges; challenges that demand solutions! It is a joy to be working with others who also understand that, though what the future holds for us is uncertain, we know--with certainty--Who holds the future firmly in His Hands!

Pray with me that we will be given eyes to see, ears to hear, the words to say and the strength, courage and commitment to be God’s Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do! (Ephesians 2:10)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Bible is clear that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and that iron sharpens iron, both transforming and sharpening are verbs-actions requiring us to do something. It is my intention to initiate that doing in which we can all be a blessing and be blessed as we create and strengthen our community through the simple act of conversation.

So let the conversations begin!

How about if we start with something easy…say, like… tuition ;) 

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Elliot
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23

The first “point” of the 4-point plan to sustain DCS involves tuition restructuring. We’ve been engaged in the process of looking at what it means to be a Christian community that excludes some on the basis of material blessings. Understanding that absolutely everything belongs to God reveals that, as stewards of the gift of Christian education, we have need to rethink the secular protocol and patterns in which we’ve fallen. It is our desire to eliminate the “cost” factor that hinders so many of our children in “coming to Jesus.” Scripture reports that Jesus was indignant at this! (Mark 10)

Yet we know that Christian education is not without cost. What do we do about this dilemma?


Monday, February 6, 2012

We were reminded at staff devotions this morning that our prayers reflect our simplistic vision of what God can do...(Spurgeon-Perhaps you feel that you have in times of holy boldness and sacred access asked large things of God...and yet your asking has been too short a line to reach the bottom of divine ability...But isn't it great that God is not limited by our sense of need!)

God's Word reminds us that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask OR IMAGINE, according to His power that is at work in us. Eph. 3:20

God never means less than what He says, but He always means far more than what we think He says...His power to bless is not bounded by our ability to understand the blessing!

Let's be thrilled at the possibilities that are far above even our ability to imagine what DCS could be... 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

OneAnothering continued...It is so humbling to work among the assembly of the elect. I was reminded again today that I am in good [?] company...Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead…

…God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!

It’s good to know that we don’t have to be perfect to be God’s Workmanship, just to know that we are worked by a perfect God into vessels fit for noble tasks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012OneAnothering! So how are we doing? While my part time perspective is certainly limited, I’ve been blessed to see the Lord working in and through many of you; and certainly we’ve not been perfect, but I would like to take this space to honor those who have made a point to be loving; to be honest and open with their concerns; to lend a hand without expecting anything in return; to give-even during these tough economic times. I would like to thank the board members who faithfully serve, making critical decisions about the future of DCS, the parents and grandparents who give of their time and talents to make DCS “whole” and a place where we can truly say that we are Building Community in Christ!

Thanks go out to our staff, who anchors the community with Christ-likeness in their teaching, in their gracious giving and humble service. And thanks as well to the students, many of whom are budding examples of what it means to be a loving, giving member of a community of Christ!

Please continue to pray that the Lord bless us as we build, grow and extend the blessing of “community” in Christ. We’re approaching the time when parents are beginning to make decisions about school for next year. Many of you know that we need to recruit to gain the critical mass necessary to sustain DCS into the future—promoting and demonstrating “that” community is a huge part of what makes DCS the place parents want to send their children. It is in this way that YOU can become a big part of the success of our school.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I thought about creating a new page for the new year, but it was just a bit too intimidating, plus I've much work to accomplish so time matters...and this still works.

Thanks to all of you who expressed your interest and promised prayers regarding my family, the health of my mother-in-law. Our prayers were answered and she has shown some signs of improvement. It was such a blessing to be able to be with her for the holiday season. 

The Finance Committe of the DCS Board of Directors met last night for a strategy session--with the facts of finances before us. Many of you know that we are able to operate this year only because we can draw from Foundation principal-we are, in essence, drawing from our savings to pay our bills. 

But we are not people without hope! We are people of the promise and it is our duty to respond with hope and vigor to what the Lord has called us to do. I've been amazed and comforted of late with the words found in Scripture regarding the absolute power of God...extended to us! Ephesians 1: 19-21 proclaims:and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And when we consider this in light of the words of the catechism in Lords Day 10/Question/Answer 27...

Question 27. What do you mean by the providence of God?

Answer: The almighty and everywhere present power of God; (a) whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs (b) heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, (c) fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, (d) riches and poverty, (e) yea, and all things come, not by chance, but be his fatherly hand. (f)

...we know that our God reigns; He is in complete control and we are to be confident that His will WILL be done. I think it important, then, that we align ourselves with His will. Pray for the leadership of DCS, that we will be given wisdom to do this.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I know that it's Christmas break,  but we're all still thinking and working on making the best of what we have to offer to be a blessing to those in the Dearborn community! So just a quick few lines about "what's up." My family and I were blessed by a gracious gift to be able to fly to California (where I'm at right now, sitting in the Ripon, CA library while it's about 60* and sunny outside:) My mother-in-law's health is declining quite rapidly, so the family is gathering for the holiday season in tribute to her...and she has perked up a bit, able-for the first time in several weeks-to attend Christmas church service. We praise the Lord for this opportunity for a last visit!

But we're planning on blessing our MS students with a visit to the Detroit Institute of Art to bear witness to the Rembrandt exhibit regarding Jesus. A huge thanks to the moms who have planned and will be driving to make this happen! The whole idea reminded me of what we are called to do as we educate our children from an authentically Christian perspective:

It is our joy is to lead, guide and direct our students, our colleagues and ourselves to reveal the kingdom of God which is in each and every one of His elect (Luke 17:21).Yet it is not only to reveal it, but to live it; to take our regenerated and sanctifying lives into God’s creation—marred and scarred by disobedience—in restorative reconciliation as we labor together to fulfill the mandate of Christ to subdue His creation. God has placed us in the midst of His creation: an exquisite gallery that presents the imaginative genius of our God each and every day! It is our joy; our duty, to take those who are content to stare at the carpet of unbelief and lift their eyes and open their ears, their hearts and minds to become better praise-makers of God!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

At the very heart of this good news of the Gospel (see yesterday’s paragraph) are two truths: [1] Jesus is our salvation, and [2] He is the example for how we are to live. And if God has a plan, then we ought to follow in His footsteps…

It's been several months now since I've taken the leadership position at DCS, and I've been intentionally learning, listening, asking, thinking and praying about what to do. It is our goal that we honor Christ by being a blessing to the community of believers at Dearborn, so the mission has become--how to make that happen to the best of our ability. The Board and I have been formulating a four-point plan to provide direction in making that happen—it’s a bold plan that necessitates having community support, changing to fit the times and staying true to our calling to reflect Christ in all that we do.

Here’s an outline from which we are working:

[1] Tuition Restructuring-to make Christian education affordable to all who desire for their children…for this is what I believe Jesus would has us do---do not hinder the children from coming to me (Mark 10).

[2] Program Improvement-to meet the changing needs of our society-students must not only have the necessary “intellectual capital” of basic reading, writing, and math, but 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication (the 4C’s). Bringing technology to a prominent place within the classroom is another critical component, along with increasing the ability of our teaching staff through professional development and as a professional learning community to deliver content and instruction within an engaged structure of education is where I’ve been placing the largest part of my time and effort to facilitate necessary change.

[3] Additional Revenue Streams-finding ways to provide a base of financial support through our resources to strengthen our economic base is a different way of “doing” the business of school; yet the collaboration of partnering is a proven, growing model of how the financial aspect of private education is making things work.

[4] Intentional & Deliberate Recruiting-Hoping that families will come to DCS is easy, yet not effective. We must develop a recruiting plan that is based on real, measureable objectives-with timelines and action points of which real people are responsible. It needs to be executed, evaluated, and reworked until the established goals (students in classrooms) are achieved.

(Hope doesn’t work—real Calvinists work knight and day to make it happen…sorry, just an inside bit of humor for the college basketball season.) 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We had the opportunity to sing and celebrate this morning as a community...a great big thanks to Mrs. Duck and Nathan Brink who came to bless us with the gift of music as we sang! Christmas songs are a great way to bring cheer, reflect on God's wonderful gift of salvation to us, and to worship King Jesus! It is such a comfort to know, with certainty-because that is what faith is-a sure knowledge of what we hope for and a certainty of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1)-that our God reigns! He is in complete control, and especially now, with what seems to be the entire world in economic, political, financial and cultural turmoil it is good to know that our God is sovereign! I think that means that He has a plan--a perfect plan, and one that will not be altered, hindered or changed! Praise the Lord! I believe that's one thing where, as Christians and as educators, we need to place our focus--on becoming better praisemakers of our God---on being absolutely stunned at His awesome creative abilities, His unconditional love, His patience, kindness and goodness to us, AND His justice as well! But above all, to be giddy with gratitude for His grace demonstrated to us...most evident as we celebrate that "in the fullness of time (He even has perfect timing!) God sent His Son...to make His dwelling among us!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Let's celebrate! Not only do we have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the goodness of our God who loved us so much that He was willing to "empty" Himself and make His dwelling among us...in the flesh! But also continues to provide and support us by His faithful hand! We received news today from the Ponting Foundation regarding a grant request that we proposed this Fall. It was a request for funds to help in updating our instructional delivery methods and capabilities that will allow us to provide the critical individualized instruction and differentiated methods necessary to keep pace with a constantly changing, and increasingly technical, world...in short, we're looking to purchase mobile projection units to use in the classrooms (video/web/software applications), and Tablet units (Toshiba Thrive) as mobile computing devices for the students to use in learning and assessing their skills (promotes project and individualized instruction). Praise the Lord with me as we rejoice in the generousity of those desiring to be a blessing.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
What a busy day! But at least it was busy and tasty. Thanks to all who contributed to both the baking and buying for our 5/6th Bake Sale. A couple of firsts for the first time today:
1-I got friended on facebook by DCS, so I'll be trying to change my habits and get online to be "friends" with the other 81 members there. I've always resisted Facebook because it goes against what my mother taught me--that I'm NOT the center of the world...and in facebook you ARE the center of your own little creation! But I also know that I need to keep communicating the good things that are happening at DCS, and with facebook, I've got a captive audience! (Now I"ll just need a facebook tutorial to get going-and I've a couple of experts at home who can help with that!)
2: I sent the request to JupiterGrades to network us so that we can gain online access to a number of great things available through their website. Soon, we'll be "cloud computing" our grades, lesson plans, even tests, quizzes and daily work can be placed online and available for students, parents and teachers. It's another way that we can boost productivity, communicate better (faster and with greater efficiency) and provide immediate feedback to our students and parents. Look for more on how to access, and what to look for as this goes online soon.
Don't forget to support DCF Lifeguards by coming to the Mexican Fiesta tonight 5:30-7:00pm!
Monday, December 5, 2011
We had an informative gathering last Thursday with Greg from CLC. He spoke to parents about childhood anxiety. I thought it would be good to summarize what he encouraged us to do in order to reduce the stress that causes anxiety. Noting that a "healthy" amount of stress-or more precisely described as "challenging expectations" that push us on to do our best are a part of any good learning environment, Greg noted that when the stress levels become too great, anxiety, and subsequent "mental-shutdown" occurs.
We can do a number to common things to help relieve some of the stress in our childrens' lives: 1-understand that we all need "sensory" down-time...time to shut down the electronics and "chill." 2-proper sleep does wonders to reduce stress; suprisingly, teen-agers need more sleep than those in the middle elementary years--up to 10 hours per day! 3-proper nutrition is a huge stress reducer, and 4-consistent exercise is a must! Aerobic exercise produces brain-stimulation "hormones" that are necessary for the brain to work well, learn and operate efficiently. (Aerobic = a consistent heart rate at 70% of maximun-220 minus age-for 20-30 minutes).
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wow! It' been a while since I last blogged on (and on) here. It is my hope that all of you had a wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving. I was pondering the ways in which we are to express our thankfulness to an awesome Provider, our God; and I am amazed at how little I reflect on His goodness to me...and it made me think of how we need to "educate" ourselves to become rigorous praisemakers of our Lord and Savior! It's a part of knowing what we believe!
As I think about what that means for us at DCS, I've challenged our staff to believe that all students have innate capacity and that academic ability can be grown--this is a foremost tenet of professional learning communities! Obviously, as image-bearers of an awesome Creator, we all are born with innate skills and abilities, but it is effective effort (rigor), not such innate ability, that is the main determinant of achievement. To demonstrate rigorous effort, however, students must understand the attributes of time, focus, resourcefulness, strategies, use of feedback, and commitment (Saphier, 2005). These factors are extremely important to student success, and we must directly teach our students how to manage time, how to focus themselves, how and where to go when they are stuck, how to use feedback, and how to reap the rewards associated with hard work and perseverance. These topics must be interwoven into every curriculum standard we expect our students to master. If we consistently send these messages to students regarding our belief in effort-based ability, our students—even those most at risk—will begin to believe in themselves and become motivated to be thriving members of our school culture based on aspiration and responsibility. Why? Because someone cares about them…someone wants them to succeed…they know what to work on in order to do well…they know what good work looks like and where their current performance is in relation to it…they know how to exert effort…they believe it would be worthwhile to do well…and they believe they are able to do well.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Greetings all! Even though I'm not at DCS today, that doesn't mean that I am not thinking about you! (And even if I'm not blogging here, that doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about you)...it's just that sometimes I am not able to get online and do my "thinking out-loud" and in cyberspace...It has occurred to me that this “part-time” principal arrangement, while having it’s inconveniences and an obvious downside of not being here, also has it’s upside—one of those being a healthy sense of perspective. At times, we can get so immersed in our routines, that we become somewhat myopic and fail to see a larger reality. So last Friday, when I was tooling through the backroads of northern Illinois (the front end of my International tractor actually went into Wisconsin as I was pulling out of a farm with close to 20 tons of hay on a flatbed trailer), I had the opportunity to think through some of the things that we’re doing as we strive to sustain Christian Education in Dearborn.

That’s when I received a call from my daughter, Jessica, who wanted to talk about a television show that she saw on a cable channel- TLC-American Muslim (I don’t have cable). She informed me of the show and wanted to know how I felt about the working in Dearborn. It made me think of the undeniable Truth of a sovereign God who knows and controls absolutely. The nation of Israel was placed “on the crossroads” of society…where east meets west, and this was no coincidence; for God, at the right time, and at the perfect place came into this world in human form—for a purpose. Can it be that DCS and DCF have been placed amidst the undertow of secular apathy on one side and the tsunami of rigid fundamentalism on the other to be an island of grace for those seeking God?

Let me know what you think!

I’ll be busy this week in preparing for our staff inservice on Wednesday, and figuring out how to intentionally express my joyful thanksgiving—how are you going to respond to God’s goodness?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Dearborn Christian School’s purpose is to provide academic excellence in a Christ-centered educational environment where God’s Word permeates all areas of learning...
We believe that communication between parent and teacher is vital to ensure the quality education that is desired.
We desire, as I am sure that you do, to witness the progress that is a result of a solid, Christ-centered education. These goals include the academic, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual growth of your child. At our conferences we hope to be able to take joy with you in the progress that we have seen in
these areas, and to express our concern about the lack of progress in some areas--that we might work together for change and improvement.
I've listed (below) some common suggestions that principals and teachers offer to help parents get the most out of parent-teacher conferences. Please take a few moments to read and plan for your conferences.
A successful parent/teacher conference can build a better understanding which will help to accomplish the goals that we have established  for your child. We look forward to seeing you this week. May our time together be one of joy, sharing, and concern for our covenant youth.
Decide what you want to discuss in advance. Ask your child about discussion topics.  Write down questions to ask the teacher. For example, parents often want to find out about:
     special school programs and services
     discipline problems
     grading policies
     after-school activities
     daily schedule
     attendance/absence procedures
     homework policy
     your child’s progress (academic, physical, emotional, social, spiritual)
     your child’s relationships
Also list such items you want to share about your child as:
     special health needs or problems
     outside interests and hobbies
     feelings/fears about school
     likes and dislikes
     sibling relationships
Take notes during the conference
Ask the teacher how you can help your child, the teacher, the school
Follow up by discussing the conference with your child (as soon as possible)
Start immediately on any action steps you agreed to take
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Another interesting day at DCS! We've been struggling with the internest router/wireless broadcast connectivity thing over the last couple of days, so it's been a bit difficult to "stay connected."  But our hero (Mick Devins) was on site and working some router wonders--and I think we're good, but just to make sure that we're covered, I'll be wearing my geek shirt again tomorrow to check for signal strength on the new equipment!
We are preparing an infrastructure that will support wireless tablet technology and learning at DCS. I'm spending my time this evening on setting up all of the students and classes for XtraMath so they can go online and practice math facts-never a dull minute at DCS!
I'm sending this again as an email attachment so that you recieve it (I know, it's a bit obnoxious to bug you like this, but it works for now). We will be adding all of the teachers' blog links to the DCS website soon. (Then you'll have to go online to check it, but I'm encouraged that the staff and I can keep you informed with small daily updates).
If you want access before that happens bookmark this site to your browser for easy access!
We're looking forward to tomorrow's Random Acts of Raking-make sure the students are dressed and prepared (and tooled up) to be a blessing to the community!
And don't forget about the Activity Night shindig tomorrow, either!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Here's a great opportunity for parents to experience the value of DCS's partnership with the Christian Learning Center (CLC).
Anxiety seems to be on the increase among school-aged children. It presents itself in different ways, but always affects learning. At our informal discussion we will talk about its causes, its consequences, and what we can do it about it.
Greg Yoder will be presenting a discussion on Childhood Anxiety at DCS on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 11am. Please call Lisa to let her know that you (invite your friends and neighbors, too) will be coming so that we can make the appropriate hospitality arrangements (yes, there will be snacks--no worries, there, anyway;)
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Greetings! May the grace of our Lord be evident to you...and may it be that it is expressed by each of us in that we are a blessing to those He has put in our way in this day!
Some of you may know that I've been "under the weather" for the last couple of days, in fact I was scheduled to be at DCS this Monday and Tuesday, but with the flexibility that a p/t administrator has, I was able to reschedule. The Lord willing, (and it's looking good...as I'm feeling better this morning) I'll be in Dearborn from Wed-Friday this week.
Wow! The 2011-2012 school year is almost one-quarter complete. I, too, am amazed at the passage of time-how quick it goes (like the song says--don't blink http://www.metacafe.com/watch/sy-1200156533/kenny_chesney_dont_blink_official_music_video/ ) I was blessed this past Saturday to attend a 65th wedding anniversary from a couple at our church and reflect on how good God is to those who put their trust in Him.
With that in mind it only makes sense to make the most of the time He has given. One of the "upsides" of being a part-time principal is that it naturally provides a healthy sense of urgency to what needs to be accomplished! I've been pleased about the response of the staff to understanding and working as a team toward becoming a Professional Learning Community!
I'll try to keep these blogblurbs brief, so keep checking--and feel free to respond!
Check out this excellent website that encourages your child to think and wonder...it's a great idea starter to wonder with them: http://wonderopolis.org/about/