Dear Warrior Family:
Every year my heart and mind are stretched by God for His purposes. In turn, I am compelled to stretch the hearts and minds of Warriorville – all of us - students, faculty/staff and parents.
Last spring, the Lord prompted me to focus on Proverbs 18:10: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." In other words, it's always a good move to run to Jesus. At the same time, I was captured the imagery of Jeremiah 12:5 where the prophet pushes us to "run with horses." My goal for us this year is to learn to "run with horses" – with confidence, enthusiasm, endurance; to run with horses and "not grow weary." (Is 40:31).
On July 21, we purchased 18+ acres along our northern campus border – behind Warrior Hall, the junior high and
middle school. This acquisition was made possible through a generous gift and expands our campus to 70 acres. We are seeking the Lord's guidance on how to develop the land in ways to advance our distinctive mission.
In August, the Little Rock Christian board of trust will conclude a seven-month intensive self-study of our school mission and vision. This is a big deal. When fifteen trustees of the mission do a deep dive into our purpose and direction with their ears on, wise decisions are made.
As part of the deep dive, I shared our analysis of the 2017 LRCA Mission Effectiveness Survey with school leadership and the board. Over 350 families gave us feedback and insights. Your valuable input was distilled into a 45 page executive summary that we are using to guide our strategic map and action plans.
Burning the midnight oil, we transformed our lower school cafeteria and faculty workroom into four new classrooms and a science lab! You ask, "How did you do that?!" We decided six hours in a classroom is more important than 45 minutes in a cafeteria. Therefore, lower school lunch will now be hosted in the adjacent ATC.
Thanks to the laser focus and fervent work ethic of our Parent-Teacher Fellowship (PTF), the elementary school, middle school and junior high have fresh playground enhancements.
In early December, we will begin construction on an indoor practice facility for football, baseball/softball, wrestling, cheer/dance and sprints. The facility is funded through the generosity of an anonymous foundation that passionately believes in the BIG words of our mission: serve, education, excellence, and Christ-centered truth.
Lest we trip over ourselves in the midst of all this action, we humbly acknowledge that "neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything but only God makes it grow." (I Cor. 3:7)
Population 3,302* (*1,440 students + 1862 parents)
We grieve in the tragic loss of two beautiful Warrior women and two Warrior dads this summer. Confounded, we run to Jesus. Let's wrap our arms around the Charles family, the
Critz family, the Zieske family and the Fiser family, lifting them up in prayer. Though Natalie Charles ('01 ), Catie Ann Critz Durham ('09), John Zieske and Dr. Tad Fiser are experiencing the eternal bliss of God, we ache with their families and miss them dearly. We take heart that "death has been swallowed up in victory." (I Cor. 15:54)
Others among us are suffering from a chronic illness, family distress or personal disappointments. Let's continue to love one another and pray for tender mercies.
Three of our new professional educators have earned doctorates! Our upper school principal, Dr. Justin A. Smith's educational pedigree is robust. Find it here. My letter of introduction to our head football coach, Dr. Eric Cohu can be referenced here. Dr. Margo Turner returns to Little Rock Christian after a season of pursuing missions and serving as a professor of education at John Brown University. This year she will be investing in the lives of our junior high students. These scholars join a faculty and staff that are called by God to love and challenge your children. As the Scriptures say, "Be responsive to your leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. (Heb. 13:7, MSG)
Dr. Smith brings a palette of educational leadership to LRCA, including rich experience in the Harkness method
of instruction. In fact, Harkness methodology was the core of his doctoral research and he skillfully deployed the method at Second Baptist, Houston – a peer Christian school of high repute. I mention this because several of our high school faculty members are being trained to bring this collegiate, dialogue-intensive method into biblical worldview (BWV) and the humanities in our high school. Imagine the truth and spirit of Jesus permeating these discussions. This link tells the story of Harkness at Phillips Exeter. (By the way, Russell Witherspoon referred to in the article is a Christian.)
Professional development in Singapore math continues for our math, grades K-7. This summer, several teachers journeyed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to hone their math instruction skills.
Our emphasis on engineering in our STEM program continues. Principles of Engineering is now offered for students in grades 10-12. And, Project Lead the Way's Gateway program is now available for grades 7-8. Several LRCA staff (seven, to be exact) attended the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference to make sure we remain abreast of the most current developments in tech. As an example of our responsiveness to market needs, we are adding Introduction to Coding to our upper school educational program. Mrs. Laura Paczewitz joins our faculty from Hewlett-Packard to lead this initiative. In addition, Mrs. Paczewitz will be teaching AP Computer Science.
Students return to school on Wednesday, August 16 for a half-day. In the mix will be 75 new families. Join me in welcoming them to the Warrior way. And, to that end, here's a good word from Ephesians - "I want you to get out there and walk – better yet, run! – on the road God called you to travel ... And do this with humility and discipline, steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, quick to mend fences." (Eph 4:1-3, The Message paraphrase)
Every year, we work hard to layer up to new levels of expectations and achievement. Every year, the Little Rocklandscape changes, your children grow older and people move in
or, sadly, move out. Through it all, Jesus remains the same. And, that, ladies and gentlemen is why we're here.
Running with the horses,
Gary B. Arnold, Ed.D.
Little Rock Christian Academy - Head of School
"It's a great day to be a Warrior!"
P.S. We are hosting a special evening for parents on the high risks of social media on our children. August 31, 7:00pm, Warrior Hall. Katie Greer www.klgreer.com is our presenter and she will be addressing the students during the school day.