Making the Final Turn into the Final Leg of '17-18
Dear Partners of the Golden Triangle:
"Run to the name of the Lord...Run with horses" - our figure of speech for advancing the mission this year. Can you sense it among the students? Can you see it on campus? Can you hear it among the citizens of Warriorville? It's quite palpable.
The board of trust is as visionary as ever. School leadership is as engaged to the max. Academics, arts and athletics are rising to new heights of achievement. Still, "a warrior is not delivered by his great strength." (Psalm 33:18) A Little Rock Christian warrior is delivered by the grace and mercy of the Lord. He is the giver and the gift. He is the source and reason for it all. How can we ever forget his benefits and cease to thank Him?
Making the turn into the final leg of '17-18, I'm eager to update you on three highlights:
1. Our push to honor the Lord through academic rigor.
2. The progress of our campus development.
3. Our attentiveness to safety and our on-going supervision to mitigate risk.
Since we are, first and foremost, a Christian school, start with academic rigor.
As John Ruskin proclaimed so well: "When love and skill mingle, expect a masterpiece." Love comes first. Our curriculum revolves around the love and skill of our teachers. Know this: our principals are hyper-attentive on a daily basis to this vital combination of love and skill.
As a Christian school, academic rigor - anchored in the truth of Jesus - is job number one. Let me illustrate:
- It's no surprise that our high school AAA quiz bowl team reached the state finals and will compete for the state championship later this week. Hats off to our JH quiz bowl team for reaching the state championship round as well.
- Our sixth grade team competed for the first time in the Destination Imagination Arkansas state championship. One of our sixth grade STEM teams won first place and the state championship. Glory! From ground zero to state champs in five months! They now advance to nationals.
- The LRCA Harkness table has deepened the level of understanding in our upper school biblical worldview and humanities. We elaborate on Harkness here.
- Senior Nicholas Powell is one of eight students in Little Rock to receive the very competitive Stephens Award from The City Trust. Nicholas was also selected for the Arkansas Times All-State Academic Team. Both groups were impressed by his work in engineering, one of our specialties. You may know Nicolas as Captain Von Trapp from our recent production of The Sound of Music.
- Our AP Chemistry students participated in the Arkansas Chemistry Olympiads. 135 of the most qualified students in the state competed for the first ten places to qualify for the National Chemistry Olympiads. Two of our students placed in the top ten and advance to Nationals. Put another way, 20% of Arkansas chemistry qualifiers are Warriors.
- To date, two seniors have received the very competitive Governor's Distinguished Scholarship to University of Arkansas.
- Our Academic & College Guidance footprint and team is doubling to serve more students in their quest for the college of their choice.
- Twenty-three of our Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students were state finalists last week and seventeen of our (FBLA) finalists advance to nationals.
- We look forward to announcing new additions to our faculty that bring the love and excellence you expect from Little Rock Christian Academy.
- Find more on building a Christian school culture that advances academic rigor here.
2018 will go in the LRCA history book as a big year for campus development. "Big" is an understatement. Monumental is more accurate.
Indoor Athletic Training Facility
Our 56,000 sf Indoor Multi-Sport Training Center will be complete by mid-July. Let's anticipate a prayer and dedication assembly during the dog days of August.
Plans are in motion for the construction of a 60,000 sf arena on the lot between the high school and Warrior Hall. Generous gifts are powering the plans.
Regarding construction projects at Little Rock Christian, two stewardship guardrails keep us on the path and not in the ditch.
- Guardrail #1 is no debt. We are committed to NOT add interest costs to the price of a Warrior education.
- Guardrail #2 - we do not use tuition to fund the construction of a major building. Knowing that construction is funded by gifts, let me take that one step further. We will not break ground on a construction project until we have 99.9% of the construction contract costs in hand.
God be praised, the indoor practice facility is fully funded. Lead gifts for the proposed arena are transforming a vision into a set of construction documents. Soon, we will be ready to share more about how you can be a part of the #WarriorsRising experience.
One more thing: last August, Little Rock Christian was blessed with the gift of eighteen acres to the north of Warrior Hall, the junior high, middle school and our future arena. We are currently excavating a large portion of the land in preparation for whatever the Lord deems best. My prayer is for a new education building well-suited for the 21st century. We wait upon Him to direct our path.
Ask me to explain the zenith of 2018 and I will point you to Jesus Christ. I know for a fact that the impetus and fuel for the Warrior Indoor and Arena are gifts from above. There is no one like our God.
Safety and Security
Over five years ago, we deployed an armed, roaming, daily police presence on campus. We believe we have the best officers available. To document that statement, I include the list of our trained protectors. Such skill and experience comes at a price and is one of those invisible costs in the LRCA price tag.
A zealous safety/security team meets regularly to review and update our safety/security protocols. The police attend the meeting. In developing our protocols, we consulted the LRPD, the FBI and Homeland Security. Though it weighs on our heart to say, I am confident our staff is proficient to respond to an active shooter situation.
Elementary and middle school doors are locked during the school day. junior high, high school doors and Warrior Hall are monitored by staff. Approximately 150 cameras are recording 24/7. More than one camera uses high magnification. License plates of vehicles entering and exiting campus are also recorded.
Since Parkland, the expression "thoughts and prayers" has less punch than before but the truth remains – "The name of the Lord is a strong tower … [we can] run to Him and be safe." (Proverbs 18:10)
Our Trained Campus Protection Pool
- Detective Ken Blankenship is a 33-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to Intelligence/Tech. Detective Blankenship is a former Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Officer and also received specialized training from ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) while assigned as a Task Force Officer. Detective Blankenship is an Instructor and has taught Tech/Surveillance classes at the Criminal Justice Institute, Little Rock Police Academy, and for other Departments. Detective Blankenship also served as Patrol Officer, Canine Officer, Motorcycle Officer, and Narcotics Detective. Detective Blankenship was a prior Little Rock Fire Fighter for three years.
- Captain Mike Davis is a 30-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned as Captain over Special Operations. Captain Davis commands SWAT, Motorcycles Unit, SRU (Special Response Unit), SRO (School Resource Officers), Hit and Run, and Special Events. Captain Davis is an Instructor for Active Aggressor and Firearms Training. He, too, is a former SWAT Officer.
- Captain Heath Helton is a 22-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned as Captain over the Northwest Patrol Division. Captain Helton was over training and was also a former SWAT Officer. He served eight years in the military before joining LRPD.
- Officer Jeff Holt is a 22-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to SWAT. Officer Holt is also a full time Instructor at the Little Rock Police Academy. Officer Holt specializes in Active Aggressor Training, Firearms Training, and Defensive Tactics.
- Detective Russ Littleton is a 21-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to the Narcotics Interdiction Unit. Detective Littleton served as an ATF Task Force Officer and received specialized training from ATF.
- Detective Sergeant Mike Durham is a 34-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned as Sergeant over Crime Scene Investigation. Sergeant Durham is a former Homicide Detective. Sergeant Durham is an Instructor at the Little Rock Police Academy.
- Chief Deputy Mike Lowery is an 11-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department and is Chief Deputy directly under the Sheriff. Chief Deputy Lowery is a retired Captain of the Little Rock Police Department. Chief Deputy Lowery served as Captain over Training Division, Patrol Division, and Special Operations while at the Little Rock Police Department.
- Detective Charles Ray is a 34-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to Homicide. Detective Ray is an Instructor at the Little Rock Police Academy. Detective Ray served as Patrol Officer and Robbery Detective.
- Officer Bryan Black is an 11-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to SWAT.
- Officer James Anderson is a 12-year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department currently assigned to SWAT.
Frequently Asked Questions
Last month, during a high school assembly, I fielded three dozen questions from our astute high school students. The questions, submitted to me before the assembly, ranged from "When will the gravel lot be paved?" to "Why is BWV so hard?" "What is your greatest struggle as a Christian leader?" to "What happened to Mandarin?" "Sometimes I feel alone in my spiritual walk. What do I do about that?" to "Can we have more time for lunch?" We love questions because in thinking about the questions, we find better answers.
P.S. COMING SOON! Our annual Mission Effectiveness Survey (MES) will be available for your feedback. The MES provides ample opportunity to share with us how we are doing in our pursuit to serve you well as partners in the education of your children to the glory of God.