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Maximizing Your Maranatha Conference Experience

Maximizing Your Maranatha Conference Experience

In preparation for conferences, beginning October 5, it is important to talk to your child about their experiences in and out of the classroom. This discussion will allow you to have an open-minded dialog with the teacher about how your child is feeling.  It is also vital to understand that your student may perceive things differently than others.

One of the core values of Maranatha is to partner with parents and conferences gives us this opportunity. A positive attitude can set the stage for a productive meeting with your child’s teacher. When both parties focus on how your student can be supported and overcome challenges, the conference will produce great results. While it is important to discuss academic progress and potential, teachers also want to be apprised of any changes your child is facing in their personal or family life, and how he or she behaves at home in comparison to how he or she acts at school. By having conferences early in the year, it allows us to build upon our partnership and create clear next steps toward a successful year for your child. When you are finished, be clear about the teacher’s communication protocol, so future interactions will be efficient and productive as well.

Conferences are laid out differently in upper school and lower school. Lower school conferences are by appointment in the teacher’s classroom and last around 20 minutes. Upper school conferences are in an open format in the gym to allow you to meet with all of his or her teachers. Each meeting should last around five minutes so as to give every parent the chance to meet all of your child’s teachers. If you feel the need to discuss things further, it is perfectly fine (and encouraged) to set an appointment with that teacher after conferences. We encourage upper school students to attend the conferences. It is recommend that only parents attend the lower school conferences and talk with your lower school student afterward. We are so excited to meet with you during conferences and build the partnership to ensure your students’ success.

Summer Reading Update

Summer Reading Update

Did you know that students who log their summer reading minutes are eligible for prizes? Continue reading to see what your student can do to participate.

Lower School Students:

Students that read and log on their Scholastic account the following minutes will be entered into a drawing for a gift card.

  • Grades 1-2 = 1,000 minutes
  • Grades 3-5 = 2,000 minutes
  • Each additional 500 minutes will earn another entry into the drawing.

The grade that records the most summer reading minutes (1-5) will earn an extra recess on Monday, October 23.

Questions about the Lower School Summer Reading can be directed to Mrs. Stacy Huether at stacy.huether@mcamustangs.org

Upper School Students:

Students that read and log a minimum of 1,500 minutes will have their name entered into a drawing for a gift card. Each additional 1,000 minutes read will earn another entry in the drawing. Two students, one from Middle and one from High School, will earn a $100 Amazon gift card and additional names will be drawn for $20 gift cards.

Middle School students should enter their reading minutes on their Scholastic account they received in the spring. High School students should fill out a reading log and submit it to Mr. Oehler in the Upper School Learning Commons no later than Friday, September 8. Click here for grades 9-12 reading log. Questions about the Upper School Summer Reading can be directed to Mr. Jerry Oehler at jerry.oehler@mcamustangs.org

Reminder! Make sure to check in with your student and his/her summer reading. Click here for details on your child’s assignment.

Pros and Cons: Homeschool vs Private K-12 Education

Pros and Cons: Homeschool vs Private K-12 Education

Pros and Cons: Homeschool vs Private K-12 Education

How to give your child a solid, Christian education is a choice that many parents face. Most of that choice falls between homeschooling or private school. While both have benefits and setbacks, choosing a private k-12 education has some added benefits that can be very appealing for families with strong beliefs about how their child should learn.

Homeschooling

Around 1.7 million students are homeschooled in the United States. Homeschooling be very appealing because parents are able to monitor all of the information that their children are being exposed to, as well as giving them the added benefit of having individualized attention. Parents who homeschool are able to completely customize the curriculum and integrating faith and learning can seem easier when there are not multiple teachers working together to come up with an integration plan.

The drawbacks can outweigh the costs, though. Teachers in the private k-12 education sector have been trained in the field, whereas most parents are not. While it may seem that this drawback would be mitigated by the fact that the parent knows their child best, it can lead to less resilience in the long run. Children who are planning to go to college are going to experience multiple teaching styles, something that they would experience during a private k-12 education. If children aren’t given those experiences, there is a chance that they may have trouble adapting to a university setting.

Homeschooling is also very time-consuming. Parents who do not have the option to have only one working spouse would be hard-pressed to work homeschooling into their schedule. This can be exacerbated by the fact that parents are responsible for all education-related costs, including computers, text books, and learning aids.

Private Schools

Of course, the most obvious setback with a private school is the cost. Private school can cost upwards of $40,000 a year, comparable to an Ivy League education. Schools can also have parental involvement stipulations that some parents may find difficult to work into their schedules. Of course, parents will also not be able to monitor every interaction and learning opportunity that a student has while at school

The benefits of a private k-12 education can outweigh the costs. If you do your research, you can find a private school that supports the biblical values that your family does. Conversations with fellow parents and administration can give you an idea of how well faith and learning are being integrated in the classroom.

Great private schools also offer accredited and recognized programs and learning opportunities that students would miss out on in a homeschool environment. Universities think highly of students who participate in AP and IB courses, which would not be possible unless they are enrolled in a private school.

Of course, students would also have the opportunity to make friends, gain mentors, and forge connections with others who share their values. It is often said that networking is one of the most important steps in becoming successful in their post-secondary educational life, and private schools offer those opportunities in abundance.

Obviously, parents should choose whichever option is best for their family. Both educational settings can provide a firm foundation and facilitate growth as a Christian and a learner.

Traits of Top Christian School Teachers

Traits of Top Christian School Teachers

Top Christian School Teachers Teach Differently

By enrolling your child in a top Christian school, such as Maranatha Christian Academy, there is a certain expectation that the teachers will be of a higher caliber than a traditional public school teacher. Of course, if a school can actually claim to be a top Christian school, that expectation must be met. There are certain traits of a Christian school teacher that you won’t always find in a traditional setting, but these traits mean that your child is getting the best education they can from people who truly care about their growth in both their education and their religion.

High Expectations, Without the Pressure of Perfection

When a truly great Christian school teacher is in the classroom, you can expect that they are holding your child to a standard that facilitates their journey to greatness. These teachers understand the dangers of being mediocre, as well as the dangers of trying too hard to be perfect. Instead, they strike a perfect balance, allowing your child room to make mistakes and grow in Christ.

Encourage and Seek Relationships

Top Christian school teachers understand that the classroom isn’t just a place to learn your ABCs. They understand the imperative role of social-emotional development and seek to grow relationships with students, in order to help them on their journey to adulthood. Teachers who are simply there to impart information will never see the same results that teachers who take the time to know their students will.

Think and Teach Biblically

The best Christian school teachers don’t just lead their students in prayer at the beginning and end of the day. Instead, they truly weave together education and religion, thinking about both their own lives and the lives of the students they teach from a biblical perspective. Being a truly integrated teacher, one who masterfully presents both faith and learning, takes time that most are unwilling or unable to dedicate to the craft. A top Christian school teacher finds the time and does so joyfully.

 

 

How to Research Private Elementary Schools

How to Research Private Elementary Schools

Researching Private Elementary Schools

Finding ideal private elementary schools for your child is a big undertaking, so research is imperative. Between the sheer number of options and the values you’re searching for, the information can feel overwhelming. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are a few resources that can help:

  1. Your Church

It’s likely that someone at your church shares your passion for a quality, Christian, private elementary education. The benefit of asking your church for options is that they will most likely offer a curriculum that supports the same values that your family does. If your church leaders don’t have information for you, ask members of the congregation. With over 5.4 million students enrolled in private education in the United States, there’s sure to be someone near you who has a testimonial or story to share.

2. Your friends and family

You may have friends and family who have their children enrolled in a private elementary school. Speaking with them about their experiences can help guide your decision and give you the added benefit of having a pre-established network in your child’s new school. Enrolling your child in a school that a friend is enrolled in, given that the school matches your desires, can also ease the transition to elementary school.

3. The Council for American Private Education

This council does research and shares insights into the nature of the nation’s public schools. Their network represents 80% of the world’s institutions for private education and employs a diverse group of board members with personal interest in the advancement of public education.

4. The Schools

Many schools offer pamphlets, brochures, and tours that will give you more information about what they have to offer. Another invaluable resources is the school’s website. Here, you’ll often find blog posts, ebooks, informational pages, and more. Maranatha Christian Academy’s website offers all of the following and we encourage you to give us a look as you search for the perfect private elementary school.

Check out our first ebook on getting your child ready for preschool!

 

Bringing Shalom Into the World

Bringing Shalom Into the World

BRINGING SHALOM INTO THE WORLD

By Brian Sullivan, Head of School at Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

From the very beginning, God has had a plan for a cohesive harmonious creation. The first humans lived completely integrated lives: They cared for one another and took care of God’s creation. Complete harmony and universal flourishing characterized humanity’s experiences with God, themselves, and the rest of creation. Those first humans enjoyed their work and it had great meaning: It was the means by which they maintained and expanded upon what the Bible calls “shalom”.

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., in his book, “Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be” defines shalom for us: “The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. In English we call it peace, but it means far more than just peace of mind or ceasefire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as the creator and savior opens doors and speaks welcome to the creatures in whom He delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things are supposed to be.”

Ahh…The way it is supposed to be. This concept sounds so good…sounds so right. Unfortunately, it also sounds pie-in-the-sky. Our modern experience of shalom is fleeting and infrequent, and that can be very frustrating.

The Bible explains that because of the rebellion of humanity against God’s good intention for our lives, shalom is not the norm anymore. Instead of work consistently being done for the flourishing of all, work is often just a means to their ends, and in many cases, sinful ends. Natural gifts that should be fruitfully employed to satisfy the needs of others are now so often selfishly used to meet our own desires. Instead of seeking the flourishing of humans as well as the non-human creation, we, far too often, use people and resources for our own advantage.

In another book, “Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living”, Plantinga explains “We might define evil as any spoiling of shalom; any deviation from the way God wants things to be. Thinking along these lines, we can see that sin is a subset of evil; it’s any evil for which somebody is to blame – sin is culpable evil…Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God, and not just because God is touchy. God hates sin against Himself, against neighbors, against the good creation; because sin breaks the peace…God is for shalom and therefore against sin.”

Our current experience with work is indeed not the way it is supposed to be. God knows it, and fortunately, God is doing something about it through Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote in Colossians, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. (Col. 1:19-20)

When an Israelite read the word, “peace” in that passage, he would have thought immediately of the concept of shalom. Jesus, “the Prince of shalom,” reconciles all things back to God, creating once again the opportunity for universal flourishing. And, amazingly, He invites us, His followers, to participate in the re-establishment of shalom.

When the people of God found themselves exiled in the evil nation of Babylon, God commanded them to do something quite shocking. He told them to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (see Jeremiah 29:4-7)

Those words “peace and prosperity”, and in other translations read “welfare”, actually translate to the single Hebrew word shalom.

Does it surprise you that God commands His people to seek the shalom of pagan Babylon? Isn’t it remarkable that God’s desire is for everyone, even those diametrically opposed to him, to experience shalom? Are we living in a modern Babylon?

How does God bring shalom into today’s world? Through His people and through you and me. Of course, the next question is, “How can I bring shalom to others?”  Begin with what you know. In your immediate job, ask yourself, “What people do you work with that you can pray for and care for?”

In your institution consider in what ways can you help restore your institution’s (hospital, business, clinic, shop, etc.) calling to be a blessing, to increase the Shalom of clients, parents, colleagues, suppliers, and other stakeholders?  How can you contribute to restoring your institution’s call to bring shalom to the end users of the product or service?

In your neighborhood or community: How can you, your family, and your church contribute to the common good of the community in which you are a member?
In the world: How can you influence your family, your school, and your church to contribute to the common good, bringing Shalom into the world? In what ways can you restore flourishing in and through your ministry?

You have probably heard me say something on the order of “our students are being taught and trained to be the cultural salt and light.”  I firmly believe this, and I am passionately committed to seeing every student leave Maranatha Christian Academy prepared to take Jesus into every man’s world.  One of the many ways we equip our students for that is to understand and seek shalom while being bearers of it.

 

How a Christian K-12 Education Can Change Lives

How a Christian K-12 Education Can Change Lives

When a student is allowed to partake in a Christian K-12 education, one where faith and learning are truly integrated, the parents are setting that child on a path illuminated with the Lord’s word. Imagine growing with people who believe the same as you, being mentored by adults with unwavering faith, and having access to resources that simply aren’t available elsewhere.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 shares, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” Students who have the chance to participate in a Christian K-12 education are going to meet students on their journey through school that will challenge and enhance their faith. The beauty of Christian private schools is that they bring together people from all walks of life, all of whom are passionate about their faith. You child will have experiences with other cultures that are grounded in the same values that you cherish in your own home. There will be chances to interpret scripture together, to pray together, and to participate in activities that build a more comprehensive worldview than the students of public schools, who often make friends with people remarkably similar to them. Practicing a faith together is a community event that brings together lives that may have otherwise never intersected.

Perhaps most importantly, a Christian K-12 education prepares students for the social aspects of college. A strong beginning in school, where students are eventually allowed to bloom into their adult lives with a firm foundation of positive, faith-based experiences, are more likely to continue that trajectory as they enter colleges and universities. According to the Council of American Private Education, 79% of students who attend a private school go on to religiously affiliated institutions of higher learning. There, students are encouraged to continue growing in their faith with like-minded professors and peers. They will be prepared for the challenges associated with growth, ready to engage in some tough conversations and interpretations that may push against what they understand of their own faith, but all with the final goal of growing in God’s glory and becoming a more educated, open-hearted Christian.