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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,

At this point last year, within a newsletter very much like the one that you are reading now, we announced that our spiritual emphasis theme for the 2019/2020 year was going to be "Alacrity".  In addition to being a vocabulary lesson for most of us, the theme, which means "cheerful preparedness", prompted many to ask, "Just what exactly are we cheerfully preparing for?"   Though the answer to that question was already out there, a Covid-19 Mack truck barreling down the highway straight at us, we never even saw it coming.  But clearly He did.

Having just weathered a spring during which "unprecedented" became a very tired adjective, we now understand exactly what it is was for which the Lord was preparing us.

So, it is with no small measure of trepidation that we announce the spiritual emphasis theme that our Student Council has prayerfully determined for the 2020/2021 school year:  "Journey of Joy".   The accompanying verse for the year will be Psalm 16:11: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." 

At first glance, it definitely appears less daunting, doesn't it?  Not quite as unnerving as 'Alacrity'?


With such an optimistic theme emblazoned upon the banners that will shortly hang across campus and upon the t-shirts that we will wear each Friday throughout the year, if something does get sideways, I am going to blame the Apostle James.  And, maybe the Apostle Peter a little bit.  Oh, yeah.  For good measure, let's throw the Apostle Paul in there too.

In James 1, we read, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  Really, James?  All joy?  Peter writes, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."  Come on, Peter... maybe joy.  But overjoyed?  From a prison cell, Paul writes to his friends in Philippi (Yes, it's a real place.  I think it's in Massachusetts.), "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly...not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

I am always eager to see our annual spiritual emphasis themes and the accompanying verses reach fruition within our chapels, Bible lessons, community groups, impact groups, high school camp, and so much more.  But, as I look at this year's theme, I am beginning to realize anew that it is not our comfort for which Christ died.  After we cruelly twisted His creation in the Garden of Eden, as any loving Father would do, He has aspired for our joy, not our comfort.  In fact, sometimes He allows discomfort in order to accomplish something much greater.  And, that is how I am praying for our school within this new year:  a year full of true joy (no matter how He chooses to get us there).

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Spotlight on Students

Monday, June 1st saw the premier of "Crusaders Got Talent"--a Facebook live event that included a powerful rendition of "Waymaker" by a virtually unified version of all the NCS Secondary Choirs.  Over 140 students individually filmed their unique contributions to the piece and they were all masterfully weaved together by Damon Evans who oversees the Northwest Christian NXNW film program.  Click above to watch!
Spotlight on Students

On Monday, June 1st, LIVE on Facebook, Northwest Christian was thr illed to present "Crusader's Got Talent", our own take on "America's Got Talent", in which we premiered s pecial song and dance performances featuring Northwest
Christian  faculty and staff, t he world premiere of "Waymaker" by the  Crusader Community Choir, t he debut of "Tu Ungane" by the Crusader Unified Virtual Band, announcements regarding the winners of this spring's student art, photography, and 'Snazzy Snacks' competitions, as well as a talent contest featuring Northwest Christian secondary students.  Over 4,000 have viewed the video...check it out above!
Spotlight on Students

As part of the "Crusader's Got Talent" event, working with Damon Evans of NXNW fame, Mrs. Debbie Hutson, the Northwest Christian band director, brought together dozens of players and instruments for a staggering and timely rendition of "Tu Ungane".  With a title that translates as "Let's Work Together", the beautiful song fuses African and Western themes into a single powerful piece.

Northwest Christian Announces New Digital Dimensions Which Means Crusader Families Will Have Choices in 2020/2021

This Fall, your family is in control of the decisions that will impact learning and safety

As part of an effort spanning two years, working with Grand Canyon University and others with expertise within digital learning support, this fall and next, Northwest Christian School is launching several new programs that will enhance student learning at all levels, all locations, and in all situations. Ultimately, these programs will support and facilitate learning for students within the contexts that the school's families feel are safest for their unique needs and each individual student.

Traditional on-the-ground classroom learning for all grades.  With some adjustments to account for the recommendations from the Maricopa Country Department of Public Health, the office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and the Arizona Department of Education, Northwest Christian School fully expects to return to the customary classroom context in August.   Some initial modifications to programs will ultimately be phased out, but families should expect a student's experience to be safe and customary.

NCS Plus...a new forum to support on-the-ground learning.   Starting this fall, every NCS student and every family will enjoy an added dimension within their on-the-ground classrooms: NCS Plus. Facilitated by a learning management system called Canvas, which is produced by Instructure, NCS Plus will be a classroom complement at all grade levels--from kindergarten through high school--that captures key elements of the on-the-ground classroom experience. Although direct instruction within on-the-ground classrooms will not change, NCS Plus will support the "flipped classroom" model of learning wherein students can revisit key concepts presented within class when away from the classroom. Beyond this, NCS Plus will better support students that are absent. Or, if we experience a viral resurgence at some point in the coming year with mandated school closure, NCS Plus will replace the Google Classroom system used this spring to provide a more robust student learning experience.  Additionally, while school will resume on August 5th, if a family wishes to keep their student home for a period of time for whatever reason, NCS Plus will support that student's continued learning, concurrent with what is happening in the classroom. This will mean that when that student is ready to return, they can do so with no disruption to academic progress.

Northwest Christian School Online.  Beginning this fall, NCS is launching Northwest Christian School Online for the elementary grades. Then, in the fall of 2021, Northwest Christian School Online will launch for all secondary grades as well. NCS Online is a wholly separate, asynchronous learning experience for students who live away from Phoenix or who find the online classroom a more conducive learning opportunity than the traditional on-the- ground experience. For kindergarten through 8th grade, NCS Online will utilize Canvas as its learning management system. Within the high school, starting in August 2021, Northwest Christian School Online will be utilizing Grand Canyon University's LoudCloud learning management system. The NCS Online experience will be different: different pacing, different teachers, and different opportunities. Over the next few days and weeks, our families can look forward to some exciting announcements regarding new partnerships--what we are calling "Distinctive Diplomas"--that represent new and enhanced learning opportunities with a growing number of universities like Grand Canyon University and Arizona Christian University. These partnerships will provide for an online and on-the-ground learning experience unlike any online or on-the-ground high school in the country.

Northwest Christian Biblical Worldview Institute.  As part of NCS Online, both our on-the-ground and online students will enjoy an expanded number of online classes centered around exploring Christian worldview in a number of contexts. We are presently working with Grand Canyon University, Arizona Christian University, and prominent pastors, authors, and experts in diverse fields to develop these courses. These courses will be the foundation upon which the new "Distinctive Diploma" program is built as well as the university partnerships. Though it is a bit too soon to announce all of these courses just yet, we look forward to doing so as we move towards the fall.

A new Student Information System. To facilitate all of these added digital dimensions to the school, we are moving towards Blackbaud as our new student information system for all grades beginning in August. Under a single virtual umbrella, students and parents will find Blackbaud to be a more robust and seamless system of communication than we have enjoyed previously.
Spotlight on Students

The June 1st "Crusaders Got Talent" Facebook Live event saw submissions from dozens of students.  Live, during the event via text-facilitated voting, the Facebook audience chose three winners from the seven finalists that were presented that evening.  Above, you can view the $500, first-place-winning submission from soon-to-be sophomore Elijah Reid.  In addition, you can view the other two amazing winners:  Jessica Jacoby placed second for $250, and Timothy Chau placed third for $100.
Spotlight on Students

The Adventure Cru has already been busy this summer!  This past week, the high school club took students out in two trips to Lake Pleasant with Mr. Brown and Mr. G.  During their time there, they went boating, swimming, and tubing.  Interested in joining their next outing, having a blast with your friends, or making new friends?  Keep your eyes out for the next addition of the Northwest Christian Week-at-a-Glance email which arrives each Sunday afternoon.  Or, check out some of the upcoming opportunities in last week's "W.A.G." right here.

Meet New Members of the Northwest Christian Faculty Family

As some current faculty look to new roles, new members of the faculty family prepare for a dynamic 2020/2021 school year

The first four "new members" are not exactly new, but they are moving into new positions within Northwest Christian School's growing online offers:  NCS Plus and Northwest Christian School Online.  Colleen Pfitzinger will serve as a tremendous asset as an online curriculum developer as that she has been a significant success for years within the elementary program's elementary classrooms.  Similarly Melissa Burkett, who joined the school faculty this past year, has experience and training within instruction, administration, and curriculum development.  Development of the school's new online school division will be overseen by Northwest Christian veterans Samantha MasztonJessica Gake and Andrew Coley.  Jessica has worked as an online curriculum developer and instructional specialist in multiple university settings, including Grand Canyon University.  Andrew Coley, is a seminary graduate who most recently taught eighth grade Bible at NCS and has previously served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and as a curriculum developer for the Great Hearts schools.

After sixteen years as a journalist and media consultant, Kim Kempinski launched her educational career in faith-based higher education teaching both ground and online for Grand Canyon University, Arizona Christian University and Ottawa University six years ago.  With accomplished outcomes in both English and online learning, Mrs. Kempinski will be a vital member of the Northwest Christian online team, helping to bridge learning between NCS Plus, NCS Online, and the on-the-ground experience.  "I believe teaching to be my mission field and I have a huge heart for kids on the hunt for a deeper relationship with Jesus."  Mrs. Kempinski has her bachelor's and master's degrees from Arizona State University and has been a K-12 substitute teacher for Northwest Christian since 2015.  As an enthusiastic member of the Crusader community for the past thirteen years, Mrs. Kempinski and her husband Craig have three kids at NCS and Craig leads the Fire Science program within Northwest Christian High School.  The Kempinskis have attended Palmcroft Church for twenty-four years and have been deeply involved in several areas of ministry during their time there. They also enjoy spending time in the northern Arizona mountains adventuring on the lakes and hiking trails and exploring everything our wonderful state has to offer with their rescue dogs in tow.

Kim Reiswig is blessed to begin serving as the NCS third through fifth grade Spanish Teacher.  Mrs. Reiswig taught Spanish at Mountain Ridge High School for eight years, then at Blair High School in Pasadena for one year. Mr. and Mrs. Reiswig have three daughters who began attending NCS in 2019. The Reiswig family loves spending time together going on adventures, road trips, and hiking. The family attends CityView Church where Mr. Reiswig is a pastor.   Mrs. Reiswig looks forward to helping NCS students grow in their love for Spanish language and culture.  Elementary principal Dawna Underwood is also excited to see Kim's contributions in the classrooms:  "Inevitably, every conversation I have with Kim leaves me excited.  She communicates with joy and enthusiasm.  I am excited to see how her students will grow under her direction."

Erin Endicott joins the NCS to teach high school math. Miss Endicott is originally from Orange County, California. She currently attends City View Church in Phoenix and enjoys quality time with her friends and family, particularly the weekly game nights they hold where she "always crushes the competition".  Miss Endicott has taught math for over 10 years. She graduated from Arizona Christian University and returned for an MA in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.  Math may not have been her favorite subject, but the impactful influence of her teachers helped Miss Endicott make sense of what she was learning. Those teachers were the inspiration behind why she became a teacher. Her goal as an educator is to provide an environment where every student can attain that "Light Bulb Moment," grow in their mathematical confidence, and gain greater endurance throughout the solving process. She believes that every day students will be faced with choices that impact them both inside and outside the classroom. Therefore, providing academic instruction is not her only goal. Miss Endicott believes that a Christian educator, she becomes God's conduit by equipping students with truth while inspiring them to learn more each day about the mysterious and wonderful world God has created. She looks forward to working with each and everyone one of her students in the year to come.

Josh Harrison is excited to join the Northwest Christian middle school team teaching seventh grade math.  Mr. and Mrs. Harrison have been married for sixteen years and their three kids all attend Northwest Christian School.  Jake and Eisley start high school this year while Jones will be in second grade. Mr. Harrison has most recently taught both math and science at North Point Prep as well as coached cross country, basketball, and soccer for the past thirteen years.  In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, hiking, and biking.  Mr. Harrison and his family are thankful to have been a part of the Northwest family for the past 8 years and he is thrilled to come on board as a part of the teaching team.  "We are excited to have Josh on the team," explains middle school principal/assistant superintendent Samantha Maszton.  "We have wanted to find the right spot for quite a while and this year, with Mark Young moving to junior Bible, the time was right."

Anna Johnson is honored to be leading the student health team and working within the student health office as the Northwest Christian's school nurse.  Mrs. Johnson has been a nurse for almost eleven years, primarily at Phoenix Children's Hospital and most recently with Hospice of the Valley.  Mr. Johnson is a Northwest Christian alumni and has coached Crusader basketball for the past thirteen years. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been married for ten years and have three wonderful children. The Johnson family attends Desert Breeze Community Church and hosts a small group within their home.  Mrs. Johnson's hope and prayer is that she would be used by the Lord to be a loving and encouraging presence on campus to help NCS students and staff stay safe and healthy.  She looks forward to getting to know the Northwest Christian families as she has the privilege of taking care of the NCS students. Mrs. Johnson prays for wisdom and health entering into the new school year.  "Amidst Anna's experiences is a recent stint working within a Covid-19 information team," explains Samantha Maszton.  "This experience, combined with her direct nursing experience with children at PCH, means she is God's perfect provision for this unique time in the Northwest Christian story."

Deana Hendrix is extremely happy to join the Northwest Christian family as a middle school science teacher. Her appointment follows some recent re-assignments within the secondary teaching program as Mr. Ethan Burson moves from his science classroom to seventh grade Bible following the retirement of Mr. Bill Harbeck and the move of Mr. Tyler Collins from seventh grade to sophomore Bible.  Mrs. Hendrix attended Northwest Christian as a student in elementary school so she feels like the Lord has really brought her full circle. Mr. and Mrs. Hendrix have been married eleven years. Their two children Burton and McKenna currently attend NCS.   Mrs. Hendrix enjoys traveling, wakeboarding, and cheering for the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). The Hendrix family has a passion for sports. Mr. and Mrs. Hendrix are both former college athletes and love watching their kids play multiple sports. Mrs. Hendrix holds a BA in Business Management from Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, and is highly qualified to teach middle school science. The Hendrix family attends Palmcroft Church in Phoenix.  Mrs. Hendrix looks forward to teaching science from a Biblical perspective and is excited to see how God will use her at NCS.

Carrie Holbert taught within the Northwest Christian third grade team last school year alongside Mrs. Burleson and this year, Mrs. Holbert is thrilled to be joining the third grade team as a full time teacher.  Mrs. Holbert was a third grade teacher with both Las Brisas Elementary and Diamond Canyon Elementary and she holds a Bachelor's in Education. The Holbert family currently attends Palmcroft church and three of the four Holbert children are current Northwest Christian students - Ryan, Brayden, and Raegan. When she finds extra time, Mrs. Holbert enjoys traveling, reading and spending time watching her children play baseball, golf, and gymnastics.  Carrie looks forward to an amazing year with her students.  "Carrie's contributions to this school have been innumerable," says Dawna Underwood.  "As a sub, she has jumped into situations where she not just taught, she truly ministered with a compassion reflecting Christ."

With part-time middle school choir director Jessica Gake moving to a full-time online curriculum development role, Nathan Krell is being welcomed as the newest member of the secondary fine arts team.  Mr. Krell is a conductor, music educator, pianist, and arranger born and raised on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  Nathan has a passion for music education.  In addition to teaching private music lessons throughout his career, he was an instructor at the Southwestern Academy of Music in Fort Worth, Texas, and was a teaching assistant and student conductor of the Azusa Pacific University Chamber Singers in California.  He currently holds degrees in Biblical Studies from The Master's University and most recently completed his Master of Music with an emphasis in Choral Conducting from Azusa Pacific University.  Nathan loves sharing music with others and travelling to new places. He toured eastern Europe in 2015 with The Master's College Chorale, and most recently toured China with the APU Chamber Singers in the summer of 2019.  When he is not conducting, teaching, or studying, Nathan enjoys listening to niche Spotify playlists, arranging, hiking, reading, cooking, and serving within the local church.  "I am thrilled to have Nathan join our amazing fine arts team," enthuses superintendent Geoff Brown.  "In the weeks ahead, I am looking forward to seeing how his contributions will shape our developing fine arts program and the number of opportunities we can put in front of our students."

Relocating with her family from Indiana this summer, Becki Burke is excited to teach at Northwest Christian this year.  She comes from a family of ten children and has fifty-five nieces and nephews.  Mrs. Burke has three daughters that are looking forward to being Crusaders:  Charlotte, Gwen, and Sabrina.  In Indiana, Mrs. Burke taught kindergarten and fourth grade at Heritage Christian School.  She was also deeply involved within her church teaching Sunday school, English as a second language to all ages, and preschool.  Teaching is her life and and loves to learn just as much as she loves to teach.  Some fun facts about Mrs. Burke:  She loves movies, music, being active, reading and traveling.  Mrs. Burke understands the power and potential of Christian education and is already grateful to the parents that will be entrusting their children to her.  She is excited to spend time with them and tell them how much Jesus loves them. 

Stefani Oliverio is thrilled to join Northwest Christian's elementary team this year.  Stefani is a graduate of Southwestern Bible College (now Arizona Christian University).  She taught for five years prior to starting a family and took a few years off to be home with her three children, Thomas, Emily, and Johnny.  The Oliverio family attends Northwest Community Church where they are very involved.  She and her husband Robert serve in the young adults ministry. In her downtime, Mrs. Oliverio enjoys reading, crafting, and baking.

With veteran music teacher Becky Drown retiring this summer, Kathy Taylor is ready to pick up the baton and share her love of praising the Lord through song with Northwest Christian elementary students.  Over the last thirty-nine years, Mrs. Taylor has learned about sharing God's love with others through excellence in music and she can't wait to share those experiences with the NCS students and families during music class and through special programs.  Mrs. Taylor is relocating from Ohio to Phoenix this summer.  Two of her daughters and their families live in Ohio while another son and daughter live in Virginia. Between them all, she has seven grandchildren ranging from one to eleven-years-old.  She loves nothing more than to enjoy time with friends and family, especially in the middle of God's beautiful mountains and beaches.  Ms. Taylor's family loves to play games and make music together. When she is not with her family, she loves to work with children, sing, and play the piano. Mrs. Taylor used to have a piano studio with dozens of students. She feels blessed to be able to include all of her hobbies in her job teaching students to make music together.  "I really believe that Kathy is going to have a great impact within our school," says Dawna Underwood.  "She is going to be a strong addition to the fine arts team and we are already planning to see some of the school's dynamic performance opportunities extend down into our elementary grades."

Spotlight on NXNW Student Films

Now showing!  The RightNow Media NCS landing page now includes the two latest NXNW student films from Cabin Fever Films and Northwest Christian School.  Log in and enjoy "The Rise and Fall of Death Chicken", a mockumentary about the great band that never was, and this year's intense film, "Scapegoat".
Spotlight on Students

The continuing adventures of the Adventure Cru!  This time, it was a ladies-only hike with Mrs. White and Mrs. Schlesinger.  The group hit the trails and, after working up an appetite, they celebrated their accomplishments in true Adventure Cru fasion:  donuts!  Get out on the trail with your friends and make some new friends while you are at it...sign up for an upcoming outing with the Adventure Cru!  Check out the Week-at-a-Glance here!
Spotlight on Families

Water, water everywhere!  This past week, Early Education families enjoyed a time of community as the front lawn of the preschool was covered with inflatables that all featured tons and tons of water!
Spotlight on Families

Early education and elementary students had a blast this past week at the Encanto Park Amusement Park.  Students and their families had the park to themselves all morning long!
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June 15, 2020
Vol. 10, Issue 11
Psalm 90:2,4

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night."
Fellowship and Food!
Partnership with Ottawa University
means huge college savings!
Saturn Pools  is a generous sponsor
of NCS Athletics
Bumble Bee Plumbing  is a generous sponsor
of NCS Missions Learning

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Grand Canyon University

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