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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true."  Wait.  Stop.  Don't imagine Mr. Brown's voice here...that doesn't work at all.  Imagine Sergeant Joe Friday.  You know, from Dragnet.  Ok...start over.  " Ladies and Gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  This is the setting:  Northwest Christian School's preschool office.  I work here.  I'm a principal.  It was Tuesday, February 25th."

It was his very first visit to the preschool principal's office.  Swinging to and fro, his little legs dangled over the edge of the chair and his Keds were at least eight inches from the floor.  The crime for this toddling transgressor?  What sort of racket was this preschool perp running?

P.O.P.  That's what we call it.  It stands for 'pushing on playground'.  Sure, it doesn't sound like a big deal...shoot, by the time they get to high school, we put them in helmets and teach them how to really do it.  We even hand them trophies and put their pictures in the newsletter if they get really good at it.  But, in preschool world, it's a really big deal.  Really, really big deal.

The principal does what the principal always does:  tries to help the little guy see the error of his ways.  "Ownership" is what she calls it.  Can this little guy own up to understanding that this was his decision and decisions have consequences?

But, this felonious four-year-old wasn't having it...not a bit.  "Your friend, Johnny, is crying," said the principal  "Do you understand that this was your fault?"

"No," was the sullen student's response.  "It's not my fault.  It's my mom's fault."

The principal tried to stifle the chuckle... this was a new one.  "Your mom's fault," she said demurely, "How could this be your mom's fault?"

His answer:  "This never would have happened if my mom didn't register me for preschool."

True story...and I still cannot help but laugh when I see this little guy running around.  But, this preschooler managed to put his finger on something that we are all grappling with right now.  Sometimes there are things that happen to us that are outside of our control.  Though it's confusing at first, we need to know that our mom still loves us.  In fact, she loves us more than we can presently understand.  Mom knows that preschool is hard but she also knows that preschool is best.  Someday, as hard as it is to understand right now, we are going to be thankful that we went to preschool.

So, here we are...the special COVID-19 and online school edition of the Spotlight newsletter.  You didn't want to read it and we didn't want to write it.  Nevertheless, we recognize that for reason of His Providential wisdom and a love that drove Him to a cross where true suffering was embodied by God's own Son, Jesus, the Lord has us where He wants us.  And, while we don't understand His wisdom, we do understand His love.  And it's for reason of His love, that we press forward.  That's what you will read about in this edition of the newsletter...teachers, students, and parents pressing forward.  Maybe once we're through this, we will all learn the ultimate online lesson:  Preschool is a good thing and mom loved us enough to make sure we were registered for preschool.

(By the way, my  story about the preschool pusher has a great ending...the principal finally got through...he's no longer a pusher.  At least not until we get him into high school.  I've already pointed him out to Coach Inness.) 

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Spotlight on Faculty
Fourth Grade online launch 032520

We were all feeling pretty tech-ready for online school to kick-off on Wednesday, March 25th.  That is until we saw this particular video from the Northwest Christian fourth grade team...

Northwest Christian Mock Trial Team Makes Headway in Regional Competitions

In just their second year, and against stiff competition, the team improved in their regional placing
Lauren B pauses as the NCS Mock Trial team prepares to present their case.

Sponsored by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, the Arizona High School Mock Trial Tournament is held in three increments: Regional, State, and National. Regional tournaments are held in late February, in which teams present their cases before a real judge at tournaments within their school's region.  Northwest Christian High School's region includes seventeen other high schools and this year, the team was thrilled to learn that in the trial tournament, they had improved from seventh place in their first year to sixth place in their second year.  The team is led by attorney and Northwest Christian alumni Mychal Hall.  "For a team in its second year to even place in the top ten out of seventeen schools is amazing," explains Mychal.  "This is for a couple of reasons.  Most of the other teams within our region have been competing in these tournaments since the eighties!  Our team is a free, after school club for students that love law, politics, and history.  We meet one to two times per week and these are students that are already plugged into sports, their studies, and other opportunities through the school.  When I explain this to the judges, they are blown away...especially when they learn this is only our second year of competition."

The mock trial competitions, which take place in an actual Arizona courtroom and are judged Arizona judges and attorneys, are an extension of the Northwest Christian Law Club.  The club was initiated last school year by persistent students that wanted to see both a club and team come together.  They found a compatriot in Northwest Christian almuni Mychal Hall who graduated from the University of Arizona and attended law school at Arizona State University.  Hall also had the chance to study international law overseas and under two different U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

"The students at NCS never ceases to amaze me with their accomplishments," said 2020/2021 high school principal Jeff Parsons.  "Not only in the classroom, but with extra-curricular activities as well.  A perfect example of such an accomplishment is our NCS Mock Trial team.  They had an impressive performance at this year's regional tournament.  It is very important to ensure our students have opportunities to pursue God's purpose for their lives.  Our culture needs attorneys, legislators, and apologists in general that  have their worldview rooted in an authentic understanding of scripture.  I am excited to support groups like our Mock Trial team and, in fact, I hope to see their numbers grow to two teams.  Northwest Christian High School offers a variety of clubs for students to get involved with and if we don't have a club that students are looking for, we will start one.  The sky is the limit!"

Spotlight on Mini-Crusaders
Mini Crusaders online launch

Online learning must leave no one behind!  Even the littlest Crusaders are engaging with their teachers...

A Special Video Message from Mr. Brown
Spotlight on Students

We honestly believed we had thought through everything in preparation for the launch of online school on Wednesday, March 25th.  But, apparently not.  One of our youngest, Phoenix G., sent up a virtual SOS about mid-day with this new FAQ...

Northwest Christian Sophomore Wins Chance to Compete at National Level within History Competition

Danyelle Kauffman's documentary short film placed second in the state and is scheduled to compete in Washington D.C.

National History Day is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland that operates an annual project-based contest for students in grades 6-12. It has affiliates in all fifty states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, South Korea, China, South Asia, and Central America.  Led by over 30,000 teachers and featuring over half-a-million student competitors, competition begins at the regional level within a state and then advances to state level competition.  Coached by high school history teacher Mary Hall, Northwest Christian sophomore Danyelle Kauffman's ten-minute documentary digital film, "The Foundation of Seattle", won at the regional level and placed second in the state of Arizona.  Although it is unknown at this time whether she is competing in person or virtually this spring, hopes are high for a strong placing at the national level.

"Either way," says high school principal Josh Schlesinger, "we are so very proud of Danyelle.  To have your documentary film, place second overall for the entire state of Arizona is amazing!  When you consider that she competed in a very popular category, against students from across the state of Arizona, many of whom are graduating seniors who have been competing in this category their entire high school careers, is even more impressive.  I am also grateful to Mary Hall.  National History Day is a passion for her but what I most appreciate about Mary is that her passion passes to her students who fall in love with history and throw themselves into these projects."

NCS Wresting Rummage Sale

Looking Ahead:  Northwest Christian School Online 

Consider this our 'first draft':  behind the scenes, teams are preparing for exponential expansion of the school's mission 

"Reasonably seamless," says superintendent Geoff Brown.  "That is how quite a few of our families described the launch of online learning during the COVID-19 school closure.  I had quite a few parents who were impressed with the launch ask how long we had taken to prepare for this season of online learning.  The truth is that the answer is 'years'."

The transition began in phases with the first phase being the launch of the school's 1:1 iPad technology initiative.  "Ever since," explains Geoff, "we have been continuously investing in teacher training and research."  Then, two years ago, something even more dramatic happened which is resulting in a huge shift in terms of online learning.  "Two years ago," continues Geoff, "we set forth to establish a digital extension for the Northwest Christian mission.  We started a multi-year process to launch Northwest Christian School Online and the Northwest Christian School Biblical Worldview Institute."  The two platforms will meld on-the-ground learning on the Northwest Christian campus with online learning across the globe.  "A year ago, we signed an agreement with Grand Canyon University to use their LoudCloud learning management system as the backbone for the effort.  Ever since, we've joined a team of Northwest Christian curriculum developers with a team of online curriculum developers at GCU, transitioning our classes step-by-step."

"But, this effort will look unlike what our families are seeing presently within this closure," says Geoff.  "Today, we are benefiting from our teachers' commitment to training and learning.  But, ultimately Northwest Christian School Online will look much different.  Though we are not yet ready to announce how NCS Online will be different from any other online high school in the country, I can say that we're hard at work right now with some exciting curriculum development folks...some names that will surprise and please our families.  Our students, both on-the-ground and online, will be learning from the best.  As well, we are working closely with several universities--I cannot yet mention these partnerships--but our students and families will experience some real benefits from these partnerships."  

Northwest Christian School Online and the Northwest Christian School Biblical Worldview Institute are scheduled to launch in multiple phases in the fall of 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Spotlight on Families

For the Diaz family, online learning is truly a family affair.  Mr. Matt Diaz is the junior Bible teacher at Northwest Christian.  With Mrs. Diaz behind the lens, it's clear to see that each Diaz is on task!

Free, Streaming "RightNow Media" Program Enables Families to Enjoy a New Dimension of Northwest Christian Together

Called by some the "Netflix of Bible studies", consider this the Disney+ of Northwest Christian

Every wonder what Northwest Christian's high school chapel looked like?  Have you always desired to see one of the school's famously unique fall NXNW movies but couldn't find a babysitter to see them in the theater?  Look no further as that the free solution already resides at your proverbial, digital fingertips!

Completely complementary to all Northwest Christian families and available on your phone, tablet, smart TV, gaming system, or computer, RightNow media has been termed the "Netflix of Bible studies".  And, while that descriptor certainly is apt, it fails to encompass the scope of services that the digital streaming platform presents to NCS families.  In addition to thousands of topical and exegetical Bible studies, there are hundreds of safe and appropriate children's programs for discerning Christian families.  As well, for school families, the initial 'landing page' for the app takes them to a plethora of Northwest Christian content.  This includes a building library of on-campus chapel services, Parent University sessions, NXNW movies featuring Northwest Christian students, and so much more.

As Northwest Christian prepares for the imminent launch of its online school, this summer will find the school transitioning towards a new website, a new student information system, an expanding learning management system in classrooms, and a growing number of digital features like RightNow Media that will further increase the connectedness between home and school, allowing families to experience NCS culture and community together.

For those families that have not yet taken advantage of RightNow media, keep an eye on your in-box as that recent emails from Mr. Brown have featured a link to register.  If you do not see the link, please reach out to the school's Director of Technology and Operations, Roman Nelson,

Spotlight on Chapels

What in the world is Mr. G doing on the roof of the Don Sanderson Gymnasium?  Is this some sort of new "social distancing" strategy?  No, Mr. Chris Gardiner serves as the school's Spiritual Formation Coordinator and on Wednesday, March 25th, he used the roof to film the school's first virtual chapels that were launched out to students and families that morning.
Spotlight on God's Word and Ice Cream

Start today and still enjoy a trip to Baskin Robbins!

Each spring, Mr. Brown launches a "Red Letter Challenge" Bible reading plan as an invitation to incite a passion for God's word within elementary students.  To be sure, reading God's word daily is its own reward but as we first seek to establish this discipline in young lives, it can be fun to establish incentives as extrinsic reminders of those intrinsic rewards.  As was the case last spring, this year's incentive is an opportunity to join Mr. Brown, Mrs. Underwood, and Mr. G at Baskin Robbins for an "all you can eat ice cream extravaganza".  Last year saw nearly one hundred elementary-aged Crusaders rise to the challenge and enjoy absurd amounts of ice cream  This year, Mr. Brown is hoping to see 150 students join him!

As part of a quality control exercise, earlier this month, Mr. Brown, Mrs. Underwood, and Mr. G visited Baskin Robbins to make certain that the ice cream was up to grade.  (Great news:  it was.)  If your elementary-aged student (or their parents!) would like to join the effort, it's never to late to start your journey within God's word... you can download the plan here.

Spotlight on Students 

A very clever "before and after" shot:  some families and students had some fun with the launch of online classes on Wednesday, March, 25, 2020.
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

March 27, 2020
Vol. 10, Issue 8
Psalm 18:1-2

"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
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