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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
As this issue of the Northwest Christian Spotlight e-newsletter hits your inbox, we are 48 hours away from the start of the 2018/2019 school year.  And, as I write this opening letter, I am literally surrounded by teachers and staff that are working overtime to prepare their classrooms, stock bookshelves, write lesson plans, finish bulletin boards, and do all of the other wonderful things that need to happen prior to the advent of students on Wednesday.  As I walk the campus, the sense of excited anticipation for that morning is palpable.  

This is my ninth year at Northwest Christian, my ninth time to see a new school year dawn, and, if I didn't know better, I might be tempted to think it is all routine.  But, I do know better.  What will happen on this campus starting Wednesday is anything but routine.

In the early 1970's, in Ohio, the heart of the midwestern United States, students were forcibly removed from their parents' homes and parents were charged by state officials for truancy.  The charge of truancy resulted from parents enrolling their children in a Christian school--not their local public school.  As you can read within an article from the New York Times, in a landmark case, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously overturned the truancy charges and formally recognized a parent's right to provide Christian education for their children.  The privilege that we will enjoy on Wednesday--the privilege of Christian education--was an earned privilege and a true blessing!

Before you shrug off the seventies as "ancient history" or wag your finger at the naivete of over-reaching state officials, recognize that the same New York Times recently took your very own Northwest Christian School to task for having the audacity to center curriculum on the truths found in God's word and to teach students that "the earth is the Lord's and all of the fullness thereof." (Psalm 24:1, I Corinthians 10:26).  (The article even links to our school's web page!)

The reality is that we are increasingly "aliens and strangers" (I Peter 2:11) within a culture that is adversarial to scriptural truth.  And, as we start this new year, this realization needs to prompt us to action.  First, we need to pray for our great nation--pray for revival, pray for civility amidst unparalleled political polarity, and pray that the eyes of the spiritually blind are openedSecond, as responsible citizens, we each need to take action and vote in ways that are consistent with our individual consciences.  We have that chance on Tuesday, August 28th and if you are curious to know where the candidates stand on issues of faith and conscience,  there are wonderful resources available.  (Please don't take the privilege of voting for granted!  In Arizona's last primary election, a U.S. Congressional seat was decided by a margin of just 27 votes!)  And, third, we need to give thanks.  We need to give thanks to the Lord that we live in a great nation that still allows us to live our lives in ways that are consistent with our consciences and teach our children truths that harmonize with God's word.

In light of all this, I truly am excited to see you all on Wednesday!

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Association of Christian Schools International Officially Grants Exemplary Accreditation to Northwest Christian
It is official!  The visiting accreditation team's recommendations have been certified by the ACSI national commission

In February, Northwest Christian enjoyed a visit from two separate accreditation teams as part of the five-year school accreditation cycle.  The visit represented the fifth accreditation cycle with the Association of Christian Schools International and the second accreditation evaluation with AdvancED, a secular accreditation body.  But, the February visit was unique in that Northwest Christian was vying for ACSI's premium "blue ribbon" accreditation, "ACSI Exemplary Accreditation".  At the end of the visit, the school was thrilled to learn that the visiting team's report was, in fact, recommending NCS for exemplary status to the national commission.

On July 18th, Northwest Christian learned that the national commission was certifying the visiting team's recommendation and that exemplary status had been granted.  To provide perspective on the accolade, NCS is one of just a dozen Christian schools in the nation, and the first in Arizona, to be recognized in this fashion.

According to superintendent Geoff Brown, the importance of exemplary accreditation isn't necessarily the recognition alone.  "Honestly," explains Geoff, "I am thrilled for the accolade in that it affirms the hard work of our teachers and staff.  But, any time you walk through accreditation protocols, the value is not in the 'product' per se but in the 'process'.  Generally, accreditation requires a year-long self study and on-the-ground, in-person analysis provided by recognized school leaders from around the nation.  The recommendations that result from that process are tremendous and, if we're sincere in our pursuit of continuous improvement, we grab those recommendations and run.  In the case of exemplary accreditation, there is a much deeper dive into the data and the analysis is 'blue ribbon' level.  So, I am so excited to be an exemplary school but I'm even more excited to see the directions towards which exemplary accreditation points us."

The "deeper dive" that Geoff mentions centers around six key areas that ACSI has recognized as critical within an exemplar school:  student learning, spiritual formation, school culture, board governance, executive leadership, and school viability.  Within each of these areas, the accrediting team rated the school on a continuum of 'formative' to 'flourishing'.  In each case, exemplary accreditation means that NCS was evaluated at the 'flourishing' level.  "Again," continues Geoff, "this is such an exciting development.  I'm excited for our teachers, students, and families because it means that we're working together within a scholastic community that is healthy and thriving.  But, beyond that, I'm excited to because we're going to continue to push forward in a drive towards excellence."

Campus Improvement Projects Will Continue throughout the New School Year
An aggressive summer of improvement will continue into the fall with an eye towards new projects in the spring

Nearly a year ago, Northwest Christian unveiled its five-year plan under the banner of "Growing and Going".  With an eye towards making certain that Northwest Christian School facilities efforts were focused on sustainable solutions that would carry the school's mission into the decades ahead, the plan consisted of both large and small scale projects.  The summer of 2018 included the launch of five such projects.

The largest of these projects is the addition of four new classrooms that will serve the elementary program.  Though the new classroom building will host elementary-aged students, the ripple effect will mean dramatic improvements in the daily schedules of students at all grade levels.  "Despite the waiting lists, these classrooms are not intended to increase enrollment," explains superintendent Geoff Brown. "They will serve current students by freeing up spaces that have had to be used for classrooms and which can now be used for different purposes. They will improve learning environments for all students."  Throughout the fall, work will proceed as the school plans to open the new building in the second semester.

The scope of summer and fall projects will also include improvements running north from the new Crusader Legacy Plaza to the area that is popularly referred to as the "grassy knoll".  "This is the area where middle and high school students generally congregate outside the secondary classroom buildings.  We've done 'prayer at the pole' events there, for example," says Geoff.  "We have been working to improve that space to make it more 'usable' for students.  We're providing shade and different features to facilitate better use and enjoyment of the space."  This project represents a race to the finish line with the hardscape being completed just days before school starts and the shade arriving later in August or early in September.

This year's "Crusaders Full Steam Ahead Fundraising Dinner and Auction" is scheduled for September 29th and is taking place at Warehouse 215, a relatively new event venue in Phoenix's downtown urban-chic warehouse district.  "At that event," says Geoff, "we are looking forward to updating our community on the projects currently in progress as well as communicating how our five-year facilities improvement plan is changing as we move forward within the 'Growing and Going' campaign.  A couple of years ago, we took a huge step forward technologically when we launched our 1:1 iPad initiative in the high school and provided classroom sets of iPads to our primary students.  At the auction, we're looking forward to announcing another similar step forward on the learning technology front."

Northwest Christian Tech Enjoys Radical Upgrades Throughout the School
A tremendously busy and productive summer for the Crusader tech team

As students return to campus this Wednesday, they will enjoy the same surprise that awaited returning teachers and staff when they returned on August 1st:  Northwest Chrstian is home to nearly 400 new and refurbished computuers.  All faculty and staff PCs were swapped out and upgraded resulting in processing speeds that range from 50 to 150% faster than those they left behind in May.  Each of these computers has an i3 or an i5 processor that enable much greater functionality.  Student tech labs enjoyed similar upgrades.  The Apple Mac Mini's within high school media tech classes, for example, were updated to quadcore i7 processors.  Again, the result is improved functionality.  In the case of students working within the school's graphic design curriculum, they will now enjoy working with the latest and greatest features available in Photoshop Elements' 2018 edition.  The new PC's also afford faster access to online curricular resources including classes focued on "Film School 4 Teens" and Rio Solado's dually enrolled computer programming curriculum.

The new PC's will also permit increased capacity for student access to technology with the debut of a new computer lab when the new classroom building opens in the spring semester.

The huge step forward this summer resulted from Northwest Christian's ongoing partnership with AzStRUT.  An acronym for "Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology", AzSTRUT connects schools with corporations seeking to donate technology.  In some cases, the donations are refurbished and in other cases they are new and out-of-the-box.  The Northwest Christian partnership is overseen by Dan Gallagher.  Gallagher  joined the school through a generous transitional retirement program at Intel.  In his final year before retirement, the Intel Encore paid to bring his expertise to Northwest Christian.  During that year, he was instrumental in launching the high school's 1:1 iPad initiative.  Now, Gallagher works part-time for the school as he works to prepare NCS for its increasing tech profile.

Roman Nelson, the NCS Director of Technology, reflected on the hard work put forward by his team this summer:  "The 2018/2019 school year will see a campus network that is stronger and more capable than we've ever had.  This correlates directly to an improved learning experience for students and strong ed tech options for teachers.  If we can stay the course within this trajectory, I am very excited to see the technology footprint of our school grow in the near term."
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Meet the New Teachers Joining the Northwest Christian Family
A dynamic group of new Crusaders are looking forward to teaching your students!

Andy Coley will serving as the new eighth grade Bible teacher, a position recently vacated by Chris "Mr. G" Gardiner who is moving into a new role as the school's Spiritual Formation Coordinator.  Prior to NCS, Andy served as a fifth grade teacher and administrator at Adams Traditional Academy.  With an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and having just completed a master's degree in Educational Leadership through Gateway Seminary this past May, he is excited to be part of the NCS family and looking forward to presenting the eighth grade Bible curriculum, the "wisdom books" of the Old Testament.  Andy grew up in Tucson, has lived in Phoenix for four years, and is actively involved at Redemption Peoria.  He and his wife love hiking, biking, and camping all around the state. 
Lauren Waymire is no stranger to the Crusader community in that she attended Northwest Christian from first grade until she graduated in 2005. She is excited to be returning to the community as sixth grade social studies teacher and serving alongside her mother, Mrs. Deb Waymire, who is the chair of the history department.  Lauren will be moving back to the United States this summer after having spent the last seven years living abroad and teaching in Hong Kong.  With an enthusiasm for her curriculum that has been fueled by extensive international travel and a love for missions, she is also a YoungLife leader and had the privilege of being a part of establishing YoungLife in Hong Kong five years ago. Lauren says, "I am passionate about introducing my students to Jesus, sharing stories of what I've seen God do around the globe, and helping them see their role in taking the gospel 'to the ends of the earth'."
Another individual who is also no stranger to the Crusader community is Mark Young.  Prior to serving as the family ministries pastor at Palmcroft Church for the past five years, Mark taught for twenty-two years at NCS.  In addition, he is truly part of the legacy of the school in that his father, Dave Young, was the longest-serving superintendent of the school and the Young family was deeply invested in the early growth years of the school.  He has served as a successful coach within the school's basketball program and taught in both the Bible and math departments.  He returns to his Crusader family as a middle school math teacher.  Mark and his wife of twenty years, Melissa, have two high school students, Emily, a senior, and Luke, a freshman.
Joni Keith joins the Northwest Christian Early Education teaching team with experience in the fields of both education and children's ministry.  After being a member of the 2008 national championship Wildcats swim team, Joni graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education.  Since then, she has had the opportunity to work with students all the way from two-years-old through high school as a coach, teacher, and church staff member.  She's served on children's ministry staffs at both El Camino Baptist Church in Tucson and Palmcroft Church in Phoenix.  Joni has been married for eleven years in August and has a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.  

Northwest Christian is also excited to welcome Janelle Hardy to the school's Early Ed team. Janelle has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and a master's degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University.  She and her husband, Ryan, have two Crusader daughters who started at Northwest Christian as Early Education students.  Janelle grew up attending Glendale Nazarene, a church where her family is still thriving.  "I was raised in a Christian home," says Janelle, "and I believe it is important to instill Godly values in little ones, so they can begin walking with Him early in their lives." 
Just two weeks ago, Northwest Christian learned that Kelly Hughes' husband was been transferred to Texas.  The Early Ed team didn't panic in that they had an ace up their sleeves.  Lisa Brown has served as an early education aide for two years in Marcie East's  three-year-old classroom.  Prior to that, she has served in a number of preschool positions that will serve her well in her new role as a pre-K teacher.  After graduating with an elementary education degree from Grand Canyon University and earning her early education endorsement, she taught pre-K at Rancho Solano Preparatory School in Scottsdale for several years before moving on to teach kindergarten.  As such, she is uniquely positioned to understand K readiness and preschool curriculum.  During her time at RSPS, she also served as a science teacher for elementary-aged students.  Following her time at Rancho Solano, she joined the staff of Palmcroft Church as a preschool director where she served for nine years.  Lisa and Geoff Brown have been married for 26 years and have three kids:  George, a senior at Grand Canyon University; Emma, a sophomore at Coloarado Christian University; and Destine, an eighth grader at Northwest Christian.
Barb Manne joins the Crusader family as the elementary art teacher.  She has been an elementary art teacher for nearly twenty years, teaching art at Christian schools in Appleton, WI, and her hometown of Rockford, IL.  She attended Rockford College and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in drawing. "I have always enjoyed working with children and my teaching experience has always been with elementary-aged students," says Barb. "I have had a love for art since I was a child and teaching young artists allows me to relive those memorable experiences. Seeing constant flow of creativity generated by my students is my passion.  It is very important to me to inspire my students to appreciate the visual arts, art history, and the beauty of God's creation that we see around us each day. Additionally, art is an integral part of a student's education as it touches each discipline from math, science, literature, history and more."
"Since high school, God has developed within me a love for learning and teaching," says Joel De Luna, Northwest Christian's new third grade teacher. "It began by teaching junior high and other high school students in Bible studies. This passion spread like a wildfire within my heart as I attended college."  Joel's undergraduate degree is in Christian Ministry from Arizona Christian University and he holds two master's degrees:  Elementary Education from Arizona State University and Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.  Now in his tenth year of teaching, Joel has served in both public education at Monte Vista Elementary and Christian education at Joy Christian School.  He and his wife, Alanna, have two boys in seventh and fourth grades and a newborn daughter. The De Luna family loves the outdoors where they enjoy hiking and camping.  "I am so excited to join the NCS team," says Joel, "and to impact students for Christ!  My family and I are eager to get involved in the community and build lasting relationships with students and families."
The May issue of the NCS Spotlight e-newsletter introduced the community to the school's two new Directors of Curriculum and Instruction.  Jeff Parsons will be serving as the full-time Director of Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on the secondary program.  Jeff joins Northwest Christian after serving for fourteen years within the Glendale Union High School District where he has been both a teacher and an assistant principal (most recently at Independence High School).   Jeff and his wife, Megan, have had three children at Northwest Christian:  William (seventh grade), Ben (sixth grade), and Ava (fourth grade).  Jeff's secondary focus, coupled with the part-time assistance of Don Moenich, who will be focused on the primary grades, will allow time for Jeff to drive several new curricular projects that the school will be launching in the coming year.
Don Moenich will be serving as a part-time Director of Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on the Early Education and Elementary program as he works to support Jeff Parsons' efforts in the secondary.  Don worked with Northwest Christian from 2012 to 2015 when he left to pastor a church in Palo Verde, Arizona.   As he returns to NCS, he will also continue to pastor the church in Palo Verde.  Don has twenty-four years experience in education, specializing his talents as an academic coach in the Alhambra School District.  He has a passion for promoting data-driven instruction, Biblical integration, maximizing student production, and utilizing high-yield instructional strategies in the classroom.

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Save the date!  Homecoming 2018


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MVP Orthopedics and Sports Medicine 081613     

Did you miss any of the last few summer videos?

Catch up on some of the last few "Crusaders Charge into Summer Reading" videos that you may have missed!
Crusaders Charge in Summer Pure Heart
Northwest Christian's Tammy Collins and Geoff Brown talk with three pastors from Pure Heart Church.

Crusaders Charge into Summer Trinity Church
Pastor Mark Driscoll of The Trinity Church and Junior Bible teacher Matt Diaz discuss their favorite Psalms.

Crusaders Charge into Summer Moon Valley Bible
High school math teacher Sandy Fraser, middle school teacher Candace Phillips, and Moon Valley Bible's Bob Kerrey talk family and church.

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Shine Dentistry        

August 6, 2018
Vol. 9, Issue 1 
John 1:12-13
" But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of [b]blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. "
Partnership with Ottawa University
means huge college savings!
The Valentine Group  is a generous sponsor of NCS Athletics

Big O Tires is a generous sponsor of NCS Athletics

Northwest Christian's Prayer Group for Men 
Colorado Christian University

Grand Canyon University

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Free NCS Bumper Sticker!

Show your school spirit!
Please present this coupon in the school office to receive a complimentary NCS bumper sticker. 
Limit one per family.
Offer Expires: Offer available while current supplies last.