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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
When I was young, I was kept in a little room underground.   Wait, that didn't come out right.  Let me try again.  When I was growing up, my parents put me in the basement.  Uh, still doesn't sound quite right.  Perhaps I should back up a bit...

I grew up in Johnston, Iowa, a little town right outside of Des Moines.  Amazing parents.  Wonderful family.  In fact, my wife and I have both worked very hard to provide our kids with the same sort of happy homes that we were both blessed with as children.  But, from my childhood, there is one memory that really comes back around pretty frequently for me-- my view from the basement.

We lived in a relatively small house and, at first, I shared a room with my brother.  Eventually, my parents built out a bedroom in the basement that I could have as my own.  I hung a Nerf hoop on the door and a Starsky and Hutch poster on the wall, listened to Three Dog Night on a Sears and Roebuck turntable that I got for $5 at a garage sale, and remembered to feed a goldfish every fifth day or so.  It was my space and I loved it.  But, again, my favorite part of living underground was the view.

Each morning, it could not have been much later than 5:00am, I could hear the floorboards above my head begin to creak as footsteps progressed down the bedroom hallway and towards the kitchen.  In a moment or so, under the door at the top of the basement stairway, an illumed sliver would break through as a light came on over the breakfast table.  I knew this routine well and came to cherish it.  Sometimes, in fact, I would get up out of bed, quietly sneak up the stairs, crouch down, and peak under the door.  It was my dad.  He would be sitting at the table with steaming coffee in one hand and a worn leather Bible with gold trimmed pages that held bunches of red letters in the other.  I lived in that house until the seventh grade and I can remember some days--days that seemed so difficult to a junior high kid trying to figure it all out--where his shining example of passion for God's word illuminated my path.  His brilliant example inspired the same daily discipline in my life since the fourth grade  (maybe just not as early as 5:00am ).

There are so many "good" reasons that I could give for not making that time part of my routine:  I am busy, I work at a Christian school, I am active in my church, and so many other seemingly great excuses.  But, over the years, because of one bright and burning example, I have resisted the temptation to allow anything, no matter how noble, to supplant time in God's word. 

I want to invite our Crusader dads into two similar opportunities to inspire your children's walk with Christ.  Why?  Because they are watching.  Maybe not peeking out from under the basement door but watching more closely than you may realize nonetheless.

First, for the fathers of elementary-aged students, ask them about Mr. Brown's "Red Letter Challenge".  They'll know all about it.  Consider inviting them to join you every day as you read through this Bible reading plan together.  Sure, on the day you get this email, we'll already be worked up to Luke 17.  But, as I tell the students in chapel, it's never too late to fall in love with God's word.  In fact, if you'll consider joining me in this reading effort, your students would still be eligible for the incentive we put out there.  Please, prayerfully consider this.. .the details can be found HERE.

Second, once each month, as we will next Friday (March 8th), under the banner of "Big Boys on Campus", a group of guys will come together on campus at 7:00am for coffee, a free breakfast, and time in fellowship, prayer, and God's word.  No one makes it every month--but you will find yourself welcome on any month you can make it.

In both cases, as men and leaders within our homes, we have the perfect opportunity to model for our kids that as much as we love our wives and our children, we love Jesus and His precious word the most.  I promise it will be an example that they will never forget.

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Crusader Girls Soccer Scores First State Championship in Program History
Crusader Boys Soccer adds fourth purple banner to gym for the year as they finish as state runners up 

Two critical, trying moments after seventy scoreless minutes made the difference in Northwest Christian's first girls soccer state championship.  Just seconds into overtime against Anthem Prep, Makenzi Wisely took a kick-off and passed the ball quickly forward to sprinting senior Logan Maszton who, with a fast turn, punched the ball into the net for the only goal of the game.  Just a few minutes later, with Crusader defense fighting to save their lead as time wound down, Anthem Prep staged their last-ditch effort to tie the game.  But Crusader goalie Bethany Heater made a stunning block and came up with the ball.  Later, to the press, Heater summed up what the team realized in that moment in a comment to a reporter:   "I give all the glory to God because I had to make that save and I was in the right spot. After I saved that I thought, 'Oh my gosh, we probably just won this!'"

In recognition for her leadership and strong play, Logan Maszton was picked by the AIA as the 3A state player of the year.  In addition, Coach Jeff Penzone was picked as the 3A coach of the year.  Coach Penzone took over the Northwest Christian girls soccer program after winning two state championships within the NC boys soccer programs in 2010 and 2011 (as well as a state runners up in 2014).  This recent win means that Penzone notched the first state soccer championships for both the school's boys and girls programs.

Under coach Jeremy Witt, the Northwest Christian boys program had a similarly stellar season finishing as the 2019 3A state runners up after a hard fought loss to Coronado in the final and after beating Yuma Catholic in overtime in the state semi-final game.

These recent wins bring the tally of 2018/2019 state championships to three (with football and volleyball in the fall) and one runner up--a total of four new purple banners for the gym for the current school year.

In the other winter sports, Northwest Christian boys basketball made it all the way to state semi's with a 9-point win over Gilbert Christian.  In wrestling, seven Crusaders made it to the State Tournament where four placed with the team finishing tenth out of forty-eight schools.  Senior Dominic Sahar finished as state runner up in the heavyweight category. 
Spotlight on Students

The annual "Top of the School Lunch" is a long-standing Northwest Christian tradition wherein each February the seniors with the top ten GPA's enjoy a steak lunch on the highest point on the school campus:  the roof of the two-story classroom building.  This year's group (pictured right) enjoyed lunch from the Outback Steakhouse that was served to them by school administrators.  "I'm very proud of this group and their hard work and dedication," says superintendent Geoff Brown.  "Within this group we have some accomplished students--a National Merit Finalist, a 3A defensive football player of the year, an Air Force Academy cadet, a 34 on the ACT, and I could go on!  I am so excited to see where the Lord takes these young people!"
Crusader Senior Kaylena Berles is National Merit Scholarship Finalist
Berles' ranking places her among the highest-achieving students in the country

About 1.6 million students in over 22,000 high schools throughout the nation enter the National Merit Scholarship competition annually when they take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). This test, a standard at Northwest Christian, serves to screen program entrants, measuring critical reading ability, mathematics problem-solving ability, and writing ability. Semifinalists are designated on a state-by-state basis and they are the highest-scoring program entrants, representing the top 0.5% percent of the state's senior students.  From the Semifinalist group, a certain number of students, varying from year to year, advance to Finalist standing depending on a number of criteria. By the conclusion of the competition, a select group of Finalists are chosen to receive prestigious National Merit Scholarships totaling nearly $35 million.

Northwest Christian was excited to learn that senior Kaylena Berles has advanced within the National Merit Scholarship competition past the Semifinalist stage and has been selected as a Finalist.  This ranking is achieved by less than 15,000 students nationally.  

The school was also excited to learn that two of Kaylena's peers, Emma Patterson and Victoria Hendrix, have been recognized similarly as National Merit Scholarship Commended Students. Commended students are recognized within the competition because they scored within the top 50,000 scorers from within the national pool of 1.6 million students.

"The young men and women being named have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented one of the spokespeople for the NMSC. "The students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishment, as well as the schools that play a key role in their development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Spotlight on Students

In January, the seniors from AP Physics 2 had a fantastic time learning with American Flyers, a flight school at the Scottsdale Airport (above). The staff pulled out all the stops, introducing students to applications for the intricate fluid dynamics equations they have studied. The tour included practice in the simulator, explanation of the forces of flight, examination of the engine and airplane components, and even a flight around the airspace.   Then, in February, the AP Physics 2 class enjoyed a campus visit from Copper Star Balloons.  The class had the first-hand opportunity to learn about the physical forces at work within hot air balloon flight as they enjoyed a tethered lift-off.  The day also included the unique opportunity to enjoy a physics lecture and Q&A inside the balloon! (Pictured below.)

Enjoy the Spring 2019 Northwest Christian musical! 
The NCS Theatre Department presents Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella".  This delightfully romantic and hilarious take on the ultimate makeover story features all the classic elements that you remember--the pumpkin carriage, the glass slipper, the masked ball, and some surprising new twists!

March 7th, 8th, and 9th
Apollo High School Auditorium

Girls and boys are cordially invited to The Royal Princess Tea Party. Join some of your favorite princesses for a regal extravaganza full of music, laughter and joy.  March 9
th at 10am at the Apollo High School Theatre. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes
Midyear Benchmark Testing Proves that Crusaders are Working Hard
Midyear DIBELS testing has record results for 1st grade and others around the campus

As within this issue of the Spotlight e-newsletter, it has become  Northwest Christian tradition:  the annual announcement that seniors have competed to earn the top academic recognition in the country as National Merit Scholars, Finalists, Semi-Finalists, and Commended Students.  But, of course these overt manifestations of academic excellence are indicative of a much deeper commitment by students and teachers to covert classroom strategies.  The truth is that students, faculty, and family, are working very hard--even within the youngest grades--to be sure to maximize the returns on the time invested in hard study.

Northwest Christian employs numerous periodic assessments throughout the school year to ascertain, and adjust if necessary, the academic trajectory of all students.  Four years ago, the school migrated away from Pearson's Stanford 10 assessment towards the ACT Aspire standardized test.  "The benefit was multi-faceted," explains superintendent Geoff Brown.  "First, the Aspire articulates up to the college ACT test that our high school students take.  This means that, starting in third grade, our students are being assessed against and prepared for the test that will ultimately prove very consequential within their university and post-high school aspirations.  Second, the Aspire affords us the opportunity to benchmark test our students throughout the year.  This means that we don't wait until the end of one school year to make adjustments for the following school year.  In real time, we can determine if our students are on course for where they need to be before the end of the year or, in most cases, before the end of the first quarter!"

Last year's ACT Aspire summative (year-ending) test, showed that all grade levels met or exceeded national Blue Ribbon standards determined by the Center for American Private Education.  Effectively, that places Northwest Christian students in the top 15% of all private ed students in the country.

The most recent ACT Aspire benchmark test was administered in February in third through tenth grades.  This is one of three such interim tests that students will take.  "We hit this frequency," explains director of curriculum and instruction Jeff Parsons, "because we have invested in technology in all classes that allows for the assessments to be taken quickly and in real time so that students don't lose valuable instructional time.  February 2019 interim test data shows that already over 50% of students in third through ninth grades have surpassed May 2019 expectations.  Further, over 90% of these students have surpassed the English expectations."

These results are indicative of a commitment made within the youngest grades.  There are numerous metrics that the school uses to assess students in these younger grades.  One such test, the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) was recently administered to first grade students and the results were very telling.  The test rates students in several categories of reading fluency:  "at risk", "some risk", or "low risk".  The most recent administration of the test showed that nearly 100% of first graders exceeded any level of risk.  Similar results were reported in the balance of elementary classrooms.
Spotlight on Alumni

Congratulations to Northwest Christian alumni Kara Morrow!

"Kara is the first Grand Canyon University Honors College student to be selected for a White House internship. A middle child, Kara comes from one of GCU's most highly accomplished families.   Kelsey Morrow, a 2015 GCU graduate slated to finish chiropractor school in May, and Kaleb Morrow, a National Merit Finalist, complete the Honors College trio, who were raised with love, wisdom and Christian values in the Peoria home of Kelvin and Kelly Morrow."  All three Morrow's graduated from Northwest Christian School before attending Grand Canyon University...more info can be found HERE.
Spotlight on Students

Rodeo Days within the Northwest Christian Early Education program are always a blast!  The youngest Crusaders enjoyed time with parents as they walked through a petting zoo, rode ponies, played games, and lived life as cowboys!
Northwest Christian Students Continue to Invest Themselves in Kids Kingdom
Six times each year, Crusaders travel to a very special orphanage in Imuris, Sonora 

In early February, over thirty Crusaders traveled the well-worn path between the campus of Northwest Christian School and the Kids Kingdom orphanage in Imuris, Sonora.  Though the road between these two ministries remains four to five hours long from a geographic perspective, spiritually the two organizations have grown closer and closer over the last seven years.  Founded by pastor Arturo and Lilliana Jiminez, Kids Kingdom has served as host for between five to six teams of Crusaders each year.  The opportunity for students to travel to Imuris begins in eighth grade where Kids Kingdom serves as the grade's Missions Learning Partner within the school's Missions Learning program.  This month's trip allowed the eighth graders (as well as trip leaders which included high schoolers and alumni) to prepare meals, paint, do yard work, host a Saturday morning "Kids Club", play with countless kids, and participate in the KK-hosted worship services.

The trips are led by Northwest Christian's 'spiritual formation coordinator', Chris "Mr. G" Gardiner.  Gardiner has led this trip--which will include another upcoming trip for nearly forty high schoolers this spring--well over a hundred times.  Over that time, NCS has been able to contribute significantly and materially to the Kids Kingdom ministry, even helping to provide the resources that allowed for the construction of a Kids Kingdom sanctuary in neighboring Benjamin Hill, Sonora.

Perhaps the most beautiful expression of partnership, however, has materialized in just this last year as the Gardiner family has started moving through the international adoption process for one of Kids Kingdom's youngest, a little girl whose birth cerfiicate now reads "Elena Bethany Gardiner".  You can learn more about that moving story by clicking HERE.  Or, if you feel prompted to help the Gardiner family as they pursue this effort, click HERE.
Northwest Christian Pack-a-thon 2019
March 13-14, 2019
You are invited!

As part of our spring 'Pack-a-thon' we are working to pack over 100,000 meals with Feed My Starving Children for hungry children around the world.  Please join us!

(This MobilePack event will not have registration open to the public. We want this event to be exclusively for NCS students. Thank you!)

Do you know a business that would be interested in being a sponsor for our "pack-a-thon" event with FMSC? Feel free to send them  this  form.
Spotlight on Students

On February 12th, Northwest Christian joined with other Christian schools around the world for a day of prayer. The effort, #SchoolsthatPray, was put together by the Association of Christian Schools International, one of the two groups that accredits NCS.  Around the campus, Crusaders prayed for their school, for other Christian schools around the globe, and for revival.

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

March 1, 2019
Vol. 9, Issue 6 
I John 4:11-12

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
Parent University--save the date!
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

Generous Supporters of Northwest Christian


Northwest Christian's Prayer Group for Men 
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Grand Canyon University

Box Tops for Education
NCS Purple Pages
Moms in Prayer
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

State Tuition Tax Credit Opportunity
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes


a NCS service learning partner

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.