In our Statement of Faith found on our website, TPCS states that “We believe in the equality of races because there is no distinction in God’s treatment of people (Romans 2:11, Ephesians 5:18).” That belief is foundational to who we are and how we should behave. To ensure that we live our statement of faith, all employees at TPCS will be undergoing Diversity Training over the next several months. We believe that this training will help us develop the strongest relationships possible to carry out our credo (Training scholars. Making disciples. Graduating leaders.) effectively.
For our diversity training, the school will be partnering with a group called Mosaix. This training will begin with a preassessment of all employees. Once the preassessment is completed, Mosaix will compile an organizational profile. That profile will inform the live training that will follow. We plan to have our first 3-hour training session on November 30. This is the Monday that we return from Thanksgiving break. The 30th was originally a scheduled school day, but we will not have school that day and instead will make this a dedicated staff professional development day. This training date will be followed by a second 3-hour session on our already planned professional development day, January 4, 2021.
We are looking forward to this training and expanding our capacity for providing a robust relational kingdom education at TPCS.
See You at the Pole™, the global day of student prayer began in 1990 as a grassroots movement with ten students praying at their school. Twenty years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September.
See You at the Pole™ is simply a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. It is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event. However, parents, churches, and families are encouraged to participate. To learn more and to get involved, visit www.syatp.com.
The See You at the Pole Story
A small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, came together for a DiscipleNow weekend in early 1990. They came seeking God, and little did they know how powerfully He was about to move. On Saturday night, their hearts were penetrated like never before when they became broken before God and burdened for their friends. Compelled to pray, they drove to three different schools that night. Not knowing exactly what to do, they went to the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders. Those students had no idea how God would use their obedience.
God used what He did among those teenagers and others who were holding similar prayer meetings at their schools to birth a vision in the hearts of youth leaders across Texas. The vision was that students throughout Texas would follow these examples and meet at their school flagpoles to pray simultaneously. The challenge was named See You at the Pole™ at a brainstorming session during a meeting of key youth leaders. The vision was shared with 20,000 students in June 1990 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.
Only God had envisioned how many students would step up to the challenge. At 7:00 a.m. on September 12, 1990, more than 45,000 teenagers met at school flagpoles in four different states to pray before the start of school.
A few months later, a group of youth ministers from all over the country gathered together for a national conference in Colorado. Many of them reported that their students had heard about the prayer movement in Texas and were equally burdened for their schools. No other events had been planned, but it was clear that students across the country would be creating their own national day of student prayer. There was no stopping them.
On September 11, 1991, at 7:00 a.m., an estimated one million students gathered at school flagpoles all over the country. From Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, from North Dakota to the tip of Texas, students came together to pray. Some sang, some read Scripture, but most importantly, they prayed. Like those first students, they prayed for their schools, for their friends, for their leaders, and for their country.
As in all great movements of prayer, See You at the Pole™ did not begin in the hearts of people. It began in the heart of God. God used the obedience of a small group of teenagers to ignite what has become an international movement of prayer among young people.
Since 1991, See You at the Pole™ has grown to God-sized proportions. Within the first few years, the movement began to spread to other nations through missionaries from the U.S. Now each year, more than 3 million students from all the world participate in See You at the Pole™. Students in more than 20 countries take part. In places like Canada, Korea, Japan, Turkey, and the Ivory Coast, students are responding to God and taking the challenge seriously to pray.
God is continuing to call His people to repentance and prayer. We invite all TPCS Knights to join us at the flagpole this Wednesday at 7:30 am for 9th-12th at the High School flagpole and 7:55 am K-8 at the academy flagpole to pray for our school community. See you there.
As we navigate these murky waters of the management of the CoVID19 virus, we regularly use the terms asymptomatic and symptomatic. I don’t want to get into a discussion about this related to CoVID19, but I want to use it as an analogy. Are we an asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious person in all aspects of our lives?
As one who proclaims to be a Christian, am I asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious? Does my life reflect what the Scripture tells us to be in Matthew 15? Matthew 15:13-16 13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. If you are a believer, would your symptoms show?
I also think about this as an organizational leader, am I asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious leader? I challenged our Upper School teachers with this same thought this week. Are we asymptomatic or symptomatic infectious teachers? I challenge you as parents, are you asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious in your parenting?
We cannot control whether or not we become infected with the CoVID19 virus. Still, we can control our attitudes, which is the most significant contributing factor to whether or not we are asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious. Be symptomatic contagious today for Christ.
It’s invisible to the naked eye but powerful enough to stop a nation. It is highly contagious and knows no boundaries. It impacts all people, ages, genders, and races differently. I’m sure you know what I am talking about, or do you? You see what I am referring to could be CoVID19, racism, political unrest, or disunity within the body of Christ. No matter which one you choose the end result is destruction.
Each of these diseases are very destructive in and of themselves. We as a society and a body of believers allow them to permeate our hearts and our minds. If you have not noticed it, we are living in a time of enhanced tensions, and anxiety, like I have never seen before. We fear the virus, we are appalled and tired of racism, we are divided by the political unrest and the associated activities of each side. We let these things captivate our minds and hearts and divide us as a body of believers. We allow the tensions and anxiety to take our eyes off of our purpose as believers on earth. Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Here’s how you can pursue unity with other believers:
- Make no distinctions among believers (racism). Remember that, in God’s eyes, there are no distinctions between His children who are in Christ.
- Surrender your agenda to God’s agenda (political). Instead of letting your personal agenda guide you, make a habit of seeking God’s will and fulfilling His purposes as you face decisions each day.
- Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Invite God to speak to you through the Bible, which will transform your thoughts and help you see other believers from His perspective.
- Forgive. Don’t allow bitterness, over ways other believers have hurt you, to poison your soul and block your intimacy with God.
- Overcome evil with good. Don’t be afraid to confront evil when you encounter it. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you discern what’s going on spiritually in any situation and stand firm against evil. Be aware that Satan wants to divide and distance believers from each other; resist this danger and overcome it with God’s love.
- Pray for each other. Intercede regularly for other believers.
- Control your thoughts and words. Be proactive about choosing not to think negative thoughts or speak harsh words, which can bring great destruction in your relationships with other believers.
- Oh yeah, wear your mask.
So, the challenge of the disease is the choice we make. Let’s take what Satan has meant for evil and allow God to use to turn that into good.
TPCS Knights Start of School Update
Today is day twelve of our new school year, and here are some critical updates.
EXCITED START & PAUSE:
The enthusiasm during our first days of school has been palpable. It has been clear that our students were excited about being back with their friends. We have placed face-to-face learning in the K-12 on pause through the 28th with a plan to return on the 31st. For these next five school days, we will work to offer excellent education virtually.
COVID+ AT SCHOOL:
Please note that all COVID-19 positives made known to us are reported and investigated by the Boone County Health Department (BCHD). If the COVID+ child or adult has been in school, they and their close contacts are evaluated so that BCHD can determine if the connection was close enough to warrant quarantine. This circle of students or staff can grow large in a hurry on just a single case, and all exposed individuals are contacted directly if a BCHD quarantine is ordered for them. We appreciate conscientious parents who have reached the school to signal a pending test, a positive test, or a likely close contact. Being forthcoming about this helps to reduce the chances of spread, screen, and report. Thank you!
WHAT ABOUT COVID-19?
Experts predicted that positive COVID cases incubated in settings before school started would come about for reporting after school started. This began happening on Monday the 10th. As a result of the positive case(s) in high school, we have moved them to virtual learning until August 28th. As the positive case close contact tracing expanded, it began to include more staff. You may recognize that I did not indicate the age or role of the staff or students with the exposure, which led to this abundantly cautious decision. This was by design and will continue.
We planned for this situation and are prepared to have students in and out of school throughout this first semester and maybe beyond. We will continue to offer face-to-face learning for those in school and synchronous and asynchronous learning for those at home. Attached to this newsletter is the guide that the Indiana State Health Department has given us to manage our return to school protocol for COVID+ and close contact cases. We continue to work closely with the BCHD as we journey through this season.
While we are away from campus, please conscientiously manage your child's exposure to others in their community so we can minimize the spread at TPCS.
We will have occasion to report to BCHD about more cases, and we will refrain from calling out individuals by stating their grade, age, or role. It may occur in a small class or another group that some students or staff are missing from attendance in person for some number of days. Still, we will not be sharing who was positive (through no fault of their own) and who was merely exposed and thereby quarantined (through no fault of their own) to a COVID+ family member, friend, or stranger. While blame is a strong focus in the media, we want to foster a positive environment for all students as they return to face-to-face classes. Please know that every single positive test reported in this county receives individual follow-up and contacts to all individuals of likely exposure.
Linked is an article from Dr. Tim Elmore on Five Ideas to Keep Negativity from Becoming Normal During Quarantine. I hope you will read this.
SO HOW DO WE NAVIGATE THROUGH THESE UNCHARTED WATERS…BY FAITH.
God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, and all that is in it. Any use or disposition He chooses to make, of any part of His creation, is His sovereign right.
We do not expect to understand the purpose of our trials fully until our Lord calls us home to be with Him. But we do know that He loves us too much to harm us and that He is far more concerned with our welfare than we are. God's choices are always right. He is capable of carrying out any plan to a successful conclusion without the possibility of fault or failure. Nothing in His universe happens by chance or accident. For every effect, there is a cause. God "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:11-12). Yes, God is in control.
Do I believe that God is really in control? The mere thought of questioning the sovereignty of God scares me. But then, the management of the universe is a question with which most of us have grappled at some time. We Christians affirm our belief in the sovereignty of God, but our faith is challenged in times of natural upheaval, national disaster, or personal affliction. Pain, poverty, disease, death, sorrow, and suffering all tend to cause us to think seriously about God as creator and controller of the world of which we are all a part. It is not always easy to believe that God is in control. But He is, so let's trust BY FAITH that He will lead us through this and that our words and actions will bring honor and glory to Him.
In this season of uncertainty and fear, the fact that there are so many things beyond our control makes us very anxious. After all, there are only so many times we can wash our hands, and only so many masks we can wear. While looking for the good in this situation God has reminded me during my devotional time of His sovereignty.
1. Remember that God is in control
It is easy to let anxiety overwhelm us. After all, the virus is an invisible, uncontrollable enemy. But instead of indulging in our worries, let’s focus on the assurance that God has everything under control. Let’s look around ourselves and see just how much God is providing for us amid this season.
For me, I see God’s boundless provision in the students at the school. We see God’s provision in a highly qualified faculty. We see God’s provision in a stable internet connection and electronic devices that allow us to connect with students learning at home.
Knowing that God provides for us in such ways—even before we ask Him—goes to show that He cares so much for us. It tells me I need not be afraid and worry, for our Heavenly Father knows what we need (Matthew 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all), and He will provide them for us (Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.)
Even in the hardest times God sees us and hears us. He knows our pain. God knows what we need, and in His time, He will provide. He always does.
2. Entrust our questions to Him
As we listen to the reports every day, we wonder when this is going to end. When will we be able to get back to some semblance of normal? What will happen to my job if this continues? What will happen to my kids who graduated or are graduating from college, will they find work? I’m out of work will I ever find a good job again?
As we bombard God with all these questions, it is easy to feel frustrated when we don’t see the answers we’re looking for. But even then, we can place our faith in God—we know that His timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven), and even amidst this pandemic, He is at work. We also know that God’s plans are for our own good (Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.), and therefore He will be with us every step of the journey, and will always watch over us and provide for us.
Even when we have burning questions about how long the pandemic will last—about the safety of our loved ones—we can put our trust in God. We should bring our questions to Jesus instead of doubting His goodness and love. We should search for answers in the Bible and pray. We should surrender any doubts to Jesus, such as doubts that He will protect our loved ones from harm. Ask Him to help you refocus on Him and His sovereignty.
3. Know that you were born for such a time as this
After prayer and reflection, we realize that this pandemic is the perfect opportunity for us to work for the furtherance of God’s kingdom. When the Jews faced great dangers, Mordecai told Queen Esther, and who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14). Like Queen Esther, we too have a role to play—to have faith and use whatever opportunity or talent we have for God because we have been born for such a time as this.
There are many things we all can do to reach out to others and to share His love with the world. There’s always something every one of us can do. We can reach out to our school family or teachers and ask them how they’re doing. Just a few simple, sincere words can go a long way and touch hearts. We can use the talents God has blessed us with to share the gospel. We can encourage teachers with our words by writing thoughtful messages. We can continue holding up our TPCS family in prayer. We aren’t helpless in this situation, and God values our efforts to further His kingdom, big or small.
Though we may be living in uncertain times right now, let’s not lose hope and faith. Let’s turn our eyes and focus our hearts on Jesus, and He will walk with us as we weather this storm together. We should not be filled with worry and fear, because even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4). God is with us every step of the way.
School bells rang, and smiling faces are back in the buildings. We are so excited to be back at school. Yes, there are things to be concerned about this year. We are delighted to be able to engage with our students face-to-face and pour into their lives emotionally, spiritually, and academically. The students were so excited to see their friends and join in something that feels normal to them. The faculty and staff have spent five days together worshipping, praying, planning, and training in preparation for the start of the year. TPCS, in partnership with InWell, spent time focusing on how to assist our students with their emotional health under the direction of Lynette Clark. InWell is a client-centered practice providing outpatient and school-based services throughout Boone County.
While this year starts with concerns about the physical and emotional safety of the students and the staff, we are trusting in the Lord to care for the TPCS community of families and staff. It is most likely inevitable that someone in our community will become COVID+ this year. We will manage through that case resting on both the wisdom of the Boone County Health Department as well as the Lord to protect us from serious impact from the virus.
Philippians 4:6 reminds us Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. So, let's move into this year By Faith, trusting God to sustain us, whether in health or illness, because our hope is in the Lord.
Fear what Satan will do to us during this time of uncertainty and anxiousness more than the virus.
“Why should we sit here waiting to die?” 2 Kings 7:3
Our kids are the most seat-belted, bike-helmeted, air-bagged, knee-pad wearing, private-schooled, gluten-free, hand sanitized, peanut avoiding, sunscreen-slathering, hyper-insured, massively medicated, pass-word protected, valet-parked, security-systemed, child-protected, inoculated generation in history—and all it has done is make them more anxious and afraid. We are so anxious over the uncertainty that we refuse to venture out—to take any risks. We insulate, inoculate, isolate, then pray that we’ll not have to face any real challenges.
Unless we teach our kids to be willing to take risks, their futures will be stymied. Yes, there’s a time for playing it safe. But when caution and isolation becomes a lifestyle, we get bogged down while life passes us by. When we finish praying, searching the Scriptures, and listening to godly counsel – we’ve got to put our faith into action.
Four lepers sat outside the besieged famine-stricken city of Samaria. They considered their situation. “We’re starving to death. There’s food in the enemy camp. Enemy soldiers are swarming over it. We can play it safe, sit here, and die. Or go into the camp and see whether they feed us or kill us!” They knew their worst option was playing it safe and doing nothing. So what happened?
They were saved by taking a step of faith. Now, our risks may be less dramatic. But unless we take them, we’ll never fulfill our God-given assignment in life. The Bible says, “Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.” (Ecclesiastes 10:8-9) By trying to avoid falls, bites, injuries, danger, etc., we miss out on life’s opportunities.
Walking by faith means: (1) Accepting worthwhile risks. We’ve got to go out on a limb, for that’s where the fruit is. (2) Preparing wisely for your risks. The military assumes a very high level of risk, so to mitigate the risk, they train relentlessly.
But here’s the big question: Why do we as Christians believe that God calls us to safe places to do the easy things? Where do you see that in the Bible? Abraham was called to leave everything he knew to follow God and was never even told where he would be going. Moses was called to go back to the country that wanted him for murder and deliver generations of slaves. David was called to face Goliath, a shepherd boy in a life and death battle with a trained and skilled soldier. And Isaiah was called to devote his life to a ministry that by all human accounts appeared to be a failure—called to preach to a people who did not want to hear Him. We could go on and on and on.
Are you allowing people in general, our children specifically, to see your faith?
I know it seems too early to be thinking about the next school year, but the Administration at TPCS is feverishly working to develop an excellent plan for our return. As I stated in my last newsletter, we desire to return to school face-to-face this August. The Return-to-School Task Force of parents and Administration have been meeting to develop recommendations to present to the school board for approval. The Task Force recommendations have been made after research, consideration of what is feasible and practical, what is in the best interest of the learning environment, and considering the guidance from the CDC. The recommendation covers a breadth of topics from calendars, class schedules, group meetings, drop-off/pick-up, cleaning, hygiene, signage, restroom breaks, transitions, bus transportation, before/aftercare, lunch, recess, camps, and more. After meeting with the Task Force yesterday, the Administration will review the recommendations one more time before they are sent to the school board on June 18 for their review and amendment. After the school board approves the plan, we will send it to the Boone County Health Department on June 19 for their review and approval. Once we hear back from Boone County, we will publish those plans to our parents. All this being said, we know that the Governor could make our plan obsolete when he unveils his return to school plan at the end of the month. We plan to have a Town Hall format meeting on July 6 at 7:00 pm to discuss the Return-to-School plan and allow parents to ask questions about the process and implementation of the plan. This meeting will be held in person as well as streamed online.
It is my desire, the desire of the Task Force, and the TPCS Administration that we will all meet face-to-face in August even though it might not look exactly like school did last year. We want to return safely and thoughtfully, advancing the successful accomplishment of our mission.
Jr High Building Update
If you have driven by the new construction, you will see that we have walls up, and the building is moving forward. Unfortunately, due to COVID19 and other factors, the completion date has been pushed back into September. With that being the case, we are adjusting our plans to accommodate the Jr High students remaining in the modular building until the end of September. This delay is not what we were hoping for, but if we have learned any life lessons over the past several months and as God's word says in Proverbs 16:9, 'In the hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps'; we are not in control of all that takes place in our lives. We are committed to working hard to make the start of the new year a success for our Jr High students and faculty.
“Try hard not to offend, try even harder not to be offended.” Ben Crenshaw
Planning Our Return-to-School
As Indiana continues to move forward on its five-part reopening plan, we are excited about developing our return to school plans. While life on campus may feel differently next year with increased health and safety procedures and other appropriate operational changes, we desire to reopen this August safely.
I am so proud of how our teachers, staff, and administrators have stepped up to deliver effective education during this challenging time. However, we lose something beautiful and irreplaceable when we are not in the classroom.
To adequately plan for a safe return, we have launched a Return-to-School Task Force of 15 parents and seven members of the Leadership Team. These parents were selected from over 60 volunteers and they represent all ages of our school children. This team is equipped with many professional skills to include medicine, strategic planning, and military planning. This task force will be developing a recommendation to be presented to the administration and School Board as consideration for final preparation to reopen in August safely. To broaden our perspective, I am also involved in a strategy group with leaders of central Indiana Christian Schools. It is important to note that, according to the Governor and Indiana Department of Education, guidance for schools is not planned on being communicated until June 30th. So, our plan is designed to be flexible and adaptive. We hope to present a plan in late June or early July to our school families.
Despite the current challenge, we are working hard to maintain the positive momentum that we have experienced in the last two years. An essential component of our success is the ongoing value that our community places on the Christian education provided at TPCS.
What about questions you may have? Questions about finances and how the next school year may look? First, I hope that this communication has underscored for you our desire to return to face-to-face learning. While I cannot make any specific guarantees at this point, I can tell you that we do not want to continue with distance learning as a fulltime learning model. If we do need to return to a short-term distance learning model, we will take what we have learned from this experience and make our delivery even better next year. We are also looking at many alternatives, including a hybrid model and a modified calendar, among many other options. We will be communicating our plan in late June or early July.
Second, if you are experiencing financial or other uncertainty, I urge you to contact our Finance Office. Our Finance Office will work with you to explore options and try to find an appropriate solution. If you want your student to have a quality Christ-centered education, we want to work with you to make that happen.
Lastly, as we prepare for whatever next school year holds, I am confident in our ability to provide ongoing excellence in Christian education. Now more than ever, I am convinced that our Christ-focused education is needed. It is our priority. I trust that it is yours as well.
TPCS has weathered many storms. I invite you to STAND STRONG with us as we overcome this current challenge and build an even better and stronger TPCS.