head of school'S Blog
As we approach the new year, we begin to think about making New Year’s resolutions. We set goals for losing weight, kicking bad habits, living healthier, reading more, or a myriad of other things. All of these involve change on our part, but for most of us, change is hard. Very few of us follow through on our resolutions. Studies show less than 25% of individuals are still committed to their New Year’s resolutions one month later, and less than 8% actually accomplish their goals. These statistics show how hard it is to follow through even with the best of intentions, in part, because change is so difficult. So, for the next few months, I hope you will indulge me as I begin to discuss this topic in depth, starting with why it is so hard for us to deal with change.
“We are, all of us, creatures of habit, and when the seeming necessity for schooling ourselves in new ways ceases to exist, we fall naturally and easily into the manner and customs which long usage has implanted ineradicably within us.”
This quote from Edgar Rice Burroughs is one of the more famous quotes on the nature of humanity and our penchant for what is familiar. People do not like change even when it is necessary. Most of us drive the same route to work or school and then home again. When things change our normal routine, our mood tends to change as well, and usually not for the better. Following habits is our natural state, and changing habits is difficult.
Change is hard is because it requires effort and thought. Routines are easier because we just repeat past behaviors. When things change, we have to stop and analyze our next steps. This is more work, and as the old saying goes, we tend to follow the path of least resistance.
Change is also challenging because it involves looking forward. People often glamorize the past, blocking negative experiences and remembering only the positive, because it is so painful to be reminded of past failures. Thus, we tend to look at the past through rose-colored lenses and become resistant to change with all its unknowns. Another way to look at it is to say that we only like to look at positive past experiences. I call it the “camera moment." We only take pictures of good experiences so that we can remember them. Rarely does anyone take pictures of a bad experience. It isn’t in our nature to dwell on the bad times.
Lastly, change is difficult because people believe that changing things implies a weakness in their current methods. Changing the way we are currently doing things makes it seem that we must have been doing things incorrectly. While this is not always the case, it can toy with the emotions of those making the changes. Change to make things better is probably the most valid reason to change, but not the only reason. In my next post, we will discuss the reasons why we need to embrace change.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing... -Isaiah 43:18
Dear Parents and Students,
In just one week and a few days, school resumes. That sounds so crazy because it seems like yesterday when we finished the 2018-19 school year. We still have much to do on campus before you arrive, but I did want to give you a quick update on some of the new initiatives and improvements on the campus.
Our main summer project, the remodeling of the newly acquired wings (B,D,F), has stalled as the city of Sunnyvale is backlogged in the permit department. Right now, we are on schedule to complete the remodel around Thanksgiving, which means we will move into the new wings over the Christmas break. Please pray for us that there are no more delays in this project.
We have embarked on a total revamp of our art program, which includes a makeover of the art room. Facilities removed walls, installed new sinks and flooring, and applied a fresh coat of paint, completely transforming the art room. We are eager to start a new chapter in our art program, and the upgraded room will be a real blessing to our students.
Josephine Loy, our Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Relations, is busy preparing for the fundraising event and auction to be held on Saturday, October 5. I think you will be excited about the theme for the Knights Annual Fundraiser. Keep an eye out for further communication about this special community event as well as the goals for the Knights Annual Fund.
This year, our theme in Spiritual Life is Rooted, which is based upon Colossians 2:6-7:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
As a Christ-centered school, we need to be rooted in Him and live a life which reflects the attitudes and actions of the Savior. We want the culture of The King's Academy to be pleasing to Him, which means we have to be intentional about how we cultivate the climate on our campus. Students and staff will be encouraged to place the needs of others above their own. Hopefully, if we can all have the mind of Christ each day, we will treat each other with the same love the Lord Jesus shows to us.
Lastly, this summer, we have worked with diligence to hire teachers to replace those who have moved or retired. I am so excited to introduce these new, well-qualified staff members. Here is a link to short biographies about our new faculty and staff, so you can pray specifically for your student's teachers.
Please also pray for our school community throughout the year!
Head of School
In my thirty-one plus years in education, I have dealt with many different types of discipline issues including those which involve inappropriate student behavior. In every one of those cases, the administration is tasked with resolving the conflicts, administering the consequences to the parties involved, and ultimately, bringing restoration. One of the most challenging aspects of handling these conflicts is maintaining confidentiality. Let me try to explain why that seemingly simple task can be so difficult.
When a student or students get into trouble, the school administration has the responsibility to discipline them. Discipline is very nuanced as it takes into account many elements which may include prior conduct issues, the well-being of the student, the safety of the community, etc. There is much to consider, and often many individuals to consult, before deciding on the appropriate discipline for each student involved. Unfortunately, parents, students and teachers with limited information may begin to talk about the situation with each other and make their own judgments. By definition, this is gossip, and it often harms a person’s character as well as damages the school community.
Wanting to know more information is a normal response. People are eager to find out details for a variety of reasons. Christians may ask for information “to know how to pray for someone.” But Scripture makes it clear in that God knows what we need and can intercede for us when we do not know how to pray.
Often teachers and parents want the administration to use these situations as a learning tool, asking for the school to send a general email stating what happened and how the school responded. However, it is the legal responsibility of the school to follow a privacy law called FERPA, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA was written to give students and parents an assurance that only appropriate material is shared with individuals who need it.
A further complication comes from social media. Sometimes, students who are involved in a discipline situation post comments on social media that are not entirely true. They might be motivated to write these posts to “save face.” Other times, they are deliberately trying to change the narrative to hurt the school, another student, or staff member. In those cases, it becomes even more difficult to maintain confidentiality because, as administrators, we want to set the record straight. However, FERPA doesn’t give administrators that privilege.
In summary, schools must maintain the right to privacy and ensure that parents and students can come to them in confidence. Our responsibility is to help those who are hurting and not to satisfy the curiosity of those not involved. Ultimately, our job is to follow the federal law to protect the confidentiality rights of our students and families, and we believe that this is also how Christ would want us to handle these sensitive situations.
Dear TKA Families,
School is right around the corner. This week is our staff work week as well as a time for students to pick up their textbooks. The summer is essentially over and, depending on your viewpoint (parents can't wait for school to start while kids want to enjoy a few more weeks of late mornings), that may be either good or bad news.
While you and your family have been enjoying your summer vacation, TKA staff have been very busy preparing for another school year. This past week, we held our new staff orientation, and I am so pleased to announce to you the newest members of TKA's team. We believe God has brought each one of them here to minister to your students, fulfilling the mission of academic excellence and building enduring relationships. In fact, as we hire new staff members, we strive to find individuals who believe in, and have been actively involved in, relational ministry. Here is a link to bios for our new staff and faculty.
This year, we are continuing with our theme of Creating Excellence. Over the summer, we held our first ever "Paint with the Principals," and it was a huge success. Over 40 parents and students helped us to repaint the A, C, and E wings. Along with our facilities crew, who repainted overhangs, the W, many classrooms, and refinished all of the outdoor benches, our campus has never looked better. We finished the week with pizza for all of the volunteers. I hope many of you will plan to join us for another parent/student/staff workday in the future as we build pride in the wonderful campus God has provided to us.
Creating Excellence will also be the theme for our Knights Annual Fund campaign this year. God recently blessed us with the installation of 550 new seats in the Cabot Theater. It is going to enhance the experience for our students during chapel and for those attending our visual and performing arts programs. Look for more updates this coming fall on some of our new projects for this year as we continue to improve the quality of the campus. (Mr. Matt Nisbet, our Operations Director, recently sent out an email that listed many of the upgrades to our campus this past summer.)
Our spiritual life theme this year, Authentic Faith, is taken from Hebrews 11. As we study the lives of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews, we realize that authentic faith in Christ does not demand perfection; Christ is our perfection. Authentic faith asks for a wholehearted devotion and determination to follow after Christ.
As we kick off the new school year, please join me in praying for our staff and our students. The Lord has given us a wonderful opportunity to minister to over 940 students and families. We do not take this responsibility lightly. I hope you enjoy this last week of the summer holidays, but feel free to stop in and see me for a personal tour of all the things God is doing on our campus.
Head of School
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