head of school'S Blog
What started as a single protest by Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers has moved from the NFL to college football, and now into the high school arena. On Friday night, our students and fans got to see first-hand some of the protests that are popping up all over the country. In fact, Colin made his way to the sidelines of Kellogg Field at The King’s Academy and participated with the Castlemont team protest during the playing of the national anthem. Team members from the Knights of Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA, decided to lay down on the sidelines of the field with their arms raised, simulating being shot while surrendering to police. Prior to the game, I had sent an email to our staff giving them a “heads up” that something might happen at the game. This was not the first protest by Castlemont High. I was very proud of the way our fans and team responded to the protest, so I have decided that I would share some of my thoughts on how Christians should be acting during these strangest of times.
My first reaction to these protests has been, and always will be, that all Americans have a right to peacefully protest. It is one of the fundamental rights we have as citizens in this great country. Voicing one’s opinion, no matter how misguided, is protected by the first amendment to the constitution. However, actions have consequences and every athlete who makes a decision to protest will have to face the potential backlash from sponsors, fans, and first responders. With that said, I personally believe these protests that are staged at athletic competitions to be offensive to many, inappropriate for the situation, and lastly, very ineffective.
The protest of not standing at attention to the flag while the Star-Spangled Banner is being played at any competition seems out of place for the purpose of protesting officer misconduct. Don’t get me wrong; we do have injustices in our legal system. There have been some disturbing situations that raise legitimate concerns for minorities, including questionable shootings by police officers. However, the vast majority of officers are wonderful people who put themselves in harm’s way daily to protect and serve everyone. However, not honoring the United States flag sends the wrong message. Our flag represents all that is good in our country. It represents the many lives of our military personnel, including African Americans, who have sacrificed to give us the very freedom to protest.
In the Civil War of the United States, the flag was carried into every battle and became the symbol of liberty for people of all races. It stood for ending slavery. The slaves in the Union armies were given their freedom, and they joined the conflict. Over 179,000 black troops served in the Union armies, and another 40,000 in the navy. Many of these soldiers are buried in sections 27 and 23 at Arlington National Cemetery.
While I firmly believe these protests at football games are inappropriate and ineffective, how should we as Christians respond? Should we yell hateful words towards our neighbors? Should we join in the protests to show solidarity? Our young people are watching how the adults respond. If we follow the Biblical model, and we should, then we would do as Jesus commands and love our neighbor as ourselves. We would not shout unseemly things toward those who do not see things the same way. Our goal should be to model Christ to the lost world. We should stand proudly during our national anthem in respect to our flag, understanding it is also the flag of those protesting. Although their protest is disgraceful to those of us who have lost loved ones during a military conflict, will our actions be a reproach to the name of Christ? If we honor the flag, isn’t that all that Christ commands? Does the Bible not say, “so then everyone of us will give an account of himself before God”? Nothing else matters except that we must act right before Him.
This weekend, my wife and I went to watch the movie Sully. The movie was based upon the real life story of Captain Chesley Sullenberger III who successfully landed his Airbus A320 on the Hudson River saving the lives of all 155 on board. When Sully was praised for his daring landing, he was quick to point to the work of the emergency responders, his crew, and the police officers who jumped into the river, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. As I watched these brave men and women jump into the freezing waters of the Hudson to help strangers, people they didn’t know, I was reminded of the first responders who went into the twin towers during 9-11. It makes me very proud of our policemen, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who every day go out and serves the people of this great country. Our nation is not perfect. There are injustices. Discrimination against certain races has and does exist. We need to fight to end racial inequality, but do it in a way that reflects Christ’s love.
At the game this past weekend, one lone player from Castlemont walked away from his team towards the flag. He stood at attention and saluted the flag. That took real courage. May we all have the courage of this young man as we stand for Christ.
Dear TKA Community,
Another summer has come and gone. It is so hard to believe that, in just a little more than one week, school will resume, but it will; and when it does, we will be ready. One thing I love about a new school year is that we get to start all over again. Forgetting the past, we can begin anew. The summer gave us the gift of time to give our campus a much-needed facelift, finish building projects, and provide our staff time to recharge their batteries. This week, we are excited to welcome 19 new staff members to campus. God has been faithful in providing TKA with well-qualified educators who love Jesus and love teaching junior high and high school students. Read their biographies here. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to making the new school year the best ever!
One of the unique qualities of The King’s Academy is the focus that we place on spiritual development. From setting apart time for retreats to the spring service trips, TKA has a wonderful reputation of developing enduring relationships with our students. As an administration, we will continue to stress the importance of building proper relationships between the staff and students. Staff members are still encouraged to take students to lunch or, with the late start on Wednesday, even breakfast. We will continue to have counselors on campus from The Wisdom Training Institute, and our new Campus Pastor, Rob Starke, will carry on the legacy of leading a strong spiritual life team. We are committed to keeping the focus on that which matters most, the development of each student's walk with Christ.
This year, our spiritual life theme is “Can You Hear Me Now?" Our students will be learning about the story of Redemption and how it is found in every book of the Bible. Join me in praying for a great year, and one in which our staff, students, and families discover more about who God is and how He is found throughout Scripture.
Lastly, we did a full upgrade on our campus wireless infrastructure this summer in preparation for the rollout of our one-to-one pilot program. We have hired a technology coordinator to come in and work with our teachers and have planned several parent nights during the year to focus on the need for good digital citizenship. We are excited about the ability this new program will give our students to be better prepared for the 21st Century. TKA will continue to teach the academic subjects and hold students to high standards while now allowing them to be more creative in their approach to demonstrate mastery of content.
I can’t wait to meet all of you in the next few weeks when you come to campus. Remember that I always welcome meeting new parents and spending time talking about our programs. Feel free to drop by my office, which is located behind the Main Office.
The weather has taken a beautiful turn for the better. It is warming up, flowers are blooming, and it appears the rain has stopped. Although with an El Nino year, it is quite possible we will see more rain.
Around TKA, this is the time of year when our families are re-enrolling. Currently, we are at 94% re-enrollment. That leaves very little room for new students, and all the more reason to complete the re-enrollment process in the Parent Portal or contact the Business Office ASAP.
So why exactly is our percentage of re-enrollment so high this year? Here are a few reasons why I think our parents are continuing to partner with us at The King’s Academy:
Commitment to academic principles (adding 3 new AP courses, adding Mandarin as a new foreign language, and an increased focus on elective offerings)
Commitment to technology (adding the Apple pilot program and Google Chromebooks)
CCS dominance this year in sports. Our teams have been phenomenal this year and are getting better.
Commitment to VPA excellence. The King’s Strings, Knightshine, Winter Guard, and Winter Percussion have all achieved top placement in recent competitions.
Continued daily focus on the spiritual development of our students.
And while these factors are some of the main reasons parents choose The King’s Academy, I know there are other issues that shape parents’ perspectives when choosing a school. Take the recent position of the San Francisco School Board, and it is easy to see why many parents are opting out of the public schools and seeking alternatives. At The King's Academy, we are partnering with our parents, and I believe the historical enrollment shows a high satisfaction with our school. Even external reviewers are recognizing The King's Academy as seen in this recent Niche ranking of the "2016 Best Christian High Schools in California" where TKA is ranked 7th.
In the coming months, we will be verifying what is important to our parents. TKA will be working on its Strategic Plan, and focus groups will be meeting on campus to speak with our consultant. He will be asking about the things that matter most to our parents.
The future is bright at The King's Academy, and I am personally excited about the direction in which we are headed.
When I taught Anatomy, often I would run into some beliefs students had that were just incorrect. Trying to convince them that they were misinformed was difficult because many of them had heard these untruths from youth pastors, parents, and sometimes even from other teachers. Ideas such as men have more ribs than women and blood in veins is blue are just a few of them.
Just yesterday, we had this discussion in our home about another misconception students have, albeit not directly from a scientific field of study. My wife was teaching some students in a classroom in which she was the substitute teacher, and one of the students said that AD meant “after death.” She quickly pointed out that this was incorrect, and that AD meant anno Domini which in Latin means “in the year of our Lord.” After all, if BC means before Christ and AD meant after death, we have about 30 years with no calendar date. Rather Christ’s birth, and not His death, is the dividing point for all of history.
So how does all this relate to the year 2016 A.D. and, more importantly, to this blog post? Well, as with every new year, many of us begin by setting what we call New Year’s resolutions. Setting goals at the beginning of the new year is not new. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods to pay off debts and to return items. The Romans began each year making promises to Janus, the Roman god of January, and knights during the medieval period made vows at the end of Christmas to remain committed to chivalry. (Wikipedia)
Setting New Year’s resolutions can be frustrating because over half of the people who set personal goals soon fall short. However, statistics show that individuals who do set goals at the beginning of the year are more likely to make individual improvements to their lives. It’s common sense; if you don’t set goals you are guaranteed to reach nothing. However, if you do set goals, while you may not attain all of them, you are much more likely to reach some of them, if not all.
I Thessalonians 5 is one of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible. Two of the shortest but most powerful verses in the Bible are verses 17 and 25.
17. Pray without ceasing…..25. Brethren, pray for us…
These two verses are the basis for our TKA New Year’s resolution. I want all of us to commit to praying for one another. I want TKA to be known as a school where the parents, faculty, and students pray for each other. For if we lift one another up in prayer daily, it will also unite us in our common goal of having a truly Christ-centered education.
Please join me in praying daily for each other.
This is quite possibly my favorite time of year, but I suspect it is for most educators. The first semester of the year is drawing to a close, and we look forward to our first prolonged vacation since the summer. In many schools around our country, Christmas vacation has been replaced with “winter break” or “holiday break” (Fremont High School has it listed as mid-year break.) Yes, I know there are several holidays in December that people are celebrating, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but as a Christian school, we get to unabashedly celebrate Christmas. We give out Christmas cards, we put up a Christmas tree in the quad, and we give our teachers Christmas bonuses.
Happy students on school campuses all over San Jose are celebrating as they inch closer to their winter break. On our campus, however, the students are not only celebrating an impending holiday but also the birth of our Savior, and it shows in their joyful attitudes. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:..” I think being able to freely celebrate the first Christmas present, God sending his own son to us, is one reason why on our campus there is more than just an atmosphere of happiness; our students and staff exude true joy.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
What a great reminder that Jesus was sent to save us from our sins! Many don’t want to celebrate Christmas because doing so would acknowledge that they need salvation—something they would rather ignore. The world would prefer to not be reminded of its corruption. It would rather sing merry songs, decorate holiday trees, buy meaningless presents, and try to ignore the fact that without Christ, life is bleak and empty. At TKA, we know the truth about Christmas and that gives us real and great joy.
Principal, The King’s Academy
This past week, I attended an afternoon seminar that mainly dealt with the topic of deep, probing questions. The speaker began with this quote from T.S. Eliot, “The purpose of a Christian education would not be merely to make men and women pious Christians…A Christian education would primarily train people to be able to think in Christian categories.”
How true that statement is, and yet how many Christian schools are doing just the opposite. The idea that the main purpose is to make students pious or more Christian is one of many schools, but I would submit that as a school our major purpose is to educate and even more so, as a Christian school, to educate through a Biblical worldview.
My hope is that at The King’s Academy, you will find a school whose staff loves the Lord, is deeply committed to academic training, and is also able to help our students frame their thinking from a Biblical perspective. As we partner with you in the education of your children, I pray that you will continue to mold and influence your students in God’s word at home. It is the scaffolding of home, school, and church that has the greatest impact on the spiritual life of our students.
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