head of school'S Blog

The Day After

This summer, my wife and our family traveled to England to visit relatives. Having been involved in politics in the United States, this was a new experience to witness British politics up close. All of the polling data leading up to the referendum indicated that Great Britain would remain in the European Union.  On the night of June 23, as the votes were tallied, we went to bed believing the polls. However, when morning came, we awoke to a new era in England.  Those in favor of leaving the EU were able to mount a stunning victory, garnering 52% of the vote. People in London were shocked.  How could this happen, they asked?  The British pound dropped almost 10% the next day. And for the next few weeks of our vacation, I had to listen to the moaning of Britons about what might have been, and the gloom and doom predictions of the opposition party.  Months later, we can see that all of the predictions were wrong.  England still remains a key player in Europe.  We are facing a very similar scenario here at home next week.
Years ago, I lived in Knoxville, TN.  Living in a college town in the Southeastern Conference is like no other experience, when it comes to football.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, wore orange-colored shirts on Saturday game days to show support for the University of Tennessee.  If you wore any other color, people knew you were an outsider.  People take their football very seriously in the SEC.  Upon entering any church on a Sunday following a game day, you could tell who won the game.  If the Tennessee Volunteers won, everyone was happy.  If they lost, the music resembled that of a dirge, and the service rivaled a funeral.  Life was over, at least until the next weekend.  I am afraid that the morning of November 9 will be very much like those fall Sundays in Knoxville.  Half of the nation will be in mourning, and the other half will celebrate the victory of their candidate.  As Christians, I think it is very important that we model the proper response to our families, neighbors, and our children.  Our response to such an important event will speak volumes to those who are watching us. 
Just as in Knoxville or in England, life will go on after the election.  Here are four things that I think we need to focus upon in the next ten days:

1.  God is in control.  He will not be surprised by the outcome of the election.  For those who believe in the sovereignty of God, do you not believe that our steps are still ordered by the Lord?  Our reaction should reflect this belief. 

2.  God can use a wicked king.  He used many wicked kings in Biblical times to bring about His bidding.  Nehemiah was helped in the rebuilding of the wall by the wicked king Artaxerxes. Esther was helped by an ungodly king,  Ahasuerus, when a plot was hatched to kill the children of Israel. If God is in control, whichever candidate is elected, and both choices are bad, God can use them for His purposes.

3.  Don’t define people around you by whom they vote for.  This election has been/is divisive.  We need to fight the “us vs. them” mentality.  We all want a great America, but some of us differ on what that looks like. 

4.  Things are not always what they seem.  I remember vividly when Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated for the Supreme Court.  She was Ronald Reagan’s pick, and therefore, she must be conservative.  In the end, she voted with the liberal wing far more often than the conservative wing of SCOTUS.  George H.W. Bush appointed David Souter, another supposed conservative, who ended up joining forces with the liberal justices more often than naught.  And lastly, George Bush picked John Roberts to be our Chief Justice, and he did not vote to overturn Obamacare.  Conservative presidents do not always pick conservative justices, and conservative justices do not always vote conservatively.

This election will test our Christianity.  Will we spew hate towards those who vote opposite our opinion?  Will we refuse to acknowledge the winner?  Will we set an example to our children that we will regret?  We are being watched.  Let’s all show the world that we have faith in our God, that He can use whomever is elected for His purposes, and that He is in control. 

Posted by kriss.hayward on Monday October 31, 2016 at 06:58PM
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The Courage to Stand for Freedom and Christ

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.

Posted by kriss.hayward on Friday September 30, 2016 at 10:02AM
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A New School Year Message from Principal Meadows

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 hereLet’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.

Posted by kriss.hayward on Friday August 5, 2016 at 11:42AM
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Reasons for Re-Enrollment

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.  

Posted by kriss.hayward on Tuesday March 1, 2016 at 09:41AM
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Scott Meadows

Scott Meadows
Head of School


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