Past Newsletters

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Christian School to close in Canada over use of scripture

A recent article highlights the diversity of schooling systems internationally. “The Battle River School Division voted last week to close Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingman, Alta., southeast of Edmonton at the end of the school year.”

The main reason behind the dispute has been the teaching of certain scriptures about sexuality. The complication is that the Christian school is actually a public school so part of an overseeing school division. This arrangement is quite different to most countries. For the school to continue it may need to close and then reopen as a private school with teachers needing to leave the public education system and then be re-employed by the private school.

“Anybody familiar with the Christian Bible will recognize that there are many, many, many passages of Scripture that are offensive to even those of us who follow Christ.”

“Parents are already considering their options if the legal fight (to keep the school open) fails. Many different parents (are) doing many different things: some going to home schooling, some having to drive their kids 40 minutes to 45 minutes away,”

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Radical enrolment policy keeps making a difference

In an age of selective schools, rising tuition fees and school competition I was surprised to learn of a school with the following admission criteria. Students need to be:

  • Living below the poverty line
  • Raised by a single parent (or less than that)
  • Academically gifted, as defined by admissions tests
At Girard College in Philadelphia all students receive a full scholarship and live on campus. How does that work? Well “Stephen Girard was thought to be the wealthiest man in America at the time of his death and since he and (wife) Mary never had children, he left nearly his entire fortune to charitable and municipal institutions of Philadelphia and New Orleans. Stephen Girard died on December 26th, 1831.

What an amazing legacy that for over 180 years one man’s donation could still be funding a school.

Learn more at > Behind the 10-foot walls of Girard College, where a whites-only legacy has been turned upside down 

Issue 725 - 17-jun-2018

Educating for Tomorrow, Today

What heading and text do you use in your print media? Is it clear? Is it too clever? Or is it something which ANY school could say? I opened a newspaper recently (yes they still print them) and read the heading “Educating for Tomorrow, Today.” The photo was good. The advertisement included the name of the Registrar, which I really liked. It even offered child minding for an information evening – which I thought was clever. It did not include a street address but included the website so I guess that works.

However, the heading “Educating for Tomorrow, Today” is something I personally feel ANY and EVERY school does. They always have. That is why we educate young people. To prepare them for their Tomorrow. So, take some time over the heading. 

What are some of your favourites?

Issue 724 - 10-jun-2018

School building named after someone convicted of a crime

What would your school do, if after naming a building after someone, they were later convicted of a serious crime?

St. Frances Academy in Baltimore has removed the name of its "Drs. Camille and Bill Cosby Community Center" after Bill Cosby was convicted April 26 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. The letters on the building came down the same day.

"We removed the name immediately," Deacon B. Curtis Turner, principal, said. "We felt it was the right thing to do, given the conviction."

The administrator noted that the Cosbys were originally honored in 2012 in recognition of the strong support of St. Frances Academy from Camille Cosby, who was educated by the Oblate Sisters at her parish elementary school in Washington. Her husband's name was added as a courtesy, Turner said.

According to a 2005 article in the Catholic Review, Camille Cosby donated $2 million to St. Frances Academy in 2005 and had made significant prior donations to the school. In making her $2 million gift, she called the school an outstanding institution that deserves more recognition. The money was used help establish 16 annual full-tuition scholarships.

Following revelations against Bill Cosby in 2015, St. Frances Academy decided to keep the name on the building. At that time, there were no criminal convictions against the much-loved comedian and actor.

Source: Baltimore Catholic school removes Cosby name from building

Issue 724 - 10-jun-2018

A different model of inclusive education

What would your child learn if they attended a school where one in every three children had a disability? At Meeting’s Street’s The Grace School in Providence there are 110 kids from K through 8. Two-thirds of students have no disabilities and are learning alongside one another.

When asked why she likes going to school with so many kids with special needs Mercy Flomo's response was “I have an aunt, she has Down Syndrome, and I like that everybody’s included here. When you reach out to kids who might otherwise be left out, it teaches you about friendship. Helping kids with so many challenges makes you feel good about yourself, and also teaches patience."

With an average of 15 students per class, often with a teacher aide, there is a high ratio of staff to students which is also attractive to parents of children with no disability. The tuition costs are also lower than many private schools.

The school's website describes "inclusive classrooms that combine rigorous academics with a culture of compassion for children."

Issue 724 - 10-jun-2018

Is self-discipline more evident in Catholic Schools?

Working from the belief that "Self-discipline is far better than the externally imposed kind" a report was released last week about the impact Catholic Schools have on self-discipline. The findings suggest three key takeaways.

  • Schools that value and focus on self-discipline will likely do a better job of fostering it in children. 
  • Other schools have something to learn from Catholics schools when it comes to fostering self-discipline. 
  • We should not underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior—and shouldn’t restrict families’ choices on the basis of religion.
Download the report at:

Issue 723 - 20-may-2018

A Home at School – promoting boarding with a story

David Hayes, Media Communications Manager at Knox Grammar School shared with me their latest promotional video designed especially for boarders. 

He explained “we filmed a Knox Year 8 boarder, Mac, at his family property in western NSW and at school, telling his story of coming to Knox. This 90 sec version is accompanied by a 30 sec TV commercial on TV in rural NSW in the lead up to the Boarding Schools Expos in Dubbo, Wagga, Griffith and Narrabri.”

It is a clever video addressing common questions, anxieties and is told as a personal story rather than a promotional piece other than the “a home at school” tagline and branding at the end.

Dave worked with two former Knox students (Grainger Films) to film and produce the video.

Issue 723 - 20-nay-2018

No School on Fridays

When you are willing to do things differently as a school it is worth highlighting those differences. CREo School is a small school located in a rural area of Mississippi. The school doesn’t plan classwork on Fridays so students can spend time with family members or take extra lessons in a field they are interested in. 

The school is very deliberate in promoting the idea their staff are role models and not simply educators. They thoughtfully craft “an atmosphere in which proven Christian role models not only teach students but model life for them as they eat together in the community cafeteria, clean up alongside one another and, because of the small class sizes, engage in meaningful conversations throughout each day.”

They train students in archery believing it helps teach perseverance. I imagine as a small school they may not be able to offer a wide range of sports so celebrating what they do offer and why is important. 

This is a great testimonial about the school’s teachers. It is one which most schools may not choose to, or be able to, display… 
What makes me happiest at the end of every day, however, is that my children LAUGH at school – a lot. Besides being dedicated, compassionate and qualified, the leaders at CREō are just really, really funny and full of joy and wit. Every single day, my children reap the benefits of such abundant joy, and as a parent, I cannot be more thankful.

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

Do we teach the BIGGEST subjects at school?

As part of a combined promotion for Catholic schools The Archdiocese of Omaha Schools created a “Love My School” website and campaign. They also appear to have registered the phrase “We teach the biggest subjects”

The website states “we teach the biggest subjects in our K-12 classrooms. Subjects like Faith, Character, Discipline, Kindness, Values, Honesty and Confidence, to name a few. These are enduring lessons that last a lifetime.”

Rather than talking about grades in Science, Mathematics, English or other usual subjects the campaign highlights the BIG subjects of life lessons which most parents really hope their children graduate with.

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

Students cross the road for lessons of life and death

When a fifth grade class learnt a neighbour across the road from Central Wisconsin Christian School had cancer it started an important lesson. 

At first the students started putting signs up in their classroom window of support and encouragement. Then small groups would cross the road each day to sing to her and pray. Later the whole class would cross the road to sing and pray.

After six months of this developing relationship the 32 year old lady passed away 20 minutes after the group had sung to her.
The mother said “These kids have touched me, and this has touched the kids. Six months ago, it was just me and the family that knew about this; now most of the town does. So many people mention it where ever I go.”

Finding meaningful opportunities to connect with your local community is not a school marketing strategy. It is about real life lessons. Teaching life lessons can however generate conversations and positive word of mouth about your school.

Source: Central Wisconsin Christian School students comfort terminally ill woman with songs

Issue 722 - 13-may-2018

For the love of your child

The Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia have launched a video “For the love of your child” to promote Christian education and their group of schools.

Some of the ideas, or beliefs, the video raises are:
  • Education is never neutral
  • The goal is not just Christian education in the classroom but in the office, the hallway and on the bus
  • What children learn and experience at school should “spice” dinnertime conversations
  • Schools can celebrate what individuals are not good at so students realise they need others
  • Students are not to just “watch the movie” but to engage with and even argue against what is being presented to them
  • We are not to simply study but participate
If you are involved in a Christian school take a look. It may help you craft your own promotional video script. In a modern culture of “You can be anything you want to be” I found it refreshing to hear the idea of helping students understand what they are not good at so they discover they do need others around them.

Issue 721 - 6-may-2018

Would your local community miss you if your school closed?

Many years ago I was at a presentation that challenged the teachers and staff with the question. “Would your local community miss you if your school closed?” Naturally the parents, students and staff would miss you but would those beyond your immediate community.

I was encouraged this week to see Chairo Christian School Leongatha share photos of students who have volunteered to work on the garden at the local hospital. As a school in rural Victoria they already have their own vegetable garden and a strong interest in agriculture. This hospital garden is a project for the Secondary students. Rather they being a one off tidy up of the garden “they are also looking forward to maintaining the garden for both the patients and staff.”

How is your school serving your local community?

Issue 721 - 6-may-2018

School’s speech giving brought to life

What happens to the speeches students prepare as projects at your school? Imagine if your speech givers dressed up as the character they were researching, stood frozen in place like a wax model, and then when a coin was placed in a tin they came to life and gave their one minute speech. Each time another student or visitor adds a coin their speech is repeated.

This novel educational approach has been used by St. Pius X / St. Leo School for 10 years as part of their Famous Scientists Wax Museum. Fifth grade give the speeches and Kindergarten to eighth grade tour the ‘museum’ with their coins. The money raised is then donated.

Source: Wax Museum Helps Those in Need

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Test drive a Buick car and raise funds for a school

Schools raise funds in all sorts of ways. Cornerstone Christian School raised $1560 when Buick, and their local car dealership, offered $20 for each test drive taken by parents and staff over a three hour period. With 78 test drives taken it is certainly a novel way of fundraising with minimal outlay for the school community. 

Source: Cornerstone Christian School Raises Money for Senior Trips by Test Driving New Cars

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Catholic school leads the way offering pants and shorts to female students

Enforcing correct wearing of uniforms or changing uniforms often generates friction and controversy in schools. Dresses and skirts for female students are standard. However Santa Sabina College in Sydney is one of very few schools in the city which will now offer pants and shorts to all female students.

Beyond the introduction of pants the main school uniform colour will change from green to black. Year 10 student Grace Campbell said "If you're performing a scene or doing any kind of activity that requires a lot of movement then you do feel quite self-conscious [in a dress]. We're now wearing clothes that we could wear in the workplace and in our adult lives. I would feel a lot more grown up in the new senior uniform than the kilt, because it's a lot more modern."

Principal Dr Herrett said "We want girls to be comfortable ... I think with the littler girls particularly, to run around the playground, to turn upside-down and all that.”

I imagine in years to come having uniform options will be more accepted. By being among the first schools to embrace the change it is easier to generate media attention. 

Source: Power move: Why this Sydney private school is suiting up its girls

Issue 720 - 29-apr-2018

Servathon builds school community and reputation

Being generous towards others in need is something we learn through home and school. These life lessons can start very young. Each year, Camp Verde’s United Christian School finds ways to teach its students the difference between giving and receiving.
For nine years the school has held a series of service projects designed to benefit the local community. With the title of Servathon most of the projects are scheduled for a one week period as part of a month long focus. Projects include pulling weeds, picking up trash, picking up rocks, moving boxes, preparing meals and spending time with the elderly. 

Finding meaningful ways to serve – from a young age – is not only a valuable life lesson for students it can enable your school to generate goodwill, positive word of mouth and media attention. A day of serving may be more effective for your school marketing than advertising or updating a website. Making it a regular part of your school culture and annual calendar helps build your school reputation rather than being seen as a one off token event.

Source: Camp Verde United Christian School teaches students how to help others

Issue 719 - 15-apr-2018

Add an Art show to attract a broader crowd

School focused events may not appeal to those members of the community who are not actively looking for a school. Many people have older children, no children, or are content with their choice of school. However attracting more people to a school venue and event can help generate word of mouth in different sections of the local community.

St Philip’s Christian College have an annual Founders Day Fair. This is popular with the school community and both a marketing event as well as a fundraiser. The local media highlighted that the fair included an Art show of students, teachers but also local artists. It is the inclusion of these local artists being on display which can potentially expand the network of visitors.
What could you add to an existing school event to broaden the appeal?

Source: Art show will kick off St Philip’s Christian College Founders Day Fair

Issue 719 - 105-apr-2018

Schools and Daycare centres banned from commercial buildings

Many schools have stories of bureaucratic challenges and obstacles in regard to starting or expanding. Tree of Life Christian School  purchased a vacant commercial building to consolidate their multiple campuses and potentially enable them to double in size to 1300 students. 

The city officials however have banned the rezoning which was required for the school to legally use the property. As only 5% of properties are zoned commercial, which generates more tax revenue, the city officials want it to remain as commercial zoning. The school argued that other day care centres were already using similar commercial spaces. The city officials responded by also banning already operating day care centres.

So, if your school is facing challenges with different levels of government be encouraged that you are not alone.

Source: Judge lets city manipulate zoning to block Christian school

Issue 719 - 15-apr-2018

Immerse the viewer into your school website

When you click on the home page of Christian Brother’s College St Kilda you, as a viewer, are in the bottom of a science beaker in the midst of a class experiment. You are then in a church, raft, and wood fired oven.

This immersive perspective seeks to puts the visitor to the website ‘inside’ the experience. It is engaging and clever – even if unexpected.

Take a look at 

Issue 718 - 8-apr-2018

Author returns to the school which inspired her

A positive endorsement of your school from a former student in a newspaper is worth more than multiple paid advertisements. This is especially so when the endorsement is embedded in a human interest story about the student - rather than seen as a direct promotion.

Author of “Katie Watson and the Painter’s Plot,” Mary Elizabeth Blume Stead is including her former school Prince Avenue Christian School on her book tour. What she says about the school reflects well on the school's culture and dedication of teachers.

The article quotes her... 
“No matter where I am—on a walk in the woods or off to India—I am always on the lookout for the next story idea,” she said. “My years at PACS were so special. I’m indebted to so many wonderful teachers who inspired and encouraged me, both spiritually and academically. One person who stood out, she said, is her fourth grade teacher, Linda Gore, who let students borrow books from her personal collection, read “The Chronicles of Narnia” aloud and screened “Anne of Green Gables” during lunch period. Stead’s drama teacher, Candy Todd, helped her develop confidence."

What Alumni stories and endorsements have you shared lately with your community?

Source: PACS alumna and author visits school