News & Stories
In case you were wondering ...
Cascade Christian Schools is a Washington State–approved private school, and abides by the Washington State Board of Education (SBE) regulations for instructional days/hours for all K–12 schools in our state, both public and private. Every year, schools must report to the SBE their compliance with the number of days or hours of instruction for the school year.
Schools have the choice whether to count instructional days or hours. Public schools typically count instructional school days. They are required to be in session no fewer than 180 days. If they have a late start, they do not lose a day toward their compliance. If they have a “no school” day, it impacts their number of mandated days, so they have to add days at the end of the school year.
At Cascade Christian Schools, we choose to count instructional hours. To be in compliance, grades K–8 must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of instruction in a school year, and grades 9–12 must have a minimum of 1,080 hours. CCS exceeds these requirements by more than 40 instructional hours at both levels.
Therefore, if school starts late or is canceled (due to snow or dangerous driving conditions, for example), extra time is built in so it will not impact our compliance—or more importantly, the educational success of our students. The CCS academic calendar also has options for making up hours within the current school year if we experience an excess of “no school” times.
While missing days is not ideal, it is important to make sure the quality of the student’s education is not impacted, and CCS teachers adjust and prioritize their instruction accordingly.
From the office of Joyce Blum, Director of Student Learning:
I’ve just finished reviewing the spring MAP results for Math and Reading for kindergarten through 11th grade. I am particularly excited this year because we grew seven percentage points in both math and reading.
We began this journey of working so hard on math five years ago, when we invited a consultant from SPU to come and look at our math program as a district. He gave us suggestions as to what we could do to increase student learning. The biggest change was adopting a new Go Math curriculum four years ago (as hard as it was) which, I believe, shifted the way we teach math and the way students learn math.
Having the best teachers in the right positions was a huge contributor to the success as well! Being consistent with setting SMART Goals and Action Steps in this area based on real data has given teachers and students true direction in what to focus on. There has been creative work done by both teachers and students in the area of math, and these results show it!
It has been a long journey ... but these changes do not happen overnight. The encouraging thing is they are now part of our regular practice, and we should continue with this growth over the next years. I am encouraged and ready to celebrate this accomplishment. Everyone—administrators, faculty, and students—worked so hard!
Before students leave on their Impact Term (I-Term) trip, students and staff pray over all students who are preparing for their I-Term experiences.
All high school students participate in I-Term experience. I-Term offers a variety of trips and impactful experiences designed to enhance student learning through providing additional spiritual, personal/social, and leadership experiences outside the traditional classroom. Students receive one-half credit (0.5) each year for I-Term. Fees vary based on the course experience.
The I-Term process starts for students at the beginning of the school year when they first meet with their teams. During this time they lay down the foundation of their team and start praying together in preparation for what God will accomplish through them. Throughout the year they continue to meet and pray for their opportunity to have a true Kingdom impact.
Spurred on by last year's "Love Does" theme, and an idea from teacher Lora Harrison, the McAlder campus students and families raised over $4,700 between March 12 and 23.
All funds raised went to the Behind the Badge Foundation, which provides comprehensive support for all Washington Law Enforcement Agencies, their families, and communities after an officer has died or has suffered a serious injury in the line of duty.
The winning class (kindergarten) received an extra recess, and Mr. Lorenz offered himself up to receive a pie in the face from one of the class members.
Funds were presented to the foundation at a special chapel.
The National Center for Education Statistics released a recent report which shows that "students who attended private high schools as ninth-graders were more likely to graduate from high school and to enroll and persist in postsecondary education than ninth-graders in public high schools."
The study followed students who were ninth-graders in the fall of 2009. According to the CAPE article, "Indeed, 95.8 percent of 2009 ninth-graders who had attended only private high schools had enrolled in postsecondary education as of February 2016, compared to 70.9 percent of students who had attended only public high schools."
Read the complete CAPE article here.
From Mrs. Hinojos...
The Fall Choral Classic is a non-competitive festival designed to enhance open and honest exchange between the clinicians, the conductor and the students. Participation by school groups is by invitation only."
We have attended the CWU Fall Choral Classic for the last 3 years and have always walked away better for it. The wonderful clinicians that are brought in help us push up to a higher level of excellence while having fun in our craft.
This year, our choir was so open and moldable at the festival! The clinician was able to help us connect on a deeper level—both director to choir as well as whole group to the music. We have come home hungry for more and are ready to show all that we've learned!
Last summer Principal Tina deVries received a message from one of our first graders, Jaxon, (through his mother of course) that included an article about a boy who had a vision to help students feel emotionally safe and included at school.
The boy in the article wanted to support those who were feeling left out, lonely, or sad; and to provide a way to communicate this so others could be aware and help. So he convinced his school to install a “buddy bench” on their playground. When someone is having a bad day or feeling lonely, they simple sit on the bench signaling others that they could use a friend.
This article really touched the heart of our CCS student Jaxon who said that during kindergarten, there were a few times he felt a little left out at recess and that he promised himself he would hang out with younger kids when he got older.
Not only did it cause him to reflect on how he will act toward others, it inspired him to ask if we could install a “buddy bench” at the Frederickson campus so that we can know when students are needing extra encouragement.
We are happy to present to you our Frederickson campus “buddy bench,” inspired by a kid who cares whether or not his peers are feeling emotionally safe and cared for. Way to go, Jaxon! You have the power to bring change.
Regularly throughout the school year, faculty from across the district gather for professional development with the goal of maximizing student learning. Topics include curriculum mapping (to align curriculum standards and practices grade-level to grade-level and district-wide), establishing a CCS curriculum roadmap, and meeting as grade-level teams to evaluate student data.
Recently, one of our fourth grade classes had the privilege of having a professional artist come and share her talents with them. Marjorie A. Mankin has been a professional artist for over 50 years, and has taught countless classes to both students and adults. She shares a gallery in Gig Harbor with a few other artists.
While with our students, she discussed strokes, color value, and shading among other things. She spoke to the students about what color looks like in nature, and how it changes and flows. She showed them how to create that natural look with acrylic paint as their medium. They then took their newfound knowledge and applied it to create some beautiful works of art.
This was such a great opportunity. Thank you, Mrs. Mankin, for sharing your love of art with us!
On Thursday, the Puerto Rico team kicked of I-term week as they headed out to explore the island, get to know the culture and work at a local school. The are followed by the South Africa team who leaves today, and the rest of the teams who will leave between today and Tuesday.
Local teams - those who haven't been working on their service projects throughout the year - will be participating throughout the community at hospitals, food banks, elementary campuses and more next week.
Want to know more? Click the link below to gain access to all of the 2017 I-term blogs!(3/31/17)
Junior high science teacher, Mrs. Schimon, has added the use of 3D printers to the Project Lead the Way (PTLW) activities this year. Mrs. Schimon is teaching her seventh and eighth grader students how to write code, how to use the 3D printers, and the basics of engineering and technology in science.
In order to integrate new technology and a more 21st century approach to science, they have been doing more hands-on projects in Project Lead the Way. “This is fun as well as educational,” Schimon said, “because the students are able to create their own projects and be more involved in the activities.”
They are currently starting a robotics course, and will be making robots soon.
About thirty CCJH choir students will gather with other Christian Schools in the Northwest this Tuesday to take part in the annual ACSI Junior High Musicale.
Led by their Choir Director Mrs. Hinojos, will share their talents and love of music with the pubic by collaborating with the other schools to create a memorable concert.
Mrs. Hinojos explained that at this event, students get to, "see what it is like to prepare their part and then come together with total strangers to create beautiful music. They also get the experience of learning from other directors and getting feedback to apply back home."
In addition, she added, "This experience provides the students with many enjoyable memories. They meet new friends they otherwise would never meet."
Cascade Christian is proud to announce a unique and exciting venture that, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, will give all High School students access to a Microsoft Surface with a keyboard and Pen. We believe that a one-to-one device program will enable us to better provide all students with a technological tool that will enhance their learning and achievement. This tool will afford them greater opportunities to be productive students and citizens as they enter a global environment that will require greater technology skills, collaboration, and teamwork. For more information, see our Technology @ CCS web pages.
Watch for more about how technology is being used in our Kindergarten Prep through 8th grade classrooms as well!
Feverishly working behind the scenes at every campus of Cascade Christian Schools is an amazing program dedicated to building the community that is CCS. From early learning centers to high school, there is a group dedicated to each campus.
Parents for Cascade is a volunteer group of parents who dedicate their time and energy to unite parents through relationship and communication as they support the students, teachers, and staff wherever there is a need.
Parent-teacher conferences have been part of Cascade Christian Schools since its beginning. Communication with parents about their child’s progress and the opportunity to see samples of their work kept all the key players in the loop – or so we thought. There was one key player missing when these discussions were taking place: the student.