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 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 towards their compliance. If they have a “no school” day, it impacts their number of mandated days, which is why they have added days on 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 1000 hours of instruction in a school year, and grades 9-12 must have a minimum of 1080 hours. CCS exceeds these requirements by more than 40 instructional hours at both levels.
Therefore, if school starts late or is cancelled (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!
It is with a great deal of excitement that we share that CCHS alumnus Johnny Tveter, Jr. has been named our next Girls’ Basketball Head Coach, following Coach Bryan Peterson’s retirement from a successful 35-year coaching career.
Johnny began attending the Cascade Christian Spanaway (Frederickson) campus in preschool and graduated from Cascade Christian in 2010. As a student at CCS, Johnny was a 3-sport athlete (Basketball, Soccer, Cross Country) and a two-time Captain in each of those sports. Johnny was selected as a Nisqually 1st Team All-League performer in both basketball and soccer as a senior. Johnny also played an integral role on the 2010 1A State Champion boys’ Basketball team.
After graduating, Johnny attended Pacific Lutheran University and played Lutes basketball for four seasons and was voted as the Best Teammate by the other players on the team all four years.
Johnny was the JV boys’ basketball coach at Eatonville HS in 2015 and has been on the Cascade Christian boys’ basketball coaching staff under Jerry Williams for the past two seasons. Johnny has also coached for several other sport programs here at Cascade Christian, including HS Boys’ JV Soccer (2011-2013), HS Cross Country (2014), and HS Track & Field (2017).
In regard to his new position, Johnny had the following to share: "I feel very excited to have the opportunity to be the Girls’ Basketball Head Coach here at Cascade Christian, my alma mater. I have followed the program closely for many years, and I feel so blessed to be chosen as the next head coach. I know what a special part sports played for me in my high school experience, and I look forward to working to make basketball a positive experience for these girls."
Outside of Cascade Christian, Johnny is married to Samantha Tveter, who also attended PLU and was an all-league basketball player, as well as a conference champion in the discus. Johnny works for the Washington State Patrol's Criminal Records Division as a criminal history auditor, while Samantha works for Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Senior Actuarial Analyst. They attend Our Savior Lutheran Church in Tacoma. Samantha will be joining Johnny’s coaching staff and the two of them have great plans for the future of our girls’ basketball program
The Tveter name is well-known and well-regarded within the CCS community, as Johnny and his three siblings have all attended school here. We are excited for Johnny to be leading our girls’ basketball program into the future. Johnny is a brilliant basketball mind and his character is above reproach.
As both a player and a coach, Johnny has always done things the right way; he is a tireless worker and selfless team member who greatly respects the game of basketball. We believe that he will successfully instill this approach in the young women of our basketball program.
Please join us in welcoming Johnny Tveter, Jr. as the next Head Coach of our Girls’ Basketball Program!
Wednesday during high school chapel, students and staff prayed over all students who are preparing for their Impact Term (I-Term) experiences.
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’ve continued to meet and pray for their opportunity to have a true Kingdom impact.
All local teams will start their I-Term experience on Tuesday, April 2nd. A total of 158 students will be serving locally by giving back to our community. Some of those teams include Hope for the Homeless, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Elementary Tutoring and Hospital Outreach.
The first international team (23 students plus leaders) departs to South Africa early Thursday morning. When senior Nathan Suiter was asked what he is most excited about for his trip, he said with a smile, “Besides the gas station sushi? I am really excited to be working with the people there and for the new experiences it will bring.”
The next team (8 students plus leaders) leaves for Puerto Rico trip late Thursday night. This is the second year Mr. Farias has led this trip. He originally had plans to lead a trip to Spain, but after his first trip to Puerto Rico last year, he left knowing that there was so much work to be done, and that CCS students could really have an impact by returning another year
Nationally, The Hawaii team (24 students plus leaders) will be leaving on Friday evening. Senior Erin Walker is on this team and said, “When people think of Hawaii for a missions trip they don’t think there is much work to do there, but there is actually so much poverty and so many homeless that live there. I am really excited to get the chance to help and work with (the organization) ‘Surfing with the Nations.’”
On Saturday, the last two traveling teams will be leaving to their destinations. Fifteen students will be going to Israel and 23 students are going to serve in the National Parks in Nevada. This is the first year a team has gone to Israel. Anastasia Williams, who has previously been part of the South Africa team, will be a part of this group. “It’s really cool we get to be there during Israel’s 70th anniversary. I’m looking forward to being able to walk where Jesus walked and feel his presence,” said Anastasia.
To follow the I-term team through their blogs, click here.
Spurred on by the "Love Does" theme for this year, 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 go 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 are being presented to the foundation at a special chapel.
It is with a great deal of pleasure and excitement that we announce Devin Snyder as our new Cougar Football head coach. Coach Snyder is an alumnus of Cougar Football, played for Central Washington University, and has been coaching Cougar football since 2009. He has nine years’ coaching experience, including six years as defensive coordinator, and was part of the two-time state champion coaching staff.
Filling the role of offensive coordinator will be Evan Bratz. Coach Bratz has served as the assistant offensive coordinator in our football program in the past. He had tremendous success as an athlete both here at Cascade Christian (class of 2004) and Pacific Lutheran University, having played the position of quarterback at both levels. We are thrilled he is returning to the program in this capacity.
Veteran coaches Adrian Magalei and Garren Clark will be remaining on the staff. CCS alumnus and coaches Luke Absher and Damon Davis are also returning to Cougar Football, rounding out the core coaching staff. Absher (class of 2004) and Davis (class of 2015) both played vital roles during the CCHS state championship runs.
CCHS Administrators and Coach Snyder and met with the members of the football team at school this morning to share this information with them. The team responded enthusiastically to the announcement, ending the time with prayer over coach Snyder and the upcoming season.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to take the baton that Coach Davis has carried for so many years,” said Coach Snyder. “I know the program will continue so many of the traditions and philosophies which make up Cascade Christian football. I’m excited about my coaching staff as well, and know that adding coaches Bratz and Absher to the team will be part of the continuity.”
Cascade Christian Schools hosted its first math competition yesterday at CCJH/HS. Attended by Rainier Christian and Seattle Lutheran, and organized by Mrs. Leach and Mr. Manchester, the contest consisted of two 30-minute rounds of 15 various math problems each. The CCS Mathletes - two varsity teams and one JV team - include Junior High and High School students. One of our varsity teams took first place with a total of 25 points, and the other varsity team took fourth place with a total of 13 points. In addition, our JV team took second place with 13 points! Way to go Mathletes!
The Cougar Baseball season started Friday with their first game vs Orting HS. This year, CCHS has welcomed David Barnes as the new head baseball coach.
David, his wife Nichole, and their three daughters Kali (18), Sydney (17), and Josie (10), live in Sumner where they own Sorci’s Italian Cafe. They attend Calvary Community Church where they love to serve in all areas of their church community.
David grew up in Kennewick, Washington, and he graduated from Kamiakin High School. As a senior he hit .440 and was selected as 1st team All State Utility player. He then went on to play at Yakima Valley Community College under long time Head Coach Bob Garrettson. As a Sophomore he hit .390, had a .680 OBP and stole 40 bases in a 38 game season. This earned him 1st team all NWAAC honors as a utility player. David then went on to play Division 1 Baseball at the University of Nebraska.
After his playing career, he got the opportunity to coach alongside Greg Swenson at Tacoma Community College as the hitting, catching and infield coach from 1996-98. Since then, David has coached many different summer select teams of all ages, two of which qualified and competed in the Babe Ruth World Series.
When asked what David is most excited about for this season, he responded, “I am most excited to see these young men learn to support one another as they grow together as a team. If this happens, I believe we can make a strong run deep into the state playoffs.”
“As a man who loves the Lord, he is so excited to share and live out his faith while being involved in a game he loves,” observed CCHS Athletic Director, DJ Heltsley. “He clearly has a passion to not only teaching these young men the game he loves, but more importantly helping them build their character while becoming real men of God. He truly wants to see every kid thrive both on and off the field. David has a clear vision and high expectations for where he desires to take the program. We see a bright future for Cascade Christian Baseball with David as our leader.”
As we look toward the future of our boys’ basketball program, we are excited to announce that Cody Shackett has been named our next boys’ basketball head coach. Cody has been a part of the CCS community for most of his life. His mother Gloria recently retired from her position as an elementary teacher, and continues to substitute for CCS. Cody attended Cascade Christian as a student beginning in Kindergarten, and graduated in the class of 2011. Cody's sister, Sammy Bratz, is also an integral part of the CCS community. She is an alumna and was a standout athlete as well, and currently serves as assistant to the athletic director.
As a player, Cody was an integral part of our 2010 and 2011 state championship teams; and was named the State Tournament Most Valuable Player both years. He was also a 4-time First Team Nisqually All-league player, 2-time Nisqually League MVP, and the 1A AP State Player of the Year in 2011. He is Cascade Christian’s all-time leader in points scored and steals. Once he finished his playing career at CCS, Cody went on to play basketball at Northwest University. There he made two National Tournament appearances, one Elite Eight appearance, and was also named a team captain his senior season.
For the past three years, Cody has been on the Cascade Christian boys’ basketball coaching staff as a varsity assistant. Cody has also spent the last two summers as a head coach with Pioneer Tech, an elite AAU travel team that goes up and down the west coast with high school kids from all around the PNW playing in tournaments in front of college coaches. Outside of coaching, Cody is a member of Champions Centre church and works at Comcast as a construction coordinator.
Cody had this to say about his recent hiring, “I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to lead our boys’ basketball program here at Cascade Christian. I know how special our athletic teams are here, and I feel beyond blessed to be entrusted with this new role. I truly believe we have the best young men at Cascade Christian, and I will work tirelessly to make sure they are successful and have a great experience.”
Coach Jerry Williams added, “I am so thrilled with the hiring of Cody Shackett as the new head boys' basketball coach at Cascade Christian. Although, I am saddened to leave a position I enjoyed so much, I couldn't be happier with my replacement. Cody has a tremendous basketball IQ and has studied this game from a very young age. He is well equipped for the challenge ahead. Cascade Christian boys' basketball will be in great hands for many years to come."
We are very excited for Cody to be leading our boys’ basketball program into the future. We believe that his passions for Jesus, young adults, and athletics will shine brightly in his new role here. We are confident that he will continue to grow the strong program that Coach Williams has built over the past two decades. Cody’s vision and philosophy of athletics strongly align with the guiding principles of Cascade Christian Schools.
The National Center for Education Statistics released a report last month 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 ningh-graders in public high school.
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 sttudents 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 to 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. For both director to choir as well as whole group to the music. We have come home hungry for more and are ready to show you all that we've learned!
This summer Principal Tina de Vries received a message from one of our firsst 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 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 towards others, it inspired him to ask if we could install a “buddy bench” at Frederickson elementary so that we can know when students are needing extra encouragement.
We are happy to present to you our Frederickson elementary “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.
Sixth graders are SO MUCH FUN! This year, we are focusing on how we can get our high school and junior high students involved with the sixth grade students before they get to Junior High, in order to help make their transition from elementary to secondary smoother. This past Friday, the ASB team and I had a blast visiting their classes at the Elementary Schools. We made sure to come prepared with cookies and some cougar swag, because who doesn’t love a sugary treat in the middle of class? We also brought our very own Cascade Christian Cougar! They might have been more excited to see the cougar than the cookies!
The first campus we went to was the McAlder Campus. When we walked into the classroom they had brainstormed a list of what they were excited about and another list of all the questions they had. This was the smallest class of sixth graders but they sure made up for it with their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn about Junior High and High School. After a quick lunch break, we then traveled to our Fredrickson Campus. We shared with them all of the different activities, sports, and events that happen at our junior high and high school. Our last campus visit was the Puyallup Campus. This was the only campus that had two sixth grade classes, so they brought both of the classes into one classrooms. From the moment we walked in, there was lots of excitement and questions! We learned that sixth graders are very curious about lockers, how much homework they actually will have, and what do we do with no recess?!
Before we left, we let them know that on November 16, they’ll be coming to the JH/HS for lunch and a sneak peek the high school’s fall drama!
by Carly Heltsley, CCJH/HS Campus Enrollment Manager
Faculty from across the district gathered for professional development on Friday, October 6 with the goal of maximizing student learning. Topics included 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.
Fall sports have officially launched! Monday, August 21st was the first day for many of our fall sports. Although football started August 16th, girls’ volleyball, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis and cross country started this week. Our cheer team has been hard at work as well!
The girls’ volleyball team has welcomed new head coach, Kayla Pedretti, who is also teaching here at Cascade Christian High School. Mrs. Pedretti has an extensive background in volleyball having played NCAA Division I at Austin Peay State University and also competing for the Canadian National Team. Our girls’ volleyball team will have a bright future with Mrs. Pedretti alongside them.
We also have Clark Jennings stepping in as the girl’s head soccer coach this year, after being co-head coach with the program the past few years. It's going to be a great year for our soccer girls.
With school right around the corner, our students are working hard and dedicating their time to practice gearing up for their first games and matches.
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. She is also the great grandmother of fourth grader Ty Balzarini and his siblings.
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. Then showed them how to create that natural look with acrylic paint as their medium. They then took their newfound knowledge and applied it to some beautiful works of art.
This was such a great opportunity. Thank you Mrs. Mankin for sharing your love of art with us!
Congrats to our boy's golf team for placing 8th at State and our girl's on a great season!
Congrats to our track team on an amazing season and to Morgan for winning State in the 400! Also, congrats to our boy's 4x100 team for placing second at State! Way to go guys!
Congrats to Grace on a great tennis season and the boy's baseball team for their amazing season as well!
Last week, in honor of Earth Day, students at CCS McAlder took part in several projects. Among other things, they made a pledge to care for God's creation and made Pine cone bird feeders.
During the process, they learned many different things. In addition to increasing fine skills, Kindergarteners learned how they should "respect" God's gifts He has provided, be "responsible" in taking care of those gifts, and at the same time create "relationship" with each other. Our growing leaders are preparing to impact their world!
Cougar Baseball is off to a great start, 4-0 overall with last Thursday's win over Klahowya. They are scheduled to play an away game at Bellevue Christian on Monday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m.
Boys' Golf is currently 4-1 overall, with league wins over Charles Wright, Seattle Christian, and Vashon. They play next on Tuesday, April 18 vs Bellevue Christian.
Girls' Golf is 2-2 overall, with a league opening win over Bellevue Christian, and a good showing at the Vashon 9-hole challenge. Their next match is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18.
Girls' Tennis is 4-4... in rainouts. They are 0-1 in league play with a loss last week to Vashon. They lost a close match last Thursday to Klahowya, and will take spring break off before facing Charles Wright on Wednesday, April 19 at CWA.
Boys' Soccer has taken on several larger schools this pre-season, but brought home a 3-1 win over 1A Tenino on the 23rd. League play started last Tuesday, and their next home game is Monday, April 17 vs Vashon Island at Sunset Stadium (7 p.m.).
It's been a rainy spring so far... For the most up-to-date schedules, click here.
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.