March 29, 2017
Conway Christian Community,
Growing up I had a special relationship with my paternal grandfather. He woke every morning to work on his farm stopping only for lunch and a brief post chow visit with my grandmother, then he’d head back out to sweat some more until he stretched the evening’s dimming light as far as possible. He would get up the next day and do it again, then again. He told me that there’s always something to do, progress to be made...so get busy with it. I’m thinking of him a lot lately.
Over the course of Conway Christian’s 25th year, we have strived to make progress, in partnership with our parents and my co-laborers in Christian education, to set the tone for the plan God has in store for our future. I hope you have felt the impact of our commitment to follow Him and install best practices to improve our outcomes. As we complete this school year (42 days left but who's counting), I want to take a minute of your time to share some of our strategic improvements and inform you of many more in the works.
Strategic Plan Accomplishments: Almost two years ago the Board of Trustees committed to a strategic planning process and the execution of that plan’s key action steps. It included dozens of parents and employees coming together to be realistic and see where we needed improvement. So far this year, we have made significant progress in several key areas outlined in the plan. Let me highlight a few:
Budget and Salary Increases: We have decreased our annual operating budget deficit from well over $100,000 this year to $40,000 proposed for next school year while increasing teacher salaries, adding professional development opportunities and making key new hires (more info coming as you read). We were also able to revamp our re-enrollment process, simplifying it for parents, while reducing the heavy impact of additional school fees.
Giving at Historical Levels: This school year we have experienced a significant increase in sacrificial giving to our Annual Fund. To date, we have been blessed with just over $500,000 in annual fund undesignated giving; an increase of more than a 1000% over the last several years average. These tax-deductible gifts will allow us to get better. Remember: tuition just pays salaries and the bills, giving allows schools to get better!
Plans for Academic Improvements: We have added five electives to next year’s Upper School course catalog, including computer coding and a business entrepreneurship class. In addition, we will introduce a brand new initiative called “Winter Term” for our 11th and 12th grade students featuring opportunities for internships and an educational trip. STEM will be coming to our Lower School as we introduce 3D printing and biology basics for our eager young minds.
Marketing and Branding: Our social media presence, featuring #weareconwaychristian, has caused quite the positive stir. My data shows me, Instagram alone, we’re approaching 1,500 unique posts since September. I’m encouraged our community is learning more and more about the amazing accomplishments happening right here on German Lane. In an effort to provide more variety in school apparel our Eagles Nest store will move into a broader more capable home next year with the proceeds earmarked to assist our growing art and athletic programs.
Physical Plant Projects for Next Year (made possible by annual fund giving):
Seal and stripe both parking lots; add an asphalt carpool line for the Lower School replacing the gravel loop.
Double the capacity of Mission Field (football/soccer) by adding new sections of bleachers as well as other site improvements.
Remodel both the Lower and Upper school technology labs to increase student engagement and class outcomes.
Remodel the Upper School science lab for 5th-12th grade use aimed at engaging our students as well as increased lab time for all students.
Add a security wall connecting the Lower to the Upper School on the north side of the campus.
Purchase new co-curricular (arts and athletics) equipment to achieve greater results.
Thank you to the PTF and Booster Club for their partnership in these projects!
Key New Hire:
We are a big believer in team. We run our school with a team mentality so when an opportunity arises to make our team better, thus making our school better, we will do whatever possible to make it happen. I’m thankful to announce a key hire effective immediately. Mr. Arthur Bennett, former Head of School at Baptist Prep, is joining my staff as Director of Operations. I have known Mr. Bennett for several years admiring his accomplishments as he led Baptist Prep (formerly Arkansas Baptist) to new heights of academic and organizational success. Mr. Bennett will lead our efforts in admissions, on campus fundraising, creating our very first alumni program, establishing an international student program, physical plant upkeep and, more importantly, serve on my Leadership Team alongside our two principals (Dr. Crow and Mr. Holt), preschool director (Mrs. Lewis), business manager (Mrs. Hogue) and athletic director (Coach Kramer). His years of experience, (16 as a head of school and two decades of athletic department leadership) will certainly be an asset to our school as we continue to strive for excellence every day. Join me in welcoming Mr. Bennett to Conway Christian.
Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this update. I’m thrilled, and I hope you are as well, about our current position...let’s trust God will lead us into the future for His glory!
For Such a Time as This!!!
Serving Him...serving you,
Jason L. Carson