Wednesday, July 29, 2015

TFCA Welcomes New Bible Teacher

Dr. Ollie E. Gibbs will be joining us as our Middle School Bible teacher this fall. Dr. Gibbs has served as the headmaster of Lexington Christian Academy since 1996. He has served ACSI as a VP of Academic Affairs and the Southeast Regional Director for ten years. Prior to that he was on staff at Western Bible College and Salem Academy in Oregon. He has served as an Adjunct Professor for Columbia International University, Liberty University, and Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA. 
Dr. Gibbs is a graduate of Bob Jones University, received his M. Div at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, M.A. In Christian School Administration from Grace Theological Seminary and his Ed.D. In Curriculum and Supervision from The University of Georgia. 
Dr. Gibbs and his wife are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. 

We are so thrilled to welcome Dr. Gibbs to our faculty at TFCA!

Exciting New Faces in our TFCA Family!

Mrs. Karen Bourne will be assuming the role of our new Elementary Art Teacher.  She will also be teaching k-3rd grade computer classes.  (k-2nd computer classes is NEW this year!)  Mrs. Bourne has a degree from Georgetown College in Elementary Education.  She previously taught at Capital Day School.. After teaching school, she began working for the Legislative Research Commission in the Public Information Office.  While there,  she has worked with teachers throughout the state in planning their educational visits to the Capitol and other historic Frankfort sites.  She has three children, Clark, Garrett and Allie, who all attend TFCA.  Mrs. Bourne and her husband, Brian, are members of Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church, where she is a member of the praise and worship team and leads the preschool choir.   She says," I am looking forward to becoming the Elementary Art teacher at TFCA next year and  I can’t wait to have fun and create new and exciting stuff with your kids everyday!!"          

Mrs. Donna Short will be our new Middle School Science teacher this fall.  She has taught for 15 years in the private and public school systems. She earned her bachelor's degree from McKendree University in Elementary Education, has a Master's degree in Elementary Science, and is currently working on her Educational Doctorate. She has been married to her husband, Dr. Philip Short, for 32 years. They have two adult children-a 29 year old daughter-Carly and a 26 year old son-Logan.  Their daughter and her husband live in Tennessee with their two children-Luke (4) and Maggie (2).  Their son continues to live in the St. Louis area.  Her husband's job brought them to the area a year ago in July.  She worked this past year part-time as adjunct for Midway College and substitute taught at TFCA.  She and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church in Georgetown.  Mrs. Short says, " I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for this opportunity to work with Frankfort Christian Academy."

Mrs. Ashley Newcomb has been part of our preschool staff this past year.  She will be moving to the 4th/5th grade Math teacher position this fall taking the position that opened up when Mrs. Smith moved with her family to Murray.   She graduated from Asbury College in 2005, with a Bachelor's degree in Media Communications, and from Georgetown College in 2010, with a Master's degree in Special Education P-12.  She taught in the Owen County School District for four years before staying home with her daughters full-time.  She and her husband, Ryan Newcomb, have two daughters who started at TFCA in PK3.  Next year, Elle will be going to Kindergarten and Claudia will be going to PK4 at TFCA.  She says, "We just love it here, and I am so excited to be the new 4th/5th TFCA Math Teacher!  Our family is also a member of Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church.  We feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful church and school in which to raise our children in!"
Mrs. Pandora Morrow will be moving into the 3rd grade teacher spot left vacant by Ms. Shepherd this spring (she has chosen a different career path!).  Mrs. Morrow taught 2nd grade for us this past year.  Her youngest daughter, Hope, is a  rising Junior at TFCA.  She and her family attend Buck Run Baptist Church.  She will be co-teaching with Mrs. Margaret Bevins.  Mrs. Morrow will lead teach Math and Science for all third graders.  She will teach reading, Bible and spelling for her homeroom.  Mrs. Bevins will lead writing and social studies for all third grade and teach reading, Bible and spelling for her homeroom.
Mrs. Katie Bratton will be taking Mrs. Morrow's 2nd grade teaching position.  Mrs. Bratton has taught in our preschool since November 2013.  She and her husband, Bruce, have two sons, Kolston and Kaden, who are both students at TFCA.  They attend Forks of Elkhorn Baptist church.  Mrs. Bratton has a degree in Elementary Education.  She will teach social studies for all second grade students.  Mrs. Faithe Wheatley will continue to teach the other second grade class and science for all second graders.
Mrs. Joyce Cole has been at TFCA for five years and taught fifth grade before taking on the role of Art/Computer teacher for k-12.  This year, she will be our Technology Lead teacher.  She will teach 4/5th-high school computer and middle school/high school Art.  She will also be in charge of spearheading technology integration in the classroom and technology education for teachers.  Her two youngest sons, Aaron and Noah, are both graduates of TFCA and will both be attending the University of Kentucky this fall.  Her husband, Jeff, serves on our Technology team for the school and they are members of the Church of the Nazarene in Georgetown.
Mr. Drew Brammell taught part-time in 2014-15 in high school math.  He will be moving into a full-time position this fall, teaching high school math courses, Lego Robotics and helping with our Praise Band.  Drew and his wife, Vannah, have a three year old daughter and are expecting their second child this fall.  He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University.
Ms. Emily Pinkston has been our part-time Spanish teacher for the past year and a half.  She taught a few high school courses and Elementary Spanish classes.  She will move into a full-time position this fall as well, teaching more courses in Spanish, as well as a Public Speaking course.  Emily is a 2010 TFCA graduate and a graduate of the University of Kentucky.  She is currently teaching English in China for the summer as she finishes her Masters degree for Teaching English as a Second Language at UK.  She is recently engaged!
Join us in welcoming these faculty and celebrating their new positions!

Stay tuned for more exciting information on other staffing changes.

Monday, July 20, 2015

End of the Year Survey Response

We want to say thank you to those who participated in our End of Year Parent Survey!! We know your time is valuable and we appreciate your input! There are a few items I wanted to clarify/respond to so everyone has the information.

1. The Lunch Program – There were many comments about our lunch program. Just to clarify, currently, we possess a license from the Health Department that allows us to distribute food already prepared/packaged. We are not allowed to “cook” food to distribute. We would LOVE to be able to offer more healthy, well balanced and hot options. Currently, our kitchen is not outfitted as a commercial kitchen, which we would need to operate a more traditional school cafeteria. We also do not have the opportunity to use federal dollars for our lunch program, like some private schools, that allow them to use public school cafeteria services with free/reduced lunch prices. We have heard your suggestions, however, and there are a few things we can do in the immediate future:
a.       More healthy side item choices (carrots/veggies with dip, more fruit options, etc.)
b.      We are vetting potential vendors (Adelia’s, Carino’s, etc.) for more options with soups, salads, and pasta
c.       We are trying to get wi-fi/connectivity in the lunchroom so students may check out there and better confirmation of correct orders.
One other item to note – we do our best to police students getting food when they haven’t ordered ahead of time, but they also do not want to have students go hungry. If you have a problem with your child ordering when they are not  supposed to, please communicate with your child’s homeroom teacher so they can help keep an eye on this activity.

2. After School Program – There were many comments about the after school program needing more structure. We want you to know that we added staffing mid-year last year to better accommodate the number in enrollment. We made a point to ensure that we had female and male staff on hand each day. This year, we will have specific homework times and MS/HS will have more of a study hall setting. Agendas will be checked and students who do their work will receive a check mark in their planner showing they completed something under the guidance of after school. MS/HS students need to bring homework with the intent to use time wisely. We will still offer snack time, play time in the gym/MPR and/or playground. 

3.  Security concerns – There have been some concerns expressed about the front middle doors being left open in the mornings when parents are bringing their students in from 7:15-7:45. Mrs. Sims is always in the office, but if she steps away to help someone, people may certainly enter that she does not see. Sadly, we live in a world where evil people do unspeakable things. We would like to think no one would enter in our building with the intent to cause harm, but it would certainly be better if we could minimize the opportunity for someone to do this.
a.       Beginning this fall, the middle doors will remain closed, even from 7:15-7:45. Office staff will be stationed at the door to let people in and to observe that those entering the building are parents/guardians, staff or students. 
b.      During large events like Grandparents’ Day, parties, etc., we will also keep them closed and need to buzz people into the school.
We know this may cause a minor inconvenience for you, but pray that you will understand we only have the security of our students and staff in mind! Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this!

4. Extra-Curricular activities – One of the concerns listed by several parents was for more sports specifically for girls. We are already outfitting our newly restored Girls’ Volleyball team for this year. We have two staff people who will be coaching and we are excited for this team to compete again! Girls’ basketball team(s) are also planned.  PLEASE be sure to let Mr. Weldy/Mr. Sims know if your student is interested in girls’ basketball early! Last year there were not enough girls who said they wanted to play to have a team, but then I heard from several students and parents that they had wanted to play. Tennis, soccer, golf, cross country, cheerleading and dance team are all available to female students, as well!

5. Gifted Program/Step-Up – Some of you are familiar with the Step Up program currently geared towards 4th-8th grade students at TFCA. We use criteria established by the Center for Gifted Studies and the DUKE TIP program to qualify students for participation in this program. Those qualifications include:  90% or better on total battery on standardized testing, 95% or better in reading, language, and/or math on standardized testing, 120 or better on a recognized IQ test, and teacher recommendation. Mrs. Ruth Fitz-Gerald helps coordinate this program and she uses inventories for teachers to fill out on students that address a wide variety of “gifted” traits and talents in addition to the testing data. At TFCA, almost half of our students in grades 2nd-10th grade scored in the 90% in some subject area this past spring. That is the TOP 10% in the nation!! We want to be sure that we are providing challenging, thought provoking opportunities for students inside and outside of the classroom. Step-Up encourages STEM projects, lateral thinking skills, problem solving, investigations, research, and social skills development. There were a few comments by families not understanding what this program was, how students were identified, etc. I wanted to try to convey that information to you. 

6. Communication – We try to do a great job at communicating information to parents and students regarding important events, calendar changes, field trips and more. Weekly email updates, blog posts, the school website posts, Facebook, Twitter and Renweb are all used to communicate school wide information. Teachers do the bulk of communication regarding their grades, tests, homework, field trips, required supplies, etc. We will make a concerted effort to step up the communication from teachers across grade levels this year. We are also working on a better system for responding more efficiently to the many phone calls and emails that come in through the front office on a daily basis!

Thank you again for being a part of our TFCA family! We are gearing up and getting excited for the 2015-16 school year.  

Carrie Beth Tigges, TFCA Principal