Time to Prioritize
Dear Heritage Parents:
I’m writing today with a humble passion to encourage you to prioritize time with your children. I know parenting can be tough, but it is worth the effort! Spend time eating together, working together, recreating together, praying together, and reading God’s word together. Look for opportunities to connect with your child and speak God’s word into their life.
Parenting is one of the first responsibilities and great privileges which God gave to His people. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 reads,
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Heritage Academy was founded in large part because parents wanted more time to fulfill God’s command to disciple their children. While the Heritage academic schedule allows time for parent/student interaction, it is no guarantee that Parents will spend more time with their children. In other words, just because students are enrolled in a Christian school, does not mean that parents are spending more time together. Parents must be intentional with their parenting!
Parenting has always been tough and modern culture is not making it any easier. We are a busy people increasingly distracted by work, technology and social media, and our own needs as individuals.
The dangers of social media are real. I’m including a link to a recent report from Bark.us. Bark is a company which sells an app that can track your child’s activity online. Even though, Bark has a vested interest in their reporting, I do believe the report accurately demonstrates the danger. The 2022 report highlights a variety of dangers for our pre-teens and teenagers on their cell phones or computers. The report shows, for example, “(1) 35.7% of tweens and 64.3% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation, (2) 62.4% of tweens and 82.2% of teens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature, and (3) 9.4% of tweens and 14.2% of teens encountered predatory behaviors from someone online.”
2022 Bark Annual Report (https://www.bark.us/annual-report-2022/)
Cell phones and other forms of technology can be quite distracting for our children. Once they have a cell phone in their hand, the cell phone interactions can seem more important than the people around them. Cell phones have become an epidemic of distraction in public schools. So much so that one local school district—Moberly School District started the fall 2022 school year with a “no cell phone” policy.
Moberly School District Starts School Year with a “No Cell Phone Policy”
Moberly Superintendent Dustin Fanning was quoted as saying, "Within this first two weeks, our students and staff have done amazing," he continued. "I was in the cafeteria last week and you can just tell that this school year is different. Students are actually sitting and talking to one another as opposed to everyone looking at their phones."
All of this points out the great need for parents to stay engaged with their children. I applaud Heritage parents for your valiant and diligent efforts in raising your children to love the Lord and become cultural influencers for Christ. I encourage you to check in with your student(s) regarding their cell phone usage. Set limits for them (they will thank you later) and shepherd them in the right direction.
I am thankful for the terrific parents we have at Heritage Academy!
For Christ and Family, Mr. Ragsdell
Heritage Academy Crest
Friday, February 3, 2023
The Heritage crest was re-visioned in 2019. The crest and motto symbolize the philosophy and core values upon which Heritage Academy is founded. We strive for every Heritage family to experience partnership, academic excellence, biblical worldview, and Christ-like character.
The name of our school was chosen by our founding families to express the desire of parents to pass down a godly heritage to their children. Heritage is built upon the biblical concept recorded in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” The partnership of home and school, parent and teacher is noted in our school motto “For Christ and Family.”
The crest consists of a shield representing the shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” The crest is divided into four parts by the cross which reminds us of our Savior, Jesus Christ who gave his life that we might possess life. In John 10:10 Jesus declared, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The crest highlights our four core values of partnership, academic excellence, biblical worldview, and Christlike character.
Partnership is represented by two grasping hands emphasizing unity in partnership. Philippians 1:4-5 highlights the value of partnership, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, . . .”
Academic excellence is represented by the cap and scroll emphasizing the importance of academic pursuits. Proverbs 22:29 notes “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
Biblical worldview is represented by the Bible and the globe portraying the impact of the Bible on our view of the world. Romans 12:2 admonishes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Christlike character is represented by the olive tree suggesting the importance of bearing fruit. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit.”
For Christ and Family, Mr. Ragsdell
Parents as Disciplemakers
[Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Malachi 4:6, Psalm 78:4, Proverbs 22:6, Matthew 4:19, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15]
Jesus’ opening words as he began his public ministry were, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17) He followed up those words with a call to four fishermen to become his disciples saying, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
I’ve always liked fishing. Fishing is a "hands-on" experience. You really can't fish remotely, you will need to "get your feet wet" or get out in a boat and enjoy the day. Teaching others to fish requires presence, time, patience, and experience, and skill. Can you imagine someone trying to tell someone how to fish over the phone? It doesn't work. Discipleship, like fishing, calls us to show others how to follow Jesus rather than just tell them.
The fact that Jesus called fisherman to follow him and learn his teachings has helped me understand a few important truths about discipleship.
“Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I Learn.”
The Importance of Hard Work
Recently, in the Entrepreneurship class (S2023), we considered the value of hard work in starting and operating a business and the value of hard work in school. We've been utilizing a curriculum entitled, BOSS CLUB produced by some students from Baylor University. the students are enjoying the course as they learn how to start up a business.
The Protestant Work Ethic is based in part on the biblical mandate that work is a gift from God and therefore valuable. “Work” is also a part of our calling as God’s people and an important part of God’s purpose for humanity in the Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:26-28). Through our work, our creativity, and our productivity, we represent God to the world reflecting his glory and expanding His kingdom. Paul promotes hard work with these words, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, KJV)
Sadly, hard work is counter-cultural these days. As Christians, we should get our example from Genesis. God both worked and rested -- to be God-like is to work hard and rest well.
We have some really hard-working students at Heritage, and we are proud of them. I encourage you to take time this week to discuss hard work with your student. Academics at Heritage requires discipline, organization, and hard work to be successful. Parents who hold the primary role in developing and molding the character of children. Keep up the good work!
For Christ and Family, Mr. Ragsdell
A+ Program at Heritage Academy
In the Fall of 2018, Heritage Academy was awarded the status of A+ Program school by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the State of Missouri. This year, Heritage will have four graduates who have completed the program and will receive the A+ award when they graduate.
GOALS OF THE A+ PROGRAM INCLUDE:
In addition, to the above mentioned goals of the state run A+ Program, the A+ Program @ Heritage seeks to achieve the following goals:
This past year, we have witnessed many of our stated goals achieved as A+ students have served in the Student Success Center, the Incredible-Kids Program, and other ways in the school and community.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about the A+ Program at Heritage, you can email Mrs. Laura Gutwein at email@example.com or visit our web page at www.heritageacademyofcolumbia.com/aplus.html.
This past Monday, Heritage Academy, along with many other public and private schools across America, took the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist. During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, King became the most visible leader until he was assassinated in 1968. King is remembered as a moving public speaker and an agent for love and not hate. He is quoted as saying "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
On April 3, 1968, the evening before his assassination, King delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop," Address at Bishop Charles Mason Temple (See the full speech here). His speech was directed to the city of Memphis (and the nation) concerning the discrimination and mistreatment of sanitation workers. One of the hallmarks of his speech and his leadership in the civil rights movement was his insistence on non-violence. Below is an except from his speech that evening in Memphis.
"We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles; we don't need any Molotov cocktails. (Yes) We just need to go around to these stores (Yes sir), and to these massive industries in our country (Amen), and say, "God sent us by here (All right) to say to you that you're not treating His children right. (That's right) And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment where God's children are concerned. Now if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."
As Martin Luther King Jr. concluded his speech, he turned to the parable of the Good Samaritan which Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37. Using his imagination, he asked the audience why the Priest or the Levite didn't stop to help the wounded man on the roadside? Could it be that they were busy with important meetings? Is it possible that they didn't stop because they were afraid that they might be robbed as well? In any case, King holds up the good Samaritan as an example because he was willing to ask the question, "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" rather than the question, "If I do stop to help the wounded man, what will happen to me?"
King's speech and lifelong legacy remind us that loving mercy and justice is a good first step. The next step is most important--the step of doing mercy and justice! In the words of Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O Man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
At Heritage, our theme for the year is spiritual grit based on Galatians 6:9. The parable of the good Samaritan and Martin Luther King Jr.'s life reminds us that it requires spiritual grit to (1) do the right thing, (2) show mercy to others, and (3) work towards justice for our neighbors.
Character Word of the Week
Communication — Taming the Tongue
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” ~ Proverbs 18:21
As God’s children, we have been created with the unique capacity to communicate with words — and with our words we have the power to bless and build up or curse and tear down! The problem we face is the heart—tongue connection. Imagine a conveyor belt connecting the heart and the tongue. Everything that is in your heart eventually comes out your mouth in the things you say. Why? Because the heart and the tongue are connected with a spiritual conveyor belt.
Jesus taught us that a good tree produces good fruit. In Luke 6:45 (NLT), He said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” The book of James adds, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:16) So what can we do?
How can I tame my tongue?
My Declaration: As a child of God, I will submit my speech to the Lord seeking to bless others with the words I choose!
Bible story: The High Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26)
Quote: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ~ George Washington
Back to School!
Summer's over and a new school year has begun. All of Columbia is back on a school schedule which requires families to work together to get to school and get to work. Students are feeling the emotions of getting back on track at school. Some are feeling excited; others are struggling with anxiety. After a long summer, many students are ready to get back to a schedule and begin growing, learning new things and preparing for what's next in life.
At Heritage, we have set our spiritual theme for the year as GRIT. Our theme verse is Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Through out the year, we will be looking for ways to integrate true grit into the hearts and minds of our students. Now, GRIT is not a biblical word, but there are many words in the Bible which could be mistaken for GRIT. Words like "perseverance", "long-suffering", or faith, hope, and love.
Hebrews chapter 11, for instance, is dedicated to heroes of faith who kept believing and didn't give up even when they faced great adversity in life. The Old Testament is full of such heroes fo faith. Abraham, Joseph, and Ruth are three such heroes.
Abraham believed the promise of God even though he and Sarah were childless (Genesis 15:6). Jospeh never gave up hope in the dreams which God had given even though he faced adversity after adversity. In the end, he still cringed to God's goodness (Genesis 50:20). Ruth became the hero of Elimelech and Naomi's life story with loyalty and love. Even though she was a Moabite woman, God worked through her loyalty and love to redeem a family and provide a redeemer for the whole world (Ruth 4:22). These heroes have been given to us in scripture to serve as examples for us today.
This school year, we are striving to help our students become successful in life by instilling in them spiritual qualities such as faith, hope, and love. Christian author John Ortberg has said of grit, "Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness."
Let's work together to encourage our students to choose faith, hope, and love. Together, we can grow GRIT in our lives and the lives of our students as well.
The Power of Creativity
Winter is almost over and spring time is just around the corner. Spring time reminds us that God is a creator who loves to creatively renew, renovate, regenerate, and redeem his creation. Interestingly, the Bible begins with words about God's work in creation (e.g. "In the beginning God created", Genesis 1:1) and ends with words about a new creation in Revelation 21.
What we sometimes miss is the connection that we share with God's creative power. Just as God is a creator, so too do we possess the ability to create, procreate, and recreate--it's a part of the image of God which we all share (Genesis 1:27).
Recently, I have been re-reading a book by Wayne Grudem entitled, Business for the the Glory of God. Grudem promotes the idea that all areas of life including business can be conducted for the glory of God. In other words, it is not just pastors, youth pastors, and missionaries who share in a divine call to give God glory with their life--we all share this call!
Doctors, lawyers, teachers, business women, artists, craftsmen, and coaches are all called to creatively utilize God-given gifts to reflect God's glory and give God glory with their life.
This has profound meaning for our daily lives . . . it means that creativity, innovation, imagination, and productivity glorify God. How will use your gifts and talent? What work will will you produce to reflect God's glory and give God glory?
At Heritage, we want each student to understand their unique value and opportunities to reflect God's glory in their studies and future careers. Perhaps a Heritage student will innovate a new manufacturing process or invent a medical device to save lives. To God be the glory in all things!
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." ~ Colossians 3:23-24
Assessment at Heritage
It's that time of year again! During the first and second weeks of April (April 3rd & 5th for Elementary and April 10th & 12th for Secondary), all Heritage students participate in Stanford Achievement Testing provided by BJU. Homeschooling families are also invited to participate. You can gather more information by selecting the Stanford Achievement Testing tab on the web page.
The Stanford Achievement Test ("Stanford 10" or SAT-10) is a nationally recognized standardized test that students have the opportunity to take at Heritage Academy. The Stanford test covers a wide variety of academics in each grade level such as reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, mathematics procedures and problem solving as well as science, social science and listening skills.
Test taking is a skill that students can improve on with practice. Tests are scored by an official service and sent back to the parents. The results show where the student compares with the typical student in the same grade across the nation, as well as whether they are above or below average in each subject.
The Importance of Assessment
Assessment is an important tool in the educational process for students of all ages. Studies show that regular assessment can help students test better and learn better (See The Impact of Formative Assessment and Learning Intentions on Student Achievement, Hanover Research [August 2014]). While academic assessments do not measure intelligence, they do provide helpful feedback for students, parents, and teachers related to specific skills and subject matter.
So encourage your student to relax and then grow to enjoy the experience of taking a test.