I'll add the guide to this post. Many of you have gotten onto the classrooms today. Nicely done!
Quest for this week: Memorize 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, and love and self discipline."
It was sure good to have students back in the classroom today! Unfortunately, it seems we will need to move to on-line learning beginning Monday. Many schools in the surrounding area, including South Whidbey School District have already closed or announced closure in the next few days, and it seems prudent to follow suit.
Some of you may be wondering why we would need to make this move. While authorities tell us children who contract the virus are likely to have mild symptoms, by continuing to meet together, we may be helping the virus to spread in our community from household to household, many of which include people in the high-risk categories because of age or medical condition.
We have been thankful that we had time this week to prepare. We are working on a parent guide for how our process will work for each class. Please do continue to have patience as we work out the glitches that will surely come. Again, I do have several tablets available for checkout for any homes that don’t have technology they will need to participate in distance learning.
If you would like to send your student tomorrow (3rd-10th) with the device they will be using for on-line school, we will do our best to set them up in Google Classrooms while they are here, making the transition possibly easier for all.
More to come tomorrow!
I just received a call from the Island County Department of Health. They informed me that the test was, indeed, viable and they have already tested and it was NEGATIVE! Isn't that the happiest news you've had this week!? I don't know how they expedited the testing, but I'll take the result!
I have checked with staff and school is ON at ICA tomorrow! If your student has any symptoms, please keep them home, but otherwise, we are good to go with whomever can be here.
I hope to see you tomorrow!
Patience is a virtue we are developing this week! The short story is that the earliest we can come back to school is Monday. Here is the explanation as related to me by Keith Higman, the Director of Island County Public Health:
There was a major change in the way samples were being processed that took place the same day our student was tested for COVID-19. Because of this change, the sample was sent to the wrong lab, only arriving at the correct lab today.
Because of the time the sample took to get to the correct lab, the concern now is that the sample is not viable and the student may need to be re-tested. The good news is that the test can now be processed quickly. The bad news is that, because we want to be sure we are operating with an abundance of caution, and protecting not only our students, but also the broader community, the earliest we will be able to be back in school is Monday.
What is next: Our staff have been planning for the possibility of distance learning the last two days. We are close to getting up and running on platforms, and feel we could be ready by Monday. The next three days your student's classroom teacher will email them with assignments for the day (like they did today) with further instructions as to how to "turn in" assignments. They also have each student's books in their home room on their desks ready to be picked up. Secondary students will have to get them from their lockers. If someone from your family can stop by the school (it has been completely sanitized) at your convenience, the school will be open I'll be here 9:00-3:30.
I've just received word that there is now a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Island County. Please realize this is not the student from ICA. Our student's sample has not been tested yet.
I'll be in touch with more information tomorrow. Thank you for those who have responded to our Home Technology Survey. We are committed to both your student's safety and to seeing that the learning process continues.
While this isn't ideal, I'm so glad that God gives the grace we need in the moments we need it. Thank you for your patience with this highly unusual situation. I'm sure it is causing varying amounts of difficulty for you.
We have not received results of the student tested for COVID-19 from the health department yet. They did call to tell us that we won't hear the results until tomorrow at the earliest. The same reasons for cancelling school today apply for one more day, so we will cancel classes, but with one difference:
Homework for tomorrow: We made quite a lot of headway today as a staff on ways we can transfer our school model to the home environment. Tomorrow, please watch your email for communication from your student's homerooom teacher for Grades K-6, and each subject teacher for Grades 7-10. They will give assignments for the day. Some will be experimenting with uploading assignments through our Gradelink system. It may come in the form of a PDF attached to an assignment. Others will simply give instructions in the email. Students are welcome to email teachers will questions that may come up.
Teachers will once again meet at ICA to continue to orient ourselves to the possibility of on-line education. It's a good thing we love learning!
If for some reason we needed to continue long-distance for a longer term, there are other platforms we are currently training on., but since everyone has a Gradelink account, that is where we will begin. If you don't know your log-in credentials, please email the school office (email@example.com) and they will send that information to you. While you are on Gradelink, you can also sign your child up for next school year!
In the meantime, every student above the 2nd grade will be able to continue working on their art fair projects at home. This extra time is a great opportunity to work on creating their boards and presentations!
I'm guessing you've heard this advice a few times, but just in case you haven't, it is worth repeating:
Three things on this fine February day:
Hearing and Vision screening: Thank you to our school nurse, Christi Wenzek, who arranged for and helped conduct vision and hearing screening for our students today in grades kindergarten and up. Yearly vision and hearing tests help to identify potential problems in either of those categories before they begin to affect a student's learning. If there were any concerns about your student's hearing or vision, Christi will send you a letter in the coming weeks. I appreciate Christi's diligence and skill in serving as our school nurse for several years now.
Inter-school Spelling Bee tomorrow:
We have five star spellers who will be leaving at 8:00 am on the dot tomorrow to compete in the ACCS Inter-school Spelling Bee in Woodinville along with students from several other area classical schools.
Here are the students we are cheering on who will be representing ICA:
Choir starts tomorrow:
With over 20 students who have shown interest, our ICA after-school choir will have it's inaugural rehearsal tomorrow. Please meet in the lunchroom at 2:15. Parents, please pick up your singers at 3:30 sharp!
Congratulations to Spelling Bee class winners (see below) who will be participating in this Thursday's ICA Championship Bee at 1:10 in the gym! Parents are welcome.
Choral Opportunity: ICA is planning to partner with local voice and piano teacher Jana Szabo Malecki to offer an after-school vocal ensemble/choir here at the ICA campus. So far we have twelve students/ from families who have shown an interest, so we're planing the launch!
Words cannot quite describe how inspiring and just plain enjoyable it is to learn to sing in harmony. It is truly my joy to be able to offer your students the opportunity to experience the hard work and the transporting delight of learning to sing in parts and making music with a group. I already have several performance opportunities in mind!
Here are the details:
When: Wednesdays at 2:15 - 3:30 beginning February 26th
Where: Room 101 (lunchroom)
Music: Music will be in keeping with our classical school tradition with a few out-of-the-box pieces here and there.
Cost: $75 per student total between now and the end of the year (15 classes leaving out Spring Break week). If your student has a sport or something else that would take them out for an extended period between now and June, we can adjust the fee accordingly. If the cost is a determining factor, please let me know and we can provide assistance! I would like all of the students who would like to participate to have the opportunity.
If you would like your student to be a part of the choir, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone is invited (even grandparents and friends) to attend this evening's Electives Week Showcase presented along with our Second Quarter Awards presentations. 6 pm in the gym - dress protocol required for K-12 students.
Some of the week's creations will be on display around the room. After a lovely dinner together featuring pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans and a tasty pear crisp for dessert all by Chef Lauri and crew, we will show you photos and video footage of last week's classes.
Below you will find helpful information and reminders for this week.
Hope to see you tonight!
This week's buzz is all about next week's elective classes! There is no form-return rate at anytime throughout the year that matches the blazing speed with which Elective's Week class choice forms make it home and back! Wow! Mrs. Ohme's pile was already tall by 9:00 am this morning! She tallied up class choices today and will have schedules out by Friday!
We could still use a boost in the following areas:
Anticipation is building all around for this inspiring event. Tuesday, February 4th at 6:00 pm, in conjunction with our quarterly awards dinner, we will also present a showcase of projects created and skills developed during Electives Week, so parents will also have an opportunity to share the joy! You can also follow the week's events in photos if you are a part of our ICA Facebook group! (Search Island Christian Academy group and send a request to join.)
The Christmas tree is out the door (well, mine isn't quite yet) and the Christmas goodies have all disappeared (well maybe a box of chocolates hanging around). January has arrived and now it's time for....snow?! Well, maybe! The forecast does seem pretty insistent on several flakes for next week. In light of this information, let me brief you on where you can find information on school closures. If you have students who also attend the public school, usually you can rely on our closures mirroring theirs; however, there have been occasions (like the power outage last month) where we are closed and they are not. Here are the ways we let people know about school-day changes:
1. Robo-call: If there is a school change for the day of, I try to get this call out by, but not before 6:00 am.
2. Facebook group page for Island Christian Academy
3. ICA webpage at islandchristianacademy.com - should be on the front page
4. ICA phone message.
You might want to dig out those sleds and gloves and we'll see if the predictions are accurate!
Bonus FYI (for reading to the end :-) Did you know our protocol dress days (including which group has chapel day protocol) are all posted to our on-line school calendar? You can find it on Gradelink or by visiting our website under the For Parents tab.
It's possible your students have come homing humming or maybe even all-out belting some Christmas carols as ICA is full swing into the Christmas season! We are looking forward to sharing the joy with you and whomever you would like to bring along to our presentation of a Classic Christmas December 17th at 7:00 pm. It's just two weeks away, so put out your invites to grandpa's, grandma's and friends. It is a beautiful and heartwarming evening!
Following the holidays, our next big event coming the end of January is Electives Week. If you are new to ICA, see below for a full explanation of this instructive and entertaining week of learning. I am beginning the search for parents and/or friends of ICA who have a skill they may like to share with students. It can be art-, science, history-, sports-related, or possibly just information that would interest students. Please let me know if you have ideas! We are looking for 20+ classes to offer once again this year.
What a fantastic evening Saturday night here at ICA's 27th annual auction! Thank you so much for everyone who donated, who volunteered and worked the event, who attended and spent money. It takes so many people to put on an event like this: parents, staff, students (junior high and high school students especially put in quite a lot of work), volunteers even from outside of our own organization! I still don't have solid numbers, but preliminary numbers are encouraging!
Our First Quarter Awards Lunch will start at noon today beginning with kindergarten and 1st grade performances. Parents are welcome to attend and lunch is provided for all at no cost! After lunch we will give out academic and house awards with a goal of finishing up by 1:00, so come and join us on your lunch break if you can!
Parent Teacher conferences begin this Friday. We encourage and expect all parents to sign up for an opportunity to touch base with your student;s teacher(s) and set the foundation for a great relationship all year long. Friday, November 22, Monday, November 25, Tuesday, November 26 each day have 30 minute slots available beginning at 1:00 pm with the last available slot at 4:30. Thank you for coming in regardless of whether or not your student is doing well.
Thank you so much for the teamwork on our up-coming auction. Some fantastic items and experiences are rolling in this week in plenty of time for Friday's deadline. First things first, though: we will need more people than are currently on our list to actually make this auction a reality! Here are some jobs and time slots which we desperately need to fill.
Friday: clear coat some ornaments from a class project
Anytime: several office-type projects
food prep (have:1 - need: 2-3 more)
Thursday 12:30-3:30 or later if you can
food prep (have: one - need: 2 more)
silent auction set up (tablecloths on tables...- have:1, need:2 more)
Kitchen Crew (anytime throughout the day - currently have 1)
Silent auction set up - put out items and bidder cards, displays etc...
12:30-3:30 or later if you can (have:3, need: 6 more)
3:30-9:00 or 10:00 (or anytime in between) have:1 - need:3 more)
Live auction set-up (anytime during the day - creating displays for live auction items - currently have 0)
Decor 12:00 - 3:30 Junior High and High school helping with this, but could use one more adult
Silent auction workers 4:00-9 pm Currently have four, would like 10
Kitchen Crew 3:00-9:00 pm - currently have 0
Dish Washers 5:00-9:00 pm - have:1, need:1 more
As you can see, we need YOU! Call the office to sign up to help fill the gaps.
Tickets: Please turn in your ticket stubs with names so we can have a packet ready for your special guest!
Extra procurement forms: If you have forms you won't be using, please send them back to the school office as we are currently out.
Here are some of this week's featured items going up for auction on the 16th:
If food is your love (isn't that all of us?), we home something for you...
Together we can make this 27th annual auction one of the best and most profitable in ICA history!
As usual there are many desirable auction items rolling in that will be up for bid in just two short weeks (plus a few days)! I've given you a sneak peak on a few items at the end of the email.
Student feature: In a first-of-its-kind story, Ryelan Q., one of our 8th grade students, decided to take on auction procuring himself. He has visited several local businesses on his own, and has procured $780 in donated goods and services! As far as he could remember, no one turned him down (though some have yet to donate). Way to go, Ryelan!
Some dates to remember:
November 8th - last day to turn in procurement forms
$100 off December tuition to the family with the highest procurement value.
November 13th - last day to receive auction items (forms need to be turned in by the 8th)
Any items received after this date will be sold in a separate venue.
November 14th-15th - afternoon set up days
November 16th - auction 5 pm
We still need help in silent auction and other areas, so please call or stop by the office to sign up for an auction job. This is an all-hands-on-deck event that helps keep our tuition accessible for families on South and Central Whidbey.
Featured auction items:
Grip Rite Air Compressor: 1 gallon oil-free, 1 HP, Max PSI 135
Cabin stay in Leavenworth
Club seats to the Mariners
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Every now and then I like to throw out something with a bit of a philosophical bent pertaining to why we do what we do at Island Christian Academy. One of the classical school publications I read regularly forwarded the text of a speech made by the U.S. Attorney General, William P. Barr to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN (Friday, October 11, 2019). His ideas are not new, but are articulated so very well in regard to the role of religion, or morality, and it's role in free government.
In fact, I find his thoughts so ideologically compelling, that I would like to share them with you as the parent of a student in a religious school like Island Christian Academy. Hopefully they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Below is a short, but applicable excerpt from his longer address which can be accessed here.
"How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?
First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.
But they also include the guidance of natural law – a real, transcendent moral order which flows from God’s eternal law – the divine wisdom by which the whole of creation is ordered. The eternal law is impressed upon, and reflected in, all created things.
From the nature of things we can, through reason, experience, discern standards of right and wrong that exist independent of human will.
Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy. In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.
They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now. They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.
By the same token, violations of these moral laws have bad, real-world consequences for man and society. We may not pay the price immediately, but over time the harm is real.
Religion helps promote moral discipline within society. Because man is fallen, we don’t automatically conform ourselves to moral rules even when we know they are good for us.
But religion helps teach, train, and habituate people to want what is good (emphasis mine - that is what we hope to do at ICA). It does not do this primarily by formal laws – that is, through coercion. It does this through moral education and by informing society’s informal rules – its customs and traditions which reflect the wisdom and experience of the ages.
In other words, religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline."
I hope you have time to listen to or read the whole speech. Let me know what you think!
Dress Protocol: Thursday this week is our first dress protocol day of the school year. Below is a quick checklist to be sure your student is ready! From here on out, we will be wearing uniforms for days when your child's grade has chapel as well as the regular dress protocol days. Grandparents Day is the first of that variety.
Grandparents Day: We are looking forward to hosting many grandparents and special friends at ICA next Tuesday from 10 am to 12:30 pm. The students will have opportunity to show their visitor around to different stations within the school and have their picture taken at our GP Day photo booth. Starting around 11:00 am, each class Preschool through 6th grade will present a short program of things they have been learning in class followed by sharing a delicious meal together. Students are welcome to bring a lunch if they prefer, but we will have a free hot lunch for all grandparents and students.
I wish I could also extend the invitation to all parents, but we wouldn't be able to fit everyone in the building. If you child doesn't have a grandparent or special friend available, parents are very welcome to come in their place.
Grandparents Day Menu:
Zuppa Toscana - Italian sausage, potatoes, kale,
onions, bacon in a light cream sauce with chicken
Chicken Chili - roast chicken breasts, orca beans,
onions, diced tomatoes, corn, cilantro and mild
green chilies in chicken stock
Dessert - Hot Fudge Sundae Poke Cake
gluten/nut/dairy free options available
Next Friday, October 11th, is an in-service training day for our staff. What you may not know yet is that on that day ICA is hosting the Regional Training Day for the Association of Classical Christian Schools of which we are a member.
We will be hosting 130-150 staff from nine schools around western Washington. The topic of the day is beauty in the classical, Christian school with guest speaker Dr. Steve Turley, internationally known author of over 20 books including Beauty Matters: Creating a High Aesthetic in School Culture. There will also be one session with choices of workshops to attend taught by staff from our regional area. Lunch will be provided by Chef Laurie Davis of ICA hot lunch fame.
I believe the topics will be of interest not only to our staff, but also to many of you. If you are available and would like to attend, we would be glad to have you join us as it is an opportunity that may not come around again for awhile. The cost is just $25 per person for the day. If you would like to participate, please contact Mrs. Ohme at the school office.
Island Christian ACademy
Decidedly Academic - Distinctively Christian.
A few of our wax museum participants
Electives week with Detective Farr from Island County
Service Project, Langley
High School students visit the capital building in Olympia
Spelling bee winners
Sno-Isle Skill Center graduate and ICA senior
Secondary Leadership Retreat
Community service project at the Island County Fairgrounds
Northwest Institute of the Literary Arts winners