News from CAK
It's something we never dreamed would occur, a pandemic in 2020 racing across the world at breakneck speed. On Thursday, March 5, Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) sent our first communication to families about COVID-19. By Friday, March 13, our leadership was one of the first schools in Tennessee to make the call to move to a distance learning platform.
"At CAK we are fortunate," says Head of School Rich Fulford. "We are positioned very well to continue meaningful learning with the investment in technology and training that we've made in recent years."
And we didn't miss a beat. Not one day of instruction.
Spring Break was March 16-20, and many CAK faculty and staff worked at home during the break to be ready to go when students returned to their new virtual class on Monday, March 23.
Even with the fast time-line, our teachers wanted their students' QUALITY education to continue. When school began after Spring Break, CAK teachers held virtual, live, Zoom and Google meetings with students, allowing REAL connection and REAL learning to continue!
From our high schoolers to our littlest learners, CAK students were learning ....alone, but together.
Parent Alicia Weiser shared on Facebook that "CAK has been on top of this situation from day one, and I am so very thankful for our school." Shannon Taylor, another parent, said "Thank you to all at CAK for being so proactive!"
We admit not everyone is thrilled about learning at home. Many miss in-person connections and friends!
And some had a few issues with "their co-workers."
Remote learning is not all on a computer, but we also get creative with learning with items we have at home.
And we know our kids are learning more than just what is taught in the classroom. They are learning about adaptability and resilience. Life can change on a dime, and we should have a moment to let our emotions flow, but then we need to pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, and roll with those changes.
They are learning about a Christian community of believers rallying around each other to PRAY together daily. And to worship together, online.
They are learning that God is in control of all things, even when it's scary; Even when we don't understand; Even when there is uncertainty.
And we are learning with them. Never has there been a time when our school mascot, a Warrior, was more accurate than during this time of charging forward.
So, thank you, Warriors, for being amazing this week. We'll keep on moving forward, learning together, but separately (for now). We can't wait to gather together again in the future! What a celebration that will be!
One thing is certain, in times of crisis ....#WarriorsRise
It's Spring Break for students at Christian Academy of Knoxville (March 16-20, 2020) and it's a much-needed break. COVID-19 has taken over the news, and many of our Spring Break plans have been changed. We are even learning new terms like "social distancing" (staying home as much as possible, putting at least 6 feet between yourself and others, avoiding crowds).
Even with the best of attitudes, all the business closures, sports cancellations, and arts postponements can be disappointing and stressful, especially to kids, tweens, and teens.
With that said, we wanted to share some ideas for things you can do as a family while practicing social distancing. Some of these ideas will reduce anxiety while getting you outside, and others will help with learning by virtually touring other locations. Note: CAK does not necessarily promote any of the links below, we are just sharing ideas with you.
10. Go for a Walk
Spring flowers are blooming! Go for a walk around your neighborhood or on one of Knoxville's Greenways to check out the daffodils and other flowers
9. Take a virtual tour
Visit over 30 of our nation's national parks online
8. Bake as a Family
Spend time baking with your kids
7. Zoo to You
Zoo Knoxville is bringing the "Zoo to You" with Facebook Live
6. Learn a New Language
5. Virtual Museum
Visit a virtual museum via Google Arts and Culture
4. Play Music Together
Learn how to play a musical instrument together
3. Turn OFF the TV
Turn OFF the TV and spend time playing board games or reading a book as a family (HERE are some suggestions by age level from Scholastic)
2. Get Outside
1. Spend Time in God's Word
Spend time in God's word together - read scripture, watch videos on Right Now Media (all CAK families get a free subscription), and sing praise songs together (you can find many on YouTube)
We hope these suggestions help you pass the time and calm anxiety. We can all be assured that God is still in control, and He loves us. We'll be ready for remote learning to start Monday, March 23. See you (remotely) then!
The concept of a “Christian education” is often misunderstood. The term “Christian education” is too often heard to mean “anti-intellectual,” “anti-science”, or “ideological”. Many believe that a Christian education is an attempt to avoid hard topics or controversial issues, and rather than doing the hard work of education, we instead simply slap an out-of-context Bible verse onto an issue and move on. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, when done properly, a Christian education is everything that a standard education would be . . . plus more. A Christian education does not take things out of the curriculum, but instead adds an additional valuable piece to the educational experience.
A good education encourages students to learn to think through the filter of many different disciplines, to learn to see a problem through many different lenses. When, for example, a new issue arises, we ask “what does history teach us about this topic? Have we been here before?” We ask, “has such an issue been examined in some way by the great literary giants of our world?” Or we ask, “can this problem be solved using the logical and mathematical critical thinking skills I have learned?” We can ask, “can this problem be understood through the lens of the social sciences, and is there a psychological or sociological reason that we respond the way we do?” We can ask the hard questions of philosophy, whether a topic is orderly, true, or consistent.
Yet in most educational models, the questions cannot extend to include questions of faith and our religious practices. But in a Christian education, we can ask one more question that our contemporaries cannot ask: “what does our faith say about this issue?”
A good education teaches us that most problems in our world are complex, and we often find different answers to our questions based on the particular lens we are using at a given time. Yet in most educational settings, we are forbidden to use one of our deeply valuable lenses—the lens of our faith. When that lens is brought to bear, we do not ignore all of the wonderful insights we might gain from biology, or psychology, or history, or literature, or the arts; rather, we add to it.
In the end, a Christian education teaches us that all truth is God’s truth, and that we need not be afraid of truth that comes from any of the various disciplines we might study because truth, if it is truth, will always hold up under scrutiny. So in a Christian education, we can embrace the best that science has to offer; we can drink deeply at the great fount of literature our world has produced; we can embrace the arts. And once we finish all of that, we can also go one step further, examining our learning through the lens of our faith, thus revealing even more of the picture of truth and beauty in our world.
So what is the Christian education difference?
It is an education that is more than what is afforded in different settings. A Christian education does not limit our study of science or history or math or music, because God’s truth can be and is revealed through any of those great fields of study; rather, a Christian education embraces all of those fields and goes further to ask yet another set of questions: how does this truth fit into a world that is created and ordered by God? How does what I am learning in these other fields fit into God’s redemptive story of history? How might I take what I am learning and help make this world a little more like the Kingdom of God that Jesus envisions? How can the knowledge gained in any of these great areas of study help me to love those around me more effectively? These are the sort of added-value questions that make a Christian education different and superior.
Christian Academy of Knoxville is a special place. Just ask the Pedersen family who moved here from out of state last year and have found that becoming a CAK Warrior has truly helped their son, Connor, thrive.
When you moved to Tennessee, did you tour multiple schools? Or was CAK your decision from the start?
When we made the decision to move to Tennessee last year we did a lot of research on the private schools in the area and toured several schools that were recommended to us.
"Middle school is a scary time of transition for any child, especially one who has always attended school in a much smaller setting."
Why did you ultimately choose CAK?
While all the other private schools had their pros and cons we ultimately decided to choose CAK after our tour and meeting with the Middle School Principal (and current Head of School) Mr. Rich Fulford. The respect the middle school students had for their principal and how he knew most, if not all, by name, along with his calming but fun demeanor were things that resonated long after our tour.
Middle school is a scary time of transition for any child, especially one who has always attended school in a much smaller setting. Mr. Fulford provided a calming but reassuring presence during a time of uncertainty for us. He wasn't just a principal, he was also a parent and really understood the current academic struggles that we had faced prior to our move.
"We were told it would be in our best interest to hold our child back to the 5th-grade for the upcoming school year."
Tell me a little about his past school experience (before CAK)?
Connor has always attended a classical school, and in a much smaller setting, so I was nervous looking into a much larger school. However, one of the draws to a school such as CAK is the ability to offer additional support and programming which our prior schools lacked.
Connor is a very bright kid and has never been seen as a student who "fits inside the box." He was always excited to go to school, learn, engage with other students, and eager to answer questions and participate in class. He is the type of kid who has never met a stranger.
However, all of that changed during his fifth-grade year when he began to struggle in school, and his love for school and learning started to turn into apprehension with constant emails saying that he was behind all of his peers in his class. He started to withdraw from wanting to go to school and wishing for the school year to be over. After many meetings with his teacher and principal, and requests that we pursue expensive and additional programming for our child in order for him to be successful, we were told it would be in our best interest to hold our child back to the 5th-grade for the upcoming school year.
During our move over the summer to Tennessee we were prepared to do just that - hold Connor back. However, after careful review of all of Connor's testing and prior school academic performance, it was Mr. Fulford who told us that he didn't believe that Connor should be held back. In fact, he just needed the right tools and the right environment, and he would be just fine. As a mom, I was hesitant - a new environment; more technology; changing classes all day long - How would he ever be able to keep up?
"The technology has been a blessing as a learning modality for Connor, and he is thriving academically thanks to the wonderful 6th-grade team of teachers."
Has CAK lived up to your expectations? Was there anything that pleasantly surprised you?
I am happy to report that not only has CAK lived up to my expectations, but it has also surpassed them. The technology has been a blessing as a learning modality for Connor, and he is thriving academically thanks to the wonderful 6th-grade team of teachers. He never wants to miss a day of school. From a Christ-centered focus, to teachers and staff who truly love Christ and what they do, entrusting both of our children, but especially our middle schooler to CAK was one of the best outcomes of our move.
How has CAK helped Connor thrive?
During his 6th-grade year, Connor had the ability to join the Middle School LEGO Robotic Team. Connor has always had an engineer's brain, but has never been given the opportunity to put his skills into practice. This fall/winter he was able to work alongside his friends as part of a team and compete against other teams in the region and then to help represent CAK in the East Tennessee State Championship a few weeks ago. What I have always wanted for my son after such a difficult 5th-grade year is to build his confidence to be the leader I know he can be. During the LEGO event, I was able to watch Connor present to the judges with such confidence and such passion and his teammates and coaches spoke of him as a leader. It made me realize yet again that God has Connor right where he wants him, at CAK.
What advice would you give other out-of-state families who are considering CAK?
Choosing a school for your child while out of state can feel overwhelming. It is hard to compare schools on paper, so I would encourage them to make sure and schedule a tour while school is in session and see the school in person. Ask all the questions you can think of - the faculty and staff are truly more than happy to answer all that you have.
For Connor: What do you like best about CAK?
"My favorite thing about CAK are the teachers because they push you in a good way. They make learning fun, and everyone is happy to be there. I like that we have iPads for our school work because I am able to keep all of my work in one place which helps me stay organized. My favorite classes are Science and History because both Ms. Welshan and Ms. Davenport make learning fun and interesting. I also look forward to Chapel every week as well. "