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Hiring Young Teachers

May 18, 2023
By Donald M. Larson, PhD., Head of School

Next week we will be recognizing teachers who are retiring or moving on from GCS. This means that we have to hire teachers, which is becoming an increasingly more difficult task. Finding qualified teachers is a challenge for all schools, and states/educational institutions are being creative in the way they are addressing this issue. We have filled most of our positions, with a few exceptions, and are excited with the new talent joining the GCS family.

One of the challenges for young single hires is finding somewhere to live. Our salaries are not adequate for the local rental rates. If you have an apartment attached to your house or in the basement and would be willing to rent it to one of our new employees at a reduced rate, please let us know.

We have increased our teacher compensation by almost 30% in the last five years, but it is still not enough. We will continue to keep this a priority to ensure we have gifted teachers who will partner with us to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the LORD. If you can help us, please let us know:

Thank you and God Bless.

Bid For Cause 2023

April 05, 2023
By Kristen Lihos, GCS Advancement Director

The students named her Karen. They tell stories of how “she cries on them” when it rains…on the inside. She has on multiple occasions left our Warriors stranded. Born in 1999, she is older than some of our teachers. Her parts can only be found through extensive research on eBay. She is part of a rapidly-aging fleet. “She” is our bus.

In what seems like providential timing, last week Karen failed inspection—6 times over. At 275,000 miles and parts unavailable, it’s time to say goodbye to our not-so-faithful friend. We have long known that our fleet of buses, averaging 25 years of age, will need a major overhaul. This year at the GCS Benefit Auction is where we begin. When it comes to major purchases, we have bought used, old vehicles and scraped by for as long as we have been a school. We have made do and not complained. God has been faithful all the way, and we are thankful!

But, we are ready for a new ask. We are ready for a new bus. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19, “ God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  His riches are immeasurable and a move towards a new fleet of buses is not too great for Him!

On April 15th, during the live auction, item number 20, our 2023 Bid for Cause, will be a new bus. We have 345 children for over seven hours each weekday, and we are frequently transporting them all over western Virginia. We want to go to bed at night knowing that we have done all that we can to put their lives first. $90,000 is our goal. No levels or tiers. We need $90,000 to buy a new bus. I’m asking you to take a moment this week to ask the Lord if this is an area in which you should invest your resources.

We anticipate that this April 15th will be a joyous one of thanksgiving! Come on out, wear your best Hawaiian outfit, check out the bus we hope to buy (it will be there) and bid generously to make this safe and stylish bus-transportation goal a reality!

GCS Safety & Security

March 30, 2023
By Donald M. Larson, PhD., Head of School

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 
Romans 12:9-12

No school is immune to the tragedy faced by The Covenant School in Nashville, and we take this threat very seriously. We will continue to pray, plan, and prepare for the worst-case scenarios. We hope that we will never face the nightmare experienced by The Covenant School, but we must and will make sure that we know what to do, no matter what crises come our way.

At our parent meetings in the beginning of the school year, I informed you that we were updating our emergency protocols to bring them in line with best practices. A cross-functional team has been meeting twice a month to develop a new Emergency Operations Plan for GCS. We are following the FEMA Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. We began by identifying threats and hazards and then prioritized them. We then developed goals and objectives for each threat and hazard and are now in the process of developing checklists for each of the key players. We hope to have the plan finished in June and have all of the outside agencies review the plan so we can implement it at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.

What else can we do? First, we need to pray. We need to pray for the students, staff, and families at Covenant School. We need to pray for our students, staff, and families, and we must remember that we all belong to God. He has numbered our days. He holds us in His hands, and with His right hand, He guides us. Our hope is Christ Jesus!

Second, we need to prepare. I am constantly reading and researching studies, reports, and information on the threats to schools. Covenant School was prepared and took action quickly, which saved lives. If you have seen the pictures, the perpetrator was walking through empty halls and offices. We need to make sure that we are well-prepared to take the right actions at the right time.

Third, we need to practice. Next school year, we will begin monthly exercises and drills to train everyone in the new procedures. We will start small and build into bigger and more complex scenarios. This will allow us to grow our confidence in the responses and identify any weaknesses that we may need to correct. To bridge our time between now and next year, each of our campuses will conduct a lockdown drill. We will inform you before the drill begins and after it is complete. Please talk with your students about the exercise and what they learned.

With the mood in our society turning more and more against Christianity, this is a threat that we must take seriously, and we as a school will continue to pray, prepare, and practice. Through any trials and tribulations that may come our way, we must continue to put our trust and faith in the LORD and love one another while praying fervently.

God Bless.

Why Go To Church?

March 23, 2023
By Donald M. Larson, PhD., Head of School

Pastor Mickey Schneider was one of my mentors, as I have walked through life. When it comes to praying, he is one of the best, because he has memorized much of the Bible and prays using God’s words–it is beautiful. But, this is not a blog on prayer; it is about why we should go to church. My words and thoughts in this article are based on a sermon by Pastor Schneider, “How Important Is Going to Church?”

How do we forsake the assembling together as we are commanded in Hebrews 10:25? Some never attend a church, and some attend intermittently or partially. The author of Hebrews follows the command to not forsake the assembly of the saints with a warning about apostasy. When a person tries to walk the road alone, there is not the opportunity to be spurred on to love and good works and to be encouraged in times of difficulty. In times of crises or persecution, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to take seriously the importance of being in a local church every week.

Those who attend intermittently are people who hop from church to church without committing to one. There are no perfect churches. Every church will have issues: some more than others. Find a church that faithfully preaches the Word of God, baptizes in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Spirit), and serves communion on a regular basis. In the military, we moved a lot. One of the first things we always did was find a church, because that was our family. After retiring, churches have always been surprised about how quickly we join and become involved. Find a church and commit to it.

Attending partially is taking a light and casual attitude towards worship. We are called to be obedient and attend worship services even if we don’t feel like it. The world has plenty of distractions which may be more fun than attending church. What does this attitude say about a person’s view of Christ or the Bible? If we are to be serious about loving and obeying Jesus Christ, then we need to commit to being in church every week worshiping our LORD.

In Revelation, the marriage supper of the Lamb is Jesus marrying His church. He is not marrying us as individuals, but as the church: a community of faith. The Bible does not support being a “lone-wolf” Christian. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and trust in Him alone for our salvation, but we are saved into His one holy catholic and apostolic church. We are to live out our lives in the fellowship of believers. Nancy Pearcey in her book, Total Truth, says that Christianity met Americanism and Americanism won. In other words, we worry more about our individualism than faithfully being a part of the church of Jesus Christ.

Grace Christian School has a requirement that our employees and families be an active part of a local church for all of the reasons that have been shared over the past five weeks. If we are serious about raising our children in the faith, then we must be serious about being in church every week, as we partner together in Kingdom Education.

God Bless.

Psalm 106:1 - “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

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