I write this on the eve of my departure for Scotland as I celebrate my 60th birthday with a two- week golf and sightseeing vacation with my family. For an avid golfer, an excursion to Scotland is like a trip to the Holy Land for a Christian or a pilgrimage to Mecca for a Muslim. On June 21, my brother, oldest son, and I have a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrew's, considered the birthplace of golf. This is a bucket list trip that I have dreamed about for years. I look forward to the opportunity to enjoy God's creation in this beautiful part of the world.
As I reflect on my first year at Legacy, I feel extremely blessed to be part of this special community. Throughout the year, I have seen God confirm my decision to accept the call to lead this excellent school. I am proud of the progress we have made in several key areas and I want to thank the dedicated faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, and volunteers who invest so much of their time, talent, and treasure to advance the mission of Legacy. Here are a few of the major accomplishments of which I am most pleased.
Safety and Security
Early last year, I appointed a Security Task Force to review the school's recent security audit and develop a 3 to 5-year plan to implement its recommendations. I am pleased to report that much progress has been made this year, including strengthening security protocols, fortifying doors and windows, expanding security camera coverage, and constructing (work to be completed this summer) a true “man-trap” at the main entrance of the South Campus building. Many of these improvements were made possible through donations to the Annual Fund. Thanks to all who contributed to this cause. The task force will continue to meet next year to review the progress of implementation and to recommend further security enhancements.
This year marked a new approach to raising funds to enhance the various programs of the school. Rather than require individual programs to raise their own support, which included a multitude of fundraising schemes that relied on product sales, we launched the school's first Annual Fund, a coordinated, all-inclusive strategy that asked parents, grandparents, faculty, and staff to make a free-will, tax deductible gift to the school. This strategy is consistent with the development efforts of colleges, universities, and leading private schools across the country. I am happy to report that, with six weeks left in this year's Annual Fund campaign, we have raised over $425,000 to support our teachers, enhance our programs, and improve our facilities.
Another positive outcome of this new approach is that we have doubled the percentage of parent giving from 15% to 30%. We are well on our way to establishing a culture of giving within our community that will enable Legacy to achieve a higher level of excellence in our academic, fine arts, and athletic programs. Look for a summary of the goals achieved in the Annual Fund next September. Again, a huge thank-you goes to all who contributed to enhancing our programs this year.
In March, I appointed a task force to review, revise, and strengthen the school's anti-bullying policy. The task force, comprised of parents, administrators, and three student leaders, made substantial changes in the way bullying allegations are handled. These changes are described in the updated Student-Parent Handbooks that will soon be published for the upcoming school year.
Not only did the task force clarify and strengthen the school's response to alleged bullying incidents, it went a step further. The task force investigated and ultimately recommended the adoption of the “Character Strong” (characterstrong.com) program to be implemented schoolwide. In fact, one member of the task force donated the funds to purchase the curriculum. On July 6, a special implementation task force will be meeting with the founder of the program, John Norlin, to develop an implementation strategy for grades PK-12. John is a strong believer who has developed this program to build a culture of servant-leadership within school communities.
Because the program is primarily aimed at public schools, you will not see references to the Bible or Christ on its website. However, John explains that the entire program has a biblical foundation and is consistent with Christian virtues. The anti-bullying task force believes that the best way to prevent bullying is to build and nurture a community culture that is so positive that bullying becomes an aberration. Or, as C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but irrigate deserts.”
These three accomplishments are certainly not the only progress we made in improving Legacy during the 2016-17 school year. Neither are we resting on these accomplishments. I am excited about the future of Legacy and am convinced that God has great plans for our school.
Legacy Christian Academy is Frisco's only Pre-K through 12 Christian school committed to educating students in a college preparatory environment balanced in academics, athletics, and fine arts–all within the context of a biblical worldview. For more information on Legacy, visit our admissions page.