- House System
2011 Annual Town Hall Meeting
At our second annual Town Hall Meeting, Headmaster Bill Rector gave parents and faculty a "State of the Academy" as he and Board Members Brian Shaw and Mark Powell talked about plans for the future and answered concerns. Below is a recap of the events and their statements.
After the meeting began in prayer, Mr. Rector assured parents, students and teachers alike that Coram Deo's core values are the same as ever. It is still of the utmost importance that Christ be the center of all that we do and teach. The strength of classical education continues to be CDA's means for "training ethical leaders and wise thinkers to shape culture for the glory of God"; and collaboration with faithful parents is still the best way to do both. However, school planting is no longer a goal of the academy. Our focus will be on the work God has given us on our three campuses.
Notable announcements made last night-
- Tuition will increase for 2012-13 by 4% to cover inflation of utilities and healthcare costs. All fees and most electives will remain the same as it is the board's particular intent to keep Coram Deo as cost effective as possible for families while still rewarding teachers for their excellent work. It is possible that certain electives' tuition may need to be increased due to the costs of offering them. We are re-evaluating our cost of providing Pre-Kindergarten and hope to actually lower that tuition. Tuition charts will be published in December.
- Our belief in Biblical accountability makes accreditation an important achievement in evaluating our curriculum. This year we are seeking the highest form of accreditation: "District Accreditation". This will continue to encourage us to adopt, develop and maintain standards for coordination between schools as well as maintain the high standards set for each campus.
- We are looking for an organized curriculum that supports our families in the education of Biblical values and ethics. It is very clear that our teachers bring Christ into every classroom conversation, but as Mr. Rector said, "we want to be more intentional and collaborative about it."
- In order to better communicate within CDA and with you, we have adopted a new VOIP phone system. Please be patient with us as we learn the different tools of this exceptional system.
Messages received in the survey and the board and headmaster's response.
First year families need help integrating into CDA
The need to further ease the burden of the first year family at Coram Deo Academy was evident in survey responses. We have studied what other similar schools have done and feel this would be best achieved by a special new family orientation. Above and beyond simply meeting teachers, this special training will give instruction on everything from carline to TeacherEase. As we develop this training, we will be in touch with CDA families for their insights on what should be included in this training.
Communication is excellent in some areas and can improve in others
You told us that teachers and school directors do a good job of communicating, but others (elective teachers, coaches and the finance office) could do better. Also, we know now that teachers need to communicate problems as well as successes and that you find TeacherEase a good tool, but any instructor delays/mistakes hamper our partnership. Thank you for your feedback on these areas. We will continue to strive toward excellent communication.
Science curriculum changes were welcome, but more science is needed at the grammar level
Mr. Rector explained that this is a common complaint at classical school, because the classical approach to science is different than most. Young students are first equipped with the tools of learning in the grammar and logic stages and then they begin to explore nature through the sciences. However, hands on science curriculum and science readers are good ways to foster wonder in children and provide the skill of technical reading, both of which have been added to our grammar curriculum this year. Look for a special edition of The Weekly on science improvements.\
There have been positive developments in Athletics, but physical education in grammar still can be improved
The new athletic website (www.cdalions.com) has proven an excellent resource for families. Features like text alerts, calendars and maps are great ways to make athletic news accessible. The formation of the Athletic Advisory Council has been fruitful with improvements such as Ministry Nights and the Presidential Fitness Program. Using the Presidential program has been a great start to expanding athletics to younger grades, but we are still looking into further opportunities at the grammar level as well as to improve coordination between campuses.
Some of the largest concerns continue to be questions of facility improvement. Beyond providing an exceptional Classical Christian Education, board members and Mr. Rector made it clear that facilities are their highest priorities. While it is challenging to keep tuition low and provide more than adequate facilities, this is an area where they are determined to continuously improve. They did ask for prayers and patience as these are difficult, time-consuming projects. They know that having wonderful facilities is a deep desire of Coram Deo parents and ask families to trust that the board and administration feel the same.
Our current location is a great blessing and the best physical environment the Dallas school has yet seen. We believe that St. Paul's Church will be a great home for the next few years, but the Dallas school will grow to need even better facilities as the student population increases. We have placed no limitation on the eventual grade levels of the Dallas school, but the current facilities do not support growth into high school.
Collin County's New Landlord and Science Labs
We have a good relationship with One Church. Our biggest challenge at this point is the positive growth of both our school and the church in limited facilities. We are working together as co-laborers for the same King to figure out the best solution.
While not completely ruling out the idea of further expansion on this campus, we are also investigating the option of some additional real estate within 5 miles of 121 and Custer to address some of our facilities challenges, particularly science labs.
At the town hall meeting, Mr. Rector and the board communicated that currently our science lab situation is a top priority. Additionally, they mentioned that the ultimate goal would be, one day, to have a permanent Collin County facility within the general vicinity of our current location. As more information becomes clear, we will certainly let you know.
Flower Mound Multi-Purpose Building
Since 2005, more than two million dollars have been invested in the current Flower Mound Campus: building new classrooms, complying with city regulations and preparing for future facility growth.
Knowing that a multi-purpose building is needed, we have done a lot of leg-work collecting information on building and financing options; and we have a few good solutions. A design firm has provided us with a scaled down plan at two million less than our prior design. All costs taken into consideration, this building would cost us $3.2 million.
We still need to evaluate financing options and look responsibly into the capital and expenses of all three campuses prior to beginning this project. In these uncertain economic times, it is imperative that we be excellent stewards of our resources and not over-commit.