We are thrilled to begin another fantastic year at Cornerstone Christian School. A joyful sound filled the classrooms yesterday as new and old friends greeted each other. New routines are starting, and we are excited to see how God will work in our hearts this year.
This year, our 3rd and 4th grade students put on an International Fair. They celebrated different countries by sharing food, attire, and cultural customs. We learned so much as we "traveled" to each country and had our passports stamped.
February has been filled with love and our 100th day of school! The 100th day is a special time for our students, as they are able to see the awesome progress they have made in the school year. It is quite an accomplishment!
As our classes celebrated Valentine's Day, we always make sure to emphasize God's eternal love for us. We remember that amid all the fun activities and yummy treats, we have the gift of a love like no other. God's word says "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." Jesus paid that ultimate price for us, all because he loved us so much. We thank the Lord for his unfailing love this month, and every month!
Here at Cornerstone, we have an entire month devoted to school spirit. This year we celebrated in October and the students had a blast! At the end of every week we all wore silly outfits or crazy hair. During the month we also collected Spirit Links to support our PTF. Students would purchase a link for $.25 and receive a link for their class.
At the end of the month, the class with the most links earned the right to slime our principal Mrs. Murphy, and the 2nd place class was able to slime our PTF President, Ms. Staley. Everyone had so much fun with this, and we are thankful to all of our parents and students for sending in money to support our school!
Another fun October event was our Staff vs. Teachers Chili Cook-off. To add to our spirit month events, the PTF sponsored a fun family fellowship night where all of the teachers and staff members competed for the best chili. Combining good food and fellowship is always a great time, and it was wonderful getting to see all the new and old families here at Cornerstone.
We made it through the first week of school! This week was filled with fun as our students reunited with old friends, welcomed new ones, and began new routines. We are thankful for our new principal Mrs. Mary Murphy, and have seen her servant’s heart this week as she helped with car pick up, ran copies for classes, and handled all the on goings of our school. If you haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, join us for pizza and fellowship at our first PTF meeting Tuesday, September 6th at 6:00 pm. This will be a great chance to meet your new principal and chat with your child’s teacher and other parents. We hope to see you there and look forward to a fun-filled school year.
We love our 4th and 5th graders! And we are super excited about initiating them into the safety patrol society this year! Every year, our oldest students have the opportunity to take a leadership role here at the school by becoming a part of our safety patrol team. Our safety patrol team helps in various ways throughout the school year by watching out for the little ones, setting up chairs in chapel, helping walk our preschoolers to their classrooms, and more. They are setting an example for our younger students to look up to and we take the safety patrol position very seriously. Thank you 4th and 5th graders for your service to our school!
This year we hosted our second annual Mother's Day Tea. We had over 80 people in attendance! It was a nice time of honoring our mothers and having fellowship together. We ate fancy sandwiches, drank tea, we laughed, we cried, and had an all around nice time. Our Mother's Day Tea is one of our many special events that brings us together as a school and makes us feel like family.
For the past two years, Cornerstone Christian School has partnered with Soccer Shots to bring an after-school soccer program to our school. Our students from preschool to 5th grade are invited to participate in the after-school program. Students learn basic soccer skills from kicking, to stopping, and other drills. Soccer Shots has professionally trained soccer coaches who travel to our school and work with our students. Not only do they teach our students soccer skills, they help teach our students valuable lessons of teamwork and sportsmanship. Our students participate in Soccer shots twice a year...one 8 week session in the Fall and one 8 week session in the Spring. We love Soccer Shots!
Every year at Cornerstone, school spirit starts with a BANG! September is Spirit Month and that means Spirit Links. Spirit Links is an annual fundraiser for CCS of coins and dollars. Each class is assigned a color and for every 25 cents collected, the class earns a link. Children bring in extra change they’ve gathered each day and deposit their coins into their classroom’s money jar. Checks or money from parents is DEFINITELY allowed!!
As each day passes, the link chains for each classroom get longer and longer. As the weeks pass, they actually stretch down the school’s hallway.
The class with the longest chain at the end of Spirit Month wins an ice cream party. The students love watching the link chains grow and grow. The friendly competition between the classes creates so much excitement for the kids and the teachers!
The school as a whole also has a goal. This year the goal is $700. In the Multipurpose Room where chapel is held, there is a big thermometer showing the progress from week to week. The prize for the school goal is our principal, Ms. Grant, will get a pie in the face!! This has strangely enough incentivized the students very well.... Ah, what we do for the children!
Along with links, comes the “Crazy Days” of Spirit Month. Every Friday in Spirit Month is a different Crazy Day. There's Crazy Hair Day, Mix and Match Day, Crazy Sock Day and Crazy Hat Day. The more creative, the better!! Anything goes!!!
We love our kids and their Cornerstone SPIRIT!!!
What singular teaching tool could perfectly teach to a group of individuals, regardless of age, grade level, development or maturity? Why, the Bible, of course, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We see this at "chapel" every Friday at Cornerstone and it is a wonderful sight to behold.
From the wide-eyed four year old girl, to the maturing fifth grade young man, individual souls are led by the Holy Spirit with perfect precision to an understanding of the basic Bible doctrine. They each gain heart and head knowledge of what Christ has done for them and how God loves them. We are so thankful for the Holy Spirit. It's amazing to watch the children worship and, well, a bit entertaining. Children are so honest. Their "filters" have not kicked in yet, and thank goodness for that.
Cornerstone is a simple place. Don't let that fool you. There's so much inside our school. One look at our forty year-old brick building and you might think you've seen all you need to know about Cornerstone. You'd be wrong. The same is true for our Friday chapels.
The word "chapel" is deceptively simple yet powerfully executed. Let us observe a typical chapel at CCS. In the place of golden oak pews are metal folding chairs. The pulpit is simply the east end of the Charlie Smith Multipurpose Room where, flanked by the U.S. and Christian flag, the principal, Miss Sherilyn Grant, commands the attention of her congregation of little people. In the place of a robed choir of perfectly balanced baritones, tenors and sopranos, imagine if you will, a collage of squirming, fidgeting and slouching singers ranging in age from three to ten. They are clad in sparkling Disney princess shoes, light-up Spiderman sneakers, Hello Kitty fashions, and Angry Bird t-shirts.
They come from different backgrounds, different church experiences and different families, as we all do. What unites them is the joy of fellowship and worship of Jesus Christ. Chapel begins, with a prayer and pledges. Remember when the Pledge of Allegiance was said in school? Some of you perhaps even said the Lord's Prayer. Sadly, in the secular world today, so much of our history, language and Christian culture has been lost or forgotten. Proudly, Cornerstone remembers and values these American and Christian traditions. The students are not just "entertained" or kept busy with fun songs and a bland message of "being good". No, no! Not at CCS. Cornerstone students say three pledges: the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, to the Christian flag, and to the Bible.
First, the Pledge of Allegiance to the US flag is said followed by singing "America, My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Then, Christian flag pledge is as follows,
"I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe."
The congregation appropriately remains standing to sing the first stanza in "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, " by George Duffield Jr., 1858;
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss;
From vict'ry unto vict'ry, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
The last pledge is to the Bible, and it states,
"I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God."
Then from the little voices comes the first stanza of "Holy Bible, Book Divine," by John Burton Sr., 1803;
Holy Bible, book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am;
All that and they've just begun. Next are the recitation of memory verses. They learn, memorize and recite scripture in front of the whole school every week. One by one, each teacher turns stern eyes to her pupils as they stand in unison, but it quickly dissolves to a relaxed grin as they triumphantly recite scripture and verse.
Then the fun begins. We have reverence as well as fun at chapel. Chapel songs are a favorite. These are children, after all. The students love the lively songs like, "Children of the Lord". Each stanza has hand gestures with the lyrics like,
The Lord told Noah to build him an Arky arky (hands gesture a hammer and nail)
The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky
Build it out of gopher barky, barky
Children of the Lord
The animals they came in,
They came in by twosie, twosies (2 fingers walk along)
The animals they came in,
They came in by twosie, twosies
Elephants and kangaroosie, roosies
Children of the Lord
They also love "Who's the King of the Jungle?"
Who's the king of the jungle? (OO oo!!) (put arms like gorilla)
Who's the king of the sea? (bubble bubble bubble) (fingers pretend to be bubbles going up)
Who's the king of the universe?
And who's the king of me? (point to own chest)
His name is J-E-S-U-S (YES!!) (punch air)
He's the king of me!
He's the king of the universe
The jungle and the sea!
After a sufficient amount of singing, the children receive their Bible lesson. Chapel has a spiritual theme each year. Last year, the children learned about the "Superheroes of the Faith." The children studied in class and at chapel each month focusing on a "superhero" of the Bible. They studied Moses, David, Esther, and Ruth from the Old Testament and Mary, Peter, and Paul from the New Testament, among others.
This year's theme is the Parables of Jesus. Each month, a new parable will be introduced. September is Jesus is the Vine;
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
-John 15:1-8 (verse 5,8)
We are excited about this new theme and God's Holy Word being at the forefront of chapel. We see each day the children bearing much fruit in Jesus. We also encourage families to attend. Whether you are a parent or grandparent needing an encouragement boost or a teacher needing a revitalizing vitamin B-12 shot in the arm, the Bible feeds us all at chapel.
14 ... “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And He took the children in his arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.
We believe at Cornerstone that God is pleased and delighted at the innocence of Cornerstone students observing chapel. With total reverence and humility to God, we venture to say He is well pleased.
Recently, Cornerstone Christian School celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. We posted pictures of our teachers in their classrooms on our Facebook page simply to acknowledge and thank them. No big deal, right? Wrong! It was a big deal. Huge. The amount of alumni, parents, former teachers, and friends that viewed, posted, liked or commented broke our all time record for our Facebook page!!!
The love from everyone on Facebook came like a tidal wave. Although we’ve been around for 40 years, we don’t have a marketing department or a large budget for promoting our school. We are a small school and rely mainly on word of mouth, parental recommendations and a long-standing reputation for being an excellent place to send your child to school. That being said, the loyalty and support from these Teacher Appreciation posts blew us away!
So that begs the question: Why are our teachers so different? What makes them so great? Are they born with super genomic teaching skills in their DNA? Do they wake up every morning and put on a super hero cape and fly to school? Do they have access to a large classroom budget and the ability purchase the most expensive curriculum that money can buy? The answer to all of these is no, of course. So what is it? What makes Cornerstone Christian School teachers different than other teachers in other schools?
Although we do believe our teachers to be a very special crop of educators, it’s the structure and environment created here at Cornerstone that help to fuel their success. First of all, they are motivated not by a paycheck or teacher’s union membership, but by a God-given calling to teach. From a Christian perspective, they are doing what they were born to do. They do it for the reward of seeing a child succeed. They do it because they love the children and the school is also their home. Teaching without suppressing the existence of God, means limitless teaching. It’s about being free to teach not only reading, writing and arithmetic, but also teaching God’s word from the Bible which in turn feeds the teacher. The rewards achieved by teaching according to God’s purpose are better than any amount of money. They are priceless crowns in Heaven. See 1Peter 5:2-4:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
Another key to success for our teachers is the strong leadership we have at Cornerstone that diligently protects the idea of small classrooms and small student to teacher ratios. Other schools might do with fewer teachers in order to “rake” in more tuition money to send to the bottom line. Cornerstone’s principal, Ms. Sherilyn Grant, is adamantly opposed to that idea. Her policy is that our students always have individual time and attention of the teachers, and she’s not changing.
As we reflect on the week, we are awestruck by the grace and blessings God has shown us. Our teachers are dedicated, hard-working, loving, and committed. Other schools may have shiny modern facades, million dollar auditoriums, and ivy league tuition prices, but we at Cornerstone know we are the richest school of all. Thank you, teachers.
During the month of March we celebrated reading! One of the ways we celebrated was by having a pajama day read-in. The students brought their pillows, blankets, and books, and we all piled into the multi-purpose room for a time of relaxation and reading! It is our goal to help our students become life-long readers, so we aim to make reading a fun and enjoyable experience!
Reading month also consisted of:
- dress like your favorite book character day
- drop everything and read in the classroom
- prizes for books read
- a reading assembly
- ....and much more!
In the words of Dr. Seuss, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go!"