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Accreditation news

In mid October, Fresno Christian Schools completed the process of renewing both its ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) and WASC  (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation, and now await the official results of the 2018 accreditation report.

The WASC accreditation is a requirement for high schools across the nation. This creates a uniformity between high school diplomas on a national level. Christian schools acquire an ACSI accreditation to prove validity in teaching and Biblical integration.

Fresno Christian Schools has been an accredited school since its inception in 1977. While Superintendent Jeremy Brown has been a part of other accreditations, he just completed his first ACSI renewal.

“The other visits that I have been a part of were with ACS WASC,” Brown said. “This is my first six-year review with ACSI. What I love about FCS is that our students come from over 90 different churches in the San Joaquin Valley. There is a wonderful culture as a result of that much spiritual diversity.”

As with most accreditation reviews, the collaboration between administration, teachers, and staff are a crucial part of the process. Principal Amy Deffenbacher is encouraged by the positive comments shared by the visiting accreditation team.

“The team was impressed by the amount of work that has been accomplished in the years since the last accreditation visit,” Deffenbacher said. “The team was encouraged by the quality of our staff, their love for Jesus, and their love for students.”

In her new full-time administrative role, elementary principal Katie Reneau enjoyed hearing about all facets of campus, areas of strength as well as growth opportunities. She said it was refreshing to see the staff was involved in the self-study process.

“The accreditation process was an eye-opening experience for me,” Reneau said. “I was so grateful for the process, and am even more excited for the work that’s ahead, as a result of the visit. Our staff researched and interviewed each other in order to report their findings of our school, truly making the experience a team effort. Since the visit, I’ve enjoyed the conversations we’ve had as a staff. Teachers and faculty members want to know where we’re going next, and how they can be involved.”

Brown appreciates the commitment and self-sacrifice of the accreditation team as their visit’s purpose is meant to confirm and encourage school growth and excellence.

“I love visiting with the accreditation team,” Brown said, “and, in this case, they all had a connection to private Christian schools through either family, attendance or they were currently working at one. The process of accreditation is intense but, at the heart of it, is collaboration and the desire to help others. The visiting team members do not get any compensation for being on the teams. Many of them are still responsible for things back at their schools and they leave their families for 3-4 days. It is a sacrifice. So their motivation is to learn, collaborate and serve. Our visiting team was all of that and more.”

While the final results and official report are still weeks away, the accreditation team shared positive and glowing verbal comments upon completing their visit.

“Overwhelmingly, and at every level,” Brown said, “their (accreditation team) comments were positive about our people: staff, students, parents, board…everyone. Our structure is good but our people are great. Of course, I knew that from the first day on campus five years ago.”

Deffenbacher agreed and is excited about Fresno Christian’s future in Fresno.

“The commendation and action items in the preliminary report are all things that we’ve been talking about and making plans for,” Deffenbacher said. “It is exciting for us to have had confirmation from fresh sets of eyes that we continue to head in the right direction! The accreditation team did a thorough job of visiting with people from all corners of the campus (staff, students, parents). Thank you FCS community for welcoming the team so well!”

In the coming months, after both WASC and ACSI officially report their findings, Brown will speak in a spring FCS Town Hall, sharing the school’s Continuous Improvement Plan. Reneau sums up what all three administrators were feeling about the school moving forward.

“The commendations were reminders to celebrate the good that happens on our campus, daily,” Reneau said. “Sometimes, it’s important to reflect on how far we’ve come, and celebrate the greatness on our campus, pausing from the ever-present desire to find needs and fill them.”

Accreditation news2018-11-01T11:41:02-07:00

SAVE THE DATE: Eagle Fest is coming, Sept. 29!

SAVE THE DATE: Eagle Fest is coming, Sept. 29!

Plan on connecting with the Fresno Christian community for Eagle Fest, Sept. 29. Bring the kids, call your friends and fellow alumni for a school-wide, family-oriented fun event in a carnival atmosphere. Come enjoy the day with us and support our school from 3-7 p.m.

Eagle Fest will highlight our community and provide a space to laugh, eat, enjoy activities, catch up and connect with new and old friends. Eagle Fest is not just for current families, but for alumni and their families that may not be attending FCS.

“Community is the first thing that I noticed after being hired to be the superintendent of Fresno Christian Schools,” Jeremy Brown said. “I received encouraging emails two months before my first official day, coming from both current and previous parents, grandparents, alumni, and staff. I read many stories about what a special place FCS was and is to our community. Beginning my 5th year, I would totally agree. A sense of community is every place on and off campus.”

Come to Eagle Fest and experience our community. Eagle Fest is our way of intentionally gathering our community together to celebrate relationships.

“With so many new families and students joining the Fresno Christian family, we wanted to provide an opportunity for everyone to come together, meet new people and enjoy a variety of activities”, Christine (Markarian) Petersen, ’95, Eagle Fest event chair, said. “Our Eagle Fest committee has worked hard to plan an event that has something for all ages from our early education students to our high school students.”

Come to watch the cheerleaders of all ages perform, listen/watch student performances, including band and percussion and color guard, watch or help splash our staff into the dunk tank, send your kids to play on one of the nine (9) inflatables or ride the train. There will also be games, face painting, drawings, and raffles.

Two food trucks, Chuy’s and Konies, will be serving tacos, hot dogs and corn dogs. Food booths selling pizza, baked goods, shaved ice, nachos, popcorn, and candy will also be available.

Eagle Fest is a chance to connect all of our community together. Community isn’t a destination; it is a relationship. If you are alumni bring your family and visit. Come listen, watch and ask us more about today’s Fresno Christian.

General admission is free with food/game tickets priced at $1 each. Ride/jump/play the inflatables all day for $15 (unlimited pre-sale) or $20 at the gate. All proceeds benefit FCS club, sports and music programs (see flyer for details).

Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, umbrellas and a desire for fellowship.

Pre-order tickets or event sponsors, go online to www.fresnochristian.com and click on the ‘Give to FCS’ tab. Be sure to select the appropriate ‘Category & Funds’ option(s) that apply to your purchase.

Sponsors are encouraged to complete a sponsorship form and check payable to Fresno Christian by Sept. 21 in order to guarantee signage at the event. All donations are tax deductible.

SAVE THE DATE: Eagle Fest is coming, Sept. 29!2018-09-10T14:02:12-07:00

#FCSCAMPEAGLES

Need a place for your kids to hang out this summer? For nine action-packed weeks, #FCSCAMPEAGLES has a spot for your student who is entering kindergarten through sixth grade in the fall.

With activities like Young Chefs Academy, Oh Wow! Nickel Arcade, Bowlero Clovis, Kids ‘N Trains in Old Town Sacramento, Pump It Up, beach ball gym hockey, basketball, balloon tennis and so much more, your kids are gonna love our day camp program.

“#FCSCAMPEAGLES is an opportunity for kids to engage together in a safe environment with an enthusiastic staff,” director Terencie Jacquez said. “Why would you not want to send your kids to #FCSCAMPEAGLES? We have activities both on and off campus, which are meant to provide new experiences for kids.”

Starting on May 29 and finishing on July 27, #FCSCAMPEAGLES is open to all Fresno area families as well as #Fresno Christian students.

“We are unique in a sense that we welcome all area students,” Jacquez said. “This is not exclusive to or for Fresno Christian families. Invite your neighbors and your friends to join us. Plus, as educators, we are fully dedicated to learning while we play. This is going to be a blast! Game On!”

Give your kids a gift of memorable activities designed just for them and their friends. With arts & crafts, games, special snacks, field trips, recreational activities and Bible stories, there is something for everyone.

#FCSCAMPEAGLES is a pay as you go camp. Call 559.298.9256 to reserve a space or email your request: campeagles@fresnochristian.com.

#FCSCAMPEAGLES2018-05-21T13:27:47-07:00

Campus completes $50,000 irrigation improvement project

Thanks to the generosity of Fresno Christian friends and families who donated time and/or money over the last eight months, the school is in the final stages of completing a $50,000+ upgrade and overhaul of the north field irrigation system.

This new irrigation system will give the school and church increased flexibility and efficiency in managing the athletic play fields. The grounds keeping staff will now be able to adjust watering schedules according to weather, drainage and usage needs, allowing the school to be more environmentally sensitive while improving overall turf management conditions and future expansion projects.

The past water distribution system has been a joint partnership with Peoples Church and FCS.  However over the last couple of years as water restrictions have increased, the additional demand of the FCS field requirements have stressed the capacity of the church water system. We appreciate the sacrifices the church has made to accommodate the school’s athletic needs and now we are happy to relieve the church of their water burden.

Steve Villines, FCS director of special projects, has spearheaded the effort and coordinated the community effort for campus improvements.

“About a year ago, several interested families and I met to share ideas and plans for a new Elementary Playground at Fresno Christian,” Villines said. “One of the key components that was identified was the need to provide water for the new playground. The engineer determined that tapping into the north field water main to satisfy the play area’s water needs was the best solution.”

However, as discussed, the north field system is already overburdened. Based on this challenge, the team made the decision to invest in a new water source off of Alluvial Ave.

“Creating a new/independent source off of Alluvial,” Villines continued, “would address the need of the playground project, as well as offer a golden opportunity to make much needed improvements to the irrigation system for athletics.  Basically, we could kill two birds with one stone.”

This allowed the church and school to get a jumpstart on a preliminary stage of the highly anticipated playground project while still enjoying benefits right away.

“By coordinating the efforts this way,” Villines said, “we were also able to bring donors together on a joint project that had different interests whether it be building a playground for the little ones or improving athletics for the older kids.  It really is a win-win.”

The project satisfies individual donors’ personal project interests and the overall endeavor will benefit from the synergies of various interests.

Of the $50,000+ project, only $15,000 was actually paid out and that was to the City of Fresno for permits and installation of the new water meter on Alluvial. Two individual donors funded this connection fee; one has interests in the playground while the other’s interests lie in athletics.

The school spent less than $1,000 on miscellaneous project expenses. The remainder of the project was provided through gifts in kind by four other generous donors.

For more information on this or upcoming school improvement projects, contact Steve Villines via email  and/or 559.916.5182.

Campus completes $50,000 irrigation improvement project2018-03-12T09:50:04-07:00

LRC equips, supports students with proven strategies

For 25 years, Fresno Christian Schools has offered targeted intervention services for students who learn differently or need academic support, employing a variety of strategies and programs to help advance their success.

While most private Christian schools are not able to offer these extra services, the campus Learning Resource Center (formerly the Discovery Program) supports the heart and vision of FCS to serve all students from challenged to gifted.

Beyond basic classroom support, the LRC employs two credentialed special education teachers who provide accountability between home and school, helping students navigate the expectations of the classroom and an individualized success plan.

Former FCS parent, classroom teacher and past superintendent Debbie Siebert originated the program whose desire was to better support students with learning disabilities and processing disorders. The focus began with early intervention along with reading development followed by one-on-one instruction.

Today, the restructured model is more classroom inclusive and parallels “response to intervention,” which allows for the teacher to accommodate LRC students inside the classroom with “best teaching practices” and is already happening in all our classrooms.

“I love that we have this program,” Principal Amy Deffenbacher said. “When a parent is truly wanting help for their child, we can share with them proven strategies to help students realize their potential.”

The classroom teacher may also establish connections between student and peer tutor, teaching labs or peer study groups. Classroom lab time before/after school or at lunch is also offered. If these options are still not making a significant difference, parents, teachers or the student Instructional Plan (IP) may suggest LRC instruction.

Two credentialed special education teachers, including Kimberly DeWolf, are available to work directly with students one-on-one, employing a variety of strategies. DeWolf, a 12-year LRC resource teacher, also brings 10 years of experience in the Clovis and Sanger public school systems as a reading intervention, RSP and special day class teacher.

“I am incredibly humbled to watch LRC students struggle and yet extremely rewarded to witness even their smallest of successes,” DeWolf said. “Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of working at FCS as a LRC provider is the day-to-day relationships I am able to build with students and parents. Personally working with students who learn differently is my calling and passion. I am honored to help them realize their potential, while advocating for their success.”

Students are referred to the LRC through student study teams, teacher referral or parent request. Our goal is to make a collaborative effort while meeting the needs of all students. In order for that to happen, communication is required from all stakeholders: students, parents and staff.

Tamara Hill, the second LRC teacher, began working at FCS 17 years ago as the ‘search and teach’ provider for kindergarten on the Northeast campus. Her public school experience began in Selma Unified as a migrant education resource teacher. She now serves students through the LRC from first grade through high school. However, her Fridays are spent with adults at Neighborhood Thrift in the Tower District. Hill supports these community members in literacy, helping them obtain their GED.

“The most rewarding aspect of supporting FCS students through the LRC is the deep relationships I have cultivated over the years,” Hill said. “Whether it is with parents, students or colleagues, building friendships and community brings me great joy and gives purpose to my life.”

The LRC provides support services to equip FCS students K-12 with special learning needs and assists those students with success in the classroom and in life as critical thinkers and independent learners. Ask your teacher about the support services provided for their grade level. The LRC services are fee-based, per session, with the number of sessions being determined by student need.

For more information on Fresno Christian’s Learning Resource Center, click on the ‘Academics’ link on fresnochristian.com.

LRC equips, supports students with proven strategies2017-09-15T11:34:47-07:00

Unbreakable bonds core of Convocation message

While Fresno Christian Schools’ mission stands firm, Superintendent Jeremy Brown reiterated how God has called the FCS generation to be world changers during his Convocation message, Aug. 9.

With a standing room only Peoples Church auditorium crowd, Superintendent Brown challenged FCS students, teachers, staff, parents and community members to accept the responsibility of honoring and treating each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The FCS community focus continues to follow the Caleb Code (Seek truth, speak life, serve others) and Brown encouraged listeners with the 2017-18 theme verse from Romans 12: 4-5:

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (NIV)

He inspired the audience to strengthen and prioritize relationships with one another in order, first in Christ and then as community members. And while tension may occur, this commitment creates a near unbreakable bond much like a square knot.

Superintendent Brown emphasized a square knot’s 4,000 year-old purpose: to tie two ends together. The square knot’s power is nearly unmatched as long as both ropes are in tension with one another toward a common goal. The knot fails when one side releases tension, no longer in community or without a unifying purpose.

Administration, teachers and staff are committed to equipping young people for life and service for Jesus Christ through biblical foundations, Christ-like character development, and academic preparation in partnership with the home and local church.

As the school year progresses, Brown asked the Fresno Christian Schools community to work in harmony with one another in word and action, perfectly unified in mind and thought, even as brothers and sisters in Christ (I Corinthians 1:10).

May the vision to support young world changers continue and include an accountability commitment to do so in an attitude of servant-hood, while respecting the opinions of those who are bound together.

Unbreakable bonds core of Convocation message2017-08-17T12:24:57-07:00

FCS Booster Club constructs new athletic training room

During the summer of 2016, the FCS Athletic Booster Club determined that a new athletic training room should be their No. 1 priority and began working alongside the FCS athletic department, sports medicine specialists, and local families to implement their vision.

“We are thrilled to unveil the construction of the Fresno Christian athletic training room,” Rufi V Alday, PT ATC, sports medicine specialist, said. “We are so blessed to engage our Fresno Christian community in offering their time, prayers, and resources in developing this contemporary facility for our athletes.”

Under the leadership of FCS Superintendent Jeremy Brown and Steve Villines, FCS director of special projects and athletic booster club board member, the prospect of constructing a dedicated athletic training room for the prevention and treatment of sports related injuries of student athletes was deemed an important and tangible project and approved to move forward. With vision and support of the FCS Athletic Booster Club, the project is in motion and under construction.

“We heard from different coaches that the athletes needed an updated training room,” FCS Athletic Booster Club President Dave Bynum, said. “We want to help get our athletic training program up to the latest standards.” The boosters believe a serious athletic program takes the health and well-being of athletes seriously and needs to provide a facility for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries.

Community sports medicine specialists and parents such as Kevin Brogan, physical therapist, MPT, CFMT, ATC, and co-owner of Cornerstone Physical Therapy, agree with the boosters, school and athletic department, and have donated their valuable time and resources. They collectively share the dream and passion to construct a contemporary facility.

The FCS Booster Club initiated and proceeded with their plan by repurposing a 340 square-foot storage room in the FCS gym.

The overall cost of constructing and outfitting a training room of this size is estimated at approximately $25-30,000; however, it is expected to be completed for less than half that cost due to generous donations and “gifts in kind” from several tradesmen from our school community.

The plumbing, electrical services, new air-conditioning/heating system, installation of the ice-maker, plus two state-of-the-art athletic training tables, were all donated to the FCS Athletic Booster Club by FCS families and community members.

“The Booster Club has invested about $5,000 in cash raised through sponsorships and cash donations and expects to spend another $5,000 to complete the project,” Villines said.

We are excited to complete our first booster’s capitol project and are looking to add to our ranks. And now that this room is built, I believe it can help attract other kids and athletes into our school. Plus, our community can see we are serious about supporting Fresno Christian athletics. — Dave Bynum, FCS Athletic Boosters president

Bynum remains optimistic other training room components will be added in the months to come.

“We want to continue this momentum and do our part to enhance the facilities at Fresno Christian,” Bynum continued. “Our final major piece to the training room is to acquire a whirlpool bath for the athletes and we are looking for someone to help us accomplish that.”

Athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Jon Penberthy views the upgraded facility as a positive step towards improving our athletic program.

“The athletic department is very excited about the training room,” Penberthy said. “This is one more piece to the puzzle needed to continue building on the success of our athletic department and facilities.”

Villines said they are looking for partners who would be interested in helping complete this project. The following items are still needed:

1. Design, create and install new cabinetry for the room
2. Acquire a whirlpool bath
3. Purchase an ultrasound unit and other therapy equipment

“We are excited to complete our first booster’s capitol project and are looking to add to our ranks,” Bynum said. “And now that this room is built, I believe it can help attract other kids and athletes into our school. Plus, our community can see we are serious about supporting Fresno Christian athletics.”

According to Alday, the team assembled to create the new athletic training facility will ensure first-rate care for the students.

“We envision a contemporary, modern medical facility which will employ our Christian values and offer our athletes personalized medical care by sports medicine specialists,” Alday said. “Fresno Christian is the ONLY high school in the Central Valley which employs a team of dual licensed physical therapists/certified athletic trainers on field for our championship varsity football team.”

Penberthy is excited to offer a full service facility to athletes in all Eagle sports.

“Over the past three years, our athletic teams have won multiple Valley championships, and league titles,” Penberthy said. “And now with this addition, we can take better care of our athletes.

“We are very thankful to Kevin Brogan and Rufi Alday for their time and commitment to the health and well-being of our student athletes, and generous donations to the athletic department via the FCS boosters,” Penberthy continued. “I also want to thank Steve Villines and his vision with this project.”

The boosters, medical staff and school expect construction to be finalized by fall 2017 and thank the FC community in advance for their future support and donations towards the Fresno Christian sports training facility.

“We not only want to finish the room, but also would love to have other community members join the athletic boosters for this and other important projects,” Bynum said.

For more information or if you would like to help support the completion of the athletic training room, reach out to Steve Villines via 559.916.5182 or email him at svillines@fresnochristian.com.

If you would like to donate towards the athletic training room, visit Fresno Christian Athletic Boosters. Be sure to enter your donation amount in the “Athletic Boosters” field.

FCS Booster Club constructs new athletic training room2017-08-17T12:24:23-07:00