Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Chapel Small Groups

Today, was our first chapel in grades five through eight where we met in small groups following the message. The message topic was "The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace." The students met in groups of anywhere from eight to twelve students. Our small group leaders were comprised of teachers, office staff, church staff and parents. The leaders facilitated discussion on peace and challenged the students to think critically about peace and what the speaker said about it. They initiated questions that allowed students to see how they could apply the teaching of peace to their lives today, no matter what their age or grade. There has been overwhelming positive feedback already, from the leaders and the students, as this time allowed them to digest the information and get an understanding of what others believe. Students were transparent with their groups, sharing personal stories, positive experiences of peace as well as struggles they are facing that challenges the peace that they have. What a wonderful opportunity for our students and the leaders to build relationships, better understand what others believe, and heighten the personal and spiritual accountability of the students. This is but one of many ways ECS is reaching our mission to educate, equip and engage our students with excellence.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Auschwitz Survivor speaks at ECS today

What a great opportunity we had today! What has been in the plans for over a month came to fruition today when Mr. Phil Gans, a survivor of the holocaust, spoke to our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students along with some parents and relatives. We learned of Mr. Gans from the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. when our eighth graders traveled there in October and made contact with him. Phil was so gracious that he agreed to come and speak to our students at no cost to the school. We had some technical difficulties, which postponed our start time, but once he began speaking, the room was focused on his every word. He spoke of his family and their life before the war. He gave details of the period of time when he went into hiding to avoid the concentration camps. He explained how his family members were removed from the group only to be gassed and cremated, without him having the opportunity to say goodbye. He continued on with details of his stay at Auschwitz until he was liberated twenty-one months later. His message to the group was to stand up for what is right and don't be a spectator. The students asked some great questions and should be commended for their attention and level of respect for him. As a gift, some ECS students wrote some essays titled "What is a survivor?" and I created a blanket out of it. At the top, it had Survivor, Phillip R. Gans, along with his birthday. The rest of the blanket was covered with these letters that were written by our 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. He was moved by the gesture and thanked us many times. What a great opportunity this was! A special thanks to Phil for making this possible!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parent Education - January

This month's parent education is focused on the importance of letting our children struggle. Through life's struggles, our children build character, strength and self confidence. Click the link below to watch this month's video.