Pella Chronicle

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April 13, 2012

Experiencing ‘Vision to Reality’ at Pella Christian Grade School

(Continued)

Pella —

National Blue Ribbon School

Many innovative educational efforts of a highly qualified staff needed to be shared in some manner.  During the ‘93-‘94 school year, the Board gave the go ahead to apply to become a National Blue Ribbon School.  Knowing that the application process would be time consuming, tedious, and rigorous, we nonetheless forged ahead.

Mr. Netz took the lead but the Curriculum Director’s desk became a landing spot for many questions regarding the many curricular dimensions of the school. A team of us, including Chuck Muether, junior high Language Arts Teacher, Dan Netz, Principal, and myself spent many hours writing and submitting an accurate rendition of what was happening at our school.  A Blue Ribbon Schools representative came to confirm our writings. Imagine our delight when in May of 1994, we learned we had been selected as a Blue Ribbon School.  The three of us, and our spouses, traveled to Washington D.C to receive the award. It was a vision come to reality:  A humbling but delightful knowledge that the vision of excellent Christian education was again a reality shared in a broader realm.

New Preschool

Preschool needs were being talked about.  PCGS began a study of the feasibility of operating a preschool. We researched how we would be certified and decided it would be through the Iowa Department of Education.  We decided upon a name: Creation Station. Committee work was extensive and the vision thorough.  A subcommittee of us researched possible locations and settled upon the house where we are now located. Creation Station opened in the fall of 1997- another vision became reality!  Quality Christian education was now being offered to our 4 and 5 year olds. Efforts were well received by the community and its students. Classes filled up. The One to Grow On program was initiated. Programs are still being run very successfully: another reminder that we are “founded on faith, growing by grace” and another vision became a reality.  

Administrative Changes

Our chief administrator, Dan Netz, felt called to a Christian school in Michigan in 2006.  Could a new Administrative Team operate successfully?  I was nearing retirement.  We had worked together successfully for many years. Was it time for both team members to leave?  The PCGS Board asked that I consider remaining to help to mentor a new administrator.

I was grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with Mr. Bill Finley, Interim Administrator for a year, and felt blessed to assist him to know our school, but in turn learned so much from his years of experience.  In many ways he solidified existing visions and brought some incomplete projects to reality.  Serving as part of the search team for a new administrator was another task filled with blessings.  Learning to know Mr. De Jong as he walked through the interviewing process was interesting. The Search Committee was led to recommend him as the new potential principal: he accepted, and one more year of mentoring/assistance in knowing the ins and outs of the School was added to my contract.  That year was a delightful year of hiring a new Curriculum Director to take my place, of seeing the refreshing vision for Christian education caught and continued in new ways, and enjoying working with an Administrator so young and fresh to Christian education who held the same commitment for excellence for Christ’s sake which we had held for so many years!    

There were many other initiatives during the quarter of the century that I served Pella Christian Grade School. The desire to better serve students was exhibited in areas such as technology plans and lab ventures, organization of a Student Assistance Team which was for the purpose of giving teachers suggestions of how to assist struggling students to become more successful in school, and enhanced drama and musical productions. The continual desire to better serve our students continues to be exhibited in every classroom and in the broader plans/ventures of the school. How privileged and honored I have been to be a part of all of this, watching the school move into its second century with many exciting initiatives. More visions will become reality because we are “founded on faith and growing by grace!”

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