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CEO Update

April 23, 2020

Jeff FreemanOur Path Forward

These are challenging times. This current pandemic will influence a generation. In its midst, what role will we play as a Christian school and community of Christ-followers? How will we impact and influence this generation?

More than ever, this is a time for creativity, perseverance, and wisdom. I believe God has given us this opportunity to serve His Kingdom in new ways. Let me share some thoughts about our path forward.

As soon as possible we want to move from shock and disruption to wise planning and inspiring solutions. We want to move from grief and loss to hope and vision. We have no better example of this than the Easter season we have just completed, where the shock and loss of Easter Friday was soon replaced with the amazing hope of Jesus’ resurrection.

While it’s with hopeful expectation that we look forward to a normal start to the 2020/21 school year, it’s also important to be prepared for a variety of scenarios. In order to develop plans in these uncertain times, we need to consider where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going.

Where We’ve Been

We want you to know that we closely monitored the early days of the COVID-19 crisis and communicated as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

We developed our Strategic Response Plan, and believe we executed an effective, though not perfect, transition to distance learning. We focused attention on equipping our teachers with the tools they needed to continue delivering a Heritage education in a new way. In faith, we also made a commitment to continue paying all HCS employees through the end of the semester, with no staff layoffs in our 2019/20 school year.

We also created and delivered a Heritage Cares program to identify and meet urgent needs in our HCS community while deferring all non-essential spending and projects. As we aligned with governmental and healthcare directives, we communicated changes and all major developments impacting our school community.

Where We Are

For the homestretch of the current school year, we are fulfilling our goal to finish strong.

We adjusted the end of year calendar to reflect distance-learning realities. We developed plans to comply with Indiana Department of Education requirements as appropriate, developing grade-level specific grading and assessment.

With sadness, we recognized the cancellation of so many beloved events and activities and postponed graduation to July in the hope of a traditional ceremony and celebration.

Throughout our season of distance learning we have been making continual adjustments to find the right balance between the delivery of quality education and the pressures and demands felt by home-bound families and teachers. We focused on curricular essentials and core subject matter. Parents and family members did an amazing job helping our students navigate this unique time. We also have been inspired and encouraged by the ongoing discipleship of our students by our teachers.

Where We Are Going

We are diligently planning for the upcoming 2020/21 school year. While so much is still developing and uncertain, we want to be ready for any contingency.

In addition to our anticipated return to a traditional school routine, we are also evaluating potential
scenarios that include incorporating vigilant on-campus social distancing health safety, possible alternative scheduling, and the mandated continuation of distance learning. We will continue to align with yet-to-be-announced government directives and will always look to minimize the health risks to our families.

Due to the impact of economic hardship and unemployment on our community, we are also modeling scenarios that reflect various school enrollment levels. To date we are encouraged by ongoing strong enrollment and retention numbers, but we know that much can happen while the world waits on trustworthy solutions and effective mitigation strategies for the pandemic. In the months ahead, we will have a better picture of what our actual enrollment will be.

Regardless of what unfolds on the path forward, we will not stand still. We are developing new marketing approaches. We believe that now more than ever, it is important to highlight our Biblical worldview and Christian education distinctive. We have a message and a hope that the world around us needs. This is at the heart of who we are as a school.

Also more than ever, we will rely on our community to share what Heritage has to offer with friends, neighbors and colleagues. Word of mouth will be crucial to our enrollment strategies.

With a continuation of stay-at-home and social distancing directives, Heritage will transition to virtual admissions events, utilizing a new set of tools and technology to effectively tell the Heritage story to prospective families.

We will also re-evaluate financial aid strategies and explore tuition discounting should on-line distance learning be prolonged. Leveraging and maximizing the state tax-credit scholarship (SGO) financial aid program will also be crucial to enhancing tuition assistance to families needing financial support.

Join Us in Impacting a Generation

We know that God established and continues to sustain Heritage as a light in our community. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, from our youngest learners to our college-bound seniors, we believe in raising up and equipping a generation of exceptional Christian leaders and world-changers.

We are looking forward to influencing this generation in significant ways during extraordinary times, and we commit ourselves to doing it for the Glory of God. Thank you for being part of the Heritage family.

For the Cause of Christ,

Jeff Freeman