Head of School Update:
Welcome To a New School Year!
August 18, 2022
The new school year is here, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this wonderful community.
This year’s spiritual theme of “together” is so appropriate because it calls us into community as staff and parents work together for the sake of leading our students into a stronger walk with our Lord. I am honored to be a part of this community effort during this year.
For those of you who saw my video greeting a few weeks ago, you will know that - even though I’m serving in a one-year interim role - I am committed to Christian education and Heritage is familiar territory. My experience with Heritage and other Christian schools will be beneficial as I help guide us through the joys, achievements, bumps, challenges and opportunities that accompany any school year.
As we enter our 57th year as a Christian school, we recognize how increasingly important our vital educational ministry is, as we continue to transform lives and impact our community. With our amazing enrollment numbers (over 1500 students!), Heritage has become a place where a growing number of Christian families want what we have to offer.
Head of School Role:
It is my responsibility this year to actively work with current school leadership to continue the vital ministry of Christian education at Heritage, while staying firmly in line with our foundational mission. You'll hear from me throughout the year and I want you to know that my focus will be on two things:
- Ensuring that everything we do - from educational delivery to community life - is wrapped in a Biblical worldview. This approach helps us stay focused on our purpose and mission.
- Ensuring that the effective Christian discipleship of our students remains central to our mission. This is how we deliver a unique educational experience for each student.
I already touched upon our spiritual theme, but let me dive a little deeper. Each year, the discipleship staff, students, and the leadership team work together to select the theme for the upcoming school year. For the 2022-23 school year, the spiritual theme is Together.
In Romans, the Apostle Paul writes about living a life that is reflective of Christ’s example. He (Christ) did not come to please himself. He did quite the opposite and gave His life as an atoning sacrifice for us. As noted in Romans 15, our response is to live in harmony and glorify God with one voice - together.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 15:5-6
This verse reinforces the fact that our mission is to glorify God in discipling our students. With our eyes focused on Jesus and the work he did for us on the cross we can, together with one heart and one voice, bring glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In an effort to remind students of the importance of unity in glorifying God, the theme is displayed around the school on banners, posters, and t-shirts, and will be incorporated into chapels, small group devotions and classroom activities.
New Faculty and Staff:
Our worthy servants are what make Heritage special. This year we are blessed with many new talented team members, each with a unique story of how God has led them to Heritage. We have also welcomed several new key leaders who have grasped our mission and immediately put it into action.
I ask you to pray regularly for our new leadership in High School, Middle School and Intermediate School, along with our new Athletic and Discipleship Directors. God has provided a great team with great talents.
Enrollment continues to grow as families seek an education for their children based on clear Christian values. At 1,506 students (preschool through high School), this is the largest student population we have experienced in 15 years.
To effectively support this student population, we now have a full complement of over 300 employees (faculty, administration, coaches and support staff).
As the largest K-12 Christian school in Indiana, we have an opportunity (and responsibility) to be a shining light in a dark world.
There have been several physical improvements to the campus over the summer: new roofs, a resurfaced parking lot, remodeled Fine Arts restrooms, an internal emergency communication system, new parking lot light pole and gym wall banners and elementary school paint. Yet to come are new theater-style seating in the Cafetorium, a scoreboard on Leinbach Stadium Field, elementary playground upgrades, and other items featured in this year’s Heritage Fund.
As a reminder, gifts to the Heritage Fund can be made through the popular Indiana SGO program that provides donors with a 50% state tax credit in addition to a federal deduction and other tax benefits, all while supporting the school’s Heritage Fund objectives.
To ensure we stay on track and continue to meet your needs this year and beyond, we are constantly seeking feedback. We value every comment and insight provided, whether through surveys, meetings, or your messages. We want to constantly be getting better at what we do, honoring God in all we do.
As we strive for continuous improvement, we’ve been surveying our community getting vital feedback. We want you to know how much we appreciate your input. This year, we received 675 responses to our recent August parent survey, and additional valuable input to the ACSI Flourishing Schools Survey we delivered at the end of May.
The ACSI survey provided general areas of strength and opportunity that will provide input to help guide us through accreditation. The recent annual parent survey (our 7th since 2016) continued to show overall strong satisfaction and support. We appreciate all the feedback we received and want you to know we are listening to all of your ideas, concerns, questions and input, and taking action wherever possible to make our community better.
We are in the regular cycle of our required school accreditation process. Much of the work has already been accomplished as we anticipate a Spring 2023 visit from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) team. This is a big project to add into an already busy year but it helps us check ourselves against best educational practices that reinforce our purpose. Pray for the Heritage team preparing for our accreditation.
Head of School Search:
I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s next in the Head of School search process. Let me assure you (as someone who has worked with other schools in this type of process before) that my interim role is not an unusual development, and that waiting on the right candidate is often necessary. Our Board knows that God has called the right person for the right time.
The board did have several candidates under consideration earlier this year, but it simply did not work out within that season of time. There’s a natural pause through the summer but the search process will ramp up again in late fall, becoming more in-depth in the winter and spring as individuals make decisions about the following school year.
Please be patient and pray, knowing that God is in control. We will provide updates as they become available.
One final thought to my Heritage family. There is nothing more important than our bond in Christ and the blessing of being part of the family of God. While the back-to-school season always brings changes for us to manage, I want to share with you what remains the same:
- God’s unchanging, unconditional love for all mankind
- Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who remains the same yesterday, today and forever
- Our mission to glorify God, disciple students and pursue academic excellence with the Bible as our foundation and Jesus Christ as our focus.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible throughout the year, and pray for God's blessing on you and your family.
J.K. Stevens, Ph.D.
Interim Head of School