On Barnabas Christian School letterhead
August 27, 2004
Mr. Bob Vickers, Executive Director
The Vickers Family Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dear Mr. Vickers:
Greetings! The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections/relationships.
It has been said that the most important fact about the subject of education is that there is no such thing–education is NOT a subject–rather, it is a transfer of a way of life and thought to our most precious asset–our youth. And the youth of today are hurting. Teenagers today, like never before, feel discarded, refused, ignored, and relegated to self-absorption. They are part of a generation that is slipping through our fingers. Every day, more are turning to suicide, gangs, drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, AIDS, crime, and violence. Consider this:
• Teenagers (14 to 17) commit 4,000 murders per year, an increase of 165% since 1985.
• A child runs away from home every 26 seconds.
• Half of all new HIV infections occur in the 13 to 24-year old age group.
• One student drops out of high school every eight seconds of every school day.
• One million teenage girls get pregnant every year.
The preteen and teen world today is a radically different place than their parents ever experienced. Due to this lack of understanding, there is a major "disconnect" taking place. In a Newsweek article, General Colin Powell, current Secretary of State of the United States, stated "The problem of troubled youth is the biggest threat to the future of the United States. The amazing thing about this problem is that we know what the solution is. . . a relationship with a caring adult: a teacher, a mentor, a coach, or a parent."
From the Beginning. . . We were created to light a fire in the hearts and minds of our students–and in their minds to value learning. Begun in 1988, we have now graduated three classes of students. These young people have been empowered by the classical academic education they received, and equipped through equally rigorous spiritual preparation to meet the challenges of the best colleges and universities in our country. Our educational efforts provide a consistent journey of learning for boys and girls from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Our motto, "In Him We Can," expresses the belief of the faculty and staff about education. We build students’ understanding of who God is and their relationship to Him, and through His power they are able to accomplish all that He has called them to do. On this intellectual basis students can lay a solid foundation on which to will build their entire lives. Our mission is to promote the total and advanced development of our students so that they are equipped to make a real and positive difference in the world. We are excited about the opportunity that we have to invest in the future through our students. We also believe this to be a great opportunity for you to make an investment that will generate long-term returns and benefits to children and youth during the next years.
Providing a classical education is very important at The Barnabas Christian School. Our goals are simple:
1. Equip students with a high level of reading comprehension and the ability to communicate effectively;
2. Foster an understanding of math and science that will allow them to participate in any field of endeavor;
3. Develop in students the skills necessary to think both creatively and critically, and then master the ability to transfer acquired knowledge to other situations, thereby fostering the ability to learn independently; and,
4. Help students to develop a rich spiritual life which will help them to define their purpose, build their character and finally to refine their destiny.
Children want and need to learn–we have been successful in teaching young people to examine what they believe with their minds in order to shape what they know in their heart. We strive to differentiate knowledge from wisdom. The results are dramatic. On average, our students out perform his/her peers in the public school system as measured in nationally administered tests. Our students typically learn at least at a grade or two higher!
One Life at a Time. One Victory at a Time. . . Personal involvement does make a difference. We often remind our students, "the world will one day ask you who you are, and if you do not have an answer it will tell you." We seek to make sure that our students have an answer. Our goal is to produce more problem solvers than problems, and we know that we are making a difference.
Ministry is personal to me. . . I have been involved in educating children ALL my life. It is important to me to know the child, teach the child, and learn the child (not good English but great advice). I consider it a tremendous honor and a great privilege to know each of my students personally. Because we seek more than just head knowledge, we have the joy of constantly seeing a glimpse at the "heart." Those are the most precious moments to me, as a student moves from knowing to understanding. My entire life’s work has been dedicated to reaching out to these young people, and it has become the most rewarding work I could have ever imagined.
The Children’s Needs, Our Needs. . . We believe that a first-rate education combined with a faculty that is focused on excellence will produce successful graduates. As we have examined our programs, we are at the point where we want to move our program to the next level. Unfortunately, tuition-based funding will not enable us to provide the needed changes that go hand in hand with our philosophy of education. How does a School say to a family of four children, "we love your first three and can work with you on tuition, but your fourth, he must go to another school." In our area, "another school" is a "public school" which may be teaching something contrary to that family's mission of wanting a Christian education. Specially trained teachers, however, along with all teachers, demand higher salaries. Increasing tuition only compounds the problem to most families AND schools.
Our school’s most immediate financial needs are the following, in order of priority:
• Increase Teachers’ Salaries ($65,000)
• Increase the Tuition Scholarship Fund to make up for multi-children families enrolled ($85,000)
• Funding for the Discovery Program–Computer Technology ($46,000)
• Upgrade our teaching computers and the classroom computers ($46,000)
• Upgrade our library of books ($20,000)
• New intercom system ($8,000)
"Tuition" and "Candy Bar sales" cannot fund our school forward. Would you please look over the attached information and make a contribution toward any one specific need. We need help. We need your help. No gift is too small. Every gift is essential to our continued success. You can help make our plan a reality.
Please review the enclosed information and consider supporting this work. I am respectfully submitting it for your consideration. If you need additional information, please call me at the school (660) 747-6390, ext. 111. I am eager to discuss this with you and stand ready to provide any additional information which will assist you in your decision. I am available at your convenience to address any questions or ideas you may have concerning our vision for our children’s future. Thank you for your consideration of this request and the opportunity to meet with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.
Most of all, thank you for what you are doing to help the children, youth, and families in our area.
Connie Sue Vickers, M.A., Head of School,
The Barnabas Christian School
The Barnabas Christian School
Organizational Mission and Vision Statements:
Barnabas Christian School exists to equip students to be Christian leaders in the world at large. We seek to enable our students to interact with our culture so that they exert a positive force for change and assist parents to train children to aspire to God’s standard of excellence for the home, school and community. To this end, we employ a variety of methodologies. Our students are trained to think analytically and critically and are provided with opportunities to engage the entirety of our culture through academics, sports, music and drama. The primary dynamics of our mission are:
• to provide quality education to the youth and families of the greater Eastside of Seattle.
• to increase the return on dollars invested in building healthy young people in our area.
Target Market and Geographic Area Served:
Barnabas Christian School draws from the local population of more than 950,000 residents of the metropolitan Seattle area. We have 610 students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade Twelve. More than 50% of our faculty hold advanced degrees. The student teacher ratio is 10:1. We provide a rigorous college-preparatory experience, with 100% of our graduates going on to college. The Barnabas Christian School is non-denominational, serving families from more than 60 different churches representing 438 families from all socio-economic groups. We admit students without regard to race or ethnic origin and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, or ethnicity.
The Barnabas Christian School is an independent 501 (c)(3), nonprofit community educational organization founded in the State of Washington in 1988 and is governed by an nine-member Board of Directors (see Page 4). A Head of School is charged with implementing Board policies and providing leadership and supervision for faculty and staff. We are accredited by the Midwest Association of Independent Schools, and the National Association of Schools and Colleges. We have memberships in the Society for Classical Learning, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, the Missouri Federation of Independent Schools, and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). See attached 501(c)(3) IRS Determination Letter.
Mrs. Connie Sue Vickers (660) 747-6390, ext. 111
The Barnabas Christian School (660) 111-2222, cell
P.O. Box 1225 E-mail: Conniesue@Barnabasschool.edu
Warrensburg, MO 64093 website is: www.barnabasschool.edu
Financial Request and Purpose:
add several sentences of your need. To address this, we have developed our List of Immediate Needs. Our needs are such that we are asking you for a grant of $ 16,750 (or any portion thereof) See Budget on Page 5.
TOTAL AMOUNT REQUESTED: $ 1 6,750
Evaluation and Accountability:
The progress and effectiveness of the Barnabas Christian School will be determined by ongoing analysis and oversight of our faculty, division heads, and the head of school. Because we are committed to integrity, we are willing to complete any reasonable evaluative measure that you request.
The Barnabas Christian School
Just what is it that makes a Christian education so different? Quite simply, we have proven that a classical education offers a student the best chance for success. The key is curriculum–the course of study that a school follows. Every lesson opens a window into some aspect of God’s creation and helps a student to see God’s hand in the world around them. Every day brings new opportunities for students to grow in their knowledge of God and their desire to serve Him and their neighbor.
By differentiating knowledge versus wisdom, we are able to inform our students with a worldview that corresponds to reality. The end result is that our graduates are equipped to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living," and we believe that the key to unlocking a student’s full potential is to give him a criteria for examining his/her life.
We currently enroll more than 27 students in grades K-4 through 12th. This represents close to 27 families from more than 14 local churches. We are a member of the Association of Christian Schools International. Our membership with this accrediting agency means our graduates qualify for admission to all postgraduate institutions nationally and in the University system in Missouri. Our students consistently score well above the national norms on annual standardized testing. Our student body is 90% American. We have 3 full-time faculty and 3 part-timers. The student teacher ratio is 10:1. Our curriculum is Biblically integrated and centered around God’s Word with a strong early emphasis on phonics. More than 90% of our graduates go on to college.
Our reputation for offering an accelerated education that prepares our student to meet the challenges ahead of them has resulted in many families who must be turned away due to lack of physical facilities. Despite cramped quarters, it is our emphasis on an accelerated education grounded in truth that has enabled our students to excel.
In response to the need in our area, we provide an innovative and comprehensive educational program; which will meet the needs of all children. The concerns of Barnabas Christian School, as a member of both the religious community and the community at-large, is to change the plight and destiny of those least able to help themselves–the children.
. . . Even in Our Community:
Many schools our area are becoming famous with a great deal of publicity and attention. Why are they in the limelight? Why are they in the spot light? Is it because of their great accomplishments? No, it is because they have gained a reputation for sub-standard academic performance. It is because they are becoming well known for low quality and poor achievement marks.
Principals are being fired or reassigned for no apparent reason. Teachers are using up their sick leave to not return to their classrooms. The school board is split over many issues. Today, in our area, there is more of a need than ever for an alternative to the public school system.
Our buildings and facilities are limiting how effectively and efficiently we can meet the needs of our community. It is understandably difficult to stay on the cutting edge of technology, but it is essential when educating contemporary students. The Barnabas Christian School believes that teachers hold the key to learning, and that it is required of a committed administration to place within the hands of those teachers all the tools necessary to accomplish the task.
Our educational program is ongoing and in full process at this time. The only barrier to full implementation is financial. Your financial assistance will greatly enhance our effort. We are very open to any evaluation, input, or ideas you are willing to give, and would be very excited to work toward an ongoing partnership. We are eager to discuss this proposal with you and stand ready to provide any additional information which will assist you in your decision-making. Thank you.
We believe it is the proper time to move forward in several critical areas:
1. Teacher Salary Increases: Our teachers are dedicated to the ministry of training young people. We have long-tenured teachers, many having served for 15 years or more. The average teacher salary for the 2003-2004 year is $21,065. What an encouragement and what a burden lifter it would be to be able to bring salaries up to or even near their public school counterparts, around $30,000. For the upcoming school year, we have committed to increasing salaries by as much as $2,000 per year. With twenty-one full-time faculty, this decision was monumental. Even with this increase, without benefits we still lag in competing for new teachers. Total Cost is $65,000.
2. Tuition Scholarship Fund: We live in a wonderful community with a wide and diverse population. Our families are dominantly middle income households, many single parent, with two or three school age children. Our average tuition of $2,900 per child for these households quickly becomes $5,800 to $8,700 per year. For many of our area families these amounts can equal more than 30% of the total household income. A "Christian" school for these families is simply out of reach. Having a scholarship fund would:
• allow a family to pay a much more manageable tuition.
• empower us to serve and influence more families.
• increase participation in school services such as before and after school care or sports. Total Needed is $85,000.
3. Discovery Program and Teacher: No other area of curriculum has had more continual and dynamic changes than computers and technology. Additionally, the employment opportunities for persons with the ability to teach computer have expanded tremendously–often offering incredible salaries. However, computer equipment, communication link charges, and the salary are huge expenses. To have any type of computer curriculum, the expense budget is a multiple of any other area of study and yet every parent and student correctly demand computer systems and communications training. We have committed to providing no less than needed. The 2003-2004 school year will begin with a new computer lab. We have realigned our classrooms to use a larger space to accommodate better computer terminals and teaching aids such as having a digital overhead projector for the teacher to better demonstrate the material being presented. Total Cost is $46,000
4. Upgrade Teacher Computers and Classroom Computers: The speed of new computers would allow teachers and students to use their time more wisely. Teacher computers are all older than those in the student lab–which are reconditioned four-year-old computers. They need to be replaced with faster, more efficient equipment. Total Cost is $46,000.
5. Add and Update Books in the Library: It is important to keep library holdings current, and this has not been possible over the past few years. Money is needed to add new books and to update the current holdings so that the library will be more useful to our students. Total Cost is $20,000.
New Intercom System: For ten years our present system has done its job. However, it needs to be replaced. Total Cost is $8,000.