North Hills holds State of the School meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2011

[0xa0]The bleachers were packed with parents Jan. 18, for the annual State of the School meeting at North Hills Christian School (NHCS).
The Head of School, Matt Mitchell, board members, faculty and staff were on hand to report on recent successes and upcoming plans, give financial updates and explain some very important procedures and deadlines for re-enrollment of students.
Randy Hemann, chairman of the board, reported that North Hills has seen double-digit enrollment growth for the last three years, with six grade levels having two sections of classes.[0xa0]
ěThis increase has not only provided the critical mass to expand offerings and develop new programs, but it has also greatly improved the school’s fiscal stability,î he stated.
North Hills continues to extend its honors track, which begins in sixth grade. Next year, the school will complete the project by adding 11th- and 12th-grade honors courses, Hemann reported.
These courses will be in addition to more than 60 dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses the high school already offers in both traditional and online formats. Hemann also noted that 70 percent of upper school faculty have or are pursuing advanced degrees.
This year, a performing arts program was added in high school, and middle school students began participating in band. New faculty have been added for the AIM (special needs and gifted) program, the high school has launched an innovative one-to-one tablet PC program and the school has expanded its staff by hiring a full time Director of Technology and an Associate Head of School.[0xa0]
ěMost notably,î said Hemann, ětuition assistance provided to families who might not otherwise be able to attend the school is nearing the $500,000 mark.î
Head of School Matt Mitchell said that[0xa0]more than 400 Christian schools nationwide have closed their doors in the past few years. He[0xa0]expressed gratitude for the ongoing success of North Hills, now in its 45th year, and reiterated the schoolís commitment to quality education.[0xa0]
ěIf we are educating children in the name of Christ,î Mitchell said, ě we have to provide the very best education possible.î
Mitchell cited an excellent faculty as the most important element in a successful school and praised the current faculty, many of whom have taught at the school for decades.[0xa0]
He called for parents to support his efforts to increase faculty salaries, which aids staff recruitment and retention, and provide more opportunities for professional development.[0xa0]
In particular, Mitchell would like to continue sending faculty to study and observe some of the best schools in the nation. In addition,[0xa0]in the coming years, Mitchell said he also wants to incorporate more classical teaching methods and humanities courses into the schoolís curriculum.
Finance committee chairman Kevin Smith presented the financial picture for the school and noted that through donations and sound management, the last fiscal year ended with a surplus, and that current resources and reserve funds are substantially higher. He explained that the school is in year two of a five-year plan to develop additional programs and staff compensation.[0xa0]
The school is on track to meet those goals.
Although tuition will increase next year, Smith explained, the college-style tuition assistance program that the school put in place last year has resulted in enrollment growth, a balanced budget, greater admissions selectivity, higher academic standards and more economic diversity among students. Money to expand and remodel the campus, still in the early planning stages, will be raised through a capital campaign, not tuition increases.
Finally, Dr. Julie Chamberlain explained to parents how to take advantage of priority re-enrollment, especially important since many grade levels are at capacity.[0xa0]
North Hills parents use a system called RenWeb to stay in touch with the school. Parents can view the school calendar, lesson plans, homework assignments, study sheets, their childrenís grades, attendance and behavior reports, and even order lunches through RenWeb.
This year parents will re-enroll their children through the RenWeb systemóstreamlining the process and providing the administration with earlier numbers for next yearís budget.
Open enrollment begins Feb. 6. New families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Many classes will be capped.