Welcome to the MCE Blog!

Madison Campus Elementary is a K-8 Seventh-day Adventist Christian school. MCE exists primarily to guide students into a better understanding of the love of God and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our school is accredited by the National Council for Private School Accreditation as well as by the Southern Union Conference. It has been on this site for 100 years providing quality education by caring teachers who see each child as a unique individual created in the image of God. A new facility of more than 22,000 square feet, including a regulation-size gym, was completed two years ago. Each year our students rank well above national norms on standardized tests in all the core subjects. Bible is included in the curriculum as well as art, music, computers, PE, intramurals and a comprehensive fitness program.

Check this blog regularly for information and articles about Madison Campus Elementary.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

5th Grade Teacher Spotlight: Emyria Furman

Emyria Furman was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where her family still lives. She is married to Fred Furman and they have two sons, Evan, 19 and Elliot, 13. Before coming to MCE, Emyria worked at F H Jenkins.

Emyria loves children, and her passion in teaching is to make a difference in their lives. She is a spiritual person who has a real prayer connection with heaven. She loves the text found in Philippians 4:13 that says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Hebrews 13:5 is a comforting verse that states "God will never leave or forsake you." Those verses have accompanied her as she has traveled to Canada, St. Thomas, the Bahamas, Mexico, and much of the United States.

Some things Emyria loves include riding horses, hanging wallpaper, going cmaping, and baking for her family. She has been a special blessing to our school with her wisdom, sense of purpose, and love for students. She is fun to work with and has brought a sweet spirit to our campus. We're blessed to have her as a part of the MCE staff!

--Mr. Cheney

Monday, December 15, 2008

Your ITBS Questions Answered

In a few weeks you will receive your child’s ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) results. This test is given to students in grades 3 through 8 in the North American Division and in the public and other private schools throughout the United States (31 states). I hope the following information will help to clarify any questions you may have.

What is the ITBS?
The ITBS is a norm-referenced test. A norm-referenced test compares our students’ performance to a norming group made up of students throughout the U.S. The test is developed by creating the test items and then administering the test to a nationally representative group of students. This is called the “norming group.” Then our scores are compared to the average or norm of that group. The average score is set at the 50th percentile.
ITBS scores do not tell you what students know or are able to do. They only tell you how your child compares to other students. They sort and rank students on a curve. For example, if a student receives a percentile rank on the total test of 87, this means he/she scored higher than 87 percent of the students in the norm group, while only 13% scored higher than this student.

Unfortunately, these test results give little information about what the student actually knows. Scoring at the 60th percentile in math tells us only that the student scored higher than 60 percent of his/her peer. It does not tell us how many math skills were mastered.

The questions on this test reflect the content of nationally used textbooks not necessarily the local or state curriculum. This means that our students may be tested on things not in our curriculum. It does not determine whether students have learned the material they have been taught. A disadvantage with achievement tests is that the validity of the score depends on whether or not the content of the test matches the skills and knowledge expected of the students in the school system. In other words, did the test assess material in our curriculum?

Why has the ITBS been chosen?
The North American Division of Seventh day Adventist (NAD) has chosen this test because this is the most widely used test by public and private schools across the nation. Parents and the public expect an achievement test to be given. The ITBS can provide information about a student’s most developed and least developed skills. The Kentucky Tennessee Conference is pleased that our ITBS scores rank higher than the national norm.

One test cannot serve all testing purposes. Unfortunately, the public has placed too much emphasis on this one test, a multiple choice test, which gives us little information as to how well the student can apply their knowledge and skills. This test cannot show whether a student can write a research paper, debate important issues, conduct and report on a science experiment, or make a public presentation on the causes of the Civil War.

We are also aware that some students just do not test well. With this being the case, the test will not give a true indication as to what these students can really do. Students with test anxiety tend to do well in other types of assessments such as presenting their knowledge in oral reports or essays. With ITBS being a timed test, some do not finish the test even if they know the material. Not completing the test affects one’s score.

Why not the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program)?
This question is asked frequently. We do not give this test because this particular test measures how well a student has learned the Tennessee state curriculum rather than how the student compares with a national group. Parents want to know how our students compare with other students in the nation, not just a single state. Another reason we do not give the TCAP is because the state of Tennessee has an embargo on the test, and we are not allowed to purchase it. In the past we have been allowed to give the TCAP to eighth graders.

The ideal would be to have a test written just for the SDA curriculum and compare our students with other Adventist students using the same curriculum across North America.

Why do we test in the fall?
All Seventh day Adventist schools across North America test in the fall because we use the data a little differently than those who test in the spring. We take the data in the fall, along with other assessments, and make plans to help students in areas of weaknesses. In other words, the data is translated to information to guide the teachers in how to best meet the needs of his/her students. We use the results in the fall to measure growth and to look at the progress made from the previous fall. Most public school systems test in the spring and use the data to help them determine students for remedial and gifted programs, as well as, to group students according to their ability level.

How are we different from other schools using this type of test?
Unlike other private schools that are selective, we accept most children regardless of ability or special needs. We do not discriminate according to one’s ability. We test all students, providing if necessary, the accommodations outlined for an individual student whose special needs have been legally identified. Scores reported for total class/school averages are those of students without special needs.

Future Goal
In order to measure what we expect students to know we need a “standards based test” written that would match the Southern Union and national standards. This type of standards based (criterion-reference) test would actually determine what students can do and what they know, not how they compare to others. We have the Southern Union/national standards that describe what students should know and be able to do in different subjects at various grade levels, but we do not have a test to measure if these standards are being mastered. With this type of test, it would indicate what individuals can do, not how they scored in relation to the scores of particular groups of people (norm-referenced test- ITBS)

We are extremely proud how well our students do on the ITBS. There is no perfect test to determine what our students have accomplished. We do know that standardized achievement tests can provide supplementary information for the teacher, but it cannot replace teacher observations and classroom assessment information.

The learning of academic skills is a continuous process and the rate each student learns differs widely among those of the same age and grade. Some learn quickly, while others learn more slowly. Some students make more progress with certain methods, materials, and teaching styles than others. Our teachers have the challenge of identifying and providing the best conditions for learning which vary from child to child. Ongoing individual assessment is documented for each student, and students are moved according to their appropriate instructional levels. Our teachers will continue using the most reliable assessment tools we have such as running records, DIBELS, reading and writing portfolios, Jerry Johns Reading Inventory, projects, essays, portfolios (collection of student work), authentic assessment where students actually mirror the kinds of tasks people do in the real world, and teacher created tests to determine how well students understand the curriculum. We will continue to work with our students to encourage them to work at their highest level and potential.

Our curriculum has a Christ-centered, character-developing focus. Our teachers deliver high quality instruction in a loving, kind atmosphere so that all students can learn skills needed to prepare them for this life and for heaven. We evaluate students not only for academic achievement, but also for growth in Christian character development. No achievement test can evaluate this. We, in the Kentucky Tennessee Conference, feel it is a privilege to facilitate this journey and pray that it will be a part of a life-long endeavor for all of our students to grow in Christ.

Pam Williams
Associate Superintendent of Schools
Kentucky Tennessee Conference

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New North American Division Kindergarten Program: Stepping Stones

The North American Division Education Department has taken on the huge task of writing a new total kindergarten curriculum. There is a steering and writing committee that has been working on this for the last couple years. This committee is composted of the finest teachers, writers, and artists representing our churches from all over the North American Division. They have also provided research upon which to base the program. A lot of prayers, study, time, and money went into this important endeavor.

The first week of November, 2008, there was a meeting in Dallas, Texas to introduce the program to lead teachers from each union of the North American Division. There were about 20 or more kindergarten teachers representing these unions to learn about the new program, entitled “Stepping Stones”,emphasizing one month’s theme entitled, “Brrr, It’s Cold!” Our own Mrs. Closser was one of these representatives. The one-month theme correlates with the new Pathways reading program for grades 1-8, covering the theme of environments. Kindergarten’s environmental study will be the arctic for the month of January. It integrates all subjects into the study of this one theme, including Bible.

Madison Campus Elementary has been chosen as the pilot school representing the Southern Union for this new program. Mrs. Closser is thrilled to be implementing this new exciting program. She, along with all the other lead teachers of the NAD, will also be able to critique and advise the writing committee, ensuring the finished product is the best it can be. If the timeline works as planned, the total completed rough draft of the program should be ready for the lead teachers to implement by the school year of 2009-10. Each lead teacher will be responsible for introducing the new program to the other Kindergarten teachers in their union and holding individual conferences before implementing the completed revised program in 2011.

How can you help Mrs. Closser implement this pilot program? By praying and collecting lids of juice cans and gallon-size white milk jugs. She’s going to need a lot of these items. Thanks for your part in making our school a great place to learn and grow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Meet Jeff Richardson

Jeff Richardson comes to us as a new graduate from Southern Adventist University. He graduated with a major in Elementary Education and achieved minors in Youth Ministry and Outdoor Education.

Jeff's passion for teaching is evident in his classroom instruction, as well as in his interaction with the students. He enjoys molding students spiritually, challenging them physically, and digging deep into subjects like American History and the Creation/Evolution controversy.

In his free time, Jeff might be found backpacking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, or kayaking, which are a few of the ways he chooses to relax and unwind. He is interested in rescue work and has trained to do rope and high angle rescue. Jeff likes to throw together his favorite dish for breakfast: scrambled tofu with cheese. His favorite drink? Well, that would have to be Adam’s Ale (water). You see, that was the only drink that Adam had--hence the name.

Jeff made this list of five things you might not know about him.

  • He was raised in California

  • His favorite activity is mountaineering/rock climbing

  • His GMC Jimmy has been from Southern California to Washington to Florida to Upstate New York near Maine

  • He was a firefighter for 4 years

  • He's going on 8 seasons teaching at summer camps in California, Florida and Alaska

We are thrilled to have Jeff as a part of our happy family and group of professionals here at MCE.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Principal's Report: End of the Quarter

It is hard to believe that the 1st quarter has already ended. I think it is the due to the fact that we as teachers and staff are so focused on the daily tasks that when the calendar says we are finished with the first sprint, we say, “ Oh my, where did the time go?” Well, that’s my explanation for the phenomenon of the racing clock.

So, as I look back over my shoulder at the last nine weeks and reflect, I can only say, "Praise God for His wonderful love and blessings!" We are happy to have dedicated parents who are sacrificing time and funds to give their children the very best in education. Some might say that the school down the street has a better bell, fancier equipment, or more pizzazz. I like to think that we are following God’s direction in establishing and operating a church school that not only promotes a belief in Jesus, but also reinforces the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Throughout Scripture we see that when God’s people were obedient, they were abundantly blessed, and when they were following their own desires, God would give them painful reminders. Let’s pray that we can be even more open to God’s leading and promised blessing.

Some of the highlights in this first quarter were:

  • A beautifully choreographed Hawaiian Open House that was put on by our Home & School Organization. Thank you to Stephanie Rufo, Melissa Sullivan, and all the volunteers who helped.
  • Meet Me at the Pole, a national prayer activity hosted by Moms in Touch. Donna Schultz, Mary Ann Monroe, Patsy Bowman, Diana Johnson, and Richard Thomason worked together to make this event possible.
  • Fall Field Day at Moss Wright Park, where Debbie Morgan led out in fun and challenging activities for Pre-K through 8th grade to end up our quarter.

We have made some decided changes in the way we do school this year. One of the new programs that you heard about in our last post is "Kids in Discipleship" for our classrooms. Mary Ann Monroe is implementing this program, as volunteers step forward to take on the position of classroom chaplain. The chaplains are having a weekly worship with their class, and they will also be planning for a community outreach project. The chaplain assigned to a present class will stay with them until they graduate from the 8th grade.

Some of the things that the chaplain will be instructing the students in are personal prayer, relationships with God and their fellow man, and the importance of praising God. The children have already done some different kinds of group praying activities. One class is doing prayer journals to learn how to commune with God on a personal level.

We presently have 5 classrooms participating in the program and are looking for more volunteers to step forward and fill in for other classes. Our thinking here is that this will give our students another spiritual mentor to support and impact them positively for eternity.

Our enrollment has increased from 139 to 144, which is a forward direction for our financial picture. We are praying for a continued increase throughout the year, and ask that you would join us in prayer for this need. Two more families have inquired about enrolling their children for this school year.

We have had a great first quarter! Thanks to God for His wisdom in leading us, and thanks to all of our families who send their children to MCE.

--Art Cheney

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sally Foster Fundraiser

Don’t Monkey Around!!!
This is your Last Week to Sell Sally Foster
Surprise Week October 6-10

This year Madison Campus Elementary is raising funds for various school programs, and we hope every child will participate by selling just 6 items or more. Browse through the enclosed catalog to make your selections and share the catalog with your family, friends, even co-workers. Our school earns 50% profit on all Sally Foster products and Cookie Dough!

IN addition to the cumulative prize flyer enclosed, each student that sells 100.00 or more will receive a special surprise during our week 3 INCENTIVES (see coupon attached).

When making or collecting your orders, we offer the following suggestions:
  • Please make checks payable to Madison Campus Elementary.
  • Please do not collect sales tax on orders.
  • Fast & Easy Email Program: Go to the Seller’s Section at http://www.sallyfoster.com/ to sign up. Our school earns 50% profit for online sales, and your student earns prize credit! You’ll need our school’s account number: 938976 and you’re on your way. Please remember that some of your intended recipients may have spam filters on their work email addresses and their personal email address may work better.
Important dates:
Our Last Day to Sell Sally Foster is Wednesday October 16, 2008.
Mark your calendar for November 20, 2008 so you can pick up your order or email.
Reward Week 3

MY STUDENT: (NAME) _______________________________________________

Total Sold as of October 6-10 $___________________

PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURE/DATE: _______________________________

--Home and School

Kids in Discipleship

An exciting new program that is taking place this year at MCE is Kids In Discipleship for the school. The Southern Union and KY/TN Conference Education Departments sponsored training for Kids in Discipleship and sent Pastor Mike, Pastor Angel, Mr. Cheney and myself to Collegedale to learn about the program.

We learned that it is important to instill in our children a personal relationship with Jesus between the ages of five and thirteen. It was unfortunate to learn that our youth are leaving the church at a rate of 40 to 50 percent. The good news is that we learned applications we can implement in the school to help children develop a stronger relationship with Jesus, in addition to the teachers' efforts on their behalf.

It is important to have a connection from home, church and school. Family worship is a great way to share with your children your knowledge of Christ and how He works in your life. I know it is not easy to fit into our busy lives, but the importance of spending time with Jesus as a friend so children can grow in their knowledge of Him should be the biggest priority in our lives. In church children can see the involvement of pastors and teachers who care and are willing to spend time with them and show how Jesus is active in their lives. In the school we learned the importance of prayer partners and a Volunteer Classroom Chaplain, who is involved in the weekly lives of the students to help disciple them to Jesus.

The goal of the classroom chaplain is to help the children learn how to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The chaplains are encouraged to pray daily for each student and teacher in the class they are assigned to. Weekly, they will lead out in a spiritual growth initiative or worship in the students’ classroom. Once a month or quarter the chaplain will organize and lead in a service or outreach adventure. They will also spend time with the students in other activities, such as recess or lunch, which helps them to build a personal relationship with the kids. Involving a chaplain will give the students another positive Christian role model with whom they can relate and who will help foster their discipleship in the school setting.

Each room will have a chaplain working with the teacher and students. I’m glad to tell you that most rooms at MCE have assigned chaplains, and several are already actively involved! Please keep this program in your prayers. Our prayer is that the children will come to know Jesus better and all the glory will be given to Him.

”Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

---Mary Ann Monroe