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Head of School Letters

Click the links below to read this year's Head of School Letters:

May 14, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

During the last few weeks, there has been a flurry of activities on campus such as field days, art shows, Honor Society inductions, athletic award ceremonies, and more! Although we enjoy celebrating our students and their accomplishments, seeing parents back on campus has truly been a joy especially during this very taxing COVID year. Welcome back!

For the last 18 months, the leadership of both FBC and CCS has engaged in strategic planning regarding the daily use of our facilities. As a result of these discussions, a Facilities Improvement Plan has been created, shared with the appropriate committees and boards from both the church and school, and approved by church membership during a recent business meeting. In addition, meetings have been held with strategic partners to introduce the plan and gain valuable feedback. Yesterday, Pastor John Mark Harrison and I filmed a video to introduce the plan to the school community which will be released with one of my upcoming Head of School letters. This plan addresses the needs of every ministry, and I believe you will be excited once you view the details of this plan to improve facilities.

I would like to report highlights from the recent Parent-Satisfaction Survey. Over 40% of CCS families participated allowing for the survey to be considered valid by industry standards. Our net promoter score of 44 is 3 points higher than the average score received by other educational institutions; however, it is a few points lower than last year's score. Overall, the written comments we received are more positive than the last two years. It is my assumption that COVID protocols and virtual learning also made an impact on the net promoter score.

The positive takeaways from the survey include the following:

● Support for a positive Christian environment
● Appreciation for teachers who care about their students
● Commitment to a Christian worldview
● Appreciation of smaller classes and a sense of school community

The areas of improvement include the following:
● Facilities - This is addressed in the Facility Improvement Plan.
● Communication
● Some concern about bullying or just what is and is not considered bullying
● Some concern about dress code consistency
● Discipline consistency across campus
● Lunch price and quality.

Please know the leadership team values your input and all of these concerns have been discussed to ensure that we maintain high standards that everyone expects from CCS. It’s a great day to be a LION!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider, Head of School

April 30, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

As we enter the final month of school, campus is bursting with all types of activities. Quite honestly, spring is my favorite time of year on the school calendar. Athletic teams are finishing the school year in the beautiful spring weather, and classes are preparing for end-of-year activities such as field days, concerts, musical theatre productions, and graduations all signal another school year is quickly wrapping up.

Wednesday night FBC/CCS hosted Protect Young Eyes. The presenter, Doug Crawford, walked parents through different approaches for a healthy social media journey for families. If you were unable to attend, we are working to make last night's presentation available to all parents in the near future. Doug also spoke in chapel yesterday, and you should have received an At Home Discussion Guide that will help parents navigate this timely discussion. Doug reiterated several times that if parents are avoiding life conversations with their children there is a very good chance that social media is taking your place. Doug also spoke about the importance of the three P’s of parenting: providing for their future, preparing them for life, and protecting them from harm. Without question, social media is one area where we need to protect our children from ungodly influences. Protect Young Eyes is the second collaborative event this semester between FBC/CSS with the desired outcome to strengthen the Christian family on the journey of faith. The leadership of FBC and CCS are planning similar events for next year. If there is a topic you would like for us to consider please reach out to me with your idea.

Beginning Monday, May 3, Preschool, CCS K-12, and KidzConnect will move to a mask optional campus for employees and students. This change was made in response to the announcements made by Governor Lee and Mayor Jacobs earlier this week. All other protocols will remain in effect until the end of the school year. COVID protocols for next year are currently being discussed in leadership meetings and will be released in June.

We are currently accepting School Board nominations to fill two open seats beginning with the 2021-22 school year. If you would like to nominate someone to serve on the board please email ccsboard@concordcs.org and provide his/her name and contact information. Julie Sutton, CCS Board Chair, will contact each nominee to gauge their interest and eligibility.

I am happy to announce that the position for Middle School Principal has been filled. Brice Richards has accepted this position and will join our team in July. Brice will bring enthusiastic energy to every aspect of CCS but especially to the middle school department. Today’s Maroon and White includes additional information on Brice and his family. A reception will be given once they arrive and are settled in Knoxville.

Lastly, make sure you read the Maroon and White today for a listing of upcoming events.

It’s a great day to be a LION!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

April 16, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

Without a doubt, last Friday’s Gala was one of the highlights of my 3-year tenure at Concord. Lorna Keeton and her Gala Girls hosted an event that remembered the past, highlighted the present, and looked to the future. The silent and live auctions were both well represented, and Shane Mynatt stole the show as the auctioneer. Pastor John Mark Harrison shared the vision for 865 Rise and how the school plays a vital part of that initiative.

Whether you participated online or in person, you played an instrumental role in helping to fund school wide projects in our high school, middle school, and elementary school. In the coming days, Lorna will announce the amount raised and how the money will be channeled. Coupled with the Boosterthon last month, we have experienced an outstanding spring of fundraising. I personally wish to thank everyone who contributed to one or both events and to Lorna Keeton and her team of volunteers for hosting such a successful night.

I mentioned in a recent Head of School letter that both CCS and FBC leadership teams reviewed reopening plans and decided to reopen one door in the Gathering Space on April 12th. At this time, this entrance is only for specific ministries that meet during the weekday. A new glass wall has been installed to direct visitors towards the Welcome Center. This is an additional layer of security for our campus. Campus remains closed to CCS visitors at this time. Both leadership teams are using the time between now and the end of the school year to evaluate the effectiveness of this procedure with the intention of making necessary revisions this summer before school begins in August.

Over the next several days, we are hosting several candidates on campus to interview for our Middle School Principal position. A committee of board members, principals, and middle school teachers interviewed seven candidates after reviewing approximately 30 applications for the position. Over the next few days, candidates will meet with additional teachers, administrators, and staff as we work to discern who God is calling to CCS for this position. As you well know, the middle school years are difficult for students in so many ways, and this leadership role is extremely important to the culture of our school. Please join me in prayer as we make this very important decision.

Protect Young Eyes is an upcoming event for parents to gain insight on how to best protect their child(ren) in this digital age in which we live. The data on the amount of time school-aged children spend staring at screens is staggering. I urge you to clear your calendar in order to attend this event so you can be better informed. To register, click here.

Finally, Pastor John Mark Harrison started a sermon series last week on the book of Judges entitled, “Broken Saviors”. This series highlights the calamity of a half-hearted faith. We would love for you to join us this Sunday at First Baptist Concord during the 9:00am or 11:00am service. You can join in-person or online by clicking here. As always, if I can ever assist you, please reach out to me. Remember, “It’s a great day to be a Lion”!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

April 1, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

There is just something about this time of year that helps rejuvenate us. Spring not only brings a time of regrowth, but it also brings us to a time of reflection about what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. The wonderful news is that he conquered death, the grave, and sin by his sacrificial death and resurrection. Praise be to His name! If you are looking for a church home or looking for a church to attend on Easter Sunday, please consider First Baptist Concord. Easter services are Saturday, April 3 at 6:00 pm or Sunday, April 4 at 8 am, 9:15 am or 11 am. You can attend either in person or online.

Please find below several items I would like to bring to your attention.

  • One big change I am excited to announce is that First Baptist Concord is planning to reopen parts of the building to church-approved activities on April 12. All visitor traffic will now funnel through one door in the Gathering Space and be directly pointed to the Welcome Center. COVID allowed for the leadership teams from the church and school to evaluate security concerns and locking the Gathering Space is a decision that was made as a result of the COVID-forced security reviews. We will use the last two months of the school year to evaluate this new entrance procedure as we plan for school reopening in the fall. Please note, we are not changing the school’s visitor policy at this point. This procedure only applies to visitors entering the church during the day for adult Bible study or some other ministry-related visit. This will not affect the current COVID practices the school currently follows. We plan to complete the year with the majority of our protocols in place. The leadership team is beginning to plan for reopening in the fall and will announce the reopening plans later this spring.
  • The church and school have worked collaboratively to bring the Protect Young Eyes program to campus on April 29th. Here is a two-minute video introducing the topics you will hear that evening. I cannot think of a more timely and important topic for parents and our school than the information Protect Young Eyes will present to our families. You will receive additional information from your child’s principal as well as in the Maroon and White in the coming days.
  • April 15th is the deadline for families who wish to withdraw for the 2021-22 school year without incurring the 60-day tuition penalty. If you have any questions, please contact Vanessa Mills (vmills@concordcs.org) in the Business Office.
  • A committee of board members, middle school teachers, and administrators have joined me in the search for our new Middle School Principal. To date, we have interviewed 5 candidates via Zoom from a pool of approximately 25 resumes. The next step is to invite 3-4 candidates to campus for in-person interviews. If everything stays on schedule, we hope to announce the new hire in mid to late April.
  • Today is Nicole Henningsen’s last day as CCS’s Security Officer. We would like to thank Nicole for her service over the last two years and pray that she will enjoy great success moving forward as she makes this career change. We have started the process of finding her replacement. During the transition, Josh Pless, FBC Director of Security, and other qualified staff will fill in until her replacement is hired.
  • As we begin to enjoy warmer weather, it is always nice to drive with our windows rolled down to enjoy the fresh air. However, please remind your child(ren) to remain in your vehicle and to not hang out of your vehicle’s windows or sunroofs. This is not only against the law, but it is also unsafe. Due to so much traffic on our campus, our goal is to ensure that everyone is safe at all times.
  • With the assistance of Assistant Athletic Directors Carmen Hochevar and Mike Wilkins, I served in the role as Athletic Director this year while continuing to search for someone to permanently fill this position. We are pleased to announce that Lincoln Thomas has been hired as our new Athletic Director. Carmen and Mike will continue in their roles next year assisting Lincoln. He comes to us with outstanding credentials and has most recently worked at The King’s Academy. Please be on the lookout for additional information in next week’s Maroon and White.

I pray your family has a blessed Easter weekend remembering what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross!

Pressing on Together,
Donald E. Snider, Jr.
Head of School

March 4, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

The topic of financial aid has been discussed at School Board meetings frequently over the last two years and most recently by the School Board Finance Committee. After several meetings, the Finance Committee made recommendations to the School Board for approval. My goal in having the policy reviewed and updated was to ensure that families desiring a Christ-centered education for their child(ren) could afford to do so. I believe the policy that was adopted and approved reflects the mission and vision of CCS to that point.

Approximately 11% of our families receive a percentage of the aid they are qualified to receive, and the average award received by these families is approximately 40% of their tuition cost. Currently, we are working on strategic plans to increase the amount of aid awarded without placing a burden on the budget. You may be interested to learn that leading private schools (Christian and non-Christian) target 10% of the operating budget to financial aid. At present, our budgeted line item is short of that standard; however, my desire is to work towards that 10% mark in the coming years.

The new policy allows for the Financial Aid Committee, which is made up of school leadership members, to award aid that will address specific areas of need on our campus. This allows for the committee to take into account class sizes and makeup, grades, discipline, and extracurricular participation when awarding aid. The policy also allows for the committee to increase the percentage of aid to families where the demonstrated need is identified and the established criteria have been met. All recommendations of the Financial Aid Committee will then be reviewed by the Head of School and Executive Director of FBC to ensure the awards align with the intended purpose of the policy and then reported to the board. I am excited to see how these changes will help to retain and recruit families desiring Christ-centered education to CCS.

Finally, for the last two years, the Parent Satisfaction Survey instrument has been used to collect feedback from parents. The results of this survey are then reported back to CCS leadership in a Net Promoter Score. The average NPS score for educational institutions is 44. CCS has earned an NPR of 51 both years. This is a score I hope to improve on this year. For the survey to be valid, at least 30% participation is needed, and I am happy to report that our school has averaged just over 50% participation both years. As you can imagine, more participation from parents increases the validity of the survey. Please know that your input is valued. Our leadership team reviews the feedback you provide in this survey when making strategic decisions going forward. Would you consider taking a few minutes to take this year’s Parent Satisfaction Survey? By clicking here, you will go directly to the survey. The survey will close at noon on Friday, March 12th. Thank you for your support as we journey together on the road to continuous school improvement.

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

February 26, 2021

Dear Concord Families,

What an exciting week we've had at Concord Christian School! This week, students in 5th through 12th grades participated in Spirit Emphasis Week (SEW). The theme for the week was Be Near. During these three days, our students and teachers prayerfully asked God to fill our hearts with His spirit, and without a doubt, that has happened. Wade Morris, who is no stranger to First Baptist Concord and Concord Christian School, and Jamie Dewald, CCS Pastor, led our students in captivating messages and times of prayer. Students were challenged to live a life that honors Christ and to lead others in a positive way by being a Christ-like example. We are excited that ten students made a decision to follow Christ this week! If you have a student in 5th through 12th grades, take a moment this weekend and ask them about SEW. Who knows what else can be accomplished this week for God's glory through a Gospel conversation with your child! We praise God for honoring our prayer for this week and now ask Him to continue His work on our campus in the coming days and weeks.

If SEW was not enough to get our students and faculty excited about our week, students in kindergarten through 8th grades participated in the Boosterthon Fun Run. It was an enjoyable day with wonderful weather, and the students walked, ran, and danced to raise money for STEM carts. Mrs. Lorna Keaton, CCS Development Director, will announce the total amount raised next week. It was such a delight to have parents back on campus sharing the school day with their children.

Finally, in my last Head of School letter, I mentioned that the School Board Finance Committee has been working with the school administration to update our need-based financial aid policy and procedures. Be on the lookout for a Head of School letter early next week that will outline those changes. I trust your family will have a great weekend and will take time to attend church this Sunday as a family, either virtually or in person.

It's a great day to be a Lion!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

Dear Concord Families,

The start of the second semester has brought with it very cold winter weather. As a result, our leadership team closely monitors impending weather in an attempt to make timely decisions regarding school closures. Please allow me to offer insight into the decision-making process that comes with whether to close or delay school.

In the past, CCS has followed Knox County School’s initial weather-related decisions; however, since Knox County now offers a virtual option for their students when closing or delaying school, we will not always follow their lead at least for the immediate future. When making weather-related decisions, CCS leadership begins a campus operations conversation as soon as we learn of possible inclement weather. One question we strive to answer is whether or not we can safely open campus for everyone. At the same time, these conversations are happening, I am communicating with other private schools in the area regarding their plans. Most of the time, we are all on the same page, but occasionally, we make an independent decision for our campus. Lastly, we strive to learn about road conditions in the local neighborhoods in which the majority of our students live. After we gain as much information as possible, a decision is communicated through our established norms.

You may find there are times when the condition in your family’s neighborhood warrants your family to stay home. If you prefer to keep your child(ren) at home, rest assured that no academic penalty will be assessed to your child(ren). I trust this information offers some insight into how we make the decision to delay or close school.

On another note, I am excited to announce that the CCS Finance Committee has reworked parts of the needs-based financial aid package. I will announce the new guidelines within the next few weeks. The Finance Committee has one more meeting scheduled next week to discuss the last few details of the new guidelines. Our new policies will make our need-based financial aid awards more competitive with other local private schools. The Finance Committee and the School Board have worked diligently to address this area of concern, and I believe we have developed a good path forward.

In closing, I would like to thank those who have sent emails, cards, and text messages expressing your condolences during the death of my father. Your kind words and prayers have been greatly appreciated during this difficult time.

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider, Ed.S
Head of School

January 4, 2021

Happy New Year Concord Families,

I can think of no more challenging time in my professional journey than the semester we have just completed. Overall, I believe our navigation of COVID-19 during the first semester was appropriate and successful. The faculty, staff, and administration maintained flexibility with decisions that allowed for our school to remain open with minimal disruption. In addition, the task force reviewed new information in a timely manner, making recommendations to school and church leadership and the school board regarding best practices involving COVID related issues. Although we did quarantine individual students and classes, the transmission rate from on campus infections was minimal which leads us to believe that the reopening plan and the small adjustments we made along the way worked well.

Please find below a few updates to our plan for the second semester :

We will now follow the MS/HS process for quarantining in the Elementary school. This means that only students, faculty, or staff in close contact with the person who tested positive will quarantine rather than the whole class.
 

Additional seating in the lunchroom has been added to allow for further social distancing. This will allow for minimal contact tracing from the lunchroom environment. The lunchroom is one area that has been especially difficult to contact trace, and this new seating should help limit the students needing to be quarantined as a result of lunch seating patterns.
 

The TSSAA worked with Governor Lee’s office to draft Executive Order 70 in regards to basketball game attendance. This order is in place until January 19th. As a member of TSSAA, CCS athletics will follow the attendance limitations for middle and high school home games until the order expires or is extended.
 

We will continue to mandate that masks are worn during transition times in middle and high school during school hours. In addition, we are encouraging masks to be worn during school hours regardless of the grade level.

As the second semester begins, there are several protocols I need to emphasize that will allow us to quarantine fewer students. If anyone in your household is being tested for COVID (for any reason) you must keep your child(ren) home until those test results come back. I also ask that if your child(ren) or anyone in the household is not feeling well with any two or more COVID symptoms that you keep your child at home. Unfortunately, we have had to quarantine students unnecessarily because these two protocols have not always been followed. Closely adhering to these guidelines will ensure students are not unnecessarily sent home.

The third quarter will bring challenges as the cold and flu season normally spikes during this time frame. We will continue to encourage good hygiene practices, to enhance cleaning in classrooms/common areas, and make decisions that help mitigate risk associated with COVID-19. Your patience and understanding continues to be appreciated, and we covet your prayers as we move forward together.

It’s a great day to be a LION!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

December 3, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

What an exciting Spirit Week we’ve had this week! Both the students and faculty have enjoyed celebrating each daily theme. I would like to express my gratitude to Becky Fraser, SGA, and Mackenzie Snider along with others who have spent countless hours preparing for Spirit Week which ends tomorrow with the big finale - a pep rally and parade. Due to rainy weather, there have been a few changes to the details for the parade and pep rally which you will find below. I look forward to seeing parents on campus tomorrow as we show our school spirit!

  • Due to rainy weather, the parade will now be indoors. The parade viewing area for parents is the Student Lobby. Parents may begin entering the building at 1:15 pm and should use the Student Lobby doors to enter and exit. The parade will begin in the Student Lobby at 1:30 pm. Parents are asked to wear masks while inside the building.
     
  • In order to observe proper COVID-19 zoning practices, the pep rally is now only for high school students and any parents who would like to attend, and it will be held in the main student gym. Parents will have a separate seating area from the students.
     
  • Elementary, middle, and high school students will view the parade within their various zones throughout the buildings. After the parade, elementary and middle school students will return to class. Parents of elementary or middle school students should use the normal carline procedures when picking up their child(ren).
     
  • The following food trucks will be on campus and will have items available for purchase beginning at 6:30 pm:
    • The  Forks on the Road
    • Knox Vittles
    • Knox Dough
      ​​​​​​​
  • The schedule for the basketball games and Homecoming Court presentation is as follows:
    • Middle School Varsity Girls basketball game (vs. Hardin Valley) starts at 4:00 pm
    • High School Varsity Boys basketball game (vs. the Ambassadors) starts at 6:00 pm
    • Homecoming Court Presentation starts at 7:00 pm
    • High School Varsity Girls basketball game (vs. Ambassadors) starts at 7:30 pm
      ​​​​​​​
  • The Homecoming Reveal Party for high school students will be from 6 pm-10 pm in the Student Lobby area. Please remember that masks are required.

Go Lions!

Donald Snider
Head of School

November 24, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

With all the turmoil occurring around us, it would be easy to forget to give thanks for all Christ has done for us. As we enter the holiday season, may we be reminded of 1 Thessalonians 6:16-18. This past Sunday, Pastor John Mark Harrison talked about these verses in his sermon. He reminded us to rejoice and be glad (vs.16), pray without ceasing (vs. 17), and to give thanks in all things (vs. 18). If you are struggling with the circumstances surrounding 2020, I encourage you to watch last Sunday's message entitled "God's Will in Uncertain Times (https://fbconcord.org). I am confident this message will lift your spirit and point you back to the One who can and will restore your soul. It certainly was a timely reminder for me.

Finally, please allow me to provide clarification regarding how the taskforce and leadership team handle positive COVID cases and mandatory reporting. The CCS task force continuously researches the most current information regarding schools and the ongoing epidemic. The task force is in regular contact with our liaison at the Knox County Health Department who oversees communication to all private schools. This past week, the task force has received several questions from our parents in regards to the quarantining of our high school students, our consistency in contact tracing, and how decisions are made on who to quarantine. In the process of contact tracing, the task force uses video footage, seating charts, and interviews. They work diligently to ensure that only those students who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 continuous minutes) to a positive case are quarantined. It is a tedious process, especially on the weekends, but our task force chair has worked diligently to expedite this process each time quarantine is necessary.

The task force has learned that data is interpreted differently by family doctors, the health provider where someone is tested for COVID, other KCHD employees, or health department employees in the county. I do understand that these diverse interpretations from various health providers can lead to some confusion; however, I would like to reiterate that the information that the task force receives comes from one person at the KCHD allowing for a consistent message to our families. In addition, our leadership team has direct communication with leading physicians in the area to gain feedback on how to proceed with our COVID plan. I hope this helps to explain the process our task force and leadership team undertake with each positive COVID case in our school.

Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family!
"It's a great day to be a LION!"

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

November 13, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

As we draw closer to Thanksgiving, I would like to take a moment to thank God for his blessings upon our school and upon each family. The Bible reminds us in 1 Chronicle 16:34 to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” Let us keep this in mind as we go throughout the upcoming days.

Next week is an exciting time for our students as they celebrate spirit week and end the week with a spirit day parade on Friday. Outdoor viewing areas are designated for students and parents to watch the parade. We look forward to welcoming parents to campus for this event; however, please remember to social distance and wear a mask. Information regarding the homecoming parade can be found on our website and in recent editions of Maroon and White.  

There are a couple of important COVID-19 updates in which I would like to remind you of. As always, we ask families to please keep your child home if he/she is sick or not feeling well. In addition, please note that if someone in your household is awaiting COVID test results, members of the household must stay off campus until the results have been received.

I would like to provide an update on a change with our standardized tests. Since 2013, CCS has used the Terra Nova achievement tests for grades 3rd-8th. Recently, ACSI, our accrediting agency, has stopped offering the Terra Nova test. For the past year, Linda Reedy, our Academic Dean, has researched different tests, spoken with other schools, and sought information from educational consultants to inform our decision making process regarding which standardized test to use. After much discussion, the leadership team has decided to administer the Stanford 10 achievement test beginning this spring. CCS used the Stanford 10 for several years before switching to the Terra Nova, so this will not be a new test for our school. Stanford 10 revised their norms in February 2019 and is far more current with present-day standards. The testing style is very similar to the Terra Nova, so students should have no issues with the new test. I believe this will be a seamless transition in pursuant of academic excellence on behalf of our students.

Remember, “It’s a great day to be a LION!”

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School

October 30, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

It has been two weeks since fall break, and I believe we have weathered any possible COVID surge from fall break travel with very limited disruption. I again thank everyone for partnering with us to keep school open and moving forward by taking every precaution possible as well as keeping your child home if they are not feeling well. Several weeks ago, I mentioned considering a flu shot this year for your child(ren). I would like to remind you again of how the symptoms from COVID and the flu mimic one another, so receiving the flu shot may be more beneficial this season. Thank you for considering this request.

In addition, I do have several policy revisions I would like to bring to your attention. First of all, CCS and CCP have used very vague wording in written materials regarding vaccines. Last month, I asked the board to review wording that is in actuality our standard of practice and state law. We simply did not have consistent wording in our handbooks. At the board meeting Monday night, the board approved the recommendation from the Adhoc committee proposed by CCS and CCP leadership. The consistent wording is now in our handbook in the general policy section. The new policy states the following:

Concord Christian School, Concord Christian Preschool, and KidzConnect follow the Tennessee Department of Health guideline for admission into child-care, preschool, and grades K-12, including required boosters for kindergarten and 7th grade students. Accordingly, a completed and up-to-date Certificate of Immunization must be on file for each student before he/she can begin any of these programs. The list of vaccinations can be found at the following website www.tn.gov. CCS, CCP, and KidzConnect allow for medical and/or religious exemptions.

Exemptions Medical – The physician (MD, DO) or Department of Public Health nurse authorized to indicate specific vaccines medically exempted (because of risk of harm) should make a note on the form. All other vaccines remain required. The medical reason for the exemption does not need to be provided.

Religious – The exemption requires a signed statement by the parent/guardian that vaccination conflicts with their religious tenets or practices. If the child needs documentation of a health examination for the school, the health care provider should provide the exemption on the immunization certificate. In that case, the provider should check the box that the parent has sought a religious exemption to explain why the exemption information is absent or incomplete.

Secondly, we will now allow a student to live stream for absences lasting 10 consecutive school days or more. One example of this type of allowance would be a scheduled surgery and the extended at home recovery time. The parent will need to provide documentation from the physician to have this request approved. This amendment to our live stream policy goes into effect Tuesday, November 2.

Finally, remember there is no school on Monday because of a scheduled staff in-service day. I hope you will enjoy the long weekend with your family. Take a moment today to read Psalm 84 as I believe it will be a great source of inspiration to you.

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider, Ed.S
Head of School

October 9, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

I am thrilled that we have completed our first nine weeks of the school year and are heading into fall break. Through the cooperation of our parents, students, and faculty/staff, the plan that was put into place at the beginning of the year has allowed for CCS and CCP to conduct school with very little interruption. This is certainly a testimony to the Concord community and everyone's willingness to partner together.

As the year continues, I do anticipate small revisions to our plan as new information emerges and as the cold and flu season progresses. Fall allergies and flu season may present us with some challenges since both illnesses mimic Covid-19 symptoms. Getting a flu shot is one action that will help as we continue to navigate Covid-19. If your child normally receives a flu shot, please consider getting the shot sooner than later this year. For those families who do not follow the practice of getting a flu shot every year, I am asking you to consider getting one for your child this year. I understand some parents are opposed to the flu shot, and I respect that decision. We continue to look for every way possible to mitigate risk in our building, and flu shots may help us do that over the next few months.

Recently, I have received a few inquiries regarding unused Concord Cafe gift cards. If you have a gift card that still has a balance on it, you can turn it in to receive a credit on your child’s lunch account. Please make sure your name and your child’s name are clearly labeled on the gift card and then turn the cards in at the elementary or high school front offices.


I trust everyone will enjoy fall break and make every effort to stay healthy.
Remember, “It’s a great day to be a LION!”

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School
 

September 4, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

Please take a moment to read through these reminders as we head into the Labor Day weekend. First of all, the school will not offer the flu shot on campus this year due to COVID-19 regulations. I apologize for this inconvenience, and I hope that the school will be able to offer the shots on-campus next school year.

The Storehouse will open next week on the following days:

  • Wednesday, September 9 from 8:30am to 9:30am
  • Thursday, September 10 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
  • Friday, September 11 from 8:30am to 10am and 1:00pm to 2:30pm


During these hours, families will have the opportunity to pre-order short-sleeved and long-sleeved spirit wear, sweatshirts, half zipped long-sleeved shirts, quarter zipped long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies. Right now, the Storehouse only has limited hours; however, I hope to offer families a way to order Storehouse items online soon. Other ways to order CCS items online include ordering through Educational Outfitters and Lands’ End. If you have any Storehouse questions, please email Storehouse@concordcs.org.

There are 6 late start days scheduled for this school year. I am very excited about this extended time of professional development for our faculty. The first late start is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, 2020.  School will start at 10:00 am with drop-off beginning at 9:30 am. For working parents who cannot bring their child(ren) to school at the later time on late start days, childcare will be provided at no cost and drop-off will begin at 7:30 am. In order to be prepared with the proper number of childcare workers needed on late start days, C   CS Administration is asking that you please take a moment to complete this brief survey. Click here to take the survey. Only 1 response is needed per family.

Finally, I would like to thank you and your family for your willingness to adapt to the Level 2 precautions currently in place. The ongoing communication with the task force allows us to mitigate risk to keep our students and faculty as safe as possible. I truly believe that the manner in which the CCS community has handled the opening of school is a testimony to the Knoxville community. I was recently reading Psalm 16 for a daily devotional. This passage is a great inspiration for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus. Take a few minutes this Labor Day weekend to spend some time reading through the Psalms. I promise your spirit will be encouraged.

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School
 

August 21,2020

Good Afternoon Concord Families,

Thank you to those who took the time to pray for our campus and other local school campuses last Wednesday. Whether your family visited our campus or prayed from a remote location, I am confident our God the Father was pleased with our commitment to ask for His blessings on this school year. We continue to covet your prayer support as we endeavor to accomplish Kingdom Education in the lives of our students. Our aim is to prepare them well not only for this life but for eternity.

With COVID precautions in place, the first 7 days of school have been filled with normal day-to-day activities. One can sense the excitement in the hallways as the faculty, staff, and students work hard to pick up where we left off last spring. This week, 4th-8th grade teachers administered standardized tests to their students to measure math, language, and reading skills. The tests will be scored in-house and necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum so that our teachers can reteach any concepts students may have missed from the spring semester.

Several families have inquired about the upcoming plans for the Storehouse. Until we open the building to visitors, the Storehouse will only be open for special ordering events. Currently, we are waiting for spirit wear samples to arrive, as well as the second shipment of masks and gaiters. In addition, Under Armour and Puma polos will be made available for ordering at the next Storehouse event. We will announce the details for when you can come on campus to place an order for these items soon. We are in the midst of creating an on-line ordering link for your convenience which will be made available in the coming days. For all Storehouse inquiries, please email Storehouse@concordcs.org.

As you already know, it will take all of us working together to ensure that all the possible precautions are in place to mitigate risk. One of our first lines of defense is for children to stay home if they are not feeling well or are exhibiting symptoms that have been mentioned in our COVID updates. With the flu already showing up this year and sinus infections on the rise, I am asking that everyone be more aware of seasonal sickness at this time to help us mitigate the risk on campus.

I appreciate the kind words many of our families have expressed regarding our efforts to open school using a common sense plan. The COVID taskforce is working diligently to communicate consistent messaging while staying updated on the current COVID information which is released daily. Please be patient if the task force does not respond to an email right away because occasionally the task force must consult with our leadership team before answering. I am very pleased with the overall effectiveness of the task force and their willingness to tackle a never ending mountain of information. I trust your family will have a wonderful weekend!

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School
 

August 3, 2020

Dear Concord Families,

I hope this letter finds you well rested for the week ahead and preparing to come back to school in just a few days. I apologize in advance for the length of today’s letter; however, it includes important back to school information.

COVID-19 Update: We continue to monitor information from local, state, and national agencies regarding COVID-19, as well as, educational sources reporting and recommending best practices on COVID related issues. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to make decisions in this ever-changing environment causing our leadership team to stay in constant contact with other schools and educational professionals on a regular basis. Due to the constant changes in recommendations, our leadership team may need to adjust our reopening plans from time to time. To date our approach is working well in Preschool and KidzConnect with approximately 450 faculty, staff and kids in attendance every day this summer.

Ionogen Misters Update: Thank you to those who responded to our Ionogen survey. A majority of the families who responded were in favor of both the product and the fee. However, leadership heard concerns from parents regarding the use of the misters in the classroom with children present as well as the cost of the product. It is important to note that most of the concern centered around students with respiratory issues. For the time being, it has been decided that the Ionogen misters will not be turned on during the school day while students are present. We will continue to research the concerns that were voiced. Additionally, the company is conducting research to prove this 
product as a killer of COVID droplets in the air. When and if this is proven as a safe and effective killer of the virus in the air, I will reapproach this topic with the school board. The World Health Organization does recognize the makeup of Ionogen’s non-toxic formula as safe and effective to kill COVID and other viruses on surfaces. With that in mind, our janitorial staff will use the misters outside of school hours to complement the normal cleaning procedures. Parents will not be charged any extra fees due to the shortened period of use.

The Use of Web Cameras: On Tuesday, Governor Lee provided additional recommendations to schools along with his decision to give local health departments the authority to make local decisions. Because of this, our leadership team has decided to add an extra layer of instructional delivery in case a student receives a quarantine order from the doctor, the health department, or in case a family decides to self-quarantine because of possible exposure/COVID-like symptoms. When teachers return to school this week, they will receive training on how to use a web camera to deliver live classroom instruction for core classes to students at home. Please note that this is not on-line learning or distance learning but the use of web cameras to provide a live feed into the classroom. Additional details will be provided about this process after our faculty training during preplanning; however, I envision the web cameras would be introduced in the following scenarios.

  • A student was exposed to COVID off campus and now needs to self-isolate at home.
     
  • An elementary student tests positive which could possibly mean the whole class would need to self-isolate given the situation and current guidance. The teacher would then be able to provide live instruction via a web camera.
     
  • A middle or high student tests positive in a specific zone/school, forcing a number of students to quarantine. These students are now able to live stream into their classes and continue their academic progress.
     
  • If we reached a point where staggered days of learning became necessary, this technology allows teachers to stay on schedule with content and pacing as those at home for the day can simply live stream into their classes

Storehouse Update: One of Stephanie Mason’s areas of responsibility was the Storehouse. I immediately began reaching out to a few individuals that could run the Storehouse for CCS once Stephanie moved to Texas; however, COVID has changed our Storehouse plans. With visitors limited in the building for the foreseeable future, it simply does not make financial sense to order large inventories that will sit idle for an unknown period of time. There are several options that parents have to purchase uniforms. First, parents can order online through Land’s End or 
Educational Outfitters. Secondly, parents who prefer to have their child(ren) try on specific name brand shirts (i.e. Under Armor) can do so in the coming days. We are awaiting the delivery of sample sizes which will hopefully arrive this week. Parents will be notified when the samples have arrived and will be given instructions on how students can try on and pay for the shirts. At that time, an order will be made, and shirts will be delivered and distributed in what we believe will be a 10-14 day turn around. We will operate with this approach until we are ready to reopen the Storehouse to foot traffic again. My plans are to offer several opportunities to purchase polos, t-shirts, gaiters and masks during the fall. I will announce when these items can be ordered as soon as the samples have arrived. We are researching additional online store options that we can hopefully introduce later in the fall.

Masks/Gaiters Update: It is important to note that while leadership has not mandated gaiters/masks in the classroom, Governor Lee’s recent announcement of a 10-14 day quarantine is expected to be enforced by the Knox County Health Department. This means that if your child was within close proximity to someone for more than 10 minutes without a face covering, and that person tests positive, your child may also be asked to quarantine. While we cannot guarantee that the Knox County Health Department will follow this line of thinking, all indications are that they will. We understand that there are health reasons that would prevent some students from wearing a face covering; however, given this new guidance, we are asking all K-12 students who are able to consider wearing a face covering in the classroom to elevate this possible scenario.

As mentioned in the Maroon & White this past Friday, leadership has expanded the color of masks students are allowed to wear in response to feedback. Concord prefers that masks/gaiters be in school colors but is no longer requiring that. Masks/gaiters may be any one solid color without pattern or graphic. Students are also able to wear our Concord mask/gaiter which should arrive shortly for purchase. If you have questions about face coverings, please email taskforce@concordcs.org.

Late Starts: Before COVID interrupted school, parents were surveyed regarding the introduction of late starts into our school calendar. The majority of parents were in favor of such a change, understanding that thispractice allows for parents to schedule appointments and for faculty/staff to participate in professional development and faculty meetings. Most private schools and several public schools in this area have been doing this successfully for years and I expect the same outcome at Concord.

There are 6 late starts scheduled for the year. Three in the fall and three in the spring. Please note that late starts are scheduled to start in September. For working parents who cannot bring their child(ren) to school at the later time on late start days,  childcare will be provided at no cost. School will start at 10:00 am with drop off beginning at 9:30 am or 7:30 am for households needing the childcare option. Please see the school calendar for the specific late start days.

Welcome to Our New Faculty: Last, but certainly not least, I would like to welcome the following faculty members to Concord. These teachers are Godly individuals who are well-prepared and look forward to serving your children.

Amberlee DeLaney is teaching 2nd grade. She is a graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education (K-5).

Murcedes Gunsallus is teaching 3rd grade. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development.

Jennifer Keck is teaching 4th grade. She is a graduate of Bryan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

Lindsey Smith is teaching 5th grade. She is a graduate of Carson-Newman University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.

Melody Stooksbury is filling in for Mrs. Keely Brock during her maternity leave. Mrs. Stooksbury is a certified teacher who graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She has 13 years of experience in the classroom.

Gina Anderson is teaching Middle School Science for 6th and 7th grades. She is a graduate of Regent University with a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Lee University.

Anna Hawkins is teaching Middle School Chorus and High School Latin. She is a graduate of Bryan College with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Church Music and Christian Education. She is currently working towards a Masters Degree in Language Studies.

Angela Thaller taught 5th grade for CCS for many years; however, now she will lead our Academic Support Program. She is a graduate of Wisconsin University with a double major in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

Rebecca VanDeMark is teaching High School Government, Economics and Personal Finance. She has a Bachelor's Degree from Cedarville University and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Regent University School of Government.

Chris Hawkins is teaching High School Apologetics and New Testament. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bryan College and a Masters of Arts Degree in Theological Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mary Terry will be teaching High School English. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of Tennessee.

Hannah Krueger is currently working towards a degree. She will be teaching photography part time.

Lea Ann Voiles is our new High School Guidance Counselor. She has a Master of Arts Degree in  School Counseling from Carson-Newman University and is certified in counseling by the state of Tennessee.Mrs. Voiles has 18 years of experience as a Guidance Counselor.

We welcome new and returning teachers back to campus this week and covet your prayers as we begin the journey for the new school year. Prayer is the key to everything we do at Concord understanding that prayer is our source of strength. In addition, prayer pleases the Father and activates His will to be done in our lives and our school. Please join me in agreeing that 2020-2021 will be our best yet as we celebrate Concord’s 25th year of existence. Take a moment to read Psalm 27: 7-14 today regarding prayer.

Pressing on Together,
Donald Snider
Head of School