SAQs (Should-Ask Questions)
Certainly you’re familiar with the term “FAQs” (Frequently Asked Questions), but have you heard of SAQs? SAQs are “Should-Ask Questions.” What questions should you ask when searching for the perfect school for your child? Try these:
- “How can you make this education affordable for me?” Instead of asking how much it costs and writing off a high-ticket education, ask instead how it can be made affordable. Some schools are free… and you get what you pay for. Some educations cost as much as a new car, and they expect you to pay every penny. But some schools, like ours, provide an excellent education that, while expensive, works with every single budget to make it affordable for anyone.
- “Are your graduates prepared for college and career?” Don’t merely ask about graduation rates and GPAs. Those are deceptive. Rather, find out if graduates are prepared for life after high school. At LCS, we don’t try to make ourselves look good by handing out as many A grades as possible. Instead, we teach our students what is needed to succeed beyond high school.
- “Can you help my child catch up or move ahead?” If your child is in elementary school, you’ll want to know how to either bring your child to grade level or how to help them excel farther. We have documented proof that we have been able to close academic gaps for students who come to us already behind, and many of those who are on grade level are propelling ahead!
- “How invested is your staff?” It’s likely that at any school, the teachers will have experience and talent, as ours do. But beyond that, you’ll want to know if the staff is invested in their jobs and if they truly care for their students. Most of our staff attend our church and serve in some way, like AWANA or youth group. This means they choose to not only teach their students throughout the weekdays, but also choose to spend additional time with them some nights, teaching them even more important spiritual truths. Our staff cares not just about each student’s education, but more importantly, their soul.
- “Will my child be safe?” There’s no way to guarantee with 100% certainty the safety of anyone. But you’ll want to know if your child will be both physically and emotionally safe, to the best of the school’s ability. At LCS, we do not tolerate bullying, either in school or online between our students. Teachers strive to stay aware of social interactions and the climate of their classrooms in order to keep their students safe.
These five questions will give you a good indication of a school’s heart, and whether or not they’d be a good fit for your child. We encourage you to schedule a personal tour with Lakeside Christian School today and ask these very questions!
“The Best Education”
“I highly recommend LCS to anyone who wants the best education for their child.”
This is a real quote from a real parent of a student at Lakeside Christian School. Is this something you can say about your child’s school? If not, we’d love it if you checked out LCS.
Here are some things you’ll find at LCS:
- We offer an incredible education: we’re closing academic gaps and propelling students ahead in both reading and math, starting in kindergarten!
- Our environment is safe, secure, and close-knit. We take great care to protect our students and create a place in which they feel comfortable and ready to learn.
- A Biblical worldview is our backbone. More than anything, we want our students to know Christ.
- It’s affordable. Yes, we’re a private Christian school. Yes, we offer a top-notch education. Yes, we have a close-knit, safe environment. But we also work with every family’s budget in order to make LCS affordable!
Call us today and come for a visit! We’d love to meet you.
Why Enroll in a Christian School?
ACSI commissioned The Barna Group to do a nation-wide large scale study regarding why parents enroll their children in Christian schools. These were their top six reasons and things they looked for:
1) safe environment
2) teachers who care
3) academic excellence
4) accessible staff
5) intentional about developing character
Lakeside Christian School meets all six of these, and then some. Let’s look a little closer:
1) LCS has worked hard to make the building safe and secure, to build a safety plan, and to fight bullying.
2) Our teachers are among the best, brightest, and most loving you will find. They see their work as a calling rather than a job, and their students as their reason for doing what they do.
3) At LCS, we used best practice instruction and tested curriculum to build an academic program that not only pulls students up to grade level, put also accelerates many beyond grade level. Students are frequently evaluated in order to give them the kind of education they need.
4) Our teachers not only care, but are easily accessible via email and scheduled meetings. They are happy to communicate with both parents and teachers whenever is desired.
5) LCS’s number one goal is to show the love and character of Christ to our students, that they may know Jesus Christ as their Savior and grow to be more like Him.
6) Unlike many private Christian schools, LCS strives to be affordable for all household incomes. We will work with every family to make LCS affordable for you.
When your options are public schools, expensive private schools, and public charter schools, why wouldn’t you check out LCS? Call us today and schedule a tour.
Online Schooling < LCS
There are a number of options from which each family can choose the school that will best meet their needs:
We’ve already discussed the perils of Florida public schools, the expense of private schools, and the cons of charter schools. If you missed those posts, check them out here. Home school is great, if parents feel up to the challenge. This leaves online school.
Whether from home or another location, whether one student or a handful, online school is where students complete their education in front of a computer screen. For some, they consider this ideal. They can home school without learning how to teach the material to their child. But online schooling is simply not a good option if you hope your child will become college and career ready by the end of their time in high school.
Jason Burns wrote an article for Michigan State University last November. This article outlines a Stanford study that determined online schools to be ineffective. He writes, “According to this report, the academic growth of students who attend “online charter schools,” where a majority of instruction takes place over the internet, falls far behind the growth of students who receive their education in traditional settings.”
The article details the fact that students who attend online schools are often an ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR behind in math, and about HALF A SCHOOL YEAR behind in reading. These facts cannot be shrugged off. How will your child be college prepared when they may be an entire year behind their peers?
This is just one article of many that highlights the ineffectiveness of online schools. Think carefully about your child’s education. Convenience and low price might be appealing, but in the end is like buying a cheap, old car. This car might look like it will do what you need for much less than other cars. Yet if it doesn’t get you where you need to go, it’s worthless, and a waste of money. In that way, your child’s education needs to get them where they want to go. An online education won’t do that.
We encourage you to take a look at Lakeside Christian School. Unlike public schools, we have high-quality academics. Unlike other private schools, we can make it affordable for you. Unlike charter schools, we have control over what we teach and how money is spent. Unlike online schools, we use best practice teaching. Unlike home school, we offer the complete school experience- including sports, fine arts, and chapel.
Your child’s education is of utmost importance. Call today to set up a tour of Lakeside Christian School, and let us show you how we are different.
To read more about the failure of online schools, read the original quoted article here.
Stuck Like Glue
Parents are happy with what we are doing at Lakeside Christian School.
How do we know this? We have an over 90% retention rate. Perhaps it’s purely academic: we are closing learning gaps among our elementary students. This means we are bringing most of those who were behind, up to and above grade level. Or it’s our desire to prepare all students for college and career, starting LONG before high school begins. Maybe it’s the fact that we teach each class and every subject from a biblical worldview. Or it could be the environment- safe and secure, with loving staff and a family feel. It could be any number of things, like our athletics or drama program, for example. But we believe it’s most likely the unique combination of all these things that makes Lakeside Christian School such a special place.
Schedule a tour today to find out what’s different about Lakeside Christian School, and why our families don’t just attend; they stick around.
Can You Afford a Private Christian Education For Your Child?
The primary reason parents do not place their children in private school is the sticker shock. Most parents will scoff at the price and never take another step in that direction, for fear that it is completely unattainable.
At some schools, that may be the case. Not at Lakeside Christian School.
Take a look at this checklist. If you can check off most of these things, you should look into LCS:
- You live in the greater Clearwater area.
- You desire an excellent education for your child.
- You either need your child to catch up to grade level or need to see how far ahead you can encourage your child.
- You are looking for a safe and secure learning environment.
- You want qualified educators using best practice instruction in your child’s classroom.
- You desire (or at the very least aren’t opposed to) your child’s classes taught from a biblical worldview.
Obviously a private Christian education such as this will be more expensive than public school or charter school. But like most things, you get what you pay for. It is absolutely worth it to invest in a private education for your child.
You really should see it as an investment. When you invest in an education like the one your child could receive at LCS, it will pay off with a child who graduates ready for college and career with a wealth of knowledge and, Lord willing, a solid biblical backbone to prepare them for real life.
But what if it’s an investment you just can’t afford?
Then you haven’t spoken with LCS yet.
Here are some quick details:
- FACTS financial aid provides us with detailed information that helps LCS offer a scholarship that reduces our regular tuition.
- Step Up for Students scholarships provides massive assistance. At this point in the year, they have closed new applications, but we can offer tuition that works for the year, then you can apply for Step Up for Students next year.
- At LCS, we are able to meet individual needs 9 out of 10 times, and make tuition work for each family.
A private education is well within your reach when you consider Lakeside Christian School. You don’t have to settle for less than the best when it comes to your child’s education.
Call Lakeside Christian School today to schedule a free tour!
LCS Fine Arts Quick Facts
Perhaps you’ve heard about Lakeside Christian School’s academic program, safe environment, and biblical backbone. You may have even read the quick facts about our athletics. But how much do you know about our fine arts program? Read about it below, in ten quick facts!
1) After years of success in the early 2000’s, followed by a hiatus, the LCS chorus returned three years ago. In those three years, the group has grown from 7 to 18 students and has received an Excellence award at the ACSI chorus festival each of the past three years.
2) The LCS Drama department produces three productions each year including a set of student-directed plays, a fall play and a spring play. Currently, 31 students participate in high school drama and are working on a spring musical: “Bridge to Terabithia.”
3) Visual Technology allows students to learn how to film, edit, and produce videos on Apple iPads. Students have created commercials, music videos, and a variety of other video projects.
4) LCS Alumna Beca Donovan (2012) is currently working on a number of different acting projects. Most recently she starred in the short film “Don’t Look Away.” She was nominated “for best actress in a short film” for the International Christian Film Festival.
5) The drama department performed Shakespeare for the first time last Spring with their performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The play was a huge success and performed to nearly a sold out run of performances.
6) LCS elementary students have been learning the elements of music throughout their years in elementary. Students are learning music elements according to the Florida Music Educators Association standards.
7) Lakeside has offered studio art in the past. In the stairwell at the school, there is a mural that was created by the art class. This is a large-scale reproduction of a smaller painting, painted by a former student who passed away suddenly in 2014. The mural was painted in her honor.
8) The drama class at Lakeside took a trip last summer to New York City to experience theater on Broadway. Students took in two shows, saw all the sights, and participated in a workshop with Broadway actors. Some of our students were even seen in the audience on “The Today Show!”
9) Each year, the elementary students perform two large programs for their parents. This involves memorizing lines, motions, and songs to be performed at Lakeside Community Chapel, on the large stage.
10) LCS offers the opportunity for those who play guitar, piano, bass, or sing, as well as show a relationship with Jesus Christ, an opportunity to help lead worship during our weekly chapels. These musicians are chosen from the student body and are in charge of the music for each week of chapel.
If you’d like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, please check out the rest of our website and book a free tour today!
Thanks to our Chorus and Drama teacher, Dan Thayer, for the information!
Nothing defines a school as much as worldview. Worldview is essentially the lens through which one views the world. It is from this worldview that all decisions are made, and it is behind every purpose and action.
At Lakeside Christian School, while we place tremendous importance on academics and preparing each student for college, we place greater value on the principles on which we base our worldview: God’s inspired Word as found in the Bible.
Here are just some of the beliefs that shape our worldview at Lakeside Christian School:
- Each student has value: Each person is made in God’s image and therefore has value. God has created each person individually, with strengths and weaknesses unique to them. At Lakeside Christian School, we strive to amplify strengths and improve weaknesses (Eph. 2:10, Gen. 1:27)
- Each student is in need of the Savior: Everyone is born a sinner and desperately in need of a Savior. God is Holy and Just, demanding that all who sin pay the ultimate penalty. Our sin is a spiritual crime against God’s Holy law which requires our absolute perfection to it’s standards. But God offers us forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute in our place to pay the price for our sins, a cost beyond our ability to pay. That’s the gospel, and we want each of our students to understand it and trust that through the perfect sinless life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has provided a way for all to receive eternal life. We daily pray that many of our students would turn to Jesus for everlasting life (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, 1 Cor. 15:3, Eph. 2:8-9).
- It is our responsibility to teach and train our students: God’s Word is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. We strive to use the Word as the foundation of all of our teaching (2 Tim. 3:16. Deut. 11:19).
- We must always do our best: God has created us with massive potential and has a plan for each person. We must not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9,2 Tim. 2:15).
- We do all we do for the glory of God: We love because He first loved us, and we strive for excellence that He might be honored (1 Cor. 10:31, 1 John 4:19, John 3:30).
Because of our worldview, science is taught from the understanding that God created the world in six literal days. Math is taught with the knowledge that God is orderly and has created his world to be orderly. Language Arts is taught with an understanding that God gave use the ability to communicate so that we could communicate His love to others. History is taught with the realization that there is nothing new under the sun, and man will follow the same patterns again and again. While many points of view are taught, we emphasize that the biblical view is truth.
In a world where so few believe in absolute truth, we provide an anchor for our students: the truth of the Word of God.
Whether or not you believe in the Word of God, you can trust that a worldview anchored in God’s Word will ensure that we treat your child with respect, teach them with love, and strive for excellence. If you’d like to read more about our worldview, read our statement of faith, philosophy of education, and value & mission statement here. Call Lakeside Christian School today to schedule your free tour and find out more about what we believe!
We’re nearing the end of our list of things on which Lakeside Christian School focuses in order to prepare our students for college. At this time, we’ll focus on our complementary technology. Every school has some variety of technology, and some will claim theirs is cutting edge. But cutting edge and expense do not automatically prepare students for college. If this were true, every student with the newest, most expensive tablet would be adequately prepared for college or career. These are the ways in which LCS is preparing students using technology:
- Interactive-Adaptive (IA) software: we use PEG, Ascend, and Mindplay to both close academic gaps and propel students ahead in writing, reading, and math. All three are technology that supports mastery learning. Cali Swango of Destination Knowledge has this to say about Lakeside Christian School’s use of this software:”Lakeside Christian has become a model site for implementing two of the most powerful programs I support in Florida; Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach and Ascend Math. Both programs are utilized in dedicated computer labs, with knowledgeable lab managers, which over time have become experts on both programs. The resources and time devoted by both school administration and the team that supports these implementations, have driven exceptional results in both reading and math gains for the students at Lakeside. I’d like to give you some information about each program and the results experienced by the students and educational team at Lakeside Christian. Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach improves students’ reading performance by assessing reading abilities, developing an individual student syllabus, differentiating instruction, and providing mastery-based activities to address reading gaps in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Grammar & Meaning, Vocabulary and Fluency & Comprehension. MVRC is effective with students of all ages and in disparate categories, including: English Language Learners, bilingual education, and special education. MVRC is an ideal intervention for students reading significantly below grade level, as well as those students who are just beginning to develop reading skills. MVRC instruction is based on each student’s diagnostic testing, creating an individualized study path for each student. The diagnostic tests, progress monitoring results, and student performance results determine lesson assignment and automatically adapt the intensity of the intervention. What the student needs is what the student automatically gets! Lakeside Christian’s Model– Mindplay VRC was implemented at Lakeside in February of 2013. At the beginning of each school year, each student at Lakeside undergoes a comprehensive reading assessment, to determine who is in danger of reading failure. Students in need of intensive reading intervention are assigned dedicated time on Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach each day. The intervention lab manger reviews data daily to determine if additional one on one support is needed, using supplemental activities that enrich the effectiveness of this powerful reading intervention. To-date this school year, the effect of this powerful model has resulted in a 30% reduction in critical students reading 2 or more years below grade level, and a 20% rise in students meeting or exceeding their end of year reading goal for their current grade level, within the identified at-risk population of readers.Ascend Math is an award winning Kindergarten through Algebra I Math Intervention Program, which combines continuous assessment, automated differentiated instruction and video tutorials to quickly and efficiently fill in students’ math skill gaps. To do so, Ascend Math uses multiple modalities of instruction including offline worksheets, simulations, videos and practice problems. Students begin by taking a Level Recommendation Test, which places each student at his or her lowest level where skill gaps exist. Then through a series of pre-assessments, students test out of known material and are only assigned content they individually need. As students become more proficient in their math skills, they are automatically moved up through each grade level of math content, ultimately reaching or exceeding their grade level goals. Ascend is appropriate for all learners, including special education students and English Language Learners.
Lakeside Christian’s Model- Ascend Math was first implemented at Lakeside in August of 2012. At that time Ascend was only being used with select students who needed math intervention. The implementation of Ascend expanded after a year to include ALL students who are enrolled at Lakeside Christian. Students spend a minimum of 2 hours each week in the dedicated Ascend Math computer lab, with struggling students receiving an additional 1.5 hours of remediation. Student use is supported by upper and lower school lab managers, who work with students one on one as needed, and monitor reports and student progress daily. This strong implementation has resulted in profound gains for the students at Lakeside, with many now working on content multiple grade levels above their actual grade level. So far this school year, 70% of the students at Lakeside Christian have mastered a full grade level of math content, with 20% of students mastering 2 or more grade levels to-date. In previous school years, students have mastered up to 6 years of math content in a single year. Due to gains like this Lakeside Christian has been named an Ascend Math Model site for 3 years running, and has been a runner up for the national Ascend Math Gold Medal for superior implementation and gains.”
- Interactive teacher- student management system: we use Moodle. This system allows teachers to set up quizzes, tests, projects, forums, and post information in one spot, and for students to access this information and respond. Some of our teachers weigh in on the usefulness of this system:
“Moodle is a tool that helps our students prepare for college because there is a push in higher education to put more instruction online. At Lakeside we use Moodle to prepare students for this type of learning by providing them a resource to acclimate them with the technology. Our students benefit from being prepared for college and ready to deal with a collaborative learning environment.”
“I use Moodle to help my students know when homework is due…I make sure that all of my lessons are posted on Moodle and try to ensure that my completed lessons are also on Moodle so that if students are gone from class, they can make up their notes from what we’ve done in class. I also post homework answers on Moodle so students can check their work. These things help prepare students for college by giving them opportunities to take charge of their learning. Students must take the initiative to go to Moodle to print out notes if it will help them learn. They must also take the initiative to check their work to make sure they are completing homework correctly. Ensuring that students are taking ownership of their learning is imperative to student success.”
“I use Moodle for posting class resources, weekly homework assignments, and assessments. Moodle is helpful to hold the students accountable for their work, putting the responsibility on them for: turning work in on time or making it up (time stamped), seeing assessment results immediately, and locating study materials. It creates a “no excuse” policy for not writing down the homework or forgetting a book at school because Moodle is my virtual classroom.”
- Infrastructure: before one can implement a 1:1 device to student ratio program, one must have the infrastructure to support it. That means there must be a robust wi-fi system with security. As we have witnessed, other schools may have iPad carts and all the devices they need for a 1:1 program, but without the proper infrastructure, the wi-fi will be spotty at best, therefore limiting the use of these devices and rendering them useless at times! We have both the proper bandwith needed to support our Chromebook laptop carts, and the security to protect the devices and (more importantly) the students.
- Laptop carts: we have these in areas where our IA software is used most. The Chromebooks get daily usage and for things that are supporting mastery learning. For example: the middle school language arts class frequently uses these carts for the PEG software. Students have access to Chromebooks without ever leaving the room.
- Students are allowed to bring their own Chromebooks and laptops from home. We do not allow iPads and tablets because Chromebooks and laptops are much easier to work with, have all the appropriate programs, and encourage improved typing skills. Chromebooks in particular are reliable, cost-effective internet devices.
All of these areas of technology complement each other and create a supportive web of technology under each student. The actual devices provide for the software and management systems to work together and prepare students for the next phase of life!
If your child’s school does not have this complementary technology, or if you’d like to learn more about it, please schedule a free tour of Lakeside Christian School today!