NCS Spotlight Header

Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,


It's finally here--we are on the cusp of one of the most exciting times of the year--the dawn of a new school year.  After a summer spent prepping and planning, next Monday (one week from today!), all that we have feverishly worked to prepare comes to fruition with the return of the students and the families with which we are excited to partner.


There are so many meaningful traditions associated with this time of the year.  One of the traditions that I have come to esteem greatly:  high school student leaders choosing the spiritual emphasis theme for the new year.  I have learned to approach the process of students picking the spiritual emphasis theme with respect as that in each of the five years I've been pleased to serve at NCS, the theme has perfectly nailed the needs and opportunities presented on our campus.  Year after year, I have been stunned as I have seen our student-determined theme providentially paired with those areas within our school and community where the Lord desires to do His perfect work.  The theme is more than banners around campus or t-shirts we wear on Fridays--it becomes the central message in chapels, back-to-school camps for high schoolers, devotions, Bible classes, and more.


This year, on the one hand, the process of selecting the theme was quicker than we have seen to date.  On the other hand, the conversations between students was also more vigorous than I have ever experienced and they literally lasted all summer.  As a result, there really does seem to be a profound investment in the spiritual emphasis theme at the student leadership level.  I'm excited to see where that leads us this year.


So, what did our student leaders decide?  "The Cost is Great.  My God is Greater."  The foundational scripture upon which the theme is built is 2 Samuel 24:24 where we find King David saying, "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing."  Within this passage, after navigating through a season of personal shortcoming and failure within his leadership, and after suffering the consequences of his poor choices, David experiences the redemption of the Lord and is offered an opportunity to make a sacrifice to the Lord using oxen which he doesn't own.  Rightly, David realizes that, given the depth of his gratitude for the Lord's redemption, he wants his sacrifice to bear the weight of worth established by his own personal investment.  As our students discussed this concept, their collective desire was for their peers to come to appreciate the same sort of lesson--and to enter a school year where we become intentional about investing ourselves through sacrificial service and establishing meaningful personal disciplines that will be used by the Lord to grow our faith.  I love what one commentator (Meyer) wrote of this passage:  "Where there is true, strong love for Jesus, it will cost us something.  Love is the costliest of all undertakings.  But, what shall we mind if we gain Christ?  You cannot give up for Him without regaining everything lost, but purified and transfigured."

We have another tradition and it's one that I hope that you and your family would join.  On Thursday, August 6, at 4:00pm, in the Cook Center, we're inviting as many members of the NCS family as possible to be part of a time of corporate prayer for the new school year.   I would love to see as many attend as are able!  It would be wonderful to fill that room beyond capacity with families and faculty who understand the priority of prayer as we prepare to launch the 2015/2016 school year!


Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,


Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)

Crusaders, Your Constantly Improving Campus is Almost Ready for the New Year 

The final phase of fencing is completed.
We will be working right through to the start of school to finish some exciting improvements 

As soon as the 2014/2015 school year was in the books, Crusader crews immediately set to work to implement some very exciting improvements within the campus.  

These improvements, made possible by the generosity expressed by families towards the school through Jog-a-thon 2015, took many different forms...

Exterior HD Video Security Cameras:
  The tech crew has weathered the summer's worst heat and installed approximately 20 HD video cameras.  The camera strategy and placements were determined by a committee of first-responders (Phoenix police and fire primarily) who advised that we establish a video network that would provide 100% visibility of the entire campus perimeter and key traffic points within the campus interior. 

  As the culmination of three years of effort, the final leg of fencing was completed and, as a result, we have finally established a completely fenced campus perimeter. 
Above: one of two new 'Ga Ga Ball courts.

Improved play spaces:
  After receiving a very generous grant this past spring, we have worked to augment some of the play spaces available to students during breaks and lunch.  We've added a volleyball play space, two 'Ga-Ga Ball' courts ('Ga Ga' means 'touch touch' in Hebrew), and a 'wall ball' space. 

  Even after last summer's epic tech push, the school has definitely made even more significant headway this summer.  The classroom digital network has been upgraded to a gigabit-fibre backbone and we have upgraded the mission critical servers and backup servers to be 64-bit machines running Windows Server 2008.  In addition to all this, we are deploying 100 more iPads and installing more classroom projectors and Apple TVs.  These Apple TV's have been configured to serve as 'virtual smart boards' as part of classroom instruction.

New carpeting:
 New carpet was put down in eleven more classrooms this summer.  After the anticipated work is completed over the next two summers, within five years we will have replaced 100% of the carpeting on campus with brand new flooring with improved durability that should last over a decade.  

Campus perimeter fully covered by newly installed video cameras.

A new student-parking strategy:
  To complement the completed fencing, this fall will find us implementing a parking decal system which will assign different parking lots to driving sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  The distribution of parking density should work to decrease congestion.  The fees collected from the parking decals will cover part of the wage necessary to hire a security presence on the campus.  This individual's sole responsibility will be to monitor the campus continuously for concerns and to police the parking lot system. 

  A new retaining wall has been established in the retention area east of the kindergarten building which improves the usable play space.  Additionally, new sod has been put down in some of the high traffic areas within the elementary.  The aesthetic improvements are striking. 

Landscaping improvements: new sod, retaining wall for improved play areas

No Such Thing as Coincidence:  Crusaders Work with Feed My Starving Children on Both Sides of the Ocean

NCS partners with FMSC in Phoenix and Uganda


"I have a friend who says, 'We're too old to believe in coincidences'," said superintendent Geoff Brown regarding a recent, providential example of parallel service opportunities.  "In other words, our God is too big to believe there's room left in His universe for happenstance."


Last weekend, Feed My Starving Children, an international relief organization that partners with NCS as a service learning partner, hosted an event at the Phoenix Convention Center aimed at pulling together 5,000 volunteers to pack 1,000,000 meals.  These packed meals, called 'manna packs', are sent to overseas ministries who use them to feed the hungry.  FMSC partners with NCS 4th grade and 7th grade students as part of the school's coordinated service program, "Pursuing His Purpose".  Northwest Christian was pleased to serve as a sponsor of the event and, last Friday, sent nearly two-dozen faculty and staff to participate in the packing.

Just after the team had left the event, the fifteen Crusaders presently serving as part of a school-sponsored missions trip in Uganda posted an image to Instagram that left all involved stunned.  The images showed the Crusaders at a primary school in the remote Juba village where they were preparing and serving the children meals, using the same sort of FMSC 'manna packs' that the stateside Crusaders had packed just moments earlier.  "It was an instant, divine connection," said Geoff, "where we saw the Lord illuminate the power of students serving.  It is the very thing that we pray for our students when we work to engage with them in service learning moments:  that they come to understand that when they offer the Lord their gifts, talents, and interests, He uses them for His eternal purposes."


Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes
Trina Nevrla   480-378-7300

New School Year Presents Opportunity for NCS Teachers to be Trained by Biblical Integration Experts  

Cruader parents are invited to attend one of these sessions


"Biblical integration" is a concept with which many are unfamiliar but it speaks to the ultimate mission of Christian education.  "Biblical integration happens when teachers are able to seamlessly weave Biblical truth and Christian worldview into their lessons," explains Geoff Brown.  "It's not opening class with prayer or slapping a verse on to a lesson plan.  It happens when you have teachers who are competent in their content areas, who are scripturally literate, and are passionate about their love for Christ.  Students that have been in classrooms where BI is prevalent see their new knowledge laced with Biblical understanding.  Learning with proper Biblical integration is more than assimilation of new knowledge, it is transformative."

Northwest Christian's training in BI has run throughout the history of the school and has been part of every professional development opportunity presented to teachers for years.  This week, the school is excited to welcome two nationally recognized experts in Biblical integration:  Dr. Glen Shultz and Dr. Bryan Smith.  The two will be tag-teaming training sessions that will set the tone for NCS classrooms this fall.

Throughout the day, teachers and staff will have the opportunity to attend sessions which will help them to diagnose competing worldviews in secular textbooks, learn how BI enhances academic excellence and critical thinking, and what qualities work together to define "Christian education".
Parents who are interested in these topics are invited to attend one of these sessions:  "Secular vs. Christian".  As part of that session, Dr. Bryan Smith will present on the priority of being intentional in terms of infusing God's word within learning.  The session is scheduled to go from 2:30 to 3:30pm in the Cook Center on Tuesday, August 4th.
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

MVP Orthopedics and Sports Medicine 081613     

Northwest Christian Teachers and Students Post Historic Gains in Spring 2015 Standardized Testing 


While standardized testing should never be the destination in a school's journey towards excellence, testing can serve to put forward useful signposts along the way.  At Northwest Christian, the priority in every classroom is Biblical integration as teachers work to inspire critical thinking centered around Christian worldview.  In this context, if used correctly, standardized testing becomes one of many different metrics that can be used to assess progress.


For many years, the culminating test-of-choice at Northwest Christian has been Pearson's SAT10.  Now, however, as has been previously reported in the Spotlight newsletter, the school is migrating towards the ACT Aspire as recommended by a committee of NCS teachers charged with identifying new opportunities within metrics and assessments.


The school is pleased to report that Spring 2015 results using the SAT10 have revealed historic gains.  Close to 70% of classrooms across the grades (SAT10 has been used K through 11th grade) have posted scores defined by those familiar with assessment as "major growth".  At NCS, the term 'major growth' has been described as growth of 8% or greater in a group of students moving from grade-to-grade.  In most of these instances this past spring, this meant double-digit growth for students and in certain cases that meant up to 18% growth.

The spring results are presently being reviewed by Don Moenich and Brett Irwin, two gentlemen who have served the school as Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  This summer Brett assumed the role as Don transitioned to full-time pastoral ministry.  (Don remains on retainer with the school as a paid consultant.)  The two are working to distill the scores so that we will ultimately be able to see progress through a classroom-by-classroom and student-by-student lens.  The full report will be made to teachers at the annual "Rowing, not Drifting" presentation (sort of a NCS state-of-the-union) later this month. These same whole-school results will be made available to parents at the very next "Coffee with the Principals" following the presentation to teachers (along with all the other school data which constitutes that annual report).

An example of the sort of data put forward annually within the "Rowing, not Drifting" report to parents is below.  (Trends within the average high school ACT scores.)

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

TFI Logo 081613        

Spotlight on Faculty:
Meet the New-to-NCS Teachers (part one)

Strong NCS veteran teacher moves from early ed to kindergarten


Tamara McClure will be teaching kindergarten in the elementary program at NCS but Tamara is not new to Northwest Christian. For the last four years, she has worked in the the early childhood education program at NCS as a PreK teacher.  During her time in early ed, she quickly gained a reputation for working hard to establish the solid foundation upon which kindergarten teachers could build real academic momentum in language arts, reading, early math skills.  She also worked well in exploiting the strong social and emotional component of the preschool program at NCS.  With her Master's degree in early childhood education and experience with NCS, Tamara was a natural choice for our kindergarten program.  When Tamara is not working at NCS she can be found spending time with her children.  We are thankful for her part in our early learning at Northwest Christian!

Melissa adds to the experience and enthusiasm already abundant within the second grade


We are excited at the prospect of Melissa Blanchette joining the strong 2nd grade team at NCS.  Her classroom experience includes work in multiple Phoenix districts in the primary grades in both traditional and ESL classrooms.  She has her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Arizona State University as well as her Elementary Education certification.  She has been married to the love of her life for almost 14 years and they have three fun loving and energetic children all attending NCS.  Melissa and her family attend Desert View Bible Church where they have served for several years in high school ministry as well various other ministries throughout the church.  She  loves to spend time with her family hiking, biking, traveling and going out to eat.    

Having been a Crusader for several years, Michelle looks forward to a new role at the school


Michele Garcia has been a member of the Crusader community for a number of years as a parent but will be joining Northwest Christian this fall in the preschool as she works with our 3 and 4 year-olds. She has a BS in Special Education from the University of New Mexico and has five years of teaching experience in various grade levels. When Michelle wasn't teaching lead in the classroom, she stayed active in the field of education as she aided and subbed.  Michelle and her husband Hector have been married for 22 years and they have two children.   Their son, Andres, graduated from Northwest Christian in 2015 and will be attending Grand Canyon University this fall.  Their daughter, Emily, will be a sophomore at this next year. The Garcias attend Desert Breeze Church and they love to go on vacations as a family and explore new places.

Courtney's mom established a legacy of love for learning and teaching


Courtney Gibbs will be joining Northwest Christian in the early education program as a PreK teacher this fall.  Courtney graduated from Grand Canyon University and did her student teaching within the NCS preschool and elementary program.  We were so impressed with her love for students and contagious enthusiasm for instruction that when a position opened up, we were pleased to be able to ask Courtney to join the staff.  Courtney says she owes her love of teaching to her mom who is also a teacher and shared her love of education with Courtney and her three siblings as she was growing up.  Courtney's father is one of the Pastors at Moon Valley Bible Church where she is actively involved in Children's Ministries. She loves spending time with her family and friends, seeing movies, or going to dinner. She especially loves to read and looks forward to a great year with NCS this next year. 

Candace brings a love for reading, writing, art, family, and ministry to her classroom


Candace Phillips will join the staff at NCS this next year as part of the fourth grade team.   But, they're not new to the school in that she and her husband, Nate, have enjoyed their first few years at Northwest Christian as parents. Their daughter will be in first grade this coming year, making this new adventure all the more welcome.  After graduating from ASU West with her degree in education, Candace started her teaching experiences in fourth and fifth grade classrooms.  Now, over a decade later, her time in education is a patchwork quilt of rich experiences that includes both elementary and secondary classrooms covering a variety of subjects.  Along the way, Candace has earned her master's degree through Northern Arizona University.  When she is not building memories with students and spending time with family, she enjoys exercising her artistic muscles through writing, literature, and music.  She also enjoys serving with her family at Moon Valley Bible Church.  Currently, Candace works with the high school ministry at her church and occasionally serves on the worship team. She is excited to join the staff at NCS this year. 

Preschool ministry has been Marcy's passion


We are excited to bring Marcy East into the Early Education program at Northwest Christian. Marcy will be working in the preschool as a teacher in the 3's and 4's where she has previously assisted as an aide  Marcy East received her degree in Elementary Education from Southwestern College.  After graduating, she taught PreK for two years at Rancho Solano Private Schools.  For the last nine years, she has served as Preschool Director at Palmcroft Church in Phoenix where parents grew to love her contributions into the lives of their children.  She and her husband,Tim, have four children that attend Northwest Christian.  Palmcroft Church is the home church for the East family and she remains active in the children's ministry there.

Former Marine loves science, ministry, and missions


Lee RodenKirk recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after twenty-two years of active service. He went on to graduate from Grand Canyon University with a BSN in Elementary Education and an emphasis in science. Lee did his student teaching with Northwest Christian master teacher Mark Rine and the two made a great pair in middle school science this past year.  He and his wife, Angela, just celebrated twenty-two years of marriage this past month and have four wonderful children. Their oldest daughter, Chellsey, graduated from NCS in 2013. Jordan is their second oldest daughter and will be a Crusader senior this fall. Their son, Joshua, is 14 and will be going into the eighth grade.  Their youngest, Elizabeth our baby is 10, she will be in sixth grade. The RodenKirks enjoy camping, sports, family time, and are very involved in church where they teach a kids club on Wednesday night. The family is also actively involved in missions.  In the last five years, RodenKirks have gone to Honduras, Belize and Mexico.

Kaci attended NCS since preschool and now prepares to serve the smallest Crusaders


We are thrilled to see Kaci Underwood join the Mini Crusader program as the lead teacher for the walking toddlers. Having served in the program as an aide, she has developed a real love for teaching and caring for our smallest Crusaders.  Kaci is not a newcomer to Northwest Christian:  she attended the preschool, elementary and secondary program as a student and now has her own three children attending NCS.  Kaci comes with experience with young children and has worked for the last year in the Mini Crusader program and preschool. Kaci, her husband Daniel, and her family attend Palmcroft Church where she has served with the AWANA program for the young children.  When Kaci has free time she loves to spend it with her family adventuring in Arizona, California and Colorado. 

August 3, 2015
Vol. 6, Issue 1

2 Samuel 24:22-25

22 Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the Lord your God accept you."

24 But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

Big O Tires is a generous sponsor of NCS Athletics

Arizona Christian University

Colorado Christian University

Grand Canyon University

Follow NCS on Twitter
Limited Space Available for Early Ed, Mini-Crusaders, and Infant Care

National League of Junior Cotillions

Box Tops for Education
NCS International Student Program
NCS Purple Pages



You are invited!

Valley West Women's Bible Study

Moms in Prayer
Built on the Rock Foundation


a NCS service learning partner

The Place 

is a generous NCS Fine Arts Sponsor

State Tuition Tax Credit Opportunity
The Cost is Great.  My God is Greater.
Annual Spiritual Emphasis Theme 
T-shirts Available Soon
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes


9918 W. Happy Valley Prkwy


iPad and iPhone Repair

Free NCS Bumper Sticker!

Show your school spirit!
Please present this coupon in the school office to receive a complimentary NCS bumper sticker. 
Limit one per family.
Offer Expires: Offer available while current supplies last.
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes
Shine Dentistry

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Barton Pure Pools 

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes