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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
I love getting this type of email.  In fact, it's my second favorite type of email to receive.  It arrived on the afternoon of Saturday, September 12th, the day after the Crusaders hosted Parker High School in what turned out to be a rather lopsided win for Northwest Christian.  The email came in from one of the referees who was part of the AIA officiating crew that night.  The email read:  "I cannot recall having authored a note such as this in the past so bear with me.  I was the Referee for your Varsity Football game on Friday, September 11th, at Northwest Christian High School.  The officiating crew remarked in the locker room afterward how much they enjoyed working with your staff and your teams.  This strikes me as quite unusual in a game that ends with a lopsided score.  It further occurred to the crew after the game that even with a 68-7 score, not one personal foul or unsportsmanlike penalty was assessed.  Not only were there no misconduct penalties, there was not a single incident where officials had to separate players for any reason.  In my 20+ years officiating High School football, I must say I cannot recall having had this occur.  The only fouls incurred were the garden variety false start and defensive encroachments and one or two blocks in the back during punt returns.  This speaks very highly of your programs and the character of the coaches and players within your organizations.  Coach Inness:  You have a very good team and it showed on Friday night.  You had the game in hand early but the team never demonstrated the "one-upmanship" or trash-talking  that some teams seem to exhibit when dominating an opponent on the scoreboard."

Wow.  This had been one of those nights where everything clicked.  More than every pass finding its intended receiver at just the right point in the route and more than the running back finding just the right holes in the defensive line--this had been an evening where it all came together and all the young people on the field that evening exhibited the sorts of behaviors and made the types of decisions that we seek to inspire in our students to the glory of God.  Like I said, I love getting this type of email.

But, wait a sec, Mr. Brown, you opened that first paragraph saying this sort of email is your 'second favorite' type of email to receive.  So, you may be wondering, what sort of email would I rather get than this?

Well, to be honest, I also like getting the other type of email--the type where everything doesn't 'click' and where it doesn't 'all come together'.  If that same official had seen our Tempe Prep game a week earlier, a game filled with adversity, tough calls, and hard moments, he might have been tempted to write a different sort of email.  In fact, on that particular evening, though much went well, we discovered more than a few coachable moments presented themselves--opportunities to speak into the lives of young people during difficult moments.  That's what we love most--taking the time to sit with a young person after a moment of falling down or making that poor choice, letting them know that they are loved unconditionally, and using God's word to point them to the pattern and person of Christ, hoping and praying that this moment is the providential catalyst that steers their heart more fully towards Jesus.  Sure, it doesn't read as well in the school's monthly newsletter.  But, I will say this, difficult circumstances like these have set up some of the most gratifying and fulfilling moments and victories in my memory.

As parents, you and I need to remember this.  While those September 12th emails are so fun to receive (and quote in the opening paragraph of the newsletter!), we all know that, honestly, many of the 'real' moments with our kids don't always line up that way.  We have to know that such moments are not accidental--the Lord has not divinely dropped the ball and your student isn't forever pointed in the wrong direction.  Instead, we have what time may tell to be the most precious sort of moment in our parental experience:  an opportunity to speak God's grace and truth into the lives of our kids.  We need to remember the inspired wisdom of the Proverbs:  "Start your children in the way that they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it." (22:6)  As well, we should lay hold of the hope promised by the author of Hebrews:  "So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."  (10:35-36)

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)

"Wild About NCS" Dinner and Auction Poised to Impact the Northwest Christian Lunch Service Area 

Fundraising attention turned towards lunch area solutions

For the past four years, during the perennially epic events surrounding homecoming, working with the Parent Service Cru, Northwest Christian has hosted a silent auction which has served as a consistent, annual financial assist to clubs and teams across the campus.  This year, however, represents the fifth year of the silent auction and we're also celebrating the 35th anniversary of the school, founded in 1980.  We have decided to change things up a bit--moving towards a fundraising dinner at the Phoenix Zoo and an auction which will include online, silent, and live elements.  Themed as "Wild about Northwest Christian School", the focus of our fundraising efforts will be the school's outdoor lunch area.

On Saturday night, during the dinner, Northwest Christian superintendent Geoff Brown will be addressing the school's intended direction in terms of developing facilities and the school's needs.  Ultimately, as he will explain, what the campus most needs is a new elementary classroom building.  "We presently have eight modular classrooms," he says.  "And, though these have served the school's needs well, at the this point they are showing their age and we need to begin working immediately towards a more sustainable solution for the primary grades."  Yet, as has been recognized within the annual online parent survey, the lunch area also presents an area of opportunity.  "Once we begin working towards a new elementary classroom building," says Geoff, "it will push the ultimate lunch area solution down the road.  This is because, as stewards of the resources God has generously provided to the school, we have worked tirelessly towards reduction and elimination of debt which positions us to keep school tuition relatively low compared to other private Christian schools around the valley."  As a result, the school is committing fundraising efforts within the 2015/2016 school year--the dinner/auction as well as Jog-a-thon 2016--to the best solution possible for the lunch area.  Says Geoff, "We have been meeting with architects and engineers and we've seen lunch area solutions proposed that range from $300,000 to $1.9 million.  So, our prayer has become this:  'Lord, as far as You provide this year, that is as far as we'll go.'  If the Lord opens the fundraising floodgates, we'll press forward as far as He provides.  But, this will be done without incurring debt for the school.  We're committed to keeping this school on solid ground financially.  Then, after seeing what the Lord provides in terms of the lunch area in 2015/2016, in the very near future, we'll turn our attention to elementary classrooms."

Saturday nights's "Wild About Northwest Christian School" dinner and auction, where this information will be presented, will represent the first of three planned fundraising efforts for the year.  The other two include the annual year-end giving letter in December and spring 2016's Jog-a-thon.  "We won't belabor this effort," continues Geoff.  "I don't believe there's an appetite for that within our community.  We're simply redirecting each of our traditional fundraisers to a single end this year:  the best possible and most immediate lunch area solution that we can afford."

Even if you cannot attend Saturday night's nearly sold-out dinner, you have the opportunity to participate in the online auction with proceeds being directed towards the lunch area.  "We've been so blessed by our families, corporate friends, and community partners," says Geoff.  "We have an auction that has come together that has some pretty wonderful biddable items."  To get started in the auction and to place a bid that will move school facilities forward significantly, please take the time to visit the following link:

NCS and ACSI Partner with Pure Flix to Launch the 2nd Annual NXNW Film Festival and Student Film

"The Substitute" follows on the heels of the success of last year's "Screwtape Academy"


For years, Northwest Christian has followed the pattern of many high schools--a fall play and a spring musical.  Last year, however, saw the school take a new direction with some exciting results.  Instead of a fall play, Northwest Christian partnered with a bonafide film production company and produced a film featuring the hard work and acting talent of Crusaders.  The resulting film was "Screwtape Academy", a film that was premiered in front of a sold out crowd at the 600-seat Colossus theater at the AMC Deer Valley 30.  The evening also included a mini-student film festival featuring digital shorts produced by Northwest Christian high school students.


It would seem that the new direction has produced a dynamic momentum that has seen this year's efforts grow significantly.  This year, working once again with director Damon Evans and Cabin Fever Films/Minds Eye Productions, Northwest Christian is filming and producing a new film, "The Substitute".  Featuring the acting of 21 students as well as the behind-the-cameras work of 12 other Crusaders, The Substitute is filming in and around the campus as well as in the Tonto National Forest Recreational Area in northern Arizona.  The film follows the adventures of a substitute teacher who shows up to class and finds a rather hapless group of students, representing the spectrum of students typically found in a high school.  What starts as a standard sub lesson suddenly spins out of control--into a rather intense adventure in the wilderness which ultimately provides a powerful resolution.  The film will premiere on November 5, 2015 at the AMC Deer Valley 30.  This time, however, the film will premiere in two different theaters and 1,000 seats will be available.


Like last year's film premiere, this year's film festival has also grown exponentially based on the strength of the school's first foray into short film festivals.  The fest is now officially titled the "The Pure Flix North by Northwest Film Festival" and is sponsored by Pure Flix Entertainment.  The fest has been joined by top talents from within the Christian film industry:  David White (star and executive producer of "God's Not Dead" and "Faith of our Fathers"), Alex and Stephen Kendrick ("War Room", "Facing the Giants", "Fireproof") and many others who will be providing encouragement to participants who will be hailing from Christian high schools throughout the ACSI Rocky Mountain region:  Arizona, Nevada, Colarado, Idaho, and New Mexico.  The students' submissions will be judged by film professors from Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University, representatives from three different Christian film companies, a talent agency, and a nationally recognized film blog.  Winning submissions will be awarded cash prizes.


For more information on the event or to learn how student films can be submitted, please visit...


The Pure Flix NXNW Film Festival 


For more info on the services available to Christian families looking for wholesome family entertainment, please visit our sponsor...


Pure Flix: Faith and Family Movies, Anywhere, Anytime 



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Homecoming 2015

Two NCS Seniors Recognized as National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Scholars 

Madison Fagerlie and Tim O'Neal honored in national academic competition

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)-a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year-and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements

Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. In early September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.  In late September, more than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

Northwest Christian is proud to announce that two Crusaders from the class of 2016 have been recognized as National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Scholars:  seniors Madison Fagerlie and Tim O'Neal. The two are pictured above with high school principal Josh Schlesinger and guidance counselor Brittney Meyer.  This recognition means that they scored within the top 2% of all students nationally who participated in the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  The honor also carries with it significant scholarship potential as they work to narrow down their list of potential destinations for college.  That task may become a bit trickier as that the honor will also mean that they will be courted by many different universities.

Also pictured below is Northwest Christian junior Susan Burley who was nominated this past summer to serve as an Arizona delegate at the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists.  Susan travelled to the University of Massachusetts Lowell in June and participated in three days of meetings and instruction catered towards aspiring physicians.  While there, she worked with mentors who introduced her to the first recipient of a bionic eye as well as the first recipient of a full face transplant.  She observed a surgery in Boston and met with admissions directors for universities recognized for outstanding undergraduate premed programs.  Susan's recognition carries with it the potential for scholarship money with these universities.  Her desire is to pursue a career as a geriatric physician.  After losing her grandmother who had been a nurse with whom she had enjoyed a special relationship, she began to recognize her unique appreciation for the elderly and God's call on her life to work with the elderly.
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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.

Northwest Christian's "How to Afford a Christian Education" Workshop Scheduled for Tuesday

NCS Campus  
Did you know there are more than 50 tax credit organizations in Arizona that provide tuition assistance to students in private, Christian schools? In fact, over the last three years, NCS families have received about $6 million dollars in tuition assistance awards. If you would like to learn more about these programs, plan on attending this workshop scheduled for Tuesday, September 29th from 6pm-7:30pm on the first floor of the Cook Center. Pizza will be provided. 

To RSVP, send an email listing the number of attendees to

(Childcare is not provided.)

As a reminder, ACSTO applications are due by September 30th for the fall, 2015 award distribution.
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Spotlight on Students:
Second Grade Crusader Recognized by Local Media for Sharing the Love of Christ
Aspen's compassion worked to inspire a community
On Thursday, September 10th, second grader Aspen Womack was featured on Sonoran Living, a local interest television news program on ABC 15.  Aspen is seven years old and currently in Mrs. Cass' class.  A couple of weeks prior to her televised appearance, Aspen had won the AmTrust Bank "Caring Kid of the Month" award.

One of Aspen's friends, a babysitter she had grown to love through church, was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Aspen's friend's parents didn't know how much time they would have left with her so they decided to take a leave of absence from work.  As she came to understand the implications of this and the potential for financial stress that it might produce within her friend's family, Aspen took it upon herself to hold a bake sale to help raise money for the family so that they would not have to worry financially about being with their daughter. She ended up raising almost $900, shared her story with other families, and she ended up raising almost $8000 for that family.

When asked why she had decided to help the family of her friend, Taylor, Aspen responded without hesitation, "It's God's word.  He tells us to love one another and that is what I did."

To view Aspen's appearance and to hear her story as she told it on Sonoran Living, please visit the following link:

Spotlight on Students:
Preschool Students and Dads Enjoy Annual "Dads Day"
"Dad's Day" is an annual Northwest Christian Early Education event focusing on preschool activities with Dads and their children. The teachers work to set up stations for dads to interact with their kids. It is hard to tell who is having more fun as dads make and paint airplanes and create volcanos during the day.  This year there were more than 150 dads on campus eating donuts and enjoying the fall at NCS. 

September 25, 2015
Vol. 6, Issue 2 
2 Corinthians 13:14
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

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