- Mariners Church will host MCS for the first 3.5 weeks of school until we are back on our campus, in a beautiful new building which is another gift from God.
- Due to specified parameters, the following adjustments will be made for the time period that we will hold school at Mariners Church:
- Modified Daily Schedule for all Grades: 8:00-12:30, carpool will begin at 7:30
- Weekly Enrichment Camps: Each grade level will be invited to attend a weekly after school enrichment program on the campus of MCS.
- Meet the Teacher Day and First Day of School Adjustments: Meet the Teacher Day will now be held on Wednesday, September 16th and the first day of school on Thursday, September 17th. An additional school day has been added to the end of the year to preserve the same number of instructional days. The last day of school is now Thursday, June 17th.
Dear MCS Community,
On behalf of the school leadership team and the Construction Committee we’d like to update the community on important start-of-school details. Our school team is working tirelessly to prepare, so we ask that you refer to the FAQ and send any questions regarding this update to the Board directly. Your grace is appreciated in allowing the school team to stay focused.
Our decision is driven by the following factors. Extensive details can be found in our FAQ:
- Despite hurdles, Bright Future Phase 2 construction has stayed close to schedule to hit our September reopening date. Yet within the last 2-3 weeks, COVID-related complications completely out of our control with respect to construction crews, city inspection bandwidth, and critical building materials/supplies have significantly impacted the schedule. Construction will not be completed in time for us to start the school year on campus, thus the necessity for remote learning through October 9. Please refer to the FAQ for more details.Know that we’ve explored every angle and relationship in an attempt to meet our September date. We remain confident that this team has and will continue to work unceasingly to get our campus open as quickly and safely as possible.
- As of 8/19/20, Orange County has come off the State’s Monitoring List. The county needs to remain off this list for 14 consecutive days in order for us to reopen in-person education without a waiver. Please see details in the FAQ.
- MCS submitted its Waiver on August 10, 2020 seeking approval for on-campus learning for TK-6th grades and we’re still awaiting the State’s approval.
- Please reference the MCS Fall Reopening Plan for details about our On-campus and Remote Learning programs.
- Please refer to our FAQ and send all questions regarding this announcement to the Board directly.
Lewis Brewster, Board Chair
Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi
Blessings to you and your families! Today, I am praying Ephesians 1:16-23 over our school community which beautifully says,
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that God, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His inheritance, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at His right hand, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name not only in the present but in the age to come. For God placed all things under his feet!” Praying for wisdom, hope and a filling of His great power in you. Amen!
Preparations for the upcoming school year continue and the Fall 2020 Reopening Plan is now complete. The reopening plan was established in collaboration with members of the “Fall 2020 Reopening Committee”, consultation with health and legal counsel, guidance from CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Stronger Together, and in full compliance with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
With the established goal of returning to in-school learning, it is important to understand we will do anything and everything necessary to:
- Obtain waiver approval which requires strict adherence to requirements set forth by the CDPH.
- Reopen for in-person learning on the first day of school and remain open avoiding any form of closure as much as possible.
- Mitigate risk for all community members. Decisions not only consider the health and well-being of students but that of our staff. We understand the reduced risks for younger children. However, it is our responsibility and priority to mitigate the risks for staff so they can safely and confidently return to in-person work.
- Remain as fluid and flexible as possible understanding that, as the situation changes, we will adjust our practices and protocols as necessary.
Understandably, the reopening plan will prompt many questions. Over the next several weeks, we will communicate more specifically on several of the topics within the reopening plan including, but not limited to: face coverings, cohort groupings, hygiene practices, physical distancing, and arrival/dismissal protocols. We recognize it will be helpful to understand how this plan will be implemented and applied throughout the school day and further communication on individual topics will provide this clarity. The MCS Fall 2020 Reopening Plan can be found on our website
In His great wisdom, hope, and power,
Head of School
Understand all guidelines and requirements for a safe re-opening
Monitor OC health statistics and facts and collect data from both staff and parents to inform decisions
Consultation with legal counsel, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (MCS’s accreditation body), and school insurance agents
Collaboration with a consortium of Christian and independent private schools
Consultation with medical experts
Complete multiple trainings: health, safe practices, workplace and employee protections
Establishment of a “Fall Reopening Planning Committee” with 17+ individuals representing all MCS stakeholders
Order necessary safety-related supplies and equipment
Completion of the school re-opening waiver released 8/3/2020. Important Note: though the waiver only applies to TK-6th grade, 7th and 8th grade parents, do not lose heart! We are working to provide in-person learning for all of our students. Additional details regarding the waiver approval and in-person learning opportunities for all students will be provided as possible over the next couple of weeks.
Prayer and seeking God’s wisdom and will above all
Fulfilling the school’s mission to “build a firm foundation through Christ-centered education” and our core values of a Love for Christ, Exemplary Academics, Whole Child Focus, Culture of Innovation, and Connected Community
Returning to in-school learning
Seeking the best interest of our students to meet spiritual, academic, emotional, social, and physical needs while also considering the best interest of families
Seeking the best interest of our staff as we understand and prioritize their health and safety needs, assumed risks, comfort levels, as well as the best interest of their families. MCS staff interests are vital and will be prioritized as we open the school. It is vital families recognize the importance of our staff’s well-being.
Protecting the long term stability and sustainability of MCS. This is temporary. Our current situation related to COVID-19 will pass, therefore we will make decisions that meet current needs while balancing the long-term interests of the school. Current decisions can not and will not jeopardize or negatively impact the future of our school.
Opening safely AND remaining open which will provide the most stability, best meet needs, and ensure the greatest success for all.
We humbly ask for your faithful commitment to praying with us and for us. There is power in a praying community and we fully recognize our need for prayer. It is vital to each of us and it binds us together in unity. And, with great confidence we trust that God answers prayers! So we ask that you, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18.
We ask for your continued understanding, grace, kindness, patience, and trust. Rest assured we are working diligently on your behalf and no stone is left unturned. We fully recognize the need for clarity, information, and, as much as possible, certainty about the year ahead. It is vital that families understand our complete efforts and investment in providing information that is needed. In addition, we ask that parents know we will do everything and anything necessary to ensure our students can return to campus. With sincere hearts we ask, just as Peter did of the church, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate, and humble” 1 Peter 3:8.
We thank you for your commitment. Just as MCS will not make temporary decisions that could potentially have a negative impact on our long term future, we ask parents to prayerfully consider all decisions and remain committed to MCS. Our admissions team is busier than ever as we continue to enroll new students. We currently have waitlists in several grades with other grades very close to full capacity. We will continue to enroll students according to our enrollment and operating plan. As always, current families have priority for 2021-2022 reenrollment. Given the extreme interest we have experienced in the past several years to attend MCS, we cannot guarantee future enrollment unless you are currently enrolled for this school year. Please understand and trust, this is only shared to ensure families can take all information into consideration as decisions are made for the upcoming school year and beyond. We love our community and our genuine hope is that we remain together through this storm and we will be stronger for it!
Head of School
Our Head of School search has successfully concluded and we are elated to announce Heather Harrison as our next Head of School, effective immediately!
Starting in December 2019, the Search Committee, Advisory Committee, our search firm (Job Fit Matters), and an organizational consultant launched a thorough, extensive national search process which generated 40+ initial candidates. Our Search Committee and Advisory Committee were composed of current and former parents, school staff, current and past MCS Board members, and a current MCS grandparent. They met regularly and often throughout this process. After multiple rounds of interviews, the Search Committee presented the unanimously-supported recommendation to the Board that Heather was the ideal choice for the next MCS Head of School. The Board approved this recommendation with a unanimous vote. Throughout this past school year, she’s demonstrated grace, humility, excellent communication, and exemplary, prayerful leadership, all while maintaining a sharp focus on God and His direction for MCS. She’s led her team fearlessly and successfully, as evidenced by the 100% of our teachers’ intent-to-return rate for the 2020-21 school year.
Heather brings 19 years of distinguished experience in education to this role, including 10 years of teaching, and 9 years of administrative leadership experience. She has served as Middle School principal at MCS since 2013, and most recently has also served as Interim Head of School after obediently answering God’s calling to that role in August 2019. She has a deep love for MCS, and she has clearly demonstrated her strength as a godly, prayerful leader during this school year which has presented many significant challenges. Heather holds a Masters degree in Education from Vanguard University. She and her husband Josh have three children: two MCS alum daughters Buze and Marta, and one current student son Elijah in Kindergarten. Josh is the co-lead pastor at Canopy Church and Heather serves in ministry with him.
Our Board’s focus has been and remains selection of a godly leader, revision of Board governance/policies and investment in building a high-trust culture. These efforts are intended to develop a lasting working partnership between the Head of School, Board, administrative team and staff and to maximize school leadership longevity. We’re committed to continuing a godly and supportive relationship with Heather and her team, laying out clear expectations and providing guidance and resources as needed. Importantly, our approach remains steadfast in maintaining MCS’s mission to build a firm foundation through Christ-centered education. Accordingly, we’re confident that His school is on a solid path with a strong strategic plan that’s been formulated in partnership with school leadership and staff.
We are deeply grateful for the support, feedback, and prayers we’ve received from the community throughout this search. Thank you!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10
We’re sincerely appreciative of the time and energy that our Search Committee and Advisory Committee members have put into this rigorous process: Mark Nowlin (Co-Chair), Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi (Co-Chair), Marc Aneed, Tim Bahadoor, Lewis Brewster, Bob Bernatz, Clifton Chang, Melinda Choi, Jennifer Crowell, Sharee Pfaff, Jim Harmon, Aaron Hudy, David Giunta, Keven Kroehler, Susan Morehouse, Chris Stratton, Eleanor Tang, and Mitch Vance.