Possibilities Are Endless for Indian Creek Christian School
One could say the sky is the limit for Indian Creek Christian School (ICCS); however, that isn’t really the case. To Indian Creek Southern Baptist Church (ICSBC) Pastor Bobby Thomas, God put the idea for the school on Thomas’ heart. Therefore, for Thomas, the school will grow as God sees fit. The possibilities are endless.
Pastor Thomas and ICCS School Administrator Amy Morrow spread the news of the school at a community forum April 5 at Tyler County’s senior center, in Middlebourne. Thomas and Morrow plan on holding more forums, in neighboring counties, in the future.
The leadership for ICCS is the same as it is for ICSBC, but with the addition of Morrow. Leadership is made up of the following: Pastor Thomas and his wife Shannon, who serves as the church’s secretary, and leadership team members Dave Barrick, Shane Murray, Mike Hogue, Dean Pratt, and Randy Lancaster.
So far, the church has 12 students enrolled – an accomplishment Thomas describes as “really amazing.”
Reaching this stage has not been “that easy,” according to Thomas. After all, he said God gave the church the vision for ICCS 19 years ago when ICSBC had just built its first building. The idea of a school was mentioned to Thomas in casual conversation; at that point, “it was etched in my heart then that God wanted a Christian school.”
With God on its side, ICSBC began to believe in this vision. Debts were paid off, and today, the church is completely debt free.
Then, the addition of Morrow came so easily, as her husband discovered the open position on the church’s website. Morrow graduated from West Liberty State College with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education; she followed this up with a master’s degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia University. Morrow’s husband is currently in seminary, and the couple have two sons.
ICCS is enrolling kids in grades K4-8th for the 2018-2019 school year. Thomas and Morrow anticipate growing to eventually include high school students. Thomas even sees a future when, perhaps, ICCS can open its doors to collegiate students.
The curriculum to be used at ICCS is Abeka. This is a biblical curriculum approved by the West Virginia Board of Education and is popular among Christian schools and those who home school. According to ICCS, Core Concepts are taught in areas of Bible, Reading, Writing, Math, Language, Spelling, Science, and History.
Furthermore, enrichment activities include music, art, physical education, computer, and library. Morrow said the Abeka curriculum has been teacher-tested and is suitable for learning in multi-grade level classrooms, such as those that will be used at ICCS. It was noted that one class might include grades 4-6, while another class would include grades 7-8. However, as ICCS grows, so will its number of teachers. The student to teacher ratio would be around one teacher for every 10-15 students; this will make for more “one on one” learning.
Transportation will not be provided for students; they must be brought to school by parents/guardians.
Each student must also bring a packed lunch each day. Requiring a cold packed lunch lowers the cost for the school. However, Thomas and Morrow did stress that a student would not go without if he or she forgot a lunch. There will also be days for special dinners. Notably, every student will have his or her birthday celebrated in some way.
The school’s calendar follows a similar calendar as the public school system.
There is a week off for Thanksgiving; of this break, Thomas had laughed while noting the current enrolled students had requested deer season off. There is also a week off for Christmas, and there is an Easter break. Other main holidays are also observed.
Thomas did note ICCS would not immediately follow the school closings/delays declared by the public school system. He noted ICCS could very well have school on days when the public school system might close.
However, if ICCS would happen to close due to inclement weather, students would utilize snow day packets.
ICCS will begin its 2018-2019 school year on Aug. 13 and end the year on May 21.
And speaking of the public school system, Thomas very much stressed that ICCS is not in competition with the public school system. “Public school has been nothing but good to me,” he declared. Instead, Thomas said, ICCS “exists for the very fact of glorifying Christ.”
All ICCS students will begin the day with Bible study. Chapel is held every Tuesday. These chapel sessions will include guest speakers, such as the possibility of those who have served in missions.
Thomas said ICCS’ main goal is for students “to be saved,” and “to raise missionaries for Christ.”
“We want the students to have the knowledge of Christ, and we want them to work toward a sound Biblical education.”
The cost to enroll in ICCS is $3000 per child, per year. This can be paid in payments. There is a registration fee of $300 that is due by May 15 for those who wish to enroll their child. Scholarships are not available; however, Thomas and Morrow said they would try their hardest to not turn any child away. “We will exhaust every effort if people are really serious about enrolling their child,” Thomas said. He said ICCS could seek the leadership, as well as ICSBC to perhaps aid in sponsoring a child, or helping with fundraising efforts.
“Fill out an application, and see what the Lord does,” he said to those who might be concerned about the cost.
New ICCS students are required to provide their latest school grades, as well as immunization records.
To some, and compared to other Christian schools, the tuition rates might seem rather inexpensive. However, this does not mean the education is lacking in anyway.
According to Thomas, “we wanted to make the school affordable for families… We know if we are faithful, God is faithful.”
If necessary, discipline will be implemented at ICCS. However, “We will handle it with grace,” Morrow said. “We will work with the kids and talk to them.” Morrow noted there is a set of school rules, and teachers will also have their own classroom rules as well.
Of discipline, Morrow noted, “We believe in second chances.”
“We want children to know we care about them.”
Thomas noted that, currently, bullying is an issue throughout schools across the United States.
“Harassment… and a child becoming emotionally destroyed, spiritually destroyed… we will never allow it,” he said of ICCS.
ICCS will be a locked campus. The school is monitored with video surveillance, and a visitor would have to identify him or herself through video and intercom before being allowed to enter the school.
Thomas said parents will be involved with their children’s education at ICCS, and extracurricular activities will be prevalent at the school.
“We are blessed at ICSBC with folks who are talented in various areas – outdoor activities, fishing, home economics… We will teach hands-on things for students to learn skills,” Thomas said.
This will not be a typical school, but what I think a school should be,” Thomas said.
Students will get plenty of physical activity, as they will get to play softball, volleyball, and basketball as a part of physical education. Thomas also sees a future in which ICCS will have competitive sports teams. ICCS is signed to be a part of the West Virginia Christian Education Association, which means there will be opportunities for students to participate in certain competitive events.
Of parental involvement, Morrow explained there will be a monthly newsletter sent home with students, and there will be a private Facebook page implemented, to allow parents to stay up-to-date on school activities.
Families will also take part in recognition day, when ICCS students are honored for their scholarly achievements; parents will also take part in certain chapel days.
“Communities and families will be involved,” Thomas said. “We will only be as successful as our volunteers.”
And of the volunteers, Morrow noted they will be required to fill out an application; they will also be required to undergo a volunteer orientation, and background checks will be utilized.
A prospective student does not have to be a member of ICSBC to enroll at ICCS. They do not have to share the beliefs of ICSBC. However, Thomas said, students will be taught the Abeka curriculum and the beliefs of ICSBC.
“We want to be very clear in what students are taught, but we do want to welcome everyone,” he said.
So far, ICCS is lacking a mascot. Some different ideas have been developed though – The Crusaders, or something “Indian Creek” related, tribal or related to arrowheads.
Thomas does not seem too worried about the mascot, however. He knows this minor blip will work itself out. Thus, he and ICCS stand firm in their faith and “the Cross of Christ.”
To check out more about Indian Creek Christian School, visit www.indiancreekchristianschool.org/
The school is located at 178 Indian Creek Rd., Alma, WV 26320. ICCS can also be reached by calling 304-758-5014. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. E-mail email@example.com