Harvest is pleased to share news about hosting an upcoming prov-en-der retreat right here in Summerton, SC! Hearthside is designed to mentor teachers, parents, and homeschoolers in Charlotte Mason's ideas about place. Over the course of two full days, Melanie Malone, headmaster of Red Mountain Community School in Birmingham, AL, and Laurie Bestvater, author of The Living Page and designer of the book of centuries used at Harvest, will guide us in geography, natural history, literature, dry-brush painting, architecture, and handcraft.
Our 2016-2017 school calendar is up in case you have not seen it yet. We have some upcoming events to kick off our fourth school year:
In a few days, we will be posting the yearly snapshots on what each class will be studying this year. We will also be announcing our first term composer, artist, and handwork. We will let you in on a little secret. This year we will be reading through Shakespeare's Macbeth and Plutarch's "Alexander the Great."
Last year our staff, leadership, and governance entered the final phase of accreditation by the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools (SCACS). We assigned the twelve standards to different members of the staff and put many hours into a self-study to figure out where we stood. We gathered records, wrote documents, conducted interviews, and put many pieces into place. In early April, we turned in a twenty-four page written report with supporting documentation and prepared for the arrival of SCACS’ three-member team led by Mr. Edward Earwood. They studied paperwork, observed classes, interviewed teachers, students, and parents, toured the facility, and poured through manuals. Before they left, the accreditation team highlighted a couple of commendations and recommended Harvest for a full accreditation.
We are thankful for God’s provision of patience, diligence, and clarity of thought during this process. We are also grateful that the team came alongside in Christian fellowship, saw our strengths, offered insight, and put our weaknesses into perspective. We see this as an opportunity to improve Harvest. They assessed philosophy, missions, and goals; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school climate and organization; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and student activities; information resources and technology.
Last month we received the written report in the mail and we thought you would like to know what they observed about Harvest. In eleven categories, we received a rating of effective — out of the possibilities of absent, emerging, effective, and exemplary. The lone rating of emerging in school improvement planning is typical for a first-time accreditation visit because schools cannot write these plans until they receive a report from the team.
They commended Harvest for:
To finalize the accreditation, we will submit some documents and write our first school improvement plan in the fall. The team concurred with some initiatives that we had already identified in our self-study. We plan to develop expected student outcomes; align our administrative manual with all manuals and handbooks; improve our record-keeping system; add more office space; find meaningful and manageable extra-curricular activities; adapt our existing curriculum manuals to Harvest so that we can adjust them after reviewing student outcomes; and many more initiatives. We will slowly implement these plans over the course of the next five years.
We would like to thank our staff and board, our families and students, and the accreditation team. The past three years have been a season of preparing soil, sowing seeds, cultivation, and reaping a harvest. We are looking forward to seeing what Harvest will yield with your continued support and prayers and God’s provision and blessing.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
A community called to offer another way to learn for students in Clarendon County