BCS reopening following Hurricane Irma
(Update Sep. 10, 2017) In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and following the announcement by Broward County Schools that they will be closed until further notice, Bethany Christian School will also remain closed until further notice while we assess storm damage. We will update you on reopening via this website, email, robocall, and the voicemail greeting on the school main number, (954) 522-2554.
(Update Sep. 8, 2017) We hope you all are safe and ready for the storm. The administration has made the decision to close the school on Monday and Tuesday, Sep. 11 and 12, regardless of what happens with the storm. We will assess the damage on Monday, and remain closed on Tuesday to allow employees who evacuated to return to South Florida. On Monday we will have a clearer picture of the rest of the week and will notify you as soon as possible.
(Original post, Sep. 5, 2017) In an effort to promote and ensure the safety of our school families and staff members as they prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Irma, Bethany Christian School will be closed on Thursday and Friday, September 7th and 8th.
All sporting events and after school activities have been cancelled as well.
Bethany typically follows the lead of Broward County Public Schools with regard to school closures. At today's 3:00 PM press conference, Broward County officials announced that "all schools and district offices will be closed on Thursday, September 7 and Friday, September 8, 2017, as the district and Broward County prepare for Hurricane Irma." Like Broward, both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County School District officials have announced school closures for Thursday and Friday.
Given the extreme nature of this hurricane, we want to afford our families every opportunity to make evacuation plans that will ensure their safety.
As we look to next week, Bethany will continue to monitor the storm and follow the guidance of Broward County Public Schools regarding school closures -- unless we are forced to contend with unique circumstances that prevent us from opening our school doors. Given that the storm is currently expected to pass through South Florida on Sunday, it is likely that Broward schools will be closed on Monday to survey damages and allow time for evacuated families to return home. We will be in communication with our families regarding future potential closures via email, robocalls, our website, and/or the voicemail message on the school's main phone line (954-522-2554).
In making decisions concerning possible school closings, we always do our best to ensure that your child's safety is our top priority. Consequently, we fully understand and support any evacuation decisions that may require a prolonged absence from school.
The 2017 Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide offers many helpful suggestions and resources. It includes preparation tips, a list of area shelters, evacuation routes, emergency phone numbers, and more. Print a physical copy of the guide, and review its pages for helpful information on how to best ensure your family's safety and to most effectively prepare for this storm. Thank you in advance for your graciousness and understanding.
Please pray for our families, our school, and our entire community.
Stay safe, Bobcats!
With Hurricane Irma swirling in the Atlantic, we will be keeping a close eye on its projected path over the next 24-48 hours. The National Hurricane Center's latest advisory states that "Irma is an extremely impressive hurricane... the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in the NHC records."
Regarding early dismissals or school closures, Bethany will follow the guidance of the Broward County Public Schools. If we find that the county is slow in reaching a decision, we may preempt them and move forward with plans to cancel school. Our emergency contact system will be used to provide pertinent information for closing and reopening times and dates. Please check our website (www.bcsftl.org) or local media outlets, and make sure that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
The 2017 Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide offers many helpful suggestions and resources. Print a physical copy of the guide, and review its pages for helpful information on how to prepare for a storm. As the likelihood of landfall increases, basic supplies will fly off the shelves and become increasingly scarce. So purchase basic supplies (like batteries, water, lanterns, personal hygiene items, non-perishable food, etc.) in advance. Also, it's a good idea to keep your car's gas tank filled, as gas stations routinely run out of gasoline in the days leading up to a storm.
After watching the devastating footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Colette Keno (Bethany's Athletic Director) and her family sought for ways to help the victims of this storm. After coordinating with a major charity that will be delivering much needed resources to the Gulf Coast residents, Keno organized a collection drive at Bethany Christian School and invited our school community to join in the relief effort.
After parking a full-size, rented U-Haul truck in Bethany's courtyard, the Keno family got down to the business of collecting much needed supplies for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. While Ashleigh (6th grade) and friends helped donors to carry supplies onto the truck, Brian and Colette Keno took turns holding a makeshift cardboard sign alongside Federal Highway, encouraging all passing motorists to join in the relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Over the course of just two days, our community filled the U-Haul truck with cases of bottled water, baby formula, diapers, wipes, toys, clothes, and essential hygiene products. "Even after collecting supplies for the past two days at Bethany, we still had friends coming to our house to donate additional cases of water and supplies," said Coach Keno. "We even had a very kind homeless man who insisted on donating to the cause. You can't see the floor in the truck."
Bethany would like to thank the Keno family and all those who generously donated supplies to make this collection drive such a success. It is wonderful to see our community extending the love of Christ to those who are walking through a season of such great loss. Please continue to pray for all those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
If you would like to donate supplies, the Miami Dolphins will be accepting donations at the Dolphins Training Facility in Davie until September 15. For more information on the Dolphins' relief efforts, please click here.
As the Headmaster of Bethany Christian School, there is no function more important than ensuring that each of our faculty members is an excellent educator, who exudes the love of Christ. As we enter the 2017-18 school year, we will be welcoming several new teachers to the Bethany team. As always, God has been faithful to bring us a group of exceptional teachers, who exhibit all of the wonderful traits that make Bethany Christian School such a special place.
During the course of the past five months, we have received more than 400 resumes from applicants around the nation seeking to teach at Bethany Christian School. After screening these applicant resumes and interviewing the most exceptional candidates, we have selected the very best candidates to join our faculty roster. I am extremely excited to introduce our new faculty members, and I am confident that they will prove to be a great blessing to our school community.
Mrs. Kari Greiter will be joining the Bethany team to serve as our new Second Grade teacher, filling the position vacated by Mrs. Nicole Barrett. Kari graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education — receiving certification endorsements for both reading and language arts instruction. For the past five years, she has served as an Elementary teacher in Missouri, where she served as her school’s Team Leader for Assessments and has undergone extensive training for curriculum development, differentiated instruction, and classroom management. She will be moving to Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Nolan.
Ms. Amanda Robinson will be joining the Bethany team as our new Third Grade teacher. She is filling a vacancy created by Mrs. Arnold’s transition into Middle School as a state-certified Math teacher. Amanda graduated cum laude from the University of Florida — earning both a Master’s degree and a B.A. degree in Elementary Education. Amanda is well-known and beloved by many within the Bethany family. She has served as a teacher at Harbordale Elementary. In addition to her experience inside the classroom, Amanda has served as an Associate Campus Director for CRU — devoting several years to the mission field in China. She speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Mrs. Jessica McMurtrey will be serving as our new Fourth Grade teacher, filling the position vacated by Mrs. Peavyhouse who has opted to serve in the newly created Fifth Grade slot. Jessica graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida, earning her Master’s degree in Elementary Education, as well as her B.A. in Education. With certifications from both the Association of Christian Schools International and the Florida Department of Education, she has a specialized endorsement for reading instruction. For the past three years, she has served as a Fourth Grade teacher at Midway Covenant Christian School in Powder Springs, Georgia.
Middle School Teachers
Ms. Melissa Harroff will be serving as Bethany’s Middle School Social Studies teacher. Melissa graduated from The Ohio State University, where she earned her B.A. degree in Social Studies and her Masters of Education degree in Secondary Social Studies and Global Studies. Ms. Harroff has also served as a very popular Middle School Social Studies teacher at North Broward Preparatory School (2012-2014) and Westminster Academy (2014-2017). Melissa currently attends Rio Vista Community Church. Mrs. Dede Hunter, our incoming principal, worked with Melissa and described her as a Christ-centered, loving and hilarious team player.
Mrs. Kathryn Coury will be serving as Bethany’s Middle School Science teacher. Katy graduated magna cum laude from Campbellsville University — earning her Bachelor’s degree in Social Science with a minor in Secondary Education. She served as a high school teacher and a department chair at Hickman County High School. This past year, Katy has served as a Middle School teacher at Westminster Academy, where she taught both Life Science and Engineering. She comes highly recommended and praised by all those who have worked with her. She is married to Philip (a Bethany alumnus) and has a son entering Kindergarten (Brian).
Specials / Electives Teachers
Mrs. Jacqueline Maillet will be serving as Bethany’s Music and Choir teacher. Jackie earned her B.A. in Music from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She has taught music at the prestigious Friends Academy in Dartmouth, Massachusetts since 2009. During her time at the Friends Academy, Jackie offered private piano lessons, held annual recitals, directed both choral and drama productions, and served as a student advisor. Jackie’s husband was recently hired to serve as the Music Director at a South Florida Episcopal church.
Ms. Amy Wallace will be serving as Bethany’s Librarian and Resource Teacher. Amy graduated from the University of the Ozarks with a B.A. degree in English and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Library and Media Science from San Jose State University. Ms. Wallace has been a featured speaker at Family Weekend events. She is an experienced tutor to students with learning differences and disabilities, and she will be completing an intensive training course in this area over the summer. Next year, Amy will be leading breakout sessions with students who are in need of individualized assistance.
Mrs. Jenn Wheelis will be serving as the lead teacher in our Nursery’s Infant room. Jenn graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Nursing. She currently serves as a nurse at Broward General’s N.I.C.U. She is married to Jimmy and has two sons (Maddox and Mason), who are both enrolled at BCS. Jenn has been a faithful Bethany mom and volunteer for years.
Mrs. Brittani Willey will serve as the lead teacher in our Nursery’s toddler room (ages 1-2). Brittani graduated magna cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. degree in Education. During her career, she has served as a Preschool teacher in both Florida and North Carolina, and she is certified in both CPR and First Aid. She is married to Donnie. They both attend Rio Vista.
During my tenure as Headmaster, the Lord has faithfully blessed our school with outstanding teachers. Our faculty members not only devote themselves wholeheartedly to educating their students’ minds, but also cultivating their hearts. As we enter a new school year, I am confident that He has brought us precisely the right people to advance Bethany into even brighter days. Please be diligent in praying for our incoming and departing faculty members.
Nearly two years ago, Rio Vista Community Church and Bethany Christian School launched an ambitious campaign to expand and improve our campus. By God's grace we have already received $3.1 million in pledges toward our $3.6 million goal. As we enter the 2017-2018 school year, we have already completed many of our initial goals. We have significantly expanded the footprint of our playground; we redesigned and paved the South Lot; we installed a new outdoor sport court; we added two additional classrooms in the main school building; we added a brand new Daycare classroom in the preschool's Rymal wing; and we are set to unveil our beautifully designed riverfront Library and Media Center.
This fall, we will be entering the final stages of the Mustard Seed Campaign construction schedule. Construction crews will begin work on a two-story, 10,000 square foot addition to the east side of the church sanctuary. This will be known as the Ingram Center - named after Dave and Barb Ingram. This building will house several administrative offices, a performing arts center, and a beautiful art studio. All of this construction has been carefully planned to minimize interference with the daily functions of the school.
As I noted, we are still $500,000 short of the $3.6 million necessary to complete our ambitious goals, which will afford both Rio and Bethany an opportunity to expand and improve upon our ministries. If you would like more information on how you can support the Mustard Seed Campaign, please click here.
After three years of faithful service to Bethany, Mrs. Sally Myers, our Principal, announced her plans to pursue new opportunities. On behalf of everyone at Bethany, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for her ministry to the students and families of our community.
Alongside our School Board and pastors, I wanted to ensure that the next Principal would have all the skill sets necessary to successfully lead our school, along with a keen understanding and appreciation for the principles and values upon which Bethany was founded. The Lord has answered our prayers.
I am excited and grateful to announce that Mrs. Dede Hunter will be rejoining our family to serve as the Principal of Bethany Christian School in the coming school year.
Mrs. Hunter graduated Magna Cum Laude from Flagler College in 1991 with a B.S. in Mathematics Education, while also completing a full Mathematics major. She is currently scheduled to receive her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education later this year.
In 1991, immediately out of college, Mrs. Hunter began teaching high school mathematics at American Heritage School in Plantation. Shortly thereafter, she married Rick Hunter, a pastor at CityChurch Fort Lauderdale and the founder of Renew South Florida. They have three children - Elisabeth, Ben, and Michael. In 2001, after a brief time in Chicago, the Hunter family returned to South Florida and enrolled their children at Bethany. Mrs. Hunter fell in love with the school and served on the BCS Board of Directors for three years. Upon deciding to return to the classroom, she joined the Bethany faculty as a very gifted Middle School math teacher. Bethany's faculty and staff members, who served alongside Mrs. Hunter during those years, remember her with a great deal of affection and esteem.
In 2011, she joined the faculty at Westminster Academy as a Middle School math teacher to work alongside her three children as they finished high school. I had the privilege of serving alongside Mrs. Hunter as a teacher in those days. I came to know Dede as both a colleague and a friend. I developed an abundance of admiration and respect for her - as an exemplary teacher, a friend, a devoted wife and mom (I taught her daughter Elisabeth), a compassionate shepherd, and a natural leader whose enthusiasm is infectious. In fact, I was so impressed by her character, her ability, and her reputation that I discussed this very position with her during my first year as the Headmaster at Bethany, but it was not yet God's timing. Mrs. Hunter has always expressed a deep desire to eventually come back "home" to Bethany, and - now that this door has opened - she is wholeheartedly committed to succeeding in this new role, leading Bethany into even better and brighter days ahead.
In her letter of acceptance, Mrs. Hunter wrote:
"I am beyond thrilled to return to Bethany Christian School as the new principal. I fell in love with Bethany the moment I dropped off my children at preschool so many years ago, and I have always held a special place in my heart for the school. I am so excited to be able to join the outstanding faculty, staff, and parents at Bethany as we work together to help our students reach their greatest potential for God's glory."
Mrs. Dede Hunter will be joining the Bethany family with my full support and confidence as Headmaster, the unanimous approval of our School Board, the enthusiastic endorsement of our pastors, and the full blessing of the Westminster Academy administration.
Please join with me in praying for Dede as we enter into this exciting new season together. God has always been exceptionally faithful in taking care of Bethany, and I am eager to see what He will accomplish in the years to come.
We would like to extend a well-deserved congratulations to Bethany's graduating class of 2017! According to the results of this past April's ITBS exams, our 8th grade students significantly outperformed the national average. In their overall composite scores, our 8th grade class ranked in the top 5% of all eighth grade classes nationwide — with our average student demonstrating a grade equivalency on par with the nation’s average college freshman.
In comparison to other 8th grade classes throughout the nation, our students scored in the top 1% in science, the top 4% in reading comprehension, the top 7% in language arts, the top 4% in mathematical problem solving, and the top 11% in social studies. Of the 22 graduating 8th grade students, a stunning eighteen of them demonstrated collegiate-level ability in one or more subjects, and ten students scored at the collegiate level in their overall composite scores. Sixteen of the 22 graduates were recipient's of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Education, and a majority of them are members of the National Junior Honor Society.
Congratulations to the class of 2017! You are loved, and you will be sorely missed.