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Superintendent oversees school-wide improvements

After FC went under accreditation in April 2012, the school decided to remodel parts of its campus to match the quality of its educational standards over the summer. The update of the school involves two aspects: renovations in selective parts of FC’s campus and the use of technology to aide teachers for educational purposes.

The idea of redesigning FC came about due to recent donations to the science department. Superintendent Debbie Siebert started the summer-long process to improve the facilities.

“Last year was an accreditation year, and part of what the accreditation team does is help us see a bigger picture of our organization,” Siebert said. “They felt so impressed by our unified group of people, with our wonderful students, parent groups and teachers. They felt like what we have is so wonderful and exemplary, but our facility didn?t match who we are. They really encouraged me to see if there was an opportunity to improve the way we look.”

DONATIONS

Donations from Christianna Enterprises, Viking Enterprises and the Dyer Family Foundation, made these renovations possible. Christianna Enterprises and the foundation board mainly contributed to the improvement of programs and facilities on campus. Viking Enterprises and the Dyer Family Foundation focused primarily on the renovation of the science and computer labs.

Alumnus Joshua Siebert, ’96, son of Debbie Siebert and owner of Viking Enterprises, chose to donate cash and time to make use of his talent and support the high school from which he graduated.

“I am a graduate of Fresno Christian, and I believe in FC,” Joshua said. “When the school asked for my help in the remodeling of the science and computer labs, I gladly accepted. I have a talent for remodeling, and Scripture tells us to use our talents and not to hide them away. I only wish I could have done more.”

Joshua hopes the new renovations will help FC students reach their full potential and excite them to learn in a better environment.

“My hope is that the renovation done to the science and computer labs will inspire the students of Fresno Christian to do great things and prepare them for the future,” Joshua said. “I truly believe that your environment does have an impact on your performance.”

Loel Wood from Christianna Enterprises shares about his past involvement with improving programs at FC. He hopes that his contributions will help improve the environment.

“Christianna Enterprises has helped support Fresno Christian Schools in athletics and fundraising for a few years,” Wood said. “Being involved in helping the school improve their academic program was the next natural step. Our efforts, financially, over the past few years have been focused more on athletics. However, we also desire to see the school excel in academics. By helping improve the labs and technological aspects of the classrooms, we hope to help create an environment that will develop and prepare students for the next step in their academic careers. We believe our teachers can accomplish this if outfitted with more advanced tools.”

Dale Devereaux, father of Makenzie Devereaux, ’15, and Madison Devereaux, ’17, did all of the electrical work in the new labs. Siebert is very grateful for all of the volunteers’ hard work and time spent on this project.

“We never could have done what we?ve done without the many volunteer hours that men have given,” Siebert said. “We are grateful for their willingness to donate their time and skills to us.”

SCIENCE LAB

Renovations in FC’s science and computer labs required work throughout the entire summer. Science teacher Dan Harris helped with the renovation of the science lab.

“I helped at the beginning of the summer and at the very end of the summer, making sure that all of the science equipment was either out of the room or stored in the closet,” Harris said. “At the end of the summer, I came back in to help out with some last minute decisions about what we needed or didn’t need.”

Harris is very pleased with the outcome of the renovation and believes it will enhance the student’s learning space.

“The new lab is a much more conducive environment for student learning,” Harris said. “The clean lines and spacious feel allow for a less cluttered mind so information can land in the right places. I am very pleased with the outcome of everyone’s hard work.”

A few FC students in particular assisted Harris in taking down and setting up supplies in the science lab. Jonathan Brushwood, ’15, Lauren Purvis, ’14, John Agao, ’14, Amanda Menes, ’14, and Rhyann Crain, ’15, volunteered many hours throughout the summer and school year.

Crain helped Harris partly because of her appreciation for him as a teacher and in order to help the process be completed.

“Honestly, Mr. Harris is my favorite teacher, and I’ll do whatever he needs me to do,” Crain said. “It’s not that hard to unload things and put things where they should be. I think the new classroom looks pretty cool and will help the class concentrate more.”

Agao thinks the new science lab will be helpful for Harris and his students because of it’s spacious feeling.

“The lab is a lot better than last year, and it’s easier to navigate,” Agao said. “I think Mr. Harris will be more organized and will be able to get more things done during the year because of the new renovations.”

COMPUTER LAB

Principal Todd Bennett believes the new science and computer labs will make FC more competitive with the science and publications programs at other schools, as well as benefit the teachers and students at FC.

“The improvement that’s been made is overwhelming compared to what we’ve had in the past,” Bennett said. “Now we have a state-of-the-art science lab and computer lab for publications and video productions that are tough to beat. Whenever anything looks nice, clean and tidy it gives people a better sense of comfort and it makes for a better learning environment. It’s improved the learning environment in both rooms quite a bit.”

Editor-in-Chief of the campus publication, The Feather, junior Tynin Fries is relieved that the lab was renovated because it allows her to have more space and more resources to lead the staff.

“I’m really grateful to those who donated the money and time to redo the labs,” Fries said. “The past two years we felt so squished; it was like we were in a closet. But now, the room actually looks like we could produce something as big as The Feather really is. Now, I have space to teach people about media and hopefully have a successful year.”

Starting from the first day of school Fries believes the new lab set the tone for how The Feather staff was going to work this year.

“Mr. {Greg} Stobbe and I had our doubts about how this year would go after loosing 17 seniors on our staff,” Fries said. “But coming into the lab on the first day of school, I knew we could continue to produce The Feather at the same rate as last year, maybe even better. So far, the staff has blown me away.”

The Feather’s adviser, Greg Stobbe, feels that the room has helped in creating motivation and excitement for the new staff.

“I’m honored that the members of the FC community have chosen to donate their time and money to creating a lab that matches the quality of effort The Feather staff has generated over the last eight years,” Stobbe said. “After working in a crowded lab for years, the staff will be able to concentrate and develop their talents in a media room worthy to be called one of the best in the state. The excitement the new digs brought energized a rookie staff to a point where I believe that they can pick up where the veteran staff left them last year.”

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS

In addition to the renovations of the two labs, Siebert looked to see if there were any other changes that FC needed to make to help the learning environment.

In building six, which holds many of the junior high and high school classes, Siebert decided it was necessary for the school to get new chairs for the students.

“We needed to replace our chairs,” Siebert said. “Last year, Peoples Church came to us and asked if we could get new chairs. We were using their folding chairs and they preferred that we didn?t. The old chairs used to sometimes crack and pinch your leg. As a result, most of those needed to be tossed, and the majority of the chairs we had been using were from Peoples Church. I went to the board, and they approved an allocation to get new chairs. Pastor Oquist from Peoples Church chose the color.”

Along with Building 6, the school got new bulletin boards and repainted the walls of building five, where FC’s third-sixth grade elementary classes are held. In FC’s Northeast Campus, which consists of kindergarten, first and second grade, the school bought a new sandbox and four awnings. Along with these purchases all of the interior walls in the building were repainted.

High school secretary Vickey Belmont was asked by Siebert to help with the renovations because of her past job as an interior designer. Belmont helped with both of the labs, building five and the Northeast Campus painting.

“I was asked by Mrs. Siebert if I would help give my opinion on what to do in the new labs,” Belmont said. “I thought that grey would be a great color, because it goes with everthing. I was going to add some color to the biology lab but now that it is finished, I think it looks great the way it is. It looks very sterile scientific. In the journalism lab I thought painting the eagle in pixels would be good but I didn?t have time. With the other renovations, I helped teachers put things on walls, and helped them dress up their classrooms.”

Technology

New technology including iPads, Apple TVs and projectors were supplied to a selective number of teachers at FC to better the learning environment at the school. English teacher Molly Sargent in some ways finds her new iPad and Apple TV helpful and in other ways unnecessary.

“In some ways it’s a high-tech chalkboard,” Sargent said. “For example, I use an app where I can write on the iPad and then have the information presented on the screen. In fact, it has some limitations because the pad is so small and you can only write so much before you have to erase it. However, it’s really helpful when I need to access the Internet quickly.”

Johnathan Nyberg, ’14, believes the new iPads and projectors benefit the learning environment at FC.

“I think they’re a great addition to our school’s learning environment, except teachers don’t always know how to use them, so that’s kind of a downside,” Nyberg said. “As far as note-taking, it’s easier to read what’s on the board when teachers use the iPad.”

Director of Technology David Martens, explains how the school decided which teachers would receive new technology.

“The administration chose the teachers on several considerations,” Martens said. “The primary factor was a change in focus in the fifth and sixth grade math curriculum. Additional consideration was given to those teachers and administrators who would be willing to model the use of the new technology to staff.”

Martens also notes that the project to upgrade technology at the school is not over; several more teachers will be receiving iPads in the near future.

“We were able to purchase 12 iPads initially,” Martens said. “The purchase we just completed includes nine additional iPads for teachers.”

Senior Amy Savage thinks the new technology has been helpful to both students and teachers.

“I like the new iPads and projectors, because they are more efficient than the overheads and projectors that involved plugging in lots of cords,” Savage said. “They’re better for projects and to use in the classroom.”

Ryan King, Photo Editor also contributed to this article.

For more features, read the Local event continues tradition, unifies community (VIDEO).

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