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Looking to the Future

There is an ever-growing problem in our world. This problem starts at the roots of our society: the education of our children. The need for a high-quality, morally upright, Christ-centered education that cultivates independent-thinking, confident, well-communicating adults has never been greater. While there are exceptional individual educators all throughout private and public school systems, their hands are often tied by a culture and institution that rarely values original thought, Christian morality, and absolute truths. Private Christian schools stand as a beacon of light and hope in the world of education.

Private schooling, particularly Christian private schooling, is on a national downward trend. Enrollment numbers are down all across the country. Since June of 2016, we've held a particular focus on what the future of Maranatha Academy can be shaped like. We spent countless hours answering the question, "Where do we want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?" We've worked diligently to look at numerous different approaches to our organization and how changes could potentially affect our families as well as new enrollment. We have evaluated what we do well and what needs work, and we've developed action plans to help us shape our future.

From the beginning, one thing has been very clear: nothing we change will compromise the core of what makes us who we are - a Christ-centered education. In fact, any changes we make should only strengthen that core. We wanted to make a change that would help us be distinct from any other educational model offered in our area. We wanted something that would benefit our current families and help us grow our enrollment at the same time. We're very excited to announce the results of the last year's work.

The 2020 Plan

We've developed a vision, goals, and strategies to help us shape the future of Maranatha. We're calling it the 2020 Plan. It outlines where we want to be by the start of the 2020/2021 school year. In this plan, we have created specific goals, tasks, owners, and deadlines to make this entire reality take shape.

The 2020 Plan includes goals for education, enrollment numbers, building & facility updates, brand recognition, organizational infrastructure and more. All of these areas of focus will help us work towards a vibrant future for our children and generations to come.

The 2020 Plan \\ Education

The primary focus of our work has been to define what the future of education at Maranatha will look like. We looked at numerous models, both established and new. We consulted some of our teachers as well as other schools all across the country. When we felt confident that we had vetted numerous options, one consistently stood out above the rest.

A Christian Classical Academy

The classical approach to education provided two things: a unique focus to the way education is taught at Maranatha - one that is distinctly different from all the other public & private schools in the area - and a foundation upon which we can build. The ultimate goal of a classical approach to education to to develop thoughtful, critical-thinking, well-communicating students. This foundation will prepare them for a lifetime of success, whatever career path they choose.

Implementation

The process of changing from a Traditional Christian Academy to a Christian Classical Academy is rigorous and long. We knew this change would take a lot of work on the part of our teachers, staff, students, & parents. To ensure a smooth and efficient change, we appointed Cheree Waring in charge of the transition. Her years of experience, training, and passion for education makes her the perfect fit for this role. As it stands today, we have a 5-year goal of completing the full transition. The final 'product' will be modified from our original vision to perfectly fit our needs as we learn what works and what doesn't.

The 2020 Plan \\ Facilities

As with all aging facilities, Maranatha is in need of some repair and updating. We've already made significant progress on our roof replacement, with over $80,000 invested into the most crucial areas of need. We've installed new front doors to help with efficiency and security.

Updates, Security, & Efficiency

Over the last four months, we've been in the progress of updating a classroom, from floor to ceiling. These updates will include new flooring, uniform lighting, finished walls with extra insulation for heat efficiency, new whiteboards, technology, and storage areas. We plan to update 1-2 classrooms per year until they are complete. Additional ideas are being considered to make the building more secure in the entrance and hallways, as well as providing space for before & after school.

The 2020 Plan \\ Visuals

Brand recognition is one of the most vital aspects of an organization. Establishing your voice through visuals is critical to communicating your message. It's necessary that we are able to communicate the ideas we want before a word is ever spoken.

Changing your branding is a huge decision. Brand recognition is arguably one of the most vital aspects of any organization. In our approach to this change, we worked to develop the core realities we wanted to embody as an organization: Christ-centered, caring & loving for your children, family-friendly, professionalism, and excellence. Once we identified these core areas, we were able to better define what we wanted Maranatha's visuals to look like. This included our logo, colors, and fonts usage.

Visuals \\ Logo

We worked on a logo that embodied both classic professionalism and a modern design. We wanted to create something that would stand the test of time. It needed to be recognizable enough to associate with Maranatha Academy without any supporting text. At the same time, it needed to be simple enough to work in multiple avenues of use, on various backgrounds, and on different material usage (embroidery, screen printing, signage, and more).

Through multiple sketches, ideas, and iterations, we are thrilled with the final product. The clean simplicity of the logo will allow usage for years to come. The unique details will build brand recognition with Maranatha.

Visuals \\ Colors

Equally integral to the establishing a brand for our organization is the use of color. We wanted colors that spoke of professionalism, excellence, care, loyalty, and trust. At the same time, we wanted to honor the past of Maranatha Academy.

The primaries are Black & White.

They both convey the ideas of class & excellence. They speak of high standards & professionalism, both messages that we want to communicate.

The secondaries are green (Mint) & blue (Sea Floor).

Mint helps us honor our heritage, which has always been a strong green. It keeps us close to our roots, but moves towards blue. Why? Because blue creates the feeling of trust and security.

Sea Floor complements the green and provides another option for diversity in our merchandise & promotional items. Again, blue reinforces that feeling of trust and security. The muted, modern tone of the green & blue keeps our professionalism while giving us some diversity.

Visuals \\ Font

Fonts won't establish a brand, on their own. The right fonts can help establish the message you're trying to communicate (professional, vintage, childish, fun, energetic, tough, etc.). We chose a font that carries a weight of professionalism. It's similar to strong traditional, professional fonts like Arial® and Helvetica®, but slightly modernized.

Proxima Nova®

Proxima Nova® is a clean, crisp font. It helps to strengthen the professional look and feel we're working to establish.

The 2020 Plan \\ Messaging

An equally important part of brand recognition is the voice we give to our messages. Once again, we want to communicate the core realities we want to embody and display as an organization.

Messsaging \\ Name & Tagline

The official direction we're moving with our name & tagline is: "Maranatha: A Christian Classical Academy". Although trends in classical Christian schools is "Classical Christian", we felt it was important to emphasize we are Christian first, and that we teach in the classical methods. We've simplified the name to "Maranatha" for two reasons. 1) Most people already know and refer to us as "Maranatha". 2) Having "Maranatha Academy" or "Maranatha Christian Academy" becomes redundant when using the tagline and the name together.

Messsaging \\ Who Are We?

Maranatha is a private Christian classical academy serving the Twin Ports region. Set in the context of a Christ-centered education program, we are committed to inspiring students to reach their highest levels of academic achievement and spiritual growth. We understand each student will choose a different life path. Therefore, we work diligently with each student and their parents to prepare them well for their life after high school. The Maranatha team has the experience, training, dedication, and love for students needed to assist parents in giving their children a solid foundation in life.

Messsaging \\ Mission

Maranatha Academy exists to assist Christian parents in fulfilling their responsibility to provide a Christ-centered educational program integrating academic excellence, spiritual growth and social and physical development.

Summary

Overall, we sought to create a look, feel, sound, and experience that is consistent with each other and with the realities we do and want to embody. We're very excited about our direction moving forward, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we work to move forward with Him. We believe the work is hard, but worthy of our efforts. With help from God, and strong leadership, we can shape Maranatha into a bright future.