I don’t know about you, but whenever I put a lot of effort into something, I usually experience a bit of a down time when it is all over. I’ve been thinking a lot about Ms. Brown and Ms. Albaugh and the drama kids this week. They’ve been working toward this weekend’s musical performances for months now. I’m sure they are tired, but when it is over, there will probably be a void in their life and they will need to figure out how to fill that time.

At many of the prior schools where I have worked, I was the drama director. For two months I would throw myself into the show, giving everything that I had to the production. I would have rehearsals every day after school and spend at least eight hours every Saturday helping to build the set. It was both draining and exhilarating at the same time. As I would sit in the back of the auditorium watching the show, I would begin to feel a sense of loss, for I knew that it was about to end.

In some ways, completing the Re-Accreditation project is a bit like this. For the entire time that I’ve been at ICSV, I’ve been working toward the Re-Accreditation visit. So now that it’s over, there’s the question of “what’s next?” When Brian Williams asked me to share in staff devotions this week, I was drawn to the book of I Kings, chapters 17, 18 and 19. In these chapters, we read about how the prophet Elijah boldly stood up for God and against the false prophets of Baal and Asherah. He experienced God’s provision with numerous miracles, like when the ravens brought him bread and meat, and when the widow’s oil and flour did not run out. He even restored her son’s life after he had died.

You may remember how he challenged the false prophets on Mount Carmel when he poured water all over his altar and the sacrificed bull, and God consumed it all with fire that fell from heaven. God used him mightily through all of this, and then as soon as Jezebel threatened to kill him, he ran away and asked God to take his life. What happened to the bold prophet who had just killed 850 false prophets? He was emotionally spent and physically exhausted. So God provided him with food and a time of sleep. Once he was refreshed, Elijah went on to anoint the new king of Syria and the new king over Israel. He mentored Elisha, the prophet that would take his place when Elijah had completed that which God had asked him to do.

What I found so encouraging is that once Elijah had a time of rest, God asked him to stand on the mountain where he experienced a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire. The Bible tells us that he did not find God in any of these huge events. Instead, he found God in “a still small voice” that has been described as a voice of low whispers or a sound of gentle stillness. After all the huge successes that Elijah had experienced as he served God, he also needed to hear God’s voice in the quiet times, when everything was still and just kind of “normal.” So now that the school musical is coming to an end and our time of preparing for the Re-Accreditation visit is over, I pray that we will take the time to rest and to wait on the Lord. Sometimes we are just so busy that we can’t hear His still small voice. May this time leading up to Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter be a time of rest and waiting on God. As we are reminded in Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

Re-accreditation Recommended!

The ACSI Accreditation Team has completed its study of our school and will be recommending us for re-accreditation based upon their findings. What does this mean? The team was impressed with what it saw at ICSV and believes that we should maintain our accreditation to operate as an international school. They met with groups of parents, students, staff, and board members who were all very supportive of the school and what God is doing here. One team member shared with us that when the elementary students were asked what they liked the most about ICSV, they responded: “Teachers. Friends. Everything!”

The team shared their major commendations and recommendations with the school staff and will send us a full report within a few weeks. Once we receive the report, then we will share with you their complete findings. We ended their visit by singing, “The Solid Rock,” a hymn based on the parable of the wise and foolish builders that is found in both Matthew and Luke. Here are some of the words to the hymn:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.

Today when I was watching our youngest students perform the “Three Piggy Opera” about the three little pigs that built their houses out of different materials it reminded me of this same parable. Only the house that was made of bricks still stood firm in the end. It is only our hope and faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ that allows us to stand firmly when trials and struggles arise. Today, ICSV stands firmly on the Rock, Jesus Christ our Savior. Praise be to God for taking us through the accreditation process and for the favorable outcome.

Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.
Matthew 7:24–27

The ACSI Accreditation team members are shown in the picture accompanying this post (left to right): Scot Musser, Director, Life International School, Spain; Tim Thompson, Associate Director for International Schools, ACSI, Colorado Springs, CO; Leslie Johnson, Educational Consultant, ACSI Europe, Prague; Rob Shuman, High School Principal, Black Forest Academy, Germany; Kim Park, Executive Assistant, ACSI Global, Colorado Springs, CO

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

Book Character Costume Contest

As I entered the Hall of Flags to greet our students this morning I was met by numerous odd characters. There was Sponge Bob and Cinderella. There were Storm Troopers and even a pirate. One little girl from our primary class entered with a beautiful sparkly dress on. The expression on her face was so precious. She had the biggest smile and eyes that showed just how excited she was to look like a princess.

So why were all the children dressed up? This morning was the Book Character Costume Contest! Mrs. Dax and Ms. Clark hosted this annual event, with Mrs. Rohleder and Ms. Gerdes acting as the judges. One by one, each student wearing a costume was invited to the front of the auditorium so that they could tell us their real name, their character’s name, and the book that they were from. A boy and a girl from each class was awarded a book for their outstanding costumes.

Besides enjoying all of the costumes, there are many things that I love about this annual event. First of all, I appreciate that everyone is so encouraging of each other. Students applaud for their classmates, and even some of the secondary students joined in the fun by supporting their younger siblings. Secondly, the teachers all get dressed up, too. Ms. Harvey shared that her character was a real Welsh lady named Mary Jones who walked barefoot for 42 kilometers across the Welch countryside so that she could buy a copy of the Bible in her own language. So even during fun events like this, teachers use every teachable moment to emphasize the importance of their faith.

Thank you, parents, for helping your children to make such creative costumes. It was very obvious that you helped them take their ideas and turn them into a reality. Your support is so very much appreciated. Enjoy the weekend with your kids, and remember to pray for our Accreditation Visit that starts on Sunday and finishes up on Wednesday afternoon.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

March is Book Month!

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

March is really Book Month! Last week I talked about all the creative activities going on at the secondary level. This week, I’d like to highlight the elementary students who are actively participating in a month of reading. What a delightful way to spend our last month of winter!

Last Friday was an all-day read in. Children were camped out all over their rooms with pillows and blankets. Each had a favorite book in their lap. Teachers and older students joined in the fun by reading to the classes from their favorite childhood books. I checked out of the library a favorite book of mine from when I was a child, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” by Beverly Cleary. I started to read the first few pages and was wonderfully reminded of the whimsical world where mice and boys could speak to one another and where making a motorboat sound with your lips made a toy motorcycle race all around the room. It brought a smile to my face.

When our children were young, we made sure to have a lot of books. For one thing, the public library was just down the road from our house, so our kids checked out books all the time. Even so, my oldest son was still reading “Nate the Great” when he entered grade four. That’s a great series for kids in lower elementary, but Dan just hadn’t caught on to reading novels for enjoyment. His teacher, Mr. Trottier, loved Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and read it aloud to them throughout the year. He had a map of Middle Earth on the wall, and the students followed along with Frodo’s journeys on the map. This teacher instilled in our son the love of reading, which continues to this day. Dan’s reading ability jumped from Nate to Frodo in one year!

If you go on online, you will find list after list of the benefits of reading. Here are just a few:

  • Reading exercises the brain.
  • Reading improves concentration.
  • Reading develops a child’s imagination.
  • Reading helps children to develop empathy as they learn about the world around them.
  • Reading improves vocabulary and language skills.
  • Reading provides time for families to bond together.
  • Reading is fun!

For all the details about Book Month, be sure to scroll down to the poster that was created by Barbara Dax, our enthusiastic librarian. Keep on readin’!

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” — Kate DiCamillo

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

ICSV Fine Arts Opportunities

This must be Fine Arts Month at ICSV! Just yesterday, students and teachers were preparing for three upcoming events all at the same time! Many afternoons I enjoy the music of our drama students, as they are in the final weeks of rehearsal for Bye Bye Birdie. This is a super fun show with some really catchy numbers. There are 40 students who have been faithfully rehearsing for the musical under the direction of teachers Amy Brown and Libbie Albaugh. Please mark your calendars for the weekend of March 31 and April 1 so you don’t miss your chance to see the performances.

Yesterday afternoon in the music room and out in the hallway were the Honor Choir students. Ms. Albaugh, our secondary music teacher, will be taking them to Prague on March 8 where they will join other serious choral students in singing 15 university-level numbers. The harmony sounded beautiful as it reached my office. What an amazing experience they will have to sing in a large choir of musically-motivated high school students.

Then behind the stage in the MPR, Mr. Reynolds was busy preparing flats for the IB Visual Arts Exhibit that will premiere in less than two weeks, on Wednesday evening, March 15. The exhibit will be left up through the next week, so you should plan to visit the exhibit to see what ICSV’s first IB class has been creating over the last two years. Six of our seniors will be presenting their work.

This week in elementary chapel, Ms. Gerdes spoke about God’s gift of creativity. She reminded us that God created the sky to go from black to a beautiful orange/yellow color during sunrise, then to a pretty blue, then to a gorgeous rainbow of colors during sunset, and then back to black when the stars sparkle in the heavens. I am so thankful that our students can use their creativity by performing in the play, singing in the choir, and drawing or painting visual masterpieces. Come on out and be blessed by their creativity.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.