/Parent Newsletter

Parent Update: November

Like you, I want to build community. One place to start is by doing things together—I’m glad we could do both the Walkathon (see photo) and the Holiday Market together. Another place to start building community is identifying and then addressing things that hinder community.

So, I asked my Facebook friends, “What hinders community?” Here are some of their responses:

  • Self-absorption
  • Pride, self-confidence, independence
  • Indifference
  • Busyness
  • Not caring about people in general
  • Gossip
  • Sin
  • Fear of rejection, lack of transparency
  • Lack of communication

An experienced Christian school leader reviewed these responses and provided a helpful overview: As someone on Facebook noted, it’s sin that keeps us from community. It’s selfishness, self-centeredness, looking out for ourselves, wanting to be first. We abuse our power (bullying, judgmentalism), we complain about what doesn’t suit us, we become cynical and critical. Selfishness leads to conflicts of all kinds, and lack of trust.

Bottom line: Build Christ-centered community.

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him

November 24th, 2015|

Parent Update: October

What do you like? Here are some things I like, and I think you like them, too: I like it when people around me know my name, my family, and my likes and dislikes. I like it when people around me pray for me, ask me how I’m doing, and offer to help me. I like it when people around me respect me, want to work with me, and work in teams. And I like it when people around me have some values and priorities that are similar to mine.

I like community. So does everyone I know. And apparently, so do people around the world—if you do a Google search on community, you’ll get about 3.6 billion results.

Question: How would you define community? Here’s my working definition: a community is a connected, caring, collaborative, like-minded group of people:

  • Connected (I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 4:16)
  • Caring (Luke 10:25-37, I Thessalonians 5:11, Matthew 22:39, Ephesians 4:15)
  • Collaborative (Deuteronomy 6:6-10, Ecclesiastes 4:12, I Thessalonians 5:11, James 1:19, Hebrews 10:24)
  • Like-minded (Romans 12:2, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 4:12)
  • Group of people (Genesis 1:27, I Peter 2:5, I Peter 2:9).

Let’s continue building community. Let’s continue connecting, caring, collaborating, and becoming like-minded.

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him

October 30th, 2015|

Parent Update: September

“Where are you from?” That’s what people ask me when I’m in the US. They just want to get to know me better, and I say my parents are from Chicago. (What I don’t say is that I was born and grew up in Japan, think of Higashi Kurume as my hometown, think of the US as the place where my family lives and where I’ll retire, and feel most at home in the US in Lookout Mountain, Georgia—where none of my family lives.)

But really what people are asking me is, “Who are you?” That’s a good question. When my daughters (both born and raised in Japan) were little, I talked with them about this question, emphasizing they were God’s image bearers, Christians, and members of the Essenburg and Warren families.

It’s important for people to know who they are. It’s important for Christian schools to know who they are. And when Christian schools reflect on who they are, they build community.

What would I say if someone asked me, “As a Christian school, who are you?” I’d say, “We are a focused, Christ-centered community.”

This year, let’s continue to build community by reflecting on who we are.

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him

September 28th, 2015|

Parent Update: August

What is OCSI? That’s a good question. I asked staff to give me a one-word answer to “OCSI is ___.” Here are some of their responses: family, caring, Christian, community, diverse, friendly, and welcoming. Those responses fit with my experience. I’ve been part of the OCSI community for two months, and I’ve appreciated the warm welcome by students, parents, and staff. This year, let’s continue to build Christ-centered community together.

Good things continue to happen at OCSI:

  • Last Friday, students and parents attended open house and learned more about how OCSI equips students to walk with God and impact the world for Him.
  • Elementary students increased their reading stamina by practicing independent reading.
  • In world history class, each 6th grader created a life map (a pictorial history that included future goals and dreams) and followed up in English class with a written autobiography.
  • In computer applications, high school students took apart a computer to learn how it works.
August 28th, 2015|