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A Word From the Head

October 15, 2015 

An Introduction to Arches

Next week when you receive the picture at right by email, you will be able to click on it and open up Arches, the new digital magazine of Regents School of Austin. Our aim with Arches is to provide an easily accessible way for you to get a snapshot of the amazing stories and student growth happening right before our very eyes. This format will be Simple, Accessible, and Storied. And so, you will find pictures of field trips and various activities, you will hear of our academic achievements, you will celebrate our athletes as we strive for victory, you will find an occasional article explaining the why behind what we do, you will hear more about our treasured nature center, and you will have a chance to electronically enjoy a digital Regents 'Museum of Fine Arts' where we highlight a small taste of the various art work by students under the careful guidance of our Fine Arts faculty.

But the rationale for Arches is also deeper. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about  the word “arches” used in the architectural sense and the word may also be something we experience or 'pass through' on our journey.

Our faculty and staff are privileged to celebrate the many tender moments with young children on campus and the many moments of flourishing character as students grow and mature over time. We celebrate these spiritual and character formations as part of the 'arches' students pass through on their journey. Our children need the freedom to grow into our mission statement; they need to 'pass through' truth, goodness, and beauty.

Do you remember me referencing the article What Overparenting Looks Like from a Stanford Dean’s Perspective by Julie Lythcott-Haims? She raises important questions, “What will become of young adults who look accomplished on paper but seem to have a hard time making their way in the world without the constant involvement of their parents? How will the real world feel to a young person who has grown used to problems being solved for them and accustomed to praise at every turn? Is it too late for them to develop a hunger to be in charge of their own lives? Will they at some point stop referring to themselves as kids and dare to claim the ‘adult’ label for themselves? If not, then what will become of a society populated by such ‘adults’?”

From our Christian convictions, we would add, “How will our children strive for excellence as they live purposefully and intelligently in the service of God and man?”

From our classical educational foundation, we would add, “What is required of our people, programs, practices, and curriculum to see the blossoming of ‘a good man speaking well’ ?”

These are important questions for each and every one of us to wrestle with.

As you enjoy Arches with stories and pictures of Regents campus life, our aim is to leave you with small tastes of the joy of life at Regents and with a deeper perspective that your child is responsible for his/her “claiming the ‘adult’ label for themselves.'' Regents is a place for both to happen. For this, we celebrate.

Here’s our plan with weekly and monthly communications moving forward. Every few weeks during the school year, you will receive Arches.  This is where 'A Word from the Head' will take place and where we will celebrate the many accomplishments of students and faculty. This gives us a chance to go deeper in our communications. The flow of the magazine is reflective of passing through the Arches. So, after my 'Word From the Head,' we will have an alumni portrait, a brief snapshot of Rhetoric Hall, Logic Hall, and Grammar Hall – from those that have passed through to those just beginning. We’ll also provide portraits of the various field trips and activities going on that make Regents such an exciting place.

Our weekly newsletter will continue, but will focus on schedule reminders and announcements. This will allow us to begin to simplify the scheduling in the weekly format and allow us to go deeper into stories, content, and celebrations in a digital magazine format. We trust you will enjoy this enhancement. Click once on Arches to bring the text closer to you to read. Click again and go back to the wider page view. Slowly flip through the pages and enjoy the articles, pictures, and occasional video. There is much to enjoy here at Regents, and we have many reasons to be thankful. We all rejoice and celebrate when we see our 'little ones' passing through the arches of life, taking the 'adult' label for themselves, and growing in maturity in the Lord. Enjoy Arches.

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Next week when you receive the picture at right by email, you will be able to click on it and open up Arches, the new digital magazine of Regents School of Austin. Our aim with Arches is to provide an easily accessible way for you to get a snapshot of the amazing stories and student growth happening right before our very eyes.
Yesterday, I heard a heartwarming story. Last year one of our own students recruited several of his friends to attend Regents, and that led to four new students on our campus this year. Lovely.
As I gaze across our beautiful campus with many architectural vistas, one grand common theme is our arches. Arches are a key classical architectural element, and the arches at Regents echo this classical time period. In the curved pattern of every arch there is a central block called a cornerstone or keystone. Without this cornerstone, the arch will crumble. The bible references this word several times, naming Jesus as the "chosen and precious cornerstone" (1 Peter 2:6). Hence, the arches on our campus are a tribute to the classical and Christian education our students receive. But our arches also symbolize something more subtle yet very significant. They represent what our students experience as they "pass through" on their journey.
Baseball great Yogi Berra died yesterday, leaving behind many legendary baseball stories and "Yogi-isms". His most famous quote "It ain't over 'til it's over" helps us take a long view of parenting. A moved clothes pin in kindergarten does not mean life is over for a child. Proverbs 24:16 tells us that 'for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again". A strike is just a swing and a miss. It does not mean we are out of the game. In reflection of Yogi's famous witticism, and in light of our student's grades coming out this week, I was reminded of a Word article from 2011.
On Monday, the School of Rhetoric students went on a retreat to a local camp. Below is the letter from Mr. Doerksen to the SOR parents describing their experience. What really happens on the SOR Retreat? I have heard that question a few times this fall, and after a great day yesterday, I want to fill in the picture. Evidence of hard play comes home in the form of a really tired sun-soaked teenager. And that is a goal. But, it is a goal in service of a greater one: academic discipleship.
Like many of you, I am a public school graduate. I received a fair education in the public school system in Wilmington, North Carolina. I enjoyed the tutelage of several fabulous teachers. My journey included the various tracks including "gifted and talented" (I fooled them). I was well served in that environment, and I still recall with deep fondness many moments with several great teachers. But, as I reflected on my education, I noticed a key element that was lacking.
Our school song is Non Nobis Domine. Many years ago a Regents kindergartner told his mother "We are learning Japanese at school!" Upon further inquiry, the mother learned that it was the wonderful Latin chorus Non Nobis Domine.
Barry McBee, our Chairman of the Board at Regents, led today's K-12 Convocation Chapel with the Invocation Prayer. Please consider regularly praying the words below over your children and over the community of Regents.
Twenty new employees have joined our community this year, for a total of 145 ministering teachers, coaches and staff members. Our new hires come from a wonderful variety of backgrounds and include two Regents alum, a Regents dad with five children, a Yale Ph.D. who smiles all the time, a veteran teacher from Dripping Springs, a military veteran from Dallas, a Regents alum mom, a married couple from Houston, two incredible PE coaches, a board member of Lifeway Publishing, a Californian who started a video production company, a CEO of a baseball team, a published author, a new PhD who taught at Regents six years ago, and two Regents moms. Take a look at their pics below taken by Ted Parker Jr., and then click here to read more about all of our amazing employees.
The campus buzzes with excitement as teachers, coaches, and staff members prepare the way for the new school year. The grounds flow with students as well. Yesterday children were flooding the playground before the last summer library day, while our fields were filled with athletes in fall training.
Families are needed to care for the chickens this summer. Care includes cleaning the coop, making sure the chickens have plenty of food and water, letting them out for the day and locking them up in the evening. A contribution of $50 per summer family to cover feed and summer costs is needed. Contact Laura Caskey at laura.caskey@att.net for more information.
At our annual RPC Thank You Coffee yesterday, we enjoyed many annual practices. We prayed for the new RPC Chair-Elect, Kristen Sewell. We gave a gift to the outgoing RPC Chair, Heidi Wendland. We heard the vision of the incoming Chair, Kelly Benzon. We prayed for each other. And, we wrote notes of encouragement.
Our 1st through 8th grade students completed their national standardized exams last week. In a world where standardized testing has morphed into a high-stakes culture that dominates the experience of day-to-day learning, I am thankful for our ERB exam (or technically called CTP-4). Where some standardized testing processes can get in the way of learning, our ERB proves to be a valuable exercise that enhances the educational experience at Regents.
The Senior Thesis is the most tangible example of one of the goals of a Regents education- to graduate students who can declare, dialogue, and defend an idea. This is the pinnacle of the classical Christian education model and the event is something every person who has a student at Regents should witness. In two weeks each senior will present their thesis and in so doing will have completed the final assignment as a Regents Knight. The smile on the face and the bolstered shoulders of a student standing alone at the podium as the crowd cheers their accomplishment brings tears to my eyes every time.
Verbs demonstrate animation in our lives. There are two verbs in the English language that equip us for parenting: Watch and listen. Contrary to popular belief and practice, "talk" and "lecture" are not in the top two list. Watching and listening suggest several important messages to your child.
Nick Gordon, our Director of PE, recently led our K-12 Staff Meeting with joyful zeal by introducing new objectives that he and his department have incorporated into our PE program this year. Nick used fellow staff members to demonstrate some of the new activities, which included your esteemed Head of School rolling around in a life-sized tea cup and making a fool of himself.
Beck Brydon, our Athletic Director, sent out an email last week to our 6th-12thgrade parents about the importance of our roles and behavior at sporting events. He and I talk about such things often, and our discussion stirred my thoughts towards the relationship between our community at a sports event and the Trinity.
Among many changes brought by our Skyward system, we're perhaps most delighted to announce an end to the registration packet. Beginning in a few weeks, registration will be completed online (at home, in your jammies!). Forms have been re-designed, and many fields are pre-populated, so the process is markedly faster and easier.
Our School of Rhetoric class trips prove to create memories and open new experiences. Check out the photo taken this week in Europe of Mr. Doerksen, Regents juniors (Cade Richardson, Tyler Robert, and Claire Hugman), and Matt Gore – Regents Class of 2012. As a Davidson College student, Matt is spending a year at Oxford University and was able to join the juniors briefly on their class trip.
What better day than a school snow day to cozy up together at home... and plan your summer activities! Part of every Regents family's summer plans should include camps at Regents. Entering its 12th year of programs, Regents Summer Camps provide your children a great opportunity to stay connected to classmates, sharpen their skills, and have a lot fun. Everyone benefits -- the cost is more affordable than most summer camps, and it supports our coaches and teachers by allowing them to enjoy your children this summer while earning a little extra income.
Mr. Ron Wood -- our COO, Regents Men's Bible Study Leader, and a Regents grandfather -- is giving the School of Rhetoric Chapel talk on Monday. Below is part of his teaching from John 12. You can read the rest of it, as well as other great chapel talks and articles by our teachers and staff, at www.regentsschool.com/sorblog. Take a look. They are worth the read.
This season of Lent reminds Christians that we are fallen, broken creatures in need of redemption. Being redeemed from our brokenness resonates in the soul because we all share this human condition. All of us. Thankfully, we have a redeemer. Rob Williams, History Instructor in our School of Logic, is our guest writer this week. I love his insights on redemption through the inspiring paintings of Edward Hopper. My hope is that the message will kindle a spiritual pursuit in you this Lenten season.
Each morning I see students reading while they are walking down the plaza. Thankfully this multi-tasking is not as dangerous as texting while driving.
As a little boy, I fell in love with author Roald Dahl's imaginary world. Some of my favorite book-friends were Charlie, Danny, James, and the elusive Mr. Fox. The three boys were adventuresome, and Mr. Fox – well – he was wily, and that really appealed to me.
In my first year of being school administrator in North Carolina, my board chairman took me to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. to study a series of paintings. Honestly, I would rather have gone to the Redskins football game, but he was the boss. He took me to an octagon-shaped room. Four sides were doors leading down large art-filled corridors, and the other four walls housed Thomas Cole's four paintings called "The Voyage of Life."
On the first of January I grabbed my 20-year old paperback copy of Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God. The inside tag says "From the Library of Rod Gilbert." What is humorous about that tag is that I had 30 books in my 'library' at the time.
My blood pressure slows down when I contemplate Van Gogh's Midday Rest After Millet. I can smell fresh cut hay and I can hear the gentle breeze and I can feel the air on my bare feet. Take it in.
Baby, it's cold outside! But, it looks like we will be at school as normal tomorrow. With that said, it is a good time to remind everyone about our Inclement Weather Policy. Communication lines for Inclement Weather: Email Voice message on your home phone Regents website homepage and athletics page for additional information and/or schedule changes Text notification (if you have opted in)

Rod Gilbert
Head of School

B.S. Economics
M. Divinity, Mid Amer Sem
Ph.D. (candidate) S Baptist Sem
Interests: soccer, Alpine dairy goats

read his bio



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