Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School 2015 - MCH School

Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) Charter School, located on the Waco campus, officially started classes this past Thursday, Aug. 20.  In the 12 years of our partnership with the University of Texas-University Charter School system, 245 students have earned their high school diploma.

“Over the summer we completed a number of improvements at the school,” said Moe Dozier, vice president for programs. “The improvements include new lighting in all the classrooms and new classroom furniture for our students. Our partnership with the University of Texas–University Charter School remains strong and we are pleased to be adding sixth grade and expanding our Day Student Program.”

The most noticeable change is the uniforms our students will be wearing. Our students will have the choice of slacks, shorts or skorts along with different colored polo shirts which have the MCH logo on them.

Cristy Cunningham, principal, had this to share, “The overall response from students has been positive about the additions and changes. We have had fewer schedule changes this year than in the past and our Ag classes are full. We are excited about the new year!”

Friday, August 14, 2015

MCH School staff take on the Alpine Tower

Staff from the Methodist Children’s Home School (MCHS) have been preparing all summer to lead students through challenges as they begin another school year. On June 5, school staff took on a different challenge as they tackled the Alpine Tower course at the Boys Ranch.

School staff were invited for the second year to the Boys Ranch to spend the morning testing their skills on the ropes course. Cristy Cunningham, principal at MCHS, wanted her staff to participate after she said her previous school did a ropes course as an exercise to “work together as a professional learning community.” She said it creates an opportunity for staff to learn each other’s strengths and fears.

The MCH recreation department led the school staff through the ropes course training in the morning. After the training, staff were invited to eat lunch at the Ranch with the boys and visit their homes. Cunningham said the day was a great experience for her staff.

“New staff are supported by returning staff,” she said. “Leaders and ‘outside the box thinkers’ are identified immediately. The greatest goal  of the ropes training is that we come together as one team cheering each other on to accomplish a task that may seem overwhelming to an individual, but as a team there is victory.” 

MCHS, located on the MCH Waco campus, was established in 2003 and is operated in partnership with the University of Texas – University Charter School.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spiritual Development Summer Music Project

Artistic talents of youth are shining this summer through the MCH Spiritual Development’s (SD) summer music project. SD Minister Ahmad Washington, who is also a musical artist and producer, is sharing his knowledge and expertise of the music industry with youth as they create songs during the first phase of the summer music project. Once the songs are created, the second phase of the project, led by SD Minister Ron Britton, will bring in visual artists who will design and create the album covers for their peers.

Recently Washington helped an MCH youth create an album of her own music and several other youth expressed the desire to also share their talents and learn about music production. With such a high level of interest in the project, Washington held auditions and conducted interviews with youth to form the music production class. During the process, youth were selected based on their talent, attitude, work ethic and willingness to work as a team. Six youth from the Waco campus and three from the Boys Ranch were selected to be a part of the music project. The youth from the Waco campus are all songwriters and vocalists/rappers and include Alex (vocalist), Kristen (vocalist), Nadia (rapper), Xavier (rapper), Jesse (rapper/vocalist), and Jayden (rapper). Youth from the Boys Ranch are music composers and include Prince, Ramero and Yacci.

Washington said in the class, the youth are learning about developing song concepts, focused creative writing as well as what it takes to create a radio-ready song including the preparation, practice and process of recording. The group came together to follow a common theme of “hope” and brainstormed for ideas and concepts for a collaborative song. Youth at the Boys Ranch are learning how to compose and record music and beats which they will present to the Waco group.

Many of the youth have faced hard circumstances and challenges and music is giving them a way to express themselves, Washington said.

“They are learning that music is more than a technique and sound, but about your heart coming through in your sound,” Washington said. “The goal and the purpose of this project is to make both the student and listener feel like no matter what they’ve gone through, they can make it.”

Once the group song is complete, the youth will also have the option to record their own song. Britton will interview and hold auditions for artists who are interested in creating the graphic design or illustrations for the album covers. This experience will provide students with an avenue to grow in their craft as well as an opportunity to share their talents and build their self-confidence.

“I am excited, impressed and incredibly proud of them,” Washington said. “During this experience, there are certain things that you see at work spiritually.”