UPDATE 9-1-2017

Strategic Vision Drives Student Programs and Opportunities into the Future

Since the launch of MCS Vision 2020 in February 2016, the MCS Board, Administration, Faculty, and Staff have invested significant time, resources, and prayer into moving these organizational goals forward.  Here’s a snapshot of how God has strengthened MCS within key strategic areas over the past 18 months!



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Inspiring students to grow in their spiritual maturity and ability to defend their faith are of the highest priority for the faculty and staff at MCS.  

The launch of our new elementary Bible curriculum “Deep Roots” provided a stronger, richer spiritual experience for our younger students with its engaging content that not only addresses foundational truths about God, but also begins training them in Christian worldview thinking and apologetics.. Additionally, with fifth grade identified as a pivotal year for a child’s spiritual maturity, our Middle School Bible department developed a unique weekly teaching series for that grade, including group discussion and tools for teachers to dive deeper with individualized follow-up throughout the week.  

We published a Middle School Bible journal tailored to the MCS program as well as added a formalized Bible reading plan.  We also defined four guiding principles for planning meaningful chapels to ensure that every chapel is aligned with our vision, based on the values of worship, Biblical teaching, application, and response.  With all of this progress, the MCS Bible Program now has a solid linear progression, with each grade level’s spiritual training built intentionally upon the prior year.

Using data collected from students and parents, Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) was solidified as an integrated part of our students’ relational development with Jesus.  From creating unique spaces that are intimate and worshipful, to life-changing chapel messages, to providing specialized journals for reflection, MCS SEW is now an anchoring experience for all grades.

To strengthen our home-school partnership, we added a weekly communication with parents that highlighted chapel topics, as well as incorporating weekly notes from teachers to support classroom Bible exploration.

Last, significant research and background work was accomplished within our Bible Department to lay the groundwork for creating surveys that will (anonymously) track our students’ personal spiritual development.  With input from local pastors, we are making headway on this one-of-a-kind tool, which will provide concrete data to improve overall spiritual formation programming.



Provide faculty with HIGH-QUALITY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, engage students with unique, INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING opportunities, and incorporate DATA-DRIVEN INSTRUCTION school-wide to ensure each student’s educational needs are met

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MCS sets high academic standards while integrating a biblical worldview in every subject, taught by a dedicated team of educators who are passionate experts in their field and committed to helping each child reach his greatest potential. Under the guidance of our Elementary and Middle School Principals, much has been accomplished!

Biblical worldview integration was a primary focus of our all-school professional development, presented in a year-long format by our Middle School Bible/Apologetics Department.  This produced key progress to ensure that all faculty are congruent in how they teach from a distinctly Christian perspective, and it also resulted in a permanent video training series for future MCS staff.  

In terms of individual professional development, our educators were energized by a solid array of top-level academic institutes and conferences, bringing best practices directly into the classroom.  Twenty-one middle school and 24 elementary teachers traveled throughout  the country to attend institutes and learn from top academic experts in reading, writing, science, special education, leadership, and much more.  This training, coupled with the addition of a full-time elementary facilitator coach and further infusion of data-driven instruction training, supported teachers in furthering their expertise in meeting students' needs.

Big gains were made for individualized learning, supporting our vision to create learning paths for all students that not only move them academically but spark maximum engagement.  In elementary, we performed individualized reading assessments in K-5th grade and sharpened our focus on small group instruction in reading, writing, and math, with teachers setting targeted strategic goals in those areas.  We transformed our writing program with a new curriculum (Units of Study) based on a structured workshop model where students become owners of their writing.  For math individualization, we implemented Math Pathways in 3rd-5th grade, as well as a tiered math program in K-2nd grade.  Finally, with the expansion of our iPad program into upper elementary using an access for all model, as well as engaging student-led projects such as our 3rd grade “Wax Museum,” we made headway on our vision to increase student ownership in learning.

Middle School moved forward on meeting individual needs through course expansion in core subjects. Within the Math Department, we now offer instruction based on student readiness, ranging from advanced math (Trigonometry) to math fundamentals; similarly, within the English Department, we now offer Honors English to reading intervention.   To better support student success, we added multiple sections of study skills, a strategic reading intervention and support course, and established a standard of quarterly interim assessments to provide teachers with vital data to inform instruction, meet individual needs of students, determine mastery, and set student academic goals to further challenge our students. Through added professional development and the implementation of the assessment platform, Illuminate, our teachers were further trained in developing effective assessments that produce meaningful data as well as how to analyze data in a meaningful way. Through this, our middle school teachers became better equipped to use data to positively impact student success.



Take STEM to the next level through a shift into a “MAKER EDUCATION” school culture, igniting STUDENT PASSION in robotics, coding, technical arts, video production, performing arts, professional mentorships, student leadership, and other opportunities to tinker, design, test, and ultimately flourish as COLLABORATIVE THINKERS.

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MCS is committed to providing unique experiential learning opportunities to unlock the social, physical, and artistic potential within each child.

With the launch of our Maker Education initiative, significant work has been done to lay a foundation for promoting a school-wide ‘maker mindset.’  We have restructured our philosophy to incorporate Design Thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) as an umbrella for all program deliverables  We recruited a fabulous Maker leadership team with Sharee Pfaff as  Maker Ed. Facilitator and Terri Rodriguez as Ed. Tech/Maker Ed. Director.  And, this summer we built a vibrant, inviting, cutting edge MakerSpace that will serve as a primary hub for K-8 students to collaborate, design, tinker, and create!

Many elective offerings were added and/or expanded, including coding beginning in kindergarten, 3D-game programming, advanced Technical Arts and Photography classes, introduction to CAD Design, Culinary Arts, Woodshop, Industrial Arts, and expansion of hands-on STEM lessons embedded in the elementary curriculum.  We also added the first of our professional mentorships by partnering with GoldenComm, a global web marketing firm, to give our student web design team high level training with real-world application.

To better prepare students for arts involvement in high school, Mariners Institute of the Arts diversified its classes and performances to include an interdisciplinary, collaborative Evening of the Arts to showcase theater, orchestra, band, fine arts, technical arts in one event.  

Inviting new musical opportunities for students were added including:

  • Middle School Drum Core
  • Advanced Arts classes (including set design and production)
  • Student-created set designs and student-run sound/lighting for the middle school musical
  • Weekly Fine Arts workshops
  • Individual vocal lessons in elementary
  • Enhanced elementary music training coupled with student-led music research projects (e.g. Credenza Projects)

Big strides were taken within student leadership, starting with the expansion of our Associated Student Body (ASB) into the elementary grades. Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) also expanded to include sixth grade, giving more students experience in mentoring younger children. Finally, to offer truly unique leadership roles for students, two new middle school positions were added: Student Worship Leader and Student Tech Arts Director. 



Encourage a caring and energizing PROFESSIONAL CULTURE, build a CONNECTED SCHOOL COMMUNITY through Bible studies and book studies, engage the “Men of Mariners,” and expand MISSION AND OUTREACH opportunities for students and families to further a heart of service.

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With a vision to promote a unified school culture for both parents and staff that shines the light of Christ to the surrounding community, our Community Connectors Program accomplished a great deal. Nearly 200 Moms enjoyed personal development through inviting book clubs and Bible studies, including Intentional Parenting, For the Love, and Breathe.  To encourage fellowship, we instituted a speaker series entitled “Legacy” featuring life-stage topics relevant to parents, as well as an array of purposeful social gatherings (e.g. Art Night, Valentine’s Tea).  We also planned “Legacy” gatherings  to foster MCS Dads’ spiritual development, as well as a fun bonding event at “Tavern and Bowl.”

Additional events and resources provided time for MCS families to build meaningful connections: two fall Prayer gatherings, five Dine-out nights at local restaurants, Open House food truck festivities, an all-school “Lunch on the Lawn,” and our monthly commUNITY Connection newsletter full of Christ-centered messages with practical application for families.  

Understanding that new families need support as they transition into “MCS life,” we established a New Family Ambassador Program, which links new parents with existing families for questions and support.  We also developed a layer of welcome events designed to jumpstart connection for parents and students, including on-campus orientations for elementary and middle school and a healthy schedule of summer playdates.

And, in our desire to help students develop a lifelong commitment to service, we added a structure of service opportunities that are both student-led and organization-led. As the culmination of our two-year partnership with Christ the Center ministries in Uganda, our students and staff raised over $54,000 to build our Gulu friends a chapel/auditorium, hire six teachers, and purchase a bus.  We also built a partnership with a local organization, Shalimar Learning Center, in which our middle school students visited once a month to develop relationships and spread God’s word and love. Our middle school orchestra also visited a senior center in Irvine to bless them with a beautiful concert.

To offer a truly unique opportunity for students to apply their own passion to service, we launched a “Difference Maker” grant program that inspires students to apply for a grant to initiate their own service project.  These students are now charged with engaging their peers to build the program and truly make a difference for the underserved in our community.



Maintain a solid reputation in the Orange County community as the #1 PRIVATE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL of choice

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MCS is committed to staying on the forefront of private Christian education and providing the best possible learning environment for students.  

To bolster our Admissions process, we built stronger relationships with local preschools and churches to ensure that all Orange County families are aware of MCS.  We hosted key on-campus events for preschool directors and pastors, plus a Professional Development Day for preschool leaders.  We created a series of preview events to give prospective parents a true sense of an MCS classroom experience.  And, background work has been done to host Shadow Days for prospective middle school students.

As donor partnership is essential to envisioned learning environment upgrades, we accomplished three major initiatives that will help pave the way for future capital expansion:

New Athletic Field - In Summer 2016, MCS installed a high quality, synthetic athletic turf that can withstand the test of time, help conserve water, and most importantly provide the very best field of play for students.

Artist Conceptual Rendering

New Makerspace - In Summer 2017, MCS established our first state-of-the-art Makerspace Lab to serve as a primary hub for students to collaborate, design, tinker, and create!  This space is a launching point for our Maker facilitators to begin infusing design process thinking into curriculum and classroom instruction in all grades.

Artist Conceptual Rendering

Front Lobby “Welcome Experience” - Also in Summer 2017, we remodeled our Admissions and reception area to create an inviting space for parents, students, prospective families, and guests.  The area reflects MCS in its layout, colors, and imagery, giving visitors a positive impression of our school’s identity and distinctives.


From Strategy Areas to Core Values

At this time, we are formally transitioning our “Vision focus areas” to Core Values.  Going forward, we are excited to share continued progress with you in these five distinct areas:






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