SouthLake Christian Academy Update – July 2022

Dear SouthLake Christian Families,

I hope you are enjoying time away from school. Things on campus remain busy and productive, but we will be closed next week for the Independence Day holiday. When we return, we will be only a month away from the start of the fall semester. Allow me to pass along some important information as we prepare for classes to resume.

New School App
As of today, the new SouthLake Christian Academy app will replace the Renweb app. The app is available for download by name in the App Store (iOS users), or the Google Play Store (Android users). The app can connect you to school calendars, announcements, financial information, grades, homework, lunch orders, and everything you need to be an active member of the SouthLake community. We are still building content for some features of the app, and some features require login credentials for Renweb or Orgs Online. Thank you to Jennifer Thomas and Brooke Hondros for their diligent work getting this app launched.

Parent-Student Handbook
I have sent by email an updated copy of the Parent-Student Handbook for the coming academic year. We have made minor changes or additions to our Escalation, Disease Mitigation, Behavior at Athletic Events, and Email Communication policies. Additionally, we have added a policy prohibiting the use of ride share services to transport students to or from campus. The updated handbook will also be loaded to our website before school starts this fall. For those who may need to order uniform items, Land’s End is running a promotional sale through July 11.

Water Bottles
If you’ve spent any time on campus during a school day, you likely have noticed the prevalence of plastic disposable water bottles on campus. In addition to its environmental impact, plastic creates a mess around campus and causes a massive accumulation of trash we must pay to dispose. For the past two years, we have been adding water bottle filling stations across campus to decrease our dependence on disposable plastic. Beginning this fall, therefore, we will no longer provide disposable water bottles with school lunches. Students will be expected to have a reusable water bottle with them at school. We plan to stock some in the school store as well. This will allow us to better care for God’s creation, keep a cleaner campus, and contain rising costs for our hot lunch program.

Personnel Changes
This month we welcome our new CFO Dawn Johnson. Dawn joins us from Providence, Rhode Island and brings experience as an accountant, finance executive, auditor, and controller for various corporations and non-profits. We also say goodbye to Rebekah Leonard, who leaves SouthLake after 22 years of service at the Academy, most recently as Associate Head of School. She will be entering semi-retirement, excitedly following App State athletics, and operating a consulting business that provides services to private schools and home school families with special needs students. God speed Rebekah. We will miss you.

Fiscal Year Ends
Today marks the end of the 21-22 fiscal year and another successful annual fund campaign netting $257,547 in undesignated gifts to the Academy. We continue to see strong participation rates from our parents and employees. The annual fund allows us to complete projects above and beyond what tuition dollars alone can provide. Last year’s giving allowed us to begin major renovations to the First Building to create a first-rate meeting space for chapel, fine arts presentations, and school assemblies, a project scheduled for completion this August. We hope to have an announcement soon about our next facilities improvement project. Thank you for your continued generosity.

It appears our enrollment will be near capacity when we start school this fall. With our commitment to small class sizes, we have an enrollment capacity of 634 school wide. Our retention rate remains high at 94% and we have already added 100 new students for the coming year. We have space remaining only in grades 3, 4, and 11, and we have 38 students on wait lists for other grades. Word of mouth has always been the most common way people hear about SouthLake, so thank you for spreading the news about our school.

Parents Bible Study
Have you ever wondered what your students are learning in Bible class or in chapel? Beginning this fall, I will help lead a Bible study for parents one morning per week where we will study some of the same things as your students. We will keep the study brief for those needing to get to work. If there are particular topics or interests you have for us to consider, please let me know and we will do our best to incorporate those into the study. I will be back in touch with more details as the start date approaches.

That’s all for now. Schedules will likely be released later today. We will see you soon.


Matthew S. Kerlin, Ph.D.
Head of School
SouthLake Christian Academy