SouthLake Christian Academy Update – May 2023

Dear SouthLake Christian Families,

By my count, we have 10 school days left in this academic year. One year ago, I would have told you we were finishing one of the most difficult years of my professional life. Today I am happy to say we are finishing one of the most enjoyable. I feel honored to work with such distinguished teachers and supportive parents. I am grateful to each of you for your collective efforts to protect, train, and teach our students in a Christ-centered environment.

Spring Festival
Please help me extend warm appreciation to our Parent Teacher Fellowship for a stellar Spring Festival last month. I have attached to a school email the list of sponsors who helped make that event financially possible. Two years ago, we made this a free event and solicited sponsors to help cover costs. Thanks to generous sponsors, we now receive as much in voluntary donations as we once got from ticket sales. When the need arises, SouthLake families always come through.

New Website
Perhaps you have noticed we launched a new website after Spring Break. Many months in the making, our new site provides all the information you need in a format that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. We track traffic to our site and notice that admissions, athletics, and our school calendar are most often accessed. Along with the new SouthLake app, our new website will help us better communicate with you and prospective families.

We project enrollment for the 2023-2024 academic year to reach 650, up from 546 in 2018. We have grown every year for the past five years. As of last week, we have space left only in kindergarten, largely because we added an additional class, and a few spots in high school. All other grades are full. Retention remains well above industry standards at 94%.

School Board Service
Each spring we reach out to school families to invite those who may wish to serve on our School Board to apply. We do not always have openings, but we solicit applicants anyway so we have people ready to serve when the need arises. Upon request, I will send you an applicant profile which lists qualifications for service. If you believe you qualify and are willing to serve, please complete the profile and send it to me. I will forward your application to our School Board Chair and set up a time to talk further. I am grateful to have a qualified and engaged School Board in place, and we welcome experienced leaders to serve alongside them to strengthen our school.

Annual Fund Donations
 In closing, let me ask you to make a donation to our school’s Annual Fund. The Annual Fund provides value added to the school on behalf of all our students and teachers. With previous Annual Fund donations exceeding $1 million, we have improved school safety, renovated our sanctuary, and will be adding new Fine Arts classrooms this fall. We value gifts of all sizes and seek high participation as much as gifts of extraordinary size. You can access the “Giving” link on our website, or click the “Give” link on the SouthLake app. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

By now you may feel like I am just an annoying cheerleader for SouthLake. I certainly do not mean to imply that SouthLake is without its challenges, but I find little value in negativity. I will confess to being a relentless optimist about our strengths and potential as a school. By God’s grace, SouthLake continues to thrive against all odds. Our former Head of School, David Rowles, said on a recent podcast episode, “If God wants SouthLake to fail, it will, no matter what we do to prevent it. And if God wants SouthLake to succeed, it will, no matter what we might do to mess it up.” My optimism about SouthLake grows from my confidence in God’s proven faithfulness to us through the years. I pray you will experience God’s faithfulness in new ways as we head into the summer months.


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

Education God's Will Technology

SouthLake Christian Academy – Update March 2023

Dear SouthLake Christian Families,

Regardless of the groundhog, it sure feels like spring has arrived, at least for now. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are warming, and several important things are happening this month at SouthLake.

Spring Musical
As I type this email, several volunteers are putting final coats of paint on the sets for our musical production of Peter Pan which opens tomorrow night on campus. The production runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. with a matinee performance Saturday at noon. Tickets cost only $10 and can be purchased online here. You can also buy access to view the livestream of Friday night’s performance. The story will entertain you and the talent on display will inspire you. I am incredibly proud of the cast, crew, faculty, and volunteers working tirelessly to put on a show you do not want to miss.

Summer Camps
The registration link for our summer enrichment and athletic camps is now live. You can access the link on our website under the Campus Life tab, or simply click here. Once again, you will see a stellar lineup of opportunities for students to stay mentally and physically sharp this summer.

Academic Calendar
Attached to this email you will find a PDF of the linear calendar for both the 23-24 and 24-25 academic years. In an effort to help everyone with advanced planning, our administrative team is working ahead to put all the important dates in place for the next two school years. While some minor dates are still TBD or could change, the most important dates are now set, and soon we will begin work on the 25-26 academic year.

SouthLake Media
Episode two of the SouthLake Podcast is now out. In this episode, our three school deans discuss campus culture, parent partnerships, and school values. You can find our podcast wherever you get your podcasts, now including Spotify. And later this month we will launch our newly redesigned website. Finally, a quick reminder that Daylight Savings Time begins March 12, in spite of legislative attempts last year to end the practice. The time change does help our sports teams, all of which are off to a strong start this season.

Welcome to those of you who are new to SouthLake and receiving my monthly email for the first time. We are glad to have you.


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

13820 Hagers Ferry Road
Huntersville, NC 28078

Fine Arts Technology

Managing Increased Email Volume

Now that everyone is working and schooling from home, your email inbox has probably blown up. Friends, family members, co-workers, and all of your kids’ teachers are emailing you with unprecedented regularity. I have a strategy to offer for managing that ballooning inbox, one that I adapted over time from other people, the identities of whom I cannot now remember. I can remember these four words: delete, delegate, do, delay.

Delete. Many emails can be deleted the moment you read the subject or sender line. Marketing promotions, social media alerts, and various lists to which you subscribe intentionally or not, my recommendation is that when times are hectic, delete these emails the second they show up in your inbox. Some email management software automatically sends such emails into a separate folder. By whatever means, get these junk emails out of your inbox.

Delegate. Some emails you can immediately send to someone else – a coworker who needs the information, an employees whose job is to handle the task, a child who needs to manage his or her own school assignment, or information on which you’ve been copied. Get these out of your inbox immediately by forwarding them with as little explanation as possible or filing them in case you need the information later. When in doubt, file. Storage is plentiful and cheap.

Do. After you’ve deleted and delegated all the emails you can, now you look through the list of emails and, counterintuitively, look for the least important emails first. If the email requires you to perform a task that you cannot delegate, and the task would take less than two minutes to perform, perform that task as soon as you open the email. Someone is asking a simple question or needs your permission for something. Give them an answer in as few words as necessary, politely but succinctly, and move on. Now is not the time for verbose niceties. Take care of as many of these brief tasks as possible and then delete or file the email, depending on whether or not you need a record.

Delay. The last category of email is the one that requires a task of you that only you can perform, and the task will take longer than two minutes. Keep this email until you’ve deleted, delegated, or done all of the other email tasks in your inbox. These are the only emails that should camp out in your inbox. Keep the number of these emails below 20 if possible. This will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Here are additional quick recommendations:

  1. Work on email during specified times of the day. Don’t let email dictate your work life, otherwise you will sacrifice the important for the urgent.
  2. Don’t check your email within a couple of hours of bedtime. You don’t need that irritant to keep you awake.
  3. Never send an angry email. Electronic communication is permanent. Emails can be subpoenaed. Confrontational conversations should be held face-to-face or by phone where facial expressions or vocal inflections can provide context and prevent misunderstanding.
  4. If you must, write a draft of an angry email and then sit on it for 24 hours. Reread it the next day. Let a colleague review it for you. In the end, you’ll probably delete it so save time and just don’t write it in the first place.
  5. Use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar regardless of who you are writing. Emails provide good opportunities to practice proper English, proper English shows respect to others, and respect is a good thing, especially in times of crisis.
community Ethics Technology

Continuity of Instruction Plan for SouthLake Christian Academy

How does e-learning work?

School may look differently in the days to come, but education will continue. Here you will find our plans to provide instruction to SouthLake Christian Academy students in an online environment, also called telelearning, distance learning, or e-learning. Our teaching plans aim to keep things simple, clear, and flexible.

Simple. Effective online instruction does not need to be fancy. Neither parents nor students need to be technology specialists to learn well in an e-learning environment. We will start with basic tools – phone, email, internet – and build from there. We will focus on essential curriculum and skills. Students WILL learn the most important content.

Clear. Effective online instruction requires clear two-way communication. Teachers should be organized, accessible, and responsive. We ask students and families to relay problems to us quickly. We want our students to have a clear understanding of class expectations and content and not to struggle with logistics.

Flexible. Effective online instruction utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous engagement. Most instruction will be asynchronous, meaning that students will be able to access materials on their own schedule rather than in coordination with the entire class. Synchronous instruction will be scheduled to accommodate student availability. Many of our families have multiple children and childcare challenges. We could potentially move back and forth between live and online classes in the weeks to come. This will require each of us to be patient, accommodating, and supportive of each other.

What can parents and students do to prepare?

  1. Give us the information we need to help you. If you have not done so already, please complete our tech survey so that if you have a problem, our tech team will know what technology you have at home. If you have not done so already, make sure we have the correct demographic information for you in Renweb.
  2. Get organized. You will soon receive more electronic communication from SouthLake than you are accustomed to receiving. Set up an email folder for each of your children or for each class or subject. Check email regularly, file or deleted unneeded mail, and respond quickly and briefly to any emails that require only a short response.
  3. Be patient. This is a learning curve for all of us. We are landing a plane while finishing the runway. We will all make mistakes and maybe get frustrated from time to time. We will try to solve problems as quickly as possible. This plan is a work in progress. We will update, revise, and improve as we go along. Give and receive grace.
  4. Stay connected. You can see what is happening around the school and stay informed by following our school’s various social medial channels. Here is a list:
  • Facebook – SouthLake Christian Academy
  • Instagram – southlakechristian
  • Twitter – @SLCAEagles
  • Head of School Blog –

What technology will we use?

We will use technology platforms that are free, accessible to everyone, and work well on both Mac and PC devices. Teachers will provide instructions for using these resources as needed. Not all teachers will use all of these programs, and our Tech Team will be available to assist as needed. Here is a list of most of the platforms our school will be using.

  • Email – we will use the contact emails you provided in Renweb.
  • Phone or FaceTime – we will use the cell phone numbers you provided in Renweb.
  • Renweb – our online school database and the primary means of posting class content.
  • Microsoft Office 365 apps including One Drive, One Note, Forms – online file sharing and storage (mostly for High School use).
  • Google Suite products including Classroom, Calendar, Docs, Forms – online program for managing classes, assignments, content, tests, quizzes, calendars, and file sharing.
  • Zoom – an online communication tool for video recording and video conferencing.
  • Smart Music – an app for recording individual music practice and receiving feedback.

What if I need technology support?

Email the help desk at A member of the tech team will contact you.

What are our plans by grade or division?

Although each teacher is unique, our plan provides some standardization to minimize confusion to the greatest degree possible. All teachers will use a combination of the following: video (instruction and conferencing), regular email or phone communication, assessment (tests, quizzes, papers, projects, etc.), and virtual office hours.

Junior Kindergarten – 3rd Grade (Spano, Canipe, Calhoun, Moore, Davis, Patton)

  • Teachers will email families regularly to communicate expectations and information needed to complete assignments.
  • Teachers will post weekly plans, assignments, needed documents, web resources, and video content on Renweb.
  • Students may turn in assignments by email, text, or an online student-interactive website.
  • Teachers will phone, FaceTime, or Zoom to connect with students and parents each week to check in and answer questions.
  • Teachers will set up virtual office hours for individualized assistance.

4th – 6th Grade (Boovy, Gonzalez, Bussell, Clemmer, Jacobs, Rowles, Vance, Boone, Belvin, Thomas)

  • Teachers will email families prior to March 30 to explain in detail how to access all electronic resources needed, primarily Renweb, Google Classroom, and Zoom.
  • Beginning March 30, all teachers will communicate via regular emails with information relevant to all 4-6 grade students.
  • Each teacher will email daily with specific information and reminders to check Renweb and Google Classroom for assignments in specific subjects.
  • Needed materials not already sent home will be linked to both Renweb and Google Classroom.
  • Students may turn in assignments using a combination of text messaging, Google Docs, Google Forms, or other Google apps.
  • Teachers will schedule virtual office hours for students needing individualized help.

7th – 8th Grade (Belvin, Bumgarner, Boone, Jacobs, Reeves, Russell, Wilson)

  • Each teacher will email families prior to March 30 welcoming students to e-learning and explaining in detail how each class will work.
  • Beginning March 30, teachers will post lesson plans and links to primary resources in Renweb. They will give assignments and provide instructional content through Renweb, Google Classroom, and curriculum specific sites (science and history). Links to these items will be posted in Renweb.
  • Each teacher will produce video lessons weekly or more frequently, depending on the nature of the content.
  • Each teacher will communicate regularly with students via email, video, and/or phone to provide specific instructions and reminders to check Renweb for assignments.
  • Each teacher will schedule virtual office hours for students or families with questions or concerns.

High School

  • Each high school class is unique, so e-learning plans will be highly individualized, just as they are in a live classroom setting.
  • Teachers will use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
  • Teachers will email students prior to March 30 with introductions to online learning and instructions for use of any new technology.
  • Each teacher will post lesson plans, notes, videos, and assignments on Renweb and other file sharing platforms.
  • Students will submit assignments through OneNote, OneDrive, and Google Classroom.
  • Teachers will use Zoom for scheduled online class gatherings.
  • Teachers will schedule virtual office hours for individualized assistance.

What about specials like library, PE, Fine Arts, and STEM?

  • Most music classes will move to individualized instruction using the Smart Music app.
  • Other classes will utilize online resources for singing and choreography.
  • Library instruction will include reading recommendations, videos, and book blogs.
  • Art teachers will send weekly project ideas and post completed projects on Instagram and our online art gallery called Artsonia.
  • PE instruction will consist of weekly video workouts that student can do in their own homes.
  • STEM instruction will involve periodic emails with ideas for projects that can be completed at home to support subject area learning.

What about students receiving services from our Academic Development Center (ADC)?

  • ADC teachers will continue to support their students by providing consultation and individualized assistance to students with issues that affect their learning.
  • ADC teachers are familiar with distance learning technology and will have access to their students’ Renweb resources and e-learning apps.
  • ADC teachers have received special certifications for teletherapy and will use Zoom for individualized therapy session.
  • ADC teachers will schedule virtual office hours for those needing additional assistance.
  • ADC teachers will continue to support students with an Educational Plan of Action (EPA), and provide documentation needed for accommodations on standardized testing.
  • ADC teachers will continue to consult with prospective students and their families.

What about high school students needing help for fall scheduling or from our College and Career Counseling Office?

  • Course request meetings will be handled using Zoom. Individualized assistance will be provided by phone or email from our scheduling team.
  • Students needing schedule counseling will use Sign-up Genius for Zoom meetings.
  • Junior planning meetings and sophomore PSAT and Pre-ACT test review meetings will take place using Zoom as students request.
  • Blog posts will contain grade level updates, encouragement, and links to resources.
  • Email communication will inform students of collegiate information and any testing changes.
  • Personal communication will continue to support post-grad research, virtual tours, and senior schedules.

Final Considerations

Thank you for your steadfast faith and trust in SouthLake Christian Academy as we continue to teach and minister to your students. We hope to return to live classes as soon as it is safe to do so. Truthfully, the months that follow may have a profound impact on the future of education. New capacities, efficiencies, competencies, and possibilities will likely emerge from this unprecedented time in our history. We cannot see exactly what the future holds, but we trust that Christ is preeminent in all things.

Compiled and edited by the Faculty and Staff of SouthLake Christian Academy

March 2020

Academics Education Technology

Social Media Ethics

So I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that technology moves faster than our thinking about technology, and that as a result, our moral reasoning about technology tends to take place on the fly.  I am guilty of accepting new technologies as a natural part of my life without considering how best to use them for noble purposes and avoid misusing them for ignoble ones.  I’m playing catch-up here, as i suspect many are. Here are a few recommendations I would give to those seeking to use social media in an ethical manner.  (Disclaimer: I’ve made mistakes regarding all the recommendations I give here!).

1. No personal attacks.  Public humiliation or embarrassment does damage to a person’s soul.

2. No emotional streaking.  Tell your dark secrets to a trusted friend.

3. No attention seeking.  Over-tweeting probably annoys people and says to everyone “Hey, look at me.”

4. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom, your minister, or a future employer to see.  Once it’s out there, it’s out there.

5. Let your speech be gentle, kind, and humble. This seems a rather virtuous approach, yes?

And perhaps allow me to end with a practical matter. Posts could fall into three categories: entertainment, information, and inspiration. Balance the three categories and you’re probably using the venue well I think. Most people respond more to entertainment than information or inspiration, so avoid the temptation merely to make people laugh. It’s difficult to be both funny and kind on social media platforms. Rise to the challenge.