Well on its way: Acts House of Education turns five

BY MARLENE RAUTENBACH

At Acts House of Education (AHE), a day of celebration, singing, dancing, thanks, praise, fun and lots of cupcakes began on 12 April 2019, when the school celebrated its fifth birthday. It is a Christian Independent School in Glen Austin, Midrand, Gauteng, with learners from Grade R to Grade 11.

During the special Founders Day assembly, the principal, Mrs Anny Breedt, shared a message of thanks with the school board, parents, teachers, school staff and learners, saying: “What a privilege it is to be part of our success over the past five years, which could not have been imagined, therefore making the next five even more exciting and more appealing!” Parents and other guests were treated to a variety of items: a song by the Grade R learners, a dance and song excellently performed by the Foundation Phase, the AHE vision and mission statement presented by an enthusiastic Intermediate Phase and a vibrant dance staged by the Senior Phase students at Acts High.
In addition, the Acts High debate team presented the highlights of each year of the school’s existence.

In the beginning

AHE was founded as an extension of Acts Christian Church. Its purpose is to provide private education in an environment where children can live out their Christian faith. On 14 January 2015, the school opened its doors with 131 learners from Grade 00 up to Grade 6. The school staff consisted of 10 teachers under the leadership of Suritha Kaminsky, Grant van der Walt, and its newly established board of directors. In the same year, AHE was registered as a not-for-profit company with both the Gauteng Department of Education and the Association of Christian Schools International. The school grounds were developed by Acts Christian Church, with the help of community members, who assisted in the assembly of prefabricated buildings, the renovation of the administration the administration building, and the addition of paved walkways, gardens and a sports field.

An important re-launch

In 2016, the school year started with 171 students and was re-launched during the quarter under the leadership of the newly-appointed principal, Anny Breedt. A fresh, new look for Acts House of Education was introduced: a brand with a clearly set vision, mission, new logo and school uniforms. More comprehensive sport and cultural programmes were also instituted, including soccer; netball; softball; cricket; cross-country running and athletics; and drama, chess and debating. Acts House of Education collaborated with Creare Training Centre, a theocentric Arts, Skills and Ministry training institute based in Bloemfontein to offer music lessons in guitar, drums and piano. A specialised and guided reading class was created for learners in Foundation Phase to enhance reading fluency and comprehension.

Welcome Grade 8 and 9 students!

At the start of 2017, the school had a student cohort of 214 learners and pioneered its high school with 30 learners in Grades 8 and 9. These learners attended the first high school valediction ceremony and proudly pulled their school’s signature navy blue blazer over their shoulders for the first time. A leadership programme for the high school students was implemented, which included courses such as Lead like Jesus, Hope for Africa’s Cherish & Courage, The Question and E2, facilitated by Acts Church. During the same year, the school established its first parent forum and selected class representatives to assist with fundraisers and parent/teacher communication. The initiative kicked off with the 11/11 fundraising project and family movie night, in order to generate funds to build a hard-surface, multi-purpose sports court. A fully furnished science and technology classroom was sponsored and constructed by TEND International, and a separate school parking lot was added to secure the safe dropping off and collection of learners. AHE was well on its way.

Enhancing inclusion

At the start of 2018, the school welcomed 281 learners from Grade R to Grade 10 and marked the inclusion of the Further Education and Training (FET) qualification. AHE was the first school to collaborate with e2 Young Engineers (a company with unique curricula focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects) to provide practical science and technology experiences to learners in Grades 7 and 8 to augment the school curriculum.
Further improvements were made to enhance inclusive education by providing intervention classes for English, Afrikaans and mathematics, and a full time remediation programme was set in place for learners from Grades 1-5. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the high school welcomed its first deputy principal, Flip Jacobs. Simultaneously, an additional bathroom block and classroom ramps were constructed to accommodate learners with physical disabilities, and AHE started to participate actively in sporting leagues across Johannesburg. During the athletics season, eight learners proceeded to compete at district level. The school entered the Dance Sport School League (DSSL)1 and during the first season, four of the students were selected for the Gauteng provincial team and attended national trials.
Together with the Acts Church worship team, the school started to engage in monthly worship assemblies, and with the support of parents, the first Family Fun Day was hosted with great excitement. On 1 August 2018, AHE became a proud member of the Independent School’s Association of South Africa (ISASA) and successfully completed the first stage of its accreditation with Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training.

AHE racing forward

In 2019, Acts House of Education boasts a student cohort of 330 from Grades R to Grade 11, with 24 air-conditioned, multimedia classrooms and 36 full time staff members. The leadership and teaching staff of AHE have endeavoured with pride to raise the standard of teaching and learning. Teachers are now catering for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to improve involvement. PowerPoint-based lesson plans guide the learners and each learner is measured according to specific objectives and individual learning targets.

Acts House of Education will select its first student council, head boy and head girl this year. The school looks to the future with great anticipation to see its first matriculants graduate in 2020 and become the first AHE alumni to impact the world for the Kingdom of God.
On 12 April as a birthday surprise, the school song, written by Anny Breedt and composed by David Sampson, was performed for the very first time by the talented Bianca Moeketsi.
At this ceremony, Joshua Makhatini, a senior learner, concluded his brilliant address with these profound words: ‘The distance between your dreams and reality is called “action”’.
It is exactly this kind of attitude that has grown AHE. After his address, the high school learners proudly recited the School Pledge of Integrity.
The proceedings were concluded by the director of the school board, and senior pastor of Acts Church, Peter de Fin. In his address he compared a school to a garden that requires nurturing, weeding, pruning and tending to by a loving gardener. He further encouraged the learners to love their school, to love each other and to love their God!
Each learner was awarded with a commemorative Founders’ Day cap and proceeded to the sports grounds to open the school’s first brand new multi-sport court facility. This project was proudly planned and organised by Grant van der Walt and the AHE Parent Forum and opened by van der Walt and Loshnee Iyer, sports coordinator at AHE.

Guidance from above
Breedt concluded:
We would have been discouraged if we knew the exact cost of what it would take to build a school, but God revealed Himself in the provision of financial resources, favour with government, strength to endure late nights and long days and sent the teachers, the families and the children that would represent Him. Our success and future plans lie firmly in the hands our creator, the God who knows the beginning and the end, and the God who mercifully uses us in colouring in the middle. We honour our Lord Jesus for His unmerited favour over Acts House of Education.

Marlene Rautenbach is an Intermediate Phase teacher at Acts House of Education.
References:
1. See: http://www.dssl.co.za/about/
2. See: https://www.umalusi.org.za/

Category: spring 2017

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