Feeling blessed at CCS
New principal happy with the school's culture
It didn’t take long for new Community Christian School Principal Stephanie Coble-Day to recognize the supporting and caring culture within CCS.
“It’s nice that it is a smaller sized school,” said Coble-Day. “You get to know students and families quickly. Parents are really dedicated for quality education for their children, so they are really supportive of the teachers and what they are doing here. Clearly they want a Christian-based education, but they want their kids to be successful and have good manners and be kind and caring to each other. They are really, really sweet kids.”
CCS enrolls 59 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Coble-Day has been impressed with the parent-teacher fellowship.
“That group of parents are remarkable,” she said. “They spoil our teachers and our students. They are willing to help bridge the gap financially if we need things.
“Most of my experience has been in middle school and high school and you don’t usually have PTAs or PTFs. It’s been really nice to work with that organization.”
Coble-Day has 25 years of experience in education. She took over as principal of Community Christian officially on Aug. 1. Coble-Day replaces previous principal Angila Moffitt, who left to pursue a teaching opportunity at Northwestern College.
Coble-Day was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and lived on a family farm outside of Hershey.
She spent quite a bit of time in Cedar Rapids.
“I worked for Kirkwood (Community College) for eight years at two different alternative high schools for them,” she said.
Coble-Day moved to Iowa in 1981. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and theater arts teaching, she spent her first year teaching in Texas.
Following that experience, she moved back to Iowa where she has taught ever since.
Coble-Day’s husband, Scott, is from Davenport. The couple has lived in Fort Dodge for the past four years.
She pursued the opportunity at CCS because she and her husband wanted to remain in the area.
“I took a leap of faith and applied,” Coble-Day said. “I’m feeling blessed about the opportunity. We really liked the area and didn’t want to move.”
Coble-Day holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Drake University in Des Moines. She has about 20 years of teaching experience and five years of administrative work.
Up until about a year-and-half ago, she had worked in public schools and then at Head Start.
“I was looking for an administrative job because I wanted to get back into a school district,” Coble-Day said.
Prior to the start of the year, she was able to have a meeting with every school staff member.
Building relationships has always been a top focus for her.
“My biggest asset would be I really like people,” Coble-Day said. “I really like to hear people’s stories. I am able to reflect on conversations we have had. I really like to learn. I am still learning.
“I feel so blessed with having a phenomenal teaching staff and support staff, great school board and community in general has been supporting CCS. Loving and caring parents. It’s been a godsend. When you come into a new school, it is its own community. Everyone has been so positive and upbeat and supportive.”
Coble-Day starts the school day off in the chapel with the teaching staff. There, they gather for daily devotions.
During breakfast time, she monitors the students while teachers prepare for their day.
That gives her an opportunity to get to know students of all ages.
“I really like listening to the kids talk to me about what’s going on in their classrooms,” Coble-Day said. “Relationships and learning. Being willing to learn new things and just because staffs responded to me a certain way before doesn’t mean they will respond the same way. If you have a strong foundation, it’s easier to weather some of those hard times.”
The rest of her day consists of paperwork, meetings, monitoring the students at lunch and talking with teachers and parents.
Coble-Day has been pleased with the CCS staff.
“Even though we have only been together a month-and-a-half, we have strong connections,” she said. “If there is a problem or concern, we are going to be able to handle it really well.”
Coble-Day is looking forward to celebrating homecoming week with CCS.
Although the school doesn’t have a football program, she said it’s a fun way to show school spirit.
“It’s a fun time of year to support each other and reinforce our thoughts and philosophies here at CCS,” she said.
CCS homecoming week will begin on Sept. 24 and end on Sept. 30.
It will include things like hat and sunglasses day, favorite sport day, pajama day and CCS Crusaders colors day.
Class competitions like tug of war, water balloon toss and an obstacle course are other activities planned.
And the week will also include a competition to benefit a local charity.
“Each classroom will get an empty milk jug to collect coins,” Coble-Day said. “The class that collects the most coins will get a party and then they get to choose where that money should go — a local charity.”
Throughout her time in education, Coble-Day said it’s special to watch students transform.
“For me, it’s seeing the students’ uniqueness and their qualities and watching them grow and learn and mature as the year goes by,” she said. “Hoping that you have a little positive impact on that. And knowing it takes an awesome team, from our secretary to our staff. I always stress that everybody has an important role. Being positive or friendly. We all can make a huge impression. Seeing them grow and mature or look at people in a different way. We really promote being kind and caring and being a team here.”
She said it starts with the adults.
“We as adults model it,” Coble-Day said. “We see students volunteering to help each other out. With elementary kids we get a lot of hugs and high fives. Those kids that are happy to see you at the end of the day or lunch, that’s really fulfilling as well.”
With COVID-19 still a concern, Coble-Day is hopeful that as time goes on, the community can be a bigger part of what’s happening at the school.
“With COVID, we haven’t allowed a lot of parents in the building,” she said. “We are pretty closed off. We just aren’t allowing as much traffic. I am looking forward to when we can open our doors a little more to get to know parents better and community who support this school. The kids are missing some of those volunteers or parent time. Right now, it’s not safe to bring those grandparents in for grandparents day. Bringing people back into the building (is a goal) because we miss that.”