Spotlight on Academies in USA
located in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Published February 2012
Part 2 added - March 19 th
Revised - July 16th
Revised - Oct. 1st
Revised: Jan. 31, 2013
|Takoma Academy (aka TA) was founded in 1904 and has a long history of preparing youth for college and developing a Christlike character fitting them for service to God. (See history on their website www.ta.edu/#/about-us/history ). TA is one of four Adventist Academies of the Potomac Conference, and is located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Within five miles of the campus there are six English language Adventist churches (Sligo, Takoma Park, Seabrook, Emmanuel-Brinklow, Community of Hope and Silver Spring Church) and five non-English churches. The town of Takoma Park also has Washington Adventist University (formerly called Columbia Union College) and two SDA elementary schools (Sligo Adventist School and John Nevins Andrews School). Therefore, Takoma Academy serves an area where the Adventist Church is well known by the community. In fact, the school is located only five miles from the headquarters of the General Conference / North American Division in Silver Spring.|
|David Daniels was Principal of Takoma Academy from 2009 to April 2012 with a faculty of 25 to nurture and teach approximately 225 students. Eight of the faculty are alumni of TA.|
|David Daniels informed me that during 2010 they increased the number of advanced / honors courses, put greater emphasis on college preparedness and ACT/SAT testing, and increased teacher workshops and curriculum development. He said, “Our students have regularly participated in food and clothing drives, a program to feed the homeless, community cleanup and numerous other outreach activities. Making the academic enhancements and outreach activities a part of our culture has helped build character and define our commitment to academic excellence and community service.”|
|Amy Soper, started as Vice Principal of Academics in Fall 2010. Her prior experience was an English instructor for nine years at Mount Vernon Academy. Amy says, “It is incredible to see so many of our students excited about challenging themselves in these AP courses, which will help prepare them for the rigors of college,”|
|The Christ centered curriculum includes worship as each class period begins and students are introduced to the love of Christ.|
The new school year (started August 2012), it is the first time in the school’s history, where students will be able to take AP (Advanced Placement) courses as early as their sophomore year. In addition, the computer program is being restructured to offer Microsoft Office certifications to help give students a competitive edge in the technological and business world.
Keith Hallam, VP for Education at Potomac Conference informed me that . . .
|"We have two very interesting stories developing. The first is the turn around at Takoma Academy and the focus to have a data driven school that is focusing on preparing students to not just enter college but to finish college. The other story is our attempt to developing a true school system - we call it a school cluster with Takoma Academy, Sligo Adventist School, and John Nevins Andrews. We are excited to be working with the Commonweal Foundation during this process."|
|The Potomac Conference with the help of the Commonweal Foundation is developing a true school system, he calls it a ‘school cluster’ (Takoma Academy www.TA.edu , Sligo Adventist School www.sligoAdventistSchool.org and John N. Andrews school www.jna.org ).|
|On February 15th this article was sent to 350 members of the on-line group called E-ventists in Education (see below) and in one month 56 comments were posted to the on-line discussion.|
|The former principal of TA, joined the group, he is a teacher at TA now and he added that many positive programs have enriched the environment at school. He reports that Commonweal provided a new HVAC System, a new roof, upgraded facilities and resources for Teacher Education and In-Services.|
|A member of the group who lives in Takoma Park revealed that the school started a basketball program which was controversial, in that it forced the students to choose either the school league or the church’s ministry. The school’s basketball team’s purpose was to win games whereas the church’s basketball ministry was to win souls. It was reported that the principal hired non-Adventist coaches for the boys team who brought in seven non-Adventist players for the purpose of building a winning team. It is alleged that upon the arrival of the new coaches the team held practice sessions seven days a week including Fridays leading up to Sabbath and Saturday evenings minutes after Sabbath.|
|A petition was signed by over 400 parents and Adventists concerned about the school’s new program. It was reported that the school administration asked the son of the parent who started the petition not to enroll for the next semester. This parent joined the discussion group and reported he was banned from the campus without a chance to defend himself from what he calls false accusations and retaliation by the Principal.|
If it is true that "the leader of the school / administration is lying, intentionally hurting fellow Christians" this needs to be dealt with in the proper venue. What bothers me and should bother the parents and the students is that there is no process to hold a Principal accountable for this kind of behavior. The members of E-ventists in Education group will be able to follow this and to see the result of this lack of accountability.
|Some comments were against continuing this discussion because it was not the proper venue to deal with misconduct and the administration should not participate in a public discussion. In my opinion, this story should be about both sides reasoning together in an atmosphere of Christian love. That is not happening and there is no process to hold the administration accountable for misconduct, what we have is a recipe for disaster at this school. We are witnessing the results of a failure in the system and I hope it will be a lesson to all who read this article and follow this discussion.|
|I will add that I am still interested in the “interesting stories” mentioned by Keith Hallam in October 2011, the stories which actually prompted this “Spotlight on takoma Academy” and I plan to contact more people at TA for more details which will be included in the revised article.|
|You can also read more about the Education system of the Potomac Conference www.PCSDA.org and contact conference leadership for their side of the story.|
|Revised article posted on March 19, 2012|
|The revised article of March generated another 75 comments on the LINKEDin group E-ventists in Education, and several interesting developments followed.|
|Below is the second revision of this article - July 16, 2012|
|Almost one hundred Adventists joined the LINKEDin group since this article appeared in February. After the first revision was published there were many comments posted about accountability for wrongs done by the school principal. In late March, one grieved parent started posting e-mails sent to him by school administration. It was alleged that the principal implemented a new policy without approval from the Board of Trustees. This is a direct violation of Education Dept policy and a concerned parent wrote a MEMO to the Board of Trustees three weeks before they met in Jan. 2011. Click Here for a copy of the MEMO. http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/1974|
|The Board members were not given the MEMO, as the Principal had promised to do. When they met in January to consider the policy they only heard points in favor of approval of this policy. It was claimed that the board was manipulated into approving a policy they may not have approved if the proper procedure was followed. This MEMO was introduced to the discussion so that the points made in the letter could be understood by the readers. Even a Petition signed by 400 Adventists did not sway the Principal from his new basketball policies.|
|The grieved parent followed Matthew 18 but the school and conference administration would not deal with this issue in accordance with proper procedure, in fact, the conference does not have a procedure to deal with accusations of misconduct by a principal employed by them. Ellen G. White wrote, in the book Education, page 298, “There are in our schools persons who are corrupt in heart” Read the entire quote http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2025 This situation seems to demonstrate that Adventists who are not really Christians will be found ‘Even in our schools’ and this needs to be dealt with.|
A teacher at TA who was a former Principal, informed the group that there are policies to deal with this situation. He referred us to the Columbia Union Conference Education code. He said this is found on http://www.columbiaunion.org/site/1/docs/B-2011_Code_-_4-1-11.pdf
Close review of this document shows that the teacher was mistaken, what he thought was a procedure to deal with this was something else.
On April 22nd, David Daniels, the Principal of Takoma Academy sent a letter to the parents informing them that he will not continue on as Principal. Here is the URL for this letterhttps://takoma.client.renweb.com/ftp/TAKOMA/Email/34660/Transition%20Letter(1).pdf
|We learned on May 17th that the new principal will be Cynthia Thrower. The basketball program has been re-organized with new coaches and there is evidence of a spiritual revival and high expectations for the new school year which starts in August.|
|The news that is most disturbing is that on May 23rd the Potomac Conference filed criminal charges against the parent who started the petition and wrote the memo. He was accused of three counts of criminal trespassing on school property, and if found guilty he could spend up to 90 days in jail.|
|The Lord should be praised for this dramatic deliverance for the school but there are still serious questions about the handling of this by the Potomac Conference. This update will be posted as a discussion on the LINKEDin group called E-ventists in Education and for anyone who has a comment is invited to join. Please mention you saw this article when you request to join the on-line group.|
|Here is the third revision of this article - October 1, 2012|
|There have been over 200 comments on the LINKEDin group and I have revised this article again on October 1st to report the big story which is still developing. The parent who started the petition has been an active member of the Adventist church for many years, the Potomac Conference accused him of three counts of criminal trespassing has provided some documents. http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2223/|
|One document in his defense is an e-mail showing the person who accused him gave permission to be on the property http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/2216/|
|The jury trial is scheduled for November 13th and the church leaders have been invited to testify (subpoena) are Ted Wilson, President of GC; Dave Weigley, President of Columbia Union Conference; and Alvin Kibble, VP of NAD.
The trial was postponed to December and in December the state's attorney dropped the case because there was not enough evidence to continue to trial.
|There will be a new discussion on the Education group, see more information about this group below.|
|SpotLight on Takoma Academy - Legal action against Alumni Association|
|A new phase of the story developed in January 2013 when the Potomac Conference started a legal action asking the Alumni Association to 'cease and desist' its activities. We have created a new page to Spotlight this new phase. As of April there are over 100 comments about this on the E-ventists in Education group.
The lawsuit ended on Aug. 7, 2014 when the judge signed a Consent order. See details
|Click here to Continue to the new page on this website|
This information about Takoma Academy
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E-ventists in Education
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