Crossties: March 22, 2013 • Volume: 2012-13, Issue 27

Message from the Headmaster

Just what we needed. 

I am sure many of you have seen the front page article in Wednesday’s (March 20th) Roanoke Times about Community High School dropping its tuition in half. I read the article several times with interest as I know that tuition and financial sustainability are significant issues for all private schools across the nation. I was intrigued enough to do a little research and would like to share  with you my perspective in hopes it will inform your discussion.  

Community High School is a unique school operating under unique circumstances. Last year, Community High School operated on a little more than $1 million in revenue, educating 42 students.* On average, they spent $25,337 per student. Of this $1 million in revenue, approximately $600,000 was in the form of charitable giving with the remaining revenue coming from tuition. In other words, each student received a subsidy of $14,714 towards the cost of their education. I cannot answer whether their newly announced tuition and financial model is sustainable but I do know that a sustainable model based upon the continued need for such a subsidy requires extraordinary generosity. (*Information from Community School’s 2012 IRS 990 form, available through our GuideStar account.)

North Cross on the other hand, spends approximately $16,000 per upper school student, of which 91% comes from tuition and 9% comes from development efforts that include the annual fund, the gala, and the Big Flea. Traditionally, this model of offering a comprehensive educational program, at a fair price, and supported by an appropriate financial aid system, has served as the most sustainable model for good independent schools. I was pleased to see that we offer a much wider diversity of academic and athletic programming, with greater college placement success, all the while operating on 60% of the total revenue at Community High School. This speaks directly to the efficiency and fiscal discipline that we have developed over the past two years.

Strategically, we know where we are, we know where we’re headed. Our strategic plan provides a reasonable, achievable blueprint for growing this school. Our board developed a detailed multi-year plan with an efficient and sustainable financial model resulting in the first balanced budget in a decade. Our tuition is where it should be, at a level needed to attract and retain a diverse student body and to deliver a competitive, challenging, and comprehensive educational experience. Speak confidently in saying that no school in the state provides what we provide for the tuition we receive.

Perhaps it was serendipitous that this article arrived on my door step at a time when I was thinking about our newfound lean and mean status. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


Please note: The full text of this message, with additional details regarding student-teacher ratios, is available on the Headmaster’s Office page on the school website.

Albert Newberry ’17 receives National Recognition

For Albert Newberry ’17, composing music is not only a hobby, but also a passion. His hard work and dedication paid off on January 28, 2013 when the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced that Newberry was one of the winners of the 2013 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.

This prestigious award, established by The ASCAP Foundation in 2002, is named for the great trumpeter and ASCAP member, Herb Alpert. It was created to encourage gifted jazz composers under the age of 30 and each recipient is selected through a juried national competition and receives a cash prize. Given to 30 people worldwide, only six recipients are between the ages of 10 and 18.  One of the six is North Cross School eighth grader, Albert Newberry, age 13. Click here for the full story. 

Festival del Español

Please come enjoy Hispanic dances and Spanish songs to celebrate the lower school's first "Festival del Español" presented by Señora Mariana Hermosilla de Casco, Señora Jenny Boush, and the NCS lower school students.
The event will take place next Tuesday, March 26, at 9 a.m. in the Carter Athletic Center.

Big Flea, Big Weekend, Save the Dates

Big Flea and the Olde-Tyme Family Fair is right around the corner and will be here before you know it. Mark your calendars, gather your donations, and sign up for your six volunteer hours needed so you can be the first to shop at the Big Flea pre-sale.
Here's what you need to know...
May 10—3:30 p.m.—Big Flea Pre-Sale: For those who have volunteered at least 6 hours (during the set up time from April 29 - May 10 and/or hours served the day of). 
May 10—6 p.m.—Red & White Family Dinner: Friday night dinner and talent show.  Keep a spot in your planner for the talent show (dinner included with your ticket). This year's dinner will have turkey and ham carving stations, and there are rumors about a special act again this year at the talent show!
May 11—7 a.m. —Big Flea begins: The Big Flea sale will go from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Carter Athletic Center.

May 11‚—11 a.m.—Olde-Tyme Family Fair begins: The Olde-Tyme Fair will go from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of North Cross School.  
If you are able, please consider volunteering to help with this important fundraising event and please also consider making donations that can be sold at Big Flea. If you would like to help please contact Jennifer Burtch at

Mulch Madness

This past Saturday, March 16th, equipped with work gloves, rakes, pitchforks and smiles, a number of folks got together to do some good. During the morning they spread some mulch and some community spirit as they gave the flower beds and trees a fresh layer of mulch.

Helping Dr. Proctor, Malcolm Douglas, Chris Moore, and David Lake were several parents and children. Special thanks to Drs. Ross and Amanda Murchison, and their children, Olivia and Mason, Alan Bloch, Mark Wadstrom, Jay Brenner, John Sanders, Barney Hammond, Kevin Finch, Marlo Peason and children, Gray and Harry, and Dr. Bill H'Doubler.

In just over three hours, we spread 16 truckloads of mulch! Thank you for your help! 

Quick Links

School Calendar

Athletic Calendar

March Lunch Menu

NCS in the News

NCS 8th Grader, Albert Newberry, recieves 2013 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award

Classroom Corner

Click here to see a live performance from Muses at Bay. The band performing is a student/faculty rock band called "All Physics, No Chemistry". The band members are as follows: 
Zach Austin
    vocals, trombone  

Wes Bonnelli
    drums and percussion 

Emily Chandel—

Ryan Hunt—

Mrs. Baker

Mr. Schaefer
    vocals, piano 

Mr. Wells
    trumpet, backing vocals 
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