York Must Become Better on Race

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York keeps finding its way into national news for all the wrong reasons. The now former mayor of West York makes headlines for racially charged social media posts. This week, a local school was forced to investigate a video that showed white students carrying Trump-Pence signs while shouting, “white power.”

The optimist in me wants to write a piece that declares, “York is Better Than This on Race,” but are we? Far be it from me to be the kind of false prophet the Scriptures decry who “dress the wounds of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”
When I first moved to York, my mentor and Pastor drove me to a county church that had stained glass windows that proudly displayed that the KKK had donated them.

My own integrity as a young pastor was tested years ago when an older white member called black people the “N” word and spoke ill of Hispanic people. I never knew how hard it would be in that moment to correct him, but I am glad I did.

Are these local incidents isolated or do they reveal a deeply disturbing racial bias underneath the surface of York?

In order to answer that question, we are going to have to be honest and self-reflective. Let’s be honest, no one wakes up one day and decides, without provocation, to be biased toward any particular group of people. Bias is learned behavior. Bias flows out of fear of the unknown.
Each of us has bias if we are honest about it. The question is whether we will become self-critical enough to see bias in our own hearts and daily behavior.

A few years ago, I attended the York Fair with my family and we invited some of my kid’s friends from school. Two of those kids, David and Barbara, are Mexican, and exemplary students at Logos Academy. Our relationship with their family is precious. As we walked through the Fairgrounds, I saw a group of Mexican kids walking our direction. Though I myself am of partial Mexican heritage, my body began to tense as I began to believe that these kids looked like potential trouble. As this group of “thugs” approached, I saw David and Barbara smiling and breaking off to greet them. In that moment, I realized how foolish my thoughts had been, how subtle the implicit bias was that controlled me. This group of kids was not a gang of thugs. They were just a group of kids like David, Barbara, and my kids, out for a fun night at the Fair. I had judged them in my heart based on their race and their clothing style. The bias was subtle. I was wrong and glad I discovered it.

York is not an isolated community. We are a microcosm of a country that is rocked by racial and political division. Our country has just endured one of the most ugly and divisive political campaigns in my memory. My own soul has been calmed by the more conciliatory tone of the speeches and meetings that have followed the election. A friend lamented how he wished the campaigns were run like the acceptance and concession speeches.

Last Sunday, a variety of ethnically diverse churches met for a service of repentance. One participant publicly repented of how our nation has tolerated the divisive campaign. It was a powerful prayer.
On Wednesday morning of this week, I wrote an email to my staff at Logos Academy, asking them to show Christian charity to each other, to not judge one another by how they voted, to be sensitive to our student body. One young Hispanic student showed up to school crying, fearing that her family was going to be deported to Mexico. My heart broke for her. I asked my staff to remind our students that there is a King named Jesus who sits on Heaven’s throne, presiding over this world’s chaos, who loves them, gave his life for them, and is committed to justice for them.

Throughout our school building, we have signs displayed that represent the Logos Academy code of conduct. They declare three personal imperatives we expect of everyone in the Logos community: I show respect. I take responsibility. I seek to repair.

York cannot be a thriving place for everyone, especially for people of color, if we don’t learn to show respect to each other. The Scriptures teach us that every man, woman, and child is made in the image of God; that heaven will be filled with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. I am always troubled by the statement that people claim they don’t see color. I understand the intent is to claim a lack of racial bias, but it undermines the beautiful, created diversity that God built into our world. I see your skin tones, and I give thanks to the artistic Creator who made you. You reflect His glory and I respect you.
York cannot be a thriving place for everyone, especially for people of color, if we refuse to take responsibility for how we are raising the next generation. I was so deeply troubled that it was young people shouting “white power” in the halls of a county school. What kind of bias are we passing on to our children? How would you feel if your kids didn’t feel safe at school because of their skin color? York must take responsibility for the racial bias that is subtle and easily hidden.

York cannot be a thriving place for everyone, especially for people of color, if we refuse to commit ourselves to repairing what is broken. Nothing is more precious than watching quarreling students find reconciliation. Imagine if York became known as a community of repair; a place that made national headlines for racial reconciliation and healing.

York shows respect. York takes responsibility. York seeks to repair.
York can become better on race. We must. Our future depends on it.

Rev. Aaron J. Anderson
CEO/Head of School
Logos Academy

The following also signed this guest column: 

Pastor Bill Kerney, President, Black Ministers Association of York County and pastor of Covenant Life Ministries; the Rev. Ramona Kinard, Vice President, Black Ministers Association of York County and pastor of Wheatfield Church of the Living God; Rev. Glenn Miller, Vice President of External Relations, SpiriTrust Lutheran


Love Does – The Peace Path


Anna McMonigle, 2nd Grade Teacher and her students

~ Guest Blogger, Anna McMonigle, 2nd Grade Teacher

This year at our staff day apart, in preparation for the school year ahead, we focused on “Love Does.” We were challenged to put love into action and spent time that day praying and asking God to show each of us how to live out “Love Does” and incorporate it into our classrooms. I have introduced my students to this concept and have anticipated seeing “Love Does” lived out in our classroom.

So it happened. It was probably the best part of my day…my favorite “Love Does” story so far this year…two girls had a big disagreement and were both very angry at each other. It would have been simple for me to just separate them and move on, but they needed to reconcile and repair their hurt, “Love Does.” So, I challenged them to work through the ‘Peace Path’ together. peace-pathThe Peace Path is a technique I use in my classroom where both students involved in a conflict state their feelings then restate the other’s feelings so that they are both heard by one another. Then they brainstorm together what they could have done differently. When they agree, they apologize and shake hands.

This was the first time the Peace Path was used this year and wow…what a powerful testimony of God’s love and grace!!! I was in awe as I sat and watched from a distance. I only caught little pieces of what was said, but by the end they were smiling and laughing! God is working in the hearts of my students and I am humbled to be witness to their lives! “Love Does” repair!

Calling Champions

Aaron Anderson, CEO/Head of School, high-fives a student on the first day of school.

Aaron Anderson, CEO/Head of School, high-fives a student on the first day of school.

Back-to-school time has arrived! Students are putting on their new uniforms and zipping up their backpacks. It’s a time of new beginnings and high hopes. Logos Academy is a special place. Dreams are planted, futures are built, and children are being prepared to be all that God has created them to be. I’d like to ask you to invest in that as this school year begins.

Grounded in the love of Christ, we embrace a whole-child approach, investing in the academic, spiritual, and cultural flourishing of our students. We are committed to strong parent partnerships, small class sizes, and are excited to see our students engaging in the good things happening in our city. This vibrant mix creates a path of opportunity like no other educational choice in York. However, every child faces challenges, both in school and life. To make it possible for our diverse group of students to be in our classrooms, they need champions. They need champions to encourage them, cheer them on, and help provide them scholarships.

  • Would you consider being a Logos Champion and supporting a student for a day with your gift of $45?
  • Would you consider being a champion for a week with a gift of $225 to cover a student’s education at Logos?
  • What if every locker at Logos became a place of daily encouragement, where students are reminded that champions are rooting for them and supporting them? Would you consider giving $1,000 to benefit a student’s scholarship and provide a word of encouragement on a student’s locker?

GIVE #LogosChampion

Tough-minded and Tenderhearted



~ Nancy Snyder, Student Support Coordinator


The student was sinking under sorrows and stresses. Like all drowners, he was also grabbing anyone nearby and dragging them down with him. I crawled under his desk, told him to follow me, and brought him to my office.

When Liz went by, she put her hand on his arm and told him that she knows his life is hard. She also told him how much she loves him. She briefly outlined the traumas he has endured this year, acknowledging how difficult these circumstances are.

tough and tenderAfter insisting on eye contact, Liz said, with heartbroken compassion and immovable firmness, “But, no matter how hard things are, you cannot behave this way in your class.” The student’s eyes fell.

After insisting on eye contact again, Liz said, with heartbroken compassion and immovable firmness, “No matter how hard things are, you cannot crawl under your desk.” The student’s eyes fell.

After insisting on eye contact yet again, Liz said, with heartbroken compassion and immovable firmness, “No matter how hard things are, you cannot push other students.” The student’s eyes fell.Five times, Liz repeated the intimate eye contact, heartbroken compassion, and immovable firmness. The student, who had arrived in the office angry, disheartened, and hardened, began to cry. Liz wrapped an arm around him as he sobbed.

At the beginning of the year, Aaron (our Head of School) challenged us to read and apply Martin Luther King’s essay, “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart.” In it, King states:
The Bible, always clear in stressing both attributes of God, expresses his tough mindedness in his justice and wrath and his tenderheartedness in his love and grace. God has two outstretched arms. One is strong enough to surround us with justice, and one is gentle enough to embrace us with grace.

We can’t change our students’ daily circumstances. As we have restorative conversations, however, we can change how our students live in their circumstances. Part of being an urban, kingdom school is offering our students the toughminded tenderheartedness of Christ, so a student who was bellowing under his desk can return to that desk to make a mosaic map of the continents over which our God reigns with two outstretched arms.

Classical Education Can Transform Urban Communities

Guest Blogger – Nancy Snyder, K-12 Student Support Services Coordinator

A beautiful little girl, only seven years old, sat in my office weeping. A beloved family friend had just been killed. One more young man gunned down in our city. One more family with a bullet hole in their family picture. One more neighborhood in mourning. One more city rent by violence. One more little girl weeping.

After we talked and prayed, I asked this child if she knew why Logos was founded. Through her tears, she said, “So people would respect each other, instead of…“ Her voice trailed off.

At our Christ-centered school, one of the things our Vibrant Learning Community practices is respect for each person made in the image of God. In partnership with the Holy Spirit, teachers and students labor to work out problems in ways that make and maintain peace. Even a second grader can see this is what our city needs.

Because our second grade curriculum opens with ancient Egypt, even before this death caused her tears, my young friend understood the contrast between the land of the living lit by the eastern sky and the city of the dead spilling into the underworld. She understood the difference between Narmer, who united Upper and Lower Egypt to rule a great country, and Abraham, who waited for God to provide a better country (Hebrews 11:16). She saw Christ as a better treasure than the glittering gold of King Tutankhamen. A class discussion, about the God who prepares a home for His people, in contrast with the Egyptian practice of stockpiling possessions for life after death, provided the framework and foundation for our hard but healing discussion of her grief.

Soon, my young friend was ready to return to class, where she is now studying ancient Greece. This little girl and her classmates are learning that God is a better poet than Homer, and he is making each of them His poiéma (Ephesians 2:10). She is seeing that Christ is better than Greek military heroes because He has conquered our greatest enemies: sin, Satan, and death. Through our classical curriculum, children of our city are being shaped to love a different kind of courage. Not an angry bravado that shoots down, but a hope-filled bravery that loves.

Soon, as they study ancient Rome together, these second graders will learn that God is building a city far greater than Rome—a truly eternal city (Hebrews 11:10). Fueled by that hope, may these children spread the shalom of God in our city.

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Drawings by the student to her friendphoto1 (2)

Is Love Simply a Bonus?

Aaron Anderson, CEO/Head of School welcomes a student at the beginning of the school day.

Aaron Anderson, CEO/Head of School welcomes a student at the beginning of the school day.

There is one non-negotiable component so critical to a child’s growth and well being that we must name it explicitly instead of assuming its presence and practice. That component is love.

Love is vital to delivering a well-rounded education because love is foundational to the holistic development of healthy human beings. The famed American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that, after the very basic physiological and safety needs have been satisfactorily met for humans, the need for love emerges as a powerful shaping force. When love is withheld from a human, it is disastrous to his or her development. Maslow wrote, “In our society the thwarting of these needs (i.e. love) is the most commonly found core in cases of maladjustment and more severe psychopathology.” [1] Humans that are not loved are set on a trajectory toward personal brokenness that will inevitably spill over into community brokenness: violence, exasperated public health issues, unsafe neighborhoods, risky behavior, substance abuses, and a generational continuation of the lengthy list already noted.

In my less than two years of leadership at Logos Academy, my eyes have been opened to the complexity of urban education and the vital role love plays in our school culture. Logos Academy is a small urban, Christ-centered school in York, PA, that serves a student population of 250. Our student population is both ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. Our admissions policies do not discriminate on the faith or financial ability of families. Approximately 70% of our students live in, or dangerously near, the poverty line. Statistically, we know this means our very own students might be exposed on a daily basis to the harsh realities that negatively impact the healthy functioning of their brains and hearts.

As a school community, we are very aware that Logos Academy is much more than an academic institution. In partnership with parents, extended families, and religious communities, we are in the business of human formation. Therefore, we believe that a high quality education must be built on the foundation of love. Schools that fail to nurture a culture of love will fail to deliver meaningful, lasting success for urban students. At first glance, this thesis may not appear to be controversial, particularly insightful, or innovative. Yet, I am developing a growing awareness that educators and those that drive public policy and innovation too easily overlook the critical importance of love in education, especially in urban communities.

A cursory read of modern educational websites, papers, and journals is revealing. A great deal of emphasis is placed on common core, academic standards, test scores, the incorporation of STEM technology, and experimentation with mass customized learning. Debates are focused on the effectiveness of charter schools versus public schools, whether parents should be given vouchers to send their kids to private schools, the role of teacher unions, the crisis in funding teacher pensions, and whether control of public schools is best accomplished at a federal or local level. These important emphases and debates make a crowded space for educators to ponder and meditate on the vital importance of love in education.

Besides, what educator would dispute the idea that love is an important part of a good education? One author summarized the sentiment well, saying, “I don’t know of any school employee who doesn’t love children. This heartfelt emotion is not a government standard or requirement for work at a school district. It is simply a bonus to students and parents that most educators bring to school every day.” [2]

Yes, I agree, love in the classroom should be a given. But is that a safe assumption? At Logos Academy, the practice of love is foundational to our school culture. Our mission statement is explicit in our belief that “Logos Academy…is grounded in the love of Christ.” We don’t assume that our faculty and staff love kids; we expect it from them and hold ourselves to a high standard. Love is not a nice bonus to a high quality academic program. Love is the foundation.

[1] Maslow, A. H. A Theory of Human Motivation. Mansfield Centre: Martino, 2013. Print.

[2] Labor of Love, by Dave Arnold. Accessed on 2/22/2016 at

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