How to Keep Your Child Safe on the Internet

By: Stan Rozar, Upper School Computer Science

By definition, the Internet is a globally connected network system used to transmit data through various types of media. An Internet World Stats survey from 1999-2019 shows a formidable increase in Internet usage over those 20 years. In 1999, approximately 248 million people (0.4% of the world population) used the Internet; 2019 figures show usage by approximately 4000 million people, which is over half the world population. . These eye opening numbers clearly state the obvious, that the use of the Internet is increasing at a drastic rate year by year. I can imagine that these numbers may be very alarming to parents with regards to their children using the internet, when recent studies from a multitude of sources show that, on average, American teenagers spend six to nine hours a day with digital technology exploring various platforms (with the two most popular being social media and online gaming.) Even though social media and gaming are intended to serve as a source of positive interaction, communication, and fun, there are individuals in the world, known as Internet predators, who use these different outlets to take advantage of unsuspecting minors.

By the time a child has reached his or her adolescent years, they have heard something along the lines of “never talk to strangers under any circumstances” more than enough times, or at least they should have. Though that statement should be imbedded in a child by the time they become a teenager, contact with a stranger via internet is still much more common than one would think, due to online camouflaging and access to profiles being so easily attainable. According to the New England Journal of Public Policy, contact with online predators happens mostly in chat rooms, on social media, or in the chat feature of an online multiplayer game. Social networking websites often ask users to post a profile with their name, age, gender, hobbies, and interests. Many of these social networking sites are free and easy to use, which results in these being very appealing to online predators. As for gaming, researchers have discovered that this is just another easy way for predators to connect with children. Unlike social networks, gaming provides a unique connection composed of both a shared interest and a relationship stemmed from being on the same team, or fighting the same missions.

Internet predators often begintheir initial interactions with a child through a process called grooming. Grooming is the process by which a child predator gains the trust of a victim by building a relationship with the child and then breaking down his or defense. As I mentioned earlier, an Internet predator can go about pursuing this relationship through social media or online gaming using many different approaches. The most vital question and concern regarding these possibilities would include knowing when an online predator is either trying to, or isalready in contact with your child. If you notice that your child is spending a tremendous amount of time online and doesn’t tell you why, or seems to be very secretive about whatever they are doing on screen during your presence, those can be signs they are trying to hide an online relationship with a stranger. Also, if you happen to ask your child about their online activities and they respond in one or both of the following ways, it is vital that you take notice. They will either immediately get defensive or annoyed from the constant questioning, or they will clearly give off a nervous or anxious vibe during the conversation. Both reactions should result in immediate action taken by the parent.

There are several ways as a parent you can improve your child’s Internet safety; although none are completely bullet proof.  These simple actions, if monitored properly and consistently, can limit the possibilities of your child falling victim. For social media, the most important action you can take is checking the privacy settings for each of your child’s online social profiles. Each separate social media account generally has the same privacy settings as others, and you can choose exactly who has access to your child’s profile for messaging and viewing. For gaming, you can check the parental controls on the game console and restrict strangers from gaining access to your child’s profile. Most games that are designed specifically for kids have specified settings that aid in preventing inappropriate comments and messages. However, games that are designed for a more general audience have fewer controls, settings, and safeguards, and should require more surveillance from the parent.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to protect your child on the Internet is to get directly involved. Having direct access to your child’s profile allows you to get a front row seat to seeing exactly what they see. It allows you to get a personal feel for other people your child are interacting with, the language that they use, and whether or not your child is at risk of being groomed. Sadly, however, states that even with all the media attention on the dangers of social networking, they still receive hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks. My intention inpointing out this statistic is not to strike fear, but to expand awareness, and to bring additional light in taking proper precautions. With an appropriate combination of a parent’s direct involvement, along with a constant emphasis of the importance of never sharing any personal information with a stranger, I can confidently state that your child’s chances of falling victim to Internet predators will decrease profoundly.




Weekly News: January 28 – February 1, 2019

Lower School Robotics

This weekend, two CA Lower School Robotics teams attended the West TN First Lego League Championship in Memphis.  They put their “INTO ORBIT” STEM knowledge to the test against 48 teams of which very few were from lower schools. They competed in four categories, Robot Missions, Robot Design, Project and Core Values.  CyberCougars, (Jack Catellier, Jay Patel, Evan Mixon, Shelby Maynard, Will Copeland, Jackson Gardner, Nathan Reifenstahl ), placed 24th in the Robot Missions and did well in the other categories.  CougarCubs, (Cammie Johnston, Liya Abubucker, Madeline Dikeman, Parker Kent, Carmen Skaggs, Izzy Salmeron),  placed 38th in the Robot Missions and did well in the other categories.   Coaches Julie Catellier, Joanne Askew and Mentor, Caroline Salmeron, are so proud on how these two lower school teams represented Clarksville Academy.


Kindergarten Preview

All current PreK students and parents are invited to a Kindergarten preview on Monday, February 4 at 3:00 P.M. This event will give you a sneak peek into our Kindergarten program.  Join us for refreshments, class tours, and important information about the 2019-2020 Kindergarten year.


Engage, Embrace, Empower

Clarksville Academy is blogging!  Our new blog launched the week of Thanksgiving and will post twice weekly. The hope of this blog is to offer insights for parents.  We will discuss a variety of topics from technology, to parenting ideas, ways to prepare your child for testing, long breaks, etc.  We hope you will choose to subscribe and to encourage your friends to do so as well. These blogs will not be CA centered, but will offer insights for any parent at any school.  Subscribe at:



IS Basketball–The Intermediate School boys’ varsity team made it to the championship of the James C. Haile State Tournament. We will play Saturday, February 2, at 10:30 AM.

Varsity Girls Basketball—Sydneey Boykin hit the 1000-point mark in basketball last week.  On Friday night she was presented with a banner in the gym in her honor.


Cougar Store

All Items in the Cougar Store are 50% off!   Lots of Adult Small and Mediums left.  If you say you saw this in the newsletter, you will get an extra discount at check out.  Go Cougars!!!!



Investigator Sergeant Mark Wojnarek and Angela Christian of the MCSO spoke to forensic science students about the concept of preconceived notions.  Sergeant Wojnarek is the commander of the sheriff’s office forensic science team, and Angela Christian is a member of the team.  They shared information about crime scene investigation basics and what the field of forensics entails from a law enforcement point of view.



We are excited to announce a new conservation program at our school called Crayola ColorCycle – an amazing program devised to repurpose used markers rather than sending them to landfills. All around Clarksville Academy, students and teachers will be collecting used markers, highlighters and dry erase markers in drop-off boxes. Please help support our efforts by sending in any used markers you may have around the house- even non-Crayola brands. Thank you in advance for participating and furthering our school’s conservation efforts!


Dress Code

New dress code policies went into effect today, Tuesday, Jan 22.  Everyone should have received an email from our Student Council President regarding these.  Please contact your Head of School with questions regarding these changes.


Communication of School Closing

When inclement weather prevents us from coming to school or causes us to be late, school closing information can be found on News Channels 2, 4, 5, and Fox 17, the Leaf Chronicle and Clarksville Now.  We will also email and send text notification.  Our website will have any school closing information posted as well.  We will do our best to quickly assess the situation and make an announcement.  We do not follow Montgomery County School System in these closings.


Annual Giving

We have many ways to give at Clarksville Academy.  One area of giving is the Clarksville Academy Foundation.  The CA Foundation was created in the summer of 2018 and incorporates our endowed funds. Endowments like Procter and Dan Burden Scholarship are now part of the CA Foundation.  On January 12 we hosted a Leanne Morgan Comedy Show with all proceeds benefiting the CA Foundation.  I’m happy to announce that was raised $17,938 at this one event!  Foundation funds must reach a specific level, determined by the Foundation Board, before any monies are spent.  Upon maturity only the interest from these funds will be used.   If you have any questions about giving, please contact Sally Allen at

Important Dates

  • February 9 – CA to Host Basketball District Tournament
  • February 15-18 – Winter Break – No School
  • March 20-22 – Lower School Grandparent’s Day Celebrations
  • March 25-29 – Spring Break – No School
  • April 6 – Prom
  • April 13 – Steak Dinner
  • April 19-22 – Easter Break

Why is a balanced Pre-Kindergarten program best?

By: Shelley Holt, Pre-K Teacher

Parents are faced with many choices for their young children before they formally start kindergarten. Choosing a pre-kindergarten program which balances the structured and un-structured learning time will better prepare them on all levels for the more structured school years to follow.
“Early experiences affect the quality of that architecture by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health and behavior that follow.”Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University
Play-based learning time or “center time” gives your child the freedom to make choices, explore, learn, and develop in an engaging and evolving learning environment with their peers.  This play-based time is a very important part of their school day. They will learn valuable social skills such as sharing, compromising, self regulation, and being a good friend. Whether they are mixing colors in the art center, weighing pine cones in the science center, or pretending to be an astronaut in dramatic play – they are practicing language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, all the while exploring and learning through their interests.
Each child is unique and all develop, grow, and acquire skills at different rates. This makes small group time an integral part of the Pre-K day. Teachers use the small group time to individualize fun learning activities to target each child’s needs in one-on-one or in a small group of students with similar needs. These learning games can be adapted to each child’s interests and learning styles for better retention and success. 
Large group time, morning meeting, story time, and lesson times are also used to reinforce weekly and daily concepts. These times are also used to encourage them to raise their hand and wait for their name to be called to develop self control and regulation and better prepare them for their Kindergarten year. Although developing self regulation is important, teaching four year olds requires teachers to be flexible and aware that students may need impromptu brain breaks or dance breaks to get their wiggles out. Maintaining a fun, loving, and exciting learning environment is important to develop your child’s love of school.
These programs should also offer outdoor play time, physical education, foreign languages, art, music, and other sporting activities which can expose your child to many areas of interest and enrichment.
Choosing the right program for your child that will foster a positive learning experience during their pre-kindergarten year is crucial. Many studies have shown that early school experiences may impact a child’s perception of learning and the school environment for years to come. 
A balanced pre-kindergarten program will develop the whole child – socially, emotionally, and cognitively. This will provide a strong foundation for your child to be prepared for their kindergarten year and beyond.

What to Look for When Choosing Private Education

By: Christie Burger, Admissions

As part two of private vs. public education series, we want to look more deeply at what parents should look for when choosing private education.  Private education is an increasingly popular option for many families and one that may be the right fit for yours.

Here are a few questions to ask as you begin the process of choosing a school. 

  1. What is the philosophy of the school? It is important to make sure the philosophy of the school matches what your family is looking for in educational goals, as well as values. 
  1. Is the faculty of high quality and committed to challenging students to reach their potential? When looking at the quality of education, you have to start with a strong faculty. Dedicated, well-trained teachers are the key to a strong high-quality education. Ask the levels of education, years of experience, and certifications held by the faculty.
  1. How involved can I be as a parent? Independent schools have many opportunities for parent involvement.  Ask about parent organizations, policies for volunteering, and ability to visit on campus with your student. Partnership in your child’s education can go along way in their educational development.
  1. What extracurricular opportunities are available for students? Education is the main focus of schools, but the extracurricular opportunities can truly shape the student’s experience during their school years. See what clubs, sports, and organizations are available for your child’s age group. 
  1. What is the success rate of the school’s graduates regarding progressions to secondary education, as well as, awarded scholarships? For high school students, progressing to the college level, and college acceptance rates should be a priority of most independent schools.  Ask the guidance office, what the rate is for college acceptances for the graduating classes, ACT/SAT score averages, and scholarship amounts awarded each year. 
  1. What is the student profile and admission requirements? Ask yourself, does your child fit the type of student that each school’s student body represents? Ask each school what their requirements are for admissions and see if those characteristics are also important to your family’s goals. 
  1. How happy are the students and faculty? Happy students say so much about a school. They are generally more enthusiastic, eager to learn, and ultimately become successful. A teacher that is happy and content is one that will form a partnership with each family and provide a solid educational experience.

As you begin your search, make a list of these things and the qualities you most want in a school. Keep in mind that no one school is perfect, or will meet all of the criteria on your list. However, you want to select the school that best fits your student, family values, and educational goals. 

Dominican Republic Day 4

By Danny Magrans, Spanish teacher

Christopher McCandless, the reason why Back to the Wild was written, once said, “the very basic core of every persons’ living spirit is their passion for adventure.” And that’s exactly what we accomplished today. Adventure beyond our wonders and dreams.

This morning started with a team scavenger hunt. Each team consisted of a blend of Dominican students and ours. We worked collaboratively to find answers to questions scattered around a main strip in the city of Cabarete. While the clues were written in English our students had to translate each clue into Spanish so that the Dominican could understand how to help. A wonderful activity to start the day. I am happy to report that all teams finished and found all of the clues.

After our session with the school and the Dream Project we then went on a 15 minute hike into another small village called Loma. The purpose of this hike was to find the famous location where the Taino civilization once lived…..a cave. One by one we entered the cave so that we could swim in the naturally fed pool that exists inside. An unbelievable experience to say the least. It’s probably better that I afford you the opportunity to hear more about this excursion from our students.

We then took a bus ride to snorkel in the Caribbean. Doesn’t that sound amazing?  The waters were choppy today but we were able to see so many different kinds of fish. My personal favorite are the Tiger fish.

We then went on a boat ride down the Yasika River to eat dinner at a well known but very remote restaurant. Quite frankly….I think it might be the best meal I have ever eaten. Simply amazing.

I have to confess, I am starting to believe that these students are part Latino or maybe my love for dancing is rubbing off on them. So far, every night has turned into a Latin American Salsa Party. Don’t be fooled by what our students may tell you….they have all danced and have really enjoyed the experiences. And for the record I have a ton of video recordings just in case you need proof.

Tomorrow we leave for Santo Domingo. Pray for safe travels and a wonderful day.

Weekly News: January 22 – January 25, 2019

Photography Winners

Jacob Robison and Midge Barger’s photography was selected to represent the Middle Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition at Belmont University.  Their work was chosen from 790 entries.  Only 96 works of art were chosen for this show.  Their work has been on display the past month at Belmont University’s Leu Center for Visual Arts.



Congratulations to our Bowling team for the run at the State Tournament!  Congratulations to Leah Hayes for finishing 3rd in the DII Bowling State Tournament and being selected at Miss Bowler of the Year for the 2nd time!

Congratulations to the CA Boys Bowling Team (Tyler Lucas, Luke Poston, Tyler Jones, Zach Austin, Dalton Daniels, Mitch Westerbeck, and Bryson Batson) on their DII Bowling State Tournament Appearance! We are so proud of all these students and their hardwork this year!


Kindergarten Preview

All current PreK students and parents are invited to a Kindergarten preview on Wednesday, January 30 at 3:00 P.M. This event will give you a sneak peek into our Kindergarten program.  Join us for refreshments, class tours, and important information about the 2019-2020 Kindergarten year.


Engage, Embrace, Empower

Clarksville Academy is blogging!  Our new blog launched the week of Thanksgiving and will post twice weekly. The hope of this blog is to offer insights for parents.  We will discuss a variety of topics from technology, to parenting ideas, ways to prepare your child for testing, long breaks, etc.  We hope you will choose to subscribe and to encourage your friends to do so as well. These blogs will not be CA centered, but will offer insights for any parent at any school.  Subscribe at:


Dominican Republic

Follow along on our Spanish trip to the Dominican Republic by reading Coach Magrans blog.


Dress Code

New dress code policies went into effect today, Tuesday, Jan 22.  Everyone should have received an email from our Student Council President regarding these.  Please contact your Head of School with questions regarding these changes.



FCA would like to thank those who donated and everyone who participated in our Christmas Dress Down Day. The money raised fulfilled all of our Christmas projects! We would also like to thank the Lower School teachers and students for decorating the Christmas cards for the nursing homes, they were beautiful.

Christmas Projects:

• Christmas dinner and gifts for four Angel Tree families

• $100.00 donation to Manna Café.

• 353 beautifully decorated Christmas cards to three local nursing home residents.

• BioSand water filter, chickens, fishing net, mosquito net, gospel tracts to help support Gospel for Asia.

• $100.00 donation to missionaries Jeff and Mary Beth Meyers.

• Cleft lip surgery for a child through the Smile Train.

• $100.00 donation to St. Jude Hospital.

Thank you and Happy New Year!


Communication of School Closing

When inclement weather prevents us from coming to school or causes us to be late, school closing information can be found on News Channels 2, 4, 5, and Fox 17, the Leaf Chronicle and Clarksville Now.  We will also email and send text notification.  Our website will have any school closing information posted as well.  We will do our best to quickly assess the situation and make an announcement.  We do not follow Montgomery County School System in these closings.


Annual Giving

Over the course of our first semester one way we have used our annual funds is to purchase a much needed software system for our enrollment management offices.  This new system will help us track students as they inquire about CA and follow them throughout the enrollment process.  It will allow our admissions office to better serve our future and current students.  This is one of the many things that doesn’t merit a tuition increase, but is best served by our annual funds.

As you can see, we have already made strong use of the annual funds already committed, but we need your help to continue to improve our school.  We have plans for additional professional development opportunities, emerging needs like AED machines, technology needs, updating our library to be a Makerspace, and continuing to boost our security with upgraded cameras, mag strike doors and more.  If you have any questions about annual giving, please contact Sally Allen at

Dominican Republic, Day 3

By Danny Magrans, Spanish Teacher

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Frank Smith

What a day! Last night I stayed up with the students until 1:30 in the morning to see the Super Moon full eclipse. What tremendous beauty! While the experience was wonderful, I worried about how the students would react to capturing the agenda we created for them today.

We spent most of the day, Monday, discussing social and economic issues that exist in the DR along with the impact those have on the students here. It’s hard to understand how families here survive on an average salary of 400.00-600.00 dollars a month. This crisis has nothing to do with hard work. The Dominicans work hard. Very hard. In fact we met a young man who shared his work schedule and earnings with us. He works a rotation of 12 days straight with 4 days off. Each day comes with a 10 hour shift at the hotel we stayed in. After work he attends a local university and is trying hard to complete his degree in languages.

Unfortunately the young man I describe is not the norm. As a result of the financial struggles, many students have to drop out of school after their 8th grade year. Why? To work. Many parents can’t afford to send their kids to school beyond the 8th grade. In many cases it’s even younger. They simply need their kids to earn money……at a very young age.

Thank goodness for a non-profit organization called the Dream Project who is working hard to flip the norm of this culture. This organization serves the communities here by impressing the need to stay in school, increase literacy, and improve social struggles. They provide many opportunities and services from ages 3 up to 18 to build confidence and hopefully build a lifetime of security. More importantly they help break the chains of poverty that exist …. one student at a time. Just ask the young man from the hotel who is a product of the Dream Project.

So what did my students do today? They listened. They interpreted because every lesson was presented in Spanish. They responded in the target language. While speaking in the target language was difficult for some, let me remind you that this conversation wasn’t about social fluency. It was about making a difference in the lives less fortunate. Pretty advance topic. They understood the majority of the lessons and most were able to apply responses in Spanish. I am a proud teacher.

We also began to think about ways we could help. It doesn’t have to be in some exotic island. It could easily be done at home. What matters most is that we gain confidence in our ability to help humanity. We must also trust that “the most noble thing a human can do is sacrifice for others.” Wow, do we have a lot to think about! Even more to do.

Tonight we had one of the most incredible meals in one of the most incredible settings. A tree house. Let me explain.

After many years of conviction and wonder a man with a vision built an organic farm. He wanted to build a house to teach the world that one doesn’t have to destroy the earth to do it. He wanted to build an organic farm with many different species of trees to teach the world around us how to use the resources we’ve been given to heal and live better lifestyles. He welcomed us in his home and cooked us a delicious meal. More importantly he challenged us to live our dreams and make a difference along the way.

It hit me after bed check tonight that our students have tremendous opportunities to make a difference in the corridor they’ve been given and the doors they will be able to open by learning a second language. Whether it be reaching the lives of those less fortunate or changing the manner in which medicine is produced, I have no doubt that our students will have an impact. Learning a second language, can reach so many other people. I firmly believe “it give a person another soul.”


Is Private or Public Education Right For Your Family?

By: Amy Burchett, Director of Admissions

As parents, we are faced with the weight of making many difficult decisions about what would be best for our children in a variety of different scenarios. Regardless of the nature of the decision at hand, we ultimately have to approach every topic by looking through the lens of “How would this affect MY child”. There is no blanket response to many of these scenarios that would apply equally to all children. Choosing the educational path that would be best for your student and family is no different.


When families begin to choose whether a private or public school option is the right fit for their family, there are many factors to consider. Typically, the first and most notable difference when comparing private and public education is the financial commitment related to private education. The seemingly out of reach tuition for a private school education can eliminate this avenue as a possibility to some families; however, many private schools offer either scholarships or tuition assistance to students who apply and qualify. This can help to bridge the financial gap for some.


For others, a driving factor in selecting a school for their child’s educational journey may revolve around smaller class sizes and the ability for individualized instruction. Any child, in any state, can attend public school. This could, depending on location and demographics, increase student population and thus increase class size. Private schools typically highlight smaller class sizes and lower student-teacher ratios in their classrooms due to their selective admissions processes.


It is also common that a family would desire that their children attend a parochial school. Many families value their religious affiliation and would like for their children to attend a private school that reinforces this through a religious-based curriculum. When considering public education, this would not traditionally be a part of the classroom curriculum.


A few additional considerations could be special education classes and services that may not be offered at a private school, proximity to home, and college preparation and counseling services for high school students.


Remember as with all things, it is important to do your due diligence in completing your research. When touring schools, be sure to bring a list of questions that you want to have answered. Sit down as a family, include your students in the discussions, and weigh the pros and cons of both. Keep in mind, you are choosing the educational setting that would benefit YOUR child most! Be sure to choose the school that you feel would best help your child reach their full potential.

Dominican Republic Day 2

By: Danny Magrans

“In order to achieve great things, one must be willing to live on the edge of what’s uncomfortable.”


What an exciting day. After a good night’s sleep we started the day. Our first true excursion was to a beautiful area called Damajauga. Here we scaled a moderately intense mountain to get to the first of 27 different waterfalls. Our mission was to get to the bottom of the mountain by using water as our main source of transport. In other words, we had to jump off the top of the waterfalls and swim to the next jump. Due to time restrictions we jumped off 12 waterfalls. The tallest was close to 23 feet tall. I am happy to report that the entire group faced the challenge and their fears with extraordinary courage. After a two hour excursion the students and adults left with tremendous joy and pride.

We ended the day at our new hotel in a new city. The hotel is called Kite Inn. We quickly learned why. Here we witnessed one of the neatest sports I’ve ever seen–Wind surfing. The skies were full of individuals from beginners to experts. It was simply amazing to see. Also, the students competed in races and an intense game of soccer versus a group of locals.

We finished the day with a wonderful dinner at a very cute beach side restaurant. While eating dinner I noticed an energy the I have not seen before. In fact I told the chaperones and our guides that in just a few minutes our students were about to turn this evening into a Latin American Disco. So much fun.

The students have blended so well with the DR culture. It’s so impressive to watch them interact (including speaking, dancing, playing soccer, and so much more) with the locals. They have achieved great things in such a small moment of time. It’s been remarkable to see how much our students have stepped out of their comfort zones.

Tomorrow will prove to be filled with many challenges and opportunities to push our limits and live on the edge. Wish us luck!


The following photo is from our visit to the Monument of the Revolutionary Heroes.

Dominican Republic Day 1

By Danny Magrans


“A person cannot discover new oceans unless they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide

Today (Saturday) began another journey. Eighteen nervous, excited and eager students plus four adult chaperons boarded a plane with the Dominican Republic as their destination. This destination is a first time for most of us. We studied and prepared for this experience but there is nothing quite like living it. The students responded beautifully to the demands of international travel.

A million thanks for supporting your students’ mission to discover new oceans.

Tomorrow we will tour an ecological site so be prepared for some wonderful pictures.

Begin Your Journey.