Building for Growth
In November of 1979, twenty-two parents met at a local church to discuss the formation of a Christian school in the Flathead valley. Since then, God has grown the seed planted in their minds to become a powerful force for good in this region. Stillwater Christian School (SCS) has graduated more than 600 students and impacted countless more through the work and ministry of excellent teachers and coaches over forty years and is now the largest and fastest growing Christian school in Montana. This document tells the story of God’s provision for past and current growth and sets forth a plan for future growth. We hope that you are encouraged by the vision represented by this plan.
To develop lifelong learners who discern and apply God’s truth as they serve and lead wherever God calls.
To equip students with the tools for learning through a Christ-centered education.
The Impact of Our Work
Stillwater Christian School produces graduates who..
Approach life through the lens of a Biblical worldview
Think clearly and critically
Communicate effectively in writing and speech
Embrace, articulate, and exemplify the gospel of Jesus Christ
Intentionally display God's image through pursuit of creative artistic excellence
Serve others through caring, faithful presence
Lead, follow, and collaborate well as members of teams
Responsibly steward their gifts out of a sense of calling
Persevere through adversity with godly character
Flathead Valley Christian School opened with 57 students at Evergreen Alliance Church.
The first graduating class of three seniors graduated.
FVCS began operating at its current site, the former Flathead County nursing home.
FVCS became Stillwater Christian School, and the Colts became the Cougars.
What We are Working Towards
Reflecting on the wonders that God did during the first forty years of our existence, we are excited about what he has in store for Stillwater in the next forty years. The three priorities contained in our Strategic Plan, SCS21, comprise the focus of our work as we move forward, including Step 2 of our giving-driven steps, Building for Growth (see below).
Our first priority is to enhance the Stillwater student and parent experience to better achieve our school’s vision and impact our valley and world for Christ.
Everything we do at SCS is designed to achieve our vision of developing lifelong learners who discern and apply God’s truth as they serve and lead wherever he calls. As we move forward, our priority is to do so better, which we know will not only transform the lives of those we serve, but also impact our community and world for Christ.
To date, we’ve made significant strides to enhance the student and parent experience adding capacity through new and updated facilities (classrooms, weight room, refurbished gymnasium) and innovative programs (SCS House, STEM instruction/laboratory, middle school robotics, mock trial, etc.)
In the near future, through Step 2, we plan to enhance the student experience by adding capacity within our learning services program and parent experience by addressing the chokepoint of vehicular traffic at the FFA/Willow Glen intersection. By adding a right turn lane, we can significantly reduce the time that parents spend waiting at the intersection. Down the road, in Steps 3 and 4, we will continue to enhance the student and parent experience in many exciting ways.
Our second priority is to strengthen Stillwater’s sustainability, providing a solid base from which to grow in enrollment and impact.
God has been so good to sustain Stillwater’s mission through the first forty years of our history. At this point, Stillwater has a budget of just over $3 million with 10% covered by annual giving; debt service of less than 2% of our budget, cash reserves of $50 thousand, and an endowment fund of $1 million.
We serve a socio-economically diverse and growing student body of 400+ students with more than 50% receiving need-based financial aid (“variable tuition”). We have an excellent faculty of 36 teachers (FTE) and a history of strong and stable Board and administrative leadership. While there is much to be encouraged about from a sustainability standpoint, there is room to further solidify our base enabling us to not only serve a growing number of families but also deepen our impact.
Through step 2, we plan to continue to provide annual funding for the Stillwater variable tuition program which enables so many families to afford a Stillwater education. While our long-term vision is for this to be funded through interest from a more robust endowed fund, we currently fund this through annual giving, which serves to strengthen sustainability.
Our third priority is to improve Stillwater facilities and resources for maximum student success and protection.
In the last five years, Stillwater has completed three major and many minor building projects, adding 13 classrooms and our high school lobby and improving several other spaces. These additions and improvements have enabled us to do so much more for our students and to attract many new students—so much so that we are already feeling pressed for space!
Before we can expand our footprint, however, we must invest in our foundation. Stillwater has reached the size where we will soon exceed the existing wastewater capacity of our on-site system. Our recent growth combined with increasingly stringent environmental regulations has made it clear that the next logical investment in our growth plan is to increase our capacity through removing the wastewater bottleneck. Our proximity to a lift station belonging to the City of Kalispell Wastewater Treatment System affords an opportunity connect to the city and eliminate the need for on-site treatment. By investing in this system now, we pave the way for the exciting next phase of our growth, as captured in Step 3 of our giving-driven steps.
We hope you are excited by what we are working towards, with God’s help, as we look to our next forty years. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
SCS21, Stillwater's Strategic Plan
Stillwater Christian School’s five-year Strategic Plan, SCS21 spells out what we are working towards as we look to grow and improve our school. Its priorities, strategies, and goals were developed by 60+ SCS community members in 2018. This dynamic plan is updated annually, building on the initial plan as it adapts to new realities.
Several factors, to include living in the third-fastest growing micropolitan area (10K-50K people) in the United States; being the only preschool through 12 traditional private school in the Flathead valley; growing frustration among parents with public school curriculum and culture; and the increased excellence of our program, give us confidence that high enrollment demand (growth!) will continue at Stillwater. Due to that demand, Building for Growth includes facilities improvements and expansions necessary to accommodate this growth.
Building for Growth is Step 3 in a series of giving-driven, development steps. As Steps 1 and 2 demonstrate, God has been remarkably faithful to provide partners to enable the growth we’ve experienced thus far. It is our prayer that many more will step up and make an impact through their giving to the projects identified in Step 3. Thank you for considering an investment in the important, transformational work going on at Stillwater Christian School.
Completed in 2019
Step 1 lasted approximately five years and included several significant projects.
High school addition including six classrooms, lobby, and updated fine arts/preschool space
Middle school addition including three classrooms, restrooms, and a connector hallway
Funding for the SCS variable tuition program which benefits 50% of SCS students
Further increases in teacher salaries and teacher professional development
Target Completion Date: May 2022
Building for Growth
Completed in 2020 [$1.1M]
Four classroom addition [$400K]
Elementary Bldg. Renovations [$75K]
SCS Variable Tuition Program [$325K]
Gym and weight room refurbishments [$65K]
Long-term debt reduction [$235K]
Migwi Scholarship Fund [$10K]
Remaining Projects [$1.2M]
Wastewater Connection to City of Kalispell [$375K]
Traffic flow improvements [$90K]
SCS Variable Tuition Program for 20-21 and 21-22 [$700K]
Learning services and enrichment program expanded services [$50K]
Broadening the Experience
$4M - $6M
In Step 3, we will seek to “broaden the experience” by providing new opportunities for students, innovative programs, and the best preparation for students in the “wherever God calls” part of our vision. Projects associated with this step may include:
The addition of 6-8 classrooms and office space in the Middle and High School wings.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Industrial Arts Center.
Expanded fine arts facilities including dedicated space for the SCS Conservatory of Music.
Expanded space for a learning center to better serve students with learning differences.
Annual funding to sustain the SCS variable tuition program.
Funding for a robust Summer and Experiential Learning program.
Continue to grow SCS teacher salaries.
$6M - $8M
In Step 4, Stillwater will seek to “maximize the potential” of its facilities, programs, and financial model. Projects associated with Step 4 may include:
Full Buildout of SCS Master Site Plan to include a Performing Arts Center.
Fully retire any existing long-term debt.
Increase SCS endowment to $5M to better support the variable tuition program.