By now, you’ve probably realized that we made a name change. Either that, or you’ve been thinking that we’ve got some serious editing problems and keep putting in the wrong word for “Walkersville.” Editing issues aside, we have indeed changed our name from Walkersville Christian Family Schools to Wellspring Christian Family Schools. Some of you may be wondering, “When did this happen?” or “Why didn’t we hear about this sooner?” or “Why in the world do they choose Wellspring?” Even if you may not have been wondering these things, we wanted to take the opportunity to explain the change, why we chose Wellspring, and what it means for the future of WCFS.
A New Outreach Strategy
When I announced the name change at the Mid Year’s Conference this past January, I explained that one of the primary reasons we were changing our name was to remove a hindrance to effective school outreach.
For several years, WCFS staff had observed that the “Walkersville” in our name created confusion and disinterest when engaging with potential new families. “We don’t live in Walkersville,” would be the response. Or, “Why are you called Walkersville if you’re not in Walkersville?” From a presentation standpoint, our messaging was being lost through a distracting explanation of our name.
With a new generation and a new era of homeschooling families, the timing was right for a new approach for WCFS, starting with a name that conveys an idea, more than a location.
Looking for a different “W”
We decided that we wanted to keep “Christian Family Schools” in our name, since those three words succinctly convey the core values of the school’s ministry: We are unapologetically Christian, we treasure God’s design for the family, and we are a bona fide educational institution.
We also decided that it would be best to maintain the “W” in WCFS, since we have already carved out, as it were, a “WCFS” brand, including our website, wcfs.edu. So, the only thing left to come up with was the perfect “W” to replace “Walkersville.”
We received input from families, the school advisory board, and staff on the best replacement. Several viable (and creative!) suggestions were put forth, including “Worldwide,” “Wisdom,” and “Wayside.” Some of the wackier ideas included “Wombat” (which would have necessitated all staff to sound like Crocodile Dundee) and “Weird” (on the Biblical premise that Christians are called a “peculiar people” in 1 Peter 2:9).
But ultimately, we settled on “Wellspring” because we believe it best expressed what we desire WCFS, and the families who are a part of it, to be. A “wellspring” is literally “a source of abundant supply.” Jesus, in the Gospel of John, paints a beautiful picture of how His followers would become “wellsprings” of the Holy Spirit:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
We, as Christians, have, through Jesus, been made wellsprings of living water to a spiritually-parched world. We are the vessels of the Holy Spirit’s transforming work to our family, friends and neighbors. And we are first a wellspring in our own homes, to our spiritually thirsty children.
Our desire at WCFS has always been for families to treasure God’s design for their family. At the heart of that design are individuals who have believed in Jesus, and who have become conduits of that Living Water. No other Water will sustain the Christian family, no matter how wonderful their homeschooling curriculum is or how seemingly perfect their behavior may be. We wanted our name to reflect that integral understanding.
“A New Name, Ministry the Same!”
While our name may have changed, our ministry objective remains the same. We will continue to support and encourage Christian families in providing Christ-centered, academically-excellent instruction to their children in the safe, loving environment of their homes. Wellspring Christian Family Schools will continue to come along side Christian fathers and mothers, putting the academic tools in their hands to effectively disciple their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The name-change process is still ongoing, and you will continue to see the results of the transition throughout the coming year, including an updated logo and a promotional video.
And we’ve already had positive feedback to our new name! At the national pastors’ conference that Gary and I attended this past May, we were able to effectively communicate to pastors from across the country without any confusion or distraction.
A New Era with New Opportunities
We know that a lot has changed in the 35 years since WCFS was started. We are delighted that homeschooling has become a widespread phenomenon, not only in Maryland, but across the world! (Our Philippine affiliate, Homeschool Global, is responsible for the homeschool oversight of over 3,000 students!) As a result of this growth, we recognize that there are more local resources for WCFS families than there has ever been before, including local homeschool co-ops and support groups.
Nonetheless, Wellspring Christian Family Schools remains unique in its role as we operate a Christian alternative to government-supervised home instruction, while providing well-recognized academic records for our students. WCFS families benefit from the WCFS oversight and administrative system while having the freedom to customize each child’s educational program, and all while still being involved in their own local homeschooling communities.
With the launch of our EDU-SAFE campaign and promotion of Heritage Educational License Program (HELP), WCFS is also developing outreach to and support for local churches so that they might become “wellsprings” of Christ-centered education in their communities.
So why become a part of Wellspring Christian Family Schools?
As we move into a new school year with a new name and some new approaches to ministry, we thought it would be a good opportunity to review why a Christian homeschooling family would consider enrolling in one of WCFS’ programs in the first place. So in case you needed the refresher, or know someone who is considering WCFS, here’s the rundown of the practical reasons to become part of the WCFS family.
Enrolling with WCFS replaces government scrutiny with Christian accountability. Maryland homeschool families are mandated to operate their home instruction programs under the intrusive eye of the local county boards of education or under the supervision of a private school or educational institution of a bona fide church. This is essentially a choice between being monitored by government bureaucrats who have little incentive to support the success of your homeschool program, or being accountable to a like-minded, caring support team who will work with you to make your homeschool program a success.
Enrolling with WCFS provides your students with well-recognized academic records. WCFS’ commitment to academic excellence and records-integrity has earned it the respect of state and national authorities. WCFS has professional relationships with the College Board and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and has been given Tier 1 status by the US Armed Forces. Graduates from WCFS’ Academy Program have been accepted into colleges and universities throughout the country, and even internationally. In an era where homeschool graduates sometimes face difficulty in having their records accepted, a WCFS-issued diploma and transcript are very helpful credentials.
Enrolling with WCFS gives your family access to a support team who is there for you year round. WCFS has a staff committed to providing care and support to families in numerous ways throughout the year. From phone calls and emails to in person meetings, WCFS staff are available to help you navigate the homeschooling journey. The WCFS team’s combined experience includes education, pastoral ministry, the legal field, and actual homeschooling! Events throughout the year, from our Family Leadership Conference to our Nathaniel Bowditch Mentoring Clinic are intended to build-up parents and students alike. So now you know why we are Wellspring Christian Family Schools! Spread the word and continue to pray that WCFS can faithfully serve homeschooling families with the Living Water of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joel Fischer is the administrator for Wellspring Christian Family Schools. He is a homeschool graduate, married to another homeschool graduate, and father to 3 up and coming homeschool graduates.