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AACS Today Podcast


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AACS Today: Christian Schools Grappling with Mask Mandates

In this episode, the AACS Executive Director, Government Relations Director, and legal counsel join Matt to discuss Christian school responses to mask mandates and other requirements from health departments.

AACS Today: COVID-19 Funding Update

Lions, and tigers, and EANS, oh my! There’s an alphabet soup of acronyms for different COVID-19 funding programs available to private schools. In this episode, Jamison and Matt discuss the primary differences between EANS 1 and EANS 2. “EANS” stands for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools, and these programs are getting a lot of attention in the education world right now. After listening to this episode, you’ll have a better understanding of the difference between the two programs. 

During the show, Jamison referenced the Frequently Asked Questions (updated March 19, 2021) document about the EANS 1 program.

AACS Today: COVID Learning Loss and Recovery

What’s your plan to address the COVID gap at your school? Undoubtedly, many students transferring to your school experienced learning loss due to the conditions surrounding the pandemic. Do you have a plan to address this challenge as you prepare for the 2021–2022 school year?

Join host Matt Ticzkus,  Dr. Jeff Walton, AACS Executive Director, and Bryan Wilson, Administrator at Harford Christian School, as they discuss what the data is telling us about learning loss and how Harford Christian is proactively meeting the needs of incoming students through their COVID Gap Remediation program.

Resources from the podcast:

Points of interest about Jotform:

  • Integrates with Google Drive so you get all responses and attachments immediately upon submission.
  • Can set Jotform to email answers immediately.
  • Includes many other types of questions using built-in widgets.
AACS Today: Protecting Religious Liberty

Religious liberty is undoubtedly under attack in our nation. Sherri Huston from the Alliance Defending Freedom joins Matt and Jamison to discuss ADF’s Ministry Alliance partnership with AACS. The Ministry Alliance provides schools with access to attorneys and legal resources as well as proactive measures like document review. ADF will be mailing out 4 legal guides to all AACS schools the week of March 1, 2021, and the guides will provide broad guidance on health insurance, admissions, athletics, and employment.  Please visit for more information about the ADF Ministry Alliance partnership. Please reach out directly to Sherri, for questions about the program.

AACS Today: The Latest on Legislation

On this episode, Jamison and Matt discuss the latest piece of coronavirus legislation and the impact it has on Christian schools. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) has three important provisions that Christian schools must know about: EANS, GEER, and PPP.  For a more in-depth treatment of these provisions, be sure to review the white paper prepared by our legislative team.

AACS Today: Equitable Services, ACB, and THE 2020 Election

AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt to discuss what happened with the CARES Act equitable services funds (court cases and confusion). Jamison and Matt also reflect on the impact that new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett will have on the Supreme Court. Finally, Jamison shares some “inside baseball” insight as it relates to THE 2020 presidential election.

After recording this episode, the U.S. Department of Education has made grant funds available for COVID-related expenses under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) program. Public and private schools can apply for this grant, and it is administered through the states. Recently, it has come to our attention that some states require applicant schools to agree to certain terms and conditions that may negatively impact your school’s ability to operate according to its sincerely-held religious beliefs. We encourage you to reach out to our office if you are considering submitting a grant application.

AACS Today: Navigating State and Local Reopening Regulations

AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt to discuss how schools should think through local and state regulations that impact a school’s ability to offer their students in-person instruction.

AACS Today: Coming Out of COVID Stronger

Matt is joined by Dr. Mark Zockoll who shares findings from his survey of 140 Christian school teachers from across the United States and Guam. Dr. Zockoll shares how teachers grew stronger in communication, technology, and assessment as well as personal and spiritual growth.

AACS Today: What’s Your School’s Re-entry Plan?

Have you considered what it will look like for your students and teachers to return to campus in the fall?  Have you considered communicating this plan to your constituents in writing?  In this episode of AACS Today, we dive into the Re-entry Plan from Victory Baptist Academy in Weatherford, TX.

Resources mentioned on the show

AACS Today: PPP and Equitable Services Update with Jamison Coppola (5.21.20)

It seems that every day brings new rules and guidelines for the CARES Act. On this episode of AACS Today, Jamison and Matt discuss some encouraging updates to the Paycheck Protection Program, including the safe harbor guidance as it relates to the good faith certification required on the PPP application.

Matt and Jamison also discuss a letter from the school choice community that was sent to Congressional leaders imploring them to remember private schools and equitable services as they develop plans for future funding.

Finally, Jamison shares an update on some key pieces of religious liberty guidance coming from the Department of Labor.

AACS Today: Are You Asking the Right Questions about PD? (5.18.20)

When it comes to the plan for your team’s professional development this summer, what questions are you asking? On top of the questions we usually ask about PD and how we can improve our craft, with all the COVID craziness surrounding the last quarter of this school year, you might be tempted to forego any plans that you had for professional development for your team this summer. But is that a good idea?

On this episode of AACS Today, our panel of educators pulls back the curtain on the workshops that they are leading this summer. Also, AACS Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Walton, challenges us to ask the right questions about PD. Our panel includes Bryan Osborne from Answers In Genesis, Dana Davis from Maranatha Baptist University, and Heidi Braughler from Maranatha Baptist Academy.

AACS Today: Making the End of the Year Memorable for the Class of 2020 (5.8.20)

During a typical school year, the spring is filled with special end-of-year traditions and capstone events for the graduating class including banquets, trips and of course, graduation. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic many of these events have been postponed, tweaked, or even canceled.

On this episode, four educators from schools across the country share how their schools are working hard to make the end of the year a special time for the class of 2020. Our panelists share how they are honoring their graduates, how they have tweaked their special events to make them memorable, and they pull back the curtain to share their plans for their school’s upcoming graduation ceremony.

AACS Today: Three Updates: CARES Act, YLTC, and What’s Next in D.C (4.30.20)

AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, and AACS Legislative Assistant, Hannah DeBruler, join Matt to provide our listeners with additional details about the CARES Act, the AACS Youth Legislative Training Conference, and a look at what’s coming next politically in Washington, D.C.

AACS Today: Planning for Reopening in the Fall of 2020, Part 2 (4.29.30)

Christian school leaders must begin planning NOW for possible changes they may need to make as they open their doors this fall. In part 2 of Planning for Reopening in the Fall of 2020, Dr. Jeff Walton, AACS Executive Director, and Ed Francis, AACS Education Director, join Matt to provide perspective on questions raised in “An Open Letter to Independent School Leaders” from Kennesaw State University and “Reopening 2020” from Dr. Mark Beadle.

AACS Today: Planning for Reopening in the Fall of 2020, Part 1 (4.28.20)

Christian school leaders must begin planning NOW for possible changes they may need to make as they open their doors this fall. In part 1 of Planning for Reopening in the Fall of 2020, Dr. Jeff Walton, AACS Executive Director, and Ed Francis, AACS Education Director, join Matt to provide perspective on questions raised in “An Open Letter to Independent School Leaders” from Kennesaw State University and “Reopening 2020” from Dr. Mark Beadle.

AACS Today: Practical Teaching Tips for Lower Elementary Teachers (4.24.20)

Middle school, high school, and even upper elementary students seem to have an easier time adapting to learning online during the coronavirus pandemic. But, how can our teachers be most effective in delivering content online to our lower elementary students? In this episode, Matt interviews an experienced panel of educators who provide tips and ideas for teachers who have the challenging task of educating students in kindergarten through third grade via distance learning. Be sure not to miss the fun idea near the beginning of the podcast (it includes ice cream)!

AACS Today: Introduction to Developing a 90-Day Crisis Response Plan (4.20.20)

Scott Barron, Founder and Chief Reinvention Officer at School Growth, joins Matt to help schools begin thinking through their planning for the next few months. Scott identifies 3 key questions school leaders must ask in order to develop an effective 90-day plan. Scott invites school leaders interested in diving deeper into this process to access a free one-hour webinar. School Growth also offers AACS schools a discounted rate of $149 on a three-hour workshop where school leaders will be able to develop their 90-day plan (live class or recording available). The discount code is revealed near the end of the podcast.

AACS Today: The Latest on the CARES Act (4.17.20)

AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt to recap the piece of legislation that most Christian schools are wrestling with: the CARES Act. Jamison also provides deeper insight into the work that his team is doing in Washington.

AACS Today: What’s Working Now! (4.9.20)

If you’re looking for some practical tips and ideas on what’s working for other schools right now, don’t miss this episode! Matt is joined by 3 educational leaders, Dr. Esther Baker, Assistant Administrator at Bob Jones Academy (Greenville, SC); Dr. Sam Dalton, Administrator at Temple Baptist School (Herndon, VA); and Dr. Dan Brokke, Administrator at Grace Christian School (Huntington, WV) and Executive Director of the West Virginia Christian Education Association. Together, the panel discusses grading and appropriate workload, strengthening relationships with parents and students, helping teachers care for themselves and their families, surveying families and responding to the data, and much more!

AACS Today: CARES Act Update (4.8.20)

Jamison Coppola, AACS Legislative Director, joins Matt to provide us with a deeper look at the CARES Act including why (if you are participating) you should use 100% of the funds for payroll. Jamison also shares some details about two other relief funds from the CARES Act that have been designated for schools. Listeners will also learn what Jamison and his team are hearing in D.C. about the election, judicial nominees, and other issues.

Contact us and let us know if you’ve applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and what your experience has been. Reach us at

AACS Today: A Parent’s Guide to Staying Sane During Covid-19 (4.6.20)

Maureen Van Den Berg and Matt discuss 7 tips for parents who now find themselves balancing working from home along with tracking the progress of their students through their daily school lessons and work. While there are some obvious challenges, Maureen provides practical insight on how parents can keep their sanity and actually enjoy this season. Maureen serves in the AACS Legislative Office as a policy analyst.

AACS Today: The Paycheck Protection Program: Considerations for Your School (4.3.20)

AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt to help school leaders think through the religious liberty implications of participating in the program. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Since specific religious liberty language was not in the bill, what can we expect from the regulations that have already been released as well as the ones that are yet to be released?
  • What are some similarities between eminent domain and a ministry’s involvement in this program?
  • What if a ministry participates in the program, but the political winds change through an election, court decision, or new legislation?
AACS Today: Initial Takeaways from the CARES Act (3.30.20)

How will your school be impacted by the CARES Act? AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt on the podcast to share 4 initial takeaways from the CARES Act, which President Trump signed into law on March 27, 2020. While regulations are still being written for the law (at the time of publishing), these initial considerations should help schools decide on their next steps relating to the provisions of the law.

AACS Today: Serving Pre-K Students and Families During Coronavirus (3.27.20)

Christian schools across the country have been wrestling with how to serve pre-K students and their families effectively during the coronavirus outbreak. In this episode, our panel deals with the following questions:

  1. Should our pre-K program remain open or should we close? What are programs doing around the country?
  2. If we close our pre-K program, what do we do about tuition?
  3. What are some practical suggestions for serving pre-K students and families during this time?
  4. How are our pre-K employees impacted by new legislation?
AACS Today: Coronavirus Legislative Update with Jamison Coppola (3.26.20)

In episode 2 of the AACS Today Podcast, AACS Legislative Director, Jamison Coppola, joins Matt Ticzkus to discuss how the three coronavirus relief bills will impact Christian schools. Before providing an overview of the bills themselves, Jamison provides insight into the work that his team is doing on behalf of Christian schools in Washington, D.C.

AACS Today: Tuition Collection During a Coronavirus School Closure (3.25.20)

In this 20-minute podcast, Dr. Walton and Matt Ticzkus answer the question, “Should we still collect tuition during a Coronavirus school closure?”