Reflections from a Cultural Pilgrimage Day 2: Synagogue

Student reflections from Team Fink, Day 2 of their cultural pilgrimage to a local synagogue.


Rabbi Susan has such passion today, which I really appreciated because she just believed and followed her faith and it seems a good example for us. We should walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I learned the Jewish religion has so much to do with community and acceptance of others. Instead of I and Mine, it is Ours and Us. They believe in love and strive to show it. I still wonder why they insist Jesus is not the Messiah and why they don’t believe all the bible and some of the ways Rabbi Susan answered our questions was kind of defensive, yet she had shown excitement and joy in her teaching and knew lots. Over all this exposure helped me learn and gain a new perspective of Judaism, but there is always room to discover more.
Temple Saini was an eye opening experience for the Jewish religion. I never knew that that actually still used scrolls, I thought they just had a book. Susan explained to us many different things aou the Jewish faith that I had no idea about. For example the first Jew that came to the USA, and what the star symbol represented. There are three kinds of Jewish faiths, although I do not remember the names other than orthodox Jews, they all had a little bit different belief system than the others. One thing that I don’t agree with is that Jesus is not the son of God. I believe that Jesus was sent down as a human form of God, and Jesus was perfect just like his father in heaven. The Jewish people also do believe in prophets and they believe that Jesus was just a man who lived perfectly. That is the part that I don’t understand.  I feel that when we have humility and give up to God we will truly know him. There is no other way. The Lord is all knowing and is love, patience, goodness, kindness, and all the fruits of the spirit. The more we practice the fruits of the spirit, we can become more like God in multiple ways.
I enjoyed being at a temple again this year. I learned more things and expanded on some topics from last year. One thing that really stood out is that she said messianic Jews weren’t actually Jews. She had a very strong feeling about that and it was surprising to me. This may not of been as interesting as Islam, but even Rabbi Susan knew about Islam too and I appreciated that about her.
Surrounding communities are so different yet the same. Learning Judaism more in depth today as a second step to our religious pilgrimage helped me to better understand a community that was the historical beginning of Christianity. There were some conflicts today surrounding different topics but it helped bring our differences together.
I liked the history/cultural lesson in the beginning
How they feel about Jesus:I am still confused
People are born Jewish both religiously and blood
She was one of the first female rabbis in the USA

Reflections from Cultural Pilgrimage Day 1: Mosque

Reflections from Team Fink, Cultural Pilgrimage Day 1:


Sometimes we need to experience something twice to process it. Going to the Mosque for the second round made me feel more comfortable with different religions. There are many differences between Christianity and Islam, but we can also learn from people that don’t believe the same as we do. Today I learned more about women’s rights in Islam, their teachings and their beliefs. The one thing that stood out to me was the call for prayer (muezzin) and its translation. God is greater than anything we are doing this second, and the least we can do is think about him for a few minutes. What still stands with me is that we tend to spend not a lot of time focusing on God every day, while others dedicate their time each day to love and thank God.

Women are like diamonds
In order to thank or as for forgiveness from God, we a have to thank or apologize to the people we affected
Using Google, but not relying on it
They believe that Jesus did not die on the cross
“Recently we were attacked by Muslim terrorists”
“The Islamic group ISIS has just destroyed..”
“We are still at war with Muslim Radicals”
“These people pose a great threat to our society”
There are 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. 95% are peaceful, only 5% are radical. That is still over 50 million people. 50 million people mixed with the media can make us think differently of the entire 1.7 billion.  In reality Islam isn’t the religion the media poses it to be. Visiting a Mosque can change the way you think. There are many different views of even Islam. It’s up to us to learn about these things and not just focus on the media.
When Mati spoke to us it almost gave me goosebumps. One of my favorite topics he was talking about was when he said you need to acknowledge something before you fix something. Like with ourselves I the power of one we have to know who we are before we can fix ourselves. We are so quick to judge that we try to fix a religion or culture but we don’t even know it. He was also saying that we have a lot of similarities in religion but it is the differences that make it so unique. I loved that because we are always trying to get people to be a specific way but differences are something that we should admire. He talked a lot about how the most important source to learn from is books. He said that the we should use the Internet but not rely on it. I liked that he was saying that they think of woman more precious than jewels so they cover themselves to get rid of the distraction and to treat them not for their looks but for their minds. A part that Mati said was extremely powerful for me and I will remember it for a long time. Mati said, “God does not need us to pray, it is for our own benefit.” I loved that because God is perfect and righteous a person like that does not need people to bow down to him. God provides for us and he gives us the blessing to observe and choose for ourselves. Mati made a metaphor saying that God created man and woman differrent and that they are both needed. He said that one would be the transmission in the car and the other engine. You could have a really strong engine but without the transmission it could never move no matter how strong the engine is. You could have a great transmission but without the power of the engine it won’t go anywhere.
I never in my life time thought that I would ever step foot in a mosque. I always thought that people who aren’t Christian are bad. That they are sinners and they are going to hell. Even though it was out of my comfort zone, it showed me a religion that was so strongly proud of what they believe. ” This wasn’t a strange place, it was a new one” ( The Alchemist). A man named Matt was speaking to us about his religion and his beliefs. Not word for word, but in quotes that he has made. One quote that stood out to me was, ” don’t trust google, find out for yourself.” I have always heard that but having him repeat it over and over hit me harder then anyone else saying it.
Going to the mosque for a second time was different than before, especially having someone else teaching. I learned more about the religion and have a better understanding of it. I really liked the imam this time around. Some of the topics he told me about had better affect than last year. It was interesting and cool to hear about how people treat him since the attacks in Paris. When we were meeting his wife, she was fully covered. He even asked us, “doesn’t she look like she’s from a different land?” At first we laughed, and then he told us to be honest. We nodded, and he goes, “she’s completely American.” then smiled. She was the sweetest person I have ever met. I enjoyed this trip.
This experience was eye opening to new cultures and religions. It gave me a new perspective on what Muslims believe and think about society. Something that I thought was cool was when they did the call for prayer because Matt was translating it for us. One of my favorite lines was ” God is the greatest, God is the greatest” because they take God and their religion so seriously. Something that I remembered that Matt said was, ” If a black person sat by a white person and asked him if he had fifty cents the white man would be quick to say no and look away. If a white man sat by a white man and asked him for fifty cents he would be going through his bag to find some money.” That stood out to me because it is acceptance and who society tell us we have to hang out with.
Mati spoke to us about his religion and Cluture. He said that Christianity and Islam were very similar. Mati said Christianity and Islam both worship the same God. He said a lot of cool quotes. “Do not always rely on what people tell you.” People thought that Mati was a Muslim extrimest. We shouId not be so quick to judge. We should get to know someone not by looks but, by their 90%. Muslims have a lot of respect for God when they pray. It was really humbling for me when they put their noses to the floor to show that they are so much less then God. Christians just lay on the couch and do not pray respecfuly. Overall this was an amazing expirence to learn a different religion that I never knew.
We talked to a Islamist with the name of Mati. He showed us the call for prayer (which was my favorite part) and showed us what he understood. Seeing the men do their prayer really stunned me and made me think about ‘they really love God and show it through their movements.’ It made me think on how the difference of prayer for Muslims and Christians. Why do we judge Muslims before we see what they do, they have better prayer than us.

The Power of Yet

|Kelly Tenkely|

I used to think that there would be an age where I would suddenly have it all figured out.  A certain age that I would turn and suddenly be “adult” and know exactly how to make investments, and do my job, pay taxes, change a tire, negotiate a deal, what to wear to a “business casual” event, what to say to someone who is hurting. I often observe others and find myself wondering, how do they have it all figured out? You know these people (maybe you are one), those who seem to know what to do and how to fit into any situation. The older that I get, the more I recognize that none of us really has it ALL figured out.

We are all in process.

There is freedom that comes with that realization and I find myself wondering how different the future would be for kids if they understood the power of yet.

We don’t know it…yet.
We haven’t mastered it…yet.

Yet is a powerful word. It allows for failure and mistakes, but it is a mistake with a promise. We will get better. It will become easier.

If kids recognize this as part of the learning process, failure doesn’t feel like an endpoint. It becomes part of the “yet” process.

Yet is a wonderful place to be. It is where possibility exists. It is where we find flow. It is the place learning happens. We shouldn’t be afraid of yet, but instead look at the hopeful optimism driven by yet.

So, when a child struggles, it isn’t because they can’t, but because they haven’t mastered it…yet.

At Anastasis we’re are declaring the last semester of school the “semester of yet.” We will challenge kids to think about what they will do to move their “yet” forward. How will they keep their “yet” from laying dormant or becoming stagnant?

Over the spring break, I’ve read two incredible books (both very much recommended): A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and the smartest kids in the world by Amanda Ripley
Both books emphasize the importance of this idea of yet. Both books note the power of questioning to move that yet forward. Anastasis is a school powered by questions. The more I engage in the art of questioning, the more I recognize the importance of being a questioner. Questioning isn’t taught at most schools, nor is it rewarded (only the memorized answers are). There is an enormous amount of research that shows just how important the ability to question [well] is. “Questions are the engines of intellect-cerebral machines that convert curiosity into controlled inquiry.” – David Hackett Fischer
Paul Harris, a child psychologist at Harvard, notes that children ask on average 40,000 questions between the ages of 2 to 5. These questions lead to a quadrillion connections (synapses) in the brain. This is more than 3 times the number of connections in the adult brain. Harris speculates that this decline is related to the decline of asking questions. Of recognizing the power of yet. Too often we begin to think of ourselves as experts. When you are an expert you stop thinking because you already know. Those who believe in yet know that there are always more questions, new angles and lenses to think about.

What makes Anastasis teachers unique among educators, is their understanding of the power of yet. They believe (with good reason) that your children are capable beyond a set of standards. They see genius in the yet.

As we enter into the last semester of the year, may you recognize the power of yet. It is what keeps us going as scientists, inventors, writers, artists, mathematicians, geographers, historians, and change makers. If you notice your kids running out of steam (it’s too hard, the expectation is too much, “I can’t”), remind them of the power of yet!

This year I’ve been reminded again and again by “experts” in education, parents, and visitors to Anastasis just how revolutionary what we do with your kids is. This is the school teachers dream of, reformers wish they could duplicate, and parents stretch to afford. Thank you for being such an enormous part of what makes Anastasis the amazing place that it is. We couldn’t do what we do without your support! As a school, we too continue to live in the power of yet.

Incredible Things: a note to Anastasis teachers

|Kelly Tenkely|

It is an incredible thing to read weekly newsletters when I’m not there to see these things happening first hand.
Being separated from the “daily grind” of it all gives me a new view.  A new appreciation.  It helps me remember what an incredible thing it is to have a mobile school/classroom where students live their learning.  A student body that serves others.  A classroom experience that embraces technology but doesn’t focus on it.  A staff that is more like a group of friends than employees showing up for a paycheck.  Parents who are eager to share the transformation happening in their families as a result of our actions.  Play. Laughter. Joy.

This is a dream realized.

Being in the middle of it, we can take it for granted.  We can forget what an AWESOME thing we are doing together.  We can forget that we are doing the work of the Spirit.

This is big and important.  I’m so completely humbled and blessed to be surrounded by such greatness.

You are wonderful. Thank you!

**Anastasis Academy is hiring for the 2013-2014 school year, if you want to join this incredible dream team send us your resume and fill out an application here.**

Christmas Tree Auction and Gatsby Style Holiday Gala

Anastasis Academy is excited to be participating in the 1st Annual Denver Christmas Tree Auction.  This is an event that you won’t want to miss!


Presented by Anastasis Academy, in partnership with a handful of other local non-profits including Impact EDventures and Hope Haven Rwanda (both near and dear to our hearts), our 1st Annual Denver Christmas Tree Auction is a must-attend event on Denver’s Winter Calendar.

Where: Artwork Network, near Santa Fe and 9th in Downtown Denver
When: December 8th from 7pm until Midnight  (Adults only)
What: A Gatsby-style holiday gala reminiscent of the 1920′s full of tasty local cuisine, plenty of drinks, swing music, dancing, mingling, silent auction items, and capped with a live auction of brilliantly decorated, live Christmas trees just in time for the holiday season. Without giving too much away, you should know that Anastasis Academy’s tree is pretty EPIC and fun!

Buy tickets for the event from Impact here:  Tickets and Registration

An introduction to the dream team…


In pulling together the staff of Anastasis Academy, we set out to create a dream team.  A team where each individual had something unique and important to contribute.  A team that recognized and utilized the strengths and passions available to help students better understand what it means to be a vital contributor to society and the body of Christ.  This is our dream team.

   Matthew Anderson: Founder/ Lead Teacher

Matthew was called to be a teacher shortly after God changed his life forever in college.  Matthew and his beautiful wife Julia have been married for 7 and a half years.  They are in the process of bringing home the orphan princess, Adele Mercy, who was brought into their lives in the spring of 2011.  Matthew’s favorite thing to do is learn.  He likes to read, study and learn about who God is and what he is like, he has a passion for Scripture, particularly the Old Testament.  Mr. A also enjoys time outside with his wife, dog, horses and fishing pole.  Mr. A counts it a blessing to spend his days at school with learners.  He has a BS in Elementary Education, a minor in Animal Science, a MA in Christian Studies and completed the Principal Licensure Program through DU a few years ago.

“I spend my days at Anastasis Academy with some of the greatest people I know.  God’s vision for our community is to teach children how to properly manage their freedom and help them see they are contributing citizens now, not at some point in the future.  We want to start schools that start churches.  A community gathered around learning together and serving together sounds like a good group of people to walk through life with.”

Online Me:

    Michelle Baldwin: Primary teacher

“My name is Michelle Baldwin, and I am a learner, an educator, a self-proclaimed “techie,” presenter, and an advocate for teaching and learning WITH students!

I returned to the classroom in 2010, after coordinating technology professional/staff development for eight years in a suburban school district. Although I continue to  assist teachers in the effective use of technology in the classroom, I have most recently been teaching and learning with K-5 vocal music students. I am thrilled to now be teaching and learning with students at Anastasis Academy! A parent of teenagers, I’m also well-versed in blogging, podcasting, digital literacy, online profiles, personal learning networks, and learning how much I have yet to learn.”

Online Me:

   Lindsey Lauer: Intermediate teacher

“I’m so privileged to be a part of a school and community that embodies my beliefs about life and love and “why”.  I’m fully confident that God has blessed Anastasis Academy, making it a reality through the hard work and vision of those involved. It’s encouraging to work with these Godly men and women in an environment where serving God and others are at the forefront. Being here is a testament to God’s work in my life. He has weaved together a beautiful plan for all of us, and I couldn’t be more excited to be where God wants me to be. I know He will use Anastasis in a big way!

My personal journey as an educator has God written all over it. I began in the giant city of Houston, TX, where I was born and raised and attended a public high school of 4,000 students, moved on to a tiny town in Arkansas, where I studied Physical Education and Graphic Design (an odd combo I’ve been told) at Ouachita Baptist University, headed back to Houston to teach and coach basketball at a private Christian school called Providence Classical School, and finally ended (or more likely just began) in beautiful Colorado, where I find myself incredibly happy with the man of my dreams and fully supported by a wonderful church in Littleton Bible Chapel. Since living in Denver, I’ve earned a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Colorado Christian University, taught at Truth Christian Academy and Colorado Academy, where I most recently completed a Teaching Internship and earned a certification in K-12 Physical Education, and now find myself in the midst of an opportunity to truly serve at Anastasis Academy!

Aside from my obvious love for teaching, I crave anything that is physically challenging, adventurous, creative, or intellectually stimulating, often resulting in a shout from a mountaintop, a face full of powder or hardwood floor, a mess of charcoal and paint, an attempt at songwriting or drum beating, and my nose perpetually stuck in a book (or these days my eyes fixed on the iPad!). I absolutely enjoy showing young people how God is present in everything!”

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7

Online Me:

Nancy Babbit: Primary Teacher

It is with deep thanks and enthusiasm that I join you on this Anastasis Journey.  What an amazing, dynamic, learning environment God is orchestrating in this community!   There is already an atmosphere of cooperation, respect, excitement, creativity, openness and lightheartedness that is stunning.   I can’t wait to get this awesome classroom space set up and get rolling with these kids.

Originally from Iowa, I came to Colorado in May of 1993.  I came to do ‘Ride-the-Rockies’…I just never left!   I have lived in Colorado for 18 years, its home.  After teaching at the Logan School for Creative Learning for ten years, my next adventure involved grad school.  I had developed a thirst for deeper Biblical learning and I had always been interested in the counseling profession, so I attended Denver Seminary.  After 6 years of school, I graduated with an MA in counseling with a certification in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.   Following graduation my job interests led me into the world of mental health in education, where I realized that my true love and calling was actually in education; I love children, teaching, and learning. 

Finding Anastasis was and is a stunning surprise. ..a miracle.  It is, educationally, all that I would hope for in a school (and I have had very high hopes and dreams!).   I love teaching in an environment where community is far beyond a word in a handbook, and where children are encouraged to ask questions and explore those things they are curious or passionate about.   The treasure is that Anastasis is faith-based; God is sought, welcome, and is powerfully moving.   I can’t wait to see Him in action in the classroom and in all our minds and hearts for years to come. 

My personal interests are many and varied. I love the outdoors and all it offers.  It is where I do my best thinking, praying, discovering, and playing!  This can involve walking, biking, hiking, painting, photography, snowshoeing, skiing, or simply sitting and soaking it all up.  Other interests include, travel,  music, good red wine, dark chocolate, coffee, movies, concerts at Red Rocks, painting, pottery, gardening, exploring, researching, and learning. 

  Kelly Tenkely: Founder/Curriculum and Instructional Designer

I have been teaching for 8 years.  I spent the first year in a second grade classroom in a public school and then next 6 teaching students to use technology as a learning tool.  In the last 4 years I have been actively connecting with educators around the world, discussing education reform, offering professional development and consulting with schools about how technology can transform the learning experience.

I wasn’t always the computer geek I am today…I kind of fell into the computer teacher roll and found out that I love it and that I have a passion for technology (particularly Apple!!) who knew?  My goal has been to help teachers fall in love with technology the way that their students have.  I believe that technology reaches students in a way that few other mediums can.  It ignites a fire, a desire to learn, and gives them the ability to express themselves in meaningful ways.

The longer I teach, the more I reflect on exactly how school is being done.   Somewhere along the line, the focus of education and schools shifted the wrong direction.  Schools and policy makers have become obsessed with curriculum, and assessments, and data, and money, and the latest tool for the classroom.  Where is the obsession and passion for creating rich learning environments for every student?  We live in a society where everything is individualized and personalized.  We can get a burger made just the way we want it. We can get computers built to our exact specifications. We can personalize our cell phones with ring tones, wallpapers, and skins. And yet, in this world of customization, one thing that we fail to customize and personalize is education.  Kids enter the classroom and are taught the same way day in and day out. They sit in seats, in rows, filling out worksheet after worksheet and then, they take a test. The programs that do allow students to do something different are being systematically cut due to budget difficulties (P.E., Art, Library, Music). Is it any wonder that when kids are asked what their favorite part of school is, they answer “lunch and recess”?  What does this say about the state of our schools?

What is the purpose of school?  Why do we mandate that our kids be sent to school?  I believe that our answers would be largely similar, to prepare students for the world that they are living in, that they will find themselves living in.  If this is our purpose we must ask ourselves, are we meeting it with our current school structure?  I submit that we are not.  Our students are not being prepared for the world that they will find themselves in, our students are being prepared for the world that their great-grandparents lived in.

I have a dreams of education. I have dreams of the way that schools should look. I have dreams of kids who find their passions. I have dreams of schools as rich learning centers.  Anastasis Academy is the fulfillment of that dream.

Online Me:

iLearn Technology

Dreams of Education

Stories of Learning

iPad Curriculum

Confident Teacher





Internet Safety

2010 Olympics


LinkedIn: Kelly Tenkely

Twitter: ktenkely

YouTube: ktenkely

Freelance articles:

Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers

10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports

15 Tools to Help You Go Paperless

5 Best Virtual Field Trips

A Day in the Life of an Elementary Computer Teacher/Technology Integration Specialist

Use the Technology Available to You

It’s Not All About the Technology

Lessons Learned from Master Teachers


Edublog award winner 2009

ISTE 10 21st Century Classroom (Part 1 and 2) EDTECH: Focus on K-12

Cool Teacher Podcast Interview 2009

Game Classroom Top Educator

Scholastic Plug into Generation IM interview Article: How Should Schools be Using Tech to Teach?

Tech Chick Tips Episode 45

Leading and Learning: Blogger’s Beat


Edublogger Alliance Network

Project PLN

Reform Symposium Virtual Conference (organizer 2010)

ACSI Conference Speaker (2008)

Starrmatica 50 States Contest Judge (2010)

Colorado Podcast Summit (2008)


  Morgan Scott

My name is Morgan Scott. I graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and started my career in Mesquite ISD.  I just celebrated my first year anniversary with my wonderful husband, Tyler. We have two adorable dogs named Max and Lucy. We recently moved here from Dallas, Texas where I have taught for the past three years.   I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher. Growing up both my parents were teachers and I loved the way they were able to positively impact the world.
I have a passion for teaching and love learnings with students. I am thrilled to be a part of the amazing Anastasis Academy team that God has helped put together. I believe the learning the along with spiritual growth will help prepare our students to be Christian leaders of the world. I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for all of us.
Class Blog:
The Starry Knights