It is important that parents who wish to enroll their children at Grace Christian School understand and are committed to the following values that make the school distinctive in its philosophy of education. Your signature on this enrollment contract represents your acceptance of the following understandings and terms for the enrollment of your child(ren) at Grace Christian School for the 2015-2016 school year and should be considered a contractual agreement.
The Purpose of Christian Education
While we emphasize the development of intellectual capacity and academic skills, we believe the higher goal of Christian education is the cultivation of Christ-like character. The development of Christian character is the bedrock that makes the individual who he or she will ultimately become and largely determines the quality of his or her life, both in terms of personal fulfillment as well as serving the will of God. An education that neglects this priority of Christian character development is fundamentally flawed. In this context, the mission of Grace Christian School is “to assist Christian parents by providing a sound academic education in a Christ-centered environment designed to prepare our young people to know God and to live in obedience to His will for their lives.”
The Role of the Parents
We believe the Bible establishes the parents as the primary educators of their children. Furthermore, we believe the Bible places special responsibility on the father to be the initiator and leader in instructing his family in the Christian faith and personal values which flow from it. Parents must be the primary teachers of their children in such basic skills and character qualities as listening attentively, giving prompt obedience to authority, showing respect for others, maintaining personal integrity, exercising appropriate self-control and completing all assigned work in a timely and quality manner. While the school can do much in working with the parents to help develop these qualities, they are considered primarily in the realm of parental responsibility, and they must be reasonably present in the children if the home/school partnership is to be successful.
The Role of Grace Christian School
We view the role of Grace Christian School as assisting parents by providing an educational program that will reinforce the Christian emphasis of the home as well as providing a formal academic and vocational education from the preschool through secondary school levels. This is a Biblically rooted partnership, in that the Hebrew words for parents (horim) and for teachers (morim) both pertain to the task of teaching and instruction. Thus, Christian schoolteachers are seen as coming alongside the parents and working to accomplish the common goals of Christian education.
The Vital Role of the Home, Church, School Community
We believe the Bible emphasizes the importance of community in almost every aspect of Christian practice. Nowhere is this any more important than in the education and training of children, where parents are in need of the support of the larger Christian community consisting of the local church, school, and other like-minded parents. It is therefore expected that parents who enroll their children at Grace Christian School will be active members of a local church (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42; Eph. 2:19-22). Furthermore, it is expected that parents will attend parent meetings called by the school and participate in other school activities and efforts that affect and enhance the general school community.
The Principle of Discipline Practiced by Grace Christian School
We believe the Bible establishes that all men and women are personally accountable for their actions and attitudes, and that training our children in responsible self-government is at the heart of Christian education. School policies and practices are designed, as consistently as possible, to provide this kind of reality training for students. By reality training, we mean that the child should be allowed to experience the benefits and rewards resulting from his or her responsible choices as well as the negative consequences resulting from inappropriate decisions. While it is important that parents and teachers provide an environment that is characterized by kindness, love, compassion and grace, it is equally important that the child be allowed to experience the real consequences of his decisions. The ultimate responsibility for the discipline of the child lies with the parents; the authority of the school is based on, and only as effective as, the authority of the parent in the life of the child. Parents who are unable or unwilling to work on providing this fundamental level of discipline for their child will be asked to withdraw from the school.
The Worldview Nature of Christian Education
We do not believe it is enough to merely fill our students’ minds with the content knowledge of our Christian faith by memorizing Scriptures, learning Bible stories, and becoming well versed in Christian doctrines. In addition to the mastery of such content, we believe a worldview education that helps them understand the reasonable basis for their faith and that also helps them understand the mindset of the larger culture is essential to preparing them to live as effective Christians in this secular culture. To this end, our goal is to work with the parents and local church in producing students who are well-founded in understanding the reasons why Christianity represents the exclusive truth in the midst of a world filled with many conflicting religions and philosophies.
The Principle of Commitment and Trust Between Parents and School
It is expected that there will be a level of relationship between the parents and school based in the 1 Corinthians 13 model of love which ensures straightforward communication when dealing with difficulties and which avoids gossip or involving others not directly involved in a particular matter.
We understand and agree that should any misunderstanding or dissatisfaction arise regarding any of the teaching, philosophy or practices of the school, we will go to the proper authorities with our concerns rather than discussing them with others (Matt. 18:15-17). Furthermore, we understand our need to not take our child’s “side” too quickly until we have thoroughly investigated and talked with the teacher or other school staff involved in the matter. In most cases, the teacher or school principal should be contacted first, and then, if necessary, the headmaster. While the headmaster is vested with final authority by the Board of Trustees for deciding such matters, parents may request that the process in which the administration and headmaster handled their concern be reviewed by the Board of Trustees Process Review Committee. After hearing the parents’ concerns in a timely manner, this committee will share its recommendations with the headmaster, who will then make a final determination concerning the matter.
Should the parents have issue with the school after following the above referenced Matthew 18 principle, and should the parents feel constrained to pursue the issue further, they and the school agree to be bound by the following mediation and binding arbitration agreement in an attempt to resolve issues and bring reconciliation.
Mediation And Binding Arbitration Agreement
The parties to this commitment are Christians and believe that the Bible commands them to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian community in conformity with the biblical injunctions of 1 Corinthians 6:1–8, Matthew 5:23–24, and Matthew 18:15–20. Therefore, the parties agree that any claim or dispute arising out of, or related to, this agreement or to any aspect of the parent/school relationship, including claims under federal, state, and local statutory or common law, the law of contract, and law of tort shall be settled by biblically-based mediation.
If resolution of the dispute and reconciliation do not result from mediation, the matter shall then be submitted to an independent and objective arbitrator for binding arbitration. The parties agree for the mediation and arbitration process to be conducted in accordance with the “Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation” (“Rules”) contained in the Peacemaker Ministries booklet, Guidelines for Christian Conciliation. Consistent with these “Rules,” each party to the agreement shall agree to the selection of the arbitrator. The parties agree that if there is an impasse in the selection of the arbitrator, the Institute for Christian Conciliation division of Peacemaker Ministries of Billings, Montana [(406) 256-1583], shall be asked to provide the name of a qualified person who will serve in that capacity. Consistent with the “Rules,” the arbitrator shall issue a written opinion within a reasonable time.
The parties to this contract agree that these methods shall be the sole remedy for any controversy or claim arising out of the parent/school relationship or this agreement and expressly waive their right to file a lawsuit against one another in any civil court for such disputes, except to enforce a legally binding arbitration decision. The parties to this agreement have had an opportunity to consult legal counsel before signing this agreement.
Commitment to Prayer
We understand our need to support this school, those responsible for it, and the students through regular prayer, realizing that this ministry is an undertaking of faith and can be successful only to the degree that it is blessed by God. We will be committed to praying regularly to this end. (Luke 18:1; Luke 11:5-10)
The Authority of the Bible as God’s Word
We understand that it is the position of the school that the Bible is God’s authoritative communication to man, and that the Biblical imperative is that our children’s education should be based on the Christian world-view and permeated throughout with the Word of God. (Col. 2:8; 3:16; John 8:31-32; 2 Tim. 3:16)
Commitment to Financial Support
In order for the school to meet its financial obligations, we understand our responsibility to pay tuition/fees on time each month. If for any reason we encounter difficulty in making our payments, we will take the initiative to contact the business office or finance committee chairman in order to discuss alternative payment arrangements. We also understand and agree with the school’s expectation that all parents will participate in fundraisers and development programs in order to help cover expenses not funded by tuition. (2 Cor. 9:7-10)
Parental Involvement with Students in Entertainment Choices
We acknowledge the profound impact of popular culture on our Christian young people, especially in the forms of music, television, movies, videos, video games, the Internet, and similar media. We understand and agree that our role as parents is to aggressively intervene in and guide our children with their entertainment choices, seeking to teach them to make godly decisions when it comes to these issues. (Phil. 4:8; Psalm 101:3)
We understand that Grace Christian School admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administering its educational policies, admission policies, and athletic and other school administered programs. (Prov. 28:21; Gal. 3:28; Rom. 15:7)
We understand that if for any reason the headmaster determines that we are not in compliance with the spirit of this commitment, we may be asked to withdraw our child from enrollment in the school, and we will comply. In addition, we understand that Grace Christian School’s Biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christ-like in a Biblical context. On occasion, the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home may be counter to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to sexual immorality, homosexual orientation, or inability to support the moral and faith principles of the school. (1 Thes. 4:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:16) In such cases, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student.
Parents’ Acknowledgement of Understanding and Covenant
We have read and understood the above Understanding and Covenant and agree to abide by it to the best of our ability, with God’s help and by His grace.