November 09, 2023
Why Christian Education?
This is a question that I am often asked, and there are many answers. I want to focus on only one of them today, and that is the curriculum, which is a controlling agent in any type of education. When I was working on my PhD, I took a course on curriculum development. It did not deal with any subject in particular. Curriculum development is primarily concerned with the undergirding philosophy or the presuppositions of the curriculum. It is the part of a curriculum that is not clearly seen, but it is absorbed by students to become a part of their basic belief system which guides their decisions.
Please take some time to watch this video from minute 37:40 to 46:40: Disrupting the Education System While Defending Truth with James Lindsay | PragerU
James Lindsay is not a follower of Christ but is very concerned about how education in the US has been hijacked. He is interviewed by the CEO of PragerU, Marissa Streit. He knows what he is talking about, because he has devoted his life to understanding how education and the world have gotten to where they are today. He has researched who is behind it and what their goals are.
This is not a “conspiracy theory.” It’s all in print, if you know where to look. That’s what James Lindsay has been doing for the past couple of years—looking, discovering, and alerting.
He’s trying to “sound the alarm,” and we need to understand how Christ-centered thinking and the church are being attacked.
October 26, 2023
We want our children to flourish and thrive in school and life, but how do we know we are facilitating this? We can only discover if we are succeeding by getting feedback. For our reaccreditation next year, each of us will be able to provide feedback to the school using the Flourishing School Cultural Instrument (FSCI). We took this survey two years ago, which gave us a baseline. We will now get an update on any changes or shifts in our culture, and it will help us identify our strengths and opportunities for reaccreditation.
The FSCI assesses a school’s alignment with the ACSI Flourishing Schools Culture Model. This model provides a framework to measure our strengths and weaknesses. The Flourishing Schools Culture Model does have many concepts and measurements in common with the ACSI Inspire Accreditation Protocol, which will help us provide support for different standards and indicators in our evaluation process. Each of the domains in the model directly aligns with a domain in the protocol, except the Resources Domain, which is split into two domains in the accreditation protocol: Resources and Expertise.
Students (grades 6–12), faculty, school staff, administration, school board, parents, and alumni will all participate in the web-based assessment. The end product of the process will be a school-level report showing our school’s FSCI results benchmarked alongside national averages. Each participant’s individual responses will be handled by ACSI anonymously, and the report our school receives from ACSI will only show our school’s results in aggregate.
A link to the FSCI will be sent to you within the next two weeks. Please take the time to complete the survey. It will be invaluable to us in preparing for our reaccreditation.
Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
September 28, 2023
Grace Christian School is the only Christ-centered school in Augusta County that is accredited. Why is this important? There was a time in my educational career that I believed that accreditation was not important. I was Head of School at a K-7 inner-city Christian school. We were in a small school building next to a large public school. The public school only had 16% of their third grade students reading on grade level. We had 95% of our third grade students reading on grade level. The public school was accredited, but we were not. This story does show that accreditation does not equal success. Since then, I have changed my views.
Accreditation would have benefited us at the inner-city Christian school because of the process. Accreditation begins with a Self-Study that compares our school to a set of standards. Each standard has several indicators which are detailed statements that we rate ourselves upon. We must then provide evidence to show that our rating is accurate. Going through this process allows us to understand what we do well and where we might need to improve. When we identify potential improvement areas, we will rank them and select which ones that we would like to focus upon for the next five years.
Becoming a better school is the focus of accreditation, but there are other benefits. Accreditation:
- Requires a structure for teacher evaluation
- Requires a formal process for faculty and staff professional development
- Allows for the smooth transfer of credits for high school students
- Ensures that all students’ applications to universities and colleges are accepted (certain colleges will not accept applications if a school is not accredited)
- Provides recognition by state tax credit programs for students who qualify
Grace Christian School is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and COGNIA which is an international accrediting agency recognized by Christian and secular colleges and universities around the world.
Our reaccreditation will take place in November 2024. We have begun our preparation with the creation of committees that will begin to review the different standards. Each committee will rate the assigned indicators and gather evidence to support the rating. Each committee is made up of various stakeholders. If you are interested in being on a committee, please let us know.
September 07, 2023
What is the long-term goal you have for your children? For my own daughters, it was for them to know and love the LORD and live their lives in obedience to His will. So how do we accomplish this? We must teach our children the Bible, have them read it through, and help them to build their lives through Christ-centered thinking and actions. If done correctly, it will take us all of the time we have with them to help them build a Biblical Worldview and to live it out in their daily lives.
As a Christ-centered school, GCS comes alongside parents to partner in teaching their child(ren), but God still holds us, as parents, primarily responsible for raising our children to know and love Him and to nurture in them a Biblical Worldview. Can we do this if we ourselves don’t have a Biblical Worldview? Christ must flow through us at all times: when we speak to our children, when we make mistakes, when we make decisions, when we interact with others, and when we go to work. We must teach through our words and our deeds.
George Barna has conducted a lot of research and written many books on Biblical Worldview. His latest research has shown that only 4% of adults in the US have a Biblical Worldview. Here are five key research insights* from his newest book, Raising Spiritual Champions:
- Key Insight #1 – A person’s worldview begins developing in the second year of life (from 15 to 18 months) and is largely in place by the age of 13. That’s the prime window of opportunity for discipleship.
- Key Insight #2 – Parents have the primary responsibility for the spiritual development and discipleship of their children. But very few parents have the spiritual development of their children on their radar screen.
- Key Insight #3 – The research identified “outsourcing” as a troubling new trend among today’s parenting, as parents are increasingly delegating key child-rearing tasks to others.
- Key Insight #4 – The approaches today’s parents are taking in their children’s spiritual development are not working.
- Key Insight #5 – The research identifies four key strategies that parents can use to successfully disciple their children. And the heartbeat for this process is the “Seven Cornerstones of a Biblical Worldview.”
How do we begin to change the landscape of our culture? It begins with each of us reading through the Bible. If we read 10-20 minutes a day, we can read through the Bible in a year. My daughter and wife like to “listen through” the Bible, while I prefer reading. As a community, we need to start reading through the Bible with our children. I have read through the Bible twenty-one times. This has changed my life more than anything else that I have ever done. Let’s join together in reading the Bible, building a Biblical Worldview, and making a difference in our culture.
*The five insights were taken from an email written by George Barna announcing his new book: Raising Spiritual Champions:Nurturing Your Child’s Heart, Mind, and Soul.