|The Main Ingredients Needed for a School of Excellence|
The Lord desires His schools to be growing and vibrant institutions of learning which are whole-heartedly committed to Christ and committed to excellence. The Word of God tells us in Philippians 1:9-10, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
Christian educators must continuously seek ways to improve, grow, and reach for excellence in all they do for the glory of God. While every Bible-believing Christian school will have its own unique characteristics, there are at least seven major attributes that schools of excellence have in common (see below). These seven major areas will help provide a first-class, Christ-honoring institution of learning. More importantly, they will also create a synergy which will produce godly students who will make wise decisions in life and make eternal differences for the cause of Christ in the twenty-first century.
1. The Right Leadership – The pastor and principal are crucial to the overall success of a school. Christian schools of excellence have leadership that provides God-given vision, direction, faculty-development, and accountability. Dr. Lee Roberson was absolutely right when he said “everything rises or falls on leadership.”
2. The Right Teachers – Schools of excellence are filled with teachers who are called by God and have a growing love for Him, children, and teaching. They serve because of the “cause” and not just for a “check” until something better comes along. Christian education is their vocation, not their occupation. They invest their lives into this cause and pour themselves into their students. They daily live Ephesians 4:1 “… walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” They inspire, teach, encourage, and engage students as they lead them daily to reach their God-given potential.
3. The Right Purpose – Christian educators are to assist Christian parents as they fulfill the biblical command to bring up their children in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord. This includes the whole child: spiritually, scholastically, and socially. Schools of excellence realize their purpose is to assist and complement the church and the home in helping students become more like Christ in every aspect of their lives. Colossians 1:28, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Thus, a school of excellence has clearly defined, communicated, and effective mission statements with multiple school-wide learning objectives to support its purpose.
4. The Right Curriculum – Schools of excellence use Bible-based, time-tested, content-rich curriculum that is both academically rigorous and comprehensive in its scope. The content, structure, and methods used to educate this generation of Christian students must be based on proven empirical evidence. They should not be based upon modern humanistic educational psychology and other ineffective secular philosophies and methods that are hindering the education of our students and yet are so prevalent in our nation today.
5. The Right Communication – In schools of excellence, teachers communicate often and effectively with their leadership, their students, and their parents through a variety of means. Healthy and regular communication (especially with parents) is a major key to increasing a student’s spiritual growth, improving academic performance, and reducing negative discipline situations in the classroom. Teachers must form a strong team or partnership with these stakeholders—this is vital to the effectiveness of learning and the quality of the educational environment.
6. The Right Extra-Curriculars – Schools of excellence not only help students master the three R’s, history, and science, but they also offer students opportunities to learn and participate in areas such as music, drama, other fine arts, computers, sports, and Christ-honoring social events.
7. The Right Facilities – While Christian schools may not have the largest or newest facilities in town, schools of excellence do have neat, clean, attractive, and well-maintained facilities. Before a school expands, a master plan should be created for smart growth that will greatly aid the students and help the school maintain excellence in all they do for the glory of the Lord.
These seven ingredients have and will continue to produce young people of stellar biblical character who love God, their families, the local church, and our country. These students are intellectually engaged, steadfast in their convictions, and are ready, willing, and able to make significant contributions to our nation as they impact this world for Christ!
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Psalm 33:12
By Dr. Manuel Salazar
Lancaster Baptist School Administrator