Genuinely Christian Education: Nurturing

 A Christian School should encourage excellence and celebrate the unique value of the individual.

Is it right to have admissions standards of any kind? Many schools have academic requirements such as a minimum grade point average or test score. Others have conduct standards, screening out the ill-behaved. Still others require that at least one parent profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Standards are good and necessary when applied correctly. The issue of behavioral or spiritual standards is addressed in the next post.

If a school is to encourage a child to maximize his God-given strengths, then the school must address the needs of the academically gifted. While we do not believe a school should screen out the academically challenged, we do believe it is entirely appropriate to provide additional academic rigor for those who demonstrate exceptional competencies. Enriched curriculum should not be limited to an accelerated version of standard curriculum. Rather, an enriched curriculum should broaden the learning experience. In practical terms, the gifted tenth grade writer may learn how to write for publication and make actual article submissions (broaden) versus taking a twelfth grade English class (accelerate). The school may facilitate partnerships that would allow the gifted science student to intern in a research laboratory.

The same approach also applies to those gifted in non-academic areas. Growth opportunities should not be limited to those who first meet some academic standard. Just as the one who demonstrates academic competency will stretch and develop his gift, the apt musician or artisan should have permission to hone his skills. A broadened curriculum may include for the musician, training in music therapy; for the artisan, an apprenticeship with a skilled professional.

As students amass skills with a broader view, they cultivate a deeper understanding of the world they live in. They are prepared to make meaningful contributions to individuals and society as a whole. When this training is combined with a solid Biblical understanding of truth, they enter the adult world equipped to expand Christ’s kingdom.

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