One Family’s Story – Part 3

There was one bright spot in the journey. Bellevue Christian School in Bellevue, Washington does open their doors to children with disabilities. They offer the NILD (National Institute for Learning Disabilities) program to tackle moderate learning differences. Interestingly, the school has an excellent reputation, boasting high achievement scores. This school approaches Christian education with a striking tenacity. When I spoke with the school leadership, I never sensed that they approached the call to academic excellence by weighing down students and their parents with an unmanageable workload. Instead, they implore each child to demonstrate Christ’s kingship in whatever calling they are given and in all of life.

My exposure to Bellevue Christian was bittersweet. The principal invited me to discuss ways the school might meet the needs of my entire family, including my daughter’s more substantial needs. Clearly, he was committed to providing access to Christian education for all who would seek it.

Yet resources were limited. Enrolling my son in the NILD program would double the tuition, bringing the annual cost to a staggering $20,000. My daughter would require additional resources, at a cost to be determined. Also, the waiting list for the NILD program was long and current students had priority. It seemed our only option was to enter school hoping a program slot would open before the rigor of the regular classroom devoured him; not a choice I could make in good conscience.

It saddened me to learn that Bellevue Christian had received numerous referrals from other local Christian schools, as a place for struggling students .  I could only conclude that the other schools didn’t want to offer these services and Bellevue Christian provided an easy out to dealing with parent inquiries.

For years, I stewed, whined and grieved over the state of Christian education. From that pit of utter despair and unrelenting outrage, I began to dream. Along with my husband, I started listing what I wanted from a Christian education. As we mulled over our ideas, we began to question whether Christian schools were generally meeting the mark for anyone, even the students they targeted.

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