Around the world there is a wonderful diversity of Christian schools. This blogsite includes articles and promotional videos for, and about, Christian schools. The inclusion of material is not an endorsement.
Hopefully these articles, videos and examples from around the world will help parents better understand the different visions of Christian schools. The goal is for parents to be better equipped to ask questions. It may help Christian schools evaluate what messages they are sending out to their community.
West Sayville Christian School on Long Island in New York was started in 1946. As a promotional video this does give an insight into the school. The reason for including it on this website though is to demonstrate some of the things to avoid.
The introduction by the Principal is very awkward. The background is poorly chosen.
The pledges of allegience may appeal to some American Christians. Students are shown singing Christian songs. The song goes on a bit too long for a promotional video.
However I love the interviews with kids. Some sound a bit too scripted but others are very natural. Love the inclusion of "I love recess" as it adds a reality to it. Overall the video and especially the credits at the end are much too long for the content.
Dallas Christian School Texas starts this video by honouring their founders. Their love, hope and generosity helped create the school. It explains how they were ordinary people with an unselfish dream.
The school has grown but the legacy of faith remains. Here they have their Christian faith on public display rather than hidden away. The best seller - The Bible is read and children encouraged to pray. Although the video is all done with a single voiceover it has a warmth to it. It's a bit like a loved grandfather talking about the school and boasting about it without being too proud.
Rochester Christian School starts their video with "Academic Excellence". Possibly this is to address the common perception that Christian schools don't place as much emphasis on this area. The video then addresses family, Christian community and touches on the legacy or history of the school.
However the video really starts to make sense when the Principal addresses what the Bible teaches and then introduces a series of interviews with parents.
One of the parents talks about the story of God and reaching out to human beings. Another addresses the Christ-centred environment of the school. A parent recognises teachers and administration are on a mission and make personal sacrifices for their children. One parent talks of both prayer and academics and how Bible memory in class goes beyond what they felt the church could achieve.
One parent highlights how they are setting foundations for 10, 20 even 100 years ahead of time. This is significant as so much of schooling can be reduced to a set of exams to gain entry into college. I love the comments from a Reverend who wants teachers who have this story fueling what they say and instructing how they teach their children.
The Principal believes Christian education is the responsibility of Christian parents yet understands that they school community can help those parents in their role. The video is done as a promotion of the school's annual fundraising yet is engaging and helping parents understand the vision of the Christian school.
Hope College in the USA has over 3,000 students. Here's how they describe themselves... Hope College is a distinguished and distinctive four-year, liberal arts, undergraduate college, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Its great religious heritage is expressed through a dynamic Christian community of students and teachers vitally concerned with a relevant faith that changes lives and transforms society.
Initially when watching the promotional video I was gaining the impression that Christianity was not core to the school. The mention of a "historic Christian faith" made me think they had "moved on". Then they use the word "Covenant" and the idea of doing "good" but without any Christian connotations. However later in the video it gives time to state the "centrality of faith" and the desire ot make a difference in the world.
Students growing spiritually is considered important. Faith is recognised as a choice but Christianity is integrated into the classroom. A student explains the chaplain says "there is no such thing as spiritual life. There is just life. Everything is spiritual".
Interestingly there is also another shorter video addressing the Christian Faith of the college. Some of it is a repeat of interviews with two students from the above video but then it expands on it. This may be a clever way of addressing two audiences. The main video still includes the clear Christian emphasis but the second one may reassure those who wonder how strong the emphasis will be.
This video is not on the Why Christian
School DVD. It’s inclusion on this blogsite is not an endorsement of
the school. The video is simply included to help parents hear from a
variety of staff and parents involved in Christian Schools around the
world. If you know of other suitable videos please let us know.
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Why choose a Christian School? It's a question every Christian parent should be willing to ask... and prepared to give a considered answer. This website and videos are designed to help you consider your own beliefs on the role of both education and schools.