Christian School Blog
As Christian schools look forward to enrollment for next year, the goal for each school should be to see enrollment increase. Regardless of enrollment patterns in the past, God wants to do a new thing this coming year in every Christian school. How many students can your school facility hold? Why not believe God for full enrollment and then more?
As you begin the enrollment process, consider these verses found in Isaiah 43:5-7: “Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Then in verses 18,19: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (KJV)
Going Beyond the Norm
God is looking for Christian schools that go beyond the basics of providing a Christ-centered environment where learning takes place. He is looking for schools to increase and where all learning and training is presented in light of His uncompromising Word. He is looking to direct parents to schools where the secular and sacred are not separated; rather, they are interwoven into a lifestyle that leads to words, thoughts, and actions that bring glory to the Creator-God.
God is looking to expand schools where the school staff are willing to brings students to a point where they can see things as God sees them; where they can think God’s thoughts and evaluate their thoughts, words and actions in light of God’s Word – to live by the Word of God and to be led by the Spirit of God.
He is looking to grow schools that are willing to reveal God in all the students. As God is revealed to the students in all they do, He will cause the Kingdom of God to flow through their lives to others. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. . . that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:6-10).
As you think over your enrollment strategies for this spring and summer, allow the Holy Spirit to give you some new creative ideas. When promoting your facilities, staff, curriculum, student activities, sports programs, do not forget to promote Jesus. Schools have this promise, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me" (John 12:32). When Jesus is lifted up in all of these afore mentioned areas, He will draw students to Him and to your school.
For more ideas on summer promotional strategies, see School Improvement on our website at www.delpublications.com.
As schools get closer to the end of the school year, the question often arises, “Should Johnny be promoted to the next grade level or held back? For many schools there is no consistent promotion and retention policy. As long as schools are organized as graded-schools, there will be those who do not qualify for advancement to the next grade. Given the large body of educational research supporting the negative aspects of retention, schools are modifying their promotion policies to reduce the number of non-promotions.
Think of retention this way. Suppose you need to drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas. Under normal conditions and with an adequate vehicle and plenty of gas, you should make Dallas in five hours. Let us say, after five hours, you only reach Oklahoma City just 100 miles from Tulsa, for whatever reason—car malfunction, detours in the road, accident, etc. Should you be sent all the way back to Tulsa and told to start all over? Unless your car is repaired, the road fixed, more gas put in the tank or detours eliminated, there is no assurance you will make it to Dallas a second time.
Retaining a student at a grade level for a second year without attempting to deal with the reasons affecting his rate of learning gives no assurance that the student will be any more successful on the second trip.
When a student fails to advance as expected, it is possible that the fault rests as much with the school and teacher as with the student. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, author of The 7 Laws of the Learner, states, “It is the responsibility of the teacher to do everything in his power to cause the student to learn.” Consider the following strategies:
Assessment. Incorporate a system that accurately assesses individual and group progress toward achieving curriculum objectives (prescribed learner outcomes). As soon as it is evident that students are not making progress, look for reasons within the entire teaching-learning environment, not just the student.
Class Periods. Consider extending the class period, school day, time allocated to a specific skill, or even the school year (summer classes) to accommodate individual differences in the learning rate. If summer school in not an option, develop an individual study program for the student over the summer, where the student can work on mastering the objectives that were missed; then, re-evaluate the retention decision before the start of the new school year.
Instructional Adjustment. Permit teachers to adjust instructional programs, materials and methods to better meet the growth pattern of their pupils. Have students work with a classroom aide or tutor.
Reading Materials. Provide reading materials within each classroom that cover a wide range of difficulty over several “grade levels.”
Class Size. Promote smaller class sizes for teachers. Encourage them to adjust their teaching methods and to focus on small group and individual skill development.
Communication. Keep parents regularly informed about the progress of their children in all aspects of the school curriculum (daily or weekly if needed). Solicit their support and assistance in helping their child(ren) achieve specific learner outcomes.
Training. Sponsor a school-wide in-service, conference or video series, such as The 7 Laws of the Learner, The 7 Laws of the Teacher, and Teaching With Style, to equip your teaching staff to meet the needs of their students.
Computerization. Investigate using computer-aided instruction in a wide variety of subjects. For example, tutorial software is designed to teach a subject as well as drill over it. Programs are intended to stand alone as an instructional entity in the curriculum. Thus, the computer is the teacher for a particular skill or area of information.
Use tutorial programs in the classroom under the direction of the teacher, or send them home with the student to be monitored by the parent. Some schools include a variety of tutorial programs in their school library, making them available for checkout by students and parents.
Other programs can assist with drill and practice. Incorporate these programs to supplement the regular instruction. For example, concepts which have been presented in the classroom by the teacher can be practiced and refined by the computer (a good example is Skills Bank III).
Word of God. Bring the uncompromised Word of God to bear on academic challenges. Declare Ephesians 2:10 over your students, “For (your students) are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works....” Part of the good works of students are good grades.
Help students to guard their words. Words can help create within them a conquering attitude thus stimulating faith rather than doubt. Their belief, coupled with God's promises, gives your students God's ability and power to overcome any homework assignment, special project, quiz, nine-week test, or any other school challenge.
Have you ever run out of gas? One of the most inconvenient actions I know of is running out of gas, unless you were out on a date. Running out of gas is an excuse that many teenagers try to present to their parents in an attempt to extend a date.
Today, modern technology in vehicles tells drivers how many miles they have until empty, and the number of miles per gallon of gas they are using; GPS’s even know how many miles to the nearest gas station. With mobile aps, like Gas Buddy, you can also locate the cheapest gas within miles. Yet, people still run out of gas, even when they have money to purchase gas.
Carol and I drive a Ford Fusion. It is rated to get 32 miles per gallon “on the road.” On some trips, I’ve averaged 35 mpg. If I could coast all the time, I could double the mileage. And, there have been times when I have risked running out of gas, just to see how far I could go on a near-empty tank. There is a real adrenalin rush when you push the limits to see how close you can get to running out. There have been times when I haven’t paid attention to the gas gage and almost ran out of gas. I thank the Holy Spirit for reminding me to check the gauge.
Many make the mistake of risking it and paying the price of a long walk in the middle of the night to get some gas. My father gave me some sound advice when I was a teen driver, “It is much easier to run on the top half of the tank, than on the bottom half.”
Is Your Spiritual Tank Running On Empty?
As Christian educators, we realize that having a full spiritual tank is much more important than a full tank of gas in our vehicles. It’s time to allow the Holy Spirit to check your spiritual gas gauge.
Mark 4:9 illustrates how the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and the list of things, enter and choke the Word; the result of which is fruitlessness and an empty tank.
When one’s spiritual tank is near empty, one usually is running out of other things. Consider these examples.
1. Patience –“I’ve had it with the students.”
2. Kindness – "Why should I be kind to her? Look at what she's done to me.”
3. Forgiveness – “You don't deserve another chance.’
4. Love – “I've given so much of myself, why don't they give back to me. I'm getting nothing in return."
5. Moral and ethical conduct – viewing unwholesome movies and videos, cheating on taxes unfaithfulness to spouse, anger at God.
6. Dedicated service to God – so much to do, too many good TV programs to watch, sporting events to attend, lessons to prepare, family to attend to.
Fill Up Your Tank
The solution for getting your spiritual tank full is not found at the local Quick Trip. Matthew 5:6 shows us how to be filled by hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Get filled up by surrounding yourself with the Word of God and the things of God - prayer, praise and worship, church, and a greater sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Unlike the cost of gas at the pump, Jesus’s filling station is free. All it takes is some dedicated time to pull over and get filled up. Make the decision today - get your tank full and keep it full! Be filled with Gal 5:22 and 23.
Let this be your prayer: "Holy Spirit, fill me UP!"
Most of us have heard our students respond with “Do what?” The use of this phrase is an equivalent of "excuse me?" or "pardon me?" when someone says something they did not catch. It is believed that this regionalism is native to the Texas hill country, North Carolina, and Alabama.
This winter, how many times have parents found themselves saying, “Are you listening to me? Didn't I just tell you to get your coat? Helloooo! It is cold out there. “
Sometimes it seems that regardless of how many times you tell a child to do something, it seems like most of what you tell them falls on deaf ears or goes in one ear and out the other.
Information Does Get Inside
You may be surprised to learn that it does not work that way. The information is getting inside; they just store the information for later use.
I am always amazed during days when it is cold outside, the number of students who come to school without coats. It is not that they do not have coats, they do not plan. You would think that they would plan ahead and think “OK it's going to be cold outside so my jacket will keep me warm.” You would expect this to be the pattern of reasoning. Rather, they run outside, discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory of where their jacket is, and then they go get it.
Getting students to prepare for something in advance, takes extra effort. Rather than arguing and bickering, try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face. Perhaps you could say something like “I know you do not want to take your coat now, but when you are seated in the car shivering later, remember that you could have had your coat with you."
Heartfelt Desire to Obey
Matthew 28:16, says, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” They did not argue, bicker or delay. They did what Jesus had asked. There was no need to coerce or beg, or to tell them a second, or third time. “Their obedience followed a genuine heartfelt desire to obey. Their readiness to obey demonstrated that learning had taken place.” Many times, our students finally do what we ask but only in a grudging way. Obedience is only superficial, “covering up an inwardly rebellious heart.”
Kenneth Gangel, in Called to Teach, shares the illustration on watered down obedience that took place in the Spanish American War. “Apparently the United States Congress came up with the idea of renaming captured Spanish warships after American universities and colleges and dubbing the collection ‘The College Fleet.’ Congress itself named the first two ships the ‘Harvard” and the “Yale.’ Admiral Dewey, in charge of American naval forces, considered this idea ludicrous. But as a veteran officer he knew how to obey orders. The next ship he captured he renamed the ‘Massachusetts School of Technology’ and after than the ‘Vermont Normal College of Women.’ As quickly as it had begun, the college fleet was disbanded.” Did he do what was asked? Yes, Admiral Dewey did what he was asked to do. “On the surface he demonstrated impeccable obedience. Yet, in his heart he had a spirit of rebellion.”
A few tips for dealing with student rebellious tendencies.
1. Set clear expectations and boundaries as well as consequences for disobedience.
2. Catch them making good decisions; praise good obedience and quality decisions.
3. Minister love, acceptance and forgiveness when mistakes are made.
4. Listen to their concerns; let them speak without giving them a long lecture.
5. Do not compare them with others; focus on progress.
6. Speak to them respectfully and do not embarrass them in front of others.
7. Be patient; do not condone inappropriate behavior but offer understanding.
There are times when the perception and reality of events, situations, wrong decisions, neglect, or circumstances that are coming against us, our families, or our students, leads to questioning Gods plan to bring us through. We know that “all things work together for good...” (Romans 8:28), but we ask, “When will the good come?”
Confidence is a key ingredient in good work
Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
How is your confidence in God?
Usually, when we think of this verse, we remember the point in time when we gave our lives to Jesus. At this point He began a work in our lives.
For most of us, we acknowledge that He is still working in and on us. We have all heard or used the phrase, “God is not done with me yet.” It is true; God is continuing to work in all of us. He never gives up on us.
"Being confident," means we are persuaded. It also presents to us the need to release our faith for the good works to be come forth, to be completed.
Begun can also be in the present
Remember: begin, began, and begun? Begun is past tense, right? It is true; we can look back in the past and point to our new beginning in God, and recall the good things that He has done for and through us. What about the present? Is there a situation in your life or family where a new beginning is needed?
For example, take the realization for the need for more joy. We acknowledge that it is God’s will for us to have joy. We understand that the joy of the Lord is our strength. We realize that the release of joy has a very positive effect upon our lives and those that we meet. Furthermore, joy releases chemicals that cause our bodies to fight stress, fatigue, helps bring stability to our lives, and heals emotion problems.
So, what is it that we need to do to see that work of joy have a new beginning? Consider the following.
First, we must understand that when we received the life of God, we received the joy of God. We acknowledge joy as a good work and that God wants to work in us to raise our joy level. Paul writes, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is His will for joy to be in our lives. Therefore, His joy in us should come forth now, not tomorrow or the next day when things improve. If joy is not coming forth, then we must be the one who is stopping it.
Second, knowing that confidence relates to our faith, we must release our faith for joy to spring forth, to be freed. We know we will have what we say when we believe (Mark 11:23-24). Since we already have joy, we must allow it to some out. Not tomorrow, but now!
Finally, we are the ones who must release this joy. Begin by thinking about the goodness of God (Prov. 23:7), follow this with a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and a pleasantness in tone of voice. When? Right now!
We can bring joy right now into existence as it is released. It is an act of our will. “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” When? Right now!
This day, release your faith (have confidence) that whatever it is that you or your students are facing will start to change – right NOW!