A few years ago D. Bruce Lockerbie, a Christian school consultant, visited ECS as our board began praying about a Christian high school. He spoke with our faculty about being intentional in training students spiritually and academically. His message can be summarized in this quote, “Because God has called us to the mission of Christian schooling, He expects more from us than bad imitation. God expects schools that stand apart; God expects distinctiveness.” (2007-2008 Christian School Educator Volume 11 Number 1 First Things First) This “distinctiveness” refers to refusing to compromise either spiritual or academic excellence in favor of the other.
Academic benchmarks such as ISTEP, I-READ, Acuity, STAR quarterly reading assessments, Terra Nova, End-of Course Assessments for Algebra, attendance rate, 4 Star School status, and an”A” school rating are measures of accountability for student progress. Schools use these indicators to measure their effectiveness, to track student learning, and to meet expectations of all stakeholders.
At ECS, however, our mission extends beyond academics. In fact, academic instruction and spiritual truths are inseparable in our mission and in our classrooms. It is our mission to “provide an exemplary learning environment to educate and equip students with a Biblical worldview who confidently engage the culture and impact the world for Christ.” Teachers and staff are deliberate to plan lessons with Biblical integration of academic content, to work in grade level teams to design curriculum and plan instruction, and to meet in groups before school for Bible study and professional development related to equipping students spiritually. Biblical integration in lesson planning and instruction is part of the teacher evaluation process, teachers complete a philosophy of Christian education course when hired at ECS, and it is a key component of the interview process. ECS is intentional in the pursuit of training students spiritually. The impact of this training is evident in the classroom, in the athletic program, during performances, in addition to programs such as Student Leadership Institute, and at chapel.
All of this is expected from a Christian school committed to equipping students spiritually and academically, but let me tell you about what happens on a daily basis in lives of ECS students. The impact of spiritual truth happens most often in the daily interactions among students, between teacher and student, on the playground, during class discussions, praying with the team….those teachable moments of life that happen and change hearts.
Here are a few of those moments from this year: students praying over Operation Christmas Child boxes (and two months later some students are still praying for the child who will get their box); children who ask for supplies to donate to mission trips for their birthday instead of gifts; the generous sportsmanship shown by an elementary basketball team when playing a team with a special needs child; sixth graders praying over an orphanage leader from Myanmar; eighth graders who boldly share their hearts with their peers while honestly telling the story of their spiritual journey so far; four year olds praying in circle prayer in class; sports teams praying together on the field or on the court; students providing biblical integration in classroom discussions; and….this list goes on and on. It is a day in the life at Evansville Christian School.
We are proud of our students and grateful to God for the academic accomplishments that often get all the attention. Spiritual training is a priority at ECS, and while those moments may not make headlines, they are written on the hearts of our students.
In His Service,