Guidelines for weighing Christian school options
DALLAS (BP)--When considering a Christian school for one's child or children, parents would be wise to consider the following factors in making that decision, especially if there is more than one option. No school is perfect, but these factors are critical in defining an effective Christian school.
Centrality of Christ
-- Obsession about making Christ preeminent in all the school's operation and programs
-- Interviews give some evidence of that obsession
High view of the Scriptures
-- Read school's mission statement
-- Ask about spiritual qualifications in its faculty hiring policy
-- Ask how the Scriptures are integrated into the curricula
-- Observe a few classes if permitted
Serious commitment to academic integrity
-- Find out what textbooks the school uses; if all come from one Christian publisher, be cautious
-- Ask about faculty hiring policy
-- Teachers' academic credentials to teach the subject/s assigned, e.g., the mathematics teacher has a mathematics major
-- Operation monies and plan for faculty enrichment, e.g., workshops, advanced degrees, seminars
Discipline policies and procedures
-- Awareness of dangers of legalism in disciplining children and young people
-- Commitment to exhibiting grace in the context of maintaining discipline
The role of the board in the operation of the school
-- Does the board empower the administration to hire and fire?
-- Does the board empower the administration to handle discipline, especially suspension and expulsion?
Understanding of the role of a Christian school in supporting its families
-- Evidence of cooperation with feeder churches
-- Understanding that the Christian school is not to replace the local church in lives of its students and families
-- Understanding the strategic role of the Christian school in providing Kingdom education for its students
Beidel is the headmaster of First Baptist Academy in Dallas.