Saturday, February 13, 2016

Unpacking our Mission, Purpose and Vision

We have been diligently working through the reaccreditation process for the past eighteen months. Our on-site visit with our review team is less than a month away. Through this entire process, we've reviewed and reevaluated almost every aspect of our school. The anchor point for everything is our purpose statement/mission. 

I decided I wanted to take an opportunity to unpack this statement by dividing it into the most crucial components and explain why they are important to our ministry and school. 

Here is the statement in its entirety:

"The Frankfort Christian Academy partners with Christian parents to provide a Biblically integrated education which equips students to embrace biblical truth, to strive for academic excellence and to exemplify Christ-like servanthood in homes, churches and communities."

Today I want to focus on the first part of the statement, "partners with Christian parents", because it is a key component to the success not only of our individual students, but the overall viability of our school. 

Our school is a covenant school. This means that at least one of the parents must profess to be a Christ-follower and active member of an evangelical, bible believing church. Parents are asked to read and sign a contract with our school upon enrollment that not only covers financial and academic standards, but also a lifestyle statement and agreement with the school's statement of faith. 

There is diversity among the Christian church as a global body, so we know not everyone sees eye to eye on every doctrinal issue. However, we must be united in the more core beliefs:

Jesus is God's son
The Bible is the infallible word of God
Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross for our sins and then resurrected three days later. 
The Trinity is God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit 
Marriage is between a man and a woman
There are unique roles for both male and female that are biblically based and given by God. 
God is the Creator and the giver of life. 
All life is valued because we are made in God's image. 

Not only do we want our parents to be united in their faith, but we want to view our relationship with parents as a partnership. We are all on the same team. Students need to know that we will all work together on their behalf. Teachers are there to reinforce values and religious foundations already in place from home and church. Parents will support academic expectations and behavior expectations of the school.  

This also has to mean that as educators, we involve parents in this partnership.  We have to communicate clearly with students and parents the expectations of each classroom.  This includes everything from how to handle turning in assignments, absences, materials needed for each class, when tests are going to be given, as well as how to best communicate with the teacher, concerns for students well being, discipline issues and more. Truly operating as a team communicates a clear message to the student that we are all working together for their betterment.  Parents talking unfavorably about teachers in front of children undermines the teacher-student relationship. Teachers not communicating expectations or concerns with parents doesn't help set students up for success.  

When I was a student, it never crossed my mind to go home and complain to my parents about my teacher. I knew it would not be met with affirmation. They would have supported the authority of my teacher unequivocally. Unfortunately, the world we live in has changed, and in many ways, not for the best. Too many students are looking for someone else to blame for not being responsible, not doing their work, not coming to school, not following rules, etc. As parents, and as educators, we have to model for our students humility and owning our actions and choices as our own. When we work as a team (parent-student-educator), we will truly see the student grow and develop into the person God has shaped the and created them to be!

Part two of Unpacking the Mission coming soon........

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