Training Christian Leaders Committed to Excellence

(Taken from the AVCS Operations Manual, August 7, 2017)

 1.6.2  Objectives/Expected Schoolwide Learning Outcomes

Background Thoughts:

Opinions vary about Christian schools and the educational movement of which they are a part.  From a negative perspective, Christian schools are regarded as reactionary institutions attempting to cocoon students from the perceived corrupting influences and problems of modern society.  From a positive perspective, however, Christian schools can be models for educational excellence, preparing students to enter society with a distinctively Christian worldview through which they can integrate their faith and academic knowledge.  An integrated approach to education enables students not only to remain firm in their faith, but also to make valuable contributions to society throughout their lives.

The goal of fusing students’ Christian faith with a commitment to action in the marketplace of life is not easy to achieve, even for Christian schools committed to such an ideal.  Three factors seem to inhibit students from developing an integrated Christian worldview.  The first factor Christian schools are working against is the popular belief that both truth and the activities of life are either sacred or secular.  This dichotomous view of truth and life is so culturally entrenched that students are unable to develop a holistic view of life and for life.  They act out their daily routines in one or both of two distinct realms, the public secular arena and/or the private sacred arena rather than pursuing all activities with an understanding of the integrity of all dimensions of reality.

A second factor inhibiting students from developing an integrated Christian worldview comes from within the Christian school curriculum itself.  It is a failure to develop a cohesive approach to the academic subjects and the religious subjects in the curriculum.  The “spiritual dimensions” such as Bible study and chapel services are deemed sufficient in and of themselves to instill the right worldview and motivate students to Christian action.  This lack of integrated curriculum further entrenches dichotomous sacred/secular thinking.

A third factor inhibiting students from developing a distinctively Christian worldview results from the previous two:  without an ability to think Christianly, students influenced by cultural and philosophical pluralism develop an eclectic worldview.  Without a definitive worldview, students incorporate not only the predominant worldview of the culture, but also elements of other views found in the global marketplace of ideas.

In his book Subversive Christianity, Brian Walsh confronts this inability to think Christianly when he writes that “our consciousness, our imagination, our vision have been captured by idolatrous perceptions and ways of life.  The dominant worldview, the all-pervasive secular consciousness, has captured our lives.”  Harry Blamires, a Christian apologist, echoes the thought in his book The Christian Mind when he says that “except over a very narrow field of thinking, chiefly touching questions of strictly personal conduct, we Christians in the modern world accept, for the purpose of mental activity, a frame of reference constructed by the secular mind and a set of criteria reflecting secular evaluations.”

Regretfully, the observations of Walsh and Blamires are confirmed by the fact that many Christian school students and graduates cannot articulate or apply the biblical Christian worldview in their daily lives.  Many waver in their faith when confronted with the carefully articulated arguments for secular humanism, socialism, pantheism, and other non-Christian views.  Swayed by popular culture, they have been taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

Aware of this intense spiritual warfare for the minds of children and young adults, Apple Valley Christian School is committed to developing a learning environment that can help students articulate and apply the Christian worldview to every aspect of reality.  A key strategy in this battle for the mind is the development of a PS-12 Classical/Christian learning model.  The following objectives present a structure that reflects this strategic development.

Objectives/Expected Schoolwide Learning Outcomes

Students will:

Spiritual and Moral

1.    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37):

  • Become a member of God’s family and mature in that family relationship.
  • Grow in wisdom:  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).
  • Become excellent/virtuous people.

2.    Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:38).

  • Learn to respect other people/fellow image-bearers of God.
  • Understand and grasp the implications of man’s sinful/fallen nature.
  • Learn to understand and respect authority.
  • Learn to apply Biblical thought to all areas of life (what it means to live under God’s authority).

Social and Personal

3.   Learn to be good stewards in God’s world.

  • Learn to discover and use their unique talents and gifts.
  • Learn to understand and apply God’s cultural mandate.
  • Learn to live a life of service.
  • Learn to be people who respect and apply God’s ideas within the various institutions of life.
  • Learn to understand and apply God’s ideas on material possessions and their use.

4.   Learn to be good disciples of their Master, Jesus Christ.

  • Learn to understand and apply God’s ideas related to a disciplined life style.
  • Learn to understand and apply their role as God’s ambassadors.

5.   Learn to understand and practice servant leadership.

Intellectual and Academic

6.   Learn the tools and practices of a skilled reader.
7.   Learn the tools necessary to master cultural literacy.
8.   Learn strategies for identifying objective truth and the tools to establish real knowledge (a justified, true, belief).
9.   Learn to establish the attitudes and habits that lead to academic excellence.
10.   Learn to become an excellent thinker.

  • Learn the foundational set of facts and particulars of the various subjects that create learning tools that serves the student in later stages of the learning process.
  • Learn formal logic, correct argumentation, analysis of information and deductive reasoning in a manner that allows students to analyze the how’s and why’s of our physical and spiritual world through discussion, deduction, and constructive criticism.
  • Learn to be excellent thinkers who can communicate their thoughts both verbally and in written form.
  • Learn to become explorers with the tools to seek understanding and truth in the various academic areas.

11.   Learn to be able to develop, defend, and communicate a comprehensive Christian worldview.
12.   Develop an excellent foundation for higher and lifelong learning.