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TAB LE

O F

CO NT E NTS

What Is Truth?

1

Who We Are Admissions The Ultimate Outcome of Christian Education The Quest for ExcellenceTM and Theme Verse

2

The Excellence Brings Influence Strategy

What We Believe The Family and the Church as Life-training Institutions The Sacred Value of Each Person

4

How We Educate Defining Quality Education Four Defining Mandates for Educating Children 5 Core Educational Values Statement of Faith

5

What Makes a Christian School Christian? Guidelines for Keeping Interdenominational Integrity

Conclusion

8


“What Is Truth?” Valley Christian Schools (VCS) is grounded in a philosophy of education rooted in biblical truth and reflected in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” (Jesus’ Prayer—John 17:17)

Teachers are expected to challenge students to think deeply about complex, timeless, and contemporary issues. Students are expected to probe the nature of truth and apply truth to their everyday lives. In this way, teachers and students sharpen one another as they challenge ideas, concepts, and theories to better understand matters of truth. Jesus said to Pilate, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate responded with the timeless question, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Earlier, Thomas asked, “How can we know the way?” and “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’” (John 14:5-6). All truth is God’s truth. Ultimate truth is unchanging. As God, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 13:8).

1


the

Excellence Brings Influence Strategy

Who We Are

ADMISSIONS VCS fulfills Christ’s commission to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), by challenging students who are not yet Christians to accept Christ as their Savior, and by helping students who have accepted Christ to grow in their Christian faith. VCS instructs students under the delegated authority of their parents and in harmony with their local church. VCS seeks to only admit students whose parents support learning how to initiate, grow, and internalize Christian faith. Although parents and students need not be Christian to attend VCS, parents must agree to support the school’s Philosophy of Christian Education and must allow their children to personally accept the Christian faith1. Valley Christian Schools accepts students who meet behavioral and academic standards and desire to grow in their Christian faith, or are willing to give the Lord Jesus a fair hearing with the support of their parents. VCS encourages all students to be certain of their choice to accept and serve Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to be prepared to effectively inspire others as they share their faith.

2


The most excellent professionals

our students can powerfully and positively

and the world. This strategy of

naturally shape the cultural conscience

reshape the moral values of our culture.

Excellence Brings Influence helps

of society through their powerful spheres of influence. VCS prepares students to

To this end, our students are prepared for admission to the most preeminent

renew credibility for the cause of Christ in the marketplace of

serve as excellent professionals in the

universities. VCS does not shelter students

ideas through the lifelong personal

areas of education, entertainment,

from the world, but rather prepares them

Quest for Excellence of every

finance, law, government, media, and

to transform society through service to

VCS graduate.

science. From these spheres of influence,

God, their families, their communities,

THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Valley Christian Schools strives to provide an education that teaches students to do all that they accomplish “as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:17). Accordingly, the ultimate outcome of Christian education is that students learn to: • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). • “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19). • “Know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). • Grow like Jesus grew “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). • Reach others around the world, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Jesus to Paul, Acts 26:18). • Serve as good citizens by honoring those in authority and by loving all people in their communities, their nation, and all people of the world regardless of their national or ethnic origin (Romans 13:1-8).

• Honor the teaching of Jesus to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Mark 12:17). • “Walk humbly with God,” to promote justice, and to resist tyranny and injustice. Given a conflict of values between God and the law of the land, they ought to “obey God rather than men” (Micah 6:8; Job 6:29; Acts 5:29). The passion “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19), is reflected in Valley Christian Schools’ Quest for Excellence™ to do all things “heartily as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).

THE QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE AND THEME VERSE The standard for excellence is ultimately defined as the nature, character, and works of God, the Creator of “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God’s excellence is revealed in Jesus Christ. Regarding Jesus’ divine creative works, John the Apostle declared, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). God came to earth through his son Jesus Christ to declare His glory, grace, truth, and light to all humankind. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). He was, in the beginning, with God. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). The Quest for Excellence is a lifelong journey, and includes a personal, God-given passion to become like Jesus and to do everything to the highest standard, “heartily as to the Lord,” (Colossians 3:23). Shortly after VCS adopted Quest for Excellence as the school’s theme in 1992, Colossians 3:23 was chosen as the accompanying theme verse. The possibility of misunderstanding the Quest for Excellence and becoming prideful of our “excellent school” was perceived as a serious threat. We determined that the Quest for Excellence logo should always include the verse, “Do it heartily as to the Lord” to safeguard and communicate the proper motive for the Quest for Excellence.

3


T H E SAC R E D VA LU E O F E AC H P E R S O N The responsibility to properly train all children “in the way” that they “should go” and to “love the Lord” is critical because of the infinite value that God places on each person’s life. Value is best determined by the price a buyer is willing to pay. Based on this principle, God, the Creator and Ultimate Assessor of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), put an infinite value on every human life. He paid for the salvation of every person by giving His life as payment in the person of Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). God saw each person when he/she was “made in secret… being yet unformed.” Each person’s substance is written in the Bible: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16). Because of the value of each human life, our loving God demands, “do not kill the innocent and righteous” (Exodus 23:7). Based on these passages, God certainly views life as beginning with His individual plan for each person even before conception, and each human life is of infinite value from God’s perspective.

How We

Educate D E F I N I N G Q UA L I T Y E D U C AT I O N

The Christian educator must define quality education as it relates to communicating truth. Critical elements involved in offering quality Christian education include the following: • Accepting students as God created them with varied gifts and abilities; • Providing opportunities for students to learn at their level of understanding and at their individual pace; • Offering a wide range of instructional strategies and learning opportunities to allow for the varied gifts and abilities of students.

FOUR DIVINE MANDATES FOR EDUCATING CHILDREN The Bible offers clear direction as to how parents and all teachers should train children to grow as Jesus grew, “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). God clearly outlines a comprehensive educational framework, encompassing an ultimate instructional goal, teacher qualifications, a daily instructional schedule, and an overall instructional strategy through which to train children. These four mandates include the following:

1 2 3 4

Ultimate Instructional Goal The divinely-mandated ultimate instructional goal of all Christian teachers is to teach students to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Teacher Qualifications Teachers must first follow the command, “Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” God’s Word and commands must be “in” their hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).

Daily Instructional Schedule Educators must teach biblical truths daily: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Instructional Strategy VCS immerses and integrates truth: “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8-9).

5


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GUIDELIN E S FOR K E E PIN G INT ERD E N OM IN AT ION A L IN T E GR IT Y

1. Parents are the primary educators of their children under God. 2. All students are uniquely gifted with God-given talents. 3. Teachers, as loving Christian role models, develop relationships to guide students. 4. School leaders innovate programs for students to develop their God-given talents. 5. Teachers inspire and challenge students to develop extraordinary achievement through comprehensive and accelerated programs.

VCS’ interdenominational integrity guidelines are intended to keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The guidelines honor Jesus’ prayer when he prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).

4. All teaching, preaching, and instruction

2.

1. Employees should encourage students to be faithful in attendance to the Christian church that their family attends and to seek their parents’ guidance, should they desire to attend another church.

3.

involving Christian faith at VCS must be consistent with the sixty-six books of the Bible. VCS employees and guest speakers are not to promote or denigrate various traditions, doctrines, catechisms, or teachings of Christian churches. Christian churches are understood to be Christian when they adhere to the historically-held essential doctrines of the Christian faith. VCS’ Statement of Faith is viewed as the essential indisputable beliefs that have historically been held by Biblebelieving Christians since Christ established the Christian Church. As such, VCS views these truths as unchanging and non-negotiable.

5. When issues regarding doctrinal 2. Employees should not promote or

differences of various churches arise, the teacher, administrator, or guest speaker should encourage students to look to the Bible in consultation with their parents and their pastors.

teach denominational distinctives. Examples include methods of baptism, charismatic or non-charismatic doctrine, Calvinistic or Arminian doctrine, and forms of worship that are unique to various churches.

3. VCS employees must relate to one

another as Christians in recognition of the spiritual unity of all believers.

4.

5.


WHAT MAKES A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

CHRISTIAN? The Standard to Which We Aspire 1 All VCS Board members and employees profess Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and subscribe to VCS’ Statement of Faith, Core Educational Values, Interdenominational Integrity Statement, and Philosophy of Christian Education3.

2 All VCS employees serve as Christian role models for students and the broader community. They positively reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23), and are examples of Christian values and conduct, both in and out of the classroom.

3 All employees agree to attend a Bible-believing church regularly and agree to make the Bible their intellectual home. Lifestyles on and off campus are to remain consistent with Christian values4.

4 All employees pray for one another and for VCS students “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1).

5 All VCS employees are committed to frequent and regular Bible reading and meditation on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8: Psalm 1:2-3).

6 All VCS employees are “ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”(1 Peter 3:15).

8

7 All VCS employees are willing and prepared to lead students in prayer to receive Christ as their personal Savior.

8 Educators serve as gatekeepers to ensure that VCS' curriculum and instruction is consistent with a Christian worldview. All instruction and learning—including academic, artistic, athletic, and social activities—incorporate a Christian worldview, as found in the Bible and reflected in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. VCS has adopted the most robust curriculum standards for instruction and selects textbooks that best reflect those standards, whether or not the publishers represent themselves as Christian publishers.

9 All students regularly attend chapel, study the Bible weekly, and learn to explain the Christian faith to others. Students study the Bible as an academic course while enrolled at VCS. Encouraging students’ choices about matters of faith helps ensure that VCS is a safe place to express their beliefs and doubts about God and other issues. Students are encouraged to internalize their Christian faith through personal choice and not through indoctrination that inculcates religious instruction.

10 All students are challenged to repent of their sins, receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and pursue their personal Quest for Excellence, as they “do it heartily, as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).


Conclusion This document officially represents Valley Christian Schools’ Philosophy of Christian Education. As the VCS community celebrates God’s faithfulness, we also celebrate that, with few exceptions, VCS’ Board, faculty, and staff remain faithful to the Lord and to His Word. This Philosophy of Christian Education is written to encourage those who serve at VCS to remain forever faithful to God and to the founding purpose of Valley Christian Schools. It also discloses the school’s philosophy of education to help prospective employees, parents, and students determine whether they will make application to VCS. Dr. Paul Kienel, founder of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) said, “Valley Christian Schools’ Philosophy of Christian Education is outstanding. It should give great comfort to Christian parents in your school that seek an authentic Christian education for their children.” VCS’ Founder David Wallace commented, “Your statement of the school’s Philosophy of Christian Education gives me great comfort because it remains faithful to the truth of God’s Word that led us to found Valley Christian Schools. I pray that the school will forever remain faithful to God and to this Philosophy of Christian Education.” We who have served at Valley Christian Schools during its first more than half a century look forward to rejoicing from heaven’s portals as the Quest for Excellence continues through the faithfulness of future Christian educators. To the students of Valley Christian Schools: “After those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). God’s promise to those who serve faithfully at Valley Christian Schools: He will “make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations” (Isaiah 60:15).



VCS Philosophy of Christian Education