World-Class: Desirable or Dangerous?

World-Class: Desirable or Dangerous?

I have never seen a Christian school with such a sign and I don’t ever expect to see one. For too many Christian schools such a sign might reflect “truth in advertising” but would it be extraordinary bad marketing! It would also be suicidal for both the administrator and the school. Besides, while average may be more common than we would like to admit, every school administrator I know is genuinely committed to excellence in his or her school. 

But the fact of the matter is, and the research supports it, far too many Christian schools are average–generally no better than their public school counterparts as measured by student achievement. There are many reasons why this is so but I believe one of them–perhaps the primary one–is that we are afraid of excellence of the kind that could be classified as world-class. 

This is part one of a series of short articles exploring the questions; “Should our schools strive to be world-class, or as I will explain later–Kingdom-class–and if so, how do we get closer to that goal? How excellent should we strive to be? What is excellence, anyway? Does the pursuit of world-class standards of quality run the risk of compromising our integrity as Christian schools? Do we run the risk of becoming worldly institutions?” 

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“It’s Just a little cold!” Mourning Ernest Hemingway

“It’s Just a little cold!” Mourning Ernest Hemingway

That’s what my dear wife Ginny thought about my sniffles, scratchy throat and mild fever.

‘How could she possibly know that for sure?’ I thought in a spirit of congested misery. ‘What if it’s something much more  lethal, like beriberi or bubonic plague or the human version of Dutch elm disease!?!’

And furthermore, she said it on my birthday: that unwelcome annual reminder that 365 more days have been stuffed in the chronological backpack I’d be lugging across life’s portage, that an additional growth ring encircled my substantial trunk and that one more burning candle had been added to the conflagration that’s been gradually incinerating my faculties. 

Clearly Ginny didn’t feel nearly as sorry for me as I did when she bid a cheery farewell and flitted away for jolly revels with her sisters and other family members.

And there I was, alone with my thoughts, the ‘build-it-yourself’ plastic model kit of a Spitfire airplane she gave me and 3 unsympathetic and unruly dogs.

A bit gloomy and melodramatic, you say? Well maybe. ‘Cheer up,’ I told myself, ‘things could be worse’, I said, and thought about Ernest Hemingway ...

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Give A Cup of Cold Water

Give A Cup of Cold Water

Have you ever been extremely hot, sweaty, and thirsty? Of course you have, and you would give almost anything for a cup of cold water. 

May of our students are hot, sweaty and thirsty. They labor under the burden of doing well academically, which for many is hard. They labor under the assault of the flesh, the world, and the devil. They labor under the guilt of sin. They labor under the lie that their value is tied to performance, looks, or both. They labor under the bully. They labor under divorce and/or abusive or neglectful parents. They labor under physical illness. They labor under racism. They are pursued and harassed by their own sinful natures, a world set on bending them to its agenda, and the devil seeking to devour them. They are hot, sweaty, and thirsty.

They need ...

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What I Have on My Home Screens and Mac to Increase Productivity

What I Have on My Home Screens and Mac to Increase Productivity

I’m not OCD but I am constantly tweaking the tools I use to increase my productivity. Over the last several years I have settled on the applications listed below. I have listed them by device: iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. NOTE: If you use a PC, Windows, or Android, these or similar applications are available for your devices.

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Practical Ways to Manage Your Bank

Practical Ways to Manage Your Bank

It is necessary for every Christian school to understand that your banking relationship is to be managed by you. While the subject isn’t terribly broad or complex, this aspect of financial management can be very important to your school’s ability to thrive. My input on this subject is derived from almost thirty years of experience on the banker’s side of the desk along with my financial consulting experience with Christian schools.

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How to Deal with the "Mean One Percent" of Parents

How to Deal with the "Mean One Percent" of Parents

Ninety-nine percent (99%) of our parents are wonderful. They are supportive. If they have a concern they know how to “speak the truth in love.” They assume the best and seek understanding, reconciliation, and unity for all concerned. They don’t sugar coat problems, nor should they, but neither are they sour. They can deal with unpleasant issues without leaving a bitter aftertaste.

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How Christian Schools Can Defeat Bulling-Effective Solutions

How Christian Schools Can Defeat Bulling-Effective Solutions

In earlier posts I published parts one and two of what originally was planned to be a five part series. Because the next three sections outline effective solutions, I believe it will be beneficial to my readers to combine them into one article.

You can read part one here. You can read part two here.

If you would like the entire series as one PDF, you can download it here.

I am grateful to Mr. Paul Coughlin of The Protectors for sharing his expertise on the Christian School Journal Blog.

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The Real World of Bullying-Part 2/5

The Real World of Bullying-Part 2/5

When Jesus said that the poor will be with you always, he may as well have added bullies, too. We will never “get rid” of bullying because in order to do so we would have to rid the world of the sins that sustain it, which are formidable. They include arrogance, pride, hubris, contempt and related sins such as “cupiditas,” for which Dante reserved the lowest levels of hell. Also called the “sins of the wolf,” cupiditas describes the kind of behavior and person who consumes others.

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How Christian Schools Can Defeat Bullying-Part 1

How Christian Schools Can Defeat Bullying-Part 1

Their letters are separated by zip code, but united through bewilderment and feelings of betrayal from the organizations they believed would protect their child from bullying—the leading form of child abuse in the nation, and the only form of abuse we tell the most vulnerable among us to “just ignore.”

Their pleadings are almost always composed by emotionally flailing mothers who witness a common but mystifying tailspin of their beloved child, a spiral born from intentional abuse that weds power to fear, making it formable, and due to its predatory nature impossible for Christian school teachers and faculty to effectively combat alone. One bewildered mother writes: 

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