When we generally hear about “culture,” we most often think of what is happening around us and outside our institution – but every business, family, church and school has a “culture” that is both exclusive to the organization and essential to its health and well-being. While preparing students to navigate the raging waters of our current external cultural chaos is extremely important; so, too, is successfully navigating the waters of our internal culture comprised of people and principles which influence our institution. Cultural drift away from core principles is more often a product of internal factors than external – Christian schools in America haven’t been forced to compromise their principles, they’ve adapted and manipulated them to better fit with contemporary mores. While practices may adapt, principles must be built on a solid Biblical foundation. The Kingdom School Institute (KSi) is a leading resource for Christian schools wishing to engage in this conversation in a meaningful and deliberate way to learn from others who have successfully navigated the cultural chaos inside and outside their institutions.
While Christian schools resemble the public school institutions in several ways, the differences that make us unique and special are substantial and important. Christian schools have an entirely different mission beyond education. The whole student – body, mind and soul – is deliberately developed and trained in a Christ-centered environment. To achieve this training, Christian schools have different admissions processes to find families and students who want to be a part of this educational model and who are prepared to work with the school to accomplish their mission. Christian schools also usually have the benefits of smaller enrollments which enables teachers to better engage and encourage students.
The Christian school is also unique in that it services a wide variety of constituents who are more engaged in the life of the school than in must public institutions. Parents of students are so much more than just parents – they serve on the board of trustees and as the lifeblood of volunteers and financial support for each institution. In addition, many private Christian schools have a strong relationship with one or more local churches; some are even ministries of one particular church body. Private Christian schools are responsible for selecting and implementing strong curriculum for their school while weaving into that curriculum principles and objectives which stay true to their core mission. Teachers are more than educators at Christian schools – they are mentors, disciple-makers, trainers, coaches, and examples for younger Christians to follow – so the spiritual health and well-being of the school’s faculty and staff is of primary importance in a Christian school.
Most Christian schools are doing a great job of presenting and promoting their desired Biblically-based educational philosophy. Every 'part' of a school influences culture, and without an intentional strategic plan to maintain the practice and preservation of the desired culture, each particular 'part' will drift. The result is a fragmented culture. If the end goal, or Portrait of a Graduate, is to produce disciples of Jesus Christ then all 'parts' of the school have to be unified in integrating Biblical worldview principles, as well as Biblical Truth. If the 'parts' fragment, there is a high probability that a child's worldview will fragment. Leaders must use the Whole-Part-Whole Learning Model, a research based training strategy, in order to produce and sustain a like-minded culture. KSi delegates will learn how to align the three components of Kingdom Education: home, school and church. With the alignment of home, school and church according to Kingdom Education principles, delegates will learn how to equip students, families and faculty to successfully engage and impact the culture.
Implementing the Kingdom Education Philosophy
The Whole-Part-Whole Learning Model purports that there is a natural whole–part–whole rhythm to learning. Through the “first Whole,” the Model introduces new content to learners by forming in their minds the organizational framework required to effectively and efficiently absorb the forthcoming concepts into their repertoire of expertise. The supporting expertise and component behaviors are then developed in the classical behavioristic style of instruction found in the “Parts” aspect of the WPW Learning Model.
After learners have successfully achieved the performance criteria for the individual “Parts,” or components within the whole, the instructor links these parts together, thus forming the “second Whole.” The whole–part–whole learning experience provides the learner with the complete understanding of the content at various levels of performance and allows for higher order development. The WPW Learning Model can be considered systematic on several counts. One is that the model can be utilized from initial program design to real–time (just in time) instructional adjustments during a live presentation.
Results of Implementing an Intentional Action Plan
Connecting the Kingdom principles to all the people who influence and impact the school’s culture results in:
- Unity among all components of the school.
- Consistency in all aspects of the school’s program.
- Predictability in regards to the ends achieved by the school.
- Preservation regardless of time and leadership changes.
- Maturation of staﬀ, students, parents, board and families.
Maintaining the Kingdom Education Philosophy
Each of the four elements of maintaining the Kingdom Education Philosophy within a school must be developed deliberately, implemented intentionally and then fortified fearlessly to maintain the desired culture of the institution. Cultural drift is real, strong and unyielding to those it catches straying too far from their foundations.
- Presenting philosophy and principles
- Promoting philosophy and principles
- Practicing philosophy and principles
- Preserving philosophy and principles
The Kingdom School Institute
The Kingdom School Institute (KSi) is a leading resource for Christian schools wishing to engage in this conversation in a meaningful and deliberate way to learn from others who have successfully navigated the cultural chaos inside and outside their institutions. KSi is a great resource for networking ideas and strategies for Christian schools. The opportunity for schools to learn from the best practices of other successful Christian schools is essential.
Held once a year in Dallas, the KSi conference is a unique training program designed to assist schools in adopting a strategic, intentional and holistic plan that directly impacts the culture of their community. Schools will learn about a proven training paradigm and educational model that prepares students to:
- Enter the world thinking Christianly (2 Cor. 10:5)
- Reason with other worldviews (Acts 17)
- Persuade nonbelievers to follow Christ (Acts 17)
- Think, write and speak critically and intelligently