What’s the Value of Adventist Christian Education to You?
I’m frequently asked about the value of Adventist education, as compared to the value of other schools (perhaps ones which offer more specialized programs, better facilities, or other Christian schools). Many want to know how Chinook Winds Adventist Academy is different than other schools. How would you answer that question as a parent? What is the value of Adventist education to you? Would you propose the value could be found in the ‘family’ atmosphere, the committed teachers, the caring staff and teachers, the positive spiritual environment, the extracurricular opportunities?
In my humble opinion I believe the reason Adventist education is critically important and valuable is very simple. Adventist education was started 144 years ago to support parents in the training of their children. Prior to that time parents were concerned that the public education system was teaching their children content contrary to the Bible and they feared that their children would not grow up to share in their passion for the proclamation of the soon coming of Jesus and the message of the Three Angels of Revelation. And so to provide parents with the support they desired, the Seventh-day Adventist church, under the direction of Ellen G. White (one of the founders of Adventism), initiated the soon-to-be global Adventist school system. Today the Adventist school system is the second largest religious system in the world (2nd only to Catholic). Seventh-day Adventist schools have been operating for over 144 years and currently provide an education to approximately 1.7 million student in 7,764 schools in over 100 countries (including 5,899 elementary schools, 1,748 secondary schools, 112 colleges/universities, 3 medical schools and 2 law schools). Adventist Education exists for the two simple purposes of: 1) creating a restorative environment where children can become captured by God’s amazing grace and they can grow in His character, 2) training children to be separate from the customs and practices of the world (“keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus”) and spread the message of hope of a soon-coming Saviour (3 Angels Message). George Knight in his article, The Apocolyptic Vision says, “Adventist education is only valuable if it is truly Adventist.” (Journal of Adventist Education April/May 2007).
In the winter of last year our School Board re-evaluated our mission to determine how we could better align with the true purposes of Adventist Education. As we evaluated our goals we prayed that God would give us insight and wisdom to “act like we are living on the borders of the eternal world” (Ellen White, Upward Look, p. 202) and to reach higher to God’s ideal for our school. (“Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness–godlikeness–is the goal to be reached.” Ellen White, Education, p 155) As we discussed God’s high ideal for our school, we identified a new mission, “engaging students to follow God completely, serve unselfishly, and achieve excellence.”
And so as we begin a new school year we have identified some intentional plans in which we can strive to be authentic in our mission aims. The following are our plans to better achieve our mission during the 2015-2016 school year:
I. Follow God Completely
- Implement a 10-month school-wide Character Education Plan based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The Character Education Plan will include a monthly focus on Character values (bulletin boards in hallways, classrooms, Breeze, church newsletters, devotions, chapels) and recognition of students who are “Caught with Character” throughout the month.
- Continue our emphasis on developing a school Culture of Respect (including a “Digital Citizenship” training and the implementation of a “Roots of Empathy” program)
- Increase student/staff engagement/involvement in Chapel. Wilson will form a student spiritual leadership team to plan/schedule dynamic & interactive chapels. Elementary/Secondary classes will plan/deliver one chapel per year and each staff member will be given the opportunity to sign-up to share their testimony at Chapel.
- Heighten focus on integrating faith & learning in every class and every subject, including more effectively and systematically sharing of the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs (especially Great Controversy & the 3 Angel’s Message) with our students.
- Set several baptismal dates for CWAA students
II. Serve Unselfishly
- Incorporate regular intentional “Acts of Service” into Bible classes
- Participate in school-wide community service days (Target: 2 days per year)
- Increase participation in our Sabbath Seek & Serve Program (Target: once per month)
- Pray for students/families on an annual schedule (Target: all CWAA families/staff divided into 10 months – invite pastors to support!)
- Participate in Calgary It Is Written Evangelism, Spring 2016
III. Achieving Excellence
- Increase our focus on the student learning process through formative feedback practices (year-long Teacher Professional Development will align with this focus).
- Increase the integration of interactive technology in our classes to assist in the learning process.
- Incorporate digital citizenship training into our Health/Bible program.
In conclusion, if you would like to share your response to the question, “What’s the Value of Adventist Christian Education to You?” with me, please drop me an email or come visit me! When I am not teaching Bible this year, I will be free to listen and discuss your beliefs and feelings on the value of education here at Chinook Winds Adventist Education. My door will also be open to listen to ideas on how we can better achieve our mission and meet the needs of our families.
It is a tremendous honor and privilege for us to be entrusted with the spiritual, emotional, social and physical development of your children in these formative years. Thank you for your partnership and trust.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
In His Service,
CWAA SEPTEMBER CHARACTER VALUE: Kindness
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Galations 5:22
GRADES 7-12 CAMP-OUT PERMISSION FORMS: Parents, please return your child’s permission forms for our Sept 14-16 camp-outs no later than Wednesday, September 9. For more information, please contact the office or Dave Elias.
CURRICULUM EVENING : We would like to extend a warm invitation all parents and students to our Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 10, at 7 p.m. in the CWAA gymnasium. Come out and meet your child(ren)’s teachers and talk about what your son or daughter will be learning this year. Learn how you can best help your child(ren) achieve their goals for excellence. We are proud to present our holistic program for your children and look forward to getting to know each one of you better!
ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT FUNDRAISER: SUTP BOOKS – This year our Athletic Department is raising funds to purchase new athletic equipment (soccer nets). To help raise these funds Mrs. Dodds (our Elementary PE Teacher) and Mr. Fowler (our Secondary PE Teacher and Athletic Director) have distributed one SUTP book to each student to take home and sell. The cost of the book is $20.00 and $10 from every sale may be kept by the Athletic Department! Thank you for supporting this worthwhile fundraiser! Happy selling! (Please return any unsold books to the office by Friday, September 25. Thank you.)
THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS: On behalf of our staff we would like to say a BIG thank you to Sonia Harton & the her team of parent volunteers who hosted our Back to School Watermelon & Cookie feast! It was a fabulous way to kick off our year!
FACILITY UPGRADES OVER THE SUMMER: We are happy to announce that over our summer months the Grades 1, 2 and 3 classrooms underwent a flooring transformation! If you are an elementary parent, you may have noticed that these classrooms have new flooring! Other great changes that you may have noted is the new ashphalt driveway, curbs and line painting. We would like to thank Chris Babbitt, Marco Suarez and Richard Schulze for their help in transforming our parking lot! I would also like to say thank you to all the parents who came out to our August Cleaning Bee! Your help was greatly appreciated!
SCHOOL BOARD INVITE: On the third Monday of each month, members of our School Board meet to discuss important strategic plans for the school. The meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and typically run for 1.5-2 hours. The official (voting) members of our School Board include delegates who have been nominated by their Church Boards to serve a defined term. The School Board Meeting may be attended by any parent or Calgary SDA Church constituent member. Our first Board meeting will be held on Monday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. All are invited to come and enjoy the fellowship of our committed School Board team of leaders and participate in our school operations & strategic planning.
MORNING ROUTINE & LATE STUDENTS: This is a reminder to all parents and students that students who are dropped off between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. should go directly to the supervised Homework Room (Elementary Students) or Secondary Hallway (Junior and Senior High Students). Students arriving after 8:30 a.m. are considered late and must check-in at the office and receive a late slip prior to entering their classroom. Each late is recorded in our student information system. Please note: Students should not be dropped off prior to 8:00 a.m. or picked up later than 3:45 p.m. unless involved in sports/music practices or registered in the Before/After School Care Program.
STUDENT ABSENCES: If your child will be absent, please ensure you call or email the office at email@example.com (not classroom teacher) prior to 8:30 a.m. This will allow our office staff to communicate to all your child’s teachers. Students must sign-out and sign-in at the office if they are leaving the school campus during school hours.
QUIET ZONES: To provide the best learning environment for our students, and to encourage independence and responsibility in our students we request all parents exit the elementary and secondary hallways by 8:30 a.m. (unless you are volunteering in a classroom) and for afternoon dismissal wait in the main lobby until the 3:15 p.m. bell has rung.
PRACTICE EMERGENCY DRILLS : We practice emergency drills at CWAA to protect and keep as safe as possible the students and adults in our school from a potential emergency. There are two primary drills we conduct during the school year: evacuation and lockdown drills. The primary difference between the evacuation drills (which include bomb and fire drills) and lockdown drills is that evacuation drills are designed to prepare people to leave the building quickly and in a pre-planned and organized fashion, when conditions outside the building are safer than the conditions inside the building. In a lockdown drill, students are to clear the halls and report to the nearest available classroom where they are to hide and stay as silent as possible. Over the upcoming months we will also engage in practice lockdown drills at different times of the day and without pre-announcement (during lunchtime or recess, during classes, or during drop-off or dismissal, for example), to give students and staff the opportunity to practice what to do in different scenarios. During the school lockdown drill, the following procedures are practiced:
- Doors to classrooms are closed and locked.
- Students are moved to the safest part of the room, away from windows and doors, to the interior walls, out of the line of vision from the door.
- Any windows in doors are covered (to prevent an intruder from seeing into the room).
- Classroom lights are turned off.
We would encourage all parents to take the time to develop emergency procedures within the home, as well as discuss the lockdown procedures practiced at school. We are proud to say that all our emergency procedures have been designed with input and assistance from our Community Resource Officer, Constable Dylan Harris, from Calgary Police Service.
REGISTERING FOR POWERSCHOOL: CWAA is pleased to offer parents access to an on-line student information system, PowerSchool. PowerSchool will be used by teachers to provide grade progress reports, attendance information, and report cards (secondary only). This week the office will be sending home instructions with your children on how to create your account. If you have any questions about gaining access to PowerSchool once you receive the information, please contact the office.
FOOD BANK FRIDAY (LAST FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH) : The last Friday of every month is a casual dress day for all students and teachers at Chinook Winds. We ask that each student and staff bring a canned or packaged food item to be donated to the Calgary Food Bank.
POLICE CHECKS FOR VOLUNTEERS: We want to remind all parent volunteers that CWAA requires police check clearance prior to volunteering at CWAA. If you require a police check letter or would like more information about applying online for your police clearance please contact the office. THANK YOU for your dedication and support of our school!
NUT ALLERGIES: CWAA strives to be a nut free environment due to serious allergies of some students and staff. Parents, please be vigilant to prevent any nuts from coming to school in your children’s lunches. If your child has an allergy, please also remind them to not to share lunch items. Thank you!
CWAA IS HIRING SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS: If you have a passion to educate children for Jesus and hold a valid teaching certificate please send your resume to Principal Lara Melashenko at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax at 403-247-1623.
TERRY FOX RUN: The Terry Fox Run here at CWAA will take place on Wednesday, September 30 (note the date change), during the school day. This year our school is proudly participating in the 2015 Terry Fox National School Run Day! We will be joined by over 3 million kids across Canada in celebrating the 35th anniversary of Terry’s Marathon of Hope. We are supporting The Terry Fox Foundation in its ongoing work to fund innovative and progressive cancer research programs. The goal is to raise $2000 as a school for the 2015 Terry Fox National School Run Day. Please support our school by encouraging and helping your students to raise funds for this cause. Your kindness will impact the lives of so many people living with cancer. Fundraising forms will be distributed to students later this week. To set up your student’s page for online donations, click here. To make a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation to help CWAA reach the fundraising goal, click here. Thank you for helping us demonstrate the character quality of kindness as we seek to help impact the lives of those who are affected by cancer!
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES:
Sept 14-16 Gr 7-9 Outdoor Education School, Gr 10-12 Camping Trip
Sept 21 School Board Meeting, 7 pm
Sept 17-19 Youth Empowered to Serve at Bridgeland Church
Sept 24 Grade 6 Weaselhead Glenmore Park Field Trip
Sept 30 Terry Fox Run
Oct 7-11 WWU Fall Classic (Secondary Students)
Oct 12 Thanksgiving Day (No School)
Oct 13 Picture Day
The spiritual theme for the 2015/2016 school year at Chinook Winds Adventist Academy is “Be Still.” The Bible says,
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 NLT).
God wants us to be still and to take the time to get to know Him. Unfortunately, we often allow ourselves to be distracted and fill up our lives with other stuff that crowds Him out. This school year we will be focusing on making a regular habit of spending quality time worshipping God and getting to know Him and His truth. Why
Pastor Brent Wilson