The Philosophy of Education at Pantego Christian Academy is directly related to our mission and is an expansion of that declaration.
A Christian Education
There are three distinguishing characteristics of an education that is Christian:
Internalization, Integration and Inculcation
INTERNALIZATION refers to the morality, integrity, character and spiritual condition of the people involved in the school and particularly of the administration and faculty. For PCA to describe itself as “Christian,” it must be staffed with people who themselves are distinctively “Christian.” By this we mean, people:
- Who are beyond question Born-Again Believers,
- Who know that their personal lives and the daily quality of their relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ will affect students for generations to come, and
- Who study and use the scriptures as their guide for life, their source for wisdom and strength, and the standard by which all things must be judged.
In short, these must be people who have internalized the Word of God and have allowed the grace of God to produce a living curriculum within them that is evident to all.
INTEGRATION is the blending of biblical principles and scripture with traditional subject matter areas. It is one of the tools with which distinctively Christian people create a truly Christian, truly biblical, Christian school. Integration begins with the recognition that all truth is God’s truth. There is no secular truth for weekdays and a separate spiritual truth for Sundays.
Within all disciplines, subject areas and activities of the school, there are elements that can point students in the direction of their Savior and Creator. The task of the Christian schoolteacher is to help students discover those elements by integrating applicable scriptures and scriptural principles with what they are learning in math, science, literature and indeed all subjects and activities of the school. In order for students to develop a Christian worldview (and in order for an education to be considered Christian) all subjects must be taught not only by Christians, but also from an integrated Christian frame of reference.
INCULCATION is the discipleship process whereby the values and beliefs of one generation are continually placed before and directly taught to the next generation. An education that purports to name the name of Christ must disciple students by directly involving them with the Word of God and with who the Word of God calls them to “be” and what it calls them to “do.”
Through integration we want them to discover the hand and heart of God throughout the universe of creation and thought. Through inculcation we endeavor to create a foundation and elicit a response. The foundation is a thorough knowledge of the Bible: the response is a lifestyle consistent with that knowledge. The school’s endeavor takes the form of opportunities: Bible class, chapel, community service, Christian service, short-term missions, staff relationships and peer relationships. All of these venues provide students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the Bible and to make decisions that shape who they are in Christ and their place in His church.
A Partnership With Parents
An internalized, integrated and inculcated Christian education is attainable only when the school is working in partnership with the families of the students enrolled. Partnership with parents implies a shared commitment to the success and life of the school beyond that which impacts our own child or classroom. It implies going the extra mile, benefit of the doubt, mutual respect, allocation of resources, access and communication. This sense of “We’re in this thing together” on the part of the families, the School Board, the faculty and administration is how partnership finds it greatest expression within our school.
Two important components of partnership with parents are responsibility and consistency.
Before God created governments, churches or any other institution He created the family. Parents are charged with the primary responsibility of the comprehensive well being of their children. Parents delegate only a portion of that responsibility to a school. PCA accepts the responsibility to educate any one child when, on the basis of informed consent, that child is enrolled as a student. Informed consent can only exist when parents thoroughly examine the totality of PCA prior to enrollment and have obtained a clear understanding of what PCA expects and provides.
Conversely, partnership can only be said to exist when PCA is attempting in good faith to carry out its responsibility: creating an accountable environment wherein the mission statement can become a reality for every student entrusted to our care.
Partnership between PCA and the family implies some degree of consistency among what is taught at PCA, what is taught in the family’s church, and what is actually practiced at home. Consistency (shared standards, beliefs and practices) among the family, the church and the school is an empowered factor in the life of a child. Therefore, it is critical that school families have regular Christian fellowship outside of the school activities for support, encouragement and spiritual maturity.
Parents will often consider enrolling their child in a Christian school for reasons that are important to them, but have no relation to the school’s mission (why it exists). The greater the degree of consistency, however, the greater the likelihood that the child will experience PCA as a positive and empowering environment.
Without consistency there is no partnership. Parents must examine not only PCA, but their own beliefs, expectations and standards of right and wrong to determine if PCA is the right school for their family. For its part, PCA must do its best to represent the school in a realistic and informative fashion, and to the degree possible, assess the level of consistency held by families who wish to enroll.
A Preparation For College
One strength of the Christian school system in America is its diversity. Each Christian school has a peculiar mission, culture, environment, academic standard and population that sets it apart from all the others and makes it the school of choice for particular families. The phrase “college prep” is often used as a descriptor for the academic standard for many private and/or Christian school environments. Unless “college prep” is defined in the context of a particular school’s mission, it may often be misunderstood.
We believe the academic mission of PCA is to work in partnership with families whose children are college-bound in the context of our overall mission of Christian education. Our guiding assumption is that every student that walks through our doors is ultimately college-bound, and it is our job to provide those students with the opportunity to be well prepared to gain entrance and be successful at the college of their choice. Not all our students will go to highly-competitive universities, but for those who can, we want the kind of education they receive at PCA to be an enabling and empowering factor, i.e. high standards for instruction and achievement.
Success in college involves innate ability, but to a greater degree, it involves
- Basic academic tools
- Advanced academic options
- Work ethic
- Ability to think
- Ability to acquire knowledge independently
- A love of learning
PCA will provide all students at all grade levels with developmentally-appropriate opportunities to acquire the knowledge and values necessary for success throughout their school years up to and including college. Students who apply themselves to all that we ask of them and who avail themselves of all we provide for them will indeed be well prepared to make the transition from PCA to university-level achievement.
A Preparation For Life
We believe that preparing children and young people to fulfill God’s call in all aspects of their lives means that we must create a balanced environment that is sensitive to the needs of the whole person.
The Needs of the Whole Person
Children and young people have spiritual needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to lead our students to a secure, saving and growing knowledge of and relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. In the elementary school, emphasis is placed on evangelism – reaching children for Christ. Whereas, in the middle and secondary schools, the emphasis is on discipleship of the student believer.
Children and young people have intellectual needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to provide our students with developmentally-appropriate instruction across the full range of intellectual abilities: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Children and young people have social needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to provide our students with opportunities to develop healthy relationships within the Body of Christ (fellow believers) and with society at large.
Children and young people have emotional needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to foster a secure environment that creates and reinforces an awareness within our students that they are loved and respected in all circumstances and by all faculty and staff.
Children and young people have physical needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to provide out students with athletic and fitness opportunities that emphasize the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit with the implications this brings regarding health, fitness and lifestyle choices.
Children and young people have creative needs. Therefore, PCA will work in partnership with Christian families to provide our students with fines arts opportunities that cultivate and develop their talents while guiding them to an understanding of God as the ultimate source of creative gifts and abilities.
In the book of Daniel, we can see the account of the three captive Hebrew young people. These young people are described as being widely read in literature and science, quick to comprehend and able to learn. They are also described as wise. These young people had received an excellent education in the context of honoring Jehovah. When it was demanded of them that they worship the god of the prevailing culture, no compromise could be found in their hearts. They remained true to the God of their fathers. In the end, they assumed leadership roles in the midst of a society that did not understand them, but needed what they had to offer.
We believe that our graduates must ultimately take their place as Christian leaders in an increasingly secular world, whatever their chosen profession or field of expertise. It is our aim that PCA students will exhibit the virtues of wisdom, courage, compassion, honesty, self-discipline, responsibility, friendship, hard work, perseverance, loyalty and faith to our culture in the same way Daniel and his companions did to their captors.
PCA does not represent a guarantee. We represent an opportunity. We provide an education that is truly Christian in a school that works in partnership with Christian families. We prepare children and young people for college by providing a high standard for both instruction and achievement. We prepare them to fulfill God’s call in all aspects of their lives by recognizing and addressing the needs of the whole person.
In the end, PCA recognizes that “unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.” Despite our best efforts and those of the Christian families who partner with us, the only way our mission and philosophy can be fulfilled in the lives of our students is by the grace and love and blessing of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
May His countenance continue to shine upon Pantego Christian Academy in the future as it has for decades past.