Over the years, many have asked me what they can expect if they bring their children to an independent private school like MPCS. Of course, as parents, we all expect rigorous academics and sports opportunities combined with loving, qualified teachers. Those should be the basics. But what allows those elements to develop the mind and heart of my child? How does an independent school versus a public school accomplish this? Each time I have shared:
Because Choice Matters
Independent schools, by definition, are not crammed into a one-size-fits-all set of standards for the education of a child. Independent schools have the flexibility to expand and adapt offerings, refine standards, and try new things to achieve the optimal educational methodologies they believe will best serve their students.
Further, a covenantal Christian independent school exercises without reservation the right to discuss, study, and worship God openly among believers, bringing Christian faith into classroom discussion of social issues and the latest headlines. What’s more, Christian faith compels action based on the example of Jesus Christ. Public school is specifically limited from doing that, and public policies are increasingly squeezing out those freedoms. Covenantal Christian schools, like MPCS, do not receive the federal and state funds which come with tethers and conditions which force conformity. Tuition is the exercise of freedom of choice and the demand to keep the doors of freedom of religion and freedom of speech open.
Because Environment Matters
There is no school on earth in which students check their shortcomings, mistakes, and sins at the door. The difference at a covenantal, faith-based independent school like MPCS is, the families and staff with which my child will spend 35-45 hours a week have similar beliefs and values to our family in learning together to grow my child through those problems. They value education and faith in Jesus Christ to shape the inevitable childhood and adolescent behaviors which all of our children grow through. A parent can connect, identify, and build meaningful relationships with the vast majority of others in a place where we all ascribe to the same beliefs.
Because Behavior Affects Safety, and Safety Matters
An administrator was asked what the greatest difference was in her experience at MPCS versus her experience in public schools. She said without hesitation, it was behavior. She spent 85% of her time in public school dealing with behavioral issues of students, and she spent less than 10% of her time at MPCS having to do the same. She had much more time, energy, and inspiration to personally invest in the students, teachers, families, and methodologies of the school. In addition, the connection she developed was deeper, because it was based on her personal faith in Jesus Christ, not external rules and generic character goals. A safe, secure environment creates an openness for learning.
Because Your Child's Unique Design Matters
While there are programs for “dealing with” differences in our children in public schools, MPCS believes that our children are uniquely designed by God. That design includes different learning paths, different personalities, and different interests. We learn and grow with each child that comes on our campus, because there is no one exactly like that child, and yet there are many who will identify with them. We celebrate their differences, help them connect and navigate, and let them do hard things. Academic rigor, social dynamics, and physical ability are each uniquely defined and challenged in every child, and we believe each child is designed intentionally by God with a specific and unique purpose for that design. While people make mistakes, God does not.
Overall, my answer to those who have asked me what is different about MPCS versus public school is that MPCS has the mission to provide academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, developing servant-leaders who honor God, love others, and walk in Truth. That isn’t just a byline or motorized mantra. It speaks to who we actually aspire to be.
Julie Ray is the Chief Financial Officer at Mount Paran Christian School.
To learn more about how small classes in a safe, christ-centered environment can benefit your child, please click here.