More than a century ago, in February, 1894, Ellen G. White was inspired by the Holy Spirit that true education should be: “the harmonious development of physical, mental, spiritual and social faculties” of our young people. This is still our goal as Adventist educators. However, as families and friends we must evaluate our mission and values often. Is Christian Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) education still important? And why are so many families still willing to sacrifice in order to send their children to our Christian Seventh-day Adventist schools?
With over 1,000 schools in North American and more than 83,000 students, the SDA education system offers elementary through post grad education. It also employs over 10,000 educators across all levels of education. (1)
Mile High Academy, in Highlands Ranch, CO, with 230 students from Preschool through 12th grade is one of the 1,035 schools represented. We are proud of our mission to “provide an excellent, Christ-centered education that empowers young people to excel” but beyond that the wider mission of our education system “to enable learners to develop a life of faith in God, and to use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity.” (1)
1. Our educators provide your student with healthy role models
The world around us provides enough negative influence. We want those around our children to be the best of the best. The formative years are a critical time in your child’s life for establishing relationships with healthy role models. Ensure your student is surrounded by Christ-like individuals who want to invest in their lives. These healthy role models from teachers will put them on a more stable path than their peers who lack such relationships. The more positive influences in your child’s life, reinforcing Godly values, the better.
2. Proven academic advantage
Private Christian schools not only offer small class sizes, highly educated and caring teachers, and top-notch electives, they also have been scientifically proven to provide academic advantages. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) states: “Students who attend religious schools score at an academic level about 12 months ahead of their counterparts.” They also state, “For students from the lowest quartile of socioeconomic status (SES), the advantage of having attended a private school was even more pronounced. Those students were nearly four times more likely than their public school counterparts to have attained a bachelor’s or higher degree.”
3. Values-based education
A Christian school is not just for learning, it is a place where children can solidify their morals and values. It’s the ideal environment for learning the truth of Jesus Christ during key years. Studies have shown that what a child believes by the time they are 14 years old is often what they will believe for the rest of their life. If you can set a Biblical foundation for your child as early as possible, you are setting them on a path for both academic and relational success.
4. Behavioral benefits
The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) also states in the summary of their report, “Although academic performance was a key focus in the report, the study also examined student behavior and found an even larger advantage, or effect size, for religious schools.” As Jeynes told CAPE, “Students who attend religious schools have fewer behavioral problems than their counterparts, even when adjusting for socioeconomic status, race, and gender.” What does this mean for the classroom? It means safer schools, healthier students, and better outcomes overall for their future success.
5. Individualized attention
Small class sizes combined with excellent educators allow your child to have the kind of individualized attention that simply can’t be found in a public school. Your student isn’t a body in a room, they are an individual. Each child is a human being with unique gifts and talents that will be carefully nurtured in the classroom environment.
All of these reasons are why our families choose MHA for their children. It is why our donors choose to support Christian Seventh-day Adventist education. And then there are the more eternal reasons:
- 40% of the young people who attend SDA schools remain faithful to Christ, and they are more likely to become active lay leaders or full-time workers in our churches.
- A typical Adventist Church is open for about 7 hours a week, an Adventist day school is open for 40 hours, and an Adventist boarding school 168 hours.
- Where our young people go to school often determines their careers, spouses, faith, and even their eternal destiny.
- Adventist schools are “cities of refuge” for many of our young people living in a broken world full of moral decay.
- Adventist education prepares our young people for this life and for the life to come. Our young people learn about the kingdom of God.
- In the book of Acts, chapters 4 and 5, the story of Peter and John at the beginning of the Christian church after Christ had ascended to heaven. Acts 4:13 states “when [the people] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They stood out in their families, neighborhood, and communities. Their master, Jesus Christ, had transformed their lives, their purpose and their mission. There is no doubt that Peter and John were on fire for God in spite of being “unschooled ordinary men.” The common and ordinary men had become extraordinary. (4)
Let us make extraordinary people for the future!