DALLAS, Tx -- As the 2003 school year slowly draws to a close, the headmaster of a prominent Christian School offers guidelines in choosing the right educational institute for the youth. Mike Beidel, the headmaster of First Baptist Academy in Dallas presents six central points in choosing a Christian School, and advises parents to consider such factors in making their decision.
“ No school is perfect, but these factors are critical in defining an effective Christian school,” he said.
The first and most crucial point deals with the centrality of Christ. Beidel advises parents to “obsess about making Christ preeminent in all the school’s operation and programs.” He suggests for the parents to gain evidence of such obsessions through interviews.
Following the centrality of Christ, Beidel says that a “high view of the Scriptures” is also a necessity in a Christian school.
“Read [the] school’s mission statement, Ask about spiritual qualifications in its faculty hiring policy, ask how the Scriptures are integrated into the curricula,” said Beidel as he suggested parents to observe a few of the classes.
Beidel also emphasized a serious commitment to academic integrity.
“Find out what textbooks the school uses; if all come from one Christian publisher,” he cautioned. “Ask about faculty hiring policy, teachers' academic credentials to teach the subject/s assigned, [and about] Operation monies and plan for faculty enrichment.”
Discipline policies and procedures were next on his list of school characteristics.
“[The] awareness of dangers of legalism in disciplining children and young people and commitment to exhibiting grace in the context of maintaining discipline” are an integral part of the school, suggested Beidel.
In addition, Beidel advised parents to check the role of the board in the operation of the school. He recommended for inquiries about the influence of the board over the school.
“Does the board empower the administration to hire and fire?” he asked. “Does the board empower the administration to handle discipline, especially suspension and expulsion?”
Finally, Beidel told the parents to understand the role of the Christian educational institution in supporting its families. The role of the Christian school is “not to replace the local church in lives of its students and families,” but to strategically provide “Kingdom education for its students” he said. He also suggested for the parents to find evidence of cooperation with feeder churches.
By Pauline J.