Standard 1: Philosophy and Foundations
Clear written statements that describe the faith foundations, mission, vision, core values, expected student outcomes, and Christian philosophy of education define who the school is, why it exists, and what it seeks to become. They outline the school’s Christian distinctives and communicate a clear purpose and direction for school development.
When communicated well with all members of the school community, these statements can guide decision making and provide a common platform for all to work collaboratively in a spirit of unity. As these documents become part of the very fabric of the school’s operations and relationships, embodied by leadership and staff and experienced by students and families, they protect and promote the Christian identity of the school. The foundational documents form a basis from which partnerships can be established with other Christian schools and organizations.
The six indicators and related descriptors in this standard will help a school to assess its current foundational documents and the extent to which those documents guide the daily life of the school. The school will be able to use the outcomes of this self-assessment to identify ways in which the philosophy and foundations of the school could be strengthened.
Standard 2: Leadership and Personnel
Leadership and personnel are the primary bearers of the school’s mission, vision and values. Every staff member is vital to the ministry to students. Because students learn so much through what they observe, the character, attitudes, and words of Christian teachers have great influence on the lives of students in their care. Therefore, it is important that the school has leaders, teachers and support staff who are committed to following Christ, to serving students, and to professional excellence. The school supports the growth of its leadership and staff through internal structures, and through participation in local, national and global networks.
The six indicators and related descriptors in this standard will help a school assess the extent to which its current leadership and staff contribute to the school’s mission, vision and values. The school will be able to use the outcomes of this self-assessment to identify ways in which the contribution of its leadership and personnel could be strengthened, to the benefit of both the school and the growth of Christ’s kingdom through Christian education locally, nationally and globally.
Standard 3: Teaching and Learning
Teaching and learning are at the heart of the school program. In most cases, schools are provided with a mandated curriculum which they must use and be held accountable for by their authorities. However, schools generally have some freedom in the manner in which the curriculum is delivered. This provides Christian schools with the opportunity to teach the required curricular content from a Biblical worldview, consistent with the school’s Christian philosophy of education.
The seven indicators and related descriptors in this standard will help a school assess their approach to curricular content, instruction and assessment, and the extent to which these are consistent with the school’s mission, vision, values and philosophy of education.
Standard 4: Spiritual Formation
The growth of students and staff towards maturity in Christ is a key goal of Christian schools. The extent to which this goal is being achieved, however, is very difficult to measure. Acknowledging the primary work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, Christian schools take intentional steps to see that work flourish. The school’s instructional program seeks to develop a heart of service and leadership in students and staff.
The five indicators and related descriptors in this standard will help a school to assess the extent to which their programs and practices promote the spiritual growth towards Christ-like character and service of their students and staff.
Standard 5: Strategic School Improvement Plan
All schools have strengths, and areas in which they need to grow if they are to realize their vision. A strategic planning process that results in a plan for strategic improvement will help a school to capitalize on its areas of strength and experience growth in its areas of weakness. Having clear strategic improvement goals will help a school to focus on areas of priority. Christian schools that are seeking to grow benefit from strategic partnerships with other Christian schools and organizations that support mutual growth.
The four indicators and related descriptors in this standard will help a school to assess its strategic planning process and level of engagement in strategic partnerships.