Our steps are made firm by the Lord when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong for the Lord holds us by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24 NRSV
We have been given some blessings this year for which we need to be very thankful during this holiday season. Up to this point, we have welcomed 60 new students to the MCA student body during 202I-22. Our lower grades are at or near capacity enrollment and we required two Kindergarten classes to accommodate all of our new students there.
We have opened re-enrollment to families who currently have students enrolled at MCA. There are benefits to enrolling early, including locking-in a lower rate of tuition and getting a $I00 discount on the enrollment fee. As we look to the future, we are grateful for answered prayers as God has brought us through a valley and is telling us that it is his desire to continue to provide a school where the name of Jesus is lifted up and students are discipled through his word.
Next to their own home, students spend more time in school as they grow up than they do anywhere else, and next to their own parents, their teachers will have more influence over the direction of their lives than anyone else. Our school is distinctively Christian in its approach to the education of children, believing that the intellect must be taught in a manner that is consistent with the spiritual truths written in the Bible in order to be fully educated. Instruction equips the mind for a future career and calling, but it must also equip the soul and spirit, leading students to respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of their sin with repentance, by grace through faith in Jesus so that they may also receive discipleship in school in order to grow in their faith.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions and in the present age, live lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:II-I3, NRSV
What better place for that to happen than in school?
A Distinctively Christian School
The visiting team from ACSI, who were on our campus in mid-November, commended MCA for its’ Christian atmosphere and for the observable inclusion of Biblical truth as part of our mission and purpose. They observed students and staff members who were examples of lives that are “self-controlled, upright and godly,” and sensed the school’s commitment to prayer, evangelism, ministry and discipleship. They could not have paid us a better compliment than to say that Midwestern Christian Academy is a distinctively Christian school. I certainly hope that’s what you want for your child, and that’s why they are here.
Teaching is a spiritual gift, and at a Christian school, it is a ministry calling. We do expect that our teachers will respond to their giftedness and calling by going to college and training for teaching as a profession, but we also know that virtually all teacher certification programs, including most of those at Christian colleges and universities, aim to train their graduates for a career in public school education, and that’s a considerably different approach to education than what we offer at MCA.
One of our expected student outcomes is that students will leave MCA understanding all of the aspects of the gospel of Christ, having multiple opportunities to respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, repent from sin and be restored to God, prepared to serve him according to his will. And we expect that they will be able to see and respond to the world through the lens of Biblical truth. Education is discipleship that includes training the mind and nourishing the soul and spirit. Our teachers must be trained and knowledgeable, and they must also be spiritually discerning.
So, What’s An “Acceptable” Level of Academic Achievement?
Most Christian schools traditionally achieve higher levels of academic success than their public school counterparts. There are several reasons for this:
- A much higher level of parent involvement and support
- Smaller class sizes
- The removal of social “clutter” from the curriculum, and focusing on core subject instruction
- Making sure that students are proficient in basic skills before introducing problem-solving strategies
- Limited, effective, directed use of technology
- Classroom management that recognizes the teacher as an authority to be respected and not merely a “facilitator” of learning experiences
Typically, over 90% of MCA students meet or exceed grade level benchmarks in core subjects, especially language arts and mathematics, on standardized, nationally-normed tests. On last year’s Iowa test, it was 95%. You might be somewhat surprised to know that at our neighborhood’s highest achieving K-8 public school, labelled “scholastic” because of its magnet programs to attract students, 50% of the students met the language arts and math benchmarks at their grade level, and that was a pre-COVID 19 assessment. After a year of E-learning and continued disruptions, the initial scores in CPS schools are lower than they were before the pandemic.
There are private schools in Chicago which have academic achievement as their mission and purpose. Most of them are successful, largely because they have academic standards in place for admission and they draw students who have an aptitude for academic achievement. We believe that as a Christian school, access to our classrooms should be open to any family who wants to send their children here to be educated in this environment. We are able to provide the kind of differentiated instruction and help to our students for them to achieve at least at the expectations of their grade level. As we look to the future, we are planning to put academic studies in place for students with special learning needs and for students who exhibit a level of giftedness when it comes to their academic achievement. That way, parents don’t have to consider a public school environment if their child’s needs can be met here.
Enrolling Now Is a Good Idea
Counting Pre-K and Kindergarten, we had 60 new students enroll at MCA this past school year. We have reached capacity or near capacity in several grades. Finding qualified teachers is as difficult a task as it has ever been, so we need to plan now in order to make sure everyone has a place for the upcoming school term.
We are protecting spaces for currently enrolled students through February 1. You can re-enroll for the discounted enrollment fee, and lock in the lowest tuition rate, if you re-enroll by that date. On February 2, we will assign new students to open spaces on their grade level, and we anticipate that will put several of the lower grades at or near capacity. Space is limited, especially in grades K, 1 and 3, and it will depend on our ability to find additional teachers to add sections to the grade. The number of inquiries about enrollment at this point is already well ahead of last year, so this becomes even more important.
If you are currently enrolled, we will have a spot for your child in their grade.