We can boldly declare that students in Seventh-day Adventist schools receive a complete education—strong academics as revealed in the CognitiveGenesis study, in which our students at all grade levels outperformed the national average in all subjects. High academic standards combined with spiritual nurture create an unparalleled culture of excellence at each of our schools. Our students receive an education that prepares them for saleable skills on earth, but more importantly, takes them on a journey preparing them for heaven.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement has identified 10 things to look for in an effective school
- High expectations for student
- Busy students focused on learning
- A great principal who creates a structured, disciplined, and quality-oriented learning environment
- Great teachers who have a belief system that all students can learn
- A vibrant parent-teacher organization
- Children who are neither invisible nor scared to be at school
- Gut reactions by parents that this is the school where their child belongs
- A rigorous curriculum
- A place where families are welcome, treated courteously, and their concerns are acknowledged
- An environment where parents are satisfied with the school’s results on standardized tests and school report cards
The Seventh-day Adventist K-12 system of education concurs with the U.S. Department of Education on the importance of each of these characteristics, but believes that even if all of these 10 characteristics are present in a school, the key element is missing—Jesus! Without Jesus as the center of any school program, the students are receiving an incomplete education. In one of her important works on education, Ellen White states that “education is a failure unless the student has grasped the truths of divine revelation, and the heart accepts the teachings of Jesus Christ”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 536 (paraphrased).
What a difference Jesus makes in our school system! We are thankful for our dedicated teachers who look at education, not as a job but as a calling. We are thankful that our teachers pray daily for the Holy Spirit to transform students’ hearts and that Jesus Christ helps our students deal with daily challenges.
More than 25,000 students worldwide, who were part of the Seventh-day Adventist education system in 2012, gave their hearts to Jesus Christ. Students are daily taught Christian standards of living identified in Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and from the book Education, p. 18, “Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached.”
Praise God for Seventh-day Adventist Christian education!
David A. Cadavero is the Greater New York Conference superintendent of schools.