Church School News

What are we doing to give our students an advantage? Three things you need to know about your church school:

1. Science Curriculum

STEM is coming. What is STEM? STEM is a curriculum emphasis that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. As the world of work has shifted to get- ting jobs that involve one or more of these fields of study, STEM has become increasingly popular. While science and mathematics have had a permanent place in the curriculum for decades, technology has gained its place only more recently.

But why the interest in engineering? How does the engineering emphasis fit into the Adventist school system? When I was on the editorial team for the new science series, ByDesign, the need to include engineering was very apparent. Not only was it included in the curriculum standards, it was the accomplishment and fulfillment of the ideas of science and mathematics.

Technology assists in seeing the outcome of concept, set of numbers, or an idea. Engineering is combining all the pieces to realize a physical reality. I like the synthesis from the report at CurrTech Innovations, “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education What Form? What Function?” written by Hays Blaine Lantz, Jr., which says that STEM can be defined as the “creation of a discipline based on the integra-
tion of other disciplinary knowledge into a new ‘whole.’ ”

There are several other variations on STEM. Some schools have chosen to use STEAM as their framework, which is similar to STEM, but includes the discipline of art. Other schools have chosen to add the concept of either religion or relationships, creating the acronym STREAM.

Teachers in the Atlantic Union are using the new Adventist science series, ByDesign. They are improv- ing their skills and attending such conferences as EXSEED (Excellence in Experiential STEM Education) at Loma Linda University.

2. Teacher Training

Both the Atlantic Union elementary school and academy teachers want and need to continue learning in order to offer quality education to their students. In May 2017, the Atlantic Union Conference and Andrews University entered into a partnership to offer graduate classes to our teachers. This partnership includes certification classes to help teachers stay current and, if they choose, to pursue their master’s degree. Twelve of our teachers have joined the 2017 master’s cohort to work toward their master’s degree. The Northeastern Conference hosted the 2017 Andrews cohort orientation on July 5 and 6. We are very pleased that the Atlantic Union Conference and the local conferences are collaborating to fund this teacher education with Andrews University.

3. Bible

Students in the Atlantic Union are being introduced to a new Bible text- book. Wait for it. . . . It’s the Bible!

Yes, students will be in the Word. The new teacher support materials are entitled Encounter Bible. All academy teachers have been trained in the interactive Bible study process. All elementary teachers in the Atlantic Union will receive their training this fall. The rich materials help the teachers as they lead the students to not just learn about Jesus, but to meet Him in a personal way. We are making plans as to how each student can accept Him as their Savior.

The goal of the Atlantic Union Office of Education is to increase enrollment of our church schools by 1,000 students. Our guiding text is Isaiah 54:13 (NIV), which says, “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.” These children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews that God has given us must know the “peace that passes all understanding.” The church school is a place for our children to get excellent education and be taught of the Lord.

Please pray for your teachers (otherwise known as ministers of education). If you wish to know more, please con- tact the Office of Education at: (978) 368-8333, ext. 3020. Thank you!

Jerrell Gilkeson is the Atlantic Union Conference education director.