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classical education

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?

1.  God’s Word is Taught
The place to start is at the beginning with the first nation, the first educational system.  When deciding your children's education, it only makes sense to ask the One who invented education.

Christian schools offer a refreshing biblical alternative.  Not only is the Bible taught for what it is, the inspired Word of God, but it forms the foundation of all other subjects.  Math, social studies, biology, and all academic roads lead to God in whom all knowledge has its origin.

"I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt...I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth."  Martin Luther

"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul .... And you shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
 
2.  God Commands Us To Teach Children Through His Word
As students pursue the knowledge of math, biology and music in a Christian setting, they are chasing after the knowledge of God.  Moreover, the by-products of such an endeavor - wisdom and understanding - are the God-given rewards for which every good student strives.

God expects us as Christian parents to plant and nurture His Word in the hearts and minds of our children.  This is best accomplished in settings where home, church and school all send the same message, teaching God's truth with clarity, conviction and consistency.  While the benefits of such a commitment are often realized much later, here is one you will notice in relatively short order.  An education that uses God's Word as its foundational text does more than produce spiritually mature Christians.  It makes them wiser and more knowledgeable.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10) 

3.  The School Shares Your Values
Cornerstone Christian School partners with parents, working closely alongside each family to offer encouragement and support to create a sense of shared community. If you are like Christian parents, you taught your children about God since the day they were born.  You have taken them to church, read them Bible stories, sung "Jesus Loves Me."  Imagine your children’s confusion when they are thrust into an environment in which God is not acknowledged. 

4.  Safety
Christian schools are a safer place for your children to receive an education.  While not devoid of problems, even severe ones like drug and alcohol use, they are far less likely to occur, and far more likely to be met with firm and loving disciplinary action.

In addition to physical well-being, Cornerstone Christian School offers a safe, secure and nurturing environment.  With less distractions, teachers are able to equip students with the tools necessary to pursue a lifetime of learning so that they may discern, reason, and defend truth.

5.  Academic Achievement
CTP and ERB Standardized Testing
Every year, in April, Cornerstone Christian School students sit for our annual standardized testing.  As is the case with all classical Christian schools, we have adopted the CTP (Comprehensive Testing Program) which is generated by the ERB (Educational Research Bureau)- this is the standardized test which is recommended by the ACCS (Association of Classical Christian Schools) of which we have been a member for seven years.

The CTP is a rigorous assessment for high achieving students in areas such as reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, science (online only) and mathematics. Verbal and quantitative reasoning subtests are also a part of the CTP beginning in third grade. The CTP helps compare content-specific curriculum-based performance to the more conceptual knowledge base found in the reasoning tests.

Because the CTP is a norm-referenced test, we are able to compare our students’ scores to those of students nationally and those of students attending other independent schools, as well as some ‘Gifted and Talented’ programs offered at public schools.  The CTP testing is graded upon 9 stanines with stanines 1, 2, and 3 reflecting poor scores, 4, 5, and 6 average, and 7, 8, and 9 being superior.

Over the last four years, Cornerstone Christian School students have significantly improved in all of the six academic aptitude areas tested, increasing on average, 4 stanines in most areas at most grade levels.  From third through tenth grades, Cornerstone’s school averages fall mainly in the superior range.

Cornerstone Christian School utilizes the information obtained through the CTP standardized tests to evaluate curriculum and make decisions about instructional programs. Additionally, they are used to give parents and schools a picture of an individual child’s skills and abilities. The test also helps us identify strengths of children and areas where they may need support.

The CTP standardized testing serve as preparatory ‘testing tool’ for the PSAT, SAT,  and ACT that students sit in the HS years. Research gained from ACCS member schools (available on the ACCS website), show that students exposed to and graduate from classical Christian schools score significantly higher on these national assessments.  These same students, also revealed from the ACCS research, are recognized by colleges as being ‘more ready’ for the demands and rigor of higher and further education at college.

(link to Cornerstone Christian School CTP Testing Averages over the last 4- years)

ACCS Comparison of SAT/ACT/PSAT and College Readiness
As a member of the ACCS, our high school students’ PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores are reported each year and become part of the data used to compare member classical Christian schools performance on the PSAT, SAT, and ACT to those of the nation.

The latest scores and comparisons are from the class of 2017 and listed below (also listed on the ACCS website):
ACCS Total Test Scores: PSAT 1170; SAT 1252
National Total Test Scores: PSAT 973; SAT 1060
ACCS Composite: 26.0
National Composite: 21.0

SAT Performance Relative to College and Career Readiness Benchmark (Benchmark is a combined score of 1060 on the Reading/Writing and Math SAT tests) compared to ACCS combined score of 1252):
Public School: -16
Religious School: +74
Independent: +100
ACCS: +192
(Link to SAT Performance Relative to College & Career Readiness Benchmark graph)
(Link to SAT Scores graph from ACCS)
(link to PSAT graph from ACCS)

 “We’ve turned our colleges into high schools.  After the babysitting of high school, we asked colleges to give students the education they should have gotten.  This is disastrous for colleges.  I can’t teach kids physics, biology, and the history of the Roman Empire if I have to teach them the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’.” John Agresto, St. John’s College

6.  Teachers Love and Respect God
Cornerstone teachers have a passion for the Lord, for teaching, and for their age group and subjects. Teachers are a school's heartbeat and pulse.  They are among the most influential role models in students' lives. 

7.  Individual Attention
One of the main reasons Cornerstone’s students perform so well in the classroom is the smaller class sizes of no more than 15-to-1 student-teacher ratio. Therefore, Cornerstone teachers’ educational effectiveness is increased because they are able to spend their time teaching content, instead of crowd control. They are able to engage and inspire students from an understanding that wisdom begins in wonder, passion and curiosity. Students learn how to think for themselves, listen intently, discern, defend, and articulate. Students learn how to think quickly and gain valuable experience sharing their thoughts and opinions in a public forum.  

8.  Success After Graduation
Whether in a university or in the workplace, young adults with a solid biblical foundation are far more likely to succeed being equipped to lead with confidence. Recent graduates from Cornerstone have been academically well prepared, distinguishing themselves within the college setting. They have been challenged with a strong spiritual foundation empowering them to become productive and responsible adults.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."
(2 Timothy 3:16)

9.  Peer Pressure
We use the occasions of peer pressure to support our students in learning the tools that equip them to handle real life situations. Knowing what it is, grasping why it happens, and learning how to spot it can empower students to better handle it. Furthermore, by teaching how to encourage positive peer pressure, we help students identify when they can be a force for good in their social group.

"Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).  

CONCLUSION
Cornerstone Christian School provides both a solid Christian worldview and a rigorous college preparatory education. 

Call  907.927.9106 or email: headmaster@cornerstonebasalt.net today to schedule a tour or to speak with the Headmaster Steve Marshall

  • discoverchristianschools. “Learn about 10 reasons to send your child to a christian school.” discoverchristianschools.com (Accessed March 4, 2019).

The Art of Thinking (the Trivium)

Cornerstone Christian School employs a centuries-old pedagogy of learning known as the Trivium (Latin for “three paths”). This approach teaches in accord with the students’ natural stages of development with the intent of acquiring wisdom. Thus, students are not merely taught ‘subjects’ but are equipped with the tools of learning: the ability to listen, to think for themselves, to discern, to argue, to defend, and ultimately, to articulate. The challenging academic program at Cornerstone Christian School draws from the rich heritage of the Western liberal arts tradition. The study of foreign languages, both classical and modern, provides discipline, awareness of the grammar and derivation of English and its vocabulary, and a greater appreciation of other cultures. History is taught chronologically using primary source documents as much as possible. A traditional approach to math and science is enhanced with hands-on exercises and laboratory experiments. Cornerstone Christian School also highly values the fine arts as a picture of man’s historical context and as expressions of his God-given creative gifts.

This time-tested pedagogy consists of the Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric stages (although we also include a prekindergarten level at Cornerstone), each building upon its predecessor in a sequential manner. Basic factual content and rules—the “grammar”—of any given subject must first be mastered; then an understanding of how to apply the facts—the “logic”—must be discerned; and finally, the ability to synthesize the foregoing into an articulate argument—the “rhetoric”—must be developed. The Biblical equivalent to this progression is found in the admonition to pursue knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  

Grammar (K-6): the curricular emphasis during the grammar school years is on learning basic facts and figures during the time when children love to memorize (and when they are best at doing so). This is achieved most effectively through the use of jingles, chants and songs.

Logic (7-8): The subsequent emphasis during the ‘middle school’ years on logic and analysis trains students to think critically and deeply about subjects, both academic and otherwise. This emphasis corresponds with the middle-school student’s bent toward exploration, questioning, and a desire for deeper understanding.

Rhetoric (9-12): During the high school years, the emphasis shifts toward honing rhetorical skills. This prepares students to write at a collegiate level to articulate logically, sequentially and critically. 


A Christian Environment

Cornerstone Christian School seeks to integrate faith and learning so our students graduate with a stronger, deeper, and vibrant faith, ready to glorify God in service to mankind.

As a Christ-centered school, Cornerstone embraces the Bible as the final authority for life and teaching. Cornerstone exemplifies Christian character and life principles through integrated teaching. Cornerstone equips students to love God with all of their minds (Matthew 22:37), to ask probing questions, and to explore boldly the various aspects of knowledge from the conviction that all truth is God’s truth. Our older students adhere to Cornerstone Christian School’s Student Honor Code, and they show respect and kindness and mentor these learned qualities to our younger students.

It is our desire at Cornerstone to make classical and Christian education accessible to any student who would benefit most from our challenging and exciting approach to learning. Thus, we welcome applicants from various levels of academic achievement and from all economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

As a ministry of Cornerstone Christian Center, we uphold the most basic tenets of historical orthodox Christianity and strive to encourage a nondenominational atmosphere of unity in Jesus Christ.

Further Reading

  • A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille

  • The Case for Classical Christian Education  by Douglas Wilson


Association of Classical Christian Schools

Cornerstone Christian School is proud to be a member of the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) and part of an education tradition so steeped in history and growing across the country today. 

ACCS is organized for the mission of promoting, establishing, and equipping member schools committed to a classical approach to education in the light of a Christian worldview grounded in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, commonly known as the Bible. This mission shall be accomplished through national and regional conferences, publication and distribution of books, bulletins and newsletters, consulting services, accreditation, testing, and any other necessary, proper, and lawful means.

To learn more about ACCS please click here.