High School: A College and Career Preparatory Program
We believe that all students can learn; some need to be stretched and others need to be supported. Success for students occurs when they are not only prepared academically for college and beyond, but also when they have the skills and life habits necessary to navigate life as young adults. We offer a comprehensive program designed to engage and inspire learning through options such as a homeschool-hybrid program, dual enrollment opportunities and AP course offerings.
Our high school program includes a comprehensive curricular, co-curricular and developmental model where students are intentionally placed into situations that develop essential life habits. Our goal is to mentor, encourage, challenge and stretch students through these critical years so when they arrive at adulthood they will be academically, spiritually and emotionally equipped with the life habits necessary to navigate the challenges of life beyond high school.
The mission of Immanuel Christian High School is to inspire students for purposeful lives of learning, godliness and service. Adolescence is an important time of transition from youth to adulthood. Christian education at the high school level provides a means to develop, enhance and nurture critical life decisions, work habits and spiritual tools necessary to navigate our complex world.
Purposeful living occurs when students are mentored and encouraged to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, understand and apply a biblical worldview to all of life, explore and enhance their God-given gifts, and equip themselves for ongoing education as well as for their career.
To prepare our students for the demands of a complex world outside of Immanuel Christian High School, we must strategically engage them inside the walls of our school. Time invested at Immanuel is an education for life rather than simply more schooling. This requires that we develop not only their academic and cognitive skills or their various gifts and talents, but also cultivate the heart, the core of their character and disposition that will have significant impact on their ability to navigate the world around them.
Aristotle’s words are as true today as they were when stated, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
Our desire is that all of our students will leave high school with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ their Savior, built on a foundation of truth that is tested and resilient against the winds of culture. Therefore, our curriculum is strenuous, our teachers spiritually mature and actively engaged in students’ lives. Our school culture is designed to inspire students to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. We want them to experience authentic community as those who are in relationship with Christ, living out their faith in contrast to the empty offerings of the world. We want our students to understand the truth that Jesus Christ permeates all that we do, transforming even our approach to scholarship.
We are committed to teaching a biblical worldview and every subject from the perspective of that worldview. This includes the development of two primary skills: recognizing perspectives that contradict a biblical worldview and engaging in productive discussion with those who do not adhere to a biblical worldview.
Many institutions stress the importance of educating students to have good character by exposing students to inspiring speakers or requiring community service outside the hours of school. Few institutions create a culture where living your faith in service to others is central to the curriculum, beginning at the youngest grades and lasting throughout high school. Immanuel Christian High School has always acknowledged the importance of character strengthened through service—not as an end but rather as a reflection of a growing and mature relationship with Jesus Christ.
Current research trends indicate that students must be equipped with valuable dispositions that not only will help them to navigate school but also equip them with the skills necessary to navigate life (U.S. Dept. of Ed. Report 21). Scripture provides insight into essential character traits needed to navigate a complex world and serves as a framework to ensure that our students are ready for college and career, not simply in academics but also in the necessary “soft skills.” Based upon that framework of Scripture, Immanuel Christian High School trains and equips students in essential life habits. We are committed to developing habits of mind and heart that will prepare our students for success. We have identified nine life habits that will change the way our students approach work, study, conflict, community, and their future career. These life habits are: literacy, grit, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, self-restraint, zeal, citizenship, and empathy.
NOUN | lit’-er-a-cy
the quality of having or showing knowledge of literature and writing; literary; well-read. Having knowledge or skill in a specific area. Understanding and skill necessary to articulate or interpret messages.
synonyms: knowledge, learning, proficiency, articulateness, refinement, scholarship, media-savvy
In today’s world, reading and writing take place in multiple media formats with an expanding array of audiences. Our students must develop the skills to communicate clearly and effectively in all formats while learning to interpret text and media messages with wisdom and discernment.
As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies. Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to
- Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
- Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
- Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.
(NCTE definition of 21st century literacies)
For the Christian student, managing these multiple streams of information presents a daunting task, particularly in a cultural environment that promotes a singularly secular interpretation of text and media messages.
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
NOUN | grit
courage and resolve; strength of character
synonyms: courage · bravery · pluck · mettle · backbone · spirit ·strength of character · strength of will · moral fiber · steel · nerve · fortitude · toughness · hardiness · resolve · resolution · determination · tenacity · perseverance · endurance · guts · spunk
Grit-as specifically described by psychologist, author and leading expert in this field, Angela Duckworth-is “passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.” This kind of passion is not about intense emotions or fleeting infatuation. Rather, it’s determination, strength of character and resolve which allows one to stay focused on achieving long-term goals. When students have grit, they are able to stay committed to a task in the face of adversity.
Grit is also about perseverance. To persevere means to stick with it; to continue working hard even after experiencing difficulty or failure. Perseverance is knowing that every encounter, good or bad, has value. It is the combination of these two qualities-passion and perseverance-over the long term, that the true benefits associated with grit are realized.
Why is grit important? Because it allows students to use their passion and perseverance to transform their talents into skills. Without effort, talent is nothing more than unmet potential. It is only with effort that talent becomes a skill that leads to success. Grit is the grease which keeps the engine running over the long haul.
In Scripture, we see many examples of men and women who persevered in spite of great difficulties. These Hall of Famers of faith ran the race, completed the course and fought the good fight because of perseverance. Students at Immanuel Christian High School will be presented with challenges intellectually, socially, athletically, and spiritually and the life school of perseverance will determine whether one is able to stay the course when faced with these challenges.
II Peter 1:5-8
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NOUN | op·ti·mism
an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome
synonyms: hopefulness · hope · confidence · buoyancy · cheer · cheerfulness · good cheer · sanguineness · positiveness · positive attitude
Researchers identify optimism as essential because it is the ability to view failure not as a reflection of ability or personal worth. Hardships are seen as ‘learning experiences’ by optimists. This isn’t a ‘head-in-the-sand’ ignorance of reality. Rather this is a decision to view difficult circumstances as an opportunity for growth.
A life marked by optimism has profound advantages. Researcher Martin Seligman indicates that optimistic people have better physical and emotional health, live longer lives, experience greater professional achievement, and have increased longevity. While optimism alone will not provide for a purposeful life, it will create a valuable prism through which all life should be viewed.
More importantly, this perspective or attitude is a description of the hope we have because of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Our success or failure does not define us. Rather, we are valuable because our identity is found only with Christ. Our struggles produce opportunities to experience God’s powerful love and redemption (Romans 5 and 8). We believe that we have a Savior who not only identifies with us in our hardships but also has rescued us and given us an eternal hope (II Cor. 1:7). This is optimism at its core; the battle is already won and our striving is not in vain. We know that God uses all things – difficulties and successes, failures and achievements for our good.
Students at Immanuel Christian High School will be firmly rooted in their identity as believers. They will develop the discernment to deal with the hardships and failures of life—not to take a secular view but to press on because of our hope in Jesus Christ.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
NOUN | grat·i·tude
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
synonyms: gratefulness · thankfulness · thanks · appreciation · indebtedness · recognition · acknowledgment · credit
Gratitude is a choice. It is not dependent on circumstances but rather is a decision to pursue an attitude in life which recognizes that every good thing is from God – whether a person, an opportunity, or material possessions.
Because we believe that Scripture is relevant and edifying to all of life, we base our gratitude on the character of God and the perfect goodness found only in Him. Only by pursuing God’s perfect plan for our life can one begin to appreciate His provision of people, opportunity, or possession. In Scripture, God’s command to be thankful, not only because of our circumstances but regardless of our circumstances, provides the foundation for life. Gratitude is the outward expression of a thankful heart.
Gratitude is the essential life skill of valuing and appreciating the people, opportunities, and blessings around us. It is not easily accomplished because it does not come naturally. Rather, one must practice a habit of thankfulness. The development of habits require hard work and consistency.
In a generation that is increasingly described as “entitled,” the need for gratitude is evident. Harvard Graduate School of Education launched a “Caring Schools Initiative” to research students in middle school and high school; their findings identified a deficit in students’ ability to show care and gratitude for those around them. This unhealthy focus on self and achievement leads not only to selfish living but also to undue pressure and unhealthy obsessions with success and achievement (Caring Schools Project).
An education at Immanuel Christian High School will intentionally provide opportunities for students to develop the life skill of gratitude. Through travel experiences, exposure to disappointment and difficult circumstances, students will learn to navigate the inevitable difficulties in life with an attitude to appreciation and thankfulness, recognizing the goodness of God in all circumstances.
Col 2:7 (NASB)
…having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
NOUN | self re·straint
a control over the expression of one’s emotions, thoughts or actions; the ability to delay gratification
synonyms: discipline, discretion, inhibition, refrainment, repression, reserve, constraint, self-command, self-control, self-restraint, suppression
The importance of self-restraint in a culture saturated with instant gratification cannot be overstated. Research shows that self-control—the ability to delay gratification—is closely linked with success. Modern psychology might assume that self-restraint is simply deciding between two equal options and then determining whether to delay or pursue. But that assumes that all options are morally equal or that individual are capable of self-restraint. The key to self-restraint is understanding that we are incapable of self-restraining our sinful wants and desires. It is only with a heart that has been regenerated (changed) through the transformation by Christ, and is now under the control of the Holy Spirit, can one truly live a life marked by self-restraint. The Holy Spirit does not control our emotions for us. Instead, he gives us the power to do so. This is key because students must practice the habit of self-restraint while understanding that self-restraint requires the daily habit of prayer in order to release this power.
Those who do not have the ability to delay gratification will be sidetracked by the more attractive, albeit lesser, end (Paul David Tripp). Additionally, intrinsic motivation rather than just extrinsic rewards is inherent in self-control, and self-control is critical for boring, mundane, or seemingly pointless tasks that still must be finished (U.S. Dept. of Ed. report 43).
Immanuel Christian High School students will learn to find motivation beyond external rewards and success and will develop the ability to wait for God’s best in life. In order to know what is best, students must know what Scripture says is best. This will require strength of mind and heart because the culture will affirm that self-restraint is not worth the effort. Self-restraint is more than just saying no to the bad; it also includes postponing the good, knowing that God has something better. God calls us to self-control as a manifestation of God’s grace through salvation.
Titus 2:11-13 (NIV)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
NOUN | empathy
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
synonyms: affinity, appreciation, insight, pity, rapport
There is an important distinction between empathy, sympathy and compassion. Both compassion and sympathy are about feeling for someone: seeing their distress and realizing that they are suffering. Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s pain vicariously, as if one has experienced that pain themselves. Empathy is about experiencing those feelings for yourself, as if you were that person.
Psychologists have identified three types of empathy: cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and compassionate empathy.
- Cognitive empathy is understanding someone’s thoughts and emotions, in a very rational, rather than emotional sense.
- Emotional empathy is also known as emotional contagion, and is ‘catching’ someone else’s feelings, so that you literally feel them too.
- Compassionate empathy is understanding someone’s feelings, and taking appropriate action to help.
Immanuel Christian High School students will explicitly work to enhance their ability to empathize with others by developing listening skills (hearing what others say), watching others (engaging in life), and being active participants in the world (developing creative solutions to address needs). The opportunities to practice empathy will be further developed through the daily engagement with peers and put into practice as our students serve others as the hands and feet of Christ.
Through the consistent ability to empathize with others, our students will be better leaders, better friends, and most importantly, better followers of Christ.
Romans 12:15 (ESV)
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
NOUN | citizenship
the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community
synonyms: autonomy, emancipation, privilege, sovereignty, self-determination
Theodore Roosevelt said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight.” While pulling one’s weight is admirable, it is not the only requisite indicator of being a good citizen. While the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are not citizens of this world, we are to live in such a way as to give honor to Christ in our communities and in our nation.
As those who will one day be the decision-makers for our country, our students will learn the biblical heritage of our nation and develop the civic responsibility that is critical if they are to become the godly leaders of America’s future.
This will require our students to practice the following characteristics of good citizenship:
- Respect: Respect includes the idea of esteem or admiration. Our students will demonstrate respect for ideas, people and our nation.
- Responsibility: This includes both private, personal responsibility and public responsibility. Responsibility is about action. In a world that avoids responsibility our students will be challenged to take ownership of responsibility for their actions, thoughts and deeds.
- Courage: As shown throughout history, individuals, with the conviction of truth and the strength given by God, can stand firm in the face of great obstacles. Slaves were freed, laws were changed and genocide was stopped because individuals showed great courage in the face of evil. Courage enables people to do the right thing even when it’s unpopular, difficult, or dangerous.
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
NOUN | zeal
eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something
synonyms: passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm
The idea of passion or engagement or even rejection of passivity and apathy seems foreign in a world where disengagement seems to be the norm. Students are shaped by a media-frenzied society which promotes instant gratification. The outcome is a growing group of students who care very little for pursuits that do not immediately affect their day-to-day lifestyles. They are bored with life and see very little worth being passionate about.
We want our students to be a driving force in solving the world’s significant problems. Rather than being bored and disengaged with life we want students to be inspired to live as participants rather than spectators. This requires zeal and passion as students engage in constructive pursuits and problem solving. It requires intellectual curiosity and spiritual passion. Boredom should never find a foothold in life because the cure for boredom is curiosity; there is no cure for curiosity. (Ellen Parr).
Ultimately, we want our students to have a zeal for discipleship. This foundation, rooted in the pursuit of following Christ, will serve to guide students throughout life. Misplaced zeal or passion can lead to destruction, but having the discernment to pursue that which is good, beautiful and true requires wisdom that is found only in Scripture. “A disciple can be forgiven if he does not have great mental ability. He can be forgiven also if he does not display outstanding physical prowess. But no disciple can be excused if he does not have zeal. If his heart is not aflame with a red-hot passion for the Savior, he stands condemned.” (William MacDonald, True Discipleship)
Romans 12:11 (ESV)
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
NOUN | so·cial in·tel·li·gence
the capacity to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments
synonyms: acumen, agility, brilliance, intellect, judgment, perception, quickness, savvy
In Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success, Karl Albrecht goes to great lengths to describe the various skills and phenomena involved in social intelligence. Albrecht uses the acronym of SPACE to describe the various components of social intelligence: situational awareness, presence, authenticity, clarity and empathy.
Social intelligence is important because relationships matter. God designed humans to live in relationship with Him and with others. We know all too well that adolescents place high priority on the social interaction with peers. Only the student who is equipped with wisdom and discernment will be able to navigate the complex social dynamics with success. This grounding comes from the understanding that wisdom is tied to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1). Likewise, the early chapters of Proverbs present the importance of developing a wise and discerning heart to avoid being derailed through foolish action (Proverbs 1-4).
We want to give our students opportunities—both through knowledge and guided experiential learning—to follow wise teachers, to be surrounded by godly mentors, and to develop godly discernment and wisdom. The application of these character traits, many that are found in Scripture, will allow students to navigate complex social and emotional situations with the situational awareness necessary for success.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
There is much that we accomplish at Immanuel Christian High School, through outstanding academics, athletics and the arts; but it is the biblical foundations for life that sets us apart. This life preparation for high school students is not readily found in other schools and it is the central reason why Immanuel Christian High School exists.