The academic environment at Grace Brethren takes an approach to education that is very unique. The traditional school model that has been in place in the United States for well over 100 years simply does not meet the needs of the 21st century learner. At Grace, we have realized that each student brings to the classroom a unique set of gifts and a subsequent set of unique learning methodologies. Rather than try to force a single system upon every learner, our academic program meets students where they are at, resulting in an environment that is wrought with individualized and accommodating practices. In order to maintain this type of learning environment, instructors must intimately know and understand a student, which takes time and commitment both in and out of the classroom. Our instructors are, in this way, both counselors and encouragers, as they minister to the learning needs and life challenges of their students.
Good education begins with an understanding that each of us is blessed with tremendous mental capacity, and that this capacity needs training and shepherding through the formative years. At Grace, we say we are classically enhanced because we focus on what was ingeniously promoted by the great thinkers of educational theory from antiquity and beyond, that an ordered mind is a mind most similar to that of our creator. God is a God of order, and as image bearers, we seek to reclaim that aspect of His being that helps make sense of the world around us. Our students are trained to understand proper thought, argumentation, reason, rhetorical devices, and basic logic; all in an effort to bring them to a greater understanding of who they are and how they can best engage in the vast marketplace of ideas around them.
Athletics at Grace Brethren start with the realization that all forms of sport are not just physically beneficial, but provide mental balance through real life lessons. As an extracurricular activity, athletics takes advantage of the life experiences that cannot be taught in a classroom environment. Whatever sport a student chooses to participate in, at any level; ample opportunities for real-world lessons abound. Practicing as a team, winning as a team, and losing as a team are important experiences for not only a student but are highly coveted skills in both college and the professional realm. Grace Brethren athletes are trained to develop not just a resolve to win, but more importantly to work as a group towards a goal and achieve success. Healthy competitiveness is a necessary skill for students to take with them into college and beyond, and sports at Grace Brethren demonstrate that winning comes only through hard work, dedication, and commitment to team.
Chief amongst the lessons taught through Grace Brethren athletics is that through winning and striving to be our best, we honor the one who created us and provides for us the strength and vigor to compete. Towards this end, Grace coaches are not just highly trained in their sport, but are committed followers of Christ. Our coaches care first and foremost about the soul nurturing and spiritual formation of each athlete, as they grow individually and as a team. Of course, our coaches also care about winning, as winning is an important attribute of a successful Christian life. The success of our athletics teams speak for themselves, and Grace Brethren athletics is recognized statewide as a program that produces champions. Large percentages of students compete in one or more sport per year while at Grace, and many of our athletes go on to compete at the collegiate level, earning scholarships for their accomplishments at Grace Brethren.
Arts and extracurricular activities at Grace Brethren provide a unique opportunity for students to explore an interest outside the classroom environment. Our approach to the development of arts and extracurriculars is unique in that most of our programs connect in some way to the formal academic curriculum. In many cases, as in our world recognized Robotics program, the formation of this club and the high level of interest in this field, prompted a full six-year curriculum in Engineering that is recognized as one of the best in the state of California. In another way, formal academic study in such areas as performing and visual arts, extends into after school programs that produce art shows, live productions, and film projects. Grace Brethren performing arts productions are renowned for excellence and professional quality, prompting many viewers to comment that they are amongst the best performances they have ever seen. A close relationship between the vocational, scholarly, and life interest aspects of extracurricular activities is vital to a full experience for students. During this exploratory time of their lives, students need to understand the many opportunities that exist out there in the pursuit of what they love, not just what they are told they should do. It is also important for them to begin to develop an interest in something they can engage in as leisure activity for the rest of their lives.
We believe that what an individual most loves to do in life and what the Lord wants for them are often one in the same. Our clubs, activities and arts programs are staffed by individuals who firmly believe this, and who openly share their love for their craft with their students. Many of these individuals are experts in their field vocationally, as well as trained academically. One of the greatest gifts that a school can bestow upon its students is the gift of learning how to understand their creative self as a worshipful activity. We serve a God who is a God of creativity, and when we unlock our creative passions, we commune with Him in a very intimate way. It is for this reason, that students at Grace are urged, often even required, to be involved in some form of extracurricular club, event, or performing art project. We are never locked in to a set array of extracurricular activities, as students and faculty continually pilot something new each year, from service opportunities such as elderly home ministry or Children’s Hunger Fund box packing, to more formal and academic pursuits such as Spacecraft, Mock Trial, or National Honors Society. We encourage students to start their own club and provide the leadership necessary to make it a success.