- Does Grace Brethren have an application deadline?
- Can I come take a campus tour?
- Do I need to be a Christian to attend Grace Brethren?
- Do you offer “Shadow Days”?
- What type of student testing is required during the admissions process?
- Is an online application required?
- Is Grace College Prep?
- Does Grace use the Common Core Curriculum?
- What Colleges to Grace Graduates Get Accepted To?
The Jr/Sr High campus offers “shadow days”. Visiting students can shadow a current student for the day. As a guest, lunch is on us! Contact Amy Henderson at email@example.com to request a shadow day.
A College Preparatory school is measured by an examination of two criteria: Culture and Curriculum. A college preparatory culture is one where the majority of the students aspire to attend a four year university upon graduation. This aspiration reveals itself both through the way they interact with their studies and in how they assemble their yearly course of study. A college preparatory student will often have in their mind two or three schools they want to attend, and in truly excellent examples, will even engage in a degree of healthy academic competition with his or her peers. In a college preparatory school, the outcome should reflect this student desire; between 85% and 95% of the graduates should be accepted to and plan on attending a four year university.
A secondary, but very important feature of a college preparatory culture is the level of extra and co-curricular activities that are available to students. In the increasingly competitive environment of college admissions, one thing that has proven true time and again is that an influential transcript alone does not always result in an acceptance. Indeed, universities are looking for not only academically successful students, but also students who demonstrate a complex and varied lifestyle through their involvement in other interests. Athletics, Fine Arts, clubs, and special interests groups are all aspects of a school that provide for this. Colleges also like to see that a student is intellectually curious. Therefore, schools that provide opportunities for students to engage in intellectual activities in a non-traditional classroom setting are also greatly enhancing their college preparatory stature.
A school that attains a college preparatory culture, but lacks a college preparatory curriculum, is not truly a college preparatory school. Therefore, curriculum becomes the more important of the two factors. In the most optimal scenario, what students need to achieve is what I refer to as a transcript of influence. That is, a transcript that demonstrates to a potential college that a student chose to challenge themselves within the curriculum that was available to them. Of course, even students with less influential transcripts still graduate as college preparatory students. This is true because a school that presents a college preparatory curriculum is one that qualifies each and every graduate based upon their course of study over four years, for any four year university in the nation. Of course, it does not guarantee admittance – only qualifies them for application.
Specific to California, college preparatory schools, and even non-college prep schools, will abide by what are called the UC guidelines. These guidelines are set by the University of California, and are a list of courses required by a student in order to qualify for acceptance to any UC school (also called the A through G list). Since the UC requirements are amongst the most stringent, the general consensus is that if a school’s graduates meet these criteria, then they will be eligible for application to any other school as well. Exceptions to this rule would be specialty university programs, such as music, medicine, or film.
So, as you can see, there are actually some fairly solid benchmarks to defining a school as college preparatory. At Grace, we largely achieve all of the above. Yet, what oftentimes happens in extremely academic environments is that schools lose sight of the spiritual and emotional needs of students. Indeed, one of the reasons I love this place is that while on the one hand we offer an extremely advanced college preparatory experience, we place Christ first – and we mean what we say. This allows for an environment that is wrought with love and caring, along with a serious adherence to study.
The Common Core is the most recent in a long history of educational reforms. However, in addition to making curricular recommendations like past reforms, the Common Core is more about implementing national standards or achievement “benchmarks” for each grade level from Kindergarten through 12th grade. While it does get prescriptive about curricular offerings at times, such as suggesting which novels to read in which grade level, in general it is more about stipulating what to teach at each grade level and furthermore how to teach it. An example of this would be the standard of solving equations in Algebra 1. In the past, the state standard would simply mandate that this be accomplished in the Algebra 1 curriculum. The Common Core, however, states that a student must “understand solving equations as a process of reasoning and explain the reasoning.” That a student must understand solving equations as a “process of reasoning,” and further be able to “explain” such reasoning is essentially instructing the teacher on how to approach and teach equations. The endeavor to prescribe how to teach concepts makes the Common Core unique from past reforms and is responsible for much of the controversy. Also at the center of controversy is the dilemma of what private schools, and specifically Grace Brethren, will do with the Common Core.
As a Christian school, Grace Brethren believes that the Holy Bible is the inerrant word of God, given to us as a gift so that by studying it, we may live spiritual lives dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ. As a private school, we do not accept any Federal or State funding of any kind. As a result, we are not bound by any requirement when it comes to what we teach and how we teach it. These two facts are important when it comes to a discussion regarding the Common Core at Grace Brethren. First, because of our private school status, we are in no way required to adopt any aspect of the Common Core standards. Secondly, even if we do decide to adopt certain aspects of the Common Core, it will have been sifted through the truth of scripture and be in line with our Christian values and philosophy of education. In this way, it is important to understand that we are in complete control of our curriculum at all times.
Grace Brethren is a rigorous, College Preparatory Christian school. As such, we will continue to exceed the grade level standards set forth by any educational reform, our students will continue to score higher than national averages on standardized testing and our graduates will continue to be accepted at some of the top Universities in the Nation. We view the Common Core standards as a minimum; while we offer greater depth, greater rigor, greater academic sophistication, and of course Christian values to everything we teach. Indeed, while the very best aspects of the Common Core recommendations have been a part of our instruction for a long time here at Grace, methodologies from the Common Core that promote agenda, or are contrary to our beliefs will never infiltrate our curriculum.
- The Common Core is yet another in a long line of educational reforms. In addition to prescribing curriculum, it seeks to implement national standards or achievement “benchmarks” for each grade level from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
- As a private Christian school, we believe in the inerrant truth of scripture. As such, all curricular decisions are sifted through and align with biblical truth.
- As a private Christian school, we are not mandated to implement any portion of the Common Core, however will glean from its recommendations the parts that best suit our educational goals.
- As a college preparatory school, Grace Brethren exceeds the Common Core benchmark recommendations and will never allow curriculum from the Common Core to promote agenda that is contrary to our beliefs as a Christian school.