“Back to school” is an exciting phrase here at the Academy for G.O.D. On Thursday August 11th, the Academy opened its doors to 114 students to begin its 4th school year. Our teachers and administrators are ready to uphold our mission at the Academy: holistically educating children to become responsible, kind and ethical neighbors; competent persons, globally conscious and historically relevant. Our goal is to help children mature into people that can have a positive impact on the communities they find themselves in. In short, we are concerned with producing good, honest people.
The foremost way we do that is by teaching the Bible, starting with our very youngest students in kindergarten, and continuing through our high schoolers. Each week a theme verse is emphasized school-wide. Chapels center on the topic, and every class, from life science to problem solving, will integrate the concept into their lessons.
We don't just teach our students the Bible though, we also introduce biblical practices into their daily schedule. One example would be gardening. Not only are we one of the leading "Farm to Table" lunch programs in Nashville, but our students are all involved in growing the very food they get to eat! To us, food production isn't just a trend, it's a biblical value. Plus, it keeps our students healthy. Imagine our 2025 graduating class--walking out our doors with complete confidence in growing their own food, because they've had over a dozen years of gardening and life science classes!
Our courses at the Academy are also very practical. Our early elementary students have classes, like “Chores” and “Talking to Adults.” Rather than inundating their minds with abstract concepts, we teach our students how to participate in ordering their own environments--including their own classroom. Giving them the opportunity to learn a skill at school, while encouraging them to also practice these skills at home, makes parents really happy and also contributes to the holistic education we are striving to give them.
Parent involvement is vital for a student’s holistic experience at the Academy. One way that our staff promotes greater communication and partnership between teachers and parents is through blogs. Teachers update their blogs weekly with reports from the day, pictures, videos and even articles related to our educational approach. Each parent receives the link and a password to the blog, and is able to comment back to the teacher. We believe that the more we can give parents a window into their child’s day-to-day school experience, the better.
This year our tutorial program for local homeschool students is growing in participants. This option provides families with supplemental activities for their homeschool curriculum like building, gardening and drama. It's a great privilege to offer these students with an enhanced academic and social experience!
More than any program or class we offer though, I am convinced that it is the individuals that make up our staff that make our school so distinct. This group of 45 teachers and administrators are some of the most committed, faith-filled, hard working people that I know! Just as we recognize that each student has unique abilities and interests, we know that our teachers do too! Giving them classes that fit their specialty is one of the best ways to make a great class.
As I look to this 2016-2017 school year, so much gratitude fills my heart. To be able to offer a biblical education to over 100 students in a safe learning environment is impossible for so many educators around the world. I’m thankful that at the Academy for G.O.D., we do not take this opportunity for granted. We anticipate a great year ahead!