The fundamental idea behind the KCS Academic approach is our belief that all students have a God-given ability to engage and grow. This resonates deeply with us individually as Christian educators and collectively as a school.
Since it's inception, KCS has been committed to being an academically excellent school. For some, the simplest measure of whether a school is 'academically excellent' is how it does on standardized tests - such as BC's annual provincial exams. By this measure, KCS has and continues to be one of the strongest schools in the province.
We believe that things like strong provincial exam scores are a consequence of our core mission - not its purpose. We exist as a school to educate and inspire our students to become disciples of Jesus who make a difference.
Excellence is a core value of our school, but we don’t just mean high test scores. We mean students should strive to do well, and through encouragement and engagement achieve their personal best in a process of continuous improvement. Excellence at KCS means we push ourselves and our students to keep getting better using our best effort.
At KCS, we aren't seeking simply well educated students who try to live moral lives (although that sounds like a pretty admirable goal). We desire graduates who are truly different - who are peculiar. People who see and respond to the world differently. People who seek God's handiwork all around them and desire to accomplish His purposes. Ultimately, we believe in teaching and education that is transformational. In the classroom, through things like our Design Principles for Teaching and Learning we seek to make learning an opportunity for students to fully engage in their own growth.
One great piece of advice that Kristi Cooper, our KCS Director of Teaching and Learning, loves to give and we love to see in the classroom, is to introduce students to the word "yet". Read more about this in her blog "Developing Growth Mindsets in Our Children".
"As a mom and a teacher I hear the words “I can’t” often. It deeply saddens me when I hear a young child saying things like “I can’t do math” or “I’m not good at reading.” Their belief statements often run so deeply that it defines what they are or are not willing to try. I have met children as early as five years old who already have a deeply embedded belief in their abilities. They believe that these skills are already formed and they either have them or they don’t. As an educator I know this simply isn’t true. Intelligence isn’t fixed, it’s learned and developed. One word can help your students move from the “I can’t” to the “I can”. When your child says “I can’t”, respond with, “I can’t yet”. For example, “I can’t do math... yet”, “I’m not good at basketball... yet.” The more our children hear this in their lives (and our own), the more they begin to see learning as a journey that we are all on. Helping your children understand that we are constantly growing and learning is one of the best gifts you can give them."
OUR PRINCIPLES FOR LEARNING
Kelowna Christian exists to educate and inspire our students so that they can be effective, active and engaged servants of Jesus - both in their life at school and in their lives beyond school. How does our mission meet the classroom and the broader educational life of the school?
The KCS Design Principles for Teaching and Learning are simple and clear guidelines that facilitate our missionally-centred educational excellence. As Christian educators, these are principles we strive for in our classrooms and throughout our school.
Our mission statement affirms that we are called to “love and serve God and others.” Ultimately, this service will occur beyond the walls of our school. Accordingly, we believe we are called to equip our students for service in the world and this happens best when what we do in school has intentional connections beyond our walls.
CLICK HERE to see our work in the Munson Pond Park restoration project.
Our core values include an explicit inclusion of ‘perseverance’. A commitment to rigor is where perseverance meets proficiency. Most educators define rigor as those learning experiences that:
“are academically, intellectually, and personally challenging. Rigorous learning experiences, for example, help students understand knowledge and concepts that are complex, ambiguous, or contentious, and they help students acquire skills that can be applied in a variety of educational, career, and civic contexts throughout their lives.”
As Christian educators, we seek to apply these concepts in ways that will equip our students to be effective disciples in a complex and changing world, trusting that with God at the centre of their lives they are able to face any challenge with perseverance and grit.
Teachers at Kelowna Christian are mentors, and program and curriculum designers. We believe this is best expressed in a collaborative-collegial culture.
Our mission statement calls us to grow and equip disciples of Jesus. This challenges us to educate both the mind and heart in ways that are transformative. Teaching for transformation of the mind compels us to present biblical truths in ways that weave throughout all learning. Teaching for transformation of the heart compels us to create and value educational experiences where students can see and respond to God’s transformational call on themselves, others, and His world.