We are not just learning how to add, subtract, spell, and sing at Sioux Center Christian School. We are learning about God and His world. And we're discovering how we fit into His plan for our lives.
At Sioux Center Christian School, we follow a certain perspective when it comes to curriculum, a Reformed perspective focused on the Bible as the source of all truth and wisdom.
To learn more, check out the topics below.
The Sioux Center Christian School is owned and operated by a society of believers for the purpose of providing elementary education which is directed by Scripture as interpreted by the Reformed confessions. This society is composed of parents, who have the primary responsibility for providing their children with a God-centered education, and all other members of the Christian community who are called to provide Christian nurture and instruction for covenant children. In sending their children to Sioux Center Christian School, parents entrust the education of their children to the Board which operates the school through administrators and through teachers, all of whom are qualified to carry out their tasks in harmony with the purpose of the institution. Teachers and parents work together to further the Christian education of their children.
As a biblically Reformed Christian school, Sioux Center Christian School recognizes the centrality of the covenant* and the kingdom**. Children of believers are to be seen and loved by the teachers as members of God’s covenant and as citizens of His kingdom. They are God’s children in Christ and share in the calling of the believing community. As such, they are educated for discipleship, that is obedient covenantal service, putting all areas of life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In this covenant-kingdom activity, they are, together with all believers, co-workers, partners with Jesus Christ.
All believers must share a concern for the spiritual development of the child in the wholeness of his or her being as God’s image bearer. However, it is the school’s distinct responsibility to further this through the formal education of the child. The teacher, in conscious, prayerful covenantal fellowship with the Lord and the children, is to develop the skills of learning and lead the children into an understanding of all areas of God’s creation. In carrying out this task, the teacher must always be alert for opportunities to cultivate a sense of Christian character and the high demands of the Christian life. It is also the task of the teacher to spark meaningful interest in the broad range of kingdom activity and to identify as well as promote the development of the God-given talents of the children. The teacher is to be an example of piety, to demonstrate a strong interest in the kingdom, and to create an atmosphere which encourages a desire on the part of the children to emulate the teacher.
All members of the Christian school community should encourage and require each other to demonstrate the character of faithful covenantal children who delight in and honor God’s laws.
*Covenant = That gracious relationship between God and His people in Jesus Christ in which He binds Himself to His people as their God and His people to Him as His servants.
**Kingdom = Christ’s rule over the whole of creation in which His followers work to put all under His rule.
We exist to praise and glorify God’s name in all that we learn and do. SCCS is dedicated to helping each student grow and develop spiritually, academically, and socially.
Sioux Center Christian School has adopted the Teaching for Transformation (TfT) model. Teaching for Transformation (TfT) provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview, with a focus on seeing and living out God’s Story.
"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is soveriegn over all, does not cry, 'Mine!'" Abraham Kuiper
The biblical truth that resounds in our Christian school’s curriculum is that all things in the world belong to God. It is important that we not presume that this truth is obvious or apparent to all. The task of a Christian school teacher is to help reveal God’s grand Story in all things. A teacher’s task is one of Christian-story telling, of seeking out and helping students to “See the Story” in all areas of study. We do this by teaching under the principle of all things. Teaching for Transformation binds together all subjects and activities, providing a framework for the education we provide and what we want graduates to be. It helps us live out our mission by providing definitions of what it means to be a disciple (head), why we have discipleship habits (heart), and how we practice being a disciple (hands).
God created all things. Even after the fall, which indeed affects and infects all things, creation remains good. Redemption impacts all things, redirecting them to their God-designated purposes. Someday, all things will be fully restored, but the work of renewal begins now, and we are privileged to be co-workers with God in this process. It is into this story that teachers are called to invite each student. Through TfT, teachers design learning experiences that help students discover God’s story and His fingerprints in all things, with the hope that every learning experience will become truly transformational for every student.
Explore (Head) – Desire (Heart) – Practice (Hands)
Core Practice # 1 – Storyline
Every Christian school classroom must have a powerful and compelling vision of the Kingdom that creates a longing and a desire within every student to play their part in God’s unfolding Story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration.
"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for that kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time. The more practiced stories I lived, the more I wanted an epic to climb inside of and see through to its end." Donald Miller
Every unit and every learning experience tells a story. The TfT framework tries, using the story discovered in each unit of study, to create a powerful and compelling image of God’s story. The TfT framework invites students to imagine his or her place in God’s story – now. TfT does this by connecting the story of each unit with opportunities to tangibly practice living in the grand narrative. Each student and teacher will begin to create a personal “storyline” and articulate how they see themselves living in God’s epic drama.
Core Practice # 2 – Biblical Throughlines
Every Christian school classroom must have an articulate and inspiring student profile that invites every student to imagine how to play their part in God’s Story.
“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire.” James K.A. Smith
What a complex challenge to imagine what it is to be a “peculiar” person in God’s story! SCCS has identified 11 biblical Throughlines to help us imagine who we are as peculiar people. When schools invite students to actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture, we need to challenge each student to develop Kingdom-building characteristics. These biblical characteristics help us all, teachers and students, to understand what our roles are and what our calling is. They provide us with chances to practice, opportunities to develop discipleship habits.
Teachers use Throughlines to connect each unit’s learning outcomes to God’s story, as a type of “thematic Velcro”, carefully choosing, together with the students, one or two Throughlines they want to learn about as they explore the topic. This process shifts the learning focus away from “what” the student needs to know to “who” the student is called to be. These Throughlines characteristics weave through the Bible and describe a calling to “be”, not simply to “do”. They can also be considered “wholines” because they describe who we are. Interestingly, TfT teachers often find that the students absorb the "stuff" of the unit better because they have a meaningful context for learning.
Throughlines are big picture ideas around which we can organize curriculum. Throughlines are qualities/characteristics that we desire students to develop as God is revealed to them in all things. They are discipleship concepts that guide our living. These characteristics describe how we can become part of the restoration of creation. They answer, “How NOW shall I live?” Throughlines weave the big ideas into a transformational worldview. A key component of the TfT program is that teachers are challenged not simply to tell the students about the Throughlines but to provide actual opportunities for the students to “live” the chosen Throughlines in each unit.
And what does God call us to “be”? He calls us to be Servant Workers, to be Justice Seekers, to be Earth Keepers, to be Community Builders. He calls us to be Creation Enjoyers, Truth Finders, Order Discoverers, and Beauty Makers. And in all of these, He calls every disciple to be God Worshippers, Word Appliers, and Image Reflectors. Here we get a wider picture of the roles that God has called us to be as Christians.
Core Practice # 3 – FLEx – Formational Learning Experiences
Every Christian school classroom must provide authentic (real work, real people, real need) opportunities for students to practice living the Kingdom story. This practice then becomes a habit, with habits shaping who we are and what we do.
"It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture." Nicholas Wolterstorff
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that he can learn no other way." Mark Twain
Wolterstorff suggests, strongly, that students must be given the opportunity to do God's work NOW - to be active and creative in God's Story. Meaningful work creates a sense of purpose in their lives, and draws students more powerfully to God’s story. As the name suggests, Formational Learning Experiences are designed to form the students’ hearts and actions as well as their minds, equipping students to become people who live and breathe God’s story. Research and experience suggest that formational learning best emerges from experiences that get at our gut and touch our heart. James K. A. Smith writes in Desiring the Kingdom that "Education is not primarily...concerned with providing information; rather, education most fundamentally is a matter of formation, a task of shaping and creating a certain kind of people. These people are distinct because of what they love and desire - the Kingdom of God"
We promise to design formational learning experiences that:
- Invite every student to explore their role in the Kingdom story
- Nurture every student to desire to be a peculiar people
- Empower every student to practice their life’s expression
To learn more about Teaching for Transformation (TfT), click here.
Our philosophy for curriculum is clearly shared in the document Educational Philosophy. To read the section focused on curriculum, click here.
You may have been hearing a lot lately about the Common Core (and maybe some not-so-good things). As an accredited, non-public school in Iowa, SCCS is required to follow this curriculum.
What is it?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a set of standards developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in 2010. The standards are intended to provide direction to schools in determining what students should know and be able to do at each level of the educational experience so each student will exit high school with the necessary knowledge and skills for college, career, and life. The Iowa Core includes the Common Core with some additional standards.
Does SCCS use the Common Core/Iowa Core?
When each curricular area is reviewed, a team of teachers and administrators examines the Iowa Core to determine the desired level of alignment in that curricular area. As we create curriculum that promotes the SCCS vision, mission, and values, we choose to use standards from the Core only if they reflect our desired rigor and do not conflict with our beliefs. Because we are independently accredited, we have the ability to add, delete, and modify the Core.
Here's our perspective in relation to the Common Core and why we feel it’s a positive thing for our school, if handled in what we believe is the correct way:
- The curriculum is a set of standards, not a prescription for what teaching methods to use, what books to use, etc. We still teach from a Christian perspective, and we still decide how we want to teach and what materials to use.
- The curriculum helps us stay on track with national standards. We want to know how our students compare nationally, and we need a way to keep us accountable for what we do in the classroom. While we don't use the Common Core as the only method of accountability, it is a helpful tool.
- The curriculum helps us to organize what should be taught in which grade level so that we don't cover topics multiple times or leave concepts out. We feel that this has helped our school offer a more cohesive program related to what is taught when and by which grade level.
- One thing we focus on wholly at SCCS is teaching from a Reformed, Christian perspective. The Common Core then falls under that - not the other way around.
To learn more about our perspective with the Common Core, check out the links on the right side of this page.
The vision for the curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Sioux Center Christian School is to ensure the success of all students by providing challenging content, effective instruction, and meaningful assessment in order to improve the achievement of all students, preparing them for the world of work, lifelong learning, and service to God.
The document Educational Philosophy shares clearly what we believe at Sioux Center Christian School.
The CSI Position Statement on the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) includes information about what we believe about the Common Core at SCCS.
One thing we focus on wholly at SCCS is teaching from a Reformed, Christian perspective. The Common Core then falls under that - not the other way around.
Check out this article to learn more.