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Our Commitment to Excellence

August 1, 2017

The vision statement, the mission statement, and the philosophies of education of private schools all across America are shot through with rhetoric about “commitment to excellence,” so how do we dare say that such a commitment could be a “distinctive” of Founders Christian School? Simply put, at Founders Christian School we believe that the very way we view the idea of “excellence” is distinctive. Excellence, even for the Christian school, is often confused with superiority. This confusion produces unfortunate results such as pragmatic educational methods and hyper-focus on external performance evaluation. Excellence should be understood as a pursuit.  It is an attitude—a habit—and it is continuous. It is a humble and vigorous pursuit of that which produces godliness (education being a fundamental part of the equation). Thus, at FCS excellence is not to be measured by above-average ratings on standardized tests, nor by “good grades,” nor by getting into “good schools.” Make no mistake, those things are certainly important but they must be the product of excellence and not ends in themselves. The measure of excellence is whether or not the “daily grind” is acting as a crucible wherein students are daily refined and conformed to the image of Christ. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo once said,

“IN THE END THE GREAT TRUTH WILL HAVE BEEN LEARNED, THAT THE QUEST IS GREATER THAN WHAT IS SOUGHT, THE EFFORT FINER THAN THE PRIZE, OR RATHER THAT THE EFFORT IS THE PRIZE, THE VICTORY CHEAP AND HOLLOW WERE IT NOT FOR THE RIGOR OF THE GAME.”

To understand that “the effort is the prize” is to understand excellence in Christian education. To understand that the “rigor of the game” is the very thing that gives the victory its substance is to understand the Aristotelian adage, “The roots of education are bitter but its fruit is sweet.”

Our aim at FCS is to pursue genuine excellence—not self-important superiority but that which is conducive to godliness. We desire that our students truly understand that excellence is an attitude essential to all endeavors so that upon graduation they do not see fit to cast off the pursuit of excellence as if it were no longer needed. Excellence must be pursued in every matter to which the student sets his hand—whether at home, at school, at church—no matter the setting. The impartation of this mindset is the very heart of excellence.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

Our Commitment to Excellence

The vision statement, the mission statement, and the philosophies of education of private schools all across America are shot through with rhetoric about “commitment to excellence,” so how do we dare say that such a commitment could be a “distinctive” of Founders Christian School? Simply put, at Founders Christian School we believe that the very way we view the idea of “excellence” is distinctive. Excellence, even for the Christian school, is often confused with superiority. This confusion produces unfortunate results such as pragmatic educational methods and hyper-focus on external performance evaluation. Excellence should be understood as a pursuit.  It is an attitude—a habit—and it is continuous. It is a humble and vigorous pursuit of that which produces godliness (education being a fundamental part of the equation). Thus, at FCS excellence is not to be measured by above-average ratings on standardized tests, nor by “good grades,” nor by getting into “good schools.” Make no mistake, those things are certainly important but they must be the product of excellence and not ends in themselves. The measure of excellence is whether or not the “daily grind” is acting as a crucible wherein students are daily refined and conformed to the image of Christ. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo once said,

“IN THE END THE GREAT TRUTH WILL HAVE BEEN LEARNED, THAT THE QUEST IS GREATER THAN WHAT IS SOUGHT, THE EFFORT FINER THAN THE PRIZE, OR RATHER THAT THE EFFORT IS THE PRIZE, THE VICTORY CHEAP AND HOLLOW WERE IT NOT FOR THE RIGOR OF THE GAME.”

To understand that “the effort is the prize” is to understand excellence in Christian education. To understand that the “rigor of the game” is the very thing that gives the victory its substance is to understand the Aristotelian adage, “The roots of education are bitter but its fruit is sweet.”

Our aim at FCS is to pursue genuine excellence—not self-important superiority but that which is conducive to godliness. We desire that our students truly understand that excellence is an attitude essential to all endeavors so that upon graduation they do not see fit to cast off the pursuit of excellence as if it were no longer needed. Excellence must be pursued in every matter to which the student sets his hand—whether at home, at school, at church—no matter the setting. The impartation of this mindset is the very heart of excellence.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).



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