EDUCATION FOR ETERNITY
Herb Wrate: A Lifetime of Service
The home, the school, and the church, working together, have the privilege to encourage each child to reach her/his God-given potential.
The object of Adventist education is "to restore in [our young people] the image of [their] Maker.... to promote the development of body, mind and soul," so that "the greatest want of the world" will be met "men [and women] who will not be bought or sold ... who in their inmost souls are true and honest ... who do not fear to call sin by its right name ... whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole ... who will stand for the right though the heavens fall" (Ellen White, p. 15, 57).
The focus of the Lake Union Office of Education is to embrace God's plan for educating his children. We are committed to teaming with superintendents, principals and teachers to integrate faith and learning into every part of the curriculum throughout the school day.
This past fall, 3,199 students enrolled in Adventist schools in the Lake Union Conference (LUC) that includes 59 elementary schools, 12 junior academies (grades 9, 10) and eight academies (grades 9-12). We give thanks to God for his many blessings.
It is a joy to visit one of our Lake Union schools and witness students memorizing Scripture, teachers praying with students, voices singing songs of praise to our Creator, principals, teachers, pastors, parents and church members taking students into the community to help those in need, bulletin boards focused on Seventh-day Adventist heritage, and young people leading out in the Student Week of Prayer.
Four key concepts (with accompanying essential questions) that emerge from a biblical worldview can be used as a lens for the Adventist curriculum development process: CREATION (What is God's intention?), FALL (How has God's purpose been distorted?), REDEMPTION (How does God help us to respond?), and RE-CREATION (How can we be restored in the image of God?). The North American Division (NAD) and the LUC use this biblical worldview to create education standards, select textbooks, and develop classroom resources.
Our educational system is in the process of becoming a standards-based culture.
Standards provide a framework for accountability. Specifically, student standards are what learners should know (content) and be able to do (skills). Adventist school standards reflect the Adventist worldview as well as the integration of national and state standards.
The new Encounter curriculum is currently being developed for elementary and academy Bible classes. Students are provided opportunities to expand their biblical knowledge, develop a personal relationship with God, and be involved in service to others. Such an approach focuses on transforming learners into "thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought" (Ellen White, Education, p. 17), as well as embracing the call from Jesus to Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.... (Matthew 28:19, 20 NKJV). Implementation began this school year for grade nine, with other grade levels to be rolled out in successive years.
Reaching to Educate All Children for Heaven (REACH) continues to provide opportunities for personalized learning that encompasses differentiated instruction and assessment; as well as building and sustaining leadership capacity, not only to support students with disabilities but to enhance outcomes for all learners.
The North American Division (NAD) Office of Education, in collaboration with Nico Rizzo of Loma Linda University and Rob Thomas of La Sierra University, is coordinating a division-wide health study of Adventist students in grades 5-11. This study, known as PhysicalGenesis, compliments the ValueGenesis and CognitiveGenesis research and focuses on the identification of the health behaviors and fitness levels of children and adolescents across the NAD. Information from this study can be used to inform teaching and learning practices.