Standards are what learners should know (content) and be able to do (skills). They serve as the framework for curriculum development. The standards used in SAC schools are established by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist Office of Education. These standards reflect the Adventist worldview across the K-12 curricula as well as the integration of national and state standards. The Adventist worldview accepts the Bible as the standard by which everything else is measured. Four key concepts emerge from a biblical worldview that can be used as a lens for curriculum development, as well as informing the essential questions and big ideas of any content area:
1. Creation - What is God’s intention?
2. Fall - How has God’s purpose been distorted?
3. Redemption - How does God help us to respond?
4. Re-creation - How can we be restored in the image of God?
Using data to drive instruction, our Reading Workshop revolves around selected reading in areas of interest to the students. The teacher works with the students individually or in small groups, checking comprehension strategies, fluency and general reading skills. Shared and paired reading along with conferencing is also a part of reading workshop. A variety of classroom and library books at students’ reading levels is important to this program.
Using data to drive instruction, our Writing Workshop gives the students a planned time to creatively express themselves through the writing process. Mini-lessons are conducted on various topics as needed with small groups or the whole class. Teacher-student and student-student conferences help the writing progress to a finished product.
Because Adventist teaching environments vary, some classrooms have one grade, and others with multiple grade configurations, it is difficult to prescribe practices that will suit each and every classroom. Our math instruction is based on the Constructivist philosophy of learning, and is developed to help our students meet and exceed the standards in a variety of contextual situations.
The universe and all creation was created by Design. Our science instruction is built on a foundation of inquiry that encourages wonderment, questioning, exploration of multiple resources to conduct research and investigations (i.e., textbooks, informational books, articles, websites, pictures, observations, hands-on activities, etc.), and collaboration. In general, “inquiry is a way of looking at the world, a questioning stance we take when we seek to learn something we don’t yet know. And when we are truly inquiring about that something, whatever it may be, we drive ourselves to learn more and more because we are seeking answers to our own questions” (Parker, 2007, p. 1).
Standards for secondary courses in Seventh-day Adventist Schools have been developed by teachers to guide an instructional program that is infused with Christian faith and an Adventist worldview. An education of this kind leads to strong academic growth and a clear picture of Christ and His love for mankind. These standards focus on what students should know, understand and be able to do.
Social Studies and history are each intrinsic parts of Adventist education, and serves to amplify and enrich the curriculum through presenting an awareness of God’s hand in the affairs of men and of man’s obligation to serve others.
Adventist education takes a wholistic approach to the intergration of mind, body, and soul. The SPARK PE Program reports that the data are clear—healthy students are better learners. Over the years, scientific studies have shown a correlation between high standardized test scores and physical fitness scores, and that more time spent in physical education class did not result in a decrease in academic performance.