The 2020s will certainly go down in history. Between the pandemic, political division, social issues, and an unstable economy, it seems that challenges are around every corner — and we’re only two years in! While it’s natural for parents to want to shield their children from the harsh realities of our world, you know that you cannot fully do so. The best you can do is ensure they are spending their days in a positive environment — one where they can prepare to make an impact after graduation.
Every school has a unique culture.
Your teen’s school culture is critically important. Culture encompasses the way teachers teach, the way students behave, the way that people interact with one another, and the core values that are held by members of the community. A culture that is marked by hostility and division causes students to feel overwhelmed, distracted, confused, or even unsafe. This ultimately affects their learning. A culture that is positive and encouraging produces students who are confident, motivated, and thriving.
So what makes for a positive school culture, and what should you be looking for as you tour high school options?
1. Invested teachers
High schoolers need to feel known, seen, and loved. This is only possible when faculty and staff view their jobs as more than teaching, also believing in mentoring, nurturing, and investing in the lives of their students.
“As our son enters his senior year, we’ve been blessed to experience the steady support of his invested teachers through his high school experience. He has risen to the high educational expectations of Concordia Academy.” - Sara A.
2. Engaged students
Students are not merely looking for a passing grade, they are actively learning and preparing for bright futures. They are continually pursuing opportunities around them to build new skills, make new friendships, and utilize their God-given talents.
“We have loved observing the support and sportsmanship of the student body at sporting events, specifically basketball games. Students come with signs, positive attitudes and are so encouraging to the athletes. It is so unifying and as parents, we are really impressed by the fun environment and energy it creates! We love attending basketball games!” -Kelly 0.
3. High expectations
Whether in academics, arts, athletics, or relationships, students pursue excellence. Further, they don’t view excellence as simply winning, but a process of growth and improvement that confirms that they are better than they once were.
“Concordia Academy is a special and unique community where strong Christian values are foundational to helping students engage and learn in creative and meaningful ways, surrounded by teachers who care deeply about their students and families who are invested in a healthy and safe learning environment. Concordia Academy sets high expectations for its students, sharing in the responsibility of ensuring they are well prepared for future academic success, have opportunities to form lifelong relationships and want to further develop their faith.” -Jennifer R.
4. Strong values
Values centered on Biblical principles — repentance, forgiveness, grace, and joy — permeate the hearts of students and prepare them for living in a complex and changing world.
“Her dad and I, and both her grandma and grandpa have recently commented that we cannot remember seeing her this happy in such a long time. She is absolutely a different kid. She comes home almost every day [excited] about what she is learning in chapel and scripture class, conversations with friends, and plans for coming events – none of which she had before. She has particularly enjoyed her Scripture class and learning about the Parables and the Woes. We have had a lot of discussions recently about the passage in Matthew 25, 'I was hungry and you fed me …,' and how her dad and I have tried to use that as a blueprint for how we live our lives as a family.” - Jori S.
5. Shared responsibility
A positive school culture cannot exist without buy-in from all members of the community. Every student acts as a leader and takes ownership of their role in the culture of their school.
“CA is a dynamic space for our son and family. We are so fortunate to have such a supportive team that truly values a shared responsibility in our son's future." -Sara A.
6. A safe environment
Students need to feel safe — physically, socially, and emotionally. A clean and secure campus, trusted adult mentors, and positive peer influences create an environment where learning is maximized.
“CA has provided a safe environment for our son to fail, succeed and thrive. Our community at CA is definitely one with involved and engaged parents that show up for the community. We LOVE CA!” Sara A.
7. Involved parents
Parents are vital members of the school community. Their involvement and support creates strong alignment between home and school and contributes to the overall success of students, in the classroom and beyond.
Our son's freshman year at Concordia Academy has been amazing. Concordia Academy has dedicated teachers and staff who provide a superior education, a variety of extracurricular activities, along with solid Christian values. Students, parents, and staff are equally involved, creating an atmosphere of high expectations and future-focused learning. We are beyond blessed to be a part of the Concordia community!” -Frank and Tina M.
8. Future focused
A positive school culture will keep students looking ahead, preparing them to make an impact in a way that only they can. Extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, academic cohorts, and college prep make all the difference.
"The administration, teachers, and staff at CA are so approachable and caring. They do such a great job of engaging our kids -- both in and out of the classroom -- and instilling strong Christian values that will prepare them to be difference-makers in this world." - Dave W.
Learn More About the Positive School Culture at Concordia Academy
Download a copy of our Parent Info Packet to learn more about all we have to offer your teen.