Students and teachers at Smithville Christian High School started the new school year by praising God in our opening chapel, and hearing that how we learn is as important as what we learn.
Being part of a Christian learning community doesn’t just mean that we start the day with devotions, and end the day with a closing prayer, or pray before lunch, said principal Ted Harris. We do all those things, but that isn’t what makes us Christian.
Instead, we are invited, through our learning, to “a better story,” Harris told students, quoting James K. A. Smith from his book, “Desiring the Kingdom.”
“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,” Smith wrote.
But how do we guide students to make their lives an expression of the kingdom of God?
Teachers at Smithville Christian spent most of last week learning how to connect our school’s core purpose and values (see below) to that deep hope of God’s kingdom.
Joining teachers from Woodland Christian High School in Breslau (near Kitchener-Waterloo) and Quinte Christian High School in Belleville, Smithville Christian teachers were enrolled in the first lessons of “Teaching for Transformation” – a way of making the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Education come alive by connecting the requirements to each teacher’s deep hope for their students, and culminating in formative learning experiences: often with real-world impact.
The logo for Teaching for Transformation, which was developed by Christian educators at the Prairie Centre for Christian Education, includes a boat, journeying towards a destination but having a ripple effect on the water around it. Teachers and students at Smithville Christian are in that boat together, Harris said, travelling towards something that is part of that better story of God’s love for creation and God’s plan, in Jesus, to redeem us and make us transformative partners in that kingdom.
It won’t happen in all classes and it won’t happen all at once, but students and parents should expect to see evidence of this transformation – how God is making all things new -- throughout the school year, Harris said.
“I hope the story of your year is a very beautiful one,” Harris told the students. “I hope you make the most of your high school experience, because not only are you hanging out with some cool peers, I think you have the best crew of teachers anywhere.”
First day also featured new MacBooks for the Class of 2026. Almost as fun as Christmas!