by Dr. Jamie Wernet, Director of Learning/Math Teacher

Our vision for students is that they will be equipped to engage and transform the world for Jesus Christ.

A primary question in our work is how to give students opportunities to practice engaging the world through our classroom learning. One answer is formational learning experiences, in which they use the content they’re learning at any grade and in any subject area to do “real work that meets a real need for real people.” These experiences often grow out of teachers’ Deep Hope for students, which guides teaching and learning in our classrooms. Here is an example of a formational learning experience from our year so far.

Mr. Tjarks’ Deep Hope: “My deep hope is that my students will be knowledgeable and active citizens who positively contribute to their communities and nation. They will be faithful Christians who seek to live out their faith and pass it down to the next generation.”

As part of their study of the 9-11 attacks on the 20th
anniversary of the event, Joel Tjarks invited veterans who
served in Afghanistan to speak to his Current Events class.
Three veterans presented to the students about their
experiences, and students are following up by writing at
least one letter to a veteran to bless and encourage them.
Together, they have brainstormed ways to construct their
letters and which elements to include, as well as ways in
which the activity helps them engage in Christian Habits
of Living. Through this activity, Mr. Tjarks hopes that
students will have the opportunity to practice being loving
neighbors, and in doing so will contribute to building
community by showing empathy to others.

Mr. Tjarks shared that students “loved hearing from
veterans who spoke to our class. I am hoping that students
can see connections to this activity and be aware of the
causes of the war and what happened, become involved in
speaking with veterans and learning about their lives, and
be faithful in doing what they can to bless others.”