Distinctives

Christian

Covenant School is first and foremost a Christian institution. The goal of Covenant Christian School is to produce students who know God through Jesus Christ and who love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. Through a genuinely Christian Education, the students learn to serve God in everything they do and in whatever vocation God may call them to follow. We hold in common all the major Christian traditions of orthodoxy expressed in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.

Evangelical

Covenant School is evangelical in its presentation of Christian truth. This means that there are certain beliefs we hold that set us apart. We emphasize the gospel (good news of salvation) through faith in Jesus Christ, as well as affirming other orthodox Christian doctrines and holding to the inerrancy of Scripture.

Our student body has been represented by 35 different denominations at times. This calls for wisdom on our part to be loving and gracious in our presentation while remaining committed to our beliefs.

Our beliefs are summarized below:

  • We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
  • We believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God, who eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.
  • We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.
  • We believe that Jesus Christ will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all of mankind and to receive to His people to Himself.
  • We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

CCS is a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). A detailed analysis of what Covenant Presbyterian Church believes can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.

Classical

The following MP3 files share why classical Christian education is vital:

Charles Colson: Defending the FaithDouglas Wilson: The Paideia of God*
Douglas Wilson: Dorothy Sayers*Douglas Wilson: Classical and Christian*

Classical education is a pedagogical strategy that “teaches with the grain” of the child. Employing the ideas first realized by Dorothy Sayers in The Lost Tools of Learning, classical education seeks to train students how to learn. It is a method of education that utilizes the trivium. The trivium, as defined by Sayers, is the developmental stages in the life of a child. The grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages, as they are most commonly known, are specific ages or time periods in the life of a child that correspond to certain norms, habits and expectations. Classical education seeks to capitalize on these stages of development by employing a methodology that best connects with the student and their particular stage of learning.

The classical model and the Christian mission should never be opposing ideas. In fact the classical method serves the Christian mission very well. If the mission of any school is to establish Christian culture then proper education is the most fitting weapon. Education is the key to the advancement of any culture and the classical method is proven, tried, and tested. It serves students well in establishing a love for learning. And it is through Latin, Logic, Rhetoric, Aesthetics, Phonics, and The Great Books of Western Civilization, that the classical model enhances a child’s knowledge of our great God.

The Grammar School
The grammar stage is foundational in developing a love for learning. Children at this age soak up material at an amazing rate. They find memorization through choral recitations and chants fun and enjoyable. At CCS we capitalize on this by giving our students opportunities to memorize all types of facts in Math, Geography, English, Bible and Latin. Facts are the foundation for dealing with truth.

The Logic School
Grammar students eventually become teenagers and they love to contradict their elders. The question “Why?” becomes the centerpiece for discussion. They are often guilty of talking when they should be listening and they enjoy pointing out the mistakes of others. It is at this stage that their favorite discussions and debates are those with no easy answer, though they believe they have the answer. At CCS we believe these students are ripe for instruction and training in formal logic.

The Rhetoric School
The Logic student graduates to high school where the art of persuasion through rhetoric is introduced. It is here where students begin to really exhibit their creative side. They love to communicate the ideas they have been wrestling with and they love to impress. They are ready to be independent, or so they think, and they long to be heard. At CCS students are taught to communicate with “wisdom & eloquence” through training in rhetoric.

Lost Tools of Learning

The following material is drawn from the essay “The Lost Tools of Learning” by Dorothy Sayers.

Beginning Grammar
(Pre-Polly)
GRAMMAR
(Poll-Parrot)
LOGIC
(Pert)
RHETORIC
(Poetic)
Grades K-2Grades 3-6Grades 7-9Grades 10-12
Approx. ages 4-8Approx. ages 9-11Approx. ages 12-14Approx. ages 15-18
Student Characteristics:Student Characteristics:Student Characteristics:Student Characteristics:
1.Obviously excited about learning
2. Enjoys games, stories, songs, projects
3. Short attention span
4. Wants to touch, taste,
feel, smell, see
5. Imaginative, creative
1. Excited about new, interesting facts
2. Likes to explain, figure out, talk
3. Wants to relate own experiences to topic, or just to tell a story
4. Likes collections, organizing items
5. Likes chants, clever,
repetitious word sounds (e.g. Dr. Seuss)
6. Easily memorizes
7. Can assimilate another language well
1. Still excitable, but needs challenges
2. Judges, critiques, debates, critical
3. Likes to organize items, others
4. Shows off knowledge
5. Wants to know "behind the scenes" facts
6. Curious about Why? for most things
7. Thinks, acts as though more knowledgeable than
adults
1. Concerned with present events, especially in own life
2. Interested in justice, fairness
3. Moving toward special interests, topics
4. Can take on responsibility, independent work
5. Can do synthesis
6. Desires to express feelings, own ideas
7. Generally idealistic
Teaching Methods:Teaching Methods:Teaching Methods:Teaching Methods:
1. Guide discovering
2. Explore, find things
3. Use lots of tactile items to illustrate point
4. Sing, play games, chant, recite, color, draw, paint, build
5. Use body movements
6. Short, creative projects
7. Show and Tell, drama, hear/read/tell stories
8. Field trips
1. Lots of hands-on work, projects
2. Field trips, drama
3. Make collections, displays, models
4. Integrate subjects through above means
5. Categorize, classify
6. Recitations, memorizations, catechisms
7. Drills, games
8. Oral/written presentations
1. Time lines, charts, maps (visual materials)
2. Debates, persuasive reports
3. Drama, reenactments, roleplaying
4. Evaluate, critique (with guidelines)
5. Formal logic
6. Research projects
7. Oral/written presentations
8. Guest speakers, trips
1. Drama, oral presentations
2. Guide research in major areas with goal of synthesis of ideas
3. Many papers, speeches, debates
4. Give responsibilities, e.g. working with younger students, organize activities
5. In-depth field trips, even overnight
6. World view discussion/written papers

Private

While Covenant Christian School is accountable to various accreditation agencies for academics (see Accountability), we remain independent from the United States government in terms of funding and administration. We do maintain religious exemption due to our affiliation with Covenant Presbyterian Church.