JCS has chosen to use the A Beka Books Curriculum (ABBC) because it meets two primary needs of our Christian School; ABBC is grounded in Biblical principles as well as meets the set of standards of learning found in the Core Knowledge Sequence. Additionally, we integrated this current school year from grades Pk-2 ~ 4th grade; Cornerstone Publishers, with the Series Pockets for PK’s grades and Cornerstone A,B,C, Social Studies, Phonics and Spelling for 3rd grade.
It is not enough that teachers simply cover the curriculum material in class. For JCS to be a true college preparatory education, the curriculum must be taught for student mastery. It is imperative that students master subject matter in one grade before they move on to the next. Because of this strong commitment to student mastery, JCS will not permit students to progress to the next grade level until grade-level subject mastery is achieved.
One goal of JCS is to assist student development toward becoming future leaders and productive members of society. Within the Dominican society in which we live, it is a great advantage for a person to know both Spanish and English. With this in mind, all instruction in grades PK2 through twelfth grade will be carried out in English, with the exception of the courses in Spanish or Sociales, which are required by the Secretary of Education.
School days are 7.25 hours, which is longer than most public and private schools in the Dominican Republic. This includes at least five and a half hours of solid instructional time, far more than in most schools in the Dominican Republic.
Central to the classroom atmosphere is the moral focus. Each month a different character quality or virtue is emphasized. These virtues are consistent with our Bible curriculum. Teachers discuss the virtues with the students, read stories that focus on the virtues, model them, and encourage students to demonstrate them as well. The moral/spiritual focus is integrated into the curriculum and campus activities to make it as relevant to daily living as possible.
The values or virtues we teach our students are common themes such as Love, Joy, Peace and more. Virtues change monthly. In addition, each teacher chooses a student of the month who has manifested the particular monthly virtue in his or her school life. Those students are presented with an award during morning flag-time at the end of each month.
JCS believes that character education must continue in the community (churches, youth groups, etc.) as well as in the school. It is important that our students have opportunities both in and outside of the school to reflect, reason, study, decide, and act on the values in the CE curriculum. In conclusion, the CE program is enhanced when children and youth are provided with guided and supervised opportunities to engage in and practice the chosen virtues. This leads directly into our Community Service program.
The religious training will naturally reflect Christian beliefs and at times may be in contrast to the religious beliefs held by some of the parents of children in the school. When this occurs, the parents will need to exercise tolerance and understanding, recognizing that the school cannot in good conscience waive from the beliefs underlying the primary purpose of our school.
The educational philosophy of JCS is grounded in Biblical truth. Here we present a condensed version that discusses our views on the nature of knowledge, the learner, the nature of thinking, the learning process and the implied instructional approaches, the role of the environment in education and finally the purpose of education.
We believe that knowledge comes from God; therefore God is a Being independent of individual experience, and as our authority, is the first step to true knowledge. God is knowledge and understanding. Concerning the nature of the learner, JCS believes that man’s meaning is derived from God, and that all believers have a divinely ordained destiny or purpose. Man (all his parts: mental, physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional) is created in God’s image, however man’s thoughts are evil and not of God. Therefore, man must rely on God’s spirit to teach him the truth.
Regarding the nature of the learning process, JCS believes truth and meaning exist outside of man’s own experiences. Scripture clearly indicates that learning is developmental and occurs in stages. In other words, there is evidence that humans move through somewhat predictable stages of development. In addition, Scripture indicates that knowing is mediated by an unchangeable God interacting with individuals who have different learning styles, personality preferences, and spiritual gifts. Teachers should utilize teaching methods to accommodate the variety of learning styles and developmental levels of students, but not compromise the nature of truth in the process. One example of this is how Jesus taught his disciples one on one as well as large group settings. We also believe that teachers should assume different roles according to the age they are teaching: teachers of young children cannot be facilitators—for children do not know what is best for them, nor do they understand what they must learn and when they have truly learned the material. Teachers must teach God’s ways to children.
In examining the role of the environment in learning, JCS believes creation exists to glorify God . Since God is knowledge and understanding, knowledge does not come from interaction with creation, it comes directly from God.
Finally, JCS believes that the purpose of education is to train students to know God’s law , to train students to respect authority , to prepare students for their future as Christians in the world , to teach character values and God’s law , and to assist in the development of good citizens and societal contributors.