The Distinct Nature of Hillcrest Academy
“The mission of Hillcrest Academy is to equip students in a Christ-centered, Bible-based environment, for a life of eternal significance.”
Education is by definition a life-shaping activity because of the interdependence of knowledge and virtue. The cultivation of the mind is fundamentally and inextricably linked to the cultivation of the character (Stoner, 2014). A truly Christian education then begins with the assertion that all truth is God’s truth.
Our mission at Hillcrest involves the proclamation of the Gospel and instruction in the Bible, presenting students with an explanation of the world. Our mission also combines the interdependence of knowledge and virtue, instruction provides a clear understanding of what is required for human beings to flourish, (Glenn 2003) and provides the nurturing value of a healthy functioning school community.
Truth corresponds with reality thus Christian education begins with the understanding that God has something to say about everything. The mission of Hillcrest Academy is founded upon this foundational principle. As creator God, His perspective on reality is the true perspective. He has revealed himself to us in creation (general revelation), in the Bible (special revelation), and through Jesus Christ (special revelation). Educating young men and women on God’s perspective helps them make sense of their world. A Christian school educates their students on God’s perspective on all matters academic while providing them with the opportunities to digest and apply what they have learned to their everyday practice of living in society. Thus we fulfill our mission in this manner, in a Christ-centered, Bible-based environment. It is our strongest belief that conducting our school in this way will produce students who will live a life of eternal significance.
Our School Culture; Christ-centered and Bible-based
Our school culture reflects a welcoming environment that produces strong appreciation for Godly friendships and respect for others. Because of this, our campus has a positive character that reflects the subtle but powerful understanding that every person is made in the image of God. This accepted truth brings out the best in our students and provides them with an outstanding school community in which to learn and grow.
Operating from an understanding of all students being made in the image of God (imago de)i changes how students are treated and how they treat each other. Students are encouraged to find their identity in their relationship with Christ and then in the Hillcrest school community.
A small school atmosphere provides an intimate environment which promotes positive opportunities to receive instruction and build relationships around the classroom experience.
As a boarding school, we receive a regular infusion of new students which provides a fresh and vibrant dynamic each year. Established community and classroom expectations provide an excellent context for students to study and learn. All of this plus an intentional school program with mentoring at its core, provides a biblical context to develop healthy friendships with peers and adults.
Philosophy of Learning
Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught. Because we know that students flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually when they are respected and valued by their instructors, our classrooms are warm and welcoming, staffed by men and women who desire an authentic teacher to student relationship. Instructors receive mentorship training which emphasizes relational skill.
Our curriculum reflects a coherent set of beliefs about the meaning of life, the nature of relationships, and challenges students to grasp the God-given purpose of education.
Hillcrest students are presented with a complete and cohesive of understanding of reality, where God’s special revelation informs the student about His general revelation.
While all schools study God’s general revelation to some degree, general revelation generally requires the human capacity of reason alone while the study of special revelation requires human capacity of reason informed by Christian faith. Combining them provides students with clearer perspective and an enhanced understanding of God’s purposes.
Because of this, our learning process is unique. Hillcrest instructors are distinct from their public school counterparts in that they provide a much more expansive education, bringing back together God’s special and general revelation; in a process we call, integration of faith and learning.
The primary benefit to students is a view of life and the world that is complete and cohesive rather than separated into artificial categories of secular and sacred. Doing so allows the Hillcrest instructor to tap into the evangelistic nature of all truth and engage in “academic evangelism.” In this way, the study of academic content can contribute to the shaping Christian faith and character.
The Positive Influence of the Residence Halls
Adding to the learning process is a unique aspect of our school, the residence halls. Here students live in a Christian community with one another. Most students find this a fun experience and one which most students look upon as a time of great growth. Living in close quarters requires students to develop and mature. Sharing dormitory space requires students to consider the needs of others, helping them develop an “other-centered” awareness rather than feeding the natural self-centeredness that permeates modern society. Students living in the residence halls have greater opportunity to develop positive mentor relationships with staff and practice spiritual disciplines that assist them in the maturing of their faith.
What we Intentionally Avoid
As Christian educators, it is important not to lose sight of the goal. There are two great temptations that confront a Christian school: the temptation to Christianize materials and texts, and the temptation to Christianize techniques of secular schools. This is done by adding a Christian practice such as prayer to the classroom setting without changing the contents of the lesson. While praying before a class time or reading a devotional are important components to a Christian school classroom, they do not, by themselves, constitute Christian education. Praying before class and then teaching information counter to Christianity is simply attempting to “baptize” a lesson or curriculum. Doing so creates an “operational dualism” between the secular academic world and the religious spiritual world and encourages students to separate their knowledge into “compartments”, one for matters of faith and one for facts.
The Biblical Foundation For Our Mission
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
16 For so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
24 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” 28 When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed by his teaching, 29 because he taught them like one who had authority, not like their experts in the law.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.