With all that public schools can offer in the northern Virginia/DC metro area, why send your child TBS? Good question.
Here's a few reasons. TBS can offer...
1. A Christ-centered environment
Imagine a wholesome classroom where biblical characteristics of kindness, love, honoring parents, and respect for others are encouraged... and expected. Can an education be complete without addressing morals? The answer is no. A child is a spiritual being, education is value-laden, and an education without addressing morals is lacking a key foundational component.
2. Smaller class sizes.
We maintain class sizes to manageable amounts where teachers can work with students who might need extra help. This especially pays off in upper level calculus/physics classes, where individualized teaching makes for fully prepared students with solid ACT scores. (By the way, small class sizes are not the total answer. In Japan, the classes are large and if you compare Japanese achievement tests with American, well, let's just say, American students do poorly. But we recognize that most people want smaller class sizes and we are all for that. It's sure good PR.)
3. Teachers who are called to the ministry of teaching.
For teachers at Temple, teaching is not a job, it's a calling. We expect our teachers to make a spiritual impact on our students and conduct themselves as examples of Christlikeness, worthy of emulation. We contend that teachers are important role models and should be loving, kind, fair, and approachable. And we have a group of awesome teachers. And they view teaching as a calling.
4. Accredited teachers
Calling is a good thing, but we hire teachers who work to improve their teaching skills. At TBS, there are at least 17 post-graduate degrees represented on the staff. (That's most of them!) Others are either planning or working on graduate degrees; we pay for our teachers' grad degrees and we pay them more when they receive them.
5. Christ-centered curriculum.
Students are taught academic truths in the light of The Truth, God's Word. Martin Luther once said, "I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt...I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth." We concur with that statement. We don't agree with everything Luther said, though. He also said some weird things. But he was right on with the above statement.
A good Christian school is a safe place, free from violence, threats, or crime that can characterize large public schools. Fighting, hazing, bullying are not tolerated. In fact, these incidents rarely come up, after all this is a school where Christ is to be honored. Many students don't bother locking their lockers because... there is no need to do so. Do problems come up? Sure. But they are dealt with so that the overall atmosphere stays pleasant and safe. We think anti-bullying curriculum is... weird. It should be natural for a Christian to be kind and loving to everyone, even enemies. It's not natural for our flesh of course, but it what Christ commands.
Let's look at the public sector. There has been a 123% increase in per-pupil spending in the US from 1971 to 2006. And each year, there is the outcry for more. You read that correctly: 123%!
And what would you suppose the change would be in academic performance, say, between 17-year-olds during that same period in... reading? Well, this percentage is known. It's 0%. Zero improvement.
So despite the massive increase in spending, students have not improved - in one important area, at least. Now we don't offer many frills at TBS, to be sure, and we don't take in lots of money because we want to keep tuition affordable. This is true. However, our 17 year-olds are off the charts in reading and most other subjects as well. So we not only teach values, we are also a good value!
8. Orderly environment.
Public schools can have problems with student mayhem.
Example: At one high school in the FCPS system the following happened, according to the Washington Post: "...pranksters turned the cafeteria at...[this high school]... into a maelstrom of hurled milk cartons and leftover lunch. Close to 100 teenagers joined the melee, flinging sandwiches and water bottles. Hundreds of others, caught in the crossfire, screamed and ran for the exits. A 17-year-old, eight months pregnant, was knocked to the ground. Two students -- recent immigrants who presumably had little experience with the modern American food fight -- hyperventilated to such a degree that officials called 911... the episode at [that school] was part of a rash of food fights this year that left a trail of garbage-strewn cafeterias and stymied principals at Fairfax high schools." FCPS is considering in-school cameras, sparking an interesting debate about student rights.
So we offer a 'food-fight-free' environment.
In a Christian setting, students are taught self-control. Shouldn't that be the norm? And along the lines of eating -- we thank God for our food at lunch, something that some schools actually discourage.
9. Limited admission policy.
Sometimes we say... 'sorry, we're not a good fit.' TBS is not for everyone. Often, parents want to get their children out of a bad situation, but that's really not why our school exists. We screen our applicants because we're interested in keeping the school environment as wholesome as possible. We're interested in families of like faith and practice, or who are at least amenable to what we are trying to do.
10. A great spirit.
School is hard work. But, there ought to be some fun, too. We want our students to enjoy school. Now that's a tall order, because there has to be academic rigor. The nuts and bolts of school are work: reading, writing, thinking, and computing. No getting around that. We're not into simply entertaining kids.* But we want the school atmosphere to be joyful and fun. Yes, we have Nerd Day, Hat Day, Professional Day, Stuffed Animal Day, Twin Day, International Day, History Day, Jersey Day, and Slipper Day. And Teacher Appreciation Day.
[Where else can your child have impromptu foam sword fights with the principal? Wait. Did we just say that?]
We want our teachers to do their best to make learning fun, within reason, of course. Students ought to look forward to coming to school. And we like our special days to dress up and just laugh, that is for sure. Although everyone appreciates a snow day, our students love school. That's the way it ough to be.
* For reasons no one really understands, we take kindergarteners to Chuck E Cheese. We apologize for this.