At Citadel Christian School, we believe genuine self-esteem is gained by an understanding that each individual has been created in the image of God. It is developed through self-respect—the result of a right understanding of God, hard work, academic accomplishments, appropriate behavior, and proper regard for others. We cultivate a learning environment that encourages full development in all these areas even as we remain dedicated to teaching young children as effectively as caring adults can. THE STRUCTURED LEARNING DAY Our teaching effectiveness emanates from a well-structured learning day that sets and maintains an appropriate spiritual and educational tone from beginning to end. Student conduct at school must demonstrate a seriousness of purpose and a sense of appropriate play that stress the importance of learning both individual and group skills, and honoring Christ in actions and words. START OF THE DAY At Citadel Christian, every school day begins with a sequence of activities carefully designed to convey a clear sense of expectation and to demonstrate our personal concern for each individual child. 1. Welcome. As parents drop off their children in the morning, the teachers and principal greet their students outside the building. This simple act of civility lets children know they are wanted at school, and it also visually suggests a handing over of the child to the teacher’s authority. 2. Opening Ceremony. After the students have arrived, a formal ceremony is conducted every morning in the courtyard, or under the pavilion during inclement weather. The students assemble by class, and the principal leads them in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. Next, a hymn or patriotic song is sung, followed by a student’s recitation from memory of a poem, historical document, or Bible verse. The principal then makes any announcements, and teachers briefly share recent noteworthy accomplishments made by students or classes. These reports focus on academics or spiritual accomplishments rather than on personal news. At the end of the opening ceremony, the principal dismisses students by grade to their classrooms, with a word of encouragement for their forthcoming academic endeavors. While this entire sequence typically takes no more than ten to 15 minutes, its importance cannot be overemphasized. The daily opening ceremony reinforces principles taught throughout the day, helping children feel part of something greater than themselves. START OF CLASS The tone of the opening ceremonies carries into the classroom as teachers begin their morning routines. While students hang their backpacks and jackets neatly on the assigned hook, teachers interact with each child personally, answering questions, listening to the occasional story and taking attendance. Within the first few minutes, teachers make announcements for the morning, check dress code, and inform students of the structure of the day’s opening lesson. This morning routine stresses personal attention, helps students focus on the work ahead, and eases the class into its lessons and projects. CHAPEL Once a week, a guest speaker, the principal, a teacher, or a class leads a chapel service based on a significant point from the Bible. Chapel promotes the spiritual development of the students and provides a time of worship together as a school. Parents are encouraged to attend as often as desired. RECESSES Regular times for recess are held each day. We believe children need regular breaks in their school day, and we insist they go outside except in the most inclement conditions. Recess provides an important social experience, allowing children to be children and to interact with their peers in other-than-classroom activities. We make available a variety of playground equipment and recreational items. While teachers keep their direct involvement in recess activities to a minimum, they encourage organized games and individual activities, helping the children cooperate and expend pent-up energy rather than allowing them to consume the recess period without participating in a meaningful recreational activity. LUNCH TIME At lunch, classes assemble in the breezeway. A student, teacher, or the principal leads in a prayer, and we sit for a meal at assigned tables with a teacher. Students are taught and expected to use appropriate manners during lunchtime. SPECIAL ACTIVITY PERIODS Class time is set aside throughout the week for special enrichment activities. 1. Music. At regular music lessons, CCS students participate in choral singing; learn and practice vocal technique; and study musical history, notation, harmony, terminology, and history. At various times throughout the year, the students come together to sing at school events and community functions. 2. Art. Each week, students are encouraged to explore visual forms of expression and cultivate an aesthetic sense. Students will learn to draw and will engage in age-appropriate crafts, learning to manipulate materials and to work with simple forms. In later elementary, students will study basic art principles and become acquainted with different artistic styles and periods. They view slides of well-known works, and experiment with drawing, watercolor and 3-dimensional techniques. 3. Physical Education. Younger students participate in activities designed to develop gross and fine motor skills, while older students learn sports and games that can help them maintain fitness throughout their adult lives. Children receive instruction in the rules and techniques of team sports and will be encouraged to attend sports events to cultivate athletic appreciation. 4. Library. Students visit the school library each week. The school librarian or a teacher is on hand to help with book selections, advising students on the appropriateness and reading difficulty of various titles. Books are checked out for two weeks. (NOTE: To help our students develop a sense of personal involvement with the library, we encourage donations of books. We also encourage the practice of the birthday book, a volume given to commemorate the student’s birthday and inscribed with the donor’s name and the date of the gift.) END OF THE DAY The class day comes to an end in an organized manner. Teachers review homework assignments for that evening, check to make sure students understand the instructions, and then initial the students’ assignment books. The children collect their possessions and line up. Classes walk outside in line, take a seat on the benches, and wait for their parents. Pre-selected students lower the flag and then fold and store it. EVENING WORK TIME At Citadel Christian School, we consider homework an essential educational component and assign a reasonable amount of work regularly, including weekends. Evening study reinforces the day’s learning activities and emphasizes for children that this is the time in their lives when their job is to learn. We view parents as partners in their children’s educational progress, and we stress the critical need for parents to enforce homework time and provide a suitable study environment, free from the distractions of television, technologies, and other activities. We encourage parents to stay aware of their children’s work and require that all assignment notebooks be initialed by a parent before they are turned in. Older students often receive longer-term assignments, usually for a week, to help them develop more sophisticated study skills, learn to plan ahead, and become accustomed to budgeting their time. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT At CCS, we seek to provide not only a solid academic foundation but also a firm grounding in the moral and ethical principles outlined in Scripture. This begins with clear standards of personal conduct, basic expectations for appearance, behavior, and attitude that both enhance the learning atmosphere of the school and prepare children for life in a world of other individuals with their own needs, opinions, and expectations. The virtues we teach are rooted in our classical and biblical foundations. Our watchwords are respect and self-discipline, and we express those concerns in virtually all aspects of Citadel Christian life. While we make no attempt to stifle the active imagination, we make every attempt to channel that imagination in positive and productive directions. DRESS CODE Citadel Christian School maintains an official standard of dress, and all students are required to be in dress code whenever they are at school or at most school-related functions. We maintain this dress code for several reasons: (1) to underscore the school’s seriousness of purpose by encouraging students to think of their attire as an aspect of their work; (2) to eliminate the self-consciousness and social competition that fashion tends to promote; and (3) to promote a sense of identity with the school and among the students as a group. The dress code has been especially well received by parents, who (while having to buy the various components) see the financial and social benefits of limiting their children’s school clothing needs. Parents are grateful for the emphasis on learning, not clothing. Elements of the dress code and other clothing requirements are specified in the Student/ParentHandbook. PERSONAL HYGIENE Neatness, grooming and proper hair care receive the same special attention as student dress at Citadel Christian School. We restrict makeup and extreme hairstyles and encourage general cleanliness, especially hand washing before eating and after bathroom use. Each classroom has a lavatory. Teachers carefully monitor student behavior. CLASSROOM DECORUM Students must maintain a respectful attitude in class and respond to teachers with politeness and deference. They must also remain quiet and attentive during lessons and individual work. This includes the raising of hands and waiting quietly for permission to speak. Classes are structured to ensure that students interact with one another in appropriate ways. STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS Interaction between students, the friendships formed, and the degree to which children feel accepted, comfortable, and safe can encourage enthusiasm for going to school or sour a student’s outlook. We want the experience of attending Citadel Christian School to be positive, so we pay close attention to the quality of student-to-student relationships. While our expectations of behavior and academic performance are quite high, we also recognize that kids need to be kids. Accordingly, teachers try to provide opportunities, both in and out of class, for students to work and play together as peers. Teachers are always available to talk with, or listen to, individual students. We make it clear to all students that we expect kindness, and we measure how they treat their schoolmates by the Golden Rule. We stress the importance of politeness, curb disparaging comments and tattling (except in cases of actual danger or serious wrongdoing), and insist that students handle disagreements without resorting to name-calling or physical confrontation. We encourage everyone to welcome new class members, even as we make it clear to the newcomers that they must accept their fellow students and be willing to adopt the established modes of behavior. Teachers are expected to address any unkind acts or words that come to their attention. The result is a happy atmosphere in which children experience the comfort of belonging and count on encouragement from both schoolmates and teachers. This translates into strong friendships and a sense of institutional identity that carries over into our students’ lives outside of school. DISCIPLINE The chief advantage that our school enjoys in maintaining a proper learning climate is the personal commitment to individual growth and learning based on the Word of God. When this personal approach becomes less than appropriately effective, a clearly defined disciplinary procedure comes into play. At Citadel Christian School, our disciplinary system involves reminders, reprimands, office visits, parent consultations, detentions, and suspensions, depending upon the severity of behavior problems and the student’s resistance to following the rules of the school. The Student/Parent Handbook provides greater detail of the disciplinary system. All our disciplinary efforts are guided by biblical principles, our understanding of child development, a child’s need for structure and order, and our commitment to fulfilling the responsibility that the parents of our students have granted us. We make every attempt to identify any academic or behavioral issues that may be impeding a child’s progress or contentment and stay in close contact with parents to anticipate difficulties that might be developing and to remain aware of any special needs or home concerns. Educational theories and pedagogical techniques, while important, are but background to our real mission: the education of children in the charge of caring adults. We are willing to invest in those children who are a part of the Citadel Christian School family. Remember, however, that our ultimate recourse for handling a student who simply will not adapt to school standards is removing that child from our school, either temporarily or permanently, a basic condition upon which we insist. It is crucial both to our ability to provide the kind of quality educational experience we offer and to our institutional identity. We make that clear to all parents who consider placing their children into our care. PARENT SUPPORT Close ties between home and school are essential to Citadel Christian School’s effectiveness. A strong Parents’ Association, which helps raise funds for various projects and assists with school programs and special events, plays a vital role in the school’s academic and social activities. The Parents’ Association provides a crucial communication link between parents and the school administration. The association also coordinates the school’s volunteers. Association members meet monthly to plan service projects, fundraisers, special events, and other out-of-school activities for the children. The Parents’ Association reinforces our community presence and keeps Citadel Christian School spirit high throughout the year. SPECIAL EVENTS We hold special programs throughout the school year to bring the entire school family together in celebration of our institutional life and shared Christian heritage. The presence and volunteer aid of parents is an important aspect of these gatherings. CHRISTMAS Our Christmas program reinforces the biblical messages our students receive in their individual churches and assists parents in cultivating their children’s faith. HONOR CEREMONIES Three times a year, we recognize the academic achievements of our students. Certificates are presented to students who have qualified for the Honor Roll, an important note of encouragement to which the children respond enthusiastically. An additional Awards Program in May includes the recognition of each student’s accomplishments throughout the year. BASIC PRINCIPLES The school culture of Citadel Christian School keeps the focus on learning. We remain committed to the personal care of the children entrusted to us, realizing that we hold in our institutional hands those journeying through the most impressionable years of their lives. And we teach by action and example that we are indeed a community, that we share common allegiances to God and country, that we care about civility and decorum, and that we are interested in each other’s accomplishments. Most importantly, we instill a love for God’s Word and a dedication to holding forth the light of Truth in a world that needs the hope of the Gospel.
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