Sharon Roebbelen says she was excited to see the consistency across the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) member schools in the areas being recognized as “making these schools remarkable.”
Roebbelen, the director of communications and admissions at King’s Christian Collegiate in Oakville, shared her feedback on the OACS News series featuring new families across the province on their reasons, hopes and expectations for choosing an independent school.
The skilled and caring teachers is one theme that emerged through the stories.
“The teachers seem to be not only good at what they do, but they seem to care about the students and care about the students’ success,” she says.
“You get a sense that teachers are passionate, that teachers are excited to be there, they love what they are doing and that really comes across in how they deal with the students. I think that parents are picking up on that,” she adds.
Another takeaway from the stories is the immediate outcomes parents are seeing in their child’s attitude and behaviour when starting at an OACS school. Working with parents at King’s, Roebbelen says she has noticed people can often discern a difference in the child almost immediately when a positive change has been made in their environment.
“These students are coming away from a very brief experience at some of these Christian schools and just being lighter, they feel safe, they feel empowered, they feel like they can be themselves, they feel like they’ve had this fresh start and it’s this sense of hope,” says Roebbelen.
She adds from the stories you don’t get the sense that students are being dragged to school but just the opposite — they look forward to it.
When choosing an independent school and paying for education Roebbelen says one would assume the instruction is good and the Ontario curriculum is being met and hopefully surpassed. But reading between the lines of the parents’ comments she says the wonderful environment is a bonus for the families.
“It is very exciting,” she says.
She says it is heartening to read about other schools encouraging students to live beyond their own personal success and care for others, noting this character development is something King’s puts a lot of effort towards.
“I think people who haven’t been exposed to Christian education may not realize the excellence with which things are done in these Christian schools,” she says.
“You read these articles and you realize these schools are doing a great job with these students, this is not rinky-dink stuff here, these schools are running very professional institutions where the outcomes are very, very successful and the students are doing very well and the parents are pleasantly surprised,” she says.