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Seeing a School With Fresh Eyes




Post COVID-19 pandemic, the North American Division Office of Education is back on track with school accreditation visits, partnering with conferences and unions to ensure quality control, and support for Continuous School Improvement initiatives. Frederick Douglas once stated, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." I have the privilege, each school year, of being invited onto the campuses of schools for accreditation visits, or into a church to talk about Adventist Education. On these occasions, it becomes apparent the type of relationships among the school family and the local church. Educators are empowered to teach, manage, clean, repair, serve, and are ultimately responsible for creating the tone and culture of the school.

I would suggest that one of the most essential duties of an accreditation visiting team is to see a school in operation with fresh eyes. So often, a school gets wrapped up in the business and sacred responsibility of providing Adventist Education. They may not even be aware of community perceptions. Recently, I was part of a visiting team that spent the better part of 3 days on a PK-12 school campus, and had my eyes opened and heart warmed as I listened to students and their parents. Here are a few of the unsolicited, memorable comments:

"I had choices of where to go to school. I chose [here] because the teachers take time to listen and to help."

"My only reason for attending [here] is that I see Jesus in my teachers and classes."

From a parent:


"I am not an Adventist but chose [here] because I love your pastor and teachers; they live and teach the values I want for my family."

The above parent’s comment reminds me of one of the most quoted verses about parenting and teaching, which is found in Proverbs 22:6, ESV, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." This short proverb provides hope and assurance that the investment we collectively make for our children is significant. Furthermore, in Psalm 127:3-5, we read, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"

I am thankful for opportunities to be in your schools and relish the moments with parents and students who share from their hearts. May the Lord richly bless your efforts as you progress through this school year.


See you in Phoenix!

Arne Nielsen, PhD

NAD Vice President of Education

Arne Nielsen, PhD

Vice President of Education

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