It is a community where there are shared values and the common good is just as important as individual achievement. A Christian learning community must be an environment of trust in which each person is valued as an individual with special gifts and talents. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV).
A Christian learning community is based on the core values of love, mercy and justice because what God requires of His people is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [their] God” (Micah 6:8). The community is thus governed by freedom and not oppression; demonstrated in unity and in lifestyle commitment, and not in legalism, conformity or uniformity. Loving discipline is foundational to this shared life.
A (Shalom) community demands that there is a real commitment of members of the community to each other, genuine communication, and a high degree of voluntary involvement. Leadership is recognised rather than imposed, and the structure is co-operative rather than hierarchical and must be of “servant leadership style” and marked neither by legalism nor authoritarianism. Jesus said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:42-45)
The quality of relationships in the school will be marked by love, unity, patience, forgiveness, joy, peace and listening with a willingness to understand. This will ideally apply in all relationships, including staff member to staff member, staff member to students, students to students, school staff to home, and, finally, School Board to school staff and school families.
Students will be valued and not seen as “commodities”. There will be an attitude of encouragement towards all in the school, especially students. Discipline will be administered in love, fairly and consistently, and for the good of the individual, and the school community. Where there are breaches in discipline there will also be efforts to renew the relationship, and forgiveness displayed.
School staff will be valued by parents as co-workers in the task of equipping their children for a life marked by love, integrity, faith and hope (empowerment), our Cornerstones. Parents and carers will always treat staff with respect and politeness, exactly as they would wish to be treated.
Staff will be supported with proper remuneration and reasonable working conditions. Where there are disputes the Board will support staff by providing Christian mediation with clear guidelines as to their expectations. Staff will be supported in prayer by the College Board and school leadership. Staff will be encouraged to develop professionally with a strong emphasis on the need for professional development from a Christian perspective.
These are some aspects of a Christian learning community which our College has been committed to developing over the years that I have been at Charlton. We are not perfect, but we desire to set ourselves high standards which are worthy of the God we serve. We will continue to give a high priority to loving and nurturing our students and their families within the context of fair discipline and shared responsibility.