The children becoming adults in this decade are struggling. Many young adults are not walking into the world with adequate leadership skills, emotional fluency, or personal motivation. They are struggling to build mature relationships of trust – that can receive and lend strength to others in these vital areas.
Our children – in profound ways – are teaching us there is something deeply out of order, deeply imbalanced, deeply in need of understanding, and largely in need of different options in education. Great hope exists for students and families when we intentionally create educational environments and experiences based on grace and love – and eliminate elements of fear and shame.
Janet Newberry & Co. exists to build a platform – ideologically and theologically – for John 15 Academy. We’re encouraged by all we have witnessed; we are stepping boldly into this dream.
The testimonies of many students who have experienced personal growth, as well as restoration and maturity in relationships, and “healing” from diagnosed disabilities, beg us to look deeply at the practices that make this health and maturity possible. Our work is to document grace – the best practices in applying it, and the academic and relational effects when we do. We’ll continue this work in these four steps:
Step 1: Educate the children.
We are providing non-traditional educational opportunities that include family support, unconventional curriculum and scheduling, new assignments, and academic assistance not currently available in traditional educational settings. At present we are working with nine students, representing a wide range of abilities and interests. Giftedness is represented in these students’ educational experiences; several students have also encountered struggle, in either maturity, an acceptable level of satisfaction and confidence with school, academic success, and/or confidence in maintaining healthy personal relationships. Our plan is to these opportunities to at least fifteen students during the next 18 months.
Step 2: Document the success & capture the stories.
We will document the students’ progress and invite the world to witness what occurs. We will produce videos of student and parent interviews, class discussions and participation, and student and parent conversations with each other. We will monitor student academic work and share samples of a variety of assignments and curriculum offerings. Students, parents, teachers, and research partners will write about progress observed and experienced in academic areas; they will journal about struggles and growth in relational maturity. All documentation will explore the environmental factors that contributed to their struggles as well as the novel, grace-based educational strategies that helped them grow and learn.
Step 3: Develop Best Practices.
We will work with other educators, neuroscientists, counselors, ministers, nutritionists, and other health professionals to develop and confirm a set of grace-based, theologically and neurologically sound, best practices that offer hope and specific strategies supporting academic success and relational maturity. These practices can become practical and applicable teaching tools for any and all students in Christian schools, private schools, charter schools, and home schools. These practical applications will lend strength in churches for children’s and youth ministries. Public schools can implement the proven practices as educational law allows; our research can provide data that will assist future legislation regarding public school teaching and learning opportunities.
Step 4: Spread the Word.
We are sharing this message of hope with the world: Grace changes everything, even education. Let us show you how.
This work will be done in relationships of trust in a beautiful community of grace; contact us if you want to support our “documenting grace” adventure or if your family wants to be a part of the story.