Growing a Remote and Necessary School

Nearest Adventist School: Olympia, Washington, 25 miles.

Current Enrollment: 34 Classrooms: 3 Teachers: 2. Volunteers: Many.

Remote Value: Six years ago, the Shelton Valley Christian School in Shelton Washington, considered closing its doors because enrollment was down to four — without hope of rallying. Rather than seek burial, members and staff stood behind their school. They bought additional property, launched a coordinating childcare center (providing SVCS with additional funding), sought higher academic excellence, used marketing, and employed teachers in it for the duration. Today SVCS has 34 students and is growing.

The 25 acre-campus incorporates a full-day kindergarten, summer camps, before and after school care (childcare is across the street and is operated under a different license), and community programs for campus families including "free market" style midweek programs.

Remote and Necessary Fund Recipient: "The North Pacific Union Remote and Necessary fund has been vital to our growth at SVCS," says Jennifer Scott, Shelton Adventist Church pastor. Scott describes her congregation as "passionate and faithful" and the campus as "a vehicle for significant community outreach and service." She says "while SVCS is a small and remote school — our church believes its school is vital to its ministry, its growth, its survival and health."

Local Community Impact: Their growth, to a large measure, is consistent with the school's commitment to higher quality academics and consistent teachers, along with redefining their mission. SVCS is drawing a high percentage of church children and is increasing its reputation within the community, drawing students both unchurched and from other religions. Their dedication to mission has now resulted in a school-related baptism every year.

Remote Goals/Needs: "Parents want their child in a school that has values and morals both taught and practiced," says Judy McCain, SVCS principal and head teacher. "Parents see the program and tell their friends because they like the program."

The school annually involves students and families in Samaritan's Purse, a shoe-box outreach. The outreach brought families together and provided 160 boxes this year. "Our non-Adventist parents were so excited about it," says McCain.

SVCS mission statement is: "Educating tomorrow's leaders today, through excellent academics, active service, and Christian nurture."

Necessary Gem: "A great blessing as a teacher is the satisfaction of helping students and seeing their excitement and enthusiasm in learning," says McCain, who is herself a student-convert from attending an Adventist School.

See the video stream "Auburn Miracle Kids" produced by Todd Gessele for Washington Conference by the NPUC.

July 01, 2010 / Feature