Grants Pass Adventist School Builds STREAMS

January 23, 2019 | Education | Jennifer Burkes

Despite other professional involvements at the time, Marla Aaron was tapped to do still more. “God was bothering me,” she says. Enrollment was down at the Grants Pass (Ore.) Seventh-day Adventist School. Personal research indicated many were not aware of this “hidden gem” at the north end of Grants Pass.

Aaron's own children had benefited from quality Christian education. Many potential families in the community could also benefit. Aaron wanted to see this school not just succeed but also exceed. After making this a matter of prayer, she took action.

Aaron researched what other private schools were offering their students. Her focus was on the youngest learners. Before she knew it, she had written a proposal, which was approved by the school board. The Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist School now offers a preschool program for children as young as 36 months. Soon the final steps will be completed for certification to provide daycare in the same classroom. This will provide a boost in enrollment.

The preschool classroom sits ready to inspire and educate young minds. A table is situated with objects to teach an oceanography unit, from vocabulary to the ecosystems involved. At one side of the room is a station with art supplies. At another edge is a station with musical instruments.

Activities and lessons are developmentally appropriate, offering a “whole brain” approach to learning. After all, says Aaron, “When the brain connects, the student understands, and they are really learning.”

The curriculum is designed to educate students in the same “STREAMS” approach as the rest of the school. STREAMS builds upon the academic disciplines of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). STREAMS focuses on science, technology, religion (or relationships with God and man), engineering, arts, math and service. All classrooms, from preschool to eighth grade, use the STREAMS approach to learning.

In her experience, Aaron says Adventist schools have “the most qualified” educators of any school. Teachers must have at least bachelor's degrees and regularly pursue additional learning. Aaron completed her Master of Arts in early childhood education and elementary education at Concordia University in Portland, Ore. She has more than 35 years of experience in the education field.

In passing years, Aaron was site manager for the Illinois Valley High School teen parent program lab school. Among her other service areas, she was also was director of New Discovery Child Development Center based at the Illinois Valley Family Coalition. She has taught at the Rogue Community College Child Development Center.

In addition to being an educator, Aaron and her husband have been involved with the foster parent program. Through their years of involvement, there were about 29 placements, in addition to the couple raising their own children. The couple adopted two of the children and are hoping to adopt a third. Aaron considers Grants Pass and the Rogue Valley to be “home.”

The Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist School has been providing quality Christian education for more than 100 years. It has been in its current location on Heidi Lane for more than 25 years. Questions about tuition and requests for tours can be directed to 541-479-2293.