An Inside Look: Academics at Timothy Christian School

TCS-2-0012As the graduating class of 2017 eagerly awaits college acceptance letters, there’s a confidence among seniors that they are well prepared for the next step.

A majority of them will pursue a four year college degree, while others will take a different path. The culmination of academics, extra-curricular activities and cultivating the uniqueness God has given each one of them during their time at Timothy, has led to this moment. All of the hard work will start to pay off as they venture into adulthood.

“Some students have heard from their top choice schools after applying for early decision, but a majority of them are still waiting to hear from the colleges of their choice,” says Christina Niedzielski, TCS Guidance Counselor. “A few of them are already starting to receive scholarships.”

A Step Above Excellence

TCS-0082At Timothy, academics are of supreme importance in preparing our students for adulthood, not only because we are a school, but because we are a CHRISTIAN School. The title of “Christian” holds much weight as we strive to arm each student with the idea behind Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

This way of thinking holds our students to a higher standard and it’s one that High School Principal, Miriam Hartzler, says students have been hearing since K4.

“Whether it’s academics, fine arts, athletics, or serving others, God calls us to do things whole heartedly and excellently. There’s a misconception that Christian Education is a step below. God has called us to do things with excellence to the best of our ability, not for any other reason, but for Him,” says Hartzler.

The nine advanced prep (AP) courses offered at Timothy are one path some of our students take.

“We’ve added AP courses not because they’re just an honors track, but they really are college courses. A lot of our students do excel to where they could and should be able to get college credit for how they’re performing in those college level courses,” says Hartzler.

Some of the AP courses offered include: Language and Composition, Literature, Computer Programming, Computer Principles, Chemistry, Biology, Stats, U.S. History and Calculus AB.

Alumna, Ruth Fong took this direction during her time at Timothy. As a graduate of Harvard University, a Rhodes Scholar and current student at Oxford University studying computer science, she feels she was even more prepared than some of her colleagues at Harvard.

Ruth Fong

Ruth Fong, TCS Clas of 2011

“I think the classes that prepared me the most for college were my English classes, world-view and surprisingly Bible class. While I didn’t study Christianity or any Bible class at Harvard, I felt like the style of teaching at Timothy was one that wasn’t just fact based, but we learned to read the Bible through different genres of literature and we considered the context. It was an engaging approach to learning,” says Fong, Class of 2011. “That helped me in other subjects at the college level.”

Yet Fong says it wasn’t just the rigorous curriculum that left an imprint on her.

“A few of the teachers I had really went above and beyond. I’d say they really invested in the whole person – in me spiritually and personally. Teachers would go above and beyond to challenge me academically even if it wasn’t part of the curriculum they were teaching the class.”

Educating for EternityTCS-0087

In every school the teaching staff has a critical role to play. At Timothy, our educators not only have the role of educating a step above to pursue excellence, but they have the job of joining in parents to train up a child in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6) It is not a secret, that often comes at a lower salary than public school teachers or even many other private school teachers earn.

“They aren’t just doing it for a job. I know of teachers that we have here at TCS that public schools in the area have pursued to join their faculty, especially in the math and sciences. But our teachers feel called to be at TCS,” says Hartzler. “They’re passionate about fulfilling their mission that Jesus Christ is giving them. Unless you have that personal relationship with Christ, then it does sound a little bit crazy.”

TCS-0084TCS educators do not look at students as being here by chance. They see their work as a ministry to help young people become everything God intended them to be when He fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14) made them. Hartzler says it’s not about putting students in a box, pigeon holing them to one-size-fits-all but looking to the unique gifts and talents God has given each one of them and finding ways to help cultivate these gifts in them.

“As I come to work every day, I really do see it as a mission because I have an amazing opportunity to rub shoulders with wonderful students for four years of their life and to come alongside parents and to help their students do two things – make their faith their own – to grow through the good times and tough times, and to learn to do things excellently, whatever that may be.”

The evidence of our Amazing Creator is brought to the forefront in all our courses and sometimes it’s the most academically challenging subjects that magnify his handiwork the most.

“We believe that all truth is God’s truth and that impacts how we look at academics in any area, how we approach those subjects – we don’t look at a science book next to the Bible and see where they agree and disagree, we look at the science book through the lens of scripture we sift through all knowledge that way,” says Hartzler. “Even in subjects likeTCS-0080 math, for example, it is understood that we serve a God who’s a God of order and He has put systems in place. Those systems are played out through the different math classes and that’s why we’re learning them. There’s not always a verse every day in math class, but that’s really the big concept.”

Having the freedom to teach like this and use the Word of God in educating is what makes the difference. Students get a complete picture of why all truth is God’s truth.

“Education is hard. Working with 14 to 18-year-olds can be challenging. However, being able to use the Word of God makes such a difference. I cannot imagine sitting down with a student and saying “let’s talk about life,” without using the Word of God.”

The ultimate goal; that our students will pursue their relationship with God when they leave Timothy and pursue all He has called them to do!