Discover Dominion

An education that cultivates wisdom, joy, and love.

Discover Wisdom

Where the goal of education is more than making a living.

Discover Joy

Where students and teachers love to learn together.

We read great books

Because in reading them we join a great conversation.

Discover Love

Where students discover how to love God and His world

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What makes Dominion unique?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s tempting to think I know Dominion students, know their struggles and certainties. Such pride! God is gracious and full of mercy, and recently, he gently reminded me that I don’t know everything about our students.

At a lunch forum in September, Mr. O’Donnell (our Upper School head) and I asked Rhetoric School students what Dominion does well, what benefits they see in attending Dominion. Some of the answers we expected: the Christian environment, the small classes. But we were surprised to hear some of the things they noticed, some of which derive from the expected answers, and others reflect the growing awareness that Dominion really is different. What follows are a couple takeaway summaries.

Relationships. A school like Dominion cultivates fertile ground for relationships. Because we have students from K4 up, our student body resembles a large family–even down to sharing meals together. Students know each other, and their teachers, more deeply than a larger school would allow.  Students noted the general kindness they have experienced from other students and from teachers, but also the greater sense of accountability.

Joy. Several students mentioned the humor in their classes, the laughter that punctuated their learning.

Being “classical.”  Our students realize that Rhetoric is the capstone of a classical education, and that understanding both what rhetoric is and how to use it is an unusual privilege for students at this stage. Not only is rhetoric mechanical skill in speaking, it is an advanced tool for understanding. They see that the tools of grammar and logic, the ability to see and analyze the parts of something before making an argument, are still relevant.

The great conversation. They recognize, too, that rhetoric is more than speaking well in front of an audience. It also involves comfort in conversation about great ideas. Students noticed the centrality of conversation in their classrooms, which they saw reflected even in the classrooms’ design and arrangement. They noticed, too, their teachers’ willingness to engage in conversation–even if it doesn’t fit in the day’s plans.

The point of it all. Dominion is a Christian school, and they feel some comfort in that, despite the challenges it brings. More importantly, they recognize that it is a gift to be reminded of their purpose. They appreciate knowing that what they do is a part of God’s plan, because all that they do, they do for God’s glory.

I plan to share some more specific quotes with our school community next Thursday at our State of the School/Dominion Association Meeting. In the meantime, ask your children what they appreciate about attending Dominion. Their answers may surprise you.

 

The “Christian” School

By | Our Mission | No Comments

This is the third post in a series about our school’s name and mission, and it considers the third word, “Christian.” (The series begins with “What’s in a Name?”, available here.)

I receive a lot of emails–some important, much more junk. Today I opened an email from Covenant College, an alma mater of mine, and a few minutes later, I was staring at a prayer calendar for the College’s alumni. My eyes were riveted to the header:

Scots Prayer Calendar

As I consider what makes Dominion a Christian school, a number of characteristics make the list. We are committed to putting Christ at the center of our school–He is the Source of our life, of all we can know, and of our understanding of what it means to be human. We look for the Word of God, the Bible, to shape us and our ideas, rather than conforming it to our ideas. We seek not just to know more and better information, but to find wisdom, knowing that its beginning is in the fear of the Lord.

But there is one thing above all that I want for our school community–families, students, faculty, staff: to be praying people. We have a faithful (but small) prayer team that meets to lift up our school and its needs. But with all the work we have to do, prayer can slide into the background. On one hand, that might be a good thing, as the practice of prayer works its way into all the corners of our lives. On the other, we may avoid a conscious surrender of our ambition to God’s Kingdom. We need to pray without ceasing, and to pray consciously.

To that end, with thanks to Covenant’s Alumni office, I put together a Gryphons Prayer Calendar for our school community (and beyond). It includes a monthly focus, timed to some significant needs for that time of year. It also includes a weekly plan, with virtues of our mission statement as a focus. Of course, you may pray for any of these things at any time, but this calendar may give you a starting point.

Hudson Taylor, the pioneering missionary to China, once wrote “I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it; but I have never seen a man pray without working.” He might have been paraphrasing the Latin motto of the Benedictine order: Ora et labora, “pray and work.” Keep us in prayer, and encourage us to pray, because we have too much work to do not to pray.

What’s in a Name?

By | Our Mission | One Comment

Over the next week or so, we’ll republish the posts in this series, leading up to a new post continuing the series.

This is the first in a series of posts examining the key words in Dominion’s mission statement: “Dominion Classical Christian Academy provides an education that cultivates wisdom, joyful learning, and love for God.” 

“Dominion” might seem an odd choice for a school’s name. Some related words–such as “dominate”–have soured the word for modern tastes. But this one is an important one for Christians, especially Christian schools, to defend. It comes from the King James translation of Genesis 1:28, sometimes called the “dominion mandate”: “God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Some call it the “creation mandate”; others, the “cultural mandate.”)

At Dominion, we take both God’s blessing and his commands at face value. We live in the shadow of the Fall, but also in the light of Jesus’ work of redemption, so our educational work begins with God’s creative plan, takes into account the world’s brokenness, and trains students in wisdom (“skill for living”) to bring God’s redemptive purpose to bear in every aspect of creation–both the natural and the cultural.

Other resources: The Cultural Mandate and WorkCulture Making, by Andy Crouch

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