Can a small high school deliver a good academic program?
Updated: May 15
When speaking to prospective families with no previous knowledge of Christian schools, a concern is sometimes raised about the quality of our academic program. While everyone seems confident that Redeemer’s small size can provide a safe and caring environment for their child, some parents question how a school that puts so much emphasis on faith and values can also deliver a solid educational program.
Jason Grootenboer, Redeemer’s Guidance Counsellor, reassures parents. “Christian schools are strong in academics and encourage critical thinking, and our students are well prepared for whatever they encounter after they graduate. I’ve had Redeemer students complain that it’s sometimes difficult to get high grades here, but they come back to us later and say they were well prepared for the rigors of college or university.”
With so many post-secondary programs becoming more competitive, many students are concerned about getting into the program they want. “Well over ninety percent of last June’s graduates were accepted into their first choice program and many of them received scholarships thanks to their great academic records and community involvement,” says Grootenboer. “Some also received early offers of admission based on their grade 11 grades. We have graduates studying at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Queens, Waterloo, Trent, Guelph, the University of Toronto, Redeemer University, Algonquin College, St. Lawrence College and many others. We have had recent graduates doing post-secondary studies in the United States, Germany and England.”
When asked about our relationship with Ontario colleges and universities, Grootenboer says “Redeemer has a great reputation with all the colleges and universities. They truly appreciate our students and make a point to come into Redeemer to meet with our teens and answer their questions.”
Jimmie Einarsson, a 2009 graduate now studying to become a physician, certainly feels he received a top notch education at Redeemer. “I definitely felt academically prepared for university,” says Jimmie, a graduate of the Health Sciences degree program at the University of Ottawa. “The functions (math) taught in senior grades at Redeemer was especially useful in my physical sciences classes at university. At Redeemer I was pushed to understand the deeper meaning behind the numbers, a skill I frequently use in data analysis today.”
Jimmie also feels Redeemer prepared him well for the university essay and lab writing he has had to do. “I would say, however, that I most appreciate the emphasis Redeemer places on abstract thought. I remember how we had many philosophical debates at Redeemer. Placing issues in a Christian context made us look past the superficial to what we really believe.”
Jimmie says he never felt for a moment that going to a small Christian high school compromised his academics. “By forcing me to grasp that all areas are related under God, I am now able to take a macro-perspective on health. The Christian worldview taught at Redeemer gave me a reference point from which I can assess difficult issues in health today, such as abortion, euthanasia and in-vitro fertilization.”
We can thank our glorious Lord for a school that not only opens doors for our graduates, in terms of post-secondary or job options, but opens their eyes and hearts as well.