Toward Greater Heights
“The God who girds me with strength
And makes my way blameless?
He makes my feet like hinds’feet,
And sets me upon my high places”
– Psalm 18.32-33 NASB
I am excited about Education Sunday and the start of the school-year.
In my school system in Thomasville, NC where I am a member of the Board of Education, we are focusing this year on parent engagement, because parents affect students in ways that teachers, pastors, and others cannot. Engagement comes in different forms and because we live in a tech-society, technology must be used to our advantage in order to engage parents and students. Technology developments are just some of the many forms that demonstrate how our world has moved ‘toward greater heights’ in our intellectual accomplishments, but when I think about this year’s Education Sunday focus, I am aware of the still many more areas in which we can move toward greater heights in education.
First, we need ‘students to COMMIT to educational excellence.’ This means utilizing every educational means and opportunity to accomplish success. Whether they’re sitting in front of their computer or on their phone, whether in class learning another language or meeting with teachers, coaches and parents, or whether spending extra time studying, we must encourage our students to be committed to educational excellence and advancement while they have the opportunity.
Next, we need ‘parents to ENGAGE with their child’s teachers.’ Statistically, students perform better when their parents are engaged and informed. As I mentioned previously, for that purpose measures in our school system are being implemented in various ways to ensure there is proper communication between all parents and teachers – for the success of the students. If you’re a parent ask yourself, “What can I do more of and how can I communicate with my child’s teachers and school staff this year?”
Third, we need ‘churches to SERVE their local schools.’ We should abandon the idea that the only people who should be involved with our students’ education are their teachers, parents and administrators. The faith community, and especially churches who understand the pulse of their community, have a place in cultivating student success both within and outside of the classroom. This could be done by being a mentor or reading-buddy, hosting a thirty-minute or hour-long after-school program, or hosting or bolstering a student computer lab.
And lastly, we need ‘schools to PROVIDE high standards’ of education. The same high standards that students have in suburban America should be the same in rural and inner-city America. Research continues to show that America lags behind other countries in educational achievement mainly because of the learning discrepancy which continues to be defined by zip codes and socio-economic status. We can do better America!
In the aforementioned verses, God promises to give us strength, make our way blameless, make our feet like hinds’ feet to climb mountains and not slip back down, and to set us up on high places. Through student commitment, parental involvement, church and community engagement, and greater education standards we can effectively work and move ‘Toward Greater Heights.’
Dr. Dee Stokes
LAC Member – National, FE Coalition
Dr. Dee Stokes is a spiritual advisor, coach, author and educator who focuses on ministry, purposeful leadership, and education in an effort to “Build Influential People Who Change the World.” She is a member of the Leadership Advisory Council of the Faith and Education Coalition and ministers all across the nation to peoples of various backgrounds and ethnicities. Click here to learn more about Dr. Dee Stokes or to invite her to your next event or coaching session.