July 18, 2016
COMPREHENSIVE TESTING PROGRAM (CTP-4) SCORES
Cornerstone Classical School...Raising Up Kings and Priests
“...And (he) has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9
Sometimes, in education, as you stare out into your classroom amidst the ocean of blank faces and confused eyes, you question exactly what are you doing and is it all worth it? This is just plain hard work! It is not that you do not like what you are doing, but it is just some days you question whether you are actually making a difference!
Scripture, as always, has the answers as the above two verses reveal. Our job as educators and as parents is not easy and is designed not to be easy! We are raising up and we are equipping ‘Kings and Priests’ and that is no ordinary job. It is by its very nature tough going, because we are not willing to settle for second best or mediocrity.
With that said, over the last two years, with God’s grace and a great deal of hard work, faith, wisdom and prayer, Cornerstone Classical School stands as a testimony of such diligence. We have chosen the tough road of excellence and of rigor knowing that our calling is no ordinary one. And while there have been some days that we asked tough questions, we have never faltered and never questioned God’s leading.
With our recent CTP4 standardized scores in, it is clear that what is happening at Cornerstone is no ordinary accidental program. It is one that reflects the high calling of raising up and equipping ‘Kings and Priests.’
In just two years, 100% of our students (who have sat for the CTP4 standardized test) have increased their scores by one stanine position in numerous categories, while 70% have jumped two or more stanine positions. Incredibly, we have many student increase their scores by 3+ stanine postions. This was such a drastic significant increase that even our CTP4 rep exclaimed, “Excellent! This is unheard of and usually occurs in the third or fourth year!” We are currently on a trajectory, if maintained, to witness the majority of our students attain the highest stanines and be ranked among the brightest students nationwide!
We had signs earlier in the year that something special was occurring when 7 out 8 students who sat the National Latin Exam were nationally recognized and that we brought home two gold and two silver medals. Our first year of competing!
But if you were to speak with these students, spend some time in their classrooms or chat over lunch you would notice something that is very important! They are just ordinary kids who enjoy to ‘goof off’ and spend time with each other. Our students love learning because our teachers love learning and teaching in an engaging manner. Our motivation is not simply to pass a test-that will happen if you teach well! Rather, our motivation for teaching is to inspire and to engage the students in a meaningful and all inclusive context in which the student sees purpose, meaning and order. In short, to see the ‘big picture.’
Is this not what you want to see in your children? Is this not what we want to see in our future leaders? This is how you train up the future Kings and Priests.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
VISION FOR BUILDING LIVING CATHEDRALS
Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt is about casting a vision for building 'living cathedrals'. One of our primary goals is to cast a vision before each student concerning the true and proper ends for which they are being privileged with a Christian and classical education. Our goal is not so short-sighted as to be only about grades and test scores and transcripts, regardless of how significant they are in attaining the ultimate goal. Our goals include being a responsible servant leader in the Kingdom of God. We aspire for them to attain wisdom and scholarship by cultivating the virtues of faith, hope, and love conjoined to goodness, truth, and beauty. We trust that each student will maximize his and her academic capabilities as well as their artistic, athletic, and leadership skills. We intend to educate and lead souls; our fervent desire is to see students grow into the image of Christ, and to bear the fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Medieval cathedral building was a life-long endeavor. Likewise, education is a life-long pursuit animated by wonder. Who is not captivated by the architectural marvel and aesthetic beauty of a cathedral? Why would we not desire the same lofty vision for each and every one of our students?
Monday, June 22, 2015
Cutting Stones, Building Walls, or Constructing Living Cathedrals?
There is often told of a parable concerning three Master Builders in Europe working together to complete a cathedral. As they paused from their labors an inquisitive observer asked of the first mason as to his job. In response, the Master Builder between sips of cold water replied, “ I am cutting and shaping stones.” The second Master when asked the same question said, “I am building a wall with these stones.” As the observer turned to the third Master Builder and asked him his job he responded, “I am building a cathedral!”
All three Master Builders were working with the same stones day in and day out; two of the builders had a limited perspective and lacked any vision as to what their real purpose was and so saw only the stones before them and the dust in their eyes! The third, working the same stones at the same site viewed his job differently and could envision the journey's end. “I am building a cathedral!”
The same question could be asked of our schools and current educational philosophies. The first 'school' could respond that they offer classes for their students to attend each day because that is what they do and that is what they have done each and every day! A second 'school' may respond to the question by saying that they are providing rooms for students to acquire the necessary graduating credits to satisfy the state's requirements. However, Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt falls into the visionary Builder from our parable. Our job is to train up and equip students to be virtuous scholars whose life long learning will contribute to a flourishing Christian life. Cornerstone Classical School has a passion for excellence and to nurture and inspire students who listen, discern, argue, defend, and articulate.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt
A classical Christian liberal arts education in the Roaring Fork Valley
Cornerstone's distinctive classical and Christian educational approach with its liberal arts curriculum and educational practices is quickly establishing a highly respected place among the public and private schools here in the Valley. Our passionate commitment to excellence and Socratic interactive and collaborative inquiry allows us to place original texts in front of our students, enabling them to study under some of the greatest thinkers who have helped shape western civilization. This makes Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt a particularly vibrant and appropriately rigorous community of learning. Some of our teachers include Homer, Plato, Euclid, Nietzsche, Chaucer, Einstein, Eusebius, Shakespeare, Aquinas, Milton, Pascal, Bonhoeffer, Churchill, Tolkien and Lewis. They encourage our students to grapple with fundamental questions that confront us as humans made in the image of God. Participating in lively and thought provoking discussions, our students enthusiastically engage in the activities of translating, writing, demonstrating, conducting experiments, and analyzing the Fine Arts enabling them to participate in the 'Great Conversation.' As a result, Cornerstone students are able to listen, learn, discern, argue, refute, defend, and articulate.
Our classes are intentionally small allowing every student to be actively and intimately responsible for their education. This encourages research, formulating questions and logically developing and sequencing their thoughts in and through dialogue with one another.
Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt is able to take an ordinary students and expose them to an extra-ordinary curriculum. Their education is in a classical Christian format taught by passionately trained educators who challenge them both academically and spiritually to excellence.
The culmination of this classical Christian liberal arts education is to defend their thesis, as seniors, before a panel of experts selected from the community. It is through this defense that we clearly see the student's ability to articulate with eloquence, to defend with authority, and to communicate with grace skills that have lamentably become a lost art.
As the research from the Association of Classical and Christian Schools clearly shows, students who have journeyed through and completed a classical Christ-centered education are better equipped to not only survive but to thrive under the rigors and demands of higher education. They prove to be prepared and to succeed.
If you are interested in learning more about Cornerstone Classical School of Basalt and the advantages of a classical Christian education, please feel free to visit our website at www.CornerstoneBasalt.net or to call and arrange a visit with me.
Steve Marshall, Headmaster
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Higher ACT and SAT Scores
As the Headmaster of Cornerstone Classical School in Basalt, I am very excited as I look forward to the upcoming 2015-16 school year. This next school year will see CCS move to offering a 5 days a week program to The Valley and thus providing a quality, classical Christian education to those who desire an alternative.
The classical Christian education is not a 'new' approach but one that has sustained the test of time. It has allowed students, parents, and families to engage some of the greatest thinkers of all time, while they grapple with ideas and concepts that have helped shape western civilization. It is an approach that equips students with the ability to think for themselves rather than to fall victim to 'pre-packaged' ideas that inhibit rather than encourage deep thinking. Classical Christian education is the fertile soil in which leaders are grown to maturity. The students are taught to argue, question, reason, discern, and ultimately, to articulate truth. Big claims indeed, but claims that are backed up each and every year by significantly higher ACT and SAT scores from students who attend classical Christian schools and the opportunity to attend the colleges of their choice.
Cornerstone Classical School