At West Dallas Community School we have the pleasure of having teachers from a variety of educational backgrounds, from public schools to Montessori schools and other similarly organized Classical schools to even schools that focus on special education and learning differences. Many, in fact have spent extensive time in the Dallas public schools (DISD). All bring with them expertise in teaching and working with students from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of needs, giving them knowledge of a variety of resources.
That experience and expertise, combined with a classical influence and a passion for our Christian beliefs and educational philosophy, gives students an extremely well-rounded, comprehensive education that finds its anchor in Christ.
We sat down with several of our faculty this month to hear their thoughts on the value of a WDCS education and to ask, “What makes WDCS different than other school’s you’ve had the opportunity to teach at?” “How does your faith influence and impact your teaching style?” and “What is the value of Christian education?”
Debbie Edwards, Director of Primary School at WDCS, has a long history of working in private schools in the Dallas area, specifically those specializing in learning differences as well as Montessori learning methods. In her experience, it’s the unashamed Christ-centered focus and pervasiveness of faith in and out of the classroom that sets WDCS apart from other schools.
“The ability to share my faith with parents and students and to interact with Christians daily has made a difference to my response to various situations. I turn to the Bible and prayer for answers, as I always have, but now I am able to share this as I interact with students, parents, and coworkers,” says Edwards. “For many years I was expected to teach values without mentioning Christ – I struggled to separate my faith from my work with children and adults. It is so refreshing to not separate my faith from my work.”
Margaret Moore, Class 5 teacher, is one of the newest additions to our faculty. She comes to us from a public school, having taught in the Teach for America program at a DISD school in Oak Cliff for 3 years before coming to WDCS. As she reflects on her previous experiences, “The biggest differences are in how WDCS feels. It is such a peaceful place, and I can truly sense the Lord’s presence here. I often get goosebumps when the students and staff sing the ‘hymn of the month’ each morning,” says Moore. “I am grateful each morning for the time that my students and I get to spend in the Word and praying for one another before the academic classes even begin.”
Lisa Williams taught for 12 years in public schools before coming to teach Class 1 at WDCS in 2013. She even taught in West Dallas at DISD’s Priscilla Tyler Elementary – the very school that used to occupy the building WDCS now calls home. To Mrs. Williams, Christian education is invaluable to all involved.
“WDCS is my first Christian school that I have taught in and being able to say the name “JESUS” is priceless. As I am teaching I can use the Word of God to guide me as well as keep me accountable in my thoughts, actions and deeds,” says Williams. “Realizing that we are all different and thus have different learning styles, I try to remember that God loves us ALL!”
For students, Williams notes that a Christ-centered education “… is the foundation of their very existence. It will guide and lead them through whatever life has in store for them. A Christian education gives our students the extra support that they may or may not receive at home. “
At WDCS, Christ is woven throughout all aspects of education – in the classroom and beyond. “The exploration of God’s creation, the wonder of mathematics, the beauty of the arts, the majesty of a worthy book, the proof of God’s presence throughout history, and the movement of our bodies as we lift our hands and hearts in praise to our Creator all lead us to life experiences that give life-long value to the education received at WDCS,” says Debbie Edwards. This focus on Christ continues to shape WDCS educators and students toward a life that brings Glory to God, and as our mission statement says, “prepares them to live purposefully and intelligently in the service of God and man.”