Ancillary Programs Help Students Reach Their God-Given Potential
Parents generally choose Christian schools that focus on strong academics and Christian character development. While parents are also concerned about safety and staff, classroom learning outcomes and character development remain mission-critical to a Christian school’s success.
Investing in the quality of this character plus skills combination is job number one for schools.
Beyond formal classroom learning, though, how important are other school programs? Can ancillary programs support and enhance classroom learning and contribute significant value to students, parents, and the fulfillment of the school’s vision and mission?
Yes! …If they are properly integrated and aligned with your school’s classroom- and character-based goals and outcomes.
Mission-aligned programs reinforce learning lessons in the classroom and help build student skills that last a lifetime, including teamwork, strong character, goal setting, overcoming obstacles and barriers in life, and so much more.
In addition to supporting a school’s mission and vision, strong and meaningful student-centered ancillary services can also assist in keeping school enrollment and retention strong. Enrollment and retention strategies are in many ways a reflection of The Golden Rule discussed in Matthew and Luke. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…”
Treating people like we want to be treated is always a good way to think about the best ways to serve others and design best-practice education systems that are Christ-centered.
We should give our all to the people we serve in every area of the organization, including ancillary services.
Why Ancillary Programs Are Needed In Christian Schools More Than Ever
First, let’s clarify our terms. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “ancillary services” as “providing something additional to a main part or function.” In other words, ancillary services support the main functions of an organization; they are not the main functions. Sports, for example, are a subsidiary activity to classroom learning.
Unfortunately, the ancillary services side of the academic equation is often an afterthought in the strategic planning process of many schools each year. Yet intentionally devoting more time and energy to ancillary services each year is likely to yield good things for students, parents, and staff in the school for years to come.
Without formal strategic plans in place to fully integrate and coordinate co-curricular activities with the school mission, students miss out on some great opportunities and a chance to go after their God-given potential even more.
Making ancillary services the best they can be can change lives for the better, forever.
Some schools miss excellent opportunities to increase visibility in the crowded education marketplace when ancillary services are not considered essential or are never fully developed. In general, parents (both inside and outside your school) see sports, music, drama, and other co-curricular activities as a part of developing the whole child. People will notice if your school pursues excellence and raises the bar in these areas.
On the other hand, if your school doesn’t reflect excellence in ancillary areas, what message does that send?
In an increasingly competitive environment for students, it is imperative that a Christian school’s support services are robust, high-quality and carried out with purpose — just like your classroom learning. Well-executed, mission-aligned programs help to attract new families and motivate students to lace up their shoes each day and attend class.
At the risk of repeating myself, let me say without ambiguity: Ancillary services in Christ-centered, results-oriented, and people-focused schools are no longer simply desirable; they are necessary if you’re going to offer the best programs possible to help all students reach their God-given potential.
Next week, I’ll share some concrete examples from my own experience as a coach that I believe will inspire new ideas for how to align ancillary programs with your school’s missions and vision.