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Linden Christian School aspires to excellence

Relationship-building key element for growing a vibrant school culture

This story was originally featured in the print edition of ChristianWeek. Find it here.

WINNIPEG, MB—At Linden Christian School, relationships are key. The education that the Kindergarten to Grade 12 school offers is built on healthy relationships between staff members, students and parents.

“Relationships are really central to everything we’re doing,” says Rob Charach, the school’s principal. “We have been very intentional over the last number of years to encourage, facilitate and grow a vibrant school culture.”

To achieve that vibrant school culture, Charach has implemented ASPIRE—a model he developed as part of his graduate thesis while earning his Master of Arts in Leadership from Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C.

ASPIRE is an acronym that stands for Accountability, Shared Vision, Professionalism, Implications, Respect and Excellence. The more than 100 people on staff at the school, which includes some 58 teachers, commit to the ASPIRE model.

Members of the staff are committed to holding each other accountable to ongoing growth and learning so that they can provide the strongest teaching environment possible.

They are committed to a shared vision of providing a Christ-centred education that equips students to love and serve God.

Professionalism speaks to Charach’s desire for the staff to carry themselves in a way that models love and service to the students, to inspire them to carry themselves in a similar manner.

In a school with more than 900 students, the “implications” component of the ASPIRE model is important because staff and students need to be aware that they are sharing the campus with a large number of other people. Everything they do has implications for those around them, and as such, they have to think beyond themselves so that everyone can enjoy a positive learning environment.

Respect is the foundation of all healthy relationships, and the staff commit to interacting with each other and with students and their parents in a respectful manner.

Finally, the staff is committed to excellence in their teaching, so that they can empower students to reach their full potential.

Charach believes the ASPIRE model helps create a positive work environment.

The high retention rate among staff, and an intangible feeling people pick up on when they visit the campus, are indicators to Charach that the ASPIRE model is working.

“When you walk in any building, you get a sense that staff and students are happy to be here,” Charach says. “Visitors sense a positive environment. If people are happy in their workplace, it permeates through on all levels.”

Charach points to the school’s four core values: “We believe in a Christ-centred education based on a biblical worldview. We believe in excellence and the development of godly character. We believe in providing a safe, caring learning environment that focuses on the whole person. We believe in equipping students to serve in the local and global community.”

“That vision is the filter in our decision-making processes as senior leadership,” Charach says. “We [plan] activities that facilitate those four things.”

Equipping students to have an impact in their local community as well as the global community is important, and it is reflected in the school’s approach to learning.

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About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.

About the author