On June 2nd, Valley Christian Schools released a statement called “Our calling to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.” In this statement, we mourned the inexcusable and unjust death of George Floyd, shared about the school’s opportunity to instruct students in the light of God’s truth, and – acknowledging that “there will be times we fall short” – committed to put our words into actions. We ended by saying, “Now is the time for us to have conversations and to speak up, work, and pray for justice, healing, and understanding as we commit to love others as Christ first loved us.”

Our first course of action was to put together a “Response Team,” made up of a diverse group – by ethnicity, gender, age, and role – of staff members to simply listen. This Team spent parts of three weeks reviewing conversations that were happening online and meeting with alumni, parents, and staff members to gather as much information as possible, listen to stories, and then have some really open discussions. These stories generally centered around race, gender, and sexual identity, and these were incredibly helpful and fruitful discussions. As a school, we are committed to representing Jesus’ example of both truth and grace, neither at the cost of the other. And although some of these conversations were difficult, we are incredibly grateful that they have illuminated potential areas for growth and demonstrated where we must redouble our efforts.

The Response Team compiled a comprehensive list of findings and recommendations, which is currently being reviewed by school leadership. We expect a number of actionable steps to come from this, and we will update you as these plans move forward. Recommendations represent areas such as:

    • Curriculum
    • Student groups
    • Admissions
    • Improved transparency and communication
    • Professional development for staff
    • Student training
    • Chapel topics
    • Classroom consistency
    • And more

We are excited to share additional updates and actionable steps forward in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments re: this Team and its work, please email tthelen@valleychristianaz.org.