Lined up for one last year at the Linda Vista campus
If you're a parent, one of the biggest decisions you make is where to send your child for school - or in my parent's case, which country's boarding school to send your child to.
When focusing on a school's location, academic credentials, and goals, there are pros and cons that have to be weighed out. With the recent opening of the Rock Academy, the Rock Church has founded a school where both God and academics are the number one priority.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with the principal of the Rock Academy, Richard Andujo. By the end of the interview, I only had one regret: Why couldn't this school have been around when I was growing up?
What makes the Rock Academy different from other schools?
Well in contrast to public schools, we include God in everything.
In public schools, teachers can get in legal trouble for talking about God, and here we not only mention God but we will pray with the kids and encourage the students to grow spiritually.
How is the Rock Academy different from other Christian schools?
There are a lot of really good Christian schools in San Diego, but our goal is to be excellent in two things, academics and spiritual development, and we've been able to accomplish that with our teachers.
Our teachers have been asked to speak at ACSI conferences where every year 15,000 Christian educators get together and have seminars on teaching, so that's an accomplishment.
If there's anything plaguing Christian schools today it's the high staff turnover. Most of our staff has been here from the beginning so that's allowed us to be accredited at an early point in our school's career.
We're blessed that we can combine both the high level of academics along with a vibrant spiritual life.
Elaborate a little on the chapel services here.
The people we have on the instruments are actually the kids. We have people on the saxophone, drums, keyboard, guitar and another two students that do the AV (audio and visual) and those two kids are so good they actually do the 5 o'clock service for Miles at the Rock.
We try to teach leadership by allowing the kids to do the chapel. Sometimes they'll do a skit or a student will come up and give their testimony so it's a real blessing that way.
What's the balance between teaching the Bible and academics?
We're not a Sunday school service. We don't have kids just memorizing verses all day and that's it. Though it is necessary, it's not sufficient.
If these kids aren't excelling at a high academic level, then we're not doing our job. It's like if you take your car to a Christian mechanic and he's got worship music on, but he doesn't fix your car, he's not doing his job. So we figure the best way to glorify God is through memorized verses, praise songs and excellent academics.
Last year we were blessed to have the San Diego county math champion, we had another girl who won the county spelling competition. So the word's gotten out that if you attend the Rock, you're going to work and learn academically, as well as grow spiritually.How does the smaller size of the school benefit the students?
Every morning starts with pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible
Well our goal is a ratio of 16 [students] to 1 [teacher] and I don't see any class that exceeds that other than maybe a P.E. or Art class. It's a very intimate environment so it's not like the students can just slip through the cracks.
We have a very good system as far as communicating with the parents. We have a homework hotline and all the assignments are posted on the internet so the parents know exactly what's going on. The kids hate it, but the parents love it.
The grades are also posted every Friday for the parents to go in and check the students' progress for the week.
What are your goals for the future of this school?
Our goal is to be the premiere Christian school in San Diego. When we sat down with Pastor Miles to setup a school he said 'If we're not going to be the best I don't want to start a school' so we think we're on our way with the foundation [that we have in place].
WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) has granted us full accreditation with the idea that we'll be adding 9-12th grade next fall when we move to Point Loma. We want to have a full fledged program all the way through 12th grade which includes a variety of high school CIF sports.
With the football fields, soccer fields, and gymnasium being built, this is going to be the premiere of private school gyms in San Diego and will be better than 90% of the public schools in San Diego.
We're looking a lot right now at launching the high school so by June we'll have a real good idea of what we're going to offer.
What would you say to someone thinking about enrolling their children at the Rock Academy?
The main thing I would say is "Parents be in prayer [about] where they send their kids every year.' We hope they look at our school particularly as we look to launch the high school.
Anyone that's interested in our school feel free to contact us, visit the website, or just call the school and they'll set up an appointment with me and I will walk you through everything and answer any questions and hopefully they consider the school.
So if you want to send your child to the best school in the country, give Yale a call. However, if you want a school that's going to help your child grow spiritually as well as be challenged academically, then I would encourage you to consider the Rock Academy.
For more information you can check out www.therockacademy.org or call 858.467.4787 and set up an appointment. Tell them "John" sent ya.