For both leaders and teachers at Christian schools, stress is a key factor that impacts flourishing; likewise, healthy living and developing resilience is predictive of student flourishing. This domain and related constructs demonstrate that the well-being of educators and students is not a secondary concern—but rather is predictively linked—to flourishing outcomes.
Well-Being FSCM Constructs
Stress – Constant feelings of stress and being overwhelmed accompany a lack of time to prepare for instruction (for teachers), or to focus on physical health (for leaders).
Healthy Living – Students are happy with their physical health, including sufficient exercise and a healthy diet.
Resilience – Students handle stress effectively and respond well to/ bounce back from difficult situations.
A commitment on the part of all school constituencies to the central purposes of Christian education—such as holistic teaching, integrated worldview, spiritual formation, discipleship, and family-school partnership—are strongly predictive of flourishing outcomes.
Purpose FSCM Constructs
Responsibility – Leaders, teachers, and support staff feel a sense of shared ownership for school mission, success, and improvement.
Holistic Teaching – Teaching involves helping students develop spiritually and emotionally (teaching the heart and soul, as well as the mind).
Integrated Worldview – Christian worldview changes how we educate; there is no such thing as a secular sphere.
God’s Story – Students believe they are a part of God’s bigger plan and can be used by him to “make a difference.”
Questioning – Students have doubts about their faith, lack time to pray or study the Bible, and feel that most Christians are too judgmental.
Partnership – Parents feel they are a part of the school’s mission, and that their child’s spiritual development requires their partnering with and being involved at the school.
Spiritual Formation – Alumni report that their Christian faith is stronger thanks to attending a Christian school, and they believe people can change with God’s help.
Trust-filled, supportive, and authentic relationships between all school constituencies, as well as with the surrounding community, are key to flourishing outcomes (e.g., between leaders and teachers, leaders and the board, parents and teachers, teachers and students, students and peers, school leadership and the community, and the school itself with the community).
Relationship FSCM Constructs
Supportive Leadership – Principals are trusted, teachers feel that leaders “have our backs,” and leaders empower teachers and staff to make decisions.
Leadership Interdependence – Diverse backgrounds, transparency about one’s weaknesses, and relying on others to offset those weaknesses is key.
Parent Relationships – Teachers “get to know” parents, and frequent and systemic communication facilitates positive relationships.
Community Engagement – The school engages with the surrounding community and regularly taps into community resources, including networking and resource-sharing with other schools.
Mentoring Students – Staff point out talent in each student, help students see how they fit in God’s bigger plan, and are aware of students’ struggles at school or home.
Insular Culture – The school shields students from the world’s brokenness, the school is independent from the surrounding community, and/or the student body lacks diversity.
Christlike Teachers – Teachers show Christlike love, kindness, and care to students. Students are cared about individually, including their spiritual development.
Prosocial Orientation – Students not only enjoy helping others, but also are known by others (e.g., peers) for showing love and care.
Caring Environment – From the perspective of school graduates, teachers were kind, students felt included in class, and students were protected from bullying.
Defining Expertise & Resources
Flourishing is connected to excellence in educational and school management practices. Educationally, this includes hiring qualified staff, providing effective and orderly classroom environments where students are deeply engaged in learning, and responding effectively to special needs. Sufficient school resources—as well as board-level strengths in resource planning—are predictive of school flourishing, as are (conversely) resource constraints that hinder schools from engaging in improvement processes.
Expertise & Resources FSCM Constructs
Best Practice Orientation – Keeping up with best practices in teaching is prioritized and resources for doing so can be identified.
Engaged Learning – Students engage in activities that nurture critical thinking, evaluating information, and problem solving.
Classroom Management – The classroom is orderly, and teachers are organized and consistent with discipline.
Responsiveness to Special Needs – Teaching staff works together to serve students with special needs, aided by processes for identifying and responding to those needs.
Qualified Staff – New teacher hires are credentialed (educationally and licensed/certified) and have classroom experience.
Resources – Materials and resources for teaching, including technology, are sufficient, and the school building is in good physical condition.
Resource Planning – A strategic financial plan and master facilities plan is in place, and financial planning is a strength of the board.
Resource Constraints – The school has financial resources to operate effectively; or a belief is held that the school could be more effective if not for fiscal constraints, and the school lacks the resources needed to make changes in the school.
Defining Learning Orientation
A school culture in which educators are committed to ongoing learning and improvement is predictive of flourishing not only for the school and educators, but also for students. For teachers, this includes best practices in feedback and collaboration, high quality professional development, and individualized instruction. For school leadership, this entails using systems thinking to develop a culture of improvement, which is both focused on student outcomes and is data driven.
Learning Orientation FSCM Constructs
Feedback – Feedback on teaching practice and classroom management is given regularly to facilitate adjustments in real-time.
Collaboration – Learning from and with other teachers drives and inspires better teaching.
Systems Thinking – When planning for change, the potential impact on the school, the classroom, students, and the overall system are considered.
Data-Driven Improvement – Data is used to gauge school results and effectiveness, determine goal attainment, and address problems the school faces.
Professional Development – PD is provided on-site and is subject- and role-specific.
Outcomes Focus – A strong belief is held that process doesn’t matter if it isn’t producing results, and change is distracting if it doesn’t lead to increases in student achievement.
Culture of Improvement – Guided by school leadership and focused on the future, the school is continually improving/makes necessary changes to improve
Individualized Instruction – Students are helped to figure out how they learn best and to identify their natural strengths.