Starting in kindergarten, children spend 1,000+ hours in school each year. This means they often spend more waking hours with their teachers than with any other adults—including their parents!
So, here’s an important question: How are they being influenced?
One Hope Academy student shared,
“At my old schools, the kids just did whatever they wanted and the staff kind of just went with it…I made a lot of bad decisions because of the people I was hanging around. That weighed heavy on me because I knew that I shouldn’t have been doing the things I was doing. I still continued to [make bad choices] because I felt if I didn’t, I would just be alone, and no one wants to be alone. If I didn’t have a place like Hope Academy, I feel like right now I probably would still be making the wrong choices—doing things that I didn’t want to do.”
The pressure to fit in with peers is massive for children and teens. As many as 90% of teens report having faced peer pressure. Sadly, students often give in to what it seems like “everyone is doing”—including bullying, substance abuse, and other negative behaviors.
We can’t focus only on what students achieve. We have to consider who they’re becoming.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.”
How do we instill morals into the hearts and minds of our students? How do we determine what is moral and right?
At Hope Academy, we believe that each child is made in God’s image—created to reflect the kindness, love, creativity, and many other wonderful aspects of His character. Our goal is to point students to Jesus Christ, who “radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.” (Hebrews 1:3). Only when students see and experience the love of Christ and pursue an authentic relationship with Him, can they enjoy true freedom and become who God made them to be.
Children have weekly chapel time, learn about God’s character and work throughout history, and memorize priceless truths from Scripture. In the younger grades, children work with staff and peers to grow in friendships and social skills. We provide a “Boys to Men” club to help students—many from fatherless homes—build character and pursue a higher standard of excellence. Through discipline, teachers and deans help students pause and think about other people’s feelings. Children learn when and how to apologize, and how to rebuild trust.
Throughout middle and high school, classes in ethics, Bible, and social-emotional learning help children continue this growth. Students build self-awareness as they reflect on their health, relationships, and thinking patterns. Students also learn to use logic and reason and the truth of God’s Word to understand and process through history and current events.
Makiah shared: “This year in ethics class, our teacher, Mrs. Brueske, has helped us learn how to be more intuitive about our thinking behind actions and the actions of other people around us. We’ve gotten to learn about different people groups—different ways that they think and how culture can impact your own thinking.
We’ve done a lot of Socratic seminars, as well…It’s a time to listen to others and kind of challenge your own thoughts, and see how your beliefs could change or how you could learn to sympathize with others more. It’s been really cool to see how, over time, our classmates have learned to respect each other and listen to others’ opinions.”
From their teachers, Hope Academy students are learning about their identity as God’s image bearers and gaining confidence, security, and peace in their lives. Children are learning to discern what is moral and right and seeing the difference it makes when they apply this in their classes and relationships.
Every time our students get a report card, they rate themselves on the HOPE values of Honor for God & others, Optimism for the future, Perseverance through adversity, and Excellence in all things. Each ranking is discussed with parents, students, and teachers in some honest and transformative conversations.
One of our graduates, Kalista, shared:
“I remember our middle school principal, Mrs. Pearce, frequently telling me, ‘Someone’s always watching. The people who are younger than you are looking up to you to know what to do.’ Finally, that clicked. That changed the way I thought about myself and caused me to start thinking about how my actions affected other people.”
At Hope Academy, students also have a wealth of opportunities to build caring friendships with their peers, to invest in the lives of younger students, and to serve in our communities—opportunities like mentor groups, sports teams, cohort tournaments, service days and retreats, and mission trips to New Orleans (10th grade) and Puerto Rico (12th grade).
“People think that teenage guys are kind of self-centered and don’t really care about others; but I’ve seen quite the opposite at Hope. Many of my classmates take time out of their mornings to come into school and to tutor other students that are younger than them. I know there are many captains that have really sought to push their teams forward and show what it means to be a leader.”
By God’s grace, Hope Academy is helping to make a different way possible for Minneapolis children. One of our parents shared, “It saved my child. I truly believe that she could have gone the wrong way with the wrong children and I can’t tell you enough how lucky we are that she has found Hope Academy.”
If you’re looking for a high-quality, faith-based education in Minneapolis, at a price your family can afford, the Hope Academy Admissions Team would love to connect with you!
And don’t let cost be a barrier. We work with each family to determine a fair share of family tuition, sometimes as little as $75/family/mo.
We also invite you to share this post with others who may be interested in learning more about Hope Academy.