Hope for the future?

Hope for the future?

When Aaron asked me to contribute occasional blog entries to the City Church website which relate to hope in York City as it relates to education, I was not exactly chomping at the bit to begin writing.There are a couple of reasons for this.First of all, I am not at all an optimist.For me to view anything in a hopeful light is rare.I am much more comfortable pointing out the problems with something and helping to show those diluted enough to have hope, why they should reevaluate their viewpoint and give up.The second reason goes hand in hand with the first one: if I tend to prefer looking for faults in something, education in York City seems at first glance an infinite cornucopia of problems for me to analyze. But, alas, that is not what I have been asked to do.I am to write on the hope that exists in the city; the good news of what is happening in the educational systems in place in York.But where can I hope to find hope in a city, 50% of whose students fail to graduate from high school?I’ll tell you where: in my office, down the street, and on the other side of town.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet with Steve Chronister, the York County Commissioner.While I’m sure that Mr. Chronister must certainly have many far more important official responsibilities, I can tell you that one of his unofficial responsibilities seems to be giving cynics like me hope.As we spoke of the various schools in the city, he told me of programs that were in place in various schools throughout the city.He spoke of a teacher at Hannah Penn Middle School who transformed the classroom formerly used for in-school suspension and turned it into a room where classes on Character and Ethics are now taught.He told of a 17 year-old eighth grader who, through that program, was given an opportunity to break from his gang and begin to take real, positive steps towards improving himself through education.He also spoke of the charter school, New Hope Academy, and of how it too is contributing to the city by providing a chance for quality instruction and true education to take place.Lastly, he spoke of my school, Logos Academy, and how our role in educating the whole child solves many of the problems faced by other schools before they even have a chance to develop.He encouraged us in our endeavors and told us repeatedly that we are not simply reacting to issues in the city but are actually helping to prevent them by partnering with the community and families of our students to truly teach our students to love learning; to love one another; and to love God.

I have no problem viewing Logos Academy as a place where hope exists for the city; it is a part of our slogan, after all (Education. Opportunity. Hope.).Where I feel indebted to Mr. Chronister is that I now know that the hope that I have for what Logos is doing is not limited to Logos.As more teachers like the one at Hannah Penn take an active interest in more than the content of their classes; an interest in the lives and real success, academic and otherwise, of their students, I can’t help but to be hopeful for the city.It is much like Elijah, who believed that he was the only one truly following God, but was reminded by God that there were still seven thousand in Israel who had not bent the knee to Baal.I can have hope in the fact that there are far more people than just those at Logos who are striving in schools to improve this city and I can be confident that this city is improving and will continue to improve through the efforts of these people and through and by the grace of God.

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