Human beings are story-tellers; we understand and make sense of the world through story and we get a sense of belonging from being part of a story. As Christians, being part of the Christian story shapes who we are and what we believe. It determines our vision, and what is important to us and perhaps most importantly, it provides hope for our future.
In the same way being part of the MECS story is important. We need to tell this story often; how MECS came to be, why such a strong emphasis on parents, how do you become an ‘owner’ of the school and how can you be part of this story as you deepen your understanding of Christian education. The following is our story in a nutshell. It’s important that many people can tell this story, not just the Principal and staff who have been here a long time!
Here it is!
MECS began as a dream in the mid-1950s! Christian parents dreamed of education with a Christian perspective for their children – and grandchildren. In the 1960s, they organised themselves and were very active in raising funds. In 1964, the pioneers formed their Association of Parents for Christian Education, Mount Evelyn and accelerated the pace of work to establish a Christian school. With daring and vision in 1970, they purchased our wonderful six-hectare school property. Their dreams were realised when they opened Mount Evelyn Christian Primary School on the 3rd February 1973 – a full 19 years after the very first fundraising effort. The school opened with three teachers teaching 80 children in Grades Prep to 6.
MECS is now a thriving K-12 school with over 650 students enrolled. We have an applied learning campus called Ranges TEC which caters for another 90 Year 10-12 learners. Our school property is beautifully maintained with facilities and resources our founding families could only have dreamed of. God has been faithful to this school community and we are abundantly blessed in so many ways.
We have two main reasons for operating as a Christian school. The first is that we believe that Jesus Christ is to be Lord over every single part of life, including the education of our children. The second is that God has given to parents, the responsibility of nurturing their children. Their education is a major part of that.
Christian parents understand that their children are gifts from a generous and creative, loving, heavenly Father. The Bible clearly teaches that the chief responsibility for the nurture and guidance of children belongs to their parents. Because the education of children has such a significant shaping role, parental responsibility must play a part in that education. This responsibility cannot be hand-balled to governments, businesses, or even churches for that matter. It belongs primarily with parents and this is why MECS emphasises the vital role parents play. The school’s job is to empower parents in their God-given responsibility.
We are a parent-governed Christian school because, in the first place, schools ought to be accountable to the parent community they serve, rather than to the government or to the church. It is to parents that God has given the responsibility of nurturing their children. In response to this, our parents have the vision of Christian education and set the direction for the school. As a result, they are the primary place of accountability for the school management.
A not-for-profit association of Christian parents, teachers and past parents owns and maintains MECS. The official name of the owning association is the ‘Association for Christian Education Mount Evelyn Inc’.
The Association elects Board members who, acting on behalf of the Association, govern the school. That means the Board determines policy and broad direction and gives oversight to the Executive (the Principal and other key leaders appointed directly by the Board). The Executive needs to achieve the aims and objectives of the Association for the school. Because the Board is a governing Board, it does not get involved in the day-to-day running of the school, hence it is the Executive who manages the school.
Those who embrace the vision of the school and subscribe to the Educational Creed may become members of the Association. We encourage all Christian parents to consider becoming members and thereby participate more fully in school life and in its’ governance. Embracing this level of commitment to MECS is vital for the long-term well-being of our educational community.
However, because partnership is vital to us, parents who are not members are still very welcome and warmly encouraged to get involved in the life of the community. Opportunities for parental participation are numerous. The Partnership Agreement is a summary of the relationship between parents and the school and it outlines the specific expectations the school has of parents. Because relationship is not a ‘one way street’, the Partnership Agreement also outlines what parents can expect of the school. After parents have carefully read and signed off on the Agreement, the Principal signs on behalf of the school.
To assist parents to grow in their understanding of Christian education, parents new to MECS are required to attend two ‘Parent Christian Education Seminars’ where we explain and discuss what is distinctive about MECS. These seminars are a very important element of the partnership arrangement between MECS and parents, and provide an opportunity for the school and parents to explore together what ‘partnership’ means in the context of MECS, and why partnership is such a fundamental element of MECS. They also provide explanation of the MECS approach to curriculum and why we do things the way we do through introducing parents to our Transformational Education book. This book outlines our Christian understanding of teaching and learning.
It is also important that parents know what we are doing to make sure that our staff are also growing in their understanding of Christian education. A commitment from all our teaching staff to post-graduate studies through the National Institute of Christian Education ensures that our teachers are equipped to teach ‘Christianly’ in all areas of the curriculum.
So that’s our story in a nut-shell, hopefully a story worth being part of!