Grandview Park Baptist Christian Day School closes after 42 years

Grandview Park Baptist takes its final curtain call

The school is dissolving and most of the students will enroll at a new school, Grand View Christian, which opens Aug. 15.

Current enrollment for the existing school is about 250; an estimated 237 students have signed up for classes at Christian, which will be located in a former elementary school building in the Saydel district.

"I looked forward to graduating at Grandview Park, but it's like the same people at a different school," said freshman Sierra Tarbell, a four-sport athlete.

Grandview Park had students from about 70 churches. It was housed at a Baptist church on the city's east side. Concerns with the school's future direction and declining enrollment created a transition to Grand View Christian.

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Kevin Subra's picture

Background: I only attended a (now defunct) Christian school for a year. My wife attended and graduated from that same Christian school. I attended public school all other years through high school. We have home schooled our children. I'm looking from the outside, and just wondering what causes a school like GPBS (which was not housed in the church, but actually part of the church and probably the tail that wagged the church functionally) to dissolve.

It seems that it really wasn't a local church school (if kids from 70 churches attended), so the need to appeal and keep students would be huge from a very diverse group. I also wonder about the sports end of things, how much that costs and drains the educational side of things. It's hard to pay teachers as is, and as profitable as sports seem to be to some, I don't know as they are what education is all about. (Interesting, but the references to those quoted in the article seem to relate mostly to the sports end of things.)

I'm an ardent advocate of home school, and because of many reasons including my own experiences and observations I have no faith in the public school program, and little faith in the Christian school movement (though good people teach in both, and both can potentially produce an educated student, though with differing views of the world). Home school education can fail as well (many probably do), so I'm not ignorant about that. It just seems that more and more the "Christian" schools are more and more ecumenical by budgetary necessity, and often seem to lose their focus on education at the cost of sports (or at least make sports a primary focus).

I'm just thinking out loud, trying to figure this all out. I know that education is changing at every level. With the growing realm of online an non-traditional means, traditional education at a brick and mortar location will continue to be a struggle going forward, mostly held together (it seems to me) by the extra-curricular programs that such an institution can provide. I have no personal feelings of loss either way about this. Both the old and new institutions are close to where I live, and I'm glad to see the empty school utilized in Christian way. Is the loss of Christian schools (or the morphing into non-denominational schools - which seems to weaken doctrinal moors at the expense of the non-denominational inclusivism) a good thing, or a sign of further erosion of the culture and the Church?

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Jim's picture

It would be interesting to know the reasoning for their closing:

  • Greg Long may know as he used to be pastor at that church
  • Enrollment of 250+ seems strong. But if had been 700 before perhaps some one was doing some trend analysis and saw the future ??? 
  • Could be that leadership (knowing that CDS's are heavily subsidized) asked the question - 'why are we subsidizing education for the xx% from 70 churches not our own?"
Kevin Subra's picture

Mine is more of a general question. I don't know any details of what is going on at Grandview Park Baptist, but it sounds like it is still part of a bigger trend.

Can a school that has only 250 students have viable sports programs, including football? I would think that subsidies would be huge, not only for outside students, but also those programs. Sports programs in any educational setting are a huge cost burden.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Bert Perry's picture

Day schools have huge problems with the growth of homeschooling and charter schools, really.  My take here is that unless day schools start thinking outside the box and seeing what they can offer to homeschoolers, their days are numbered--I'm thinking that one big place for this would be to offer the classes that parents often aren't ready to teach, like lab sciences and languages, and possibly also offer opportunities for music and sports.

This is sad, to be sure, but quite frankly, the world changes--the large day school (Christian or secular) is a 20th century innovation, just as the one room schoolhouse was a 17th/18th/19th century phenomenon.  Might as well understand the times, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

Day schools have huge problems with the growth of homeschooling and charter schools, really.  My take here is that unless day schools start thinking outside the box and seeing what they can offer to homeschoolers, their days are numbered--I'm thinking that one big place for this would be to offer the classes that parents often aren't ready to teach, like lab sciences and languages, and possibly also offer opportunities for music and sports.

This is sad, to be sure, but quite frankly, the world changes--the large day school (Christian or secular) is a 20th century innovation, just as the one room schoolhouse was a 17th/18th/19th century phenomenon.  Might as well understand the times, no?


I think these suggestions could be quite helpful. We had our kids attend a Christian day school until one was at Jr. High level, at which point we started homeschooling. In the case of my family, teaching a language was not the issue (we are a bilingual family), and both my wife and I are math majors, so math and science were fairly easy for us to teach. In the case of chemistry, another father and I pooled our resources to hold a chemistry class for both our families and taught chemistry. We had a lab once a week, and we laid out the considerable expense for burners, glassware, chemicals, measuring devices, etc. However, it was quite labor intensive and took commitment.

I could definitely see lab sciences being a help to those who need it -- I might have even used it if it had been available. In my case, my wife and I would definitely have used a school for a course in English writing, as that was where we really lacked in our backgrounds. Having our kids get some sports experience would also have helped us. We paid separately for our kids to have education in music, and one child is now a music major in college.

It's not that homeschool families can't do an adequate job on their own, but I agree with Bert that Christian schools could certainly charge for certain services that would probably end up being a whole new area for them as well as help homeschool families to offer more than they can on their own. It could be quite mutually beneficial.

Dave Barnhart

Joel Shaffer's picture

Two of my kids go to a fairly large Christian school (80 students per graduating class) that used to be called Grand Rapids Baptist Academy (which was started by a large group of GARBC churches) but changed its name to Northpointe Christian about 10 years ago.  It felt the competition from Charter Schools and Homeschooling, however it has added some programs that allow parents to do both homeschooling and day school at Northpointe.    However, by changing the name, many of the Presbyterians, Christian Reformed, Netherlands Reformed, and Reformed Christians began sending their kids to Northpointe because they felt that the several Reformed Christian schools were too lax with sin and too liberal with doctrine.   They send their kids, even though Northpointe is still quite Baptistic in its doctrine.    It does have quite a advanced music and competitive sports programs, including football, which my son plays.  

The difference from Grandview Park is that it wasn't just under one church, but rather began when a large group of Baptists cooperated together to start the school.    It was easier to make the transition and despite having a large ecumenical representation among all of the evangelicals in the Grand Rapids area, they have stayed Baptistic in their doctrine, even though they changed the name.   

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

Day schools have huge problems with the growth of homeschooling and charter schools, really.  My take here is that unless day schools start thinking outside the box and seeing what they can offer to homeschoolers, their days are numbered--I'm thinking that one big place for this would be to offer the classes that parents often aren't ready to teach, like lab sciences and languages, and possibly also offer opportunities for music and sports.

This is sad, to be sure, but quite frankly, the world changes--the large day school (Christian or secular) is a 20th century innovation, just as the one room schoolhouse was a 17th/18th/19th century phenomenon.  Might as well understand the times, no? 

I agree that many Christian schools have failed to adjust to changing needs and opportunities in education. As Dave described, homeschoolers often join forces to meet their academic needs, and there are several co-ops in our area. I've seen a few Christian schools begin to offer a sort of hybrid homeschool, or classes a la carte to homeschoolers for a fee.

In my experience, churches that had Christian schools viewed homeschoolers as traitors of a sort and even treated them as such. Churches weren't looking to accommodate this new opportunity for parents, but pressured them to enroll their kids in the school to show their 'support' for a church function. 
 

Greg Long's picture

Our two boys are in the new school and we are very thankful for it.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University