FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A new master’s degree for teachers and administrators who work in Christian schools will be offered for the first time this summer at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
“There should be a distinction in Christian school curriculum, and that approach to teaching should be distinctively Christian,” said Gary Waller, Southwestern1s associate dean of the school of educational ministries masters programs.
The Association of Theological Schools recently approved the master of arts in Christian school education for teachers and administrators who are certified but need to further their education. The seminary1s board of trustees approved the degree during its fall meeting last year.
“It has been smooth sailing, with no challenges putting the program into action, since Southwestern heard the cries from school principals wanting opportunities for their teachers and administrators to upgrade their skills,” said Daryl Eldridge, dean of the school of educational ministries.
Eldridge said to his knowledge no other school offers this type of program. “What Southwestern wants to achieve through this program goes right along with our mission statement,” he said. “We want to equip people for spiritual leadership, blending theological teaching with the educational skills they possess.”
The degree will be offered only during the summer semester at the Fort Worth campus, allowing students to attend classes while the schools where they work are not in session. The summer semester will be three weeks long, with students taking one course per week. Students are required to have 20 hours in theology studies, 18 hours in Christian school education, three of which are an internship, and eight hours in research, two of which are in Foundations for Ministries.
“The program is also flexible in allowing the students to do their internship in either teaching or administration,” Waller said.
The Baptist Sunday School Board reports more than 600 Southern
Baptist schools with continued growth expected in the Christian education field. “For advanced certification, graduates are eligible to apply to Association of Christian Schools International,” Eldridge said. “Our goal is to help those teachers and administrators gain solid foundations and specific biblical skills necessary for the jobs they do.”
Varnedoe is a newswriter at Southwestern Seminary.