The Blueprint for Adventist Education

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Classroom“A good school always creates a community of meaning and purpose. A good school is actually a community that at it’s very best a student would hate to graduate from,” said Parker Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach.

Martin Doblmeier, award-winning director who brought us “The Adventists’ and “The Adventists 2,” has explored the world of Adventist education through his latest film “The Blueprint.” This multi-story documentary goes into the halls of eight Adventist schools across North America.

Doblmeier believes that Adventist education is a treasure that has been handed down from generation to generation where many Adventist form their deepest relationships that continue to impact their lives. “Education is in the very DNA of Seventh-day Adventists,” said Doblmeier. “There is an undeniable Adventist ‘culture’ and education is at the heart of that culture.”

While each of the eight schools highlighted are unique, “The Blueprint” overall focuses on the approach Adventist education takes to IMG_0489teach to the “whole child” – body, mind and spirit. Ellen G. White taught that practical training prepared children for careers as well as stimulated their minds. “Curriculum organization was very much set by her and emphasizes the needs for students to have practical training to be able to be prepared for careers – in fact, for jobs as well as stimulating the mind. And that becomes what Adventists often call the blueprint for Adventist education,” said historian, David Trim.

“The Blueprint” showcases all the wonderful aspects of Adventist education such as teaching students healthy living habits, the advance test scores from being in a smaller classroom, and the importance of serving the community. This film also points out that Adventist education is at a crossroads. It is evident that many schools are struggling to survive these days, and some have even closed down in recent years. “Enrollment is in decline, and just as important is the perceived decline in confidence in the overall quality of education. Both issues have their roots in perceptions – perceptions that need to be addressed with honesty and clarity – but perceptions that can be reimagined,” Doblmeier stated in an interview.

A teaching principal from New Mexico, Kathy Goley, addressed this issue in “The Blueprint.” She explained that her school, Pinon Hills School, at one point had 50 students, but now only has nine. “So unless we let others around us know the great possibilities that there is for their child here, we will eventually die,” said Goley.

Student“If Adventist education is at a crossroads, the moment needs to be seen as a grace, an opportunity, to re-commit to the importance of learning in a Biblically grounded, values-centered classroom where quality academics meets life models of faith,” said Doblmeier. “Adventists are about evangelism – and the classroom is where it begins.”

Here at the Alumni Awards Foundation we believe that this trend can be turned around, that Adventist schools are still essential for providing vital service for young people, and that God is pouring out His favor on our efforts to sustain excellent schools. We envision Adventist schools not only surviving, but thriving. Partner with us in our efforts to revitalize Adventist education.

Be sure to watch “The Blueprint” on PBS stations April 1, 2014. You can also purchase a copy by visiting


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