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Rich history and innovative programs define the Redlands Christian Schools

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Arrowhead Christian Academy graduates pose at the Redlands Bowl.

Arrowhead Christian Academy Class of 2019 graduates pose of a picture at the Redlands Bowl.

Redlands Unified isn’t the only school system in Redlands. The city also has a robust educational system in Redlands Christian Schools.

Redlands Christian Schools consists of three campuses: Redlands Christian Lower School, Redlands Christian Middle School and Arrowhead Christian Academy Upper School.

For nearly 100 years, this private school system has been educating students and preparing them for life and service.

Redlands Christian Schools takes a holistic approach to its educational program. It is designed not only to meet students’ intellectual needs but their spiritual and emotional needs as well.

Centennial celebration

In 2021, Redlands Christian Schools will celebrate 100 years of service.

“We are planning to host a huge celebration during a weekend in the fall of 2021,” said Head of Schools Brian Bell. “There will be activities on Friday night, a celebration dinner, tours of Redlands, worship services and a whole bunch of alumni coming to town.”

Founded in 1921, Redlands Christian School was one of the first Christian schools in California.

“The Dutch Reformed Church was a Christian denomination that had a large community in Redlands,” said Bell. “The community in Redlands created a school board and recruited Minnie Boiler from Michigan to be the school’s first teacher.”

In 1979, Arrowhead Christian Academy was founded and began providing college-preparatory courses for students.

In 2014, Redlands Christian School and Arrowhead Christian Academy merged to create Redlands Christian Schools, a school system that spanned from kindergarten to 12th grade with the creation of Redlands Christian Middle School.

Before the merge, Redlands Christian School served students from preschool to eighth grade. Arrowhead Christian Academy served students from seventh to 12th grade.

The combined enrollment of the three campuses is more than 1,000 students.

The lower school’s campus is on 1145 N. Church St. It offers a preschool to fifth-grade program.

“There has been a lot of growth at the lower school,” said Bell. “We are raising money for a new campus location on Kansas Street. It would allow us to go from 40,000 square feet to 60,000.”

The middle school campus is at 215 Tennessee St., serving students from sixth to eighth grade. Arrowhead Christian Academy is just to the south at Tennessee and Orange Avenue. It serves students from ninth to 12th grade.

Private vs. public

The biggest difference between private and public education is the cost.

“We don’t receive government funding, so parents have to pay tuition,” said Bell. “However, we have a robust financial aid program.”

Bell says what stands out the most is class size.

“Our class sizes are smaller than public schools,” he said. “With a 20-to-1 student to teacher ratio, kids get individualized care.”

In terms of curriculum, Redlands Christian Schools developed its own.

“We look at the same sets of state standards and seek instructional materials that meet those,” said Bell.

The curriculum is reviewed every four years to compare learning expectations to California and Common Core standards.

“Ninety-five percent of our upper school students meet University of California system requirements,” said Bell.

Redlands Christian Schools is accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and Christian Schools International. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges serves more than 4,500 public and independent schools. Its accreditation validates the school’s program and certifies that it is a competent and trustworthy institution of learning.

Christian Schools International was the first educational service organization to be established in North America and has been the leader in Christian education for almost a century. Like public schools, Redlands Christians Schools has a variety of clubs and athletics available to students.

Clubs include photography, robotics, drama, Daisy Chain and Ski Club, among many others.

“We have 23 junior varsity and varsity programs,” said Bell. “We have most girls and boys sports that public schools have.”

Spanish Immersion

Bell said the schools have a desire to ensure they have innovative programs. One of these is the Spanish Immersion program.

The opportunity to participate in immersion-based instruction is available to students from junior kindergarten (4-year-olds) to sixth grade.

“These are kids whose native language is English, but their coursework is done in Spanish,” said Bell.

In immersion classrooms, Spanish is used 100 percent of the time. All instruction, discussion and social interaction are done Spanish. English is used for only three hours a week during instruction, starting in third grade. It is used to focus on differences between English and Spanish grammar.

“The immersion program is amazing because, in some cases, it prevents Spanish from being lost to a generation,” said Bell.  

Bell gave an example of when the immersion program came in handy to help a community member.

“One of our fourth-grade immersion students was driving on the highway with her family and witnessed an accident,” said Bell. “They pulled over to help and discovered the woman that was involved could only speak Spanish. Our student started talking to the woman in Spanish and calmed her down. She interpreted for both parties when police arrived.”

International Program

In addition to the Spanish Immersion Program, Redlands Christian Schools has an International Program at Arrowhead Christan Academy.

International students represent 10 percent of the student body.

International students participate in a three-tiered English as a Second Language (ESL) program and stay with host families.

English as a Second Language consists of three levels: ESL 1, ESL 2 and Advanced ESL.

The three main purposes of the program are to develop students’ language abilities, inspire students to love learning in all academic areas and to prepare students for college and beyond.

Once an international student enrolls at Arrowhead Christian, they are tested and placed in one of the three levels depending on their English proficiency.

International students also have the opportunity to participate in field trips. Past trips have included tours of the University of Southern California and University of California, San Diego.

One impressive statistic the international program boasts is 100 percent of former students have gone on to four-year universities.

These universities include Harvard, the University of Washington, New York University and Pepperdine. ­

Statement of faith

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, fully God and fully man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died as a complete and substitutionary payment for our sin, rose from the dead in victory over sin and death and ascended into heaven where He intercedes with the Father for the believers.

We believe that human beings created in the image of God fell into sin, bear the penalty of that sin and therefore require regeneration by the Holy Spirit through faith and new birth in order to receive forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the believer is sealed until the day of redemption and by whose filling the believer is empowered to live a life of purity and godliness.

We believe the Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament, to be the divinely inspired Word of God and the final authority for both faith and conduct.

We believe salvation a free gift of God, cannot be attained except through personal faith in Jesus Christ and that all who receive Him as Savior become children of God and receive both forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

We believe in the resurrection of believers and unbelievers, believers to everlasting life and fellowship with God, unbelievers to eternal, conscious judgment and separation from Him.

We believe that Jesus Christ will come again to consummate human history, judge the living and the dead, reward the faithfulness of believers and establish His perfect Kingdom rule forever.

Tuition breakdown

Preschool and junior kindergarten 2020-21 annual tuition

Five days a week: $5,434

Three days a week: $3,960

Two days a week: $2,640

Lower School 2020-21 annual tuition

Kindergarten, half-day: $5,676

Kindergarten, full-day: $7,689

Grades 1 through 5: $8,899

Middle school 2020-21 annual tuition: $9,790

Upper school 2020-21 annual tuition: $12,012