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A Descriptive Study Of The Seventh-Day Adventist Junior Academy Educational Program In Northern California

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The Seventh-day Adventist church, a protestant, evangelical denomination, operates its own school system. The objectives of this study were to identify and describe the needs of young adolescents in grades seven and above as seen through the writings and philosophy of the church; to investigate how the staffs of the junior academies of northern California were meeting these needs; and to suggest guidelines for a curriculum model that could assist these and similar schools to meet these needs. On the basis of selected criteria two instruments were used to gather data from the ten schools involved in the study. The first instrument, along with personal visits and interviews was used to gather data concerning the curriculum offerings in each school. The second instrument, after field testing and modification in similar junior academies in Florida and Tennessee, was used as a self-study by the staffs of the ten schools, the data giving further information on various aspects of the curriculum. The first instrument revealed that the schools were not able to meet all the needs of young adolescents as identified by the church, mainly due to their small size, with consequent staffing and financial problems. The self-study instrument revealed that the faculties of the ten schools recognized the need for more study attention and effort in individualizing instruction; in practical applications of the subjects; in teaching for mastery; in fine arts, creative teaching, and in solving space and equipment problems. The three main differences between the curriculum of these schools and comparable public schools appeared to be the Bible class, the fundamentalist approach to subjects such as biology and the way Bible teaching and doctrinal considerations permeate all areas of the curriculum. Other differences appeared in the emphasis on practical training, health and the dignity of labor. Ten guidelines for a curriculum model for the junior academies of northern California were identified. These included the centrality of the Bible and belief in God; the emphasis on student individuality; mastery of the basics a major goal: training in practical arts; meaningful work experiences provided; emphasis on health education; a continual augmenting of the staff, adequate communication with the community; use of community resources: and the necessity for future planning.

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