Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. Following a recipe, choosing ingredients, combining and heating those ingredients to the perfect point of readiness--it’s all very satisfying. As I shared my kitchen exploits with my colleagues recently, one commented how analogous following a recipe to prepare a great meal is to the process of educating a child well.
In both cases, one begins with top-notch raw ingredients. In cooking, I prefer high quality food but not that much of it. With school, we choose mission-appropriate students--those whose learning capabilities are average or above and who have the ability to take direction well--and we keep our classes small.
Next, measure out those raw ingredients to achieve the proper proportions. For school, this means teaching a thoughtful curriculum that includes not only the core subjects but also the arts, sports, and character education. For a meal, use the amounts of each ingredient that your recipe (or your intuition) calls for. More isn’t necessarily better; ingredients have to balance relative to one another to achieve the proper culinary harmony.
Third, combine the ingredients thoroughly and apply the proper amount of heat. Too little heat and the food won’t cook thoroughly; too much heat and the meal dries up or burns. For a student this means being taught by competent, caring professionals with high, but achievable, expectations. We cherish AND challenge.
Follow a great recipe, and you can produce a delicious meal. As we follow our mission, I observe with delight the amazing students we send on to success at the high school level and beyond each year. James River has definitely found the right recipe!