Focused vision for education: Linden Christian School

Linden Christian School (LCS) is built on relationships between students and their teachers, faith, families and the community at large.

With more than 950 students, LCS is one of the largest Christian schools in Western Canada. The school, located steps from the intersection of Wilkes Avenue and Waverley Street, was founded in 1987 as a ministry of Grant Memorial Baptist Church, with 33 students and three teachers. The independent kindergarten to Grade 12 school is an incorporated, non-profit, charitable organization.

Devotion to school and beyond

We have a very focused vision for students,” said LCS Principal and CEO, Rob Charach, who has worked at LCS for two decades, the last 14 in his current role.

Part of that vision is to help develop students become “insightful thinkers, discerning decision-makers and compassionate community members,” as Rob explained. “We really teach to the whole child. Strong spiritual focus and strong academics have been our focus.”

What students are taught at LCS goes beyond the Manitoba curriculum, as teachers integrate a biblical worldview and scriptural belief into all subject areas. The school offers robust art, music and choir programs, both inside and outside of school time, and its student athletes compete as the LCS Wings.

It’s education built on relationships and communication, including those with our students, with staff, with parents, and ultimately encouraging a healthy relationship with God,” Rob said.

LCS also offers before and after-school care programs to accommodate parents’ working hours. In addition, the school’s Spiritual Care Team helps students navigate difficult times.

Balancing the budget for families

LCS receives about half of its funding from the province and relies on tuition fees for the rest.

We have to hold all this in balance,” Rob expanded. “We want to keep our community affordable, yet maintain a real level of excellence.”

We really are a city-wide school and we’re blessed to have a thriving community. It’s not only the Christian community. Many newcomer families put a real intrinsic value on education, and they want that partnership between the home and the school, so they’re willing to see this as an investment.”

Expanding the Linden Christian School

The school also undertakes capital campaigns for special projects. Currently, LCS is raising funds for the restoration and redesign of its field and green space, a project it hopes to finish by fall 2020.

Since it opened, LCS has undertaken five major expansions to grow the school, adding classrooms, a gymnasium, band, choir and art facilities, upgrading the library and installing a new playscape for its youngest pupils. In 2018, LCS also completed construction of a state-of-the-art science lab.

Partnership with the ACU Business Financial Centre

“Relationships in the community, and ours with ACU have been very positive. Over the years, ACU has been sensitive to our unique needs,” Rob said.

LCS has been working with ACU for more than 15 years. Rob calls it a ‘partnership’ and praised the rapport the school has built with Gary Farrell, Senior Business Account Manager with the ACU Business Financial Centre.

ACU has a real heart for local community organizations, small businesses and in our case, an independent school,” Rob continued. “They really understand the role we play and look for ways they can support us.“

The ACU Business Financial Centre supports and encourages the growth and good financial health of local small to medium-sized businesses, as well as public institutions such as schools and municipalities. The BFC’s local, dedicated account managers provide business and community partners with customized accounts, deposit strategies, commercial mortgages, construction financing, bridge financing, term loans, operating lines of credit and letters of credit.

“ACU gives us very positive suggestions to help us financially — different options for financing, information about accounts and how we can be the best stewards of our resources,” Rob said. “Wherever our strategic planning goes in the future, we want ACU there with us. We have built a long-term relationship and look forward to continuing the partnership.”

Future funding and growth of Linden Christian School programs

LCS also raises funds for a general bursary to help families with limited means afford tuition, and one for newcomer families to Canada. Every spring, LCS hosts an annual fundraising banquet to support the bursary fund and special projects.

We have a very diverse community. You’re talking more than 900 students and almost 2,000 people, with the corresponding families, grandparents and alumni,” Rob noted.

“After 32 years, we’re starting to see different generations of families as students. It’s a great thing to be part of.”

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About Jason Halstead

Jason is a Winnipeg-based journalist and photographer who has been published across Canadian media.

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