6 Reasons why you need to visit our School…
So here’s the deal. There are some great options when it comes to private Christian schools in the Treasure Valley, and there are a lot of families thriving at those schools. And that’s so great!
But this letter is NOT for those families.
If you love your kid’s school and they do too, or you homeschool and it’s still the perfect fit, then stop reading now. Just stop. Click away. Absolutely nothing for you to see here. You need to stay put where you are, keep enjoying all of the goodness you and your kids experience each day, and go run and frolic in the potato fields.
If you’re still reading, we’re sorry. It means you haven’t yet found the right niche for your kid(s). And that makes us sad. We parental-types really love it when our littles and bigs are thriving. And might we add that we love it EVEN MORE when our kids don’t whine and complain all the live-long day…or week…or month! Life’s too short for that kind of drama and our livers don’t need any more Tylenol.
Now, we won’t pretend to know your story. Things may be AWFUL every day with constant stories of conflict, bullying, and depression…OR your kid may just feel MEH about their school or homeschool life. Whatever the case, you need to visit our school. Like tomorrow. Unless it’s the weekend. Yeah, don’t come on the weekend. But seriously, you need to schedule a visit yesterday. There’s a good chance GFA is exactly what your heart’s been looking for. Or, maybe your knees are bruised from your desperate prayers for a solution. We’re cool with that too.
We’re talking about the Treasure Valley’s oldest and best kept secret. Greenleaf Friends Academy. Yes, it’s a Quaker school. No we don’t wear head-coverings and drive horse-drawn carriages (just in case “Quaker” conjured up that image). If you want to know the goods on us, here is some info about what our Friends school believes. You’re welcome.
As for our Academy, you should know that we’re quite literally #1. It’s a little-known fact that we were IDAHO’S VERY FIRST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL. That’s right, Numero Uno. In 1905, five lovely and devoted Quaker families who felt the same burden to “educate their children under Godly influences”, held hands around a Thanksgiving table and prayed for God’s direction. Over the next 4 years, the growing settlement of church members, bought-up 10 acres of land and high school classes officially began in the back of their church, on November 8, 1908. The rest, as they say, is history! And as all the grades (pre-K – 12) were added over the years, God’s hand of blessing and provision has been on this amazing school in every way.
Here’s the thing. GFA is not your typical private school, and our families come back year after year, and GENERATION after GENERATION precisely because of that. To get to our campus from Boise or Nampa, you may pass a few corn fields, see cattle and horses grazing, or pass a tractor on the road..so if space, fresh air and hard-working people aren’t your thing, GFA’s probably not your scene. Some of our families make long commutes every day just to be a part of our community. Others move their whole lives from out-of-state or out-of-area because GFA is like a second family and they want to be nearby. And with the *lowest tuition schedule among the local Christian, accredited schools, it’s an easy choice. Our Academy just draws people. Like we said, GFA is special.
Because of this, we thought we’d raise our hand and speak up about our Academy so more families in our tribe will know we’re here. Sharing is caring, right? So now, in no particular order, here are just six of the many reasons why you need to come for a visit…
1 – Our building is old.
Nope, not a typo. Our building isn’t as old as our legacy, thank goodness, but we don’t have all the shiny-new-things here at GFA and that’s part of what draws many of our families. We are a people who believe that academic excellence and godly character aren’t as deeply grown where ease and privilege abounds, but rather where hard work, diversity, and REAL FAITH meet and are nurtured. GFA is a community of grounded, genuine people. People who work, love and serve hard. Some of our families own farms and some of our families work at farms. Some of our families have built big business ventures and some of our families live by faith and coupons. There’s just not a lot of pretense here. At all. Which is why big, flawless, sparkly-everything just doesn’t appeal to our tribe. Our facility is debt-free, clean, well-loved, and feels like a home away from home. It’s not a buttoned-up, sterile institution. Kids are comfortable and relaxed here but they get a FANTASTIC education, and our buildings are full of rich and diverse stories that span over a century. The halls whisper stories of changed lives, forever-friends and family-like community. GFA is a breath of fresh air.
2 – We aren’t perfect.
NEWSFLASH, kids are sinners and our halls and classrooms are filled with them! Which, incidentally, is the exact educational environment our kids need. You read that right. It’s called REALITY. Our offspring need a safe place to bump-up against people who don’t always look, think, or act like they do. Better yet, to grow into truly well-rounded human beings, our kids need to eat, play, serve, work, and pray with kids who span the economic, demographic and spiritual landscape. Because…um…real life. If they don’t learn to love and serve the sinful, broken, imperfect parts of our world, then have we really educated them? Have we really helped form their soul? Have we given them an eternal mentality? (This is where you fiercely shake your head NO in disgust.) Not in any way, shape, or form. Now, PLEASE UNDERSTAND, if your kid likes to kick puppies, has a mouth like a sailor, or overuses the phrase, “no, I won’t obey,” this community won’t be a good fit for them. We don’t tolerate bullying or disrespecting others emotionally or physically. But we do get that kids will have a good handful of “teachable moments” as they navigate childhood and teenhood, so there is much grace found here for teachable kids. Our goal at GFA is to partner with and assist parents in imparting invaluable, kingdom virtues while they are still under our roof. If we don’t, the realities of diversity found outside our walls will slam down hard after they fledge the nest, and our children won’t be the force for good we dreamed they’d be.
3 – A QUARTER of our school population used to HOMESCHOOL
Stop the press! Whaaaaat? How do the kids all get along if a quarter of them are so backward and unsocialized?!? Ha ha ha. No. Actually we aren’t laughing at all. And neither are you because you get it. Homeschoolers ROCK and we want more of them! We have found that our Homeschool families generally come from a culture that has very high standards in the areas of hard work, Biblical integrity, and godly character. All of which line up perfectly with our Mission and Vision Statements, so we adore our Homeschool families! Homeschoolers come in, get involved, and get invested. They care deeply about what’s being taught in the classroom and most times they are familiar with the actual curriculum publishers and vendors. They pay close attention to how the administration is leading and the Board is directing. And best of all, they absolutely spoil our faculty because they have an acute understanding of what it takes to try and not kill the same child you’re trying to teach, mentor, and disciple. We have staff that used to homeschool, faculty who used to homeschool, and amazingly enough, we have Alumni donors who currently homeschool but believe so deeply in the ministry of GFA, they provide tuition scholarships so other families can send their kids here! Are you starting to get a sense of why we hold such a unique niche in the Valley?
4 – Everyone gets to play at GFA.
So you didn’t birth a Michal Jordan or Tim Tebow. Shocker. Don’t have a mini Mozart or Kari Jobe? Oh well, it looks like you’ll have to plan for retirement after all. Seriously though, we’ve got a pretty unique thing here at GFA when it comes to student involvement. It goes like this: your kid wants to play said sport…your kid gets to play said sport. You kid wants to sing in the choir…your kid gets to sing in the choir. And if your kid wants to try ALL.THE.THINGS…they can! Just imagine, football players in the school play and sopranos in shop class. We know. It’s pretty wonderful. Some years we go to State and perform for fancy judges, and some years we practice being gracious in disappointment. But in the end, GFA students have the opportunity to expand their interests and abilities in everything we offer here that sparks their attention. We have football, basketball, volleyball, softball, cross country, track and field. We have honor choirs, middle school choir, band, drama. We have home economics, woodworking, manual arts, gardening…the list goes on. Whether they are dripping with talent or just trying for the first time… “everyone gets to play at GFA.”
5 – Our classes are small and kids are known.
At GFA our tag-line is “A place to belong and be known.” This has been the experience of so many of our students over the decades. With an average class size of 13, teachers are able to really get to know their students. And by “know” we’re not just referring to names and desk location. The kids at GFA don’t often get missed when they are discouraged or struggling (which is going to happen now and then simply because math exists). But if there is a conflict between students (see reason #2), chances are great a teacher knows, is keeping a close watch, and has likely shared some gentile wisdom or offered to pray with those involved. Over the years, we’ve heard numerous stories of students struggling to fit in at other schools, but after enrolling at GFA they find a place. This was defined perfectly by one of our recent graduates who said, “At GFA, everyone is popular and no one is popular.” Now, there are always going to be kids who are more outgoing and well-known than others, or kids who take some work to coax out of their shell, but it’s pretty wonderful the way GFA kids reach out to each other and try to include each other. It’s not uncommon here to see groups of friends hanging out that DON’T all wear the same brand of jeans. ‘Cuz…that’s a thing at some schools. Sheesh…it’s a thing at some CHURCHES! (Feel free to join us in rolling your eyes right now.) Basically, GFA is a lot like a family reunion every day. It’s pretty great.
6 – We don’t cover up our gray here.
The history of GFA is nothing short of remarkable. Year after year, decade after decade, this school continues to thrive. And it’s not just the student body that is thriving, but also the generations and generations of alumni and their families who pour their love, wisdom, support, service, and faithful prayers into this place every.single.day. You should see our annual events and fundraisers! They feel like grand family reunions where everyone knows everyone. Hugs and kisses abound. Laughter and excited conversations fill the air. The ticket and food lines wrap up and down the halls, and it’s not uncommon to find 2-3 generations of GFA graduates standing together catching up and sharing new stories. Grandparents who spent their young years here, watch with content smiles as their grandkids laugh and chase their friends down the halls and young families are embraced with open arms. Our roots run deep and we love it! We have alumni in the Administration, alumni in the Faculty, alumni on the Board, alumni volunteers, alumni coaches, alumni donors and of course alumni parents and grandparents. There is just something about the 109-year history of this amazing community that not only attracts new families but brings them back…year after year.
We could go on and on. Honestly. But time is short, and you need to stop reading and come for a visit! Tours can be on **any day of the week (we call them “GFA Shadow Days” or “GFA for a Day”) and you’re welcome to come for a private, family tour, or we can pre-arrange for your kid(s) to spend the day with a Student Ambassador in their grade. Honestly, they are going to want to come with you and do the shadow thing because Tuesday – Friday they get a FREE HOT LUNCH and they also get a FREE T-SHIRT that they can take home, shove in their overflowing closet, and forget about. You’re welcome.
If a shadow-day isn’t possible, feel free to just run over on an extended lunch-break and see what we’re all about! We are confident that you will FEEL the difference when you walk through our doors and we can’t wait to introduce you and your kiddos to our people. See you soon!
*According to our 2016 survey of local Christian accredited schools in the Treasure Valley.
**Tours can be scheduled for ANY day of the week, but most families prefer Wednesdays because that’s Chapel day.