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Classical Christian Education Goes to the City

Classical Christian Education Goes to the City

Seattle's first classical Christian school hopes to train future generations of Jesus-loving city leaders.

Finding your way to the brand-new Seattle Classical Christian School (SCCS) might prove a challenge if you aren't familiar with that city's downtown streets, where interstate on-and-off ramps merge with streets and avenues. On the day I visited the school, cranes were moving dirt on a nearby lot that jutted up against Interstate 5. The scene bore a striking resemblance to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, where large construction machinery has become part of the landscape along the West Side Highway. After finding street parking and paying the meter, I made my way to the school, housed in Seattle First Presbyterian Church. As I walked, I passed two homeless men talking to themselves.

Such is the scene surrounding Seattle's first classical Christian school, which was exactly 11 days old when I visited. "Here are our students," said Will Little, 31, the president and co-founder. He pointed to four children in navy slacks and white shirts running around a sun room. ("They've just come in from recess," he explained.) Their teacher, one of two staff members, waved to me through the glass.

It is a small beginning, Little acknowledged, but one he believes holds promise. Historically, classical Christian schools are not planted in urban settings. In fact, Little and staff member Katie Hartman, 36, have struggled to find models of classical Christian schools in city centers. "The Geneva School [Manhattan's only Classical Christian school] is the only one we could find," she says.

The decision to establish Seattle Classical Christian School downtown rather than in a surrounding neighborhood or suburb was a theological one for the school's board of directors. Little, a research scientist and software developer by profession, sees SCCS as a means of loving Seattle and helping it flourish. "My wife and I have a major calling to live in the city. We read Jeremiah 29 … We get it. We're in Babylon. Have some kids, plant some gardens, plant some roots." Focusing his efforts on the city is also a logical move for Little. "Cities are marked by density and diversity. Jesus loves people, so therefore, logically, Jesus loves cities. Here is where the culture is made. Here is where the nations of the world gather."

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