Santa Fe Christian Middle School continues to create a culture in which it is safe for students to ask difficult questions about what they believe, who they are, and whose they are in order to develop their true identities and become more authentic. One example of how this is coming to fruition is through an elective created for MS girls by Mrs. Kristi Ellis entitled Jesus is My Jam: Cultivating Identity and Fostering Sisterhood (Jesus Jam for short). “I really felt God tugging on my heart to get this curriculum written,” said Mrs. Ellis, who has an MS in Curriculum Design. Jesus Jam is creatively put together – a combination of journaling, art, media, reading, and even features guest speakers.
Designed for MS Girls
Mrs. Ellis relates well to the students, “I remember middle school years and I’m oh-so-familiar with being a girl and dealing with the pressure that life throws our way. I feel like the messages to girls are so mixed these days, too. I want the girls to have time to talk about these inconsistencies and, in many cases, these “lies,” and then to compare them to God’s truth.” Mrs. Ellis goes on to say, “I also want them to explore how they feel about the world around them, to set goals for their lives – internally and externally. Lastly and of equal importance, I want them to realize that there is enough good to go around to every girl, enough beauty in many forms for each of them, and that they are all critical to the big story. That way, they can cheer each other on rather than cut each other down.”
Unique and Together
The less “drama” girls have equals a larger positive impact on the world around them. Mrs. Ellis has a desire for them to leave her class knowing I am more than my face, clothes, income, grades.… my story is a good story. I am confident in this God-given identity—I am going to gain more, grow more and give more! I am confident in my gifts. I believe in the greatness God has given me even if it doesn’t look like the girl’s next to me. Her gift may be bigger, brighter, bolder or receive more applause or maybe mine does. But how much power we have in the girl tribe working together!
Why Jesus Jam
So, why name it Jesus Jam? A jam is usually a song that a person is wild about, maybe even to the point of it becoming her theme song or personal “anthem.” Mrs. Ellis hopes the girls discover that no matter what culture tells them, Jesus is always the baseline for their identities, their personal anthem – because they were made with intention, beauty, and purpose. “It is my dearest hope is that these precious daughters would leave this class knowing how intentionally God made them, how deeply he loves them, and how he intends for their lives to flourish for good. And that we have some fun while we are at it!”