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Meet the Van Dixhoorn Family of Delaware County Christian School

DC was a perfect fit—academically, spiritually, and socially.

Emily and Chad Van Dixhoorn met in a Philadelphia-area seminary, and faith has always been a guiding factor in their lives—Chad is a pastor, and Emily leads Bible study—as well as in raising their five children together. So when they were looking to return to the area, finding a school that matched their values was equally as important as one that provided their four school-age kids with excellent academic guidance, challenges, and opportunities. Delaware County Christian School (DC) so clearly fit their vision, that they based their home buying decision on proximity to DC. 

Today, Charlotte is in third grade, Peter in eighth grade, Ashley in 10th grade, and Caroline in 11th grade at DC, which runs from prekindergarten through 12th grade. The Van Dixhoorn kids approved of the school after browsing their website and being impressed with the academic offerings (including Advanced Placement courses), athletics, and arts programs. They also appreciated the large range of grades, so everyone could be a part of the same school community. Caroline and Ashley even took the train up from Virginia by themselves to come shadow for the day. They appreciated the breadth of opportunities the school offered. A family tour of the beautiful campuses—in Devon and Newtown Square—made the decision even more certain.


There are many faith-based schools to choose from in our area, but for Emily Van Dixhoorn, DC stood out for its approach to the Bible, its integration into daily life, and the commitment and expertise of the teachers. She appreciated that one Bible teacher is earning his PhD in theology and others are highly studied as well. Accordingly, they have high expectations for the students, and the focus is “more on a genuine relationship with God.”


In the Lower School, this focus is expressed through the use of an honor code that clearly defines student expectations. The honor code has four components, with each section relating to a specific scripture verse. This helps students realize their conduct goes beyond following rules, but is a way to live out their growing faith. The Lower School also connects little ones to nature with their outdoor classroom, both encouraging exploration and serving as a gentle reminder that “everything is created for God’s glory.”


As students grow, the small class size (with a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio) is an incredible feature that allows each child to shine. Charlotte, the youngest of the family, was initially a “reluctant reader,” and was slightly behind the class. With extra attention, and finding fun in the Read-a-thon, she is now reading two levels above grade level like many of her classmates. Meanwhile, Ashley’s proficiency in math was cultivated by attentive teachers who encouraged her to study over the summer and skip a grade ahead. “She is being stretched to reach her potential,” her mother relates. “Teachers help the kids find their gifts and develop them.”


The Schools for Applied and Innovative Learning (SAIL) program allows a broader range of study, with collaborative and interdisciplinary study in areas ranging from STEM to the humanities. SAIL encourages kids to take more risks, without the pressure of messing up their GPA. “I found my kids worked really hard in those classes, even though they weren’t for a grade. And I appreciate the broad experience it gave them,” Van Dixhoorn describes.


Van Dixhoorn also praises the college counselor at DC, noting his extensive blog with frequently asked questions to help students and parents: “He just has it all accessible and written out with in-depth answers.” College prep begins as early as eighth grade. Students can also participate in internship programs, spending some of their school day off-campus to gain some real-world insight into their interests and help them prepare for college and beyond.


While the academic and extracurricular opportunities at DC are impressive, ultimately the Van Dixhoorns knew it was the perfect fit for them because of the way it shapes its students to live with kindness, responsibility, and faith. “We have a shared call to honor God in the way we treat each other. Even with the bumps and bruises that come along the way in life, God helps us through them and there is a shared commitment to forgiving and pursuing unity and respect for each other.”

Do you think Delaware County Christian School is a good fit for your child or do you have questions for DC parents? Take a Virtual Tour!

Join the conversation in the comments, and visit Delaware County Christian School for a personal tour by contacting the Admissions Office at 610-353-6522 x2285 or admissions@dccs.org

Photographs by Perfectly Paired Photography.


Located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, PA and founded in 1950, DC has a rich history and remains a leader in Christian education. We are a diverse community of remarkable teachers and learners who strive for excellence in everything we do.