‘Helping our students become well-rounded individuals’

Kristiana Scott
Rocky Bayou Christian School provides a faith-based education in the Destin community.

As Rocky Bayou Christian School (RBCS) gears up for a new school year, Principal Joe Quilit has big plans for the Destin campus and its students.

“We are looking at several new things this school year,” Quilit said. “We’ve added new programs and events aimed at helping our students become well-rounded individuals. We want them to grow academically, spiritually, socially and develop character and our faith-based education system offers that.”

Exciting plans are underway for RBCS in Destin, Quilit said. The school is offering a ukulele club, “likely the first of its kind in the county”, and has hired a Destin Spanish teacher, offering a foreign language to all grades K5 through 6th. A handful of signature field trips have also been added to the school year, giving 4th, 5th and 6th graders the chance to travel out of town to visit science museums, the State Capital, learn about history at the Montavalo American Village and swim with Manatees in central Florida. Students in younger grades will do day trips, traveling to local areas of interest including Mattie Kelly events, E.O Wilson Biophilia Center Museum and more.

RBCS faculty members are currently completing Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) training — a program that enhances the cognitive skills necessary for independent learning and thinking. The program is based on the theories and research of Reuven Feuerstein, professor of cognitive psychology. 

“We’re excited to offer the FIE program for our students,” Quilit said. “All of our teachers are certified to teach these cognitive instruments, proven to be very effective, particularly in students that struggle academically. Dr. Reuven Feuerstein who authored Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) believed that intelligence is modifiable. Quilit shared his own personal experiences teaching students with learning differences and seeing significant academic growth following the FIE instruction.

Along with these new programs, RBCS is also looking into the “technology side of the house.” Quilit told The Log the school has a 5-year plan to implement more online technology, to enhance student learning and taking full advantage of technology in the learning process. 

“Kids thrive when using technology,” he said. “We are trying to think of different ways to communicate information, and the technology aspect is very important. We already use iPads and interactive white boards, but are always looking to improve and expand our capabilities.”

And as part of their Christian-based education, RBCS teaches the importance of community service.

“Here at RBCS, we think it’s important to serve our community,” he said. “We are involved in community events — visiting retirement centers, serving those in the community by helping with clean up efforts and yard work, helping to stock local food banks, beautification projects — it’s important. And our students seem to really enjoy serving others.”

On the academic level, RBCS students recently scored significantly above national academic averages in core subjects on standardized testing. Quilit attributes this to the school’s faith-based education, excellent student-teacher ratio of 8 to 1, positive student attitudes and parental involvement during the school year.

“Parents play a major role in their children’s schooling,” Quilit said. “We welcome their comments, their suggestions and take their suggestions to heart — and make changes accordingly. Parents have great influence on our school, and that’s how it should be.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Rocky Bayou Christian School, attend the Destin campus Open House August 11 from 1-4 p.m. for a meet and greet with the principal and teachers. The school is located at First Baptist Church, 201 Beach Drive in Destin. You can also visit their website at www.rbcs.org or call admissions at 279-3727.