I am excited to be partnering with Dynamic Internet Solutions to be putting on our first annual Strengthening Christian Schools conference to be held November 7 & 8 in northwest Indiana. We are pleased to have our website active – check it out for more information – www.scsconference.com!
As you can see this is my first update to this blog for a while – it seems like it has been non-stop since I last updated!
It has been my privilege to work with many schools in the past months with curriculum mapping – our school network using Curriculum Trak continues to grow – we are now over 75 schools! In August and September I enjoyed working with the faculty members at Davidson Academy in Nashville, TN, Calvary Academy in Fort Worth, TX, Foothills Community Christian School in Great Falls, MT, Beaver County Christian in Beaver County, PA, and Grandville Christian in Grandville, MI.
On the speaking front, it was exciting to speak to the Halton Hills, (ON) Christian Schools faculty and to Lansing Christian School teachers in late August about 21st century learning: “Designing 21st Century Christian Schools.” Last week it was a great honor to provide one of the keynote addresses for the Christian School Canada conference in Cambridge, ON: “Raising up Children of Issachar: Nurturing a Flourishing Faith.” I also presented two follow-up workshops: “Understanding and Change: Qualities of a Faith Flourishing Education” and “Understanding and Change: Promising Pedagogical Practices.” I am thrilled by the excitement and conversations happening in Christian Schools Canada right now around project based learning and becoming 21st century Christian schools.
Post conference note – the keynote and workshops are available as audio recordings on the Christian Schools Canada website.
I am delighted to be working with Edifide (formerly the Ontario Christian School Teachers Association) and OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) during their winter PD days. They are moving in some exciting directions – really embracing the kinds of change that needs to be happening in Christian schools. My keynote and workshop speeches are on the topic “Equipping Daniels/Danielles for the 21st Century – Why We Need to Think About This, What Do We Need to Do, and How Do We Do This?”
I am also excited to be one of the keynote speakers for the Christian Schools Canada conference coming up in the end of September. I look forward to great conversations about Christian education in Canada!
I am excited to be delivering three keynote addresses at ACSI’s summer conference in Columbia, South Carolina this summer! Here is what I will be speaking about:
Keynote Address #1 : Faith Forming: A Foundation for Foolishness
Have you considered whether the graduates of your school are “foolish enough” by the apostle Paul’s standards of I Cor. 1:18-30? If our mission is to nurture faith in students, we need to consider how faith is formed, what and who impacts faith, and identify language and models that help us work with students in the faith formation process. How do we bridge from lofty missions to intentional and distinctive daily practice?
Keynote Address #2: Flock Feeding: Helping Sheep to Flourish
As teachers and administrators we are all shepherds and leaders. How can we best help all in our schools to flourish and grow? What are the Biblical aspects of leading as a prophet, priest, and king? Committing to living, learning, and telling the truth means that we commit to principles and practices that help to grow people in community. What kind of leadership helps our flock to flourish?
Keynote Address #3: Future-casting: Creating God-Honoring Culture Together
As we look to the future, we first look to the past for inspiration and to consider what kinds of minds and hearts we seek. What is needed for Christian education to be a truly generative and creative endeavor for all? What is needed for a true “curriculum” – a journey into God’s truth? How can we give our best offering of praise and point students toward the kingdom, fully enabling them to use their gifts?
As a speaker who goes around North America (mostly!) doing staff development with schools, I always enjoy the interaction with teachers and administrators. However, what I enjoy hearing most is that what I have studied, put together, and presented really is making a difference. To that end, I purposely have put follow-up points in my presentations, and encourage principals to take opportunity to use the questions I ask to stimulate further discussion and dialog with their staff.
Recently I was invited to Unity Christian in Fulton, IL and I thought principal Dick Ritzema did a very wise thing by devoting a day of follow-up discussion with staff around the topics that I raised in my presentation. He shared with me the kinds of progress they made on that day – here is a clipping from his parent bulletin. Great job, Dick and Unity staff!
I recently had the opportunity to be a speaker at ICEC (International Children’s Education Conference) held in Seoul, Korea for ASCI (Association of Christian Schools International) November 24-26 and then spend an additional week (November 28-December 5) speaking and consulting with Christian schools and organizations there. What a great experience to connect with other Christian educators and see and hear of the work of the Holy Spirit around the globe! Twenty-eight countries from Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America were represented by the over 880 educators at the conference.
It is hard to know where to begin – even though our world has shrunk through technology it is still a big world – flying at 500 m.p.h. for 14 hours clearly makes that point in a physical way! I was so impressed with the Asiana flight going there – superb customer service!
During the conference I spoke on faith enhancing practices in the classroom, student faith formation, teacher evaluation and professional growth, and educational change and technology. These topics were also ones that part of my presentations in the following week.
It was very exciting to hear the stories and passion of international Christian educators as well as to sing and praise together! While there, the OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) contacted me about the experience – my observations during the first week are recorded here.
More to come – still processing these two wonderful weeks!
I am very excited to make these excellent resources available to schools. My passion is to strengthen Christian education and these kits and books will definitely help individuals and school faculties in the work of Christian education. You can access these by clicking on the store tab on this website or by clicking on a link below.
1) Faculty discussion kits – my friend, Michael Essenburg from the Christian Academy of Japan, has developed four excellent kits that can help faculties develop their thinking about teaching and learning. These 7 session kits can be used in discussion settings such as faculty meetings or PLC work sessions. Click on a kit below to see more details:
- Help Your Students Connect God’s World and Word
- Use Assessment
- Use Questions
- Meet Student Learning Needs
2) Science teacher survival guide – veteran science teacher, Tim Eimer, has learned many things he knows the hard way and wants to make it a bit easier for new middle grades science teachers and those suddenly assigned science teaching duties! He has put together a superb “hands on” guide called “Survival Guide for Science Teachers in the Middle Grades – Rescuing Christian teachers from boring lessons and controversial pitfalls.” Click on this link for more information.
3) Book recommendations for curriculum integration, faith development, leadership, school improvement, and teacher evaluation – here are some of the books I have found most helpful in these areas.