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 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?
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!
Last week, the Christian Schools International leadership convention was held at Trinity Christian College in Chicago, IL. In light of it being the 90th anniversary of CSI, the theme was Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future.
Jim Schaap of Dordt College led us off with an inspiring keynote that highlighted how Christian day school has been a journey of faith. Look for a shorter version of this speech in an upcoming Christian School Teacher magazine this year. (full disclosure – I edit Christian School Teacher magazine.)
Next, futurist Rex Miller (picture to the right) challenged us to with his excellent presentation called From Gutenberg to Google. You can view it via this link.
Mary Hulst, chaplain of Calvin College, closed by encouraging us to encourage our students’ relationship with Jesus Christ. She pointed out that even though we may give a solid worldview education in our schools, we need to focus more on helping kids enter into relationship with Jesus Christ.
We enjoyed some outstanding worship times led by Chip Dykema from Chicago Southwest Christian High School, excellent devotion times, stimulating workshops, and reuniting with long time friends.
We look forward to next year’s convention around the theme of caring for creation in Baltimore, Maryland. As I will again be involved in helping to plan this convention, I am open to any suggestions you may have around this theme.