Christian Schools Canada Conference 2012


Thursday, September 27, 2012

KEYNOTE 1: Understanding and Change for 21st Century Christian Schooling – James Drexler

The mandate for Christian schooling is at least as old as Deuteronomy 6, but the realities of the 21st Century demand that educators grapple with not only understanding our times, but also demonstrating a willingness to change and grow so that students can thrive in their learning.

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1.1 Understanding and Change in Nurturing the School Community – James Drexler

Professional Learning Communities may prove to be a rich blessing for Christian schools. In this workshop, we will discuss how new and veteran teachers alike can learn to collaborate and grow together through new leadership models and paradigms for schooling, all of which will enable students to learn more.

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1.2 Growing Our Schools – Understanding the Importance of Strategic Planning – Peter Meerveld

Is your school experiencing declining enrollment? Is your school competing against other choices for education? Is the quality of education at your school not always meeting the demands of parents, students and their future careers? Is the school’s revenue stream not keeping pace with the programs you would like to put in place? Is your school lacking the vibrancy of a first-rate Christian community of learning? Other organizations in these situations opted to undertake a Strategic Planning process to better understand how to manage their challenges, increase the vibrancy of their school and attract more parents and students. Schools with clear goals and strategies are now benefiting from the success of their Plan.

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1.3 Leadership And Justice: Staying True To Our Story – Dave Loewen

Christian Schools in Canada exist in a culture in transition from modernity to postmodernity. Often we decry the influence of the story of postmodernity on our students (and ourselves?). However, we tend to do so with our feet planted firmly in the story of modernity and with subtle longings for premodern simplicity. We do this in the way we think about curriculum, the way we describe our leadership roles and by the very language we use to define reality for our school communities. We need to have a more nuanced understanding of “the times” in order to ensure changes that are both effective and faithful. The goal of this workshop will be to expose the contested spaces within which our school communities exist and to raise questions as to how we are to be faithful to the Biblical story within that context.

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1.4 Finding Purpose and Place in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Narrative – Justin Cook

If my work is to pursue a narrative intelligence and imagination with teenagers, what has my own professional narrative revealed to me about my role? I’ve always wanted to be a dynamic leader in the classroom. But what did I think I knew and what do I know now? How did my educational leaders help me along the way? What have become my priorities for Christian school learning in the 21st Century? Tracing my professional identity through three incredible schools might help us to consider where teachers come from and where they should be going.

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1.5 Information Technology, Resources and Teacher Understanding: An Administrator’s Responsibility – Brad Martens

Administrators can no longer sit idle and watch technology pass their schools by. The need for strong, confident leadership, where the administrator assumes an active role in the development of IT in the school is essential. Come and join me as we take some practical steps in planning for a more complete understanding of technology in our schools.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Keynote #2: Raising up Children of Issachar: Nurturing a Flourishing Faith – Dan Beerens

How can we develop a new vision of Christian education that raises up students who are strong and passionate seekers of the kingdom? Why not re-define our desired student outcomes around the concept of flourishing? Might it be an approach that is reflective of what we have learned recently about student faith development, brain development, 21st century skills, as well as reflect a sounder Biblical basis? Might it assist us with redesigning our school structures to better empower students and meet our missions?

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2.1 Understanding and Change: Qualities of a Faith Flourishing Education – Dan Beerens

Explore seven critical features of an educational experience that promote student flourishing at all grade levels. Specific examples and resources will be shared that elaborate on, and help us to shape, our vision for students.

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2.2 Understanding and Change in Communications – Peter Pula

How we understand change and leadership has changed significantly in the past few years. The most successful change efforts are deeply democratic, emergent, and self-organizing. Just as educators and journalists are moving from lecture to conversation, from content expert to convenor and connector, communicators are also seeing their role change. During this session we will explore the links between co-creative communications, community creation, discovery, and a narrative of possibility. You will take a journey through trends and assets. We will identify together a new story taking shape. We will also prototype ways we could work together to create a life-giving news network for renewal and reinvention in education.

2.3 Understanding and Change in Discipline Policy: Restorative Justice – A New Way Forward – Anne Martin

Participants will be introduced to Restorative Practice in the context of understanding discipline in schools. We will: 1) consider ways Restorative Practice is a framework to create and sustain healthy relationships, challenges traditional understandings of discipline, and 2) learn some restorative practices to provide opportunities for nurturing respectful behaviour in the classroom and the staffroom.

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2.4 Teaching for Transformation: What is TFT? And How Do I Catch It? Part 1 -Doug Monsma

This session will provide an overview of the TFT curriculum design model—a model that offers some interesting new ideas about formative Christian education. This project provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences, grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on the Biblical story. Come to hear some wonderful stories of how teachers are using the TFT model in their classrooms. Hear how TFT has transformed learning experiences and the excitement that it has brought to the classroom and curriculum planning. Find out how the TFT project has united over 25 schools as teachers collaboratively build units using the TFT process. Learn about the components of the TFT process as you enjoy the stories. This session is a great introduction to the TFT project.Session 2.4 and 3.4 are sponsored by the Prairie Center for Christian Education and will be hosted by Doug Monsma.

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2.5 One School’s Experience with Online Education – Alex VanDonkersgoed

Halton Hills Christian School in Georgetown, Ontario has been experimenting with teaching online in an asynchronous, authentic, project-based model. In the school year of 2011-2012 we launched a pilot project we called “Christian Education in a Digital Age”. We enrolled a small, select group of grade 8 students from 6 different schools in this program. This workshop will outline our experiences from this past year, both our joys and our failures. If you are interested in online education and all the other buzzwords in this description please join this workshop.

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2.6 Healthy International Development for Schools – Hank DeJong, EduDeo

EduDeo Ministries has a strategic mandate to better connect with and engage Canadian Christian schools. This workshop will focus on how to best partner and build healthy international relationships with people and communities in a different contexts, especially in developing country. This workshop will touch on such topics as: the definition of poverty; asset-based community development; the basics of good international partnerships, and much more. In addition, you will learn about the programs EduDeo Ministries has designed to assist Canadian Christian schools. Together, let’s ensure that we are doing more good than harm as we seek to come alongside our brothers and sisters in the global body of Christ.

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Friday, September 28, 2012 Continued

Keynote #3: Understanding What Christian Schools Want and Get – Ray Pennings

Is there an alignment between the motivations and outcomes for Christian education, especially in the areas of academic achievement, spiritual formation and cultural engagement? Cardus has examined this question, relying in part on a representative survey of graduates in the United States in 2011 and Canada in 2012. This keynote will highlight some of the key findings and explore some of the questions this data provokes.

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3.1 Spiritual, Cultural and Academic Outcomes – A Closer Look – Ray Pennings
In this session, the results of the Cardus Education Survey will be presented in more detail.

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3.2 Upward or Homeward: Leading Educational Change for Upward Mobility or for Homecoming – Dennis DeGroot

Writers Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson suggest that there is only one Major to be engaged with in our universities and that Major is called Upward Mobility. I believe we can conclude that in many ways this can also be said about our schools, even our Christian schools. These two poets suggest a new Major called Homecoming. How ought we as Christian educational leaders be molding our schools toward deep connection to the creation and its care, deep satisfaction and gratitude for God’s good gifts and away from the destructive upwardly mobile, consumer-oriented life we are immersed in? Do the new learning tools form faithfulness in our students or bring them further away from it? We need radically different starting points for our curriculum and programs which lead us toward our true Home.

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3.3 Understanding and Change: Promising Pedagogical Practices – Dan Beerens

If we want to produce flourishing students, we must examine practices that provide deep engagement and strong mission connection. How can we purposely plan for, and develop staff to engage in these practices? What kinds of leadership is needed by principals and teachers to effectively incorporate innovative practices that promote student flourishing?

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3.4 Teaching for Transformation: An Invitation to a Better Story, Part 2 – Doug Monsma

This session will explore the TFT process in more depth by looking at a TFT unit exemplar and the actual design process used to create it. Hear stories about how schools are using the TFT process to build teacher learning teams and create a culture of collaboration. Spend some time getting to know the TFT Share site, where all this great TFT work is being shared. Consider the invitation to join in this collaborative project.

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3.5 Understanding and Change in Parental Influence in the 21st Century- Mark Vander Vennen

The dynamics of parental influence in schools appear to be shifting in the 21st century. One example is the emergence of “helicopter parents”. These shifts seem much more pronounced in “parent-led” Christian schools. Are they a bane or a blessing? How do we work with them? In this interactive workshop, we will listen to your stories and focus on strategies and approaches that seek to develop genuine collaboration between parents, students and teachers.

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3.6 21st Century Technology for 21st Century Leaders – Henry Au

21st century technology offers tools that can make a leader’s day more organized and more productive. Come and explore tools for communicating, monitoring, social networking, learning and sharing. Integrate practices that will transform the way you work while modeling 21st century skills and, more importantly, digital citizenship to your staff and students.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keynote #4: Understanding Leadership in the 21st Century – Walter Wright

What is leadership? Who leads? Who follows? Who cares? The leadership relationship is about influence, about vision, and values, about shaping the beliefs and character that form behavior. How shall we design leadership to replicate itself in the decades ahead?

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4.1 Don’t Step on the Rope – Walter Wright

With the metaphor of a mountain climbing rope, the workshop will explore the relationships among leadership character, organizational culture and meaningful accomplishment. Through questions, stories and research participants will examine the rope that connects relationships, resilience and results. The character of leadership is roped to the bottom line.

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4.2 Understanding and Change in Financial Leadership – Jennie Das

The principal is an “ex officio” member of every committee, including Finance. Do you ensure that “right of office” is understood by your board? Put the “3 Rs” on hold while we talk about the “3 Bs”: Budgets, Bursaries and the Big Ask. In this session, we’ll highlight some key financial concepts that affect a school’s viability and explore the importance of the principal’s involvement. The stewardship of resources (human and financial) is faith in action. Providing leadership to your board, your parents and your community in this area is part of your job, is it not?

4.3 Charting your Course: Following Your School’s North Star – Darryl DeBoer

When a Christian school has a deep understanding of “why” they exist, their decisions surrounding “how” they educate and “what” they do moment to moment becomes very clear and results in a solid sense of identity, purpose and responding to the call to build the Kingdom. Come listen to one school’s story in which weekly professional development has become essential for establishing a North Star for staff to chart their course as they invite their school community to be part of a better story.

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4.4 Understanding Board Leadership in the 21st Century- Mary Lou McPherson

With knowledge comes understanding. In this interactive session, you’ll be introduced to the seven disciplines of governance excellence—those areas that, when executed well, position your school to be the impactful, life-molding force it is called to be.

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4.5 CSIonline Academy: Models for Online Learning – Tim Krell

CSIonline Academy began offering courses for Christian Schools International member schools this fall. Online learning can take on various forms in junior high and high schools. Help shape future program models for CSI in Canada through a lively dialogue about online learning and find out how your school might augment its current program with online courses from CSIonline Academy.

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4.6 Three Siebs Revisited: Keeping Hope Alive in Christian Schools – Julius Siebenga, Nathan Siebenga, Ren Siebenga

Hope abounds in Christian schools! The delightful dance of leading, guiding, pushing, prodding and following our dance partners is a hootenanny. The allemandes right and left can seem confusing and personally threatening but are actually movements to a more open floor. Come dance with us as we share what the Siebs are hoping into the future. We promise no bunny hop but …

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Cambridge, Ontario