Christian Schools Canada Conference 2016


Thursday, September 22 11:00 am

Building Collective Efficacy through Relational Leadership

– Krista Mulder – MB 253

Effective school leaders work to create cultures of innovation, collaboration and growth. How do we as leaders foster this type of environment? As human beings, we were created to be in relation with one another. As a school leader, I have used relational leadership as an approach that engages all school staff, helping them see how our collective efforts will make a difference for our students and our school community.

Cardus Education Survey 2016: Are we equipping the next generation of Canadian school graduates to love their neighbour?

Beth Green – MB 252

This session reports the latest results of the Cardus Education Survey of school sector outcomes. This year Cardus surveyed Canadian graduates and Dr. Green will present the key findings from our Cardus Education report with a particular emphasis on how Christian K-12 schools compare to government, independent and other religious schools on academic, social and civic outcomes.

Deeper Learning – Part One

Dan Beerens, Krista Wallace, and Steven Levy– MB Auditorium

Have you been considering if Deeper Learning is right for your school? What is meant by the term Deeper Learning? What are the differences/similarities between PBL, TFT, and EL? How does a Deeper Learning approach align with my school’s mission distinctiveness? What does Deeper Learning look like in the classroom? How do I know if my school is ready for Deeper Learning? What are the best ways to get started? Join the three of us in an interactive presentation/discussion format to consider these questions and your questions.

Drums and Cedar Planks – A school’s journey into reconciliation

Darryl DeBoer and Matthew Beimers – Elder Tom Crane Bear Room

A little over a year ago, we completed a grant proposal that would help Surrey Christian School work towards implementing British Columbia’s new curriculum – as a school we wanted to deepen our understanding of the First People’s Principles of learning, a core document in the new curriculum. Little did we know that this starting point would begin a journey of personal and communal transformation for the students and staff of Surrey Christian School. What started as ideas and hopes on paper has grown into authentic relationships, personal reflections and a deeper understanding of our neighbours. This workshop will embody two of the First Peoples Principles of Learning – that learning is embedded in story and that learning requires exploration of one’s identify. We invite you to come listen to the stories of our journey into reconciliation

Offering Leadership for This Time and Place: Faith-based education programs in a complex social world

Lloyd Den Boer – MB 251

In a much simpler world than our own, faith-based education faculties would serve Christian schools by generating scholarship informed by a Christian educational vision and preparing teachers who will be guided by that vision in their teaching. The fit between Christian university education programs and Christian schools would be direct and uncomplicated. Our world is a more complex one in which the faith-based education program that I represent educates more students aiming to teach in public schools than in Christian schools. Moreover, we teach not only Christian students, but also Muslims and Buddhists and students of no professed faith at all. This workshop will tell the unfinished story, of how our education faculty has worked together to make renewed sense of our mission. Our work suggests that there are additional ways in which faith-based education programs can offer leadership meant for our time and place to Christian schools.

Thirty-Six Years at the Helm: What I learned along the way

Jim Marsh– MB 150

The Christian school world has changed dramatically since 1969 when I graduated from Calvin College and entered the world of teaching and leading Christian schools. A more secular, consumer driven, technological, and fast changing culture has altered the role and expectations for Christian school leaders and board members. This session will include reflections and calls to action based on my thirty-six years leading Christian schools, serving as the Director of the Van Lunen Center, and being involved with various Christian school organizations and communities.

Thursday, September 22 2:45 pm

Deeper Learning – Part Two

Dan Beerens, Krista Wallace, and Steven Levy– MB Auditorium

Are you motivated to try out Deeper Learning in your school, but can’t imagine where to begin? This workshop will dive into the HOW of implementing Deeper Learning school-wide, focusing on a four year implementation guide. You will also explore your role as school leader, change maker, and dream giver on this journey. Practical suggestions will be given related to structures, processes, sequence, and a year by year plan.

Diversity on the Independent School Landscape: Understanding Christian schools in context

Deani Van Pelt – MB 253

With enrolments increasing in the independent school sector, it is important to understand the diversity of independent schools across the country. As choice for parents increases in the sector, so does the competition. What is the range of independent school types, what are some key defining features, and how are they distributed across the country? How are enrolments in private schools distributed across the country? And more specifically, how does the Christian school sector compare in size and distribution to the other independent religious or specialty schools on the landscape in Canada? Join this interactive session—national in scope and provincial in detail—based on recent data from each ministry (department) of education, and consider what the promising and alarming implications are for Christian schools in Canada.

Experiencing Christ in the Classroom: Cultivating practices that promote faith and learning

Darren Spyksma and Shannon Gillespie – MB 252

Experiencing Christ in the Classroom (ECC) is a school-based professional development program aimed to support teachers in examining the everyday pedagogical decisions they make in order to increase the development of faith and learning in students. Using the latest research on effective professional development, ECC encourages teachers to look at the minutiae of their personal practice to ensure that the decisions they make are indeed forming students toward involvement in God’s story, not the competing stories of the world. Through ongoing professional development throughout the year, teachers are embedded in a collegial community walking the same professional learning journey. This collaboration allows teachers the opportunity to experience the very community Christ embodied while on earth. This workshop will introduce school leaders to a school-wide structure to support their staff in working toward designing a learning culture and community with faith formation at its core.

How Does International Baccalaureate Fit into a Christian School?

David Michel – MB 251

In North America, International Baccalaureate (IB) is sometimes known as an elitist program for the gifted and not necessarily seen as a good fit for Christian schools. It is also known as a humanist program that challenges Christian teaching and learning. This session will challenge that thinking, and will demonstrate how IB provides an approach to learning that prepares all students for the 21st century. Learn about IB programmes and the White Rock Christian Academy journey to become an IB World School.

If Not Real, Then What?

Brian Doornenbal, Darryl deBoer, and Doug Monsma – Elder Tom Crane Bear Room

James K Smith in Desiring the Kingdom wrote “The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people—a people who desire the kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression of that desire” If you agree with Smith, then the burning question must be, “How do we get peculiar?”

Come listen to stories of “peculiar” classroom learning that will show students finding their place within God’s Story as they do REAL WORK that meets a REAL NEED with REAL PEOPLE. As you interact around these stories, you will reflect on how these learning experiences become formational in the lives of students when we:

  • Invite them to explore their role in the Kingdom story
  • Nurture them to desire to be a peculiar people
  • Empower them to practice their life’s expression

Be inspired and encouraged as you get glimpses of the Kingdom in the work of ordinary-peculiar teachers and students in Christian Schools.

Sifted: Rediscovering God’s plan for your life

Joel Westa – MB 150

Unceremoniously fired after 25 years of service for seemingly no reason can leave you shaken and questioning God’s plan for your life. Whether you are a Wing Commander or a principal, your ability to survive and thrive after suffering a loss can be enhanced by an understanding of how God operates in times of trial and how your response in these times of trial matters. This session will provide Biblical insight and lessons learned after the experiences of living through this and coming through that crucible.

Friday, September 23 9:00 am

Efficacy is Gold

John DeBoer – MB 253
Efficacy happens when a person believes deep down that what they do makes a difference. At King’s Christian Collegiate, we have scheduled weekly Research and Development sessions (R and D) so that teachers can continually grow as qualified, instructional experts in a culture of collegial professionalism. We believe that intentionally designed learning experiences shared by all faculty over time will result in successful learning opportunities for all students. This session shares King’s story and what we have learned after 15 years of R and D.

Fire and Wine: Scaling transformation in school communities

Mike Riezebos, Karin Reimer, Sandra Barthel, and Seth Bakker – MB 251
Find out how learning leaders created a movement for change and a culture of collaboration in their school community. Follow the story of how they developed a teacher education program where professionals engage in a learning community to develop project-based learning pedagogical practices. Take away strategies that can be used at your own institution.

How Does One Share Expertise Without Going on a Power Trip? Lessons from the Field

Hank de Jong and Robert Koole – MB 150
EduDeo Ministries is a Canadian, Christian, mission organization serving children in developing countries with quality education rooted in a Biblical worldview. Its Walking Together program provides opportunities for numerous Christian educators to share expertise with educators in developing countries. After many years of serving in education in North America, participating in the Walking Together program encompasses both an outward and an inward journey. Outwardly, a participant transitions from feelings of cultural superiority to cultural appreciation through a process of partnering. Inwardly, a participant moves from being viewed as an educational expert to becoming a learning leader who walks alongside educator colleagues working and living in very different educational contexts. Furthermore, a participant transitions from a culturally-rooted biblical worldview to experiencing diverse views in the context of sharing one biblical faith. This workshop will share examples and stories of transformation and resilience in the context of sharing power and influence across borders.

Power and the Christian School Leader: How do our practices empower/disempower the members of our community?

David Loewen – Elder Tom Crane Bear Room
As a Christian School leader there is a certain amount of power explicitly attached to the role. However, in any school culture there are also dynamics of power and authority at play that lie outside of official roles and positions. This workshop will spend some time deconstructing the term ‘power’ and how it plays out in Christian School settings. Key areas covered will include: power and discourse, socio-cultural dynamics, theological/denominational factors, assumed norms and practices (hegemonies), and a discussion of ways of ‘handling’ power that foster a culture of growth in which those involved are enabled to thrive and a sense of the Spirit’s leading is present.

Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Considerations for Christian Schools: A panel conversation for Christian school leaders

Kristie Spyksma, Peter Buisman, and Tricia Stobbe (Moderated by Elco Vandergrift) – MB Auditorium
Panelists will share thoughts, from their vantage point as leaders involved in Christian Education, surrounding the issue of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identify in Christian Schools. Perspectives shared will try to answer the question of what our response ought to be, especially given the new legal challenges that exist, and will also explore the issue with a focus on students who are struggling with this and the impact this creates in a school community.

Why Do We Have to Learn This? Protocols for Engaging in Beautiful Student Work

Justin Cook – MB 252
One of the Dimensions of Learning in OACS Schools is “Beautiful Work.” What is the purpose behind the work we assign to students? What qualities will we observe in “beautiful” student work? Together we will examine actual student work to clarify the purpose of the Christian school and inspire greater possibilities for what our students might accomplish in their learning. Leaders will leave with a “Quality Work Protocol” that they can take back to their own schools for professional learning.