August 2020 CACE Newsletter
August 2020 CACE Newsletter

Normally in August we would give our “Back-to-School” greetings, but some of you may feel as if you never left. Planning in the midst of a pandemic is ever-present and all-consuming. It seems as if we make daily adjustments based upon local, state, and national directives that seem to change every day. Where do we look for direction?

At a recent gathering in California, Rod Gilbert of Santa Fe Christian School reminded us of this quotation: “Navigate by the stars, not by the waves.” As Christian educators, we do not have to bob around aimlessly in this tumultuous sea. There is so much great work being done to further the quality and impact of Christian schools. Together we can navigate the storms of our current times, and by calmly doing our best, we share with our students, communities, and world the gift of God’s constant grace.

Here is a sampling of the things that we are working on at CACE:

  1. The CACE blogs keep rolling out! Check out two recent blogs in our current series:

    The Many Roads to Christian Deeper Learning: Center for Redemptive Education
    In this blog post, Senior Fellow Steven Levy shares a conversation with Amy Imbody, director of the Center for Redemptive Education. They discuss CRE’s work and its connection with Deeper Learning. In the blog she describes the values inherent in Redemptive Education:

    "[W]e have a high valuation of kids being in nature; of children having much more unstructured or unpressured time to engage in their learning, at every level–not just the little kids! We have a high valuation of kids’ initiative and response to God and His world. And the joyful expectation that God will not only bless our students with knowing Him but also with the opportunity to serve Him and His kingdom purposes in a vast range of expressions, many of which are typically absent or undervalued in traditional educational settings."

    Read Full Article > 

    Diversity in the Christian School: Creating Inclusive Chapels
    In a recent blog in this series, Jeromy Flowers of Southwest Christian School (SCS) in Fort Worth, TX encourages us to think about our worship experiences more inclusively. He describes their aspirations for chapel at SCS:

    "Going forward, we are committed to intentionally seeking out and inviting Christian leaders of color and from diverse ethnic backgrounds to speak in our chapels. Studies show that not only do students of color learn best in environments that include teachers and leaders who look like them, but we know it is also important for all our students to hear from people bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to the table.

    Another way we can celebrate diversity is in our understanding that worship styles are oftentimes created by culture. In order to diversify worship while staying true to the heart behind our praise, we plan to incorporate different genres of music. This new plan will be led by our current praise band or by guest groups."

    Read Full Article > 

  2. Here is an update from Teaching for Transformation (TfT) Director Darryl De Boer:

    Over the past few weeks, our 50+ TfT schools have been using TfT summer in-service (face to face or virtual) training to root their preparations for this coming school year in the deep hope of God’s story. As Wayne Dykstra, Head of Unity Christian School, shared after their TfT in-service day, “We are re-centered.”  It is inspiring to witness our Christian schools rooting their endless and innovative preparation for this unusual school year in the promises of their mission and vision.

    As we move forward in supporting Christian schools, CACE is committed to amplifying the communal benefits that comes from being part of the TfT network. Teachers across the network are invited to sign up for grade level (elementary) or subject-specific (intermediate, secondary) ongoing virtual collaboration throughout this school year--sharing and receiving ideas and feedback on everyday teaching with colleagues across the country. Likewise, school leadership are invited to sign up for ongoing, virtual training in Instructional Coaching--a chance to collaborate with other leaders across the network while gaining skills and tools to support their staff. As our CACE Executive Director often reminds us, “you can go faster alone but much farther together.
And don’t forget about the great work of other friends throughout the Christian Education network:
  1. The CESA Collective: In lieu of its annual in-person gathering, CESA created the “Symposium for Healthy Christian Schools, a curated, immersive experience to help educational leaders build healthy schools all year long through content, connection, and community.” For the past ten years, CESA has been a leader in pushing Christian schools to greater levels of quality, and as they go virtual, my hope is that many more will join the conversation. Don’t miss their new podcast, CESA Conversations.
  2. ACSI School Reopening Research: Lynn Swaner shared some great research that was done at the beginning of the shutdown, and she has now updated it as we prepare for the school year. She states, “The majority of Christian schools will be ready and open, in person, for the fall,” noting that over 80% of schools surveyed are planning for face-to-face learning. Most schools will also offer a distance learning option for school families. It is exciting to see that Christian schools will be ready to meet the needs of students and communities through various avenues of learning.
  3. Baylor’s Center for Christian Education Teacher Improvement Communities: Jon Eckert led a group of 400 teachers through a Virtual Learning Academy throughout July, and this new nine-month series will continue to focus on developing student well-being, engagement, and learning.
  4. Australian release of the Cardus Education Survey Results: Many of us in North America have followed this decade of research and know its impact on our work. Now we can see how this survey plays out in the Australian context. The results are now public and can be viewed here.
In faith, we are honored to step into this uncertain school year alongside you, our friends and fellow professionals in the field of Christian education.
Erik Ellefsen
Senior CACE Fellow
Humans are divinely created as relational creatures, and when things like pandemic-induced and government-enforced social isolation interfere with that creational reality, our well-being and mental health suffer.
Read Full Article > 
While Christian school leaders and admissions personnel understand the importance of the campus visit, there is surprisingly little attention to the details of the experience at many schools. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider.
Tim Van Soelen shares about some new initiatives at CACE

What's New at CACE

Hear Tim Van Soelen, CACE's director, discuss a couple of exciting new initiatives that CACE has been working on. Watch Video >

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