Christian Schools Canada Conference 2014


Thursday 3:00 pm

  • Framing and Reframing Teacher Excellence

    – Erik Hoekstra and Timothy Van Soelen

    A frame, in this context, is a set of ideas and assumptions that we carry in our head to help us understand and negotiate a particular territory. Deal and Bolman provide an interesting model for leaders to study as we consider the virtues and drawbacks of the organized activities we use to develop teacher excellence. In this session, the concept of frames as mental maps to negotiate our way through this common territory will be explored. Case studies will be embedded within the conversation as several frames will be introduced, along with some additional theories on developing teacher excellence.

    Reconciliation as Transformation: Working Towards a Culturally Inclusive Model of Aboriginal Learning

    – Kevin Visscher and Jeremy Tinsley

    We invite you hear the exciting story of how God is working at Duncan Christian School. Over the last five years, there has been steady growth of Aboriginal students in the school. This has come with both blessings and challenges. The leadership and staff of Duncan Christian School have come to recognize that as God brings Aboriginal families to the school it is important to acknowledge the cultural differences in how Aboriginal families view education. We seek to work with our Aboriginal families in an environment where Christ’s love reigns, reconciling cultural misconceptions and teaching practices, learning to love and appreciate them, and providing unique supports as we come to a better understanding of each student’s unique strengths and needs.

    Followup Discussion on Keynote #1

  • Christian School Leaders as Spiritual Leaders

    – Jeff Blamer

    God has called us to lead and to follow. Stories in Scripture inform us as we answer his call. Both Testaments contain models of biblical leadership. In the Old Testament the picture of shepherd and flock provides us a leadership model to shape our servant leadership. In the New Testament the relationship between rabbi and disciple guides us toward relational leadership as modeled by Jesus.

    Teaching for Transformation

    Doug Monsma and Darryl DeBoer

    If you agree that 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” (James Smith), then there are some questions that need answering!

    • How peculiar are your students?
    • How strong is their desire for the kingdom of God?
    • How effectively have they been equipped to undertake this call?
    • Is there a better way?

    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. This session is a great introduction to the TFT project. Consider the invitation to join in this collaborative project!

Friday 10:30 am

  • Leading the Christian School in a Rapidly Changing World: What Does it Take?

    – Jim Marsh

    Leadership of Christian schools has changed dramatically during the past twenty years. Most heads of school are well-trained as instructional leaders. However, today’s head of school is expected to effectively serve as a chief executive office as well. This session will explore the changing landscape of Christian school leadership and how heads of school must be trained, equipped, and nurtured to meet increased expectations and demands.

    Moral Issues Facing Faith-Based Schools

    – Doug Lauson

    With emerging trends in Canadian society, faith-based schools are faced with questions that test the school’s ability to maintain its commitment to its religious philosophy and identity, while still accommodating the needs of the student. Doug Lauson, Superintendent of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese, will share his experiences in dealing with such complex and sensitive matters. In his presentation, Mr. Lauson will provide participants with information and perspectives that will help Christian schools develop policies to support children with medical and psychological conditions relating to their sexuality.

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

    – Nathan Siebenga

    Organizations that fly are organizations that have been freed to leave the cage. Freeing our organizations to fly demands that the leadership unifies the school’s learning mission, resources and development around a plan and a vision. Intentional amounts of time and energy must be focused on the talent within the building in order to accomplish the plan. And there are plenty of examples of how to align the talent towards a vision. Come to hear new ideas, offer exciting results and discuss best practices in talent development.

    Why Ontology Matters in Education

    – Kimberly Franklin

    Parker Palmer prioritized ontology when he asserted that the most important question in education is “Who is the person teaching?” Another way to phrase that question would be to ask what way of being does the educator have in the world? What is the structural truth of their existence? How are they situated in the world? This question points to scriptural understandings about truth and existence and about the potential of teaching truth. Our lives, when we are in union with Christ, are a movement from being to well-being to eternal being – from ‘glory to glory’ – we become true. We recognize that we are utterly contingent and interdependent, that all of life is a gift, that all ground is holy ground, and that all knowing is revelation. This recognition radically situates us as persons and educators and frees us from atomistic, individualistic ways of non-being. However, this freedom is not always easily translated into educational settings. This session seeks to extend the importance of the ontological question to the learner by exploring two additional questions: “What kind of existence do we hope for our learners?” and “How can we as educational leaders participate in creating educational spaces that help our learners become transformed – to go from being to well-being to eternal being?”

    Followup Discussion on Keynote #2

    Followup Discussion on Keynote #3

  • Servant Leaders in Conflict

    – Daryl Page

    How do you deal with conflict from a servant leadership perspective? In this session we will review the diamond model of servant leadership and then discuss ways to manage conflict. We tend to think Christians should all get along but the reality is conflict is a necessary struggle in any school. Dealing with conflict from a servant leadership perspective helps us all try to work towards managing conflicts before they get out of control. Come prepared to discuss stories and interact with each other to strengthen our learning opportunities.

    Imagining the Kingdom by Fostering the Lifeworld

    – Dave Loewen

    Jamie Smith’s works, Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom are about “the renewal of practice, so in many ways practitioners are (his) ultimate audience.” As Christian Educational leaders, we are those practitioners so we’ll take some time in this workshop to discuss the impact Smith’s ideas have on how we do Christian Education and Christian Educational Leadership. We’ll wrestle with the following questions: How do we shape our practices as educators and leaders given the tension Smith raises between the intellectual and rational on the one hand, and on the other, the imaginative and affective? How do we talk about curriculum and pedagogy? How do walk through the decision-making process as leaders? And how do we place these two realms (intellectual and affective) of the human experience into a workable and honest paradigm that can facilitate our daily practice of enabling students and staff to understand their place in the Kingdom of God?

    South Africa: The Challenges Facing Public and Christian Education Post-Apartheid

    – South Africa delegation: David Tshishivhiri, Thivha Ratshibvumo, Liphadzi Tshililo

    South Africa has changed a lot since 1994. This change has extended to education. Although all children have access to education, the quality of the education varies greatly. Christian Education is possible in South Africa but getting schools started and operational is difficult. This seminar will introduce Canadian Christian School Educators to hear first hand why there is a need for Christian Education, what two Christian schools are achieving and what the prospects are for growing Christian schools.

    The Future of School Libraries Is Not a “Closed Book”

    – Michelle Davis

    “There are always winners and losers in technological change.” ~ Neil Postman

    Neil Postman once warned that “Technology giveth and technology taketh away”. We live in a time of radical change where technology provides unprecedented opportunities and great potential to transform K-12 education. However, with technology, there are always downsides. There are trade-offs. We see this in our school libraries across Canada. While some schools and districts recognize the library—or its newest incarnation The Learning Commons—as a catalyst for change in schools and a means to effectively address a transition to digital learning, others are reducing library hours and services, or considering closing them altogether. The school library is not an obsolete institution, so why are we cutting its services and closing its doors?

    Here’s the flipside: Diane Oberg reports that “while in parts of Canada we are cutting back on school libraries, in parts of Europe they are being supported as a source for educational reform”. Oberg explains how countries around the world are capitalizing on the school library’s potential to meet the needs of 21st Century learners. For example, did you know that in 2011, Sweden passed a law making school libraries mandatory in all schools?

    Come and explore the innovative ways in which school libraries around the world are being transformed and used as a catalyst for change within 21st century education. Be encouraged! The future of school libraries is not a “closed book”.

Saturday 10:45 am

  • The Important Role of Administrators in Special Education

    – Jenny Williams

    Administrators play a critical role in promoting a positive educational experience for both families and staff. When does a principal need to get in touch with families? When do administrators get involved in special education issues? How does an administrator deal with crisis situations in which the school outstrips its capacity to support a student? This workshop uses case studies to help us learn from the experiences of schools that have navigated some sensitive situations. Participants can feel free to bring situations they are facing in their schools for discussion.

    International Education: Cultural Transition

    – Marlene Bylenga and John Slofstra

    Although we may not always be mindfully aware of it we are consistently entering cultures different from our own on a daily basis. In this workshop we will explore the challenges of entering a new culture and learn about some techniques that may enable us to bridge the culture gaps we encounter.

  • In Order to Live

    – Melanie Humphreys

    Stories that somehow go awry – a look at the mental health challenge facing our students, families, and schools, and what to do about it.

    Seeing through Blind Bartimaeus’ Eyes: Project Based Learning as “Cultural Practices”

    – Justin Cook, OACS

    In his introduction to our conference, Jamie Smith asks us what it might look like for our learning communities to be immersed in the gospel in a way that captivates our imaginations and shapes our cultural practices. We’ll explore this challenge by entering into a specific gospel moment in Mark: Blind Bartimaeus’ encounter with Christ on the road. Perhaps his story might help shape our own “desire and imagination for the kingdom”: dreams and visions that God has been pouring out on us and our students for our own healing, for the flourishing of our students and schools, and even perhaps for our larger communities. Together, we’ll explore how our narratives and desires intersect with project based learning, a pedagogy that intentionally shapes “cultural practices” as Smith stresses.

Victoria, British Columbia