Although the Denver Christian Deeper Learning conference now seems like a fleeting memory in the rear-view mirror (February was eons ago), it is appropriate to recall with gratitude the blessings experienced as 375\+ educators gathered from all over the world for our 3rd annual Christian Deeper Learning conference!
The opportunity for educators to gather for encouragement, learning, and networking (face-to-face!) was a tremendous blessing. Here is what a few participants described as conference highlights:
“Sharing time with others who are as passionate about Christian deeper learning.“
“The invitational nature of the conference. It was less top-down and more inclusive of the expertise already in the room than other conferences.“
“The connections that took place. Having the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people who have the same mission was invaluable.“
“Overall, I enjoyed spending time with other teachers from around the world.“
One of the highlights for many attendees was the keynote address. Dr. David Smith, Calvin University professor and Director of the Kuyers Institute, challenged us to align our teaching practices with our thinking. David shared with us practical suggestions for connecting the missions of our schools with what happens in our classrooms.
“I loved the keynote address. I found it so inspirational. I also loved that in every break-out we practiced the tools of engagement indicative of deeper learning.“
“Many of the teachers from our crew expressed that David’s speech alone made the journey to Denver totally worth it.“
On the second day we were blessed and challenged by an outstanding student presentation from Annunciation Catholic School in Denver. We were drawn into the experience of what it feels like to be a first-generation immigrant today. Many of us wondered about the experience of our own immigrant ancestors and their obstacles to cultural transition.
“The student presentation was wonderful and the keynote was phenomenal.“
“The student presentation was spectacular. I also appreciated the opportunity to speak with the students afterwards.“
We were blessed by our exceptional workshop presenters who crafted learning experiences of high engagement and meaning. Our presenters unfolded our conference theme in creative ways, and we are grateful to each of them for the ways they blessed us.
“The workshops and intensives were all very well done. Speakers were well-prepared and passionate about their topics, and there was a nice variety of topics to choose from.“
“All the presenters were authentic and well-versed in their field. Every workshop I attended had a presenter who was overflowing with energy and excitement about the subject.“
“I loved the variety and the high level of expertise from presenters. I also loved the hospitality and excellent engagement practices demonstrated by each and every presenter. SO WELL DONE!“
Our conference took place on Denver Christian’s beautiful campus in their four-level (at times challenging!) converted office building. However, this logistical challenge was more than met by our warm and gracious hosts—the Denver Christian staff, administration, and board.
“Denver Christian was very welcoming and friendly.“
“Hospitality and welcome was second to none.“
“Really inspired by host staff! Always ready to help, with a smile.“
The entire conference was made possible by a variety of sponsoring organizations and exhibitors. We are so grateful for their support of Christian Deeper Learning! Thanks to a couple of our sponsors, we were also able to spend a night in the mountains at Camp Idrahaje enjoying great food, fellowship, and games.
“I appreciated being able to fellowship/reflect with presenters and organizers during the time at Camp Idrahaje.“
“Inspired by the spirit of Joshua Expeditions (and Positive Action) and the way they served to bless us on Thursday night!“
It seems very appropriate to give a special word of thanks to our Planning Team – they put in hours of work and are deserving of recognition: Krista Wallace, Danae LaMoine, Sara Espinoza, Tim Van Soelen, Tyler Amidon, Sandie Posthumus, Daniel Townsley, and co-chairs – Steven Levy and Dan Beerens. We are grateful to all who chose to attend and participate in the conference and pray that this experience truly was a blessing! It was fun to learn and grow together!
“It is really cool to witness how the conference has grown so much over the last three years. The entire experience truly ‘filled my bucket’.“
“Excellent speakers/leaders. Experts in the field. Well-researched presentations. Collaborative groups/crew tables included presenters, administrators and teachers from multiple districts. This was an effective way to disseminate information informally …and an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work transformatively.“
“I have participated in the orchestration of events far less involved than this. You all did a fantastic job! I pray that you will be able to take time to reflect on all the positives, engage in some rejuvenating self-care, and enjoy the Holy Spirit’s voice as He applauds you in a job very, very well done. Thank you for this amazing, unforgettable opportunity.“
“This conference is an exceptional example of how Christian education can change the world. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to giving us as many opportunities to learn and grow as possible. Please continue this every year forever!“
We look forward to the 2021 Deeper Learning Conference in Florida next February. Of course, we will evaluate whether we will be able to safely hold this conference on this site at that time. Please stay tuned for further announcements and pray for our team as they make this decision. But pray especially for the health and welfare of educators and students in our own schools and educational institutions around the world.
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).