Review of 2018
At the end of each year I put together a reflection of the year as well as a look ahead. See A Look Back and a Look Ahead 2018 where I shared the best of 2017 and themes for 2018. As anyone who reads my blogs knows, I love to hyperlink things, so click through and use what you can for a great 2019!
A few of the most popular blogs from 2018 were:
- “On the Deaths of Billy Graham and Stephen Hawking” In this blog, Richard Edlin states:
Both were men of great intellect and persuasion. Stephen Hawking was the great evangelist of science and Billy Graham was the great evangelist of Christian faith. Both men lived lives equally committed to their faith and both died firmly committed to a set of beliefs. Each has left a legacy, contributing to how we understand ourselves and the world around us.
- “Schools That Change Lives” In this blog, Steven Levy challenges school communities about their commitment when he states:
It’s not the school’s philosophy that gives it power to shape lives, it’s how aligned everyone is in the school community with that philosophy. I’m not saying that the philosophy or theology of a school doesn’t matter. It is the ultimate matter. But in terms of the effect it has to actually shape the desires and growth of community members, what matters most is the degree to which teachers especially, but also students and families, are all on the same page.
- “The Toughest Question about Christian Education” In this blog, Leah Zuidema reflects upon forty years in Education serving Christian institutions, and as she reflects upon her and our work she focuses on the impact Christian schools and colleges can have on our world beyond the walls of our buildings. She states:
For Christ-centered schools, the desire to promote the common good is a way to make daily life better for everyone. It is also a way to share some good news… I hope that every Christ-centered school does a great job of educating students as Christ followers who live passionately, effectively, and visibly for the common good.
A Look Ahead to 2019
I know people have different responses to the New Year as for me 2018 was a meaningful year, but I am really excited for 2019 as I tend too often to be focused on the fun, challenges, and opportunities that lie before us. As we prepare for the upcoming year, there are a few areas of focus I’d like to draw attention to as we begin 2019.
- Global Christian School Leadership Summit: In 2017, eight Christian school organizations came together to host a highly successful event in Orlando, which has provided excitement for another summit in 2019. CACE has had the opportunity to support and encourage the work of these associations and these summits, and we are quite excited for this event and for many of our friends to gather to discuss innovation, leadership, partnerships, and impact. Most importantly, we get excited about being with our friends, colleagues, and experts from the UK, Australia, Canada, India, and Asia as we seek to grow Christian schools throughout North America and the world. We hope that you will join us at this event!
- Education Policy: I began to explore this theme last year through my Digical Education podcast as in my conversations I was seeing Education Reform fatigue set in from philanthropies, the federal government, and even state governments. I do think that 2019 brings a great deal of Education Policy uncertainty as I think people will hold off on significant agendas until after the 2020 presidential election. My overall desire as a bit of a policy wonk is that we would be more aware of the how these policies impact our work and how we can impact policy for the good of our profession and all schools. Here are some of the highlights in preparation for the 2019 legislative cycle:
- Horace Mann had it all wrong and Post-Election Ed Policy Recap with Corey Deangelis
- Pluralism and Policy with Ashley Berner
- Lessons from Charter Schools with Cara Candal
- Education Next Poll recap and Research on the impact of faith in schools with Albert Cheng
- Prayer and Faith in Schools with Marilyn Rhames
- Continued focus on Teaching and Learning:
- Deeper Learning: In this report a group of leading Christian educators ask significant questions about why we do the work we do and how meaningful it is. One of the most significant statements they make in describing Deeper Learning as a solution to the lack of student engagement in education is:
So, for students and educators, ‘Deeper Learning’ invites us to become engaged in God’s story, equips us to play our unique role, and empowers us to apply our knowledge and skills to produce real work that meets real needs for real people.
I’d encourage you to discover more with them at their conference as even for me who gained recognition as a public school teacher for project based learning initiatives there is a significant step further into the transformative nature of learning I’ve discovered through the Deeper Learning movement that significantly impacts my current work with schools.
- Teaching for Transformation: Our Canadian friends have shared their great work with us at CACE, and in the past year we have seen a dramatic rise in the impact of TfT as a way of thinking about teaching and learning. In 2018, CACE started with 4 U.S. schools with almost 150 teachers to 36 schools and 1,000 teachers trained by the end of the year. I’d encourage you to pay attention to this way of being as it dovetails with the Deeper Learning movement in Christian Schools.
Have a wonderful and hopeful 2019!
Erik Ellefsen has served in education for 21 years as a teacher, coach, consultant, Grievance Chairman for the American Federation of Teachers, Dean of Academics at Boston Trinity Academy, and as Principal at Chicago Christian High School. He currently serves as an Academic and College Counselor at Valley Christian High School (San Jose, CA), a Senior Fellow for CACE, a Senior Fellow for Cardus, podcaster for Digical Education, and as Vice President of CCEI. Erik regularly organizes Christian school leadership seminars and speaks on issues pertaining to academic program, student leadership, and organizational development. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.