You have a Christian school in your community. It is governed by a board, led by a head of school, and supported by parents and community. Why be part of a membership organization like Christian Schools International?
There are many answers to the question. Some schools come to us because they are interested in a product like our Bible curriculum. Some desire accreditation and have discovered our tool to be among the very best to measure worldview penetration into every aspect of program and curriculum. Some seek quality employee benefits for their staff. There are many reasons that schools are part of Christian Schools International.
But there is no more important reason than this – we are better together. Christian Schools International has a century-long heritage of leadership in Christian education. We and our schools understand Christian education. We have understood the essential need for biblical worldview to penetrate program and curriculum. Our educational leaders speak the language of worldview articulately. We engage each other in important conversation because worldview matters in our schools and in lives of obedient service!
From the beginning of time, God has desired for his people to be in community. God called a people (Israel means strugglers) to be his community, to struggle with life in a broken world, to be obedient difference-makers for him, and to advance his kingdom together. Before Jesus departed the earth he prayed to his Father that his people would be one in a similar relationship to the Father-Son-Spirit. God desires that we be in unity. God desires that we be community within and across state and provincial lines and globally; for every part of the body of Christ is stonger when we serve as one. We are simply better together.
David Koetje, President and CEO of Christian Schools International writes:
I have been privileged to work for several school boards over the years, and in my current job I interact with board members throughout North America. While it may be true that there are no leadership absolutes when suggesting ideals, there are certainly lessons that others have learned that are worth sharing. This is particularly true in the ever-spinning world of education, where good governance is foundational to our mission.
In his book The Board Game, William Mott highlights several lessons that are worth considering. What follows is a sample taken from his book: Continue reading
The predictable elements that held Christian schools together in the 1960s were still keeping them strong in the early 1990s. Twenty years later, all those predictable elements are gone, but that reality isn’t reflected in the work of many school boards. The long-standing practice of reacting to committee reports and fine tuning operational procedures has school boards trapped in a minutia of detail that leaves little time to focus on the key items that matter most. These schools are on a path that will lead them to irrelevancy.
There are three critical targets that should capture every Christian school board’s primary attention:
1. Your School’s Purpose: Develop clarity around why your school exists and what “comprehensive curriculum” means for your school. Whether you are a school of 50 students or a school system that serves 3,000, what you are targeting needs to be crystal clear and understood.
2. Defining and measuring what you mean by “healthy” school: Every school needs a clear picture of what it means to be healthy, and clarity on how it will measure school health. What will indicate that your mission is being accomplished: enrollment statistics, test scores, finances, parent/faculty/student images of school, breadth/depth of academic program, athletics, fine arts? Clarify what is important to you.
3. Advancing your school’s mission: We advance toward mission when we identify principal/head of school goals, and clarify terms of accountability.
There is significant creativity throughout the CSI community where school leadership is figuring out how to deal with what matters most. We have a growing number of schools that are breaking through the quagmire of minutia and dealing with the critical issues of tomorrow.
More on that in future blogs.
Written by Dave Koetje, President/CEO of Christian Schools International
Dave Koetje, President and CEO of Christian Schools International writes:
There is plenty of leadership available in Christian schools, but most of it is misdirected or squandered. Principals and heads of schools are often limited by structures, resulting in too much time being spent managing schools and too little time providing leadership. Historically, representative governance structures spend time problem solving rather than shaping the Christian school of tomorrow. Take inventory of how your board uses its time. If your board’s agenda is full of issues of school culture and matters of operations, it’s time to adjust your thinking. School boards with a sustainable eye for the future are spending up to 80 percent of their time creating that future. Who will you serve in five years? How will you serve them? How will you be benchmarking mission penetration? Real leadership will prepare today’s Christian school for the students of the future.