Over 1,000 teachers and leaders from private Christian schools worldwide are gathering in Texas this week to collaborate and identify innovative ways to address the challenges and opportunities facing their institutions in an increasingly secular world.
Looking to reshape the movement and continue offering distinctive Gospel-centered education, the second-ever Global Christian School Leadership Summit begins Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio.
The three-day gathering is sponsored by eight Christian school associations, which represent over 25,000 Christian schools in 100 countries and serve more than 6 million students. With over 700 attending the first-ever GCSLS in 2017, the biennial event is becoming known as one of the premier networking conferences for Christian-based secondary and primary educators.
“This year’s summit we are focusing on innovation,” said GCSLS Chair Lynn Swaner, who is also the chief strategy and innovation officer at the Colorado-based evangelical accrediting agency Association of Christian Schools International.
“Our hope is that participants will take away a fresh hope and bright ideas for how to innovate in their settings and also connect with colleagues who are innovating from around the world.”
In an interview with The Christian Post, Swaner said the goal is to position Christian schools to “develop the best answers in all of education” in order to address the changes that have emerged in the education field over the last several decades and also figure out ways to incorporate the latest technology in truly meaningful and efficient ways in the classroom.
“As believers, what we have to offer should be the most innovative and the best of what is out there,” Swaner told CP. “If you think about Daniel in Babylon or Joseph in Egypt, those are men of faith. They knew and obeyed God but they were also highly competent Spirit-led leaders who impacted their society for the good of all. As they were doing that, God’s name was glorified.”
One area of focus for the summit will be technology and how Christian schools can equip and use various forms of technology appropriately. One presenter during a technology work session will be Mitch Salerno, the headmaster of Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, California.
According to Swaner, his school was the first in the nation to be an iPad demonstration school.
“One of the trends that I am seeing is that schools everywhere have been fairly quick to try to invest in technology and have that available to their students or they want to have a one-to-one policy,” Swaner explained. “They want to enable students to have the technology in their hands. Now that technology is ubiquitous, I think we are able to really ask some of the deeper questions about how we are able to not just physically have technology in the classroom but how do we use it in authentic ways to deepen and improve students’ learning and to make teaching more effective.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith