Monthly Archives: January 2018

Restorative Practices as a Framework for Leadership

Over this past year, we’ve been looking at the relationship between power and leadership, including some of the key factors that impact the power dynamics in our schools. I’d like to turn now to some reflections on different ways of doing leadership and how those impact power in our schools. For our first step on this journey, I want to draw from the excellent work of the restorative practices movement. Restorative practices draw from a variety of disciplines and seek to build healthy community, increase social capital, reduce anti-social behavior, and repair harm and relationships.
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Filed under Governance, Personnel Issues

Can Everyone Learn?

“My son will not amount to anything.” Decades ago, when a student’s father said that in anger during our parent-teacher conference, I cringed. He saw it and pulled back, “I guess he will find a job someplace, but school is not for him.” Since then, I’ve wondered many times whether some kids lack the brain power to learn anything beyond the repetition of a task. Michael Crow, the president of Arizona State University, says they can: “I think anyone can learn anything under the right circumstances.”

For Christian schools, this debatable issue has appeared in several places. Some Christian high schools still market themselves as college prep schools, clearly communicating that they make little accommodation for students who may not be interested college prep subjects. More and more, Christian schools have access to programs in the community that train students for trades, with these students, in effect, having dual enrollment in two schools. Many have special education programs that help students with learning differences, including students who learn only elemental parts of various subjects.
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Filed under Christian worldview, Trends in education

My Number One Recommendation for Leadership Development

I am preparing to teach Christian School International’s annual Principal Development Institute (PDI) at the end of this month, and as I work through the curriculum and reflect on what advice I would give to these school leaders (or any leader of people, for that matter), I always come back to one practice. Solitude.
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Filed under Governance

Collaborating Our Way toward Authentic Reformed Worldview

How can you get beyond merely integrating a biblical worldview into your curriculum and move toward curriculum integration as a means for your entire school community to participate authentically in the biblical story?

At CSI, we believe that a sound biblical worldview integration (BWVI) process asks school faculties to delve deep into the question of their place in the biblical story. This necessarily precludes any pre-packaged or top-down approach that neglects the value of asking a faculty to collaborate and think deeply about the biblical Big Story. The process is as important as the product. Here I reprise last month’s blog reference to Daniel Pink’s work on intrinsic motivation. Pink said, “There are at least three aspects that foster intrinsic motivation. The first is autonomy, or self-direction.” According to Pink, for most of us, “our ‘default’ setting is to be autonomous and self-directed.” The second aspect is mastery, or becoming better at something that matters. Pink says this “turns out to be the single most motivating aspect of many jobs.” Third, there is purpose: “Humans, by their nature, seek purpose—to make a contribution and to be part of a cause greater and more enduring than themselves.”
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Filed under Christian worldview