Transforming Your School

Cultural change:  it is not a program to be adopted.  Rather, it is a process of transforming the belief system of a school.  It is a transformation that has lasting value and it must conform to principles to be found only in the Word of God.

© 2006 Andreas Schaefer. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#39).

© 2006 Andreas Schaefer. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#39).

It deals with habits, with long-held assumptions about the education of children, and with goals and expectations.  It deals with the way a school staff views their role in the education of children.  It must be systemic in nature, something apart from individual members of the professional staff that is worthy of their commitment.

Down But Not Out!

Day 2 of the Kingdom School Institute has come and gone, and I must admit it was a bit of a painful experience.  You see, I got knocked down, and it wasn’t because I tripped and fell, no, I got punched in the gut, the head, and even the heart.  It was a brutal, one-sided fight, and I deserved every. last. punch.

© 2011 Eva Rinaldi. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#38).

© 2011 Eva Rinaldi. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#38).

Why did this happen to me?  The answer is simple.

It is Easier to be Traditional Than Biblical

Day 1 of the Kingdom School Institute is in the books, and I feel like I’m trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant!  I am so overwhelmed but in a good way!  I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes from the day!

© 2013 Brandon Shea. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#37).

© 2013 Brandon Shea. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#37).

The first quote is actually the title of this post…

Kingdom School Institute

I’m excited to be able to attend the Kingdom School Institute, which is being hosted at Prestonwood Christian Academy.  Dr. Glen Schultz (author of Kingdom Education – a book that I HIGHLY recommend) is the founder of the conference, and he is one of the primary presenters, along with Dr. Larry Taylor, Headmaster at Prestonwood Christian.

Photo courtesy of lifeway.com.

Photo courtesy of lifeway.com.

The institute begins today and runs through Friday!  The official hashtag for the conference is #ksi, and I’ll be using that hashtag to provide updates on the Focus Twitter feed.  If you’re interested in keeping up with action, be sure to follow @FocusOnEdu.   Also, I’m planning to provide quick updates on the conference here on the blog.  I look forward to sharing this conference with you!

How Do We Change?

There are two schools of thought about improving the Christian schools of the United States, but we must remember that when God changes an individual, He changes that individual on the inside with a new birth, a spiritual birth.  School improvement can only occur within the local Christian school and it will involve changing the culture of the school.

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This is the 3rd article by Dr. Suiter in a series about the Christian school principal. To read parts 1 and 2 click here and here.

The first type of change might be called structural change – it deals with changing the policy manual, perhaps creating new programs, modifying the rules and procedures, some of which may have been in place for years.  The second is cultural change.  It examines basic assumptions about the education of children, re-visits and clarifies the beliefs of the professional staff, and studies the habits and norms of people working within the system.  Culture is simply the way things are done.

While there is frequently a need for structural change, the real hope for improving the effectiveness of Christian schooling rests with changing the culture within the Christian schools of this nation.

Do You See What I See?

The Christian school principal must embrace a vision for what the total staff desires to characterize the local Christian school ministry at some time in the future.

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The principal must be a thinker.  He/she must assume the leadership that is required to establish a vision for the school and to incorporate that vision into organizational, structural, and programmatic goals and policy.  It should be realistic; it should be attainable.  It should address such things as school culture, school structure, school organization, the system for delivering the school programs, and the students that are enrolled.

The Key to School Improvement

Does the Christian school movement suffer from a lack of quality leadership?  The answer is YES.  The person in the position that is key to improving the Christian school movement is the Christian school principal.  

© 2009 Mrs. Gemstone. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#36).

© 2009 Mrs. Gemstone. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#36).

It is also true that any commitment to improving Christian schooling must involve those persons at levels above that of the local Christian school.  In most cases, that would involve a commitment by the leadership of a local church and the members of a board responsible for policy making concerning the Christian school.  But it is the Christian school principal that must lead and direct the activities of the local Christian school.  The local Christian school is the site where improvement must occur.

A Scent of Water (Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2012)

Written by FOCUS blog founder Edward Earwood and contributor Dr. Phil Suiter, A Scent of Water is a book that asks hard questions about the Christian education movement.  Earwood and Suiter provide more than trite answers; they provide well-thought solutions to the toughest issues facing our movement.  Simply put, anyone and everyone involved with Christian education needs to read this book!  We understand that we may be a little biased on that point, but nonetheless we recommend A Scent of Water to you.

The “I” Word

Research and educational literature acknowledge and define multiple dimensions of leadership.  Authors draw on the educational research to describe in great detail the nature of educational leadership and what it takes to create synergy in a Christian school.  Although the terminology is as varied as the authors, the dimensions of leadership they describe are very similar.

© 2010 Dragan Sutevski. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#24).

© 2010 Dragan Sutevski. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#24).

A careful look at these dimensions of leadership will greatly help Christian school leaders wishing to create a culture of excellence within a Christian school.  Significant change entails more than adopting new attitudes and practices.   Creating a new culture is a monumental task; it even goes beyond implementation.

4 Components for Bringing Change to a School

Would you like to change the culture of your school?  Perhaps you would like to change the way things operate within your school system.  Maybe you would like to develop a systems thinking mindset within your school unit.

© 2010 Antonio Picascia. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#20).

© 2010 Antonio Picascia. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#20).

 

What can a school leader do to raise the quality of the school?  How can a school leader lead change in a school so that parents and students receive great value from the educational experience?