It’s the end of term and don’t we know it! My own kids are tired and fighting off the dreaded lurgies that have been rampant in our schools over the winter months and as a family we are welcoming the term break and the time for some re-connection. I continue to marvel at God’s hands at work in our schools. From the opening of a trade centre specialising in Agriculture and Hospitality at Bayside Christian College to the enthusiastic team at Marrara Christian College, our schools are flush with those willing to serve and present Christ’s lordship over all of creation to the students that we love and cherish. I am so grateful for what God is doing in and through our organisation.
This newsletter is a little late in coming, but it is full of updates and news that you might just find quite interesting…
Staff Changes – NSW State Executive Officer
Most of you would be aware of the big changes in Kathy Pereira’s life as she prepares for a move to Tonga in January next year. Kathy will be working with Christian Schools in Tonga, focusing on teacher’s improvement in cla ssroom practice. Kathy is so well suited to this role, though we are going to miss her! Kathy’s connection with CEN will continue as she does some coordination work from Tonga on our suite of Board Training Modules, and does some other projects around Board Governance.
The NSW/ACT SEO and Hub CEO role was advertised last month and interviews will be underway soon.
Staff Changes – SA State Executive Officer
Further to Kathy’s news, Wendy Joyce, SEO for South Australia has decided that her life on the farm in Port Pirie, her church, local community, and her family all need some more of her attention. As a re sult, Wendy has submitted her resignation from this role that she has held for 8 years. We are so grateful for Wendy’s faithful service and incredible faith and passion. Wendy has been instrumental in starting a school in Port Pirie, and remains excited about schools growing and developing. We will certainly miss Wendy’s warm presence and gregarious nature around our gatherings. God bless you, Wendy!
The SA SEO role is currently being discussed with the SA State Council.
State Conference Season
The State / Territory Conferences in July were a huge success. Thanks so much to those that put in so much effort for them to happen. Here is a full report on what happened in each State and Territory.
It was a tie between Western Australia and Victoria kicking off the conference season. WA called their conference the CEN Christian Worldview Symposium. They gathered at Rehoboth Christian College for two days and featured Martin Hanscamp (AACS Executive Director), Alice Mustin (CEN), and Neil Pierson (Covenant Christian School) in their line up of speakers. Taking a different approach by having ongoing rotating workshops, the conference was a great hit! Victoria took off with the theme Stronger Together and the buzz in the auditorium was palpable. Ryan Messmore (Christian Heritage College), Kathy Pereira (CEN) and Joel McKerrow (performance poet) were all well received by the VIC crowd. Day 2 of the Victorian conference saw schools break into regional conferences at Melton Christian College and Chairo Christian School. These were also enjoyed by many.
The annual Over the Top conference in Darwin embraced the theme It is Well with my Soul. This provided a perfect backdrop to the work of Dr Murray Capill (Reformed Theological College) and the various workshops and snapshots of school life across the NT (my favourite snapshot was the time of worship shared by the ladies of Gäwa Christian School). I also had the privilege of presenting to our Darwin colleagues, and I have to say that sharing in an open air venue with blue skies and the lovely breeze of massive outdoor fans….didn’t really feel like work!
The theme of Inspired and Equipped was the launch pad for the NSW conference held at Nepean Christian School. Again, the vibe was positive and exciting. Alongside plenary talks, devotions, and many workshops, the NSW conference also featured a conference dinner which included Daniel Flynn from Thankyou as the inspiring speaker. The conference also took the opportunity to thank Kathy Pereira for her work as the NSW State Executive Officer.
The South Australian and Tassie conferences finished up the conference season with SA meeting at Horizon Christian School, in their big gym. Do you know how cold it is in SA in winter, but how the sun just shines all day long!? Chris Parker (CEN) lead with plenary sessions and the larger part of the two days saw teachers participating in two of our Certificate of Christian Education courses, Design (based on Transformation by Design) and Deliver (Good pedagogy). Alice Mustin (CEN), Karen Baker (Bayside Christian College) and Ken Dickens (retired gem), led these courses.The Tasmanian Conference met at a hotel in Hobart over two days, and invited Corwin Australia to lead workshops and sessions in Visible Thinking. This was coupled with worship, devotions, and a focus on what schools are doing around biblical curriculum in each of the schools.
Nurture Conference was held in Adelaide this year with delegates from 17 schools, representing mostly parents, association members, and board members, as well as teachers and principals. Delegates came from WA, NT, NSW, SA, VIC, TAS, as well as from New Zealand! It was very encouraging to see many delegates sent by their school associations.
Although we have hosted Parent Partnership Conferences in the past, this was the first Nurture Conference, and as with Nurture Magazine, we had a few main aims for the conference:
- inspiration towards Christian education,
- nurturing parent partnership,
- exploring general good practice in Christian parenting.
The program was jam–packed and this allowed a wonderful time of challenges and insights for those that attended. Patricia Weerakoon was the main speaker and she certainly didn’t hold back. This 70 year old woman is a sexologist and brought about a wonderful ‘unpacking’ of the teenage, pubescent brain, as well as giving parents a biblical grounding around their responsibility to guide their kids. In addition to Patricia’s talks, we set the scene with a devotion from Titus, Chris Parker from the National Institute provided a solid Christian worldview framework for the parents, Paul Reid from Donvale Christian College did an informative talk on Technology, Michelle Dempsey spoke about nurturing and developing faith in our children, and Sharon Witt from Mount Evelyn Christian School and publisher of Teen Talk books enlightened us on building resilient kids.
It was especially wonderful seeing the delegates come together over meals and share in each other’s experiences, challenges and joys both from the school, and in parenting. Feedback from the conference indicates that the program was well received, with comments like “Great line up! The content was very relevant, and appreciated”, and with many others asking for a longer conference next time.
If you know of someone in your school who attended the conference, and you haven’t yet had the chance, I encourage you to have a chat with them and hear more.
Thank you to Wendy Joyce, who worked hard to make sure the Conference came together.
National Institute for Christian Education Updates – Director’s Chat
The recent state conference season provided an excellent backdrop for CEN teachers to consider and participate in National Institute postgraduate and professional development study. Feedback from teachers of running the face-to-face ‘Kickstarter’ postgraduate units across a number of states was very well received. We will continue to pursue the ‘kickstarter’ support option in the future. Having direct access to some of our deepest thinkers in Christian education is a real highlight for many CEN teachers.
At a personal level, I was privileged to spend time at the New South Wales, Victorian, and Tasmanian conferences, and I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the history, significance, and future importance of a strong and robust National Institute. The Institute exists to support you, the classroom teacher, in your pursuit of effective, intentional, and authentic Christian education.
I am excited by the prospect of visiting Western Australian, the Northern Territory and South Australia in the coming months.
If you are a driver of a car and spend your time sitting in traffic, please take the opportunity to download some episodes from our National Institute podcast channel.
Click here to hear the podcasts.
On your behalf, the National Institute continues to pursue a wide range of new initiatives and projects and we look forward to sharing more detail with CEN teachers throughout 2017.
Semester 3 Enrolments Open
Semester 3 2017 enrolments opened on September 1. If you are a current postgraduate student of the National Institute, please enrol for your next unit now. If you would like to begin a Master of Education, Grad Dip Ed, or Master of Education (Leadership), we would love to have you studying with us!
Click here for more information.
Click here to apply now.
Alternatively, contact our friendly registrar Paul Badman at (02) 4773 5888.
The Frog & The Fish
The official book launch for Chris Parker’s book, The Frog and the Fish: Reflections on work, technology, sex, stuff, truth and happiness, was launched at Glenbrook Anglican Church on 23 August. This was a lovely evening, celebrating Chris’s work that has been published under the National Institute for Christian Education.
The Frog and the Fish, is aimed primarily at young adults moving from school to life-after-school. With that in mind, many teachers have already commented on how they have found the book helpful.
The Frog and the Fish explores the current cultural narratives that are shaping our views of some of the big ‘issues’ of life—purpose of work; traps with technology; sex and self-image; the place of stuff in our lives; the existence of absolute truth; and the source of ultimate happiness.
In line with what we hope to achieve through CEN and our National Institute, the book seeks to unfold how a biblical lens can provide clarity on the big questions and issues of life. It invites the reader to see a view of work, sex, technology, stuff, truth, happiness, etc. shaped by the Christian big-picture story of the world. It inspires the reader to recognise when they are being shaped by alternative stories that threaten their true identity.
You may like to know that the book is supported by an interactive website thefrogandthefish.com that includes additional videos and teaching resources.
As an organisation committed to gospel truth, we are very excited by the launch of The Frog and the Fish, and we are grateful for Chris’s work on this project.
Orders for the book can be accessed through our eStore or by calling the National Office on 02 4773 5800.
Click here for more information and to purchase The Frog & The Fish.
Academic Dean Update
Semester 3 is now open for enrolment! Both current and new students can enrol/apply through the National Institute enrolment portal. Semester 3 (13 November to 19 January) is a great time to take advantage of the school holidays. We would love to have you studying your Master of Education or Master of Education (Leadership) with us.
Even if you are not sure about committing to a Masters course, you can now enrol as a ‘single-unit’ student. This allows you to ‘try-out’ Institute study and receive credit later for the unit studied. Also, the new New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA) guidelines allow for a postgraduate unit of study to “be recognised [for up to] 120 hours of professional development within a teacher’s maintenance cycle” (NESA, Further Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies Policy: Maintenance of Accreditation, p. 6). Imagine what that could mean for those needing PD hours!
Remember, National Institute courses are fully TEQSA-accredited AQF 9 (Masters) level studies developed and taught by a faculty of doctoral scholars dedicated to the mission and vision of our CEN schools. With personalised attention and the opportunity to study together with your colleagues, there is no better place for you to continue your professional development.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your career path, feel free to contact the National Institute or call us on 02 4773 5888.
Christian Professional Development in January
The Professional Development presenters are ready to support you and your te am during student f ree days in January/February 2018. Have you planned your program for your staff yet? Could a one-day workshop from the Certificate of Christian Edu cation suite support your objectives for your te am? Could it be time to have the whole staff reflect together on the foundational core vi sion of Christian edu cation—we can help with this. Or maybe the teaching staff to work together on designing curriculum from a biblical framework (using the Transformation by Design model). Or perhaps we might support the exploring of Christian pedagogy together, or even a day equipping your staff with a deeper biblical literacy.
Click here for more detail on the Certificate of Christian Education workshops.
Click here to ex plore a booking.
Professional Development Coordinator
Woolaning Homeland Christian College – an Important Update
Earlier this week, an email was sent out to all CEN schools about the closure of Woolaning Homeland Christian College located in Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory.
Please click here for the full media statement from Northern Territory Christian Schools. We join with the NT Christian Schools team in praying for strength, hope, and peace in this time.
Same Sex Marriage Vote
There is much hype, emotion, and at times, irrational behaviour circling this conversation. CEN has looked to our advocacy arm, the Australian Association of Christian Schools for their leadership and direction around this issue. The following statement is a good summary of CENs view on the vote, and the challenges that surround this issue. Also, please refer to the August and September editions of AACS enews for further thoughts and advice.
There are a variety of views about the upcoming SSM postal plebiscite and AACS does not make any presumptions as to what position a school might want to take. Many will leave the matter for parents to decide themselves, rather than recommending a particular choice.
What AACS does seek to do, however, is to emphasise the need for a gracious and courteous argument, which allows for different viewpoints and respectful vigorous debate. There is no place for hate speech or condemnation.
Not only should our tone and attitude reflect our faith but we can also have the freedom to express our beliefs about marriage. There are a variety of views, including within Christian circles. For most within our Christian schools, our ‘scripturally-guided’ understanding is that God’s intention for marriage is the loving, committed union between a woman and a man.
We will argue strongly that Christian schools should have the freedom to teach and uphold their understanding of a biblically informed view of marriage without being seen as unfairly discriminating or judging others. Therefore, any change to laws about marriage should provide protection for religious organisations so that they can conduct themselves in accordance with their beliefs.
Our concern as the group advocating on behalf of Christian schools in the public sphere, centres on what protections there will be for Christian schools to teach or uphold a traditional view of marriage if the Marriage Act is changed. At the present time it remains unclear what the implications of such a change might be for faith-based schools. Will schools be allowed to teach a traditional view of marriage without falling foul of future ‘discrimination’ claims? Will the protections that emerge cover Christian School staff modelling an approach to marriage that is consistent with the beliefs of the school? In our view, neither the exposure draft that the Government brought out late last year (followed by a Senate Inquiry) nor Dean Smith’s Private Member’s Bill deals adequately with the contested religious freedom issues.
Should the Marriage Act change, we are asking for a clearly understood level of protection which ensures that faith based organisations, teaching and upholding a traditional view of marriage will not be subject to ‘hate speech’ laws or to accusations of discrimination that might be taken up by human rights tribunals.
These are the important questions that AACS is pursuing with the government and with the opposition on your behalf.
Talking to Children about Same Sex Marriage
The attached article was written by Chris Parker and published in Nurture last year. It is a helpful discussion starter.
Click here to read the article.
Christian Education Australia (CEA) Update
An update around CEA was sent to member schools from AACS in August.
Click here to ac cess the communication.
Developing Leaders Conference
There is no doubt that the great speakers and the warmth of Darwin meant for a great conference! Lying parallel to the Teaching and Learning Conference, Developing Leaders were encouraged to Build Up and Step Up for Leadership. Rod Thompson set the framework for effective Christian Leadership and other speakers shared their stories of success and failure. We can be thankful for the fruit that comes from this conference, which has run yearly over the past 15 years!
Teaching and Learning Conference
CEN held its very first Teaching and Learning Conference alongside the long running Developing Leaders Conference earlier in September. Our NT friends had the chance to host us in very pleasant and sunny Darwin.
Forty Teaching and Learning leaders from every state and territory attended to hear the Transformation by Design team and two ‘Teaching for Transformation’ leaders from Canada lead over the three days.
About half the CEN schools were represented and the feedback so far expressed sentiments like, “most worthwhile Teaching and Learning PD I’ve ever been to”. What a wonderful success, in fact so much so, that CEN leadership has agreed to use the same ‘companion conference’ model next year in Melbourne.
That’s terrific news because Teaching and Learning needs considerable leadership investment, both at the local school and national levels, if our Christian schools are to continue bringing every part of our teaching and learning under the Lordship of Christ. With many mainstream pressures; a national curriculum; standardised testing, and a host of compliance measures it’s very easy for Christian schools to begin looking very much like what’s down the road. By investing in T&L leadership we hope that a faithful and distinctive curriculum and pedagogical practice is part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian school.
Executive Officer AACS
It was a ple asure to welcome two visitors from Canada to the Developing Leaders, and Teaching and Learning Conferences. Justin Cook, Director of Learning with the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools, and Darryl De Boer, Director of Learning at Surrey Christian School. Our way of showing them great Australian love and hospitality was, of course, to throw them into a perspex “cage of death” and lower them into a pool with a huge croc! They survived the experience, though some squealing was heard!
Wycliffe Christian School and George Glanville
George Glanville has been standing in as Principal for Wycliffe Christian School for this year. As many of you are aware, George’s wife, June passed away quite suddenly last month. We continue to hold George and his family in our prayers. George has now stood down from the role of Acting Principal, and Kathy Pereira is finishing her year as SEO in an acting role at Wycliffe. Please pray for Wycliffe Christian School as they seek the right app ointment for 2018.
Godly Governance Conference
An event that is gaining traction in our organisation is our annual Board Governance Conference, which we refer to as our Godly Governance Conference. Boards have been very pleased with the access to good speakers, ideas, resources, and networking that occurs during this conference. This year it will be held at Rydges Hotel in Sydney on the 9 – 11 November 2017.
This year the theme is Set the Sails for Godly Governance. We will focus again on the importance of governing our schools effectively, from confidence around compliance, to enhancing the key relationships between the principal and leadership team and the board. This year we are excited to be introducing Rod Thompson to the conference to frame up our biblical thinking around governance. Prolegis lawyers are going to share their insights into effective governance as well as contract law – ensuring that your contracts are sound.
We will also be welcoming Mock Court Australia to the conference. This will be an eye opening, challenging, and thought provoking session which will be a bit of fun as well. Bruce from Mock Court will take us through a simulation experience of a challenging legal issue in a school, and will show us the impact on all involved, including the board. This will be an invaluable experience.
Although the conference is particularly aimed at board chairs, any board member (or potential board member) is welcome to attend, as are principals.
Click here for more information and to register.
Please note a changed date for this event…6 – 8 March 2018, at the Ho tel Grand Cha ncellor in Hobart. The theme: Elephants in the R oom. Stay tuned more details coming…
Study Tour 2018, Canada!
Plans are underway for the Study Tour in 2018! Tentative dates: 24 September – 8 October 2018. Starting in Ottawa, Ontario, moving on to Calgary, Alberta and finishing in Vancouver, British Columbia. The tour will include the Christian Schools Canada Conference, vi sits to schools, a close look at Teaching for Transformation and more! Formal details including cost will be out in term 4.
Early expressions of interest welcome to Melinda Storm.
Student Leadership Conference with Compass
Last term I met with the new CEO of Compass, Jeff Nagle. Compass do some great work around articulating a Christian world view with teenagers, focussing on young leaders. Their annual leadership conference in Canberra is coming up in March. I would strongly encourage schools to consider sending one or two students to this event.
Click here for more information.
Click here to register.
Kevin Knight Training in Term 4 – Hot Off The Press!
Kevin Knight’s 8People program has been tremendous blessing to our schools. I am pleased to announce that we will offer two opp ortunities for people to undertake the second phase of training with Kevin Knight.
This is only open to those who have already completed ‘Phase One’ by having attended the intensive at Wycliffe Christian School, participated on the NZ Study Tour, or have had attended an initial training with Kevin elsewhere. We hope to host another ‘Phase One’ intensive next year.
Option 1: 31 October – 3 November 2017 at Marrara Christian School in Darwin.
Option 2: 21 – 24 November 2017 at Mt Evelyn Christian School, Melbourne.
Cost will be $1,400 per participant, this will include 4 days of training with Kevin, lunch, morning and afternoon teas.
Please register with Melinda Storm immediately or phone 02 4773 5800.
Places will be limited to 8 – 10.
You might be interested in knowing that this year, 18 schools have participated in a CEN consultancy. A sample of these consultancies have included: Leadership 360s, Board reviews, Recruitment consultancies, Parent and Staff Satisfaction reviews, and Board support.
Feel f ree to call Melinda at the National office on 02 4773 5800 to begin booking your consultancies for 2018.