Todd Marrah, Chair-Elect
Carl Martinez, Secretary
Robert "Bo" Gutzwiller, Past Chair
More Than 350 Christian School Leaders Convene in Orlando for ACSI’s Flourishing Schools Institute
Orlando, Florida – The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) will host its second Flourishing Schools Institute (FSi), drawing more than 350 Christian educators to Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek from Nov. 1-3, 2021.
The FSi is part of ACSI’s Flourishing Initiative—a multifaceted approach to assessing and improving school culture so that all members can collectively thrive.
The FSi correlates with the research-validated Flourishing School Culture Instrument (FSCI) and the resulting Flourishing School Culture Model (FSCM). The FSCI provides a comprehensive analysis of a school's strengths and areas for growth, while the FSCM serves as a model comprised of five domains—Purpose, Relationships, Teaching & Learning, Expertise & Resources, and Well-Being, as stated on the ACSI website. The institute is organized around these five research-based domains that contribute to the development of a Christ-centered flourishing school.
ACSI President Dr. Larry Taylor believes equipping leaders with a biblically based philosophy of education is essential to the health and success of the entire school community.
“Our first FSi was a tremendous success,” he shared. “The institute is founded on a biblically based philosophy of education. It is informed by research and is designed to allow leaders a hands-on, collaborative approach to pursuing flourishing schools.”
Speakers including John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Peter Greer, president & CEO of HOPE International, Dr. Althea Penn, executive director of The Shepard’s Academy, Joel Gaines, head of school at The City School, and Rex Miller, author of “Humanizing the Education Machine,” will assist leaders in developing a strategic school culture plan.
According to Cindy Dodds, ACSI Vice President of Flourishing Initiatives, FSi sessions will be largely interactive, allowing leaders to collaborate in the development of an action plan that meets the unique, research-informed needs of their school.
“The FSi will help schools move from research to practice,” Dodds said. “Our vision is to see Christian school leadership teams engage in an enduring, transformative school growth process in tandem with other Christian school leaders, together pursuing flourishing school communities.”
Taylor believes these offerings are best when used together, as they are intentionally aligned.
“The instrument enables schools to focus on specific areas that have been identified as areas for growth, which will inform their professional development plan,” he said. “Although schools do not have to participate in the instrument to attend the FSi, doing so will greatly benefit leaders.”
Taylor believes the institute will launch leaders on the journey toward Christ-centered flourishing school cultures.
“As a recent head of school, I can personally attest to the challenge of building and sustaining a Kingdom-focused, successful school culture,” Taylor said. “We’re glad to gather in person again, working side by side through this process. Each leader will leave the FSi with a unique roadmap to a truly flourishing school community.”
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, ACSI exists to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. ACSI advances excellence in Christian schools by enhancing the professional and personal development of Christian educators and providing vital support functions for Christian schools through multiple services including teacher and administrator certification, school accreditation, legal/legislative assistance, and curriculum publishing. ACSI supports more than 5,000 member schools throughout the United States and around the world, which collectively serve approximately 1.2 million students. Through additional training programs, materials, and expertise provided to other educational groups worldwide, ACSI’s overall influence and positive impact reaches more than 26,000 schools operating in 100 countries, together serving 5.5 million people.
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