ACSI presents
Flourishing Schools Institute

A new professional development opportunity for school leaders who want to transform their school culture to flourish.

November 1-3, 2021
Orlando, FL
June 21-23, 2022
Chicago, IL
Register Now for Early Bird Pricing
Grow in Relationships, An ACSI one day event at Converge

Join us for a special one-day event in San Diego, California!

March 8, 2022  |  San Diego, CA

Gain Perspective

The Institute will give you rich perspective on what flourishing truly looks like and will equip you with the expertise and processes to bring your entire team on the journey to flourishing.

Cultivate Community

The Institute is a place to meet brothers and sisters in Christ who are dedicated to creating flourishing Christian schools.

Transform Lives

Through the Institute, you will discover how to apply research-based principles in your everyday leadership and school activities to radically transform your school culture.

Cultivating Leaders To Transform Culture
Your School can Flourish

A flourishing Christian school is a community of students, educators, and families that glorifies Christ and excels in knowing Him and making Him known. Though such a community happens entirely by His grace, it does not happen at all by accident.

Click on the interactive model for more information.


Lynn Swaner
Lynn Swaner
Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, ACSI

Lynn Swaner, ACSI Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer and Cardus Senior Fellow, leads ACSI's groundbreaking Flourishing Schools Research initiative. Join her at FSi as she unpacks the data from the Flourishing School Culture Instrument (FSCI), along with findings from Christian schools around the world and new insights on how leaders can shape their school's culture toward flourishing.

Institute Faculty

john stonestreet
John Stonestreet

John is a sought-after author and speaker on areas of Christian faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics. John is the daily voice of BreakPoint, the nationally syndicated commentary on the culture founded by the late Chuck Colson. He is also the voice of the Point, a daily one-minute feature on worldview, apologetics and cultural issues. Before joining the Colson Center, John served in various leadership capacities with Summit Ministries and was on the biblical studies faculty at Bryan College.

Domain: Purpose Construct: Questioning

Joel R. Gaines
Joel R. Gaines
Director of Leadership Development

Joel is a strong advocate for education that centers around shalom for all and Biblical justice. As an author, administrator, mentor, educational consultant and a lifelong learner, he is passionate about seeing all educators and students flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Joel’s experience in education spans over 20 years and includes serving in both urban and suburban contexts, as well as both Christian and public schools. This diverse experience has uniquely equipped him to lead boards, teachers, students, parents and community stakeholders within a myriad of different educational settings.

Joel currently serves as the Head of School at The City School in Philadelphia, PA. He is married to Tia Gaines and has four children ranging from 16 years old to 6 years old.

Domain: Relationships Construct: Community Engagement

dr. althea penn
Dr. Althea Penn
Executive Director, The Shepherd's Academy Private Christian School

Dr. Althea Penn has over 30 years of experience in organization leadership and serves as an educational consultant and professional development specialist. Dr. Penn has earned two Master’s degrees in Education Administration, a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership, certification as an Early Childhood Educator, and the National Administrator Credential. She has served as a teacher, children’s ministry director, and principal. Dr. Penn has authored several books, including “Christian Education Mandate,”, “ Firmly Rooted: Cultivating Faith Development in the Next Generation”, and “ Equipping and Empowering Early Educators”.

Domain: Learning Orientation Construct: Outcomes Focused

peter greer
Peter Greer
President & CEO, HOPE International

HOPE International is a global, Christ-centered economic development organization serving several continents. Prior to joining HOPE, Peter worked internationally as a microfinance adviser in Cambodia and Zimbabwe and as managing director for Urwego Bank in Rwanda. He received a B.S. in international business from Messiah College and an MPP in political and economic development from Harvard's Kennedy School. As an advocate for the Church’s role in missions and alleviating extreme poverty, he has co-authored several books, including “Mission Drift”, “Rooting for Rivals”, and “Created to Flourish”.

Domain: Expertise & Resources Construct: Resource Constraints

rex miller
Rex Miller
Author, “Humanizing the Education Machine”

"Humanizing the Education Machine," tells the story of what great 21st-century learning looks like and how to bring that dynamic into schools. Rex's company, MindShift, works with organizations to help them adapt to the fast and unpredictable changes they face. Two of his books have won international awards for innovation and excellence. Rex graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s in Theology and Communications, and earned a Master’s in Strategic Foresight, Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship from Regent University. Rex's current project examines ways to create a healthy workplace in schools.

Domain: Well-Being Construct: Stress

Dr. Larry Taylor

“The Flourishing School Institute cultivates Christ-centered leaders to transform their school culture through Kingdom education.The FSi is organized around research-based linkages of constructs, or parts, of the school which contribute to the development of a flourishing school culture. Please read my letter detailing the philosophy and research-rich foundation of this biblically distinctive new initiative.”

Dr. Larry Taylor, ACSI President
Flourishing Schools Institute from ACSI
Research-based Learning

Dig deep into what flourishing in a Christian school means. Dynamic keynote speakers and breakout teachers will guide you through unpacking the ground-breaking, research-based Flourishing Christian School Model consisting of five domains: Purpose, Relationships, Learning Orientation, Expertise, and Resources along with Well-Being.

Interactive Experimentation & Application

Put your thinking into action with a collaborative time to process flourishing learnings with speakers and other educators. Together, we will brainstorm an action plan for your school culture. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to network with other school leaders through the Institute.

Experiential, Exponential Growth

With in-person locations across the United States to consider, this unique, hands-on experience will be a rewarding investment professionally for you, your leadership team, and for the long-term health of your school culture and community. These destinations also provide the opportunity to explore and enjoy a different perspective.

The Flourishing Christian School Model offers a wide range of ways to engage. While you may choose to just attend the Institute, we strongly recommend bundling the Instrument and Institute together, which will provide you with a fuller experience. If your survey data is completed before arriving at the Institute, it will help you to know what to focus on and thereby allow you to make the most of this collaborative time.



Institute Attendance
Member Pricing
Non-Member Pricing
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Flourishing Bundle
Institute Attendance & Instrument
Member Pricing
Non-Member Pricing

* Build your vision to flourish by bringing your leadership team and emerging leaders at a discounted price. See pricing details at registration.

Orlando, FL
November 1-3, 2021
Chicago, IL
June 21-23, 2022
Yes, I want to learn more about the ACSI Flourishing Schools Institute!

We are excited to share more about our pilot year and program details being finalized with you. Let us know you’re interested in learning more and we will be in contact soon.

Defining Well-Being

Well-being is an important domain for both student and educator flourishing. The FSCI identified three constructs related to well-being—one for teachers and leaders (Stress), and two for students (Healthy Living and Resilience). This domain and related constructs demonstrate that the well-being of educators and students is not a secondary concern—but an essential contributor to flourishing outcomes.

Well-Being FSCM Constructs

Stress – Constant feelings of stress and being overwhelmed accompany a lack of time to prepare for instruction (Teachers) or to focus on physical health (Leaders).

Healthy Living – Students are happy with their physical health, including sufficient exercise and a healthy diet.

Resilience – Students handle stress effectively and respond well to/bounce back from difficult situations.

Defining Purpose

A Christian perspective on education provides the telos, or purposeful aim, of Christian schooling. The FSCI identified a commitment on the part of all school constituencies to the central purposes of education as strongly connected with flourishing outcomes.

Purpose FSCM Constructs

Responsibility – Leaders, teachers, and support staff feel a sense of shared ownership for school mission, success, and improvement.

Holistic Teaching – Teaching involves helping students develop spiritually and emotionally (teaching the heart and soul, as well as the mind).

Integrated Worldview – Christian worldview changes how we educate; there is no such thing as a secular sphere.

God’s Story – Students believe they are a part of God’s bigger plan and can be used by him to “make a difference.”

Questioning – Students have doubts about their faith, lack time to pray or study the Bible, and feel that most Christians are too judgmental.

Partnership – Families feel they are a part of the school’s mission, and that their child’s spiritual development requires their partnering with and being involved at the school.

Spiritual Formation – Alumni report that their Christian faith is stronger thanks to attending a Christian school, and they believe people can change with God’s help.

Defining Expertise & Resources

While a sense of purpose is essential for Christian school leaders and teachers, their ability to fulfill that purpose is necessarily dependent upon their expertise as educators. FCSI research shows that flourishing is connected to excellence in educational and school management practices.

Expertise & Resources FSCM Constructs

Qualified Staff – New teacher hires are credentialed (licensed/certified) and have classroom experience.

Responsiveness to Special Needs – Teaching staff works together to serve students with special needs, aided by processes and resources for identifying and responding to those needs.

Resources – Materials and resources for teaching, including technology, are sufficient, and the school building is in good physical condition.

Resource Planning – A strategic financial plan and master facilities plan is in place, and financial planning is a strength of the board.

Resource Constraints – The school has financial resources to operate effectively; or, we could be more effective as a school if not for fiscal constraints, and we lack the resources we need to make changes in our school.

Opening Evening

Opening Evening Schedule

Day One

Day One Schedule

Day Two

Day Two Schedule

*Please note this is a sample schedule and the final schedule can change per specific location.