Channel Guide

The Channel Guide is up to date. We are actively working to finalize the schedule and final set of workshops. Check back for more updates soon. We are excited about every single breakout and you should be too!

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Administrative Support

Robyn Burlew | Head of Upper School, Veritas School (VA)

Most of our schools claim to partner with parents in their responsibility to educated their children. But what do we really mean by this partnership and what can be done to make sure that the language around partnership is not a simply warm-and-fuzzy brochure claim? Veritas School has put several practices in place to establish, maintain, and repair partnership with parents so that minor differences and misunderstandings do not threaten it. Robyn will share both what is done and the principles behind those practices.

Rim Hinckley | Head of School, The Geneva School of Manhattan (NY)

Why new parent Orientation?
To emphasize the mission and the vision of the school. Review the statement of faith and highlight key information in the parent/student handbook.
Goal is to remind the parents what they have agreed to do as parents and what they can expect from the school.

When do you have the orientation?
During the summer before the start of the school year. Ideally, in June, right after the end of the school year or in August before the start of the school year. It’s good to offer two dates since it is a strongly recommended event.

How?
Start with the plenary session with all the parents to review the school wide information. Take a break with refreshments and then break the groups into different schools. At Geneva School, we had three sections: Preschool, Lower school and Upper school.

Dusty Kinslow | Assistant Head of School, Austin Classical School (TX)

“Endurance is not a desperate hanging on but a traveling from strength to strength. There is nothing fatigued or humdrum in Isaiah, nothing flatfooted in Jesus, nothing jejune in Paul. Perseverance is triumphant and alive.” – Eugene Peterson

In a time where transience is the norm and contentment seems illusive, perhaps one of the most crucial jobs of school leaders is to endure, simply and excellently. Enduring leaders must manage the tension of looking back to lead the way forward, serving as the Chief Reminding Officers of their schools. This session will explore several leadership principles gleaned from Eugene Peterson’s book “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” and offer practical applications, both personally and organizationally, for those that have been called to the “long obedience” of classical, Christian school leadership.

Dr. Christopher Perrin | CEO, Classical Academic Press

Sponsored by Classical Academic Press

Like so many secular schools, classical schools often pack their curriculum to include up to 10 subjects per semester spread over seven or eight periods per day. Like so many of our modern school practices, it turns out that this is not a traditional, classical practice. The classical tradition insisted upon multum non multa (much not many) as a meaningful approach to study. C.S. Lewis wrote that “no one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.” In another place he encourages us to teach “fewer subjects and teach them far better.” In this seminar, we will spend most of our time exploring the various ways classical educators in the past have sought to do this and the ways we mighty revise our curriculum to do the same or something similar. We will also note (and hear from) several contemporary classical schools that have made meaningful strides to “slim down” and teach fewer subjects far better.

David Seibel | Head of School, Coram Deo Academy (IN)

All teachers aim to impact students’ lives, to improve their craft, and to engage in lifelong learning. However, most of the mechanisms that administrators utilize do not achieve these aims. In fact, the majority of teachers believe that they would have a bigger impact and be more effective if they did not have to participate in required professional development and evaluation procedures. In this session, teachers and administrators will be shown an apprenticeship model used to promote mastery in the art of teaching within a Classical Christian school. This model is inspired by the work of both Classical and contemporary educational leaders and is founded upon three core principles: relationship, reflection and cohesion. As a newer head of school, who has benefited personally from being an apprentice of seasoned administrators, the classical apprenticeship model is the best mindset and method I have discovered to promote mastery in the art of teaching.

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Advancement & Marketing

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Brad Layland | CEO and Senior Consultant, The FOCUS Group

Do you sense that you are spending a lot of energy on fundraising, but not making a lot of progress? If your school’s fundraising efforts involve going from one event to another all year long – creating donor, staff and volunteer fatigue – there is a better way! Learn a more strategic, relational and sustainable approach to growing your annual fund, and transform donors into lifelong partners. Time will be available to discuss attendees’ specific questions.

Brad Layland is the CEO of The FOCUS Group. He lives in St. Augustine, Florida, where he is a founding parent and serves on the board of trustees for Veritas Classical School. In addition, he serves on the boards of directors for Young Life St. Augustine, Christian Surfers US, the Reid Saunders Association, and Young Life of Greater New York, and is an elder at Good News Church. Brad received his BA in Communications from the University of Florida and his MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.

For over 35 years, The FOCUS Group has helped nonprofits raise money more effectively through capital campaign counsel, major donor strategies, planned and estate gifts, and training. It currently serves ten classical Christian schools across the United States.

Brad Layland | CEO and Senior Consultant, The FOCUS Group

Your school is growing, and you would like to acquire permanent space, expand your campus, or fund a new program. Is it time for a capital campaign? Join us to learn when it’s appropriate to launch a capital campaign, how they are different from your annual fund, and the seven “must haves” for your campaign to succeed. Time will be available to discuss attendees’ specific questions.

Brad Layland is the CEO of The FOCUS Group. He lives in St. Augustine, Florida, where he is a founding parent and serves on the board of trustees for Veritas Classical School. In addition, he serves on the boards of directors for Young Life St. Augustine, Christian Surfers US, the Reid Saunders Association, and Young Life of Greater New York, and is an elder at Good News Church. Brad received his BA in Communications from the University of Florida and his MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.

For over 35 years, The FOCUS Group has helped nonprofits raise money more effectively through capital campaign counsel, major donor strategies, planned and estate gifts, and training. It currently serves ten classical Christian schools across the United States.

Larry Ross | Founder & CEO, A. Larry Ross Communications

More information to come…

More information coming soon.

This Q & A session will be directly after Amy Burgess’s Live Main Stage Session.

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Athletics

More information coming soon. 

Hosted by Beck Brydon. More information coming soon.

Fine Arts

Wade Butin | Music Teacher, Providence Classical School (TX)

Music is a language with its own unique grammar and history. How can a grammar school teacher at a small school teach this language effectively in a few short classes a week? How does a choir director develop a top-notch vocal program with small numbers and varying levels of ability? Come and find out how two music teachers from Texas tackle many of the problems small schools experience.

Scott Gercken | Kantor, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran School (IL)

Should music instruction in a classical school look different from its counterpart in progressive public schools? The ancients believed that music was an important aspect of a free man’s education. In the Reformation of the sixteenth century, music was specially regarded as a vehicle for Christian formation and was taught accordingly. Music education in American public schools was progressivist from the start, borrowing heavily from methods developed under Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. This session will address historical and present-day models for music instruction, the philosophies that drive them, and offer listeners food for thought about how one might teach music classically today with a firm foundation in content and method.

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Grammar

Jason Barney | Academic Dean, Clapham School (IL)

Narration is a foundational tool of learning in which students are asked to reproduce quality content from memory. It was a simple and elegant mainstay of classical education before the factory model of the modern era crowded it out of the classroom. One of the best proponents of this traditional learning tool was Charlotte Mason, who honed and perfected it in her schools. Charlotte Mason was a late 19th century British educator who sought to bring the heart of the liberal arts tradition into the modern era, just when it was being most assailed by early pragmatists.

The practice of narration is one of the best ways to embody the classical principle of self-education. As Dorothy Sayers concluded her essay on the lost tools of learning, “the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men to learn for themselves.”
Come to this practical workshop on the why and how of implementing narration in your classroom! We’ll explore what narration is as a teaching practice, why it’s so effective from the perspective of Christian classical education and modern learning science, and how to implement it in your classroom. We’ll touch on everything from how to roll out the new practice, how to call on students effectively, the varieties of narration that can be used, and how narration fits in a broader lesson structure. Free eBook offered to all who attend the workshop!

Allison Buras | Grammar School Dean, Live Oak Classical School

With worldwide statistics of persons with dyslexia as high as 20%, students with dyslexia are in your schools. Because dyslexia is a specific learning disability rather than a pervasive one, and because it has no correlation to intelligence, many dyslexics can do well with a classical school curriculum. But early identification and intervention is key. What processes are in place to identify and intervene at your school? Allison Buras and Alisha Barker will share their journey into the world of Dyslexia at Live Oak, and how they work to identify and support these students through teacher and parent education, reading screeners, intervention, and accommodation. We will also look at challenges going forward, and will also make time for attendees to share what processes are in place in other schools.

Leslie Collins | Head of School, Covenant Academy (TX)

This workshop will present practical ideas for implementing grammar methodology in the classroom. Attendees will leave with tools for helping students memorize information effortlessly as they are filled with excitement, joy, and wonder. Whether this is your first year or your twenty-first, this conference will give you tips and tools for the journey.

Cristina Dube | Grammar School Mathematics Specialist, Geneva School of Boerne (TX)

Are your students struggling with basic mathematics fact recall? Memorization of basic mathematics facts is a basic principle in Classical Christian classrooms. This presentation will discuss basic facts’ instruction and how it looks in the classical classroom. It will also provide insight on how to improve recall without increasing anxiety in students. The researcher will share the stages students go through when memorizing facts and review the research that overwhelming supports memorization of basic facts. Finally, the researcher will provide guidance on intervention when fact memorization becomes difficult for students. You will walk away better informed about basic math facts and better equipped to teach for memorization in your classroom.

Jessica Gombert | Grammar School Headmaster, Geneva School of Boerne (TX)

This workshop will focus on the subject matter that occupies a significant place in the Grammar School curriculum: reading. To teach reading well, you must have a good deal of knowledge about how reading “works” so that you can analyze students’ needs, successes and difficulties with it. Teacher preparation and knowledge are fundamental to reading achievement. While being knowledgeable of best practices is important, an understanding of how the brain functions during the reading process is equally necessary for effective reading instruction. Together, we will discuss these best practices, as well as why a systematic phonetic approach to reading instruction is classical, brain-based and effective. We will address the obstacles that get in the way of the reading process and how to come alongside struggling readers. Practical strategies for providing this necessary support in the Grammar School classroom will be shared. We will also discuss the importance of reading throughout the Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric stages. Participants will leave knowing how to apply their knowledge of reading development into effective instructional practices.

Alex Markos | Grammar School Latin Teacher, Geneva School of Boerne (TX)

Greek mythology is often a favorite subject for young students, but what exactly are they supposed to learn from such stories? What do these classical, pagan myths have to do with the truth of God’s Word? In this session, we will explore the role that story plays in education and why it is such a powerful and effective tool for communicating truth. Operating under the belief that all truth is God’s truth, we will examine the kinds of truths that are communicated through Greek myths and discuss how those small and fragmented truths point to and find their fulfillment in the stories of the Bible. The presenter will illustrate these concepts with specific myths and passages of Scripture and will share his strategies on how to lead students in fruitful discussions about myth, truth, and God’s Word.

Athena Oden | Physical Therapist/Owner, Ready Bodies, Learning Minds

What do we do with a classroom full of active and growing grammar students? How can we accommodate the demands of a curriculum and the current call for “movement-in-the-classroom”? Grammar students are physically developing in front of our eyes, growing and changing constantly. This embodied being must be taught to read, write, cipher, and stand in line. In this seminar, we will discuss current theories of human development and how it fits into our understanding of man (or child!). Science is now supporting what we know as Christians: that our cognition is embodied and our bodies participate in our gaining of knowledge. And, since Classical education is grounded in the nature of learning, we need to define that nature and transplant it into our classrooms. We will discuss what that might look like in different classroom activities, in imparting information, in classroom control, and in behavioral plans.

Kristina Pierce | Kindergarten, Providence Classical School (TX)

“Once upon a time…” Fewer phrases can spark such instant interest as this familiar story opening. Story-telling is a primary mode of input for our littlest learners. But how do you decide which stories are worth being told? How do you present a story so that children learn to comprehend the elements without dissecting the story into lifeless bits? How do you choose books that tell the Truth in a world full of mediocre children’s literature? This workshop is an interactive, hands-on session. You will see demonstrations of read-aloud techniques, and come away with a grid for selecting and reading Life-giving stories with your youngest learners. “The most important part of education is right training in the early years. The soul of the child in his play should be guided to the love of…excellence.” (Plato, Laws, as quoted in Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

Valerie Rennie | Kindergarten Teacher, Trinity Academy (NC)

“Narrating is not the work of a parrot, but of absorbing into oneself the beautiful thought from the book, making it one’s own and then giving it forth again with just that little touch that comes from one’s own mind.”
-Charlotte Mason

We are all storytellers. We tell stories every day in our jobs, in our conversations at the grocery store, and with our friends. Children love to tell stories. They are excited to share their ideas and all of their experiences seem worthy of a discussion. In this session, you will hear how I’ve used flannel boards and story pieces to practice narration – the art of telling, with my students. My students have become confident storytellers through the practice of oral narrations. They listen to a variety of stories, create their pieces, organize their thoughts, and tell the story in their own words. Oral narration reinforces reading skills such as fluency, beginning, middle, and end, setting, and characterization. It has allowed my students to express themselves and to practice communicating with others effectively. They are connecting the dots to become better listeners, thinkers, and speakers.

Valerie Rennie | Kindergarten Teacher, Trinity Academy (NC)

Discuss. Converse. Talk. Laugh. Go slow. Repeat.” – Christopher Perrin

Would you like to start your day in a positive way? Would you like your students to converse, listen, and reflect with one another? Would you like to establish a routine that each student looks forward to? The morning meeting is a powerful approach to classical learning in the lower school. In this session, you will hear practical advice on how to incorporate a morning meeting into your daily schedule. It will demonstrate the importance of habit to set the tone and direct the path for learning. You will learn the significance of each element of the meeting and how this simple classroom method has cultivated deep friendships and community within the classroom.

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Heads of School & Boards

Peter Baur | Head of School, Faith Christian School (VA)

One of our greatest challenges is to develop a clear and easy to implement definition of Christian classical education.

In 2014, Faith Christian School initiated a yearlong process that resulted in a clear consensus of what Christian classical education would look like at Faith. This process has led to core “Basic Understandings” that guide everything we do. These “Basic Understandings” give our administration and faculty clarity as to where and how their energy should be directed. Over the past five years this clarity has transformed our work at Faith.

This workshop will lead you through a process that will allow you to achieve similar results for your school. This time will not be about giving you another school’s definitions, but providing you with a path leading toward the excitement and power clarity brings for your school.

More information coming soon.

Paula Dwyer | Rhetoric School Principal, Coram Deo Academy (TX)

Classical schools seek to cultivate wisdom and virtue through the contemplation of truth, goodness, and beauty and the acquisition of the liberal arts. Curricula and instructors impact students’ love of learning and challenge their thinking beyond the lessons. But how do spaces within schools help us achieve our mission? The classical classroom requires a unique aesthetic. Do visitors know who you are from initial interaction with your common spaces? Do hallways serve as vessels to guide students into learning environments? Do classrooms focus on student learning? Even budget-constrained schools can improve aesthetics through thoughtful streamlining and careful placement of age-appropriate classical elements that become learning tools to grow wise thinkers. Hear how one school created an environment that stimulates the mind and engages the students in peaceful, calm spaces. Learn how to establish a classical aesthetic that supports your school’s mission and educational model.

Jean Kim | Head of School, The Cambridge School (CA)

This workshop is geared towards Heads of School but can be applicable for division heads and others. You will hear the story of how a high performance leadership team was built at The Cambridge School in San Diego as a case study and leave with practical, actionable tools and ideas to help create the kind of team that can help move your school along a path towards flourishing and health.

More information coming soon.

Peter VandeBrake | Director of the Upper School, The Geneva School of Orlando

This workshop will help you understand how diversity in your student body, faculty, staff, and administration makes you a better and stronger school. This session will highlight how experience with diversity helps students to develop better cultural competence and ultimately better results in their work. This presentation will also include a brief review of the theology of diversity.

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International

Languages

Marcus Foster | Languages Department Chair, Covenant Classical School (TX)

This session will address positive ways that administrators hold their teachers accountable and ways teachers hold their students accountable, esp. in the context of teaching Latin. On the teacher front, observations, meetings, grade-book checks, and collaborative initiatives represent some of the most frequently used assessment tools. Each will be considered with best practices and practical advice. On the student front, assessments range from quizzes to national exams, formal to informal, summative exams to surgical “tickets out the door”, from project to finals. How do these fit within a reasonably aligned curriculum? How can we maintain differentiation, fairness, and transparent grading practices simultaneously? What about creativity, Latinity, and spontaneity? This seminar will explore these questions with resources, best practices, and categories to help administrators serve their teams and school more effectively, and when possible inspirationally.

Marcus Foster | Languages Department Chair, Covenant Classical School (TX)

This workshop will develop the theory, methods, mechanics, and materials for differentiating language instruction to younger students (4th and below) emphasizing kinesthetic, auditory (melodic, rhythmic, dynamic), and visual elements (using color, images, graphs, art, motions). While much of the source material will stem from Latin, the content will be applicable to other languages. The seminar will conclude with Q & A, especially aimed at exploring other schools’ attempts at similar endeavors.

Timothy Griffith | Fellow of Classical Languages, New Saint Andrews College

This workshop will demonstrate practical methods Latin teachers of all levels may use to help their students learn, retain, and use Latin vocabulary better. Among other things, it will include exercises for different learning styles, how to teach vocabulary from multiple directions, and how to introduce vocabulary both inductively and deductively.

Dr. Jason Merritt | Senior Thesis and Greek Teacher, Covenant Classical School (TX)

The majority of the essentials text studied in classical education were written in either Latin or Greek, yet many classical schools offer only Latin. This workshop is intended to provide administrators and language department chairs encouragement and confidence to beginning a Greek language program in their schools by offering a brief overview of two models of teaching Attic and Koine Greek within a classical school setting. The first model is an advanced language class taught in the upper/rhetoric school years as an alternative to Latin, and the second model begins in the early years of the lower/grammar school years and extends through the upper/rhetoric school years, taught concurrently with Latin. The workshop leader has worked with both models in the course of his career. Time will be given to examining the benefits and drawbacks of each model, the overall benefit of offering instruction in Attic and Koine Greek, and resources available for implementing each model. Time will be offered at the end of the workshop for questions and answers.

Dr. Jason Merritt | Senior Thesis and Greek Teacher, Covenant Classical School (TX)

As classical educators, we admire, read, and learn from Plato and his presentation of Socrates, but we do so primarily with an eye toward ethics and metaphysics. We primarily regard these intellectual giants as thinkers, but what if we consider them as educators? What can we learn about teaching from two of history’s greatest teachers? In this session, we will consider the socratic dialogue (a staple of classical pedagogy in our upper level classes), but we will look more closely at their use of narrative, constructed experience, irony, and humor as pedagogical tools and consider the ways in which we might better incorporate  these methods into our own classroom instruction. 

Lisa Snyder | Foreign Language Department Head, Covenant Christian Academy (TX)

More information coming soon.

Lisa Snyder | Foreign Language Department Head, Covenant Christian Academy (TX)

If you have loved Latin and taught it, you understand its value and impact. Why is it so hard to inspire the uninitiated or the resistant? In this seminar, we will look beyond the classic top reasons to study a language, discuss SLA research and various methodologies, and examine the impact of studying languages on students’ overall linguistic development. We will further evaluate traditional assessments and how they measure language learning.

Alphabet and some basic vocab & grammar assumed.

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No prerequisite knowledge assumed.

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Math & Science

Janet Andreasen | Associate Lecturer, University of Central Florida

What does an A in your class mean? What does a C mean? Do your grades reflect what your students understand? Come explore the standards-based mindset which uses assessment to more accurately reflect what students know and understand. Hear from our experiences implementing this mindset with mathematics students and learn some tips and strategies for using this with your own students.

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Philosophy & Worldview

Todd Buras | Associate Professor of Philosophy, Baylor University

This workshop identifies the ways in which a moral philosophy course, centered on the disputed question genre, can serve as a capstone experience in classical Christian schools, and prepare students for independent thesis projects. After a brief introduction, workshop participants will collectively construct a disputed question to take a stand on a sample moral issue. Then, in group discussion, we will reflect on the ways the exercise draws on and applies the key components of a classical Christian education–not just grammar, logic, and rhetoric, but scientific and historical learning, as well as virtue education and Biblical literacy. We will discuss a wide variety of curricular applications for the disputed question genre, but will conclude with remarks about the prospects and importance of revitalizing the traditional capstone course in moral philosophy.

It is a given that all students will face an ever-changing world.  Their career options will change, technology will change, educational opportunities will change, etc.  This seminar makes the case that a classical education is the best possible preparation students can have for thriving in this world of change, disruption, and uncertainty.  Many people in the 21st century assume that the value of education is based on the practical preparation it provides.  For millennia, however, the tradition of classical education has understood its purpose as the cultivation of whole human beings, not just their specialized, technical preparation for a particular job or function in society.  This cultivation of lifelong learners who are equipped to live wise and virtuous lives is precisely the kind of education that best will enable students to adapt and thrive as they navigate all the changes that they will face.  In our current context of disruption and uncertainty, this is a message that parents, students, donors, and some of us need to hear.   

Phillip Donnelly | Great Texts Program Director, Baylor University

Many Christian Classical schools give a central place to the art of rhetoric. This is appropriate, given the role of the affections in Christian formation. Contemporary culture, however, tends to reduce persuasion to a technique that is detached from personal agency or ethical reality. A Christian understanding of the art of rhetoric provides an alternative to this widely held view. This workshop begins by considering the five traditional tasks that make up the art of rhetoric: 1) “finding” arguments (inventio), 2) “arranging” arguments (dispositio), 3) “style” of persuasion (elocutio), 4) “memory” (memoria), and 5) “delivery” (pronuntiatio). Digital culture offers its own version of each task by appealing to a desire for subjective control and risk-free pleasure. In practice, however, these contemporary versions of the five tasks of the orator result in damage to persons. Ultimately, we shall consider how a Christian understanding of the Incarnation provides a life-giving alternative to the ways that our culture construes these aspects of rhetorical art.

Christopher Schlect | Senior Fellow of History, New Saint Andrews College

There is more to discussion than merely getting students to talk about the material. There is more to it than provoking their opinions. Is your classroom a place where students think well, listen well, and speak well? What practices stifle those qualities? This practical workshop provides ideas about how to get our students to interact with the material, with the instructor, and with one another.

Bryan Smith | Director, Director of Orthodox Classical School Association

This talk is intended to help teachers free themselves from poor imitations of scientific form in their subject area—from anthropological or political approaches to history. It reasserts the person as the focus of historic attention and human action as the historical narrative’s complication and ultimate resolution. In practical terms, it gives teachers a way to sort out and manage the infinite number of facts and events in history while creating ways to teach the more important lessons. It asserts, in the end, that history is a moral reflection.

– History as literature
– The Person as the center of study
– Plot aspects of historical narratives
– Managing three kinds of historical content: facts, stories, larger lessons
– Recommended “histories” to read in school
– Teaching narrative writing in history classes

James Tallmon | Rhetoric Teacher, Wittenberg Academy

There is something missing. It is popular, in evangelical circles, to refer to high school as the “School of Rhetoric,” but, ironically, the majority have only one or two rhetoric classes. These classes almost always focus on composition. Now, writing quality essays is a worthy goal. However, in terms of engaging one’s neighbor, developing quick wit, of being at home in the rough-and-tumble of the marketplace of ideas, there is no substitute for speech and debate. “School of Rhetoric in Name Only,” will detail what drives my work with classical educators, and has, point of fact, shaped my three rhetoric classes at Wittenberg Academy. Namely, teaching in tandem dialectic and rhetoric to cultivate wisdom and eloquence. In learning to approach rhetoric from this point of view, and coupling it with instruction in dialectic, attendees will be reminded why rhetoric held, for a thousand years, the elevated status of “Capstone of the Liberal Arts” and how it still helps one “order the loves.” This workshop covers the curriculum for and pedagogy of three foundational courses in rhetorical studies: Introduction to Public Speaking, Argumentation & Debate, and Advanced Public Speaking because, to hearken the mantra of the German Reformers, “The aim of liberal arts education is a wise and eloquent piety.”

This Q & A session will be directly after Jennifer Marshall’s Live Main Stage Session. 

Technology

Urban Education

Russ Greg | Head of School, Hope Acadmey (MN)

In 1999, God gave Russ Gregg the courage to quit his job and do something crazy: start a school for his neighbors’ children. In this workshop, Russ Gregg will share the urgent need for more urban classical, Christ-centered schools in our nation’s cities, and outline the core DNA of Hope Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the ways the Spreading Hope Network can come alongside and support emerging school leaders in the important work of planning, starting, and leading a new God-centered school for children of the city.
Dr. Angel Adams Parham | Co-Founder, Nyansa Classical Community (LA)
 
Many urban classical schools serve a culturally and racially diverse student body. As students study great writing and great ideas, it is important for them to see that people from many different backgrounds have deeply appreciated and carefully studied these writers in ways that have often been transformative. It is especially important for African American students to know that writings from the Western tradition that are often perceived as belonging only or mainly to those of European descent have been embraced by black intellectuals of the past who went on to create their own classic writings. In this workshop we learn more about key writers of the black intellectual tradition and how their writings engage with the great conversation. We conclude with practical suggestions for enriching classical school curricula at both lower and upper school levels with contributions from black writers.
Dr. Anika Prather | Founder of The Living Water School
 
For my doctoral work, I took a journey into the lived experience of African American students reading Great Books. In this workshop I invite others to experience the journey. The research question that guided my study was “What are the lived experiences of African American students reading Great Books literature?” especially when including African American thinkers like Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Marva Collins, Anna Julia Cooper, Gloria Ladson-Billings, James Baldwin, and others. Years ago, I taught a Great Books literature class for six years at a small Classical Christian School school in Southern Maryland. Twenty-two African American students came through, and five of those students were able to participate in this study where we all met around a table, just as we did years ago for the Great Books class. These former students and I went away for a weekend retreat to engage in conversation about their lived experience. The students had started out struggling with embracing and internalizing the books, but progressed to transformative insights—the experience of reading the literature deeply affected their lives as adults. As a culminating event, the participants created and performed a play, entitled “The Table,” which provided a visual representation of their lived experiences reading Great Books literature. The play was performed at St. John’s College during President’s Day weekend and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. This experience has been a guiding light for me as I move forward as an educator of primarily African American students in the school I help lead.
The coronavirus situation may change education in many ways for the next year or two. With a focus on Staff Culture, Classroom Culture, and the Structure of the Day, Nathan Ziegler (Gr 6-12 Principal), Debbie Harris (K-2 Academic Dean), Renal Hall (3-5 Academic Dean), and Kelvin Simms (Gr 6-8) from Hope Academy in Minneapolis will share key insights around how they have worked to help maintain healthy staff and student culture with diverse student communities in hybrid and virtual instruction environments.

Panel with Jeremy Mann, Ricky Peterson, Daniel Hill, The Field Schoo

Jeremy Mann (Head of School), Ricky Johnson (Assistant Dean), and Daniel Hill (former Dean of Instruction) all have worked at The Field School in Chicago, IL. They also all began their education careers in Teach for America, a reform movement that recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural communities throughout the United States. They have since all worked to start The Field School, an urban classical Christian school in Chicago, IL. While there are many things they’ve had to unlearn from their TFA days, in the spirit of “plundering the Egyptians” these CCE urban education leaders will unpack what key insights and practices they think all schools should learn from Teach from America does well.

Panel with David Hardy, Pernicia Johnson, Andrew Hart, Russ Gregg

The move to shelter in place created massive disruptions. Join David Hardy (Founder of Boys Latin Charter School in Philadelphia), Andrew Hart (CEO, The Oaks Academy, Indianapolis, IN) Russ Gregg (Hope Academy, Minneapolis, MN), and Anika Prayer (The Living Water School, Maryland) as they reflect on how their school community reacted to the crisis, and lessons that can be learned for next year, and for the private and charter sectors as a whole.