Worldwide gathering in San Antonio Jan. 30-Feb. 1 to tackle ‘challenges and opportunities’ facing private Christian school movement COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Global leaders in the private Christian school community are convening next month to look for ways to reshape their movement and continue offering distinctive, faith-based education in an increasingly pluralistic and post-religious world.
The foremost gathering of Christian education leaders worldwide, GCSLS’s 2019 theme will be “Innovate,” seeking what organizers call “adaptive solutions to the current challenges and opportunities facing Christian education.”
Participants will tackle a wide range of issues, from foundational values and classroom practices, to how to integrate best practices in technology and diversity. They will also address legal and cultural developments that affect them, and share vision and innovative approaches for the future.
“We are coming together at a crucial time for everyone committed to, and concerned about, Christian schooling,” said Lynn Swaner, GCSLS chairperson and chief strategy and innovation officer for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI, www.acsi.org), headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lead co-sponsor of the summit, ACSI partnered with Barna Research for the trend-tracking 2017 report, Multiple Choice: How Parents Sort Education Options in a Changing Market. The report found that younger parents are more likely than any previous generation to have attended Christian school—and more likely to say their own educational experience affects what school they choose for their children. However, Millennial parents also have more educational options, are burdened with more college debt, and are less likely to identify as “Christian” than previous generations.
“While there are challenges that need to be addressed, this is even more a time of great opportunity for private Christian education, because an increasingly changing world needs citizens who have been well prepared, through a well-rounded education that is grounded in God’s unchanging truth and character,” Swaner said.
Summit presenters will include leading thinkers and practitioners in the Christian-school world, such as Jonathan Eckert, Professor of Education at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., who previously served at the U.S. Department of Education under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Also speaking will be Rev. Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, whose more than 4,500 schools educate one million children across the United Kingdom (UK).
As well as taking a hard look at problems, presentations will also examine successes. A session entitled “Using Innovation to Catalyze the Growth of Christian Education” will feature Andrew Neumann, CEO of Open Sky Education, a growing U.S. network of private Christian schools, public charter schools, Christian wraparound care programming, and character formation programming.
And in “Breakthrough: Christian Education Around the World,” leaders of the Christian school movement from China, Indonesia, India and the Middle East will share how Christian schooling is thriving all around the world, in both open and closed political environments and despite persecution and growing marginalization of religion.
GCSLS is co-sponsored by eight Christian school associations: Association of Christian Schools International, Christian Schools International, Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, National Christian School Association, Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, Association of Christian Teachers and Schools, International Christian Accrediting Association, and Christian Schools Australia.
Registration for GCSLS 2019 is available at https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/
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The biennial Global Christian Schools Leadership Summit (GCSLS) to be held in San Antonio, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2019, is the foremost gathering of Christian education leaders worldwide. GCSLS is co-sponsored by eight Christian school associations: Association of Christian Schools International, Christian Schools International, Council on Educational Standards and Accountability. National Christian School Association, Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, Association of Christian Teachers and Schools, International Christian Accrediting Association and Christian Schools Australia.