By Paul Madsen, June 2021
It has been a challenging year but, in many ways, we face the same issues as always. As we talk with school leaders and teachers across Europe, each one has a deep desire to understand the needs of their students, connect and collaborate with committed teachers and leaders in other Christian schools, and see transformation in their schools and communities that honors God and His message of truth and grace.
These issues may be best expressed in the word “vision”. What is vision? Vision is a description of the school’s preferred future that is consistent with its Christian foundations and identity. When our vision is clear, we can begin to effectively evaluate where we are in our progress, understand what needs improvement, coordinate with those who can provide resources and training, and then set strategic and meaningful goals.
ACSI and CSIP
ACSI Europe now provides the Christian School Improvement Platform (CSIP), developed specifically for the European context, to help you clarify and implement your vision for Christian education. This tool is multilingual, which facilitates communication and collaboration between school leaders across 8 languages, which includes a complete Dutch language version! There are several steps to this process beginning with identifying a small team who will complete a self-assessment of their school. This self-assessment focuses on 5 Standards which are central to the mission and the work of Christian education: Philosophy and Foundations, Leadership and Personnel, Teaching and Learning, Spiritual Formation, and the Strategic School Improvement Plan.
Based on the results of the self-assessment, a report is generated which will suggest priorities to discuss with your leadership team. You can then decide how to address those needs, either through specific training or services, or through consultation with other schools or service providers within the platform. Bert Vogel, ACSI Europe Consultant in Holland, has been fully involved in the development of this tool and can provide a presentation or support for your leadership team. He will guide you as you use the system and can also help you find a peer-review team to validate your conclusions and connect your school to a broader community of professional support.
Several Dutch school leaders have already tested this system and they find that it provides a tremendous opportunity to reevaluate their strengths and their needs as a school in a context that encourages community collaboration. School improvement is hard work but having the right tools for this work is infinitely valuable when it also strengthens communication among your leadership team and school community. May God give each of us the strength and wisdom we need to fulfil our calling and serve our school communities with quality, Christ-centered education!