“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘it will be happier’…” ― Alfred Lord Tennyson
A new school year can feel like that, can’t it? Though busy, it’s a joyful time full of fresh perspective and hope of what is to come. This is the year that we’ll properly train all the new teachers and reach the struggling students and meet 100% tuition coverage and build a cohesive team and craft a well-defined strategic plan and teach all the children how to write well and understand how to teach Singapore math and raise funds for the new athletic facility and create a new website and a write new handbook and ______ fill in the blank. And so it is at SCL as well.
A new year greets us with new initiatives and strategic goals and hopes of meeting so many more of the needs within the classical Christian movement. Here are a few of the exciting happenings around the SCL world:
Leading our accreditation initiative, which provides schools the opportunity to receive vision, structure, clarity, accountability, and support, is Dr. Brian Polk. Brian has worked in classical Christian education for over 17 years as an administrator, board member, and science teacher. With our Standards and Indicators now in place, Brian has helped us launch our first accreditation visit next week, the first of five pilot visits planned for 2023-24. The accreditation team heads out next Tuesday and will use the pilot visits to solicit feedback on the accreditation process, and of course, to support each school in applying classical Christian principles to every aspect of school life.
The aim of SCL’s accreditation process is to help classical, Christian schools by providing principled/qualitative (not prescriptive) guidance, leading schools in systematic improvement, creating a partnership to equip schools in this improvement, building relationships and resources with seasoned leaders, and ultimately leading schools in becoming thriving classical Christian schools. Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.
Leadership Development & Collaborative Schools – Meet Starrla Fowler
Our second strategic objective involves expanding the reach and depth of our leadership development opportunities. As such, in August, we hired Starrla Fowler, a 20-year veteran who brings vital experience as a founder, board member, and administrator of a thriving classical, Christian, collaborative school in Austin, Texas (Veritas Academy). Starrla will head all of our leadership development efforts, including our cohorts and workshops and new consulting arm, and will also bring her specialized experience with collaborative schools (collaborative, hybrid, University-Model, etc.) to expand our reach in this growing segment. Read more about Starrla here.
New Events – Meet Sarah Spencer
Having Starrla’s attention in cohorts and workshops means Sarah Spencer, with whom many of you have worked, can now focus her time and energy on events. We have added a West Coast Symposium this year in March, are planning a pilot event focused on teacher training in January in Austin, TX, and are looking into a second pilot event in Tucson, AZ. And of course, we are already preparing for our annual Summer Conference in D.C. this summer at the beautiful Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center.
SCL Membership – Meet Lauren Key
As we prepare for accreditation and many new initiatives, there has never been a more important time to connect with SCL and partner with us as members. Directing this charge is Lauren Key, who supports members as well as our partners and sponsors. Lauren is also a classical school veteran having led admissions, operations, and taught ballet. We are here to serve you, so please connect with Lauren and let her know how we can best support you in becoming a thriving classical Christian school.
College Advising & Vocational Discipleship – Meet Deborah Allen
In August, we also hired Deborah Allen to help us launch a new initiative for college and career advisors. In her first year, Deborah aims to conduct research and build relationships with college advisors, colleges, and other organizations that can provide much-needed resources for schools, with an emphasis on vocational discipleship. Strong connections will allow us to collaborate in equipping students. At SCL, we believe college and career counseling is less about checking achievement boxes and more about nurturing the whole human spirit—intellectually, morally, and spiritually. Deborah brings 25 years of classical Christian experience, is a certified college counselor, vocational coach, and a Highlands Battery Ability consultant. She also taught humanities classes and developed college counseling programs at classical schools in Texas, both private and public.
The calling, college, and career initiative, led by Deborah, will host SCL’s first college-counseling- focused track at the Fall Retreat this October! Space is limited, so register now to join SCL’s efforts to expand and enlarge the vision for student flourishing. Learn more about Deborah here. She is eager to hear from you!
On this threshold of a new year, stay tuned for other exciting new advances involving start-up school initiatives, a new content engine, and new media resources as we continue to create avenues for you and your classical Christian school to thrive.