About SCL Workshops
SCL’s equipping workshops are short, intensive courses led by veteran school leaders and teachers with expertise in their field. Designed with busy school leaders and teachers in mind, workshops offer either an introduction to a broad subject or a deep-dive into a specific subject. Workshops focus on content through the utilization of online platforms Zoom and Thinkific. Each workshop session is one hour long.
Fall 2023 Workshop Offerings
If you have any questions, contact email@example.com
Description: Launching a new school can be overwhelming! Where to even begin? In this session, we will begin with the end in mind—ensuring that you have a clear vision and mission—and then build upon that foundation as we discuss the business side of founding a school. Topics of discussion will include fine-tuning your vision and mission, corporate formation, writing bylaws, establishing school board policies and practices, budgeting, personnel, facilities, marketing/promotion, etc.
Jef served as the Head of School of Veritas Academy in Austin, Texas for 18 years until retiring in the summer of 2023 (though he continues to serve on the Veritas school and trustee boards) and launching Quiddity Consulting LLC. His strengths are vision (seeing what doesn’t exist but could/should), discernment, persistent resolve and equanimity, adaptability, and relational leadership, qualities that are especially prominent in startups and in times of uncertainty and crisis when he thrives due to his high tolerance for ambiguity and risk.
Prior to co-founding Veritas Academy in 2004, Jef was an experienced business owner, operator, and consultant, having started and/or served as a senior executive officer (CFO/COO/CEO) at several high growth companies in Houston and Austin. He earned an MBA in Finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and is a former CPA, possessing years of M&A, corporate finance, and strategic/financial consulting experience with Big Four accounting and consulting firms. Jef has even more years of entrepreneurial business and church administration/board experience, and has previously served the National Association for University-Model Schools (NAUMS) as an advisory board member and new school trainer.
Jef and his wife, Starrla, have three grown children (all graduates of Veritas Academy) and continue to serve the classical Christian school movement from their home in the Texas Hill Country with their five dogs and one surviving cat.
- Prayer, Wisdom, & Guidance: understanding this is God’s work. Praying for this new venture, for the heart and vision for families and children, for the educational passion and entrepreneurial DNA, for the vision, acumen, and spiritual maturity needed, and for the fortitude and faith to see it through.
- Mission & Vision: prayerfully crafting your vision and mission with the end in mind
- Legal Formation: filing for 501(c)(3) status, articles of incorporation, bylaws, bank accounts, board policies, employment law, etc.
- Finance: raising funds, setting tuition, creating the budget, reporting financials, accounting, HR, etc.
- People: hiring mission-minded personnel, creating a launch team, identifying the best seats on the bus, etc.
- Facilities & Operations: identifying space options, understanding daily-use logistics, plant adjustments needed for schools, preparing for customer service, carpool, creating positive landlord relationships, etc
- Marketing & Branding: creating a school name, logo, and branding package, building a marketing and promotion strategy and launch campaign, creating school communication, etc.
Meeting Dates and Times
Oct 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29, and Dec 6 at 10:00am CST
Description: Growing in the craft of teaching is crucial for every classroom teacher. And yet, many teachers and principals struggle to find reliable methods of instruction that align with the values of classical education. In this workshop, we will explore the teaching philosophy and practices of Charlotte Mason, an educator passionate about cultivating curious, self-motivated learners. Each week, we will unpack a key tenet of Charlotte Mason’s thought, such as the personhood of the child, science of relations, the three instruments of education, habit training, nature studies, and narration. This workshop will be modeled after faculty orientation at a Charlotte Mason-inspired school. We will read and discuss excerpts from Mason’s writings on education, growing in our ability to instill a love of learning and habits for flourishing in our students.
Bio: Kolby Atchison is Head of School at Clapham School in Wheaton, Illinois, a classical school that implements the pedagogy of Charlotte Mason. In addition, Kolby regularly writes on the intersection of ancient wisdom and modern research at Educational Renaissance. He earned his BA in Philosophy from Biola University and his MA in Systematic Theology from Wheaton College. While at Biola, Kolby studied Great Books in the Torrey Honors College. Over the years, Kolby has taught a range of subjects across grade levels and served in a variety of administrative capacities, including Principal. In 2022, Kolby was selected as the new Head of School at Clapham. He and his wife Bethany live in the western suburbs of Chicago with their children Justus, Vivienne, and Lionel. In his free time, Kolby enjoys working on house projects, spending time outdoors, and rooting for Chicago sports.
Session 1: The Art of Narrating
- Narration as a Tool of Learning
- Method of a Lesson
Session 2: Education is an Atmosphere
- The Relationship with the Teacher
- The Environment of the Classroom
Session 3: Education is a Discipline
- Habits as the Railways of Life
- The Process of Habit Training
Session 4: Education is a Life
- Ideas as Food for the Mind
- A Curriculum of Living Books
Session 5: Education is the Science of Relations:
- The Personhood of the Child
- The Holy Spirit as Teacher
Session 6: Applying the Method Through Studies
- Artist Study
- Composer Study
- Nature Study
Meeting Dates and Times
September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24. at 7:30pm CST
Description: This workshop will introduce participants to what a seminar is; the best practices for leading discussions; how to evaluate discussants; and how to lead seminar discussions on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and history.
Participants will work through samples of classic literature and, in the process, apply the best practices. Short readings will be assigned ahead of each session and posted as PDFs.
Bio: Andrew J. Zwerneman has worked in the classical education movement since 1983. He has taught, headed schools, created curricula, and consulted founders of new schools. In 2016 he co-founded Cana Academy where he serves as president. Since then, he has personally trained more than a thousand teachers. Andrew blogs weekly at www.canaacademy.org and is author of History Forgotten and Remembered (2020) and The Life We Have Together: a Case for Humane Studies, a Vision for Renewal (2022).
Session 1: Seminars: What They Are & Methods for Leading Discussions
Session 2: Leading a Discussion on an Imaginative Work
Session 3: Leading a Discussion on an Expository Work
Session 4: Leading a Discussion on Poetry
Session 5: Leading a Discussion on History
Session 6: Coaching & Evaluating Discussants
Meeting Dates and Times
September 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19, 24 at 6:30pm ET
The Pillars of Talent Management workshop is designed to provide school leaders with a comprehensive approach to recruitment and retention of top talent. We dive deep into the infrastructure schools must build to successfully hire, onboard, resource, review, and retain both faculty and staff. With schools too often finding themselves behind in recruitment year after year, this workshop is meant to provide the necessary tools to put leaders in a strong position for the next hiring season.
Erik Twist is the Principal Partner and President of Arcadia Education. From 2008 to 2022, Erik helped build Great Hearts Academies into the largest network of classical schools in the country. He served as president of Great Hearts Arizona from 2017 to 2022. Erik was a member of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools from 2016 to 2021, as well as a member of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. Erik holds degrees from Trinity University, where he studied political science, and Oxford University, where he studied theology and philosophy.
Syllabus: Talent Management Workshop Syllabus.docx
Meeting Dates and Times
September 28, October 5, and 12 from 9:00am – 11:00am PST
Description: This six-week intensive is designed to support those who support students. Starting with the premise that Classical and Christian education can benefit all students who want to learn, we will explore topics such as: “classroom canaries”, early intervention, unified vision among faculty, parent education, individualized plans, teacher support, embodied learning, and the overall impact of a student support program on classical and Christian schools. Participants will share resources, solve problems, and develop strategic goals for their student support program.
Bio: Leslie and her husband, Dave have been working together in the disability community since 1987 when they married. Their focus was providing relief for exhausted parents through childcare and friendship. When she graduated from the University of Maryland in 1991, she focused on starting programs of inclusion in her classroom and in the local church. In 1995, Leslie became the founding headmistress of Rockbridge Academy in Millersville, Maryland where she was also an inclusive Kindergarten teacher for a student with communication and physical impairments. She was privileged to briefly serve in Kailua, Hawaii as Trinity Christian School transitioned to a classical model. In both CCE schools Leslie taught students with autism in the typical CCE classroom, either as the support teacher or the inclusive teacher. She is currently the Head of School at Covenant Academy in northwest Houston. Covenant has a Student Support program because it is a school value that every student be brought to the apex of their ability in partnership with parents. Leslie and Dave have four children and three grandchildren. She holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from the University of Maryland, and is currently pursuing the ED.S in Leadership at Gordon College. When she’s not working at school, she loves reading, cooking, walking, and gardening.
Meeting Dates and Times
September 27, October 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8 at 1:00pm CST
This workshop will explore the intersection of generative AI and CCE. We’ll begin with an introduction to AI, aiming to understand what it is and how it works, and touching on its potential impact on our culture, and more specifically, classical Christian education. Participants will have the chance to engage in straightforward discussions about the everyday presence of AI, its transformative effects, and the important questions it raises regarding ethical use. Guided by expert insights and real-world examples, we’ll look at both the opportunities and challenges AI may bring, focusing on how it can align with the spiritual and moral goals of CCE. Practical and attainable strategies will be shared, including ways to foster virtue and wisdom in education through the thoughtful use of AI. Lastly, the workshop will offer a space for attendees to see simple demonstrations of AI in action and to share their own experiences and ideas.
Joshua McCroskey is the Head of School at Ad Fontes Academy in Centreville, VA. Prior to joining AFA, Josh served at Trinity Christian School in Kailua, HI for seven years. While there he taught humanities, science, and mathematics before eventually moving to Upper School Principal. His experience in both the classroom and administration has aided his understanding of the intersection between technology and classical Christian education. Josh earnestly seeks to understand if and how generative AI can serve the pursuit of wisdom and virtue. His focus is primarily on the cultural implications of AI and its alignment with the spiritual and moral ends of classical Christian education.
Syllabus: Synthetic Virtue Workshop Syllabus.docx
Meeting Dates and Times
Mondays, beginning September 11 at 6:00pm EST
This Stability Markers workshop will take a deep dive into the use of Independent School Management’s stability instrument of the same name. Stability, defined as your ability to deliver your mission over long periods of time, is critical to your strategic plan. Knowing exactly where you fall relative to other schools, enrollment, and the economy, is powerful knowledge for your leadership team. Developed with years of research and over 4,000 schools, the Stability Markers are one of the very best ways to determine your school’s stability and programming freedom. This workshop will explain the instrument using New Covenant as a first example (Note: New Covenant has used the instrument for more than 15 years.). Then, each participant will be assigned to gather the underlying data from his/her own school, to produce a real-time score unique to that institution. John will lead the group in analyzing the data from each school, and will provide guidance on how to use the data for planning purposes.
John Heaton is a native of Orlando, Florida. Since 1998 he has served as the second headmaster of New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, VA, a classical, Christian School serving around 450 students in pre-K through grade 12. With 25 years at New Covenant, John is one of the longest sitting heads (in the same school) in the classical, Christian school community. The Society for Classical Learning was founded out of New Covenant in 1997, and John was instrumental in the founding and early governance. He has served as a board member and as board chair. John is an ordained minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church, and is the Priest Associate at All Saints Church, Lynchburg. He has been married to Heidi for 37 years and they have four children. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time on his farm in Bedford County, Virginia
Meeting Dates and Times
6-WK, 1-HR Sessions @ 4PM EST:
September 7, 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12
Description: The college advisors workshop will support, equip, and encourage College Advisors/Counselors at classical, Christian schools through training, collaboration, and fellowship. It will cover the following topics: college fit, 4-year advising models, the testing landscape, essays and interviews, financial aid, letters of recommendation, the school profile, interacting with students, parents, colleges.
Becky Priest is the College Counselor at The Cambridge School in suburban, hi-tech San Diego, where the last eight years she has seen the design and build-out of the college counseling program and the school’s first four graduating classes, with college acceptances that include some of the most highly selective in the country. She brings over two decades of college financial aid experience, having worked in the Financial Aid Office at Washington University in St. Louis, and in the San Diego area at college admissions firms and in private consulting. Becky was delighted to have received the blessing of collaboration and help from experienced counselors when transitioning to the high school side of the desk and loves opportunities to continue that collegiality, sharing the learned experiences of fellow counselors. She and her husband have one son in college (a member of Cambridge’s third class) and have provided leadership in their church in the areas of teaching, music, mentoring high school and college students, international student ministry, and missions. She is currently serving on the Classic Learning Test’s Board of Academic Advisors.
Deanna Ducher serves Hillsdale Academy in rural south-central Michigan as the College Counselor and teaches American history and civics. She joined the staff of Hillsdale Academy in August 1999 and initiated the College Counseling office that year when the original K-8 school began phasing in grades 9-12. The Academy graduated five students in 2001, and this June will graduate a class of 23, bringing the total number of graduates to 326. These students have attended a wide variety of selective colleges, state universities, trade schools, U.S. military academies, private Christian and non-denominational colleges, community colleges, and have served in all US military branches, including the Space Force. Deanna is a first-generation college graduate, so personally and through the Academy, she learned and built all aspects of the college application process from the ground up. Before joining the Academy, Deanna served Hillsdale College for two and a half years as an admissions counselor, recruiting from her native suburban Detroit. That experience gave her excellent perspective when she moved to the other side of the desk, managing the college search process for high school students. Off campus, she spends time in amateur photography, orchestral viola playing, travel, cycling, reading, and podcast listening.
Session 1: Introductions and Overview
The importance of college counseling, defining job duties
Developing an office philosophy or mission statement
The lens of classical, Christian education
College and university landscape and curriculum
Aptitude testing options (YouScience? Myers-Briggs, etc.)
Other post-high school options besides college: trades, military
Calendar and documents
4-year advising sequences/plans
College list-building wisdom; the 3 legs of college fit
School documents that support students
School Profile: must-have elements, communicating classical education
Transcript topics: grading scales, honors, dual enrollment
Other registrar issues
PSAT/NMSQT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, CLT, AP – distinctives and differences
School-based test prep sessions?
Thoughts on private prep
State testing requirements; school-day options
Rapidly changing national landscape/test-optional and surrounding issues
School testing philosophy – not teaching to the test
Session 4: Developing relationships with colleges
High school visits
How to “prove” your curriculum to colleges (sub-topic, the emphasis on GPA and weighted/unweighted/AP grades, etc. in test-optional world)
Session 5: Applications
The 8 factors in holistic admission and the importance of each
Micro fall of senior year plan
Elements of and expectations for the counselor LOR
Teacher LORs – training, elements, expectations
College essays: tips, best practices
Interviews: tips, best practices
Session 6: Financial Aid
Need-based aid – role of FAFSA and CSS Profile
Gift aid – academic merit, talent, tuition discounts
Cost factors over four years
Meeting Dates and Times
Tuesdays, beginning on January 23rd, 2024, at 6:30pm EST
Looking for a better way to teach math? Singapore Math has emerged as one of the leading elementary math programs in the world according to international studies, (TIMSS). With this approach, students will not only know how to solve problems, but they will also develop a deep understanding of how math works. This interactive and engaging workshop is ideal for newly hired teachers who will be teaching math using Singapore Strategies, for any math teacher who wants to further expand their teaching repertoire. Participants will be exposed to high-quality mathematical content, including videos, relevant readings, and effective learning tasks, and will have multiple opportunities to collaborate with other educators.
Topics will include the following:
- Introduction to Singapore Math in grades K-5
- How to transform a school’s mathematical culture
- Getting the parents on board
- Math competencies that are the mathematical building blocks
- Number sense in grades K-5
- Problem-solving with bar models in Grades 1-5
- The importance of Fact Fluency
- Essential components of Effective lessons
- Differentiation strategies so all learners are engaged and successful
- Assessments that guide instruction
Dr. Mo Gaffney is an accomplished educator with over twenty years of experience. She earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, an M.Ed. in Elementary Education, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, all from the University of Virginia. She has taught at the elementary level in both public and private schools and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia teaching courses in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She served as Head of the Covenant Lower School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she successfully implemented a Christian Liberal Arts and Sciences philosophy and curriculum. Her work in Christian education most notably includes reforming mathematics with the implementation of Singapore Math strategies in grades K-5. She serves as a consultant, leads professional development workshops at both classical and independent schools, and presents at national conferences, including SCL. Dr. Gaffney’s presentations include topics such as Singapore Mathematics, teacher evaluations, reading & writing connections, homework, and leadership.
Meeting Dates and Times
January 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, 26 at 3:00pm CST
- Session One: Introductions; What does it mean to foster virtue? What is mathematics learning?
- Session Two: What is a thinking classroom? How do we organize a thinking classroom?
- Session Three: How do we foster collaboration? What virtue is fostered through collaboration?
- Session Four: How do we choose and deliver curriculum to foster virtue and develop mathematical thinkers?
- Session Five: Where do students work and why?
- Session Six: Reflections and conclusions; where do we go from here?
Meeting Dates and Times
Beginning September 11, Mondays at 7:00pm EST
Description: Contemporary interest in classical Christian education is growing rapidly, but understanding exactly what defines this approach to education can be difficult. This six-week workshop will help participants develop an understanding of classical Christian education through studying key aspects of its history and philosophy. Designed in particular for those relatively new to the movement, the presentations and discussions will be intellectually robust and instructive for all – newbies and seasoned practitioners alike. Together, we will learn about key ideas and thinkers in the history of this educational tradition, focusing on topics such as the nature and purpose of classical Christian education, the cultivation of virtue and formation of loves, the rationale for studying pagan texts, and the contemporary CCE renewal. Whether you are new to classical Christian education or have been in the movement for years, this workshop will help you to deepen your own understanding of classical Christian education and to communicate its distinctive characteristics to others.
Bio: Dr. David Diener works at Hillsdale College where he is an Assistant Professor of Education. Previous experience includes fifteen years in K-12 private education, eleven of those in administration and eight as headmaster of classical Christian schools. He also is a Fellow on the Alcuin Fellowship National Council and Director of the Alcuin Fellowship Midwest Chapter, serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Classical Learning and the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test, is a member of the National Council of Classical Educators, and offers consulting services through Classical Academic Press. He is the author of Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator and has published articles on Plato, Kierkegaard, and various topics in philosophy of education. He also serves as the series editor for Classical Academic Press’ series Giants in the History of Education and is an associate editor for the journal Principia: a Journal of Classical Education. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Ancient Languages from Wheaton College as well as an MA in Philosophy, an MS in History and Philosophy of Education, and a dual PhD in Philosophy and Philosophy of Education from Indiana University.
Session 1 – The Nature and Vision of Classical Christian Education: Foundational Assumptions and Goals
Session 2 – The Nature and Vision of Classical Christian Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Session 3 – The Cultivation of Virtue and the Formation of Loves
Session 4 – Pagan Texts and Classical Christian Education
Session 5 – The Role of Knowledge and the “Usefulness” of Classical Christian Education
Session 6 – The History of the Classical Christian Education Renewal
Meeting Dates and Times
September 6, 13, 20, 27, October 18, 25 at 7:00pm EST
How do I increase the security of my campus without becoming a prison? Because of the tragic events which have occurred at schools over the past few decades, school leaders are frequently confronted with safety and security questions from families. This workshop will walk school leaders through 5 key aspects of school security: Site Assessment, Training, Equipping, Partnering with local Law Enforcement, and Adding an Armed Presence to your campus. We will work through free and immediate steps that you can take today to bolster security and work up to a step by step guide to adding an armed security presence on your campus. This presentation will be helpful to schools of any size or campus set up (church building, standalone, multi-building, etc.). The goal of this workshop is to provide each attendee a practical list of steps that your school can implement this year.
John Niehls has served as Head of School at Coventry Christian Schools in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, since 2015. Prior to accepting the Head of School position, Mr. Niehls served as Board Chair while working in the insurance and finance sector. Mr. Niehls has been a leader in school security during his tenure as Head of School, obtaining several security certifications and helping bolster his school’s security posture to include an armed guard presence since 2018. Outside of classical Christian education Mr. Niehls has served as a board member or director for several other Christian nonprofits including his role as co-founder of The Issachar Imperative, a Christian Worldview Institute. Mr. Niehls earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Kutztown University and his MBA from Harding University. He is currently working toward his Ed.S. degree through the Gordon College Leadership program and has completed additional Masters level studies at New Saint Andrews College. Mr. Niehls is married to Kristen and they have five children ages 3 through 14. In his free time, John enjoys golfing, spending time with family, and is especially interested in traveling to all of the 63 US National Parks.
- Site Assessment
How do I go about the process of conducting a site assessment? From a free self-guided assessment to a paid 3rd party consultant; developing a baseline of your school’s current security posture is critical to know how best to prioritize possible improvements.
If you are an athlete or a sports fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard a variation of the expression “You Play Like you Practice.” When it comes to emergencies the same holds true. But is there a point of diminishing return? In this segment, we will review how to train and prepare your staff on how to implement a dynamic response protocol and discuss the proper levels of training for each group of constituents in your organization: Admin, Security Team, Staff, Students, etc.
Where do I start? Cameras or door locks? In this segment, we will cover a list of recommended equipment that all schools should have, review their costs, and then help to prioritize what to focus on first.
- Partnering with Local Law Enforcement
If and when your school experiences an emergency, your local law enforcement professionals will be by your side and in your school. In many cases, they will take decision making control authority away from the school’s leadership. A strong relationship can make all the difference in how your situation unfolds. In this segment, we will review strategies to develop a meaningful relationship with your local law enforcement professionals that will increase effectiveness in an emergency situation.
- Adding armed security to your campus
Adding armed security to your campus is a big decision, not just because of the cost but because of the emotions that can come along with this type of decision. In this segment, we will review a step by step guide from consideration to implementation.
Meeting Dates and Times
Description: C. S. Lewis wrote, “For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” This is no less true of the sciences. As science instructors, we should be attentive to the ways in which we engage both our own imaginations and the imaginations of our students in the classroom, in assessments, and in hands-on activities. In this six-week workshop for middle and high school science teachers, we will explore the nature of scientific knowledge and the role of the imagination in the main branches of scientific inquiry.
Jim Dolas is the science department chair and teacher of physics and chemistry at Heritage Preparatory School in Atlanta, Georgia. After a decade-long stint as a software engineer, he left the cubicle for the classroom. In his nine years of teaching, he has taught a variety of science courses. He would say that physics is his favorite. Jim and Margo, his wife of 26 years, live in Atlanta, Georgia, with their three children.
Session 1: The natural world and ways of knowing
- What is the purpose of the science curriculum?
- What kinds of problems can science solve?
- Two-variable problems (reductionistic)
- Infinite-variable problems (statistical problems)
- Many-variable problems (organic problems)
- Reading: selections from Aristotle’s Physics, Feynman’s Physics Lectures
Session 2: Physics as the foundational science
- Galileo: imagining planets and motion
- Einstein: imagining frames of reference
- Reading: Galileo’s Letter to Don Benedetto Castelli, selections from Einstein’s Relativity
- Exercise: Galileo on Trial
Session 3: Chemistry as a picture of the invisible
- Dalton: imagining the composition of substances
- Bohr: imagining the quantum atom
- Exercise: Are atoms real?
Session 4: Biology as the visible harnessing the invisible
- Cells: harnessing chemistry for life
- Organisms: organic systems
- Exercise: What is life?
- Discussion: What do we do with evolution?
Session 5: Other sciences
- Earth Science – Geology, plate tectonics, weather, oceanography
- Environmental Science – Earth, water, air, life
- Anatomy – organic machines and the breath of life
Session 6: Assessments and labs that capture the imagination
- Galileo’s Incline (from Two New Sciences)
- Newton’s prism (from Opticks)
- Faraday’s candle (from The Chemical History of a Candle)
- The buoyancy of a barrel in The Hobbit
Meeting Dates and Times
Your school makes promises to parents about the education that their children will receive, promises that are largely delivered by your faculty. You are well aware that the “teacher is the text” but do you know how to evaluate the faculty culture that is shaping your teachers and consequently shaping your students? Do you know how to shape the shapers so that your school delivers upon its promise to your parents?
Our sessions will be discussion based. Administrators are expected to bring their real world problems to the group and to wrestle honestly with the messy situations we all have to face when groups of well meaning sinners work together imperfectly. There will be short readings (less than 30 minutes) assigned before each session and several optional, additional readings given after each session for further study if desired.
Leslie Moeller served as the Chairman of the Board of the Society for Classical Learning and has served on the SCL Board for 12 of the last 14 years. She currently consults with Classical, Christian schools across the nation in the areas of leadership, administrative function, and governance. She is a member of the Board of New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test. Most recently, she helped lead a three-year restructuring of the Upper School at the Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia. Prior to her family’s move to Virginia in 2015, she spent 13 years at Geneva School of Boerne where she served in multiple roles including Chairman of the Board, Head of School, Capital Campaign Co-Chairman, founder and coach of Geneva’s nationally-ranked debate program, and Senior Thesis instructor. She received her Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School and her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Economics from the University of Virginia. Leslie and her husband, Eric, have three children.
- Session 1: Sketching the current landscape
- The goals of this session will be to understand the factors that impact faculty culture and the ways that your faculty’s culture impacts your students and your school. From there, we will help you take an objective assessment of your faculty’s culture, identify the areas of strength to be leveraged and the areas of weakness to be addressed.
- Session 2: Identifying the Ideal
- We all know that each faculty member hired influences the flavor of the faculty culture. In this session we will discuss your hiring practices, how to identify the ideal potential faculty member, how to initiate them into the culture of your school, and what to do with those you already have that might not fit your ideal.
- Session 3: Embracing growth
- Independent School Management’s research says that a “growth oriented faculty culture” is one of the primary influencers of your student culture and your retention rates. We will talk about what that means for classical, Christian schools and how you build a faculty that embodies a love for learning.
- Session 4: In Loco Parentis
- Our schools say we are “in loco parentis” but it is the faculty that stands in the parents’ place daily. This week, we will explore the relationship of faculty to parents and how you lead faculty in understanding their role and responsibility.
- Session 5: Integration
- In most schools, a teacher’s classroom is his or her domain. In a classical, Christian school, education is an integrated continuum, both horizontally and vertically. This requires faculty to be in constant conversation with those that teach the grades before and after as well as those that teach their same grade. We will explore how an administrator embodies and fosters a culture of integration.
- Session 6: A Self-Sustaining Culture
- Ultimately, a faculty culture, like a student culture, must be protected, fostered, and valued by those who participate in it, the faculty themselves. What can an administrator do to encourage a positive faculty culture to take deep root and become self-nurturing?
Meeting Dates and Times
Description: This 6-week intensive workshop is designed for upper school teachers who are new to teaching or experienced teachers who would like to strengthen their understanding of literature instruction. We will discuss a variety of types of works commonly used in instruction in classical upper school classrooms, as well as best instructional practices for all levels of upper school instruction.
Bio: Rachel Greb has been involved in education for two decades as a homeschooling parent, teacher, and administrator, including helping launch and lead a JK-12 classical Christian school in Michigan. She credits Homer’s Odyssey for awakening her love of classic texts. Rachel holds a B.A. in Christian Studies from Hillsdale College, and an M.A. in Christian and Classical Studies from Knox Theological Seminary. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. with an emphasis on the history of philosophy of education and the Great Books through Harrison-Middleton University. Rachel and her husband have 5 children (one of whom is married) and one grandbaby. The Grebs recently moved to Richmond, VA, with two of their children, two cats, and a Bernese Mountain Dog named for Thomas Hardy. When Rachel isn’t teaching upper school Humanities at the Veritas School, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, cooking for friends, and talking about books with other people who also love books.
- Session 1: The Moral Imagination
- Teaching great literature is more than reading good books with students. Story cultivates the moral imagination in our students and presents opportunities to plumb the depths of the human psyche and watch the consequences of actions or inaction unfold for better or worse. Understanding why we teach what we teach helps us welcome our students into the Great Conversation while helping them learn to read well.
- Session 2: Comedy, Tragedy, and Epic
- In this module, we will discuss common features of comedy, tragedy, and epic works and discuss ways to help students recognize these features and anticipate story development. Example texts: Oedipus Rex, Much Ado About Nothing, The Odyssey, Paradise Lost
- Session 3: The Tripartite Soul
- Plato describes a soul as three parts, each possessing certain characteristics and virtues. In literature, we often find embodiments of these three parts in characters. We’ll discuss the parts of the soul and how this concept manifests in 3-4 different examples of literature. Example texts: The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, The Odyssey, Oedipus Rex
- Session 4: Architecture of a Story – Part I
- We will be examining elements of basic landmarks found in many stories. Learning what to look for and teaching students how to recognize them for themselves is essential to teaching students how to navigate complex texts on their own. This week’s focus will be on the basic parts, specifically the chiasmus or “turn.” Example texts: Psalm 23, Crime and Punishment, Julius Caesar, Homer’s Odyssey, The Divine Comedy
- Session 5: Architecture of a Story – Part II
- This module will look at additional architectural features of story that are often hiding in plain sight but important to meaning. Example texts: King Lear, Jayber Crow, The Scarlet Letter, Frankenstein
- Session 6: Best Practices for Implementation in the Upper School Classroom
- Now what? How can we engage students with the texts and teach them to read deeply and well? This final week will be devoted to discussing pedagogy and practice of teaching Great Books and other literature to upper school students.
Meeting Dates and Times
The relationship between the board and the Head of School is the most important relationship in a school. How do boards ensure that they have a healthy, thriving relationship with their Head? Many independent schools now utilize what is called the Head Support and Evaluation Committee. It is a standing board committee that provides a formal structure to maintain a healthy relationship with the Head of School. SCL highly recommends that each school board retain a HSEC in order to:
- ensure a healthy, high-trust relationship with their Head
- extend the Head’s longevity and job satisfaction
- provide ongoing counsel and support
- oversee the Head’s employment contract
- conduct a formal evaluation of the Head
- ensure the Head’s overall personal well-being
- provide a reporting mechanism to the board
- ensure the Head has clear performance goals and professional development resources
- provide clarity about the Head’s roles and responsibilities
In this workshop, Eric Cook will provide a comprehensive review of HSEC. We will examine what it is, how it works, why it exists, and how to use it to support the board’s one employee and fulfill the board’s primary responsibility. There will be time for each participant to ask questions and acquire a wide range of practical tools to establish and/or refine their own HSEC.
Eric Cook is the President of the Society for Classical Learning (SCL). Eric has been formally associated with SCL for over a decade serving in multiple roles, including Executive Director and Board Chair. He was the Head of School at Covenant Classical in Fort Worth, TX for 13 years before joining SCL full time. Prior to Covenant, Eric was the Head of Upper School at Faith Christian School in Roanoke, VA. Eric also taught and served in leadership at several public schools.
Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University, and a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Northern Kentucky University. He is currently working on an EdS in Classical School Leadership from Gordon College.
Eric has taught a myriad of subjects from philosophy to thesis. He consults with schools and coaches leaders in a variety of contexts. He speaks and presents at conferences around the country. Eric and his wife, Liz, have six children. They live in Richmond, Virginia, home of the SCL headquarters.
Session 1: The Vital Importance of the Head Support and Evaluation Committee
Session 2: The Structure and Logistics of HSEC
Session 3: Supporting the Head of School
Session 4: Evaluating the Head of School
Session 5: Securing the Head of School: Contracts, Compensation, and Benefits
Session 6: Tools and Resources for HSEC
Meeting Dates and Times
Given that most school heads don’t come into the job with a strong financial background, it is not unusual for a board member or someone in the business office to know the numbers better than the Head of School (HOS). This puts the HOS in a weak position to lead and make the most prudent decisions. In this session we will cover why it’s crucial that the HOS is the financial leader, understanding the school’s finances better than anyone. We will discuss how the HOS works together with the board to ensure the financial health of the school.
Bio: Keith Nix has served as the Head of School at Veritas since 2010. Mr. Nix has served as Chairman of the Board of Society for Classical Learning (SCL), Vice Chairman of the Board of Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), and President of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test (CLT). He consults and coaches classical Christian school boards and leaders and currently teaches at Gordon College in their Graduate Leadership Program, equipping Classical Christian school leaders. Prior to moving to Veritas in 2010, Keith was a board member, and then later Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a founding Arête Fellow and facilitated the Arete Fellowship for many years. Prior to working in classical Christian schools, Keith was President of Nixgroup, a boutique consulting firm working with start-up and early stage organizations and businesses. Mr. Nix enjoys tennis, golf, and great books. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist; the Nixes have three grown children and two grandchildren.
1: The HoS as Financial Leader
Introduction, Definitions, and Roles
2: The Role of the Board
One of the board’s four key responsibilities is to ensure long-term financial health and stability. But too often it is not clear what the board should be doing versus the HoS and his/her team. Complicating matters further is how start-up and young schools needs extra board support until it matures. We will discuss the challenges and offer principles and practices that will meet your school wherever it is.
3: Cost-Based Tuition and Hard Income
What does it mean to operate your school with “hard income” and what does that mean for tuition? We will look at the “cost-based tuition” model compared to common financial models that depend on fund-raising to make ends meet. Then we will cover how to transition your school to a more sustainable, viable position.
4: Strategic Financial Planning: Building a 5-7 Year Forecast That Works
Do you have a good idea of what your tuition rates will be in five years? What about your income and expenses? How much will you be able to grow your cash reserves in that time frame? If the answer is “I don’t know” or “I am not sure”, then this session it critical for you. Having at least a five-year detailed forecast is the most important tool for making good decisions today.
5: Growing Your School and Your Bottom Line through Tuition Assistance
The true costs/benefits of a Tuition Assistance program are often not clearly understood. Many administrators and board member have a hard time understanding how a generous Tuition Assistance program can actually grow the school, and increase the bottom line annually. But done right, this can absolutely be the case – and the growth is more than just enrollment growth as your school begins to serve a broader demographic.
6: Fund-Raising: How Does It All Work?
There is probably not an area of school leadership that causes as much fear and anxiety as fund-raising. Frequently, it is not clear who should be doing what, and what the best way to approach fund-raising. We will discuss all things development: roles, the annual fund, capital campaigns, relational donor stewardship and more.
Meeting Dates and Times
A “case for support” is a presentation tool designed specifically for personal meetings with major donors. When created and used properly, it is a powerful way to share your school’s mission, accomplishments, and vision for the future with the key people who will fund that vision. This course will provide a brief overview of the fundraising context for using the case for support, review the ten key elements of the document, discuss how to effectively use the case with prospective partners, and conclude with practical application and practice.
Brad Layland, CEO, first learned the principles and practices of Taking Donors Seriously® as a college student in 1993, while seeking to raise personal support as a part-time staff member for Young Life. Over the course of 20 years at Young Life, he developed his passion for and expertise in relational fundraising, to the point where he was asked to train other area directors around the country, and eventually became the Chief Development Officer for the entire organization.
Brad’s expertise providing high level fundraising counsel to nonprofit organizations incorporates major donor strategies, training workshops, planned gift marketing, and capital campaign counsel. In recent years he has led capital campaigns for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship ($81 million), Union Rescue Mission ($83 million), The Bowery Mission ($27 million) and Veritas School ($5.3 million). He serves on the board of the Society for Classical Learning.
Brad is the founder of Endless Summer Realty, the largest residential real estate brokerage in St. Augustine, closing over $170 million in transactions in 2020. He is a founding parent and board member of Veritas Classical School, which has grown to over 150 students in four years. His entrepreneurial success has allowed Brad to experience the joy of generosity, and gain a special understanding of the mindset of a major donor.
Brad received his B.A. in Communications from the University of Florida and his M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Wendy reside in St. Augustine, Florida and have four children.
Justin Forbes, Consultant, has provided counsel and training for multiple years, working with nonprofit organizations, churches, and the national training department of Young Life. Having spent 10 years in the field with Young Life, Justin is experienced in recruiting, training, and developing teams that engage in volunteer development, fundraising strategies, and donor relations. He is passionate about developing a vision of donor development that engages donors in ministry, helping them participate in God’s work in the world. He has trained over 300 individuals in the principles and practices of the Taking Donors Seriously® framework.
Justin holds degrees from Flagler College, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Justin is on the local board for Young Life, loves his local church, and is kept busy by his wonderful six children and (not as wonderful) small dog. He and his wife, Bethany, live in St. Augustine Florida.
Week 1 Principles and practices of fundraising
Weeks 2-4 Explaining the 10 fundamentals of the case statement
Week 5 How to use a case statement in a meeting
Week 6 Group Discussion on the first case statement meeting.
Meeting Dates and Times
If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org