This February at the Global Christian School Leadership Summit (GCSLS) a diverse group of Christian educators will gather to discuss the future of Christian education. The facilitators—ACSI and seven other Christian school associations—plan to capitalize on the unity this gathering affords by intentionally gathering data during the event. The goal? To synthesize the learnings and help solidify the vision that is cast.
"The groundbreaking research efforts at the summit will be quite unique-unlike anything ever done in a setting like this with multiple Christian school associations and Christian universities," says Dr. Stephen Reel, senior director of ACSI's southern division and chairman of the event steering committee. "We'll do surveys after each session. The facilitator will invite participants to answer a question via the event app—over 500 attendees will be answering questions at the same time. When they answer the question, they'll be able to see the results of the previous session's question."
Attendees will discuss key issues and opportunities facing the Christian school movement through engaging speakers, facilitated breakout sessions, and workshops in an atmosphere designed for dialogue and collaboration. Major strands of the summit will include spiritual leadership, legal and legislative issues, and board health.
The data collection will also feature qualitative questions in which attendees will describe their answers. Data analysts will share those answers via the event app so that emerging themes will quickly become clear.
"What will happen with this kind of data collection effort is, it will drive the conversation deeper," says Stephen. "Often we don't go deeper because we don't have or don't take the time to evaluate the research."
Finally, 12 summit attendees will serve as participant observers: embedded investigative authors whose goal is to capture as much data as possible from the discussions and take it to the research team. Following the event, the team will publish an edited book containing the research-based themes and data that emerged at the summit. All participants will receive a complimentary copy of this piece, which will also be available to leadership teams, boards, and colleges for purchase. Geared for a wide audience of Christian school administrators and teachers, higher education faculty and students, and thought leaders in Christian education, this work will capture the essence of the summit and will shape the conversation on the future of Christian education for years to come.
We look forward to seeing you February 1–3 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.