New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 99

  Team Retreat on February 9-10. The team consists primarily of administrators of General Church and Academy schools. We had 18 administrators in attendance, representing eight General Church schools (Glenview, Oak Arbor, Pittsburgh, Bryn Athyn, Kempton, Caryndale, Toronto, and Washington), the Academy Girls and Boys Schools, and the Education Department at Bryn Athyn College. Rounding out the attendance were four from our GCED staff, for a total of 22. As fate would have it, a winter storm arrived in the Bryn Athyn area the night before the retreat. Several worked through cancelled flights and other headaches to be there. Only one person had to attend remotely because of the weather. It is a tremendous privilege to gather with all these administrators. They are incredibly capable people, some with years of administrative experience, and others just getting started in their leadership capacities. We had four reasons for gathering: First we aimed to explore the subject of “Increasing Demand for New Church Education.” All those who work within our schools know the goodness that happens. It is very useful from time to time to consider how best to articulate that goodness to today’s prospective parents. We had two sessions on this subject, one on “The Essence of our Offering,” which I led, the second led by Dr. Roberta Nolan, Director of Admissions for Bryn Athyn College. Roberta was kind enough to share with us some of the professional approach to admissions that she is deploying at Bryn Athyn College. Also shared with the administrators was information from Denise DeFiglia and Jennifer Allen regarding the Academy Secondary Schools admissions processes. Conversation and debate about admissions was robust. A second goal of our meetings was to focus on teacher professional development. Scott Daum led this section, drawing attention to our protocols around documenting professional development credits for teachers, and then inviting feedback on the training modules developed by GCED in the past year. A third goal was to consider our curriculum development processes. Rebekah Russell drew attention to the ways in which we are, or could, collectively implement the various strands of curriculum that reach completion. She also invited input on our current online platform for sharing and updating our New Church curricula. A final goal was to further relationships and mutual support among administrators. As can be imagined, spending time in each other’s presence, recognizing the similarities of our work despite different contexts, and feeling the support of a system of education all happens in a retreat like this. A strategic goal for the General Church is to gather people together in the name of New Church education. This retreat was a successful example. 165