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New initiatives, building on tap for OACS in 2009

Written on December 31st, 2008

Curriculum developments, change in location and innovative resources for members to come in new year

As 2008 comes to an end, the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) looks towards several new initiatives that will continue to build momentum in the new year.

The OACS has exciting curriculum initiatives underway, says executive director Dr. Adrian Guldemond, such as the secondary level curriculum developer network.

“We are working on setting up a network of curriculum developers across the high schools,” he says.

The curriculum developers will exchange resources and best practice information on high school level courses.

The organization will be moving to a new location in the spring of 2009. The current building the OACS office leases was sold to a large development company. The OACS is purchasing a nearby site in Ancaster.

The new property has two functional buildings on its 1.4 acres. One building will be used for administrative purposes while the other will be called the CAM (Community Access Multimedia) Centre.

The CAM Centre will include a project to move all OACS resources to the Internet and serve as a physical space available for OACS members to convene and utilize technological resources.

The OACS is fundraising for the CAM Centre, which including renovations and equipment is estimated to cost $800,000. Approximately half of the funds have been raised so far.

Larry Lutgendorff, OACS director of development, says this is a bit behind their goal, attributable to the economic downturn.

Guldemond says despite the economic downturn most of the OACS member schools are doing well, which is something to be thankful for. He says he hopes in the new year the economy does not worsen so parents are not affected.

In 2009, the Independent School Associations of Ontario (ISAO), of which the OACS is a member, plans work with its partners to engage in dialogue with the government.

“We are looking forward to more communication with the government,” says Guldemond.

The OACS has struck a task force, called Christian Schools in the Public Square, to research different issues for independent schools, especially surrounding the political climate.

Several committees are being formed to explore issues surrounding independent schools including tuition-financing models, media strategies, working with the separate schools, working with the public schools, and a philosophic policy committee.

The board is currently refining mandates for the committees. The next report on the task force is expected to be released in March 2009, at which time the committees will have met.