As staff and students gear up to go back to school after the holidays, the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) is looking towards new initiatives in the new year.
Reflecting on 2007, a major accomplishment for the OACS was the completion of the Creation Studies curriculum.
“One of the things that we are very happy with is the finished production of one of our major curriculum productions, the Creation Studies for the junior division of the schools,” says Dr. Adrian Guldemond, the executive director of the OACS.
The curriculum combines science with social studies for lower grades in elementary schools. It is a very up-to-date and innovative curriculum, says Guldemond.
In 2007 faith-based schools were a hot topic in the Ontario provincial election. Guldemond says they are pleased the schools held their own while there was a hostile political climate. In 2008, the OACS plans to do some media studies to further understand the impact of the election on the position of faith-based schools in the province.
This year the OACS will embark on a major study into the tuition-fee economics for lower socio-economic families. As parents who send their children to independent schools in Ontario pay tuition, the studies will look at providing long-range systems to support families.
“That is going to be a major challenge, and we are going to be not only conducting studies but setting up programs to see what we can do to relieve that situation,” says Guldemond. This will likely be a five-year process, he adds.
Another focus this year is the OACS building campaign. The current building the OACS office leases was sold to a large development company. The OACS is purchasing a nearby site in Ancaster.
“We are probably going to be the only independent school organization in Canada that owns its own building, which we are proud of because we think it is a vote of confidence for the future of our school movement,” says Guldemond. “We are looking forward to that to help us create a more provincial identity for alternative school systems in the province.”
The OACS plans to move in December 2008 and is working on a financial campaign of 1.2 million dollars.