The new whychristianschools.ca website is answering the question its domain name asks while providing a way for schools to collaborate in promoting Christian education.
The site, which was launched over the summer, was initiated by Paul Ogborne and David Park of Pickering Christian School, an Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) member school. The idea was sparked through seeing similar websites in the U.S. and Australia.
Durham Christian High School principal Fred Spoelstra says he and promotions director Linda Wielinga got excited about the project and brought it to the regional principal meetings, where there was a lot of interest.
Spoelstra says regardless of whether the schools belong to the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) or ACSI they all have in common working to “further God’s kingdom in Christian education.”
They saw an “excellent” opportunity to develop a website that invites people into the conversation about Christian education, and Ogborne, Park, Spoelstra and Wielinga have been the driving force behind the site.
Rhema Christian School principal Joel Slofstra says the website is a way to answer some of the broader questions about Christian education in a non-threatening way. Parents who become interested through the site can use the find a local school page and be directed to a school near them.
“It’s about raising awareness,” says Slofstra, noting parents will ask questions about why to send their child to a Christian school.
“The idea is that this will become the website for people to go to to find these answers,” he says.
As many schools have small promotions budgets, being able to collectively promote Christian schools in local areas and throughout the province provides a way to do more with resources, says Spoelstra.
He says there’s more receptivity to promoting Christian education as a whole than as specific schools.
“I see the possibility for us collectively, let’s say it’s through the OACS, to advertise Christian education throughout the province,” he says.
In the Durham region, Christian schools collaborated to advertise the whychristianschools.ca site on flyer wraps with a map showing their school locations. This is an idea other regions could try, says Spoelstra.
Future possibilities for resource collaboration could include running a commercial on Vision TV, Spoelstra notes.
All ACSI Eastern Canada schools are loaded onto the website, and OACS member schools are being added individually. To request to add your school, contact Linda Wielinga by e-mailing email@example.com.
Visit www.whychristianschools.ca to explore the site and learn more.