Crew and Community in the Christian School | Edvance Christian Schools Association
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Crew and Community in the Christian School

February 26th, 2021

God did not create us to be alone. Christian schools have rightly recognized and focused on the deep connections between our Christian faith and relationality as a bedrock for how God created us to learn. How do we embrace our shared identities in Christ while also honouring our differences within learning communities?

This set of modules focuses on the framework of Crew, a teamwork approach to developing a school culture that nurtures social-emotional and academic development, affirms diverse identities, supports courageous conversations, fosters belonging, and centers authentic and trusting relationships. The content will build on your potential commitments to Responsive Classroom and/or Restorative Practices, and is customized for both elementary and secondary schools.

Edvance, in collaboration with Steven Levy and with resources from EL Education, has created this module structure for your school to use for a planned PD day whenever you choose.

All you need to do is register your school and identify an internal facilitator for your school’s in-house PD Day. Your facilitator will receive personal support from Steven Levy and Justin Cook to lead the day we’ve designed for your staff. Modules will include practical videos and case studies from schools affiliated with EL Education or Edvance. You can choose four modules to build your customized PD Day agenda, or complete all six modules on a schedule that works for your school.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do we participate?

  1. Register your school for Edvance District PD Days using the link above. Only one registration per school is necessary. The flat rate registration fee covers your whole staff.
  2. Identify an internal facilitator who will lead PD Day for your school.
  3. Choose a day to hold your in-house PD Day. You may already have a district PD day scheduled on your school year calendar, and therefore you may decide to stick with that date. Or you may choose another day that works better for your school. You might even want to split the modules across two days.
  4. Your school’s facilitator will receive the PD Pack materials and will be invited to a Zoom meeting with Steven and Justin ahead of your planned PD Day, for an introduction to Crew, additional information, and personal support for leading your school’s day.

How much is the registration fee?

The Edvance District PD Day registration fee is $250 +HST for Edvance affiliate schools and $375 +HST for non-affiliates. This is a per school, flat rate fee.

What’s included in registration?

Each registered school will receive a digital PD Pack with all the modules for your facilitator to use in leading your PD Day, including videos, case studies, worksheets, and discussion questions.

What is a suggested agenda for my PD Day?

Here’s a suggested PD Day schedule:

  • 9:00 - 9:30: Devotions and Introduction to the Day
  • 9:30-10:30: Crew Module Choice 1
  • 10:45-11:45: Crew Module Choice 2
  • 11:45-12:30: Lunch
  • 12:30-1:30: Crew Module Choice 3
  • 1:45-2:45: Crew Module Choice 4
  • 3:00-3:30: Closing Reflection: Discerning School-wide Next Steps

Structuring Your PD Day

The PD Pack materials are designed as individual modules that schools can mix and match to create a customized program. All schools are encouraged to use the Opening and Closing modules, and then choose four additional modules to build out their PD Day.

Not sure which modules to pick? We’re happy to help! Reach out to Justin Cook or bring your questions to the facilitators’ Zoom meeting.

Opening Crew: Devotions and Introduction (for everyone)

Edvance will provide your school with an opening devotion that will frame the exploration of community and Crew within God’s invitation to find our place in community and in learning. In addition, Steven and Justin will provide a short video that outlines the focus of the day and how the learning will culminate in an opportunity to consider both classroom and school-wide Crew structures to create a “teamwork approach to school culture.”

Crew Module Option A: Creating a Culture of Crew

What is Crew? And how do curriculum and character formation connect? For schools new to the idea of crew, this module will provide an introduction to Crew as both a culture and a structure to place character formation at the centre of our learning communities.

Crew Module Option B: Exploring Structures of Crew (two modules provided in this option – one for elementary schools and one for secondary schools)

By carving out specific times in the day for Crew and designing those times to be age appropriate, students find the time to share their own growth and learning with a group of their peers who know them and accept them. This module will provide concrete examples for what Crew looks like in action for students.

Crew Module Option C: Staff as Crew

Parker Palmer states that “we teach who we are.” Crew is not only a structure for student culture, it is also a commitment we make to our own character formation as school staffs. But how often do we intentionally align our practices with students and our practices as colleagues? This module will provide you with examples for the way Crew can transform your staff learning culture.

Crew Module Option D: Crew and School-Wide Character Traits

Crew is committed to the role of character formation in learning. But what exactly does character formation mean at your school? What type of character formation would you identify as the heart of your school’s mission? This module will outline a process and examples of creating and committing to school-wide character traits that Crew will help to foster.

Crew Module Option E: Responsive Classroom and Crew (for elementary schools only)

Many elementary schools are already committed to a form of Crew through the amazing practices of Responsive Classroom. But for schools not familiar with it, what is Responsive Classroom and how is Crew a perfect complement to those practices? This session will introduce elementary schools to the use of Responsive Classroom resources as an ideal way of planning and implementing Crew in morning meetings.

Crew Module Option F: Crew and Post-Secondary Wayfinding (for secondary schools only)

Although secondary school guidance departments do an incredible job in supporting students in career exploration and program decisions, the entire secondary school experience is about helping teenagers in “wayfinding”—not just as career planning but also as an exploration of faith and identity. This module connects the structure of Crew to the focus on helping high school students feel confident in their deepening sense of self and how God provides each of them with hope for the future.

Crew Module Option G: Crew and Student-Led Conferences

Crew is not only a structure to support students in their social/emotional well-being and belonging; it can also carve out crucial time for students to reflect on their ongoing learning—where they’re doing well and where they want to prioritize their focus—as well as receive support and prepare for student-led conferences. If we believe students are “leaders of their own learning,” Crew is the place in which they clarify how they want to share with families and others their ongoing learning journey.

Closing Reflection (for everyone)

With a full day of exploring Crew now behind you, what specific commitments are you discerning as individuals and as school-wide practices and structures? This concluding session will help you to reflect on Crew and next steps in your implementation in your own practice and in your school community.