Fostering Cultural Harmony Among the Student Body

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus told his disciples, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mark 10:42-43). In many schools, seniors and upperclassmen follow the world’s pattern of looking down upon and lording over their younger peers. Such pride establishes barriers between older and younger students, harms relationships and falls short of Christ’s good command. In this session, tangible examples will be shared to help your students live out Biblical greatness and allow the group to brainstorm, share and consider what cultural structures have/can be put in place to empower your students to do the same.

Brandon Shuman

Brandon Shuman serves as the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Midland Classical Academy deep in the heart of West Texas. Over the course of his ministry at MCA, he has Socratically taught over 26 different junior high, high school and parent courses from a wide range of academic disciplines, including Great Books, Greek, apologetics, history and movie production. Brandon writes education articles for Midland’s local newspaper and co-hosts The Good Knight Dad podcast which encourages and empowers parents to better leverage their student’s experience at MCA. Brandon enjoys coffee, fly fishing, playing baseball in the backyard with his two sons and date nights with his beautiful wife, Laura.

A Crash Course in Latin

Latin is an intimidating subject to teach! Pronunciation, declensions, conjugations — it is enough to make your brain hurt. In this presentation, attendees will learn the basics of Latin so they can feel con dent to teach their students introductory Latin in the upcoming year.

Paul Schaeffer

Paul Schaeffer is the Director of the School Division of Memoria Press. In that position, he has helped in numerous start-up schools. He is one of the few professionals working in classical education who received such an education himself. He has taught middle school, high school and college-level Latin internationally. In Louisville, Kentucky, he led students through Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as well as many other great works at Highlands Latin School. He is a regular contributor to The Classical Teacher magazine.

Healthy Student Culture: It Starts with the Faculty

Perhaps the best way to have students who love to learn, love each other and love God is to do those things ourselves. A faculty committed to the historic disciplines of the Christian faith may be the best way to cultivate these types of students.

Jonathan Horner

Jonathan Horner has been at Trinity Academy for 10 years. His time there has included teaching in the High School Humanities and Religious Studies Departments. Asked to lead the Student Culture, he founded the House System, and co-leads the Honor Council.

Logic for the Real World: How to Apply Logic in Today’s Chaotic and Often Irrational World

Now more than ever it seems our culture is in need of thoughtful, reasoned discourse and argument. Far from being merely an academic subject, logic brings clarity to our own thinking and also enables us to engage with ideas across disciplines, media and culture. Teaching students how to think can seem like a daunting, abstract, nebulous exercise. During this seminar, we will introduce and discuss the best pedagogical practices for teaching logic to middle and high school students; we will also suggest ways that new teachers of logic can best prepare for teaching this important art. We will consider four aspects of reasoned, logical thinking: 1) how to develop a personal, internal dialogue; 2) learning what the “right” questions are and how to ask them; 3) learning to discern the real issues at the heart of complex discussions; and 4) how to avoid falling prey to the irrelevant, presumptive and unclear fallacies that cloud so many conversations, discussions and debates. The seminar will feature several examples of logical fallacies and provide other pertinent resources for teaching logic well, including ways of incorporating “capstone” projects to culminate a year of teaching logic.

Joelle Hodge

Joelle holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She began her career as a staffer to Senator Arlen Specter before finding her professional home in the world of classical education in 1999. She has nearly 20 years of logic-teaching experience, most of which were spent at a classical school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There, she also developed much of their Logic and Rhetoric curricula. She has co-authored two logic books: The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies and The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, both published by Classical Academic Press. Joelle was recently appointed as Scholé Academy’s Principal and works to support a staff of nearly 20 educators. She enjoys helping them develop productive and inspiring classrooms. She also travels to classical schools and co-ops across the country, tailoring workshops and training teachers in the fundamentals of dialectic and Rhetoric-stage pedagogy.

A Guide and Warning From America’s Classical Education Past: The Yale Report of 1828

In the early 19th century, Yale College stood as the last, great bastion of classical education in the United States. Buffeted by demands for “useful learning” and scathing critiques of “dead languages,” the Yale faculty produced an eloquent apology for classical education, the famed Yale Report of 1828. This document provided an aegis for the antebellum, American, classical education project, defending it against the attacks of utilitarian, modernist educational reforms up through the Civil War. In focusing on the Yale Report’s stirring defense of Greek and Latin’s pedagogical value, however, scholars and educators have overlooked the role of a discipline central to both the report itself and the tradition of the classical education it defended — mathematics. As we rebuild the classical education tradition, putting the Yale Report of 1828 in its historic context and attending to its arguments about mathematical education offers today’s classical schools both a guide and a warning.

Shea Ramquist

Shea Ramquist is a native of Tokyo, Japan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in humanities after studying at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute and Oxford University. He then earned a master’s degree in American intellectual history at the Universityof Notre Dame, specializing in the antebellum American classical college and the rise of the modern university. In 2015, he accepted a position in the Rhetoric School of Trinity Classical Academy in Santa Clarita, California, where he teaches honors courses in American and European history, ancient philosophy and rhetoric.

Asking the Right Questions: Categories of Study and Thought for Mathematics

All too often, math is taught as a set of irrelevant, isolated algorithms. In this workshop, we will explore how to combat this and learn how to teach math in alignment with classical thought by asking better questions. We will practice and use specific categories of inquiry about a mathematical concept, such as historical context, key figures, connection to the Quadrivium framework of mathematics and theological implications. By investigating math units using these categories and learning to show students how to do this for themselves, we can teach them to be better thinkers and mathematicians.

Jeff Chambless

Jeff Chambless has been teaching at Westminster School at Oak Mountain since 2011. Prior to that, he served as a youth minister. He likes to connect his degrees in mathematics, divinity and philosophy to student learning in the classroom. He has one wife, three children and one cat.

When Classical Meets Contemporary: What Do We Keep, What Do We Kick Out and Why?

We regard the classical tradition of education as tried and true, the well-worn path of wisdom that we are wise to follow. We also know that just because something is old doesn’t make it best; nor is something that is contemporary necessarily bad. The reverse is also true: Just because something is old doesn’t make it bad; nor is something that is contemporary necessarily good. What then makes something good? The classical tradition has always extolled the true, the good and the beautiful, and has generally acknowledged them as transcending time. Are there any new insights into the good produced by our contemporary culture? Is there any recent research that validates and deepens our understanding of classical education? What trends, beliefs and practices produced by our current culture should be resisted? Are there some that can be embraced or co-opted? In this seminar, we will examine some major contemporary ideas that complement the ideals of classical education, as well as some that undermine them. We will examine trends in scientific research (cognitive science), technology, social interaction and assessment (testing and metrics). The seminar will conclude with some discussion about how we can wisely engage contemporary culture in our schools, allowing the ideals of the true, good and beautiful to help us assess, sift and create a rich school culture that is both classical and contemporary.

CHristopher Perrin

Dr. Christopher Perrin is an author, consultant and speaker, who specializes in classical education and is committed to the national renewal of the liberal arts tradition. He co-founded and serves full time as the CEO/Publisher at Classical Academic Press, a classical education curriculum, media and consulting company. Christopher serves as a consultant to charter, public, private and Christian schools across the country. He has served on the board of the Society for Classical Learning and is the Director of the Alcuin Fellowship of Classical Educators. He has published numerous articles and lectures that are widely used throughout the United States and the English-speaking world. Christopher received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina and his master’s degree in divinity and doctorate in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding Headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for 10 years. He is the author of An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents, The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker, Greek for Children, and co-author of the Latin for Children series published by Classical Academic Press.

Churches: For or Against Us?

Success for classical Christian schools is highly dependent on the engagement and health of the local Church. But despite many school’s efforts to require church attendance from families, all too often the students who show up on Monday morning lack basic Biblical and theological knowledge and are often struggling to find the practical role of their faith in daily life. Yet schools are not called to be surrogate churches, despite the expectations of many parents. Today’s pastors range from being highly supportive to passively critical about the presence of classical Christian schools in their community. Many have a host of misunderstandings, assumptions and fears about
the agenda of their local private Christian schools. Are there steps schools can take to encourage local pastors and move them toward becoming con dent advocates for your school? This workshop will explore current research from Barna on the state of the Church today, as well as surveys of pastors in communities with classical Christian schools. Practical and proven strategies will be presented about several initiatives that have brought the Church and schools into closer understanding and partnership.

W. Davies Owens

W. Davies Owens is the Head of Vision and Advancement at the Ambrose School in Boise, Idaho, where he also served as the Dean of the Upper School. Prior to moving west ve years ago, he served for 10 years as a board member, and later, as Head of School at Heritage Preparatory School, an ACCS member school in Atlanta, Georgia. Five years prior, he was the Executive Director of BlueSky Ministries, an innovation lab and consulting organization launched after his work for Christianity.com during the dot-com days of Silicon Valley. He is also an ordained Presbyterian minister who served as a local church pastor for 12 years in both suburban and urban congregations. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Furman University, a master’s degree in divinity from Duke Divinity School and a doctorate from Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston. He has studied on a number of occasions at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and England. He has a heart for international missions and has been leading teams from Ambrose to work with schools in Rwanda for the past four years. He is the host of the BaseCamp Live podcast, which is dedicated to helping promote classical Christian education nationally and equip parents and leaders involved in raising up the next generation. He and his wife, Holly, see the consistent fruit of classical Christian education in the lives of their three children, Hannah, 19, Liam, 16, and Bennett, 14.

From Empty Seats to Wait Pools

As the first touchpoint to your school, the Admissions Department has a tremendous opportunity to share your school’s mission and vision with hundreds of families each year. How does the admissions process and office need to evolve over time to accommodate increased interest and applications? We will walk through the steps from initial inquiry to the first day of school to explore potential pitfalls and victories. Learn how the Veritas School has refined and streamlined its admissions process over the last decade — while maintaining the personal touch with each prospective family. This seminar is designed for admissions personnel or those who are directly involved in the admissions process.

Gretchen Gregory

Gretchen Gregory is enjoying her 13th year at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. In the early years, she served as the Director of Administrative Services, gaining experience in many of the departments and duties of a growing school. For the last 10 years, she has served as the Director of Admissions and has watched the school grow from 153 students during her first year to the current enrollment of 529 students, full classrooms and wait pools in several grades. Gretchen thoroughly enjoys introducing prospective families to the school, walking them through the admissions process and seeing them on campus for their rst day. She believes that unpacking the story of what it means to be a classical, Christ-centered community of faith and learning is a great privilege and responsibility. Gretchen has three children — one Veritas senior and two graduates — and has been married to her husband, Kevin, for 25 years.

Nurturing Our Youngest Writers

Many a parent has been elected to their school’s board, excited about opportunities to support the mission, exchange ideas with the leadership and instigate growth and improvement. And many a board member has found doing these noble things to be difficult, if not seemingly impossible. This workshop identifies a handful of common realities affecting the performance of many leadership teams. Hurdles exist which, if not recognized, inhibit governing wisdom, organizational effectiveness and the board’s reputation. Understanding our problems is the first step to remedying them.

Mo Gaffney

Dr. Mo Gaffney currently serves as Head of Lower School at The Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia. Before that, she was the Co-Director of the Central Virginia Writing Project and developed teachers of writing through the Summer Writing Institute at The University of Virginia. She has done extensive writing research in elementary schools and has presented her findings at the NCTE national conference. Mo is an Adjunct Professor for The University of Virginia, teaching courses in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She has led professional development workshops and has presented at Society of Classical Learning conferences on teacher evaluations, reading and writing connections, homework in schools and Singapore Math.