Labor Omnia Vicit: Cultivating Vines and Minds In An Online Great Conversation Course

Assume the role of an online student as Joanna Hensley leads you through a discussion of Virgil’s First Georgic (have your copy of Virgil’s Georgics with you, theνDavid Ferry bilingual edition, if possible). In this presentation, you will see a demonstration of online tools such as chat box, webcam, and microphone used to facilitate deeply meaningful classroom discussion. During the Q&A, you can finetune best practices for teaching literature in an online classroom in a way that builds classroom culture and makes the most of distance learning.

Joanna Hensley

Joanna Hensley has been teaching Latin and literature online since 2007. Active in classical education for over a decade as a teacher, writer, and conference speaker, Joanna has published several chapters in the Veritas Press Omnibus series, which forms the backbone of WHA’s The Great Conversation courses. Inspired by her own high school Latin teacher, Joanna studied classics and art history at the University of Minnesota, double-majoring in Latin and Classical Civilizations and graduating with honors. A pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mom, Joanna lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her husband Adam, who is a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament theology, and their five children. Joanna enjoys reading, road trips, and finding ways to make difficult subjects a pleasure to learn.

COVID: How Various Heads of Schools Are Planning

Rapid Fire Roundtable on COVID: How Various Heads of Schools are Planning led by David Seibel, Katharine Savage, Travis Koch, and Peter Baur.

Josh Dyson

Josh Dyson is Head of School at Classical School of Wichita in Wichita, Kansas. Before his transition into school administration, he had served as a full-time teacher, school chaplain, and children’s/youth minister. Currently, he also serves as a staff writer for The Classical Thistle and on the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Languages and Christianity from Houston Baptist University. Additionally, he has done graduate work at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Houston Baptist University, and will complete the Master of Arts in Christian and Classical Studies from Knox Theological Seminary in August. Josh and his wife (Julie) have four children — Deacon, Noelle, Daisy and Lucy. They are members of Incarnation Anglican Church in Wichita.

Travis Koch

Travis Koch earned his B.A. in History from Stanford University and his M.A. in History from Yale University. Mr. Koch has developed curriculum and taught history, literature, rhetoric, theology, and biology for over 12 years before coming to St. Stephen’s Academy as the Dean of Academics. He began serving as Headmaster in 2018.

David Nees

David Nees is husband to Kate and father of four. For the past 6 years, he has served as Head of School at Heritage Classical Academy in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Headshot: attached.

Katharine Savage

Katharine Savage is the founder and Head of Philadelphia Classical School and is grateful to have worked alongside colleagues in the classical Christian school movement for almost ten years. She leads the ACCS Northeast regional cohort of schools and has written for the Classical Difference magazine. Prior to founding PCS, she was the energetic "starter" - starting other community based endeavors, leading parenting seminars, writing church curriculum, and being a wife and mom to three children. She and her husband Brian have been serving in the city of Philadelphia, PA for twenty years. She loves rereading old books and watching ballet performances.

David Seibel

Dave is the father of five, the husband of Brooke and a rider of bikes. When he's not working on his doctorate from Southern on Organizational Leadership, he is playing baseball with his sons or chasing kids at recess. He is the Head of School at Coram Deo Academy in Carmel, IN. Carmel is one of the top places to raise a family in the country.

Strength in Diversity

This workshop will help you understand how diversity in your student body, faculty, staff, and administration makes you a better and stronger school. This session will highlight how experience with diversity helps students to develop better cultural competence and ultimately better results in their work. This presentation will also include a brief review of the theology of diversity.

Peter Vandebrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (BA 1988) where he was an All-American decathlete and philosophy major. He attended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia (M.Div. 1992) and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Ph.D. 2000). He taught, coached, and was headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996-2010. He worked at The Potter’s House in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2010-2019 as a teacher, coach, curriculum director, and high school principal. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the Director of the Upper School at The Geneva School in Orlando. He is married and has two daughters.

Alfonso Clark

Alfonso "Alf" Clark has spent a combined 20 years working in public and private education. With Alf’s educational, personal, and professional experience, he brings a unique approach to better understanding the need for diversity in leadership and gives the tools and support for successful implementation. Alf attended Grand Valley State University where he played basketball and majored in Psychology-Special Education with endorsements in Emotional and Cognitive Impairment and a Minor in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in conflict management. He received his Master’s in Educational Leadership at Cornerstone University, with his master’s thesis titled “Cultivating Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Leadership: Moving Beyond Awareness”. He is the principal at The Potter’s House High School in Wyoming, Michigan where he has taught, coached and administered for the last 14 years. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife of 24 years and 7 wonderful children.

Seeing God’s Glory in Our Students

After hearing this presentation, a veteran teacher of 30+ years commented that it had a more impact on how she viewed her role as a teacher than anything she had previously heard. This is the power of seeing your students as fellow image bearers – a profound understanding of the opportunities you have on a daily basis, to speak into the lives of your students their unique image bearing. What does it mean to see your students as unique image bearers? How might that understanding change the way you see them, teach them, and inspire them? Through personal story, movie clips, and deep insight, this workshop will move you and transform your teaching.

Peter Baur

Peter Baur has been professionally involved in the field of independent school education for over thirty years. His tenure has been marked by firsthand experience in nearly every aspect of a kindergarten through grade twelve private schools including admission, college guidance, development, community service, capital campaigns, conferences, strategic planning, major events, marketing and public relations, camp director, teaching, and coaching. Peter Baur serves as the Head of School at Faith Christian School and on the Board of SCL.

Leisure is Essential for the Classical Educator

Talk to any teacher in February and they will, with slightly glazed eyes, tell you they are terribly behind on their grading. Talk to them at the end of May and they will gasp out a few exhausted comments on how they are ready to come up for air and recover over the summer. Teaching is hard work. Obviously. However, it ought not to be the kind of hard work that leaves us drowning: desperately swimming against an impossible current of busy work. We lie to our students about the nature of learning if we are constantly wading through piles of papers or buried in our laptops typing up lesson plans, researching discussion questions, and escaping to the adult world through our email, social media, and news outlets. Instead, we should be reading books, engaging in conversations, and then grading and lesson-planning. Ordering our workday around principles of joyful work and appropriate rest will yield a more honest teacher, better instruction, and healthier students.

Amanda Patchen

Amanda Patchin is an instructor at The Ambrose School, where she teaches Medieval History, Literature, and Philosophy to high school juniors. She reads a bit more than average and loves nothing more than conversation about a good book. Her love of the written word occasionally produces a poem or an article and her love of food often produces dinner.

Panel Q&A on Christian Classical Education for the World

Chris Perrin

Christopher Perrin, MDiv, PhD, is the CEO with Classical Academic Press, and a national leader, author, and speaker for the renewal of classical education. He serves as a consultant to classical Christian schools, classical charter schools, and schools converting to the classical model. He is the director of the Alcuin Fellowship, former co-chair of the Society for Classical Learning, an adjunct professor with the honor's program at Messiah College, and previously served for ten years as a classical school headmaster.

Robyn Burlew

Robyn has served as Head of Upper School at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia, for six years, after serving for fifteen years as a teacher and administrator at Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. in Biology from Houghton College and a M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. She enjoys spending time with her three adult daughters and a son-in-law, all of whom live in Richmond. Robyn's leisure time is filled with kayaking, gardening, two golden retrievers, and piano playing. She is a member of Redeemer Anglican Church in Richmond.

Ravi Jain

Robyn has served as Head of Upper School at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia, for six years, after serving for fifteen years as a teacher and administrator at Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. in Biology from Houghton College and a M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. She enjoys spending time with her three adult daughters and a son-in-law, all of whom live in Richmond. Robyn's leisure time is filled with kayaking, gardening, two golden retrievers, and piano playing. She is a member of Redeemer Anglican Church in Richmond.

Brian WIlliams

Dr. Brian A. Williams is Dean of the Templeton Honors College and Assistant Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Previously, he was Lecturer in Theology and Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford and Director of Oxford Conversations, a collection of interviews with influential Christian academics and scholars. He holds an MPhil and DPhil in Christian Ethics from the University of Oxford, an MA and ThM in Systematic and Historical Theology, and a BA in Biblical Studies. Currently, he is an Alcuin Fellow and a Research Fellow with the Institute of Classical Education. Dr. Williams is the author of The Potter’s Rib: The History, Theology, and Practice of Mentoring for Pastoral Formation.

Karen Elliot

Karen has served with the Rafiki Foundation since 1990, including twelve years on the mission field, most of that time in Jos, Nigeria. Upon returning to the U.S., she became the Director of Africa Operations for the Rafiki Home Office and was responsible for managing the ChildCare and Education Programs. She served at the Home Office for ten years before being named Rafiki's Executive Director in January of 2012. Karen was born in Houston, Texas and prior to joining Rafiki, she was in commercial banking in Houston, TX where she maintained multimillion-dollar loan portfolios for small businesses and managed the bank's credit division. She holds a BBA degree in finance/accounting from Southern Methodist University (and also a music minor), and earned her Masters degree in education from University of Texas at Arlington. Karen is a member of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, FL and was for many years a teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship while in Texas and in Africa. Karen views herself as simply a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who desires to help others come to know God and become lifelong disciples of him and learners of all he has created.

The Rhetoric of CCE Online

Recent developments have forced upon us the question of doing CCE online. Can it be done? Can it be done well? Is it even compatible with the classical understanding of education and it’s primary methodology of Trivium-driven learning?

Tom Vierra

Dr. Tom Vierra is Director of Academics at Wilson Hill Academy and a teacher of Great Conversation, Rhetoric, and Logic courses. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Arizona State University and has taught in classical education for fourteen years, the past six entirely online. In addition to having taught courses in classical literature, philosophy, writing, history, logic, and rhetoric, he has also helped to start two different classical schools, which included service as Academic Dean and Assistant Headmaster. He and his wife, Tracey, homeschool their five (soon to be six) children on their small farm among the beautiful rolling hills of middle Tennessee. Tom and Tracey share a love of Dickens novels, great books on education, and anything that Wendell Berry writes.

Slimming Down the Curriculum

Like so many secular schools, classical schools often pack their curriculum to include up to 10 subjects per semester spread over seven or eight periods per day. Like so many of our modern school practices, it turns out that this is not a traditional, classical practice. The classical tradition insisted upon multum non multa (much not many) as a meaningful approach to study. C.S. Lewis wrote that “no one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.” In another place he encourages us to teach “fewer subjects and teach them far better.”

In this seminar, we will spend most of our time exploring the various ways classical educators in the past have sought to do this and the ways we mighty revise our curriculum to do the same or something similar. We will also note (and hear from) several contemporary classical schools that have made meaningful strides to “slim down” and teach fewer subjects far better.

Chris Perrin

Christopher Perrin, MDiv, PhD, is the CEO with Classical Academic Press, and a national leader, author, and speaker for the renewal of classical education. He serves as a consultant to classical Christian schools, classical charter schools, and schools converting to the classical model. He is the director of the Alcuin Fellowship, former co-chair of the Society for Classical Learning, an adjunct professor with the honor's program at Messiah College, and previously served for ten years as a classical school headmaster.

The Grammar Classroom: Are Students Thriving

What will we learn from this current pandemic? Parents and teachers alike may realize that though grammar students might struggle from the lack of structure, they benefit greatly from the increased activity of free movement throughout the day. How could this impact our classrooms next year? Grammar students are physically developing in front of our eyes, growing and changing constantly. This embodied being must be taught to read, write, cipher, and stand in line. In this seminar, we will discuss current theories of human development and how it fits into our understanding of man (or child!). Science is now supporting what we know as Christians: that our cognition is embodied and our bodies participate in our gaining of knowledge. And, since Classical education is grounded in the nature of learning, we need to define that nature and transplant it into our classrooms. We will discuss what that might look like in different classroom activities, in imparting information, in classroom control, and in behavioral plans.

Athena Oden

Athena Oden, P.T. and author of the Ready Bodies Learning Minds workshop and curriculum, is widely known across the US for her down to earth approach to teaching and the practical and powerful nature of the Ready Bodies, Learning Minds program. Whether it is a presentation to hundreds of therapists or on the floor with children in a Ready Bodies Motor Lab, Athena is driven by the sincere desire to apply her knowledge to help those that choose to work with her.

Just the Math Facts; Not the Anxiety

Are your students struggling with basic mathematics fact recall? Memorization of basic mathematics facts is a basic principle in Classical Christian classrooms. This presentation will discuss basic facts’ instruction and how it looks in the classical classroom. It will also provide insight on how to improve recall without increasing anxiety in students. The researcher will share the stages students go through when memorizing facts and review the research that overwhelming supports memorization of basic facts. Finally, the researcher will provide guidance on intervention when fact memorization becomes difficult for students. You will walk away better informed about basic math facts and better equipped to teach for memorization in your classroom.

Cristina Dube

Dr. Cristina Dube is in her 7th year as the grammar school mathematics specialist at the Geneva School of Boerne. She holds a Doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University and has been involved in mathematics education for over 30 years. She is the author of The Three R's of Mathematics published in The Journal in 2019. The results of her dissertation, Self-Efficacy Score Differences Between Supported, Unsupported, Departmentalized, and Non-Departmentalized Classical Christian Elementary Mathematics Teachers, will be published soon. Prior to working at Geneva, she spent 14 years as an assessment specialist writing math textbooks and tests. She has a passion for mathematics education, classical education, and connecting mathematics to other disciplines.