Winter Symposium FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My Board Chair can’t make it. As Head of School, should I still come?

A: Absolutely. All of the content is equally relevant to you and your Board Chair. We encourage you to join us, build relationships with other Heads and Board Chairs, and take back all that you learn to your own Board. 

Q: Is the Symposium open to only Board Chairs or may other Board Members join? 

A: Absolutely. The more Board members the merrier. The Symposium is an excellent way for the Board Chair and Head to connect and establish or build trust as they work together. This relationship is critical. But all Board members help to create a healthy functioning Board, so what better way than for everyone to learn together. What an excellent way to invest in your Head of School! 

Q: My Head of School can’t make it. As Board Chair, should I still come?

A: Absolutely. What an excellent way to invest in your Head of School! We know your Head would be thrilled for you to come and learn and share. All of the content is equally relevant to both Heads and Boards. We encourage you to join us, build relationships with other Heads and Board Chairs, and take back all that you learn to your own Board and Head of School.. 

Q: I am unable to attend Friday. May I still come Saturday?

A: Yes! Purchase a Saturday-only ticket and enjoy a one-day Symposium.

The Common Rule: Habits and Purpose For Everyday Life

The Common Rule

Habits form more than our schedule, they form our hearts as well. In these sessions, we’ll look at how the default habits of busyness and connectedness function as modern liturgies of worship. We’ll explore the ancient concept of a “rule of life” and ask how these technology rituals function as an invisible American rule of life. Then, we’ll ask how the good news of the gospel might change our daily and weekly habits. We’ll use the Common Rule as a resource for examining what a contemporary, gospel-based rule of life might look like in practice. We’ll see how actually, we follow Jesus and lead others better when we’re attentive to this kind of daily spiritual formation.

The Common Rule - Official Book Trailer

  • ECPA 2020 Christian Book Award Finalist – New Author
  • Christianity Today 2020 Book of the Year Award, tied for top honor Christian Living/Discipleship
  • 2020 Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year (“Also Recommended,” Leadership)

Habits form us more than we form them.

The modern world is a machine of a thousand invisible habits, forming us into anxious, busy, and depressed people. We yearn for the freedom and peace of the gospel, but remain addicted to our technology, shackled by our screens, and exhausted by our routines. But because our habits are the water we swim in, they are almost invisible to us. What can we do about it?

The answer to our contemporary chaos is to practice a rule of life that aligns our habits to our beliefs. The Common Rule offers four daily and four weekly habits, designed to help us create new routines and transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbor. Justin Earley provides concrete, doable practices, such as a daily hour of phoneless presence or a weekly conversation with a friend.

These habits are “common” not only because they are ordinary, but also because they can be practiced in community. They have been lived out by people across all walks of life―businesspeople, professionals, parents, students, retirees―who have discovered new hope and purpose. As you embark on these life-giving practices, you will find the freedom and rest for your soul that comes from aligning belief in Jesus with the practices of Jesus.

Habits of the Household - Official Book Trailer

Discover simple habits and easy-to-implement daily rhythms that will help you find meaning beyond the chaos of family life as you create a home where kids and parents alike practice how to love God and each other.

You long for tender moments with your children–but do you ever find yourself too busy to stop, make eye contact, and say something you really mean? Daily habits are powerful ways to shape the heart–but do you find yourself giving in to screen time just to get through the day? You want to parent with purpose–but do you know how to start?

Award-winning author and father of four Justin Whitmel Earley understands the tension between how you long to parent and what your daily life actually looks like. In Habits of the Household, Earley gives you the tools you need to create structure–from mealtimes to bedtimes–that free you to parent toddlers, kids, and teens with purpose. Learn how to:

  • Develop a bedtime liturgy to settle your little ones and ground them in God’s love
  • Discover a new framework for discipline as discipleship
  • Acquire simple practices for more regular and meaningful family mealtimes
  • Open your eyes to the spirituality of parenting, seeing small moments as big opportunities for spiritual formation
  • Develop a custom age chart for your family to more intentionally plan your shared years under the same roof

Each chapter in Habits of the Household ends with practical patterns, prayers, or liturgies that your family can put into practice right away. As you create liberating rhythms around your everyday routines, you will find your family has a greater sense of peace and purpose as your home becomes a place where, above all, you learn how to love.

Communicating a Classical, Christian Mission and Vision in a Critical, Combustible Culture

Communicating a Classical, Christian Mission and Vision in a Critical, Combustible Culture

We live in a society with clashing values and beliefs. In the future, your institution will likely arrive at the intersection of faith and culture and find it necessary to reassure your community and constituency of your commitment to your school’s mission and distinctive classical learning environment. Preparing now can help you be ready to counter negativity around your rights to hire to mission, to create a volunteer community around a shared framework of faith, and to enforce policy and behavior in support of your sincerely held religious beliefs, all while demonstrating the love of Christ and conveying to outsiders that we can live together with our deepest differences in a civil public square.

A. Larry Ross

Larry Ross is Founder and CEO of A. Larry Ross Communications, a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm founded in 1994 to provide crossover media liaison at the intersection of faith and culture. In 2016, he served as Communications Director for Dr. Ben Carson and his presidential campaign.

Ross, whom Newsweek magazine headlined as “Point Man for God,” has more than 40 years of mainstream and Christian corporate, agency and non-profit experience influencing public opinion through strategic PR counsel to organizations and individuals. These include men and women on a mission for God or the common good, such as evangelist Billy Graham, for whom he served as principal spokesperson beginning in 1981; Dr. Rick Warren, Bishop T.D. Jakes and many other national and international Christian leaders; and theatrical film releases, such as “The Passion of The Christ.”

A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Ross and his wife Autumn have three sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren, and live in Lewisville, TX. You can follow him on Twitter at @ALarryRoss.

Kristin Cole

As President of A. Larry Ross Communications (ALRC), Kristin Cole provides strategic leadership to the agency account team, consults on crisis communications and reputation management projects, and leads the company’s vision and mission. She is constantly looking for cutting-edge ways the Agency can serve its clients.

During her nearly 14 years at ALRC, Ms. Cole has served a variety of film, book and ministry clients, including Gordon College, I Am Second, Interstate Batteries, CURE International and HarperCollins Publishing as well as leaders such as Anne Graham Lotz, Dr. Tony Evans, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Joel C. Rosenberg, Christine Caine, Dr. Albert R. Mohler and Jon Weece. She also continues to coordinate media and public relations for Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church.

Ms. Cole is a graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she earned a communication arts degree with an emphasis in public relations/advertising and was elected President of the Student Government Association. She currently serves on the Union University Board of Regents and Religion Newswriters Association Membership Committee and chairs the Honors and Awards Committee for the Dallas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Kerri Ridenour

Kerri Ridenour, PHR, SHRM-CP, has spent her professional career focused in the area of consulting with small to medium-sized companies, non-profits, and academic institutions advising them on strategic preparation, human resources, and crisis planning. She permanently joined the ALRC team in May of 2006.

As Chief Operating Officer, she leads the Agency’s business acquisitions, day-to-day operations and utilizes her human resources expertise and certifications to act in an advisory capacity on a variety of crisis communications projects.

Kerri is a SRHM Certified Personnel (SRHM-CP) Consultant and a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) who before joining ALRC, served as President of The Bask Group, Inc., a Dallas based consulting firm specializing in operations, personnel, strategic and tactical planning, and compliance.

Playing Offense in a Chaotic Culture: Risk Management Fundamentals

Playing Offense in a Chaotic Culture: Risk Management Fundamentals

Leading an independent school is an increasingly complex endeavor.  If the unique business model, parent education, student alignment, and perceived value challenges were not enough, the 21st Century classical, Christian school must also navigate the increasingly mercurial legal terrain involving contracts, torts, employment discrimination regulations, and gender issues.  Our schools do all of this in the midst of a culture that misunderstands liberal arts and the Western Canon.  How does a strategic Board lead well in these stormy seas?  

In this session, we will explore the basics of risk management from a Board perspective, concentrating on: the primary areas of legal liability, the [likely] future of your school’s First Amendment protections, and the offensive steps you should consider to maximize your families’ and your communities’ understanding of and buy- in to your classical, Christian mission. 

Capital Campaign and Annual Fund Success

Hands holding young plant

How to Maximize Capital Campaign Success

There are several key factors that make a huge impact on whether a capital campaign achieves its goal, and within the desired timeframe. If a capital campaign is in your school’s future, then you can begin to lay the groundwork for success right now. This presentation will discuss those factors and share some helpful tips for preparing for your campaign. Time will be made available for questions during this session.

The Ideal Annual Fund Strategy

If your school’s approach to fundraising relies heavily on events and mass communication, you may not be raising as much as you could for your annual fund. What if you could have most of your annual goal committed at the beginning of your new fiscal year, and spend most of the year thanking your partners and showing them the impact of their investments? This presentation will lay out some key principles and a framework to help you do just that. Time will be made available for questions during this session.