Classical Education in an Urban Context

This seminar will explore the challenges of providing classical and Christian education in the urban context. I have often used the following analogy: doing classical education in a suburban context is to doing classical education in an urban context as a general practice physician’s work is to a trauma surgeon’s work. The needs of students in an urban context are often much more intensive than the needs of a student who is in a suburban context. In the urban context, the basics of food, clothing, and adequate shelter must be considered along with grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Urban students often qualify as “at-risk” students and come to school far less prepared for academic work than their suburban counterparts. The urban context demands a different approach to classical education. What does classical education look like in the urban school? This session will look at the kinds of solutions that urban schools have devised to deal with the problems that confront them as they aspire to teach urban students classically. This seminar is also designed to encourage discussion and a sharing of ideas and best practices from teachers and administrators involved in urban education.

Peter VandeBrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an All-American decathlete and Philosophy major. He a ended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996–2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the high school principal and track coach at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, an urban Christ-centered school. He is married and has two daughters.

The Teacher’s Seminar: A School within the School

In Norms and Nobility, David Hicks suggests that a classical school must have a teacher’s seminar to drive faculty improvement and to insure proper classical pedagogy. This seminar is a scheduled weekly gathering of faculty to discuss readings, questions, tests, topics for debate, teaching methods, and more. It also serves as an excellent mentoring program, an effective platform for teacher evaluation, and a continual source of faculty development. This seminar will look at the abundant benefits of the teacher’s seminar for a classical school and how it could be implemented.

Peter VandeBrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an All-American decathlete and Philosophy major. He a ended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996–2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the high school principal and track coach at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, an urban Christ-centered school. He is married and has two daughters.

Are You Ready for This?

This seminar is designed for first time SCL Conference attendees and for novice Christian classical teachers. The presentation will cover an introduction to Christian classical education and to the Society for Classical Learning. Suggestions will be made about how your time can best be used to get the greatest benefit from this conference experience.

Peter VandeBrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an All-American decathlete and Philosophy major. He a ended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996–2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the high school principal and track coach at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, an urban Christ-centered school. He is married and has two daughters.

Worldview and Media

Your students are going to movies, watching TV, reading magazines, listening to music and “facebooking” on the internet. Are they putting any thought and reflection into any of these activities, or are they just letting popular media wash over them without attempting to discern or examine the cultural influences all around them? Worldview training and cultural discernment are vital for a classically trained student in American society. This seminar shows you how to get your students to think about what they are seeing and listening to from a Christian perspective.

Peter VandeBrake

Peter Vande Brake attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was an All-American decathlete and Philosophy major. He a ended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and then did his doctoral work at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. He taught, coached, and was Headmaster at North Hills Classical Academy from 1996–2010. He is a leadership consultant for the CiRCE Institute and the high school principal and track coach at The Potter’s House School in Grand Rapids, an urban Christ-centered school. He is married and has two daughters.