Overcoming the #1 Challenge for Online Students

Overcoming the #1 Challenge for Online Students

Most students still learn using a method that has existed in our schools for over 100 years. In a typical classroom setting, students sit at desks in rows and the teacher “teaches” from the front of the room. The typical student has been trained since childhood for someone to give them information and take notes or listen.

While the traditional classroom is adept at preparing students for industrial and knowledge-based jobs, it has not kept pace with preparing students for today’s economy that employs a greater share of workers in service and innovation-based economies.

Today, new learning methods are available to give students an expanded skillset needed for their future. Many schools today are utilizing Project Based Learning (PBL) and computer-based instruction in the form of online and blended learning to fill the gaps left by traditional instruction. These initiatives are expected to grow as research studies indicate that families want more technology-based instruction and less use of teacher-driven instruction ...

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There’s Always a Way

There’s Always a Way

Have you ever flown in a 1967 Piper Comanche? Until recently, I had not. Here’s the story… We were scheduled on a flight from Atlanta to Birmingham. We boarded the plane; they shut the door and about three minutes later, the pilot said, “This plane is not flying today.” What would you do in that situation?

My traveling companion said, “Follow me.” We left the airport and drove about 20 minutes south. We pulled into a driveway and a just a minute later a plane was pulled out of a garage behind the house!

Moments after the plane’s appearance, we were taxiing down a grass runway in front of this guy’s house. He told me his plan was to get us airborne before we hit the trees at the end of the runway (pasture). We made it. The rest of the trip was uneventful compared to the takeoff.

During this adventure, I was reminded of a trait I admire in other leaders and have always tried to cultivate myself. Certainly, we all know there’s not always a way. But that’s one reason I love hanging around leaders, they always think there is.

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Your School's Financial Strength and Enrollment: An Unconventional Answer

Your School's Financial Strength and Enrollment: An Unconventional Answer

... Given the breadth and degree of financial challenges Christian schools experience I have taken some time recently to focus on the larger picture. This broader focus reveals an industry under siege by the consequences of decisions made years ago by well-meaning boards of directors, competition from homeschooling and charter schools, and cultural changes both inside of and external to the church. Yes, thankfully there are thriving schools and churches that are financially successful, but most Christian schools and many churches find themselves fighting for financial sustainability in a series of slowly cascading economic circumstances.

I have the benefit of seeing the industry through the lens of thirty years of commercial banking experience. This experience tells me that while more and more entities are vying for their “piece of the pie,” the pie itself is shrinking. The cultural stress on our society reduces the perceived need for Christian education of all types and the cast of providers now includes homeschooling cooperatives and charter schools in many states. Traditional educators find it difficult to compete with the well-established homeschooling group and competing with charter schools is even more challenging given their financial underpinning by the government.

My banking experience taught me that being an early adapter is fraught with risk. Consequently, I tend to observe from the sidelines until the evidence of lasting change is overwhelming. The evidence I have observed in recent years in Christian education screams loudly the fact that in many “markets,” the traditional Christian education model is no longer financially sustainable. 

... Yes, traditional Christian education remains viable in most markets in most of the country. That being said, however, the financial tension in the industry must be met with inventive solutions if many of our Christian schools are to survive. One such solution involves tweaking the model to one including “university model” scheduling to attract homeschoolers and other students with unusual time constraints for various reasons.. 

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Election: How to Deal with the “Lesser of Two Evils”

Election: How to Deal with the “Lesser of Two Evils”

In a few weeks Christians will join millions of other Americans in electing a President. Seldom have American Christians faced such unsavory options in presidential candidates. Christians of good faith and good conscience disagree on whom to support: Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, an independent, or “none of the above.”

As the election approaches it is helpful to pull back from the frenetic frenzy of 24 hour cable news, talking heads, social media angst, and the hysterical hyperbole dominating this election season to reflect prayerfully and thoughtfully on how Christians should approach any election and its final outcome. By God’s grace I will walk into the voting booth with deliberate calmness and will react to the outcome of the election, regardless of who wins, with dignity and confidence in God’s sovereignty over the affairs of state and of men. 

The following biblical principles and practical advice help guide my thoughts, vote, and reaction to the outcome of this year’s election. I have divided my thoughts into two parts: Principles and Practical Application. Perhaps these will be of help to you as well. 

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Bullying: Every School's Problem and Opportunity to Shine and Grow

Bullying: Every School's Problem and Opportunity to Shine and Grow

Though bullying, the superior use of power that intends to harm another student repeatedly and for no justifiable reason, is a cultural problem, not a “school problem,” schools across the country are expected to combat it on their own.

It's unfair, but like other unfair situations, it's also an opportunity to differentiate your school from other educational options within your community. To do so, school leaders must overcome a common but overblown fear.

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Preparing for Criticism and Critics

Preparing for Criticism and Critics

The new school year is upon us! Our schools will soon be teeming with students, staff, and parents.

The Honeymoon

We will enjoy the new school year honeymoon. Teachers will be refreshed, all of the students still have A’s, and no one has misbehaved. Everyone has just arrived from Lake Wobegon“where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." Happy Days, or Mayberry, are here again!

It will not last. I’m not being “a Debbie Downer.” The reality will set in soon enough; not everyone is from Lake Wobegon. Inevitably criticism will come. Some of it will be deserved, much of it will not be. Expecting and preparing for criticism are the best ways to profit from it, reduce stress, and avoid discouragement. As James Clear observes:

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7 Habits of an Online Learning Leader

7 Habits of an Online Learning Leader

7 Habits of an Online Learning Leader

Most K-12 Schools are embracing online learning as a way to solve problems. Some examples include a need for more advanced courses, more foreign languages, solving schedule conflicts, and credit recovery. The 2015 Keeping Pace Report states that “Millions of students are taking supplemental online courses while attending a physical school.”

Many schools have only a foot in the water (of online learning) so to speak. They are ahead of schools that have not started, but certainly not where they may want to be nor where they will be in three to five years.

For schools just starting out in online learning, there are 7 habits that a school leader needs to have in order to bring success to their campus and their students. 

The 7 habits of an online learning leader are:

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Understanding the Fiduciary Duties of the School Board

Understanding the Fiduciary Duties of the School Board

Here at Directorpoint, we’re eager to make board members’ lives a little bit easier. We know that serving on a board for a company or a nonprofit organization takes a lot of time and effort—that’s why we’ve created board management software that’s smart, intuitive, and able to streamline boardroom communications. We also think it’s important to share our knowledge of good governance practices. That’s why we recently began posting a series on our blog called “Board Member 101,” which seeks to outline and describe the various responsibilities of modern directors.

The first provides important insight on how to leverage online learning in the classroom and in your school. The second provides important information for board members and administrators who deal with boards.

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How to Respond When Treated Unfairly, Even Viciously

How to Respond When Treated Unfairly, Even Viciously

You and I have experienced the pain of being falsely accused and treated unfairly--perhaps even viciously. How should we respond? 

R.C. Sprout offers extremely helpful insight when dealing with the pain and anger associated with such mistreatment. The following is R.C. Sproul's article, A Charitable Reaction ... 

Years ago, I received a letter from a friend who is a pastor at a church in California. In it, the pastor included a copy of an article that had appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Although the article included a photo of him standing in his church and holding his Bible, it was basically a vicious personal attack against him.

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The Curious Case of Dr. Doyle, His Unwanted Creation and the Deceitful Feet of D.D. Hume

The Curious Case of Dr. Doyle, His Unwanted Creation and the Deceitful Feet of D.D. Hume

“But it can’t be all that difficult to be a ventriloquist, on the radio,” I replied somewhat sarcastically. “I mean you’d have to turn the volume way up to see your lips move.”

In an outdoor restaurant overlooking Port au Prince Bay, the enigmatic Dr. Cooper was absent-mindedly entertaining our Haiti mission team with an artifact from his trunkload of stranger-than-fiction memories. This one was about a stint as a puppeteer on his own radio show. But he wasn’t really paying attention to us, his mind was too busy being enslaved by a game on his new smart phone.

I tried to bring him back to into the real world.

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