Association of Classical Christian Schools 2016 Conference Day 1

As I write, myself and 3 teachers from the school I headmaster (Aletheia, www.peoriaclassical.org) are in Atlanta, Georgia at the Association of Classical Christian Schools' annual national conference, whose website is here: http://www.accsconference.org/

I brought with me Abbie Corey (Kindergarten), Gabi Michlik (2nd grade & art), and Heather Olsson (6th grade & music/choir).

This is the kind of magical place where you can meet and have a robust discussion with highly influential people in the Classical Education world and with the authors of various books. For example I was purchasing The Administrator's Handbook For Christian Schools when a gentlemen came up and asked me if I was a school administrator. I said "Yes I am," and the bookstore clerk running my credit card said "Oh, that's Dr. Stephenson—he wrote the book." After I bought my books I went over and had a nice 3 minute talk with him. 
It's blurry, but this is The Getty's performing.

But there are other famous people here as well. 

N.D. Wilson, the children's fantasy author who is only growing in renown as the years go on (and is even working on a film adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce) is one of the main speakers (as is his father Douglas Wilson—but he's always here!). Tonight the conference got to hear a 2 hour conference by The Getty's (of "In Christ Alone" fame). They performed their new album Facing a Task Unfinished in its entirety. We also got to hear a new song for another project they are just beginning of music for children. The song was I believe called "The Wondrous Mystery" and is taken directly from Ephesians 2:5-11. It was my favorite song they did all night and works well for congregational singing.  Keith Getty spoke earlier in the day about the importance of getting children to sing and in making sure the Church's hymn's contain robust theology and poetic excellence. Finally, it turns out that Kristyn Getty's uncle is the inimitable mathematician, philosopher, and Christian apologist John Lennox who was in town and decided to sit in on the concert. Heather and Gabi got to meet both N.D. Wilson and Lennox. They were pretty giddy, let me tell you.  

I, even I, might have a chance to interview a very influential person within the Classical Education world tomorrow for the PostConsumer Reports Podcast. I don't want to say who just in case it doesn't actually happen.

But apart from the "famous" people, it's difficult to mistakenly bump into someone with my bulky bright orange backpack without then discovering I've met a fascinating person worth talking to at length. Today I stopped a man and asked him directions. It turned out we were headed to the same workshop. He was also a headmaster and he happens to have a PhD. in history specializing in the writing of the Constitution (his name is Dr. James Albritton of Mars Hill Academy in Mason Ohio). I hope to have him on the podcast someday to talk about politics. Then later, at another workshop, I sat next to a man with a clerical dog collar on and I couldn't help but ask what his story was. Turns out he's an Episcopal priest and later in the day he was one of the workshop speakers (his name is Nathan Carr and he's the headmaster of The Academy of Classical and Christian Studies in Oklahoma City) . After he spoke he very graciously sat down with me for an interview/conversation about education, being a headmaster, running a preschool, and the importance of telling our kids good stories. Look out for the podcast some time next week. Both of these guys seemed like people I could become fast friends with and it made me wonder how many more people like that are at the conference.

The speakers and the seminars here are general great. Douglas Wilson laid down a convincing argument for the kinds of teachers we need to be in our schools as those who reflect the image of God to the world. I then went to an amazing workshop on becoming a financially sustainable school. A younger version of me would have died inside to go to such a seminar, but the present day version of me found the talk visionary and incredibly encouraging (being a headmaster can be quite discouraging at times). My teachers went to workshops on music, logic, math, and more foundational topics in the realm of Classical Ed. I'll update tomorrow with the workshops I went to.

Invariably, when you come to such events you end up being introduced to slews of books and thinkers you never heard of before. That, coupled with the numerous pop-up bookstores and publishers booths, makes for an incredibly enticing environment for a person like me. There is entirely too much to take in at once and this part of what makes an event like this wonderful.

Here's my recap of day 2 of the conference.

Related Articles:
Introducing Classical Education
3 Great Challenges Facing Classical Education as a Movement

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