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In January 2019, the ACSI staff presented a Strategic Planning Working Document to the ACSI Board of Directors. This document included a proposal to refocus ACSI’s missional efforts into three key areas for the future: Advancing, Access, and Advocacy for Christian education of today and tomorrow. These three “pillars” were approved by the board as the foundation with which the future ACSI efforts would be aligned.

Since that meeting, and with the guidance of new ACSI President Dr. Larry Taylor as of July 2019, refining work has continued on the strategic plan. The leadership team has been guided in this work by the question, “If ACSI were started today, what would it look like?”

In answering this question, ACSI is strategically responding to and planning for the rapidly changing educational paradigm shift. This requires ACSI to deal with the disruptions taking place with our individual schools, educators, associations, and delivery models of Christian education. Inevitably, this will necessitate reshaping all levels of programs, services, and personnel. This is not retreating, reducing, or cutting. Rather, it is advancing, growing, and sustaining. We must persistently advance a narrative based on this:

ACSI is prayerfully going through a process of reimagining and reshaping in order to advance, grow, and sustain the great cause of Kingdom education.

The purpose of reshaping ACSI is to reunite and reawaken our stakeholders (staff, schools, prospective members, and donors) to a reimagined ACSI.

ADVANCING

Leading Christ-centered education toward excellence and flourishing

We want all schools to aspire to, achieve, and remain committed to a biblically-based philosophy of education, standards that are measurable, and flourishing-related criteria. ACSI strives to lead, support, and serve Christian schools, and educators, by placing them on a path of growth and flourishing using the research-based Flourishing Schools Initiative. This model should link leadership and faculty professional development accreditation, and every culture-driving component of a school. A common philosophy, and a flourishing-based metric, would unify our efforts of advancing Christian schools and educators.

Key Activities

The three key ACSI activities within this pillar that were identified by staff are:

  1. Thought Leadership & Innovation
  2. Professional Development
  3. Accreditation & Affiliated Services

Action Items

Three major action items for reshaping ACSI related to this pillar are:

  1. Finalize personnel structure for PD, with a primary focus of taking PD to a digital platform.
  2. Define/adapt PD plan with focus on current/future leaders and integrate with the Flourishing Schools research.
  3. Adopt/define/merge accreditation with the Flourishing Schools research.

ACCESS

Making Christ-centered education available and obtainable

ACSI is committed to making Kingdom education available to as many children and families as desire it, believing that such an education offers students an opportunity to grow in a loving relationship with their Creator, come to know His saving work through Jesus, and flourish in His Ephesians 2:10 calling for their lives. This commitment requires removing barriers to access for those who traditionally have not benefited from Christian school, as well as seeking out new ways to create access points to Kingdome educationand the ability to thrive and be successful in that education—for all those who desire it.

Key Activities

The three key ACSI activities within this pillar are:

  1. Thought Leadership & Innovation (School Sustainability Research & MindShift findings relative to sustainability)
  2. School Choice—ACSI Children’s Education Fund (ACEF)
  3. Positioning the philosophy and practices associated with ACSI’s A.C.E. (Academically disenfranchised, Culturally diverse, and/or Economically disadvantaged) Program

Action Items

Three major action items for reshaping ACSI related to this pillar are:

  1. School Choice (Current ACSI Children’s Education Fund work)—Continue to expand this work state by state; minimum goal would be to reach $10 million which would provide program sustainability.
  2. Position Philosophy/Practices of A.C.E. (Academically disenfranchised, Culturally diverse, and/or Economically disadvantaged) Program—Introduce and reinforce the mission of serving A.C.E. children to all ACSI member schools; it is critical to connect this philosophy and policies to support these efforts.
  3. Research—On new delivery models, including expanding the traditional brick and mortar model, and elevating a series of non-traditional delivery strategies (assumption is these new models would be high quality but less expensive)

ADVOCACY

Promoting and protecting Christ-centered education for today and tomorrow

As the largest evangelical Christian school association in the world, ACSI is by deafult viewed as the spokesperson for Christian schooling in the public square. In order to discharge this responsibility with excellence and seasoned speech (Colossians 4:6), and to equip our member schools to do the same, ACSI must invest in developing public-facing resources and forming strategic relationships with those working in the area of advocacy for Christian Education and for religious liberty.

Key Activities

The four key ACSI activities within this pillar that were identified by staff are:

  1. Tell the ACSI Story, by advocating for Christian education in strategic areas of influence (pastors, churches, denomination leaders, para-church ministries, legislators, donors, etc.)
  2. Legal & Legislative Services, including LLU publication, Washington D.C. full-time government affairs representatives, and legal representation for member schools
  3. School Choice-ACEF (currently distributing $7 million of school choice monies)
  4. Strategic Affiliation with Like-Minded Groups (e.g. ADF) who focus is on the protection of religious liberties

Action Items

Three major action items for reshaping ACSI related to this pillar are:

  1. Expand Legal and Public Relations Services—increase a) personnel capacity to meet growing demand for services, and b) increase personnel who specialize in public relations (including crisis management situations).
  2. Develop Communications and Relationship Cultivation Plan—With the top influencers among pastors, churches, denomination leaders, para-church ministries, legislators, donors, etc.
  3. Expand School Choice Efforts—a) Reach a minimum $10 million which would provide program sustainability, and b) assist state-level formation of legal and legislative networks.

GUIDING VERSE AND PRAYER

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

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