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This article was previously published in the CACE Blog on March 29, 2022. 

On March 7 and 8, an intrepid band of seeker/explorers met in San Diego to engage in school site visits and attend exploratory workshops at our latest Christian Deeper Learning conference (CDL5). 

San Diego is a hotbed of educational innovation, the perfect landing space to explore four of the six models that we have identified of Christian schools doing Deeper Learning. On Day 1, site visits were made to High Tech High–Mesa (PBL), The Met School (Big Picture Learning), Conway Elementary (EL Education), and Kavod Charter (IB). On site visits, many aspects of a school can be observed, and visitors can get their questions answered as well as engage in rich dialogue with teachers, students, and administration. Moreover, CDL visitors could process their observations with other conference attendees from all around the world. Christian educators attending CDL5 represented schools in Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Canada and the United States.

The target attendee audience for CDL5 was those who were ready to seek and explore other models of educational practice and consider how these practices might work in their own school setting. To seek means to look for a better way, so it was exciting that 56% of our attendees were attending their very first CDL conference. Many attendees had some exposure to Deeper Learning but wanted to learn more. We know change starts with a healthy discontent with the status quo, so seeing different approaches is an important first step!

On Day Two of CDL5, we offered exploratory sessions for the four models mentioned above as well as Teaching for Transformation. These sessions allowed our seeker/explorers to dive deeper into the five models, hear from experts how that model is being implemented in schools, and ask questions. All together we discussed the deep consistencies between all six models of Christian Deeper Learning.

At Kavod Charter, students are never referred to as students, but as explorers. Kavod’s teachers explained that how students identify themselves is a powerful motivator and shaper of who students believe they can become: the goal is for all students to see themselves as capable and curious learners. This language and culture reminded us of the research around having a growth mindset: that with practice and perseverance, we can grow and improve.

Are you a seeker/explorer? If your answer is “yes,” we invite you to join us at CDL6 in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia on March 8-10, 2023. You are warmly invited! Look for more information to appear on christiandeeperlearning.org. If you subscribe to our site, you will receive future notices as well as our thrice weekly blog posts in your inbox. 

Keep seeking. Keep learning. As followers of Jesus Christ, we take joy in playing our part in God’s story – by helping students to see themselves as people of God’s Story, engaging in real work that shapes them and the world.

Photo by Daniel Frese from Pexels

Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).

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