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Of the many traits that I admire about Surrey Christian School, I think our ‘culture of courage’ ranks among the highest for me. This ‘culture of courage’ existed long before my arrival at the school 9 years ago and was a primary reason that I desired to work at Surrey Christian School. I do not believe you can authentically live into our mission of Educating for Wholeness by engaging God’s world in the servant way of Jesus without courage. This mission requires courage: Wholeness requires sacrifice, engaging God’s world is risky, and the servant way of Jesus is counter cultural. None of this is safe or simple or easy.
So, not surprisingly, living into and working within this mission statement creates a ‘culture of courage.’ Courageous educators are drawn to Surrey Christian School and we have a long history of hiring courageous educators. Courage breeds courage – that’s culture!
One of the most recent manifestations of courage at Surrey Christian School was the hosting of the Christian Deeper Learning conference before Spring Break. Saying ‘yes’ to hosting this conference meant more than saying ‘yes’ to all the additional work and logistics that go into the organizing and hosting of 500 Christian school educators from North America (and beyond). It was saying ‘yes’ to throwing open the doors to our classrooms and learning plans and student work and inviting 500 guests to ‘come on in.’ It was a ‘yes’ to inviting close observation of our teaching, to welcoming warm and cool feedback of our practices, and to sharing what we are passionate about. You see, at Surrey Christian School, teaching isn’t something we simply do, it is a significant part of who we are. When you examine my teaching, you are examining a part of my identity. It is an act of courage to expose your teaching to 500 guests. That’s culture.
I do not believe you can authentically live into our mission of Educating for Wholeness by engaging God’s world in the servant way of Jesus without courage. This mission requires courage: Wholeness requires sacrifice, engaging God’s world is risky, and the servant way of Jesus is counter cultural. None of this is safe or simple or easy.
So, for a week, all the doors of Surrey Christian School were propped open. In addition to the actual two-day conference itself (remember your children not going to school?), our campuses hosted 16 educators from Australia, an elementary staff from Ontario, and 100 other educators from across North America. We shared templates SCS has designed to embody our school’s mission and vision. Our guests asked for electronic copies of the tools. We shared learning plans and assignments that result from these templates. Our guests snapped countless photos. And most dear to all of our teachers, we invited our guests to spend time with our students and their learning. Our guests engaged, asked questions, celebrated, and even shed some tears as they listened to SCS students share stories of how their learning is helping them understand their place within God’s story. From Kindergarten to Grade 12, your children courageously shared their experiences with these curious strangers. That’s culture.
At Surrey Christian School, we know we don’t get it right all the time. I think that is inherent to the risk that comes with living courageously into our mission – engaging God’s world comes with risks. However, within those days of hosting the Christian Deeper Learning conference, the staff and students were affirmed in our pursuit of our vision to be fully alive in God’s Story. Moments like these are important for Surrey Christian School, and I am confident that hosting this conference will spur us on to continue to live courageously into our mission and vision.
Written by Darryl DeBoer, Director of Learning