There are elements and approaches which can be used to build and embed a Christian distinctive throughout a school. CSA believes that there are six elements that should be central. These elements are not static, rather they can be applied and adapted to ensure a Christian Distinctive is established and embedded in schools. These elements are outlined below and include a key CSA resource that can be adopted or adapted to your school.

Culture

Culture is essentially “the way we do things around here”. In a Christian School, this is about Kingdom Education – having Christ at the centre, holding all we do together and giving it purpose and reason. Culture is captured in our stories, our interactions, processes, mission and values. Clearly articulated, culture is an understanding of what Christian Education is about. The basic pattern of shared assumptions, values, beliefs and practices that govern the behaviours exhibited and approaches taken in a Christian School.

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Flourish: A Vision of Christian Schooling

Flourish is a staff induction program designed to give staff in Christian schools a vision for the impact Christian education can have in the world. Flourish explores four domains: vision, culture, faith and practice, and invites staff to be a force for good in both their world and their school.

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Community

Based on the principles of Ecclesia (the body of the faithful) and Koinonia (fellowship), Christian schools recognise the place of calling, journeying and participation, as aspects of doing community together. Schools are able to work together as a body of believers in the pursuit of biblical truth, grace & shalom. Christian schools are not institutions they are communities. People doing life together. People who share the same faith and beliefs. People who submit all things under the lordship of Christ and follow His precepts and teachings.

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Relational Schools

To investigate how a focus on relationships might support CSA’ s goals, we undertook the largest measurement of student-student culture internationally in partnership with the Relationships Foundation in the UK. The results, explored in this document, show a strong and striking correlation between the relational health and the wellbeing of CSA students. Students who have healthy relationships with their peers, are far more likely to be thriving as individuals.

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Biblical Literacy

To be able to live as Christians we need to know His Word. We need to be shaped and formed and transformed by His teaching. This starts first and foremost by knowing the Bible, the grand narrative, and by being developed and trained in His ways. Biblical literacy is about the ability and motivation of staff and students to read the Bible with sufficient understanding, so that they can discern it’s basic meaning and apply these spiritual truths to their lives (wisdom).

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OpenBook: Biblical Literacy

OpenBook is a program aimed at empowering staff in Christian schools with a deep and robust knowledge of the important themes in Scripture, so that they can see their place in the unfolding story of God.

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Pedagogy

Pedagogy is the comprehension of how faith forms the actual process of teaching. Moving beyond perspectives on the teaching matter and thinking about the teaching itself as Christians. Teachers are not just presenting information, they are living out their faith: in the way they see the students as made in the image of God; in recognising the calling or vocation they have; in their desire to nurture and grow the talents and gifts of each child; and, in preparing these young people for their unique calling.

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PeRL: Pedagogies enabling Redemptive Learning

PeRL focuses on four specific pedagogies that lead to cultures of redemption and restoration. They are connection, inclusion, justice and voice. This program takes staff through a process of understanding the redemptive power of Christian education, providing tools and skills for better pedagogical engagement.

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Leadership

Leaders understand the calling and the commitment they are making to Christian education. Leaders can inspire others, develop people, plan and execute strategy and encourage both the heart and spirit of those they lead. CSA leaders are servant leaders. Leadership in a Christian school is not about prestige or positional authority. It is about seeing those around them thrive. It is about stewarding resources to see the mission fulfilled. It is about training up the next generation to take their place.

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CSA Leadership Framework

For Christian school leaders to flourish, they need to be equipped with a clear understanding of the types of practices that will enhance and expand their leadership capacity within Christian schools. The CSA Leadership Framework draws from explicitly biblical principles, Christian wisdom, and quality research and provides tools, videos and resources to assist in developing and expanding such capacity.

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Curriculum

Curriculum is about ensuring that what is in our lessons is shaped from an understanding that this is all part of God’s bigger narrative. We are revealing God in the story and showing how He shapes and guides the world we live in. It is the ability to identify the basic beliefs that impact the way curriculum matter is viewed from a biblical worldview. Curriculum from this perspective is an action - an ability to apply a biblical worldview approach to teaching and learning and to identify and exemplify the biblical themes and principles which underpin academic subjects.

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God's Big Story

God's Big Story (GBS) equips teachers in CSA member schools to address the Australian Curriculum with curriculum planning resources grounded in biblical worldview. The suite of resources include specific resources across a range of Key Learning Areas, as well as Cross Curriculum Priority Areas.

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Sitting just outside our six elements is Service and Outreach. This service-learning approach is part of our partnership with ACSI Australia and embodies the desired community impact of Christian Schools.

Service and Outreach

CSA and ACSI Australia have taken a philosophical approach to service learning which affirms that all people are created for shalom—a sense of wholeness, delight in and flourishing of relationships that have been fully reconciled —with God, with our self, with others, and with creation. As Christ’s ambassadors and God’s fellow workers, we believe that Christ’s mission is our mission, and as such, followers of Jesus are called to participate in God’s redemptive plan of healing, renewing and restoring all things. Service that responds to our restored relationships with others enables our students to deeply know and be known by those they engage with, who often have remarkably different experiences from their own.

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