Renaissance Adventist Education Summits

November 14, 2009 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

In 2009, the AAF Board of Directors had several significant conversations with the leaders of the North American Division and its education department in which they were briefed on recent challenges facing Adventist schools.

Through these conversations, the board also learned that officials in higher education held deep concerns about the viability and sustainability of their feeder K-12 schools. When 13 Adventist college and university presidents were asked to take a vote measuring their confidence in Adventist K-12 schools, they unanimously voted “no confidence” in the ability of their feeder schools to grow.

Inspired by these conversations and others, the AAF Board went looking for a deeper understanding of what was really happening to the Adventist school system. AAF began hosting half-day events all around the country called Renaissance Adventist Education summits. At these regional hearings, the AAF Board of Directors would assemble a diverse mix of distinguished professionals, young parents, educators, and church leaders to identify obstacles preventing excellence and financial solvency in Adventist K-12 schools. Guests participated in focus groups that challenged them to identify solutions to the obstacles.

AAF hosted four summits, with more than 700 guests in attendance. Focus groups at Renaissance Adventist Education identified the following as widespread critical concerns that threaten the future of Adventist K-12 education:

  1. There is a drought of visionary, competent school principals, equipped with the diverse skills needed to manage a private school.
  2. Most schools function on a deficit budget and do not have the financial systems in place to grow (let alone survive long-term).
  3. Adventist schools lack the ability to recruit, train and retain enough talented teachers.
  4. Adventist families feel schools lack accountability structures with measurable objectives on all levels of operations (staff evaluations, governance, student performance, etc.).
  5. The quality of Adventist schools has become so inconsistent, the Adventist community has lost sight of the value and purpose of Adventist education.
Summary Findings Report

View the preliminary Summary of Findings Report, which reviews these Top Five Barriers to Growth in Adventist Schools in greater detail. This two-page document is the product of more than 55 focus group discussions that aimed to define issues facing Adventist schools and explore potential solutions.

Summary of Findings Report

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