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Our Vision

Strategy & Guiding Principles

We believe the vitality of the Adventist Church is inextricably linked to the health of Adventist K-12 education. Yet research shows that support for Adventist schools is waning due to financial instability, inconsistent leadership, ineffective school boards, and a loss of “brand loyalty” to the Adventist name, among other factors. The decline of enrollment in the Adventist school system as a whole could have long-term implications on our well-established connections with one another as well as our potential for evangelism in North America.

AAF affirms the Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Education, which states that Adventist education serves to develop the whole person, create critical thinkers, promote service, foster friendship with God, build character, embrace truth and goodness, respect others, and restore human beings to the image of their Creator.

Since September 2009, AAF has hosted four Renaissance Adventist Education summits, which were half-day events that convened 55 focus groups on Adventist education. At each summit, AAF was asked by attendees to act as a “voice” for the Adventist community by boldly confronting the issues identified and seeking workable strategies with church leaders. In light of these requests, we believe our organization can serve as a conduit for the most creative and resolute minds in the Adventist community to seek solutions and implement strategies that extend beyond what the church structure currently offers.

AAF’s primary goal has been to accelerate the mission of Adventist education by developing new ways to fund, advance and sustain Adventist K-12 schools. In laying groundwork for developing innovative solutions, we have called upon (and continue to call upon) numerous leaders and professionals within the Adventist Church as well as neutral, third-party experts in the education industry. AAF seeks partners who understand the national landscape of public, private, parochial and charter education, as well as the unique landscape of Adventist education.

The North American Division of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (NAD) has been fully engaged in this process, but the funding and leadership have been provided by laity.

A New Solution for Adventist Schools

Working with a remarkable team of educators, church leaders and entrepreneurs, the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) has created a program that allows certain schools to step outside of the traditional system of governance and management for the purpose of becoming a Center of Excellence. This initiative is intended to improve the level of accountability, oversight, support, and expertise that is currently provided in existing Seventh-day Adventist schools.

Under the Renaissance model, local boards assign certain roles and responsibilities to a management team from the Renaissance Network. Drawing from their years of experience and deep understanding of best practices in education, the Network executives create a forward-thinking, yet sound business and education plan for the school. This plan must be voted on an annual basis by the school’s primary governing body, usually the local school board. Once voted into effect, the Network works to implement the plan at the school. The Renaissance model seeks to empower the principal as CEO of the school, and the business manager as CFO. The Management Team provides direct supervision, mentorship, training, and accountability for these two administrators.

Under this new model, school ownership does not change. Furthermore, the local School Board retains ultimate power to dissolve the relationship with the Renaissance Network at any time. The school board continues to advocate for school progress, make recommendations, and secure resources that will enable execution of the vision.

Using this approach, AAF envisions aggressively developing 10-20 Seventh-day Adventist Centers of Excellence from existing Adventist academies in key markets around the North American Division. Each school in the Renaissance Network will become an active participant in the collaboration, support and development of the Renaissance Network brand of Adventist education. The ultimate goal is to create the highest quality education program, while preserving our unique Adventist core values.

Key objectives of the Renaissance Network include (See a complete list here):

  • Build and distribute financial capital.
  • Develop sustainable financial systems at participating schools.
  • Streamline and enforce accountability structures.
  • Identify and train talented individuals to lead and teach in network schools.
  • Provide professional development and regular review processes of all school personnel.
  • Provide a rigorous leadership training program that places principals in administrative residencies, equipping them with skills to effectively drive change in struggling schools.
  • Design and enable a compensation structure that is supportive of quality performance.
  • Provide consulting and mentoring to local school boards.
  • Accelerate development programs at participating schools.
  • Implement national marketing and branding strategies for participating schools.
  • Ensure that schools cultivate the highest level of student engagement in spiritual and academic development.

Funding & Timeline

AAF continues to build the infrastructure of the Renaissance Network, while pursuing the partnership of organizations and individuals that wish to bring positive change to Adventist schools. Thunderbird Adventist Academy was accepted into the Network in 2011 as a pilot program. As of July 2013, Madison Academy and Hinsdale Adventist Academy were added to the Network. Schools are currently being reviewed by the Renaissance Network leadership team for acceptance into the Network for the 2014-2015 school year.

Deliverables

We believe we are the verge of a major revitalization for Adventist education. AAF seeks to drive a strategic process that will result in a strong, sustainable network of Adventist schools throughout North America. Our goal is to preserve and improve an education system that has brought countless young people into life-changing relationships with Christ and with the Adventist community at large. We trust this process will:

  • Establish streamlined, nimble and influential school governance structures.
  • Develop visionary school principals equipped with the diverse skill set needed to drive innovation and sustain excellence.
  • Bring financial stability and new sources of funding to education.
  • Create clear expectations, consequences, incentives, and rewards that will perpetuate a culture of excellence in Adventist education, both spiritually and academically.
  • Preserve the unique culture and celebrated values of the Adventist community.
  • Enable local churches to reach out to their communities through their schools.
  • Reconnect with alumni of Adventist schools and renew their confidence in both the Church and its education system.

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