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CDL Digest - 2.3.23

Such Good People! - Part 2

In case you missed last week's Digest post I repeat the intro here: A new wrinkle we are introducing this year is the EMT - or the Eleven Minute Talk. It is really our own creation - who knows - it may catch on in the larger world! We thought a TED-length talk might be a little long and the 400 seconds of a Pecha Kucha or approximately 7 minutes a bit short, so we split the difference! This format will give us the opportunity to learn and celebrate great classroom and school stories, as well as learn about various programs, tools, and resources.

In our second 90-minute workshop session on Thursday afternoon, one of our workshop sessions will be the EMT focusing on School Stories. We will have 6 speakers and they will each speak for 11 minutes. At the end of the time, we will have time for participants to engage privately with each of the participants. To give you an idea of what you will experience if you attend this session, here are some of the participants and their topics for the School Stories EMT workshop.

I first met Craig Doerksen at a conference and learned about his brave idea to start a new school in Austin, Texas. It was exciting to hear updates from him each year (as he attended our CDL conferences) about what he was learning and how things were progressing. Come to hear how he founded a school that combines academics and discipleship, projects and relationships in a unique teacher-led and teacher-designed high school in downtown Austin!

Erik Ellefsen has been a long-time friend and shares my passion for seeking out innovation and best practices. He helped to identify and organize visits to Christian schools across North America that are leading the way for others. Erik and colleagues reported these results in a recent ACSI book called Future Ready - come to hear a summary of what they found and consider how it might apply to your school.

Of course, I had to play Connect the Dots (or some would call it Dutch Bingo) with Jon Berends when I first met him! BTW - we are not related. :) Jon is heading a very unique ministry in Hamilton, Ontario. Act Five is a discipleship community inviting young people into intentional community and new experiences of learning and practicing the Christian life together. Hear stories of hope from Act Five's executive director - stories of young people who have become rooted, inspired, and engaged toward a life of faithfulness in this world - and perhaps you will in turn be inspired to reimagine your own work of deeply educating young people in whatever context you may find yourself.

Mike Chen not only changed the name of his school (and he will tell you why this was essential!) but has taken a very innovative approach to learn by developing a student and teacher-designed curriculum. Rather than focus on the inherent limitations posed geographically and financially by his school's location, he has maximized student enthusiasm for learning! Come to hear his unique story of change over several years at his school.

It takes a certain amount of courage and faith to start one's own school, but my friend and CDL co-chair Krista Wallace did just that! In 2002, Krista launched the Doulos Discovery School, an Expeditionary Learning PK-12 international Christian school in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Doulos was the first international Christian school to implement Expeditionary Learning practices. In 2009, Krista led Doulos to become the first internationally accredited ACSI school in the Dominican Republic. On top of this, she is a coffee farmer - she and her husband Chad run an organic coffee farm in the DR. Come to hear how her love of the outdoors, kids, and learning came together and how you can utilize the outdoors in your teaching.

I hope you are excited by the CDL workshops we posted last week on the website - we have a great quantity - 64! - and range of topics in the five strands of Beautiful Work, Engaging Instruction, Assessment, Embodied Practices, and Leadership. All led by presenters who bring years of experience, expertise, and passion for engaging students in CDL! You are getting a taste of a few of the topics if you have been following and reading our blog the last few weeks - look for more blog posts by presenters between now and the conference. I explain why I love CDL educators, our presenters in particular!

Whova app - if you have registered for CDL6 most of you should have received information about downloading and using the Whova (pronounced Who vah) conference management app. We will be using that app to help you maximize your CDL experience - we will share all the workshop information, allow you to sign up for workshops, to connect with each other, post pictures, give feedback, view PPT's of presentations, learn more about partner/sponsors, etc.

If you have not registered yet, there is no better time! We now have over 430 attendees registered and only have room for 500. Time and space are running out! For more information on the pre-conference offerings, our conference schedule, lodging options, etc., please visit our website and register now.

We are really excited about and blessed by the partners who will be joining us at our conference! All will be sharing information at their tables, and some will be doing workshops and EMT's (Eleven Minute Talks). We seek partners who understand and get behind the mission of CDL and who have genuinely helpful ways to support your work. This week we are grateful for the support of Edvance Christian Schools Association in Ontario. Click on the logo for more information.


If you can't make CDL6 but would like some high-quality, intensive PD on Christian Deeper Learning, then please consider attending Steven and Joanna's week-long Summer Institute!

REGISTRATION OPEN for the CDL Summer Institute!

Live it!

Knowing about God is quite different from walking day to day with God.

Knowing about Christian Deeper Learning (CDL) is quite different from being able to engage your students in CDL.

The purpose of this institute is:

  • To immerse you in a CDL experience that will equip you to provide a CDL experience for your students. It’s very hard to teach something with an authenticity that you haven’t experienced yourself.

  • To explore what it means to teach “Christianly” in all subjects and grade levels. Biblical integration sometimes happens in what we teach and sometimes in the way we learn together.

  • To engage you with the curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment strategies that support CDL for all your students.

  • To create a culture that encourages Christ-like character and invites the learner into God’s story.

  • To refresh and renew your spirit in a pastoral setting – a mansion on a lake with outstanding hospitality and cuisine.

We are limited to 35 participants. Last year we had a waiting list. If you are interested, please register soon. Register here.


Editor's note about the Digest: We hope to share with you each week articles of interest that you may have missed. This will include current information as well as previous blog posts from CDL that perhaps you didn’t have time to read the first time around. If you have items you think may be of interest, please feel free to get in touch with me at We are also seeking blog writers for our blog posts which are published each week on Monday and Wednesday. For more info, see our guidelines.


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