Meet Our Partners: The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools
This week, we are featuring one of our partners, The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS).
OACS has been serving Christian schools in Ontario for more than 65 years. It promotes and supports Christian schools that honour God in education. Working in conjunction with partners such as its sister organization, the Ontario Christian Schools Administrators Association (OCSAA) and Edifide Christian Educators Association (Edifide), OACS is committed to establishing a system of schools where faith is celebrated and made manifest. Collaborative partnership, the pursuit of excellence in school operations, and the facilitation of “authentic learning through visionary leadership and sound management strategies” are just some of goals that OACS helps their member schools realize.
Executive Director Ray Hendriks notes:
The OACS is committed to leading an interactive membership of schools to become dynamic communities of Christian learning; our vision is for flourishing Christian schools. We believe in the biblical mandate that all of creation falls under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and this includes all levels of education. We believe that to fulfill this mandate, our schools must commit to fully integrating faith into every aspect of the school. It is our belief that the light of Christ illumines all, excellence is God‐glorifying work, learning is transformational, and our response is framed within community.
OACS believes in the value of Christian education in strengthening the Canadian educational system at large. Reflects Hendriks, “Christian education is an important activity that strengthens the entire educational scene in Eastern Canada. All citizens of our country benefit from a strong independent Christian school system.”
2017 has been a significant year for OACS member schools, one marked by growth and deep parental engagement. Exclaims Hendriks, “We are witnessing a new generation of parents looking for educational environments that reflect their deepest-held beliefs and values. This year we have seen this evidenced in the substantial growth experienced by many of our member schools. OACS-system wide, we have seen a growth of 5% in student enrolment.”
OACS has also experienced significant growth this year. “We are in the midst of re-forming our organization, together with OCSAA and Edifide, to meet the challenges of a new generation of leaders, (principals, teachers, board volunteers, etc.) for now and in the future. Included in this are a number of projects that have been undertaken to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of students as we seek to have schools that are safe for all who learn and work there as well as be relevant to today’s culture.”
As Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary draws to a close, OACS is quick to note how the 150th celebrations have served both as an inspiration and an opportunity to plan hopefully for the future. “Canada’s 150th has been instrumental in our decision to have a national conference on Christian educational leadership and learning in Ottawa in September 2018. This conference will celebrate the accomplishments of Christian education and will serve to challenge our schools to look toward the next 150 years of Canadian culture and life. We are seeking ways to encourage each of our schools to be a ‘Faithful Presence’ in the community they serve.”
OACS remains committed to serving the Faith Alliance and broader Canadian community through their commitment to education. Hendriks pledges that “it is our commitment to continue to serve our God and our country through the Christian school movement.”
To learn more about the work of The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS), visit: http://www.oacs.org/
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