Donum Dei Heard from Classical Christian Leaders across the San Francisco Bay Area
This is the third and final post on Donum Dei’s Equipping Event, which was held at the end of January (see Posts 1 and 2). Our day closed with a panel discussion led by our Head of School, Dr. Christine McLean, entitled “Leadership Talk! Leaders from Classical Christian Schools Share their Experiences” Speakers included Mr. Devon O’Donnell, Headmaster of St. Abraham’s Classical Academy (Aptos, CA), Vice Principal, Mrs. Laura Munguia, from Calvary Christian Academy (San Jose, CA), and Headmaster, Mr. Matthew Oliver, and founder and teacher, Mrs. Judy Mackanic, from King’s Classical Academy (Livermore, CA).
Dr. McLean asked the panelists to paint a picture of Classical Christian schools across the Bay Area. She asked, What are some ways in which Classical Christian schools build up the whole human child? All four school leaders shared that they employ a “discipleship model” in which they partner with Christian parents to help them educate, train, and disciple their children. With that, they learn about their families - their cultures, likes and dislikes, how they worship, and ways in which they train and discipline their children. When we recently visited Calvary Christian Academy, we noted a strong sense of love emanating throughout their campus and community, which clearly influenced how their teachers thoughtfully communicated to their students. As a result, they can educate children deeply and reinforce the ways in which parents are leading their children.
A common question people have is, What makes classical curriculum different from modern education? As one might expect from other classical schools, these schools train students in Latin, Logic, and the classics by way of classical methods including song, chant, and body movement as well as observation, imitation, and mastery of great philosophers, musicians, and artists. Moreover, they employ liturgies, rhythms, and practices that set them apart from modern schools. During our recent visit to King's Classical, our team observed King's students marching into chapel expressing various chants including books of the Bible and Scripture memory as they found their seats and then gave full attention to Mr. Oliver. What are some student outcomes - not only what do they learn academically, but who are they becoming? Mr. O’Donnell expressed during Donum Dei’s visit to St. Abraham’s Classical Academy that their students are taught who they are and whose they are from a very young age. He professed that their students, even in the high school, treat one another like brothers and sisters. Donum Dei looks forward to continuing to engage with these and other Christian and Classical schools statewide.
Donum Dei Classical Academy seeks to build up the body of Christ as we partner with Christian parents who aspire to be lifelong learners. School leaders who attended the Equipping Event valued the opportunity to engage with colleagues and develop professionally; and parents mentioned they walked away with an increased understanding of classical education and a desire for this option in San Francisco. We look forward to hosting future Equipping Events to connect school leaders and faculty, homeschoolers, professionals, and parents across the Bay Area. We envision our next Equipping Event to highlight promising practices across Classical Christian schools and ways in which these schools engage parents to shape and form young people.
We hope to see you there! Until then, we welcome you to attend our upcoming Information Sessions by registering at www.donumdei.org/enroll.