A monthly newsletter filled with practical, research-based articles for K-12 educators across the North American Division

A Note from the Editor

Last summer, my father led a volunteer group of about 30 medical professionals and educators on a mission trip to Thailand. He had not managed such a large undertaking before and was very stressed as the date of departure drew closer. All the pieces eventually started falling into place, but there was still one final item on his list of “Things-That-Could-Go-Wrong-Before-We-Even-Get-There.” Traveling internationally with a large group is never easy, and he was concerned about the huge amount of equipment and supplies that they were taking with them – donated vitamins, supplements, medicine, Bibles, clothing, toys, etc. Entire suitcases were taken up with these items, and he worried about what an overzealous customs agent might think of the contents.

His anxiety continued to grow as the group landed in Bangkok and started filing off the plane. Would they be stopped? Would their luggage be searched – and worse – confiscated? Would he be able to explain the mission of their trip in a way that did not raise any unwarranted suspicion?

Imagine his surprise as he walked off the plane and was immediately greeted at the gate by a high-ranking official in the Thai National Army. This general was a dear “friend-of-a-friend”; he and my dad shared a mutual friend in the States. This friend had told the general of my dad’s trip and had supplied him with all the relevant flight information and trip details. He had voiced my dad’s concerns to this official, who simply responded that he would “take care of everything.”

As my dad tells the story, he watched in complete amazement as the general easily and expediently escorted him and his group past security, past police dogs, past customs. Not only, my dad chuckled, were they not asked to open even one bag, but they were saluted – saluted! – as they strode through the crowded airport.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” How many times have we heard that? And how many times have you experienced that in your own life – both personal and professional? In this issue, we highlight some amazing resources that are offered to both educators and administrators in the Adventist educational system – things that are available to you. Consider us your “general,” your personal guide to ideas and tools and resources that may be of small – or large – help to you in this coming year. You may be familiar with some; you may never have heard of some others. We’d encourage you to look through this issue and have that mouse finger ready to click and explore the wealth of information that we’ve compiled for you.

Ambassadors of Adventist Christian Education (AACE)

Launched in the spring of 2015, Ambassadors for Adventist Christian Education (AACE) has been helping schools across the NAD by harnessing the amazing power of volunteers! If you haven’t heard of AACE yet, it is a volunteer-based organization that seeks to recruit, organize and support volunteers for the K-12 Adventist educational system.

AACE works in two ways:

  • 1. Providing ground support for volunteers (called Local Chapter Ambassadors) who work directly with their local school. After discussing various projects with the school principal, Ambassadors can then consult with AACE staff on the phone, communicate via email or even request a school site visit for additional support. AACE staff can provide ideas, point Ambassadors to applicable resources or connect them with other Ambassadors who may also be able to help. See article below for more information.
  • 2. Connecting schools with Ambassadors-at-Large – volunteers in the AACE database who have indicated their willingness to help schools by using their specific skillset. For instance, an Ambassador who is a behavioral therapist in Southern California has volunteered to visit schools and share a presentation to staff and/or parents about different effective strategies for students dealing with anger, bullying or other behavioral issues. Another Ambassador, a professional grant-writer and fundraiser, has already worked through AACE with several schools, assisting them in writing grants for their own campus and providing sound advice about fundraisers, capital campaigns, etc.

Once a school makes a request through the AACE website, an AACE consultant works with the school to either match them up to an Ambassador-at-Large or directly through a Local Chapter Ambassador.

AACE has been fortunate to have so many individuals and organizations come forward and decide to donate their time, energy and skills to an Adventist school. Many Ambassadors are alumni of Adventist education; others have a child or grandchild currently in a school, while still others are community members interested in helping.

We would encourage you to take full advantage of this resource! If you have a specific project that has stalled for lack of time or energy or if there has been an issue that you’ve been wishing you could discuss with an “expert,” chances are AACE has in its database an Ambassador to fit the bill!

There have been such fantastic results from the collaboration of Ambassadors and schools and as AACE continues to expand, we are sure it will do well with the support of volunteer ambassadors in its mission to strengthen Adventist schools across the NAD.

Your Words

This Month’s Question:

Complete the sentence -- "Teaching offers me ______________"

Selected responses will be featured on our website and future newsletters. Please email your response, along with your position and school name, to: crae@lasierra.edu.

 Last month, we asked the CRAE Connection community:

Here are a few of the responses we received:

Adventist Education Resources

Teachers

  • This video library – produced by the NADOE – includes several short clips that could easily be used for Week of Prayer or Mission Spotlight.

  • Compilation with lots of good resources from the Texas Conference
  • PE teachers! Here’s a resource just for you!

  • Have you heard of the Adventist Learning Community? If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out this new online resource filled with free professional development opportunities for teachers! You can take a course on copyright laws, download a resource for ByDesign or even receive weekly art lessons that align with the Encounter curriculum for 9th grade.

Administrators

  • Need help with website development? Check out this page from the Technology and Distance Education Committee

  • Discounts from preferred vendors can be found here and here

  • One of the best, yet also most underused resources – the marketing materials from the NAD Office of Education! Check them out here! All customizable for your school!

Bakersfield Adventist Academy

In January 2016, Aimee Leukert, assistant director for the Center for Research on K-12 Adventist Education, was invited to speak at the Area 5 Convocation in the Central California Conference about the importance and value of Adventist education. After hearing Aimee’s presentation on Sabbath morning, Melanie Duffield, a parent at Bakersfield Adventist Academy, felt moved to seek Aimee out in the foyer afterwards to discuss the work happening at Bakersfield Adventist Academy (BAA). That chance meeting was the start of a strong collaboration between these two women.   BAA was right in the middle of critical change and Aimee felt that AACE could play a key supportive role in the process. After a meeting consultation as well as countless emails exchanged, it was decided to make BAA a pilot program for AACE.  

Under the leadership and fire of Local Chapter Ambassador, Melanie Duffield, BAA has been able to do some amazing things to and for their campus over the past year!

  • Completely rebranded their campus
    • -Developed a new mission, vision, core values, and strategic plan
  • Inspired professional development
    • -Sent teachers to EXSEED and Differentiated Instruction conferences
  • Outfitted several classrooms and the chapel with new paint, flooring, carpet and furniture
  • Expanded course offerings – including a class on Medical Terminology
  • Built a new STEM lab for the elementary
  • Organized productive work bees and brought in the community and constituent churches to help

AACE has been able to provide Melanie with materials to use for her presentations at local churches as well as PR and marketing resources for the community. The ongoing dialogue between these two parties, however, has proven to be the most useful aspect of this collaboration. As a pilot program, Melanie has provided useful feedback for AACE in how to support schools more effectively, and AACE has been able serve as a sounding board and consultant for BAA as it continues on its upward path of growth and progress.