Building Effective Schools Track (BEST) is a three-day, comprehensive, confidential, on-site, collaboration designed to discover, orient, and calibrate your unique school organization so you can deliver the most effective Christian education to your students.OneofaKindThisseminariscraftedforyourschooland your school only! You, your Board Chairman and your consultant set the goalstogether!Ourprogram,whichfollows,isflexibleandthefinalschedulewillbeapprovedbyyourBoardChairman.ForWhomistheBESTProgramAppropriate?Schools are many things, but most importantly, they are people places. Established with the loftiest goals by people with the most honorable intent, they often find themselves caught in the trap of mundane challenges—financial, leadership, personality/people, facility, competing demands—and many,manymore.Christian schools are no different. In fact, the challenges often appear to be more intense because the calling(toserveGod)seems,attimes,tobefarremovedfromthepresentreality.If you (or your lead administrator) were asked “How are things going?” Would the answer be something like: “It’s going pretty well. Well, I mean in spite of the fact that we are losing students, I think it’s doing fine. I don’t know why we seem to be losing them — it has taken a toll financially, too.Ijustdon’tknow.IguessallChristianschoolsaregoingthroughthis,right?”Now, there are lots of things we would like to say in answer to this, starting with, “If that’s doing pretty well, we don’t want to see what poorly would be!” However, the more important thing here is the kind of “fortress mentality” that seems so common in answers like this. It’s as though we’ve given up trying to figure this out and are just trying to survive the best we can. Let’s step back and take another look. No one starts a Christian school to fail and there is no single reason by which schools fail. By the same token, when challenges arise, good stewardship demands that leaders work toward an excellent solution.ThemostcommonreasonsChristianschoolsfailare1.Weakorineffectiveleadership2.Uncleargovernance3.Unbalancedorganizationalstructure4.PoorfinancialmanagementEachofthesecanberemedied,addresseddirectly,andcoachedtoexcellence.The BEST Program is also designed for schools that may not be in crisis, but have not yet reached theirfullpotential.Inthepast,thisProgramhashelpedschoolsthathave•DecliningEnrollment•Unstablefinances•SchoolorBoardLeadershipchallenges•NewschoolBoardleaders•Church/Schoolrelationshipdifficulties•Curriculumevaluationandimprovement•Ineffectiveorganizationalstructures•SchoolsthatareintransitionfromasinglechurchschooltoanindependentschoolstatusOur experience at GraceWorks is that schools don’t need to be sentenced to failure. We have plenty of healthy schools that are dynamic and growing. What makes the difference? It’s like when you’re sick. What do you do? You go to the doctor. And what does he do? He asks you a lot of questions and comes up with a diagnosis. Then, he prescribes some specific things you can do, and/or medicineyouneedtotake.Most struggling Christian schools need something like that. They need to talk to someone who is expert in understanding school health and get a diagnosis, along with some ideas that can work to make things better.Ask yourself these questions:•Would each Board member agree on the ministry’s direction? •Are the ministry roles clear to everyone?•Do teachers follow and respect the school leader(s)?•Are school programs generally growing?•Is the budget balanced and growing?•Are teachers compensated well?•Is the Board supportive of and responsive to the school leaders?If the answer any of the above questions is “No,” the BEST Program can improve your school.Now, consider these questions:•Is the school a financial burden on the church?•Is there a disagreement about the school’s goals between the Board members or between the Board and the Administration?•Are annual budget negotiations difficult or contentious?If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” the BEST Program can improve your school.But our school is not challenged…The right comparison is not with other schools or with the “lack of negatives.” The right comparison is with the Lord’s call upon your school. •Are there goals your school has not yet reached? •Are you facing a major transition? •Do you lack a strong sense of direction for the next few years?•Do you wish you understood school finances better? The BEST Program can help you solve these important issues.
Your BEST Program Consultant
Wayne Baker CFO / Senior Consultant, GraceWorks MinistriesWayne has been involved with Christian school ministries for more than 47 years. He was an administrator for 45 of those years, serving in six different schools. In addition to his administration role, Mr. Baker has also served in a number of other ways in the Christian school community. He is a frequent convention speaker and presenter, has served as a board member with three Christian school associations, and served both as President and Vice President of the Mid Atlantic Christian Schools Association. For eight years he also represented the Christian school movement as a member of the Blue Ribbon Schools panel for the US Department of Education. Mr. Baker has been a consultant for more than forty years, helping Christian schools with planning, transition, with financial advice, and helping start several schools. He recently developed a leadership inventory, the Dimensions of Leadership, to evaluate effectiveness in school leadership. He uses the inventory in his unique leadership coaching program.Areas of expertise - financial management, board governance, leadership coaching, trouble shootingYou can request a more detailed description about the BEST Program, from the form in the panel to your left. Or, for a free, no-obligation consultation, please call (719) 278-9600, ext.400.