A Role for Administrators and School Leadership
Pacific Academy’s Christian faith is the foundation of its outreach initiatives. The school was founded in the Pentecostal tradition, which is philosophically and spiritually focused on the Great Commission (Matthew 28 and Acts 1:8). As such, Pacific Academy emphasizes local and global mission empowered by the Holy Spirit. This vision has been a “driving force which informs everything the school does.” As the school’s outreach director explains,
“The vision to be global servants through Christian education . . . is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Pacific Academy seeks to create an inspiring community of Christ-centred learners equipped to lead and serve. So the key words ‘to lead and serve’ are the crux of what we do. It is in the fabric of why we exist.”
The school attracts staff who want to serve, and there is strong support for the outreach focus of the school among teachers. Some teachers take on a more hands-on role by leading service teams overseas, while others play a more supportive or logistical role; all have outreach as a core component of classroom lessons. In their survey responses, Pacific Academy staff report that their goal as Christian educators is to raise students to be global citizens, focusing not only on academics but on character development as well. Outreach offers a way to teach students generosity, kindness, and empathy while partnering in God’s mission—a way of putting their faith into action: “Outreach is embedded in the vision and mission statement of the school, and undergirds much of what we do on a day to day basis. It is at the ‘heart’ of PA.”
Backpacks ready for an outreach trip
The school’s leadership team and board of directors are an invaluable source of support for teachers who participate in outreach activities. The administration helps organize projects and source materials, provides teachers with information related to supporting local and international ministries, ensures that teachers’ classes are covered when needed, plans fundraisers, and raises awareness of initiatives. Teachers emphasize that their participation in Pacific Academy’s outreach is possible because of the administration’s enthusiastic support.
One of the staffing structures that Pacific Academy has adopted to strengthen its outreach program has been the director of outreach position: “Having a point person at the school to plan and organize and oversee outreach is vital.” The director of outreach works with the school’s leadership team to ensure that the general goals of the program are met and the experience is a positive one for students and staff. For every outreach trip, the director’s responsibilities include establishing budgets, ordering local currency, facilitating passport and deposit collection, organizing fundraisers, arranging transportation, applying for visas as necessary, and setting up an immunization clinic at the school. All team leaders work through a common devotional series prepared by the director, and one leader from each team is required to take a first-aid training course along with further sessions on risk management led by the director. The director also coordinates the delegation of tasks to team leaders, administrative support staff, and parents, who are kept informed and are encouraged to be involved in the preparation as they are able.
Pacific Academy stresses that leading any outreach activity—whether through weekly food-bank support, visits to seniors’ homes, environmental-sustainability efforts, or international service trips—“requires a great deal of organization and preparation in order to be successful” (Drisner 2007, 2–1). Pacific Academy has designed its schedule to create space for outreach planning. Yearly dates are set aside for an outreach walk, when students and staff do a sponsored walk to raise funds and awareness for outreach activities. Major fundraising campaigns are developed early in the school year to allow families plenty of time to participate.