Today’s podcast features Joel Gaines, Head of School at The City School in Philadelphia. Joel talks with Lynn Swaner about the Flourishing Schools construct of Community Engagement, where “the school engages with the surrounding community and local churches, and regularly taps into community resources, including networking and resource- sharing with other schools.” Joel shares insights on how schools can be a light and a bringer of shalom to their communities and neighborhoods.


Additional Resources

To go further in learning about this construct, check out these resources:

To learn more about Flourishing Schools Research, check out the Flourishing Together book by Lynn Swaner and Andy Wolfe (Eerdmans 2021) and this video overview of the research. You can also find out about the related institute for leaders and instruments for schools here

About the Guest

Joel GainesJoel R. Gaines serves as Head of School at The City School in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (Cairn University) with a B.S. in Education and Biblical Studies, and an MEd. from Cabrini University. Joel is passionate about seeing students flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually toward comprehensive shalom. He has 17 years of administrative experience spanning urban, suburban, public, and Christian schools.

 About the Host

ACSI - Lynn Swaner ACSI blog contributor

Dr. Lynn E. Swaner is the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at ACSI, where she leads initiatives and develops strategies to address compelling questions and challenges facing Christian education. Dr. Swaner serves as a Cardus Senior Fellow and is the co-author or editor of multiple books on Christian education,  including Flourishing Together: A Christian Vision for Students, Educators, and Schools and MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education. Prior to joining ACSI, she served as a professor of education and a Christian school administrator in New York.

Questions to Consider:

What opportunities has God provided for your school to engage with your community?


How is your school going farther together?

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