On January 27, nine west coast Lasallian schools gathered at St. Mary’s College in Moraga for the inaugural Bay Area Lasallian Symposium. Organizers hoped the day-long event would deepen the participating schools’ understanding of Lasallian charisms, foster community among educators across schools, and provide a platform for sharing best and next practices.
Participating schools included: Christian Brothers High School (Sacramento), De Marillac Academy (San Francisco), De La Salle Academy (Concord), De La Salle High School (Concord), Justin-Siena High School (Napa), Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory (San Francisco), Saint Mary’s College of California (Moraga), Saint Mary’s College High School (Berkeley), La Salle High School (Yakima, WA).
The impetus for the symposium came from an inspired group of leaders participating in the Brother John Johnston Institute for Contemporary Lasallian Practice. JJI, a formation program designed by the Christian Brothers for Lasallian educators (both Brothers and partners), helps to deepen members’ understanding of De La Salle’s story and vision and bring Lasallian values to current educational practices. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Instructor of English and planning committee member Jim Jordan shares, “At a recent Lasallian formation workshop, several of us realized that the best part of many professional learning experiences is connecting with colleagues from other schools. Once it occurred to us that association is a major element of the Lasallian mission, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we be more intentional about our relationships with each other?’ Our primary goal for the symposium is simply that. We hope everyone comes away with at least one exciting new relationship with a colleague from another Lasallian school—someone who will be an ongoing source of ideas and inspiration in our work. The entire day is designed to be relational and social.”
Participants each participated in two of 31 available learning labs—presentations given by members of the community in their area of expertise with a general focus on contemporary Lasallian practices. Participants then came together as a community to celebrate Mass, gathered by department to share successes and challenges, and ended the day with a social.