“From OCSTA to EDIFIDE”
Organized in 1954, OCSTA (or OCTA as it was first named) was begun to promote the profession of Christian school teacher by initiating discussions around the direction for Christian education and by encouraging the development of Christian curriculum. Originally, these discussion groups were held on Saturdays. However, in due time, given the growth of the Christian school movement and the increase in the number of teachers, it became obvious that a more structured convention would benefit the larger group. As such, the first full day OCSTA convention was held in Hamilton on February 21, 1964. The next convention was a two-day event and took place on November 5 and 6, 1964. At this time, a constitution was adopted, a Board was elected and members started paying their dues.
Until the mid-80’s, OCSTA was run by volunteer committees who did ground work and advised the Board on matters related to Christian teaching. One of the first decisions made (October 1964) was to strike a Credentials Committee mandated to establish criteria for a Christian Teacher Certificate (now known as the Christian School Teacher’s Certificate). Today, this certificate has become a distinctive qualification for teachers in OACS schools and is often a requirement for employment. Besides organizing the annual convention, OCSTA dealt with educational trends, contractual concerns, accreditation and other matters related to professional development.
In October, 2011 after 3 years of planning, strategizing and visioning, the Board has approved the change from the “Ontario Christian
School Teachers Association” to “Edifide Christian Educators Association”. Our working name will be Edifide.
Over the last number of years, the board has engaged in very high level conversation about the mission and vision of our organization.
With a wider vision and technological advances, the network of Christian educators that Edifide can serve has grown and expanded. Our organization historically primarily served educators in Christian schools affiliated with Christian Schools International and the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools. However, the opportunity to serve a wider network of Christian educators had become evident as we continued to draw educators from other Christian school systems and other independent schools to our annual convention and the professional development opportunities regionally and in the summer. The thinking began on how to be a hospitable community for all those who are called to be educators and want to take their Christian faith seriously in their classrooms and schools.
The central questions of our association have always been “Why do we do what we do?” and “How can we reflect our faith in every part of the educational process?” It is to these questions that we wish to grow to be a network of Christian educators who are both serious about excellence in educational practice and forward-thinking in our pedagogy. We wish to be that community where vocation and faith intersect and the best ideas in both are reflected and practiced. We hope to enlighten, equip and encourage Christian educators in all educational systems in their practice as educators and in their faith as Christians. We wish to see a vibrant, stimulating community of Christian educators on the leading edge of new ideas and best practices.
In the fall of 2008, the Board decided to work on a new strategic plan for the OCSTA organization. Much discussion followed and in the fall of 2009, it was decided that we needed help to “reinvent” ourselves and to “strengthen” the community of Christian educators. In January, 2010, we hired Compass Creative to help us develop a new brand and identity. We wished to retell the story of who we are, why we do what we do, why and how we are connected and to deliver our services by collaborative means that utilized the internet and the opportunities that it presents. In the meantime, we developed online professional learning communities through our “educators helping educators” networks. These groups are now found on the joint site with our sister organizations, Ontario Christian School Administrators Association and the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.
This is an exciting, new “birthday” for our association! We are pleased to present a new, creative look and a new, innovative presence. We hope that together with all our members, you will be encouraged, inspired and reinvigorated as we seek to put our faith in education and serve education in faith.