West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for October 2019

Early Adopters Emerge in the West Michigan Christian Schools Teaching for Transformation Program

The Education of a “Peculiar People”

By Jennifer Van Hekken, WMCS PK-8 Curriculum Director & TfT Director

You may have heard the phrase “Teaching for Transformation” thrown around in various school communications and maybe you’re curious what it means.

Teaching for Transformation (TfT) is a program that is being integrated into Christian schools across the country, and we (the WMCS 5-school PK-12 system) are excited to be added to that esteemed list of schools.

The TfT model of education begins with three years of faculty training. Year one begins with eight modules, or lessons, delivered to all WMCS teachers.  In the second year of TfT, twenty-five percent of the staff emerge as early adopters of the program and begin implementing the framework into their classrooms. Year three of TfT focuses on the training of the remaining three-fourths of the staff, moving the early adopters into a training role.

Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information.

As WMCS enters our second year of training, I’m excited to observe unique teaching and learning already taking shape in our schools. Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information. Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks. I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!   

Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks.

At WMCS it is our desire that beyond anything else, our students understand that they are a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) who play an important role in God’s story and are set apart to do “good works which have been laid out for them in advance” (Ephesians 2:10).  TfT equips teachers to weave this concept into all of their lessons, making for an impactful and transformational learning environment. 

I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!  

Our early adopters are already capturing this vision in their classrooms through the addition of their Deep Hope for their students and the creation of a Storyline for their classrooms.

WMCS TfT Early Adopters Explain it Best

Athena Findlay (GHC) has chosen the Storyline “Find Your Purpose,” and is reminding her students through all of their English Language Arts studies that, as they read others’ stories, they themselves also play a role in God’s story, and they are challenged to consider their own purpose in that story.

Athena Findley, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a middle school English teacher at Grand Haven Christian School.

Jen Menefee (MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Loved by God,” and spends time in her classroom reminding her students that all of the people groups that they study in Social Studies, as well as every student in the classroom, is loved by God, which changes how they see both themselves and others.

Jen Menefee, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a second-grade teacher at Muskegon Christian School.

Nick Debone (WMC/MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Created to Worship.” He reminds his students that regardless of what type of music they are playing, what instrument they have chosen, and how difficult a piece can be, their ultimate goal is to understand that they were created to worship and that they get to use Band class to live that out. 

Nick DeBone, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a band director at Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School.

Believers are God’s Own Special People

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

As a 5-school PK-12 collaborative, we are so excited about the way that the TfT framework can continue to help us intentionally integrate faith and learning in a way that not only helps our students grow but also brings about transformation in both students’ and teachers’ lives. 

For more information about the WMCS Teaching for Transformation program, please contact us!

This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.

West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS), is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

RETAIL FUNDRAISING PARTNERSHIPS Raise Funds for West Michigan Christian Schools

B2 Outlet Stores & DIBS! On Resale Work Together to Support Christian Education

The year 2019 gave WMCS much to celebrate with two ribbon-cutting and prayer blessing events in Muskegon for West Michigan Christian Schools.

The amazing DIBS! On Resale Volunteers

In January 2019, DIBS! On Resale re-opened its doors at a new location. We enjoyed a wonderful showing of WMCS friends and supporters! DIBS! On Resale Manager, Mary Workman spearheaded the move from the former location in Norton Shores to the new one located at 1279 East Apple Avenue.

Seven months later in October 2019, we were delighted to gather again to celebrate the grand opening of our brand new B2 Outlet Store located at 1680 East Apple Avenue.

What is a Retail Fundraising Partner?

Both stores exist to raise funds for WMCS. DIBS! sells gently-used donated clothing, home goods, and furniture while B2 retails new name-brand clothing, shoes and home goods acquired from excess inventory from big box stores. Both stores offer deep discounts to customers, employ locals, and have been warmly embraced by the Muskegon community.

The DIBS! and B2 Outlet Store models complement each other. The income
from DIBS! is a result of heavy volunteer support, product donations, and thrift-shoppers.

B2, which required initial start-up capital from WMCS, thrives on minimal volunteers and bargain shoppers. Both offer local consumers a wide array of product choices and price points.

WMCS CFO Larry Schutt and his wife Jan find some great deals!

The relocation for DIBS! was a wise financial move for WMCS, so much so that the store saved $23,000 from the start. WMCS now owns the building, allowing for property tax exemption plus the new land contract payment is substantially less than the previous lease payment at the Norton Shores location. “I had set a goal of raising $51,000 for the schools this year and we already met that goal by October! We’re on track to reach $75,000!” shares Mary Workman, DIBS! store manager.

I had set a goal of raising $51,000 for the schools this year and we already met that goal by October! We’re on track to reach $75,000!

“Volunteers and donations are critical to our success at DIBS! So please think of us for thrift-shopping, during your own spring cleaning and when you need to earn your school service hours!”

WMC’s Scott Liggett and Kyle Kempster found some name-brand sportswear.

Volunteers and donations are critical to our success at DIBS! So please think of us for thrift-shopping, during your own spring cleaning and when you need to earn your school service hours!

Larry Schutt, WMCS CFO, has similar hopes for B2’s success. “Data from the
existing eighteen B2 Outlet Stores that are primarily in Michigan shows that the Muskegon store should produce an average of $3,000 a month or $36,000 annually in cash for WMCS.” But things are looking even better. The new B2 store exceeded initial sales projections by making $4,000 for WMCS in the first week! The product has been flying off the racks and B2 staff put in overtime to keep the store stocked. “The beauty of the B2 model is the more we make the more the non-profit that store supports makes sense,” explains Kathy Riedl, who opens B2 Outlet Stores all over Michigan.
“This store has the potential to be the most lucrative in the state!”

This store has the potential to be the most lucrative in the state

GHC’s Kristin Clausing shops got some early Christmas shopping done!

Your role? How can you help?

Come on down to Muskegon to visit DIBS! and B2 to shop bargains at both stores! In addition to shopping, you can also donate unwanted items/sort/clean/mend donations at DIBS! and help hang clothes at B2, all in the name of supporting and sustaining excellent Christian education at WMCS!

Shop, Save & Help Your School Win!

It’s a 5-school contest for the 2019-2020 school year! Each of our five West Michigan Christian Schools has a unique bar code, which is to be scanned at check-out at B2 Outlet Store to keep a tally. At the end of the 2019-2020 academic school year, the school with the most cumulative sales will win a $250 shopping spree at B2! Tell the B2 cashier which school you are affiliated with and they will scan the code for you!

An abbreviated version of this story was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. To download a PDF copy of the newsletter CLICK HERE.

DONATE gently-used good to DIBS!

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