West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 5 – Testimonial

After Adopting Three Children, this WMC Bible Teacher Turned Principal Had a Big Choice to Make

About ten years ago, my wife Judy and I had the wonderful opportunity to adopt three amazing girls.  The added blessing is that they are our granddaughters. Among the many decisions to make was the choice of where our girls would attend school.

At the time, I was a Bible teacher at WMC and we wanted the girls to be immersed in Christian education. Judy and I made an appointment with Mr. DeKam at Muskegon Christian School.  Mr. DeKam and the staff at Muskegon Christian became wonderful partners in the education of our children.

The girls began to grow in all areas of life. They became active in music and athletics. There are a variety of extra-curricular activities for our girls to participate in throughout the year.

The girls began to grow in all areas of life. They became active in music and athletics. There are a variety of extra-curricular activities for our girls to participate in throughout the year.  Now they are active in the service of the Lord both in and out of school.

Now they are active in the service of the Lord both in and out of school.

I am privileged to welcome students to the hallways of Christian education at WMC High School and Middle School. What an extraordinary joy to see students from all areas and situations of life sharing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

What an extraordinary joy to see students from all areas and situations of life sharing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

This is your special invitation to join our Western Michigan Christian (WMC) Middle and High School family and to share in the joy of the Lord.

Hope to see you real soon!

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better Together,
Pastor Samuel Greer, Jr.
Western Michigan Christian Middle & High School Principal
(and proud dad of 3 girls in Christian education)

Feature Photo caption: Greer’s family includes (from left to right) A’Nyah, Amaria, Greer’s wife Judy, Avia and Pastor Samuel Greer. 

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 4 – Testimonial

This Father of 3 was Profoundly Shaped by His Christian Instructors and Wants the Same for His Children

Many of my formational experiences as a child came from my failures and from falling short of expectations. In several of those difficult situations, I was picked back up and shaped by my Christian school teachers. Those teachers not only nurtured my faith in all areas of the curriculum they taught but more importantly, nurtured within me a life of love and service to Jesus.

I was picked back up and shaped by my Christian school teachers. Those teachers not only nurtured my faith in all areas of the curriculum they taught but more importantly, nurtured within me a life of love and service to Jesus.

I have a deep respect and a grateful heart for those who have been called to the honorable task of serving through Christian education. I often look back and fondly remember those teachers who modeled their love for Jesus and taught me to love Him, from elementary school through college.

I often look back and fondly remember those teachers who modeled their love for Jesus and taught me to love Him, from elementary school through college.

My Christian education was a priceless investment made by my parents. It was not always easy making that commitment for my three sisters and me, but it will reap eternal dividends. The gift of our spiritual formation and the building of God’s kingdom will never be regretted or considered a sacrifice, but rather a blessing and a necessity. The lessons I learned about myself and about God’s purpose for my life through Christian education, I deeply desire for my children as well.

My Christian education was a priceless investment made by my parents. The gift of our spiritual formation and the building of God’s kingdom will never be regretted or considered a sacrifice, but rather a blessing and a necessity.

My wife and I have been tasked with a great opportunity and responsibility in raising our children for God. We want them to be taught at home, in church and at school (where they spend most of their time), to see Jesus in all things, in the joys and especially in the struggles. We want them to experience acts of grace, share it with others, and learn to receive it themselves.

Our Christian schools will nurture our children to become lifelong learners, kingdom builders, and servant leaders. This is the everlasting legacy we are blessed to be able to provide our community, society, and Christian culture.

Our Christian schools will nurture our children to become lifelong learners, kingdom builders, and servant leaders. This is the everlasting legacy we are blessed to be able to provide our community, society, and Christian culture.

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better together,

James Onderlinde

Grand Haven Christian School, Principal (and proud dad of 3)

Feature Photo caption: Onderlinde’s Family includes (from left to right) Benjamin, James, John, James’s wife Wendy, and Luke.

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 3 – Testimonial

This Father had a Fine Experience at Spring Lake Public Schools Yet Still Gravitated to Private Christian for His Kids

I couldn’t ask for anything more from my upbringing.  I grew up in the same house, had good parents that raised me with Christian values, went to the same church, and attended the same school system.  At Spring Lake Public Schools, I made friends, played baseball, and received a quality education. Christian education was never a consideration for my family.  

Since I had a nice childhood without a Christian education and have turned out a respectable member of society and, humbly assert, a Christian leader in my community, why would my wife, Missy, and I not choose the same path that I had for my three children Anna (7th grade), Matthias (5th grade), and Eli (3rd grade)?

A small part of the answer is that things have changed in society over the past few decades, including the collective values and focus of our public schools.  

A small part of the answer is that things have changed in society over the past few decades, including the collective values and focus of our public schools.  The biggest reason is that providing a Christian education, raising our children with Christian values, and having a consistent church upbringing gives my children the best foundation to be transformers in this world for Christ.  Furthermore, My Heavenly Father deserves nothing but the best from my wife and me as we raise our children.

The biggest reason is that providing a Christian education, raising our children with Christian values, and having a consistent church upbringing gives my children the best foundation to be transformers in this world for Christ.

Does this upbringing guarantee that my children will be respectable Christian members of society?  I wish the answer was yes, but there are too many variables in life. My hope and prayer is that the foundations that New Era Christian School (and WMCHS later), our church, and Missy and I laid will be solid so that when they are hit with struggles, they will still trust in God.

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better together,

Phil Morse

New Era Christian School, Principal (and proud dad of 3)

Feature Photo caption: Morse’s Family includes (from left to right) Matthias, Phil’s wife Missy, Phil, Anna, and Eli.

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 2 – Testimonial

This Parent is New to it all But Certain that Christian Education is the Right Choice for His Family

My oldest is just beyond her first year at Fremont Christian School, so for my wife and I, the journey of Christian education is just beginning.

I wonder what will her favorite Bible story or who her favorite character will be? How will her experience in Spanish Immersion go? How will chapel, Bible class, and Christian teachers influence her in her walk with Jesus? How will God use this unique experience of Christian education to make her into the person He desires her to be?

Being a parent of a student in our Christian schools family brings a fresh perspective on Christian education. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity for my child, and, soon enough, all my three children. I’m excited for them to be at Fremont Christian School! I’m pumped knowing they will get into God’s Word, and learn how it applies to life! They’ll learn how to rely on Jesus when tough times come their way. They’ll know how to rejoice when they see God’s work being done.

 

I’m pumped knowing they will get into God’s Word, and learn how it applies to life!

The unknowns of what lies ahead for my children can, at times, be both exciting and frightening. It is a blessing to have them be part of Fremont Christian School. I’m thrilled that the school my children are attending is being creative and opportunistic in being part of a collaborative of Christian schools, WMCS. These schools care about kids. Period.

These schools care about kids. Period.

If you’re like us, and just starting this journey of Christian education, whether you’re in Fremont, Grand Haven, Muskegon, New Era or WMC, you are not alone.

It’s a commitment, a blessing, and a sacrifice.

Get excited about what God is about to do in your kid’s lives!

It’s a commitment, a blessing, and a sacrifice.

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better together,

John Barkel

Fremont Christian School, Principal (and proud dad of 3)

Feature Photo caption: Barkel’s Family includes (from left to right) John’s wife Ruth, Piper, Allison, James, and John.

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 1 – Testimonial

This Parent Shares Why He Chose WMCS 20 Years ago…and for all 5 Kids Since

Twenty years ago, we sent our oldest daughter off to Kindergarten at Muskegon Christian School.  This spring, our youngest daughter graduates from high school at Western Michigan Christian.

There will be some rejoicing to have our last one through –yes, school principals pay tuition too.  But there is also a lot of gratitude for our Christian Schools here in West Michigan.

We have had a great partner in raising our children to know and love the Lord, to recognize Him in the everyday business of life, to see the miracle of creation and give Him praise, and to live in obedience in the way we love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.

There will be some rejoicing to have our last one through –yes, school principals pay tuition too.  But there is also a lot of gratitude for our Christian schools here in West Michigan.

We are thankful for the examples set by the WMCS teachers, coaches, staff and administration in modeling a Christ-like life.  As with any endeavor this side of heaven, it has not been perfect.  But in the imperfections, we also saw the grace and the opportunity to understand accountability and forgiveness.

We are also thankful for all of you who have made these schools possible for these many years.  We thank the donors who give so generously to this worthy cause and for other parents who sacrifice. With our five children all in Christian School at the same time, we have felt the generosity of the Christian community in reducing the tuition to a rate we could manage.   While we admittedly look forward to a little relief from tuition payments we feel it was worth every penny and we are anticipating the opportunity to give back.

While we admittedly look forward to a little relief from tuition payments we feel it was worth every penny and we are anticipating the opportunity to give back.

Two decades ago, it seemed that the road to the day when our youngest would graduate was long and never-ending.   Now we are left wondering how all of that happened so quickly.

To those who are just starting down this road–pay attention!

You won’t want to miss anything.

From both personal and professional experience, I very much recommend the PK-12 Christian Education that our WMCS collaborative family of five schools in Fremont, Grand Haven, Muskegon, New Era and Norton Shores offers. Covering such a wide area in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan, our school system has something for every family. Come see for yourself!

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better together,

Dan Dekam

WMCS, Executive Director (and proud dad of, soon-to-be, 5 WMCS grads)

Feature Photo caption: DeKam’s Clan – The young man on the left is DeKam’s son-in-law Matt.  The others are left to right –Anneliese, Karolyn, Dan, Arlene, Janneke, Ellie and Henry.

Merry Christmas from West Michigan Christian Schools

Happy Birthday Jesus!

It’s such a joy to be able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour at school!

The WMCS Faith Matters winter newsletter was so much fun to coordinate. It highlights how each our member schools celebrate and delight in the joy and promise of Christmas. Please enjoy the photos and videos of the birthday celebration and SHARE with friends and family to lift them up and get an inside glimpse of what we do at WMCS. We’re always looking to grow our family!

The WMCS Faith Matters newsletter also speaks to how you can come alongside family members with special needs who might be struggling with the rigors and schedule upsets that our holiday celebrations can present.

>>Click here to read our Faith Matters Dec 2017 Newsletter.

West Michigan Christian Schools is Growing Its Education Support Services Teams

Two Job Openings at West Michigan Christian Schools 

Grand Haven Christian & Western Michigan Christian Schools Are Looking to Grow Their ESS Staff

The ESS teams at GHC and WMC have two new job openings.

Grand Haven Christian School is currently looking for an ESS paraprofessional to support in its K/1 Spanish Immersion classroom.  This opportunity has the potential to grow along with our program over the next few years. Grand Haven Christian School has been providing a Christ-centered education in West Michigan for 137 years. For more information about GHC ESS position >> click here.

Grand Haven Christian School is currently looking for an ESS paraprofessional to support in its K/1 Spanish Immersion classroom. 

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School, located in Norton Shores, is looking for a full-time ESS paraprofessional to support in its 7th and 8th-grade classrooms. For more information about the WMC ESS position >>click here. 

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School, located in Norton Shores, is looking for a full-time ESS paraprofessional to support in its 7th and 8th-grade classrooms.

Want to learn more about Whitney Piersma, ESS and our Student Success Teams at WMCS? Click here to read our blog.

Both schools are located in West Michigan and are members of  West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS), 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. Please >> click here to contact WMCS.

DIBS! On Resale Has a New Website, Blog, Instagram and Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

DIBS! Announces New Website:

And Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

DIBS! Has a New Website & Blog

DIBS! On Resale has a new website just in time for the holidays!  This is a new way for people to reach out to us, to find out what DIBS! On Resale is all about and to learn more about what is going on in the store. We also have a new blog, called “What’s Up at DIBS!” which features store news and in-store sales and promotions.

Also, we are now on Instagram. Please follow us!

DIBS! Volunteer Call

Over the winter months, some of our regular weekday volunteers will be spending time in the warm South.  This is a great time to do some short-term volunteering in the store.  From January to April we will be in need of extra cashiers during the week.  If you like to create displays or just sort and clean we have just the spot for you too.  We also have a need for delivery drivers.

Pat Cavanaugh and Fred Cooper, our Monday cashiers welcome customers to DIBS!

For families of West Michigan Christian Schools, you can get your annual service hours by working at DIBS! Just bring in a form and we will sign off. You can serve and knock out those hours in one fell swoop! Plus, we get to meet new WMCS faces! It’s a Win-Win for all!

Please reach out to us by phone (231) 798-2252 or email by clicking here.

We would love to have you on our team!

Blessings,

Mary Workman

DIBS! Store Manager

Profits from DIBS! On Resale benefit students at our local PK-12 West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Muskegon Christian (PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools Director’s Report for Fall 2017

From the Desk of Dan DeKam

Executive Director, West Michigan Christian Schools

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”

-Yogi Berra

Many institutions have crafted mission statements. These statements are used to set the course for the culminating impact that the institution wishes to have in the world around them.  They serve as a broad over-arching “goal.”  These are critically important statements that need to be reviewed periodically as institutions like people have a tendency to drift from their intended goals and pursue goals that are more congruent with where our human hearts want to go. In 1692, Harvard University adopted its motto, “Truth for Christ and the Church.”  But as the decades slipped by an emphasis on being a highly respected academic institution became the highest priority, the motto was changed to just “Truth.”  

In 1692, Harvard University adopted its motto, Truth for Christ and the Church.  But as the decades slipped by an emphasis on being a highly respected academic institution became the highest priority, the motto was changed to just Truth.

These mission statements do reveal something about the institution and should be read carefully. Consider this statement from an unnamed public school: “…will be a place of excellence where all students are engaged in high quality, real-world learning and….will encourage children to achieve their full potential and become responsible citizens who are lifelong learners.“  It is the goal of this school to serve the state and produce good citizens. This should not be read as a criticism of the people who work diligently in the public school system, for they are not permitted by the state to do anything else. It should point out the importance of knowing where you are going.

As Christian schools, we are not limited in the ways that we can express the truth of Christ.

As Christian schools, we are not limited in the ways that we can express the truth of Christ. The following quotes are from the West Michigan Christian School member websites and should be read frequently as a reminder of why God has called us to this work:

New Era Christian “…to prepare students for lives of Christian service.”

Grand Haven Christian  “…we want our school and each student to SHINE for Jesus Christ.”

Fremont Christian ”…our teachers strive to help students reach their fullest potential as children of God.”

Muskegon Christian   “…to engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship.”

Western Michigan Christian “…to equip students to work and serve Christ in their communities.”

This is not to say that academics are not important. They are vitally important – we are schools after all.  But they are important as an expression of our gratitude for what God has done through us, through Jesus Christ.  We are to take all of the talents and opportunities that God gives us in life and do our best to utilize them fully – for his glory.  As it says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do…do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Over the next several weeks, representatives of the boards and other representatives of the WMCEC schools will be undergoing a strategic planning process.  Please be in prayer for the schools as we seek to discern where God is leading us over the next several years and how we can be of service to Him in His world.

Better together,

Dan Dekam

WMCS, Executive Director

This article originally appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter. To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter click here.

WMCS TEACHER IN-SERVICE DAY: Iron Sharpens Iron

WMCS TEACHER IN-SERVICE DAY: Iron Sharpens Iron

In August, when students were still sleeping in and enjoying summer, faculty from all five member schools gathered bright and early at the WMC Campus to attend the WMCS Annual teacher In-Service Workshop. After a group breakfast and fellowship, eighty teachers and five principals, (many pictured above) started the day with worship in the “big room.” The Worship Team was from All Shores Wesleyan, a local Spring Lake church and included GHC and WMC alum Sam Vos and Nathan Landheer.

“It was powerful. Faculty from all five schools were worshipping as one body. There’s no better way to kick-off the year,” shared Dan DeKam, WMCS Executive Director and MCS Principal.

It was powerful. Faculty from all five schools were worshipping as one body. There’s no better way to kick-off the year.

Jenn Van Hekken, who serves diligently as the WMCS Director of Curriculum & Instruction, was the gracious event host. In this position for four years, it is Van Hekken’s mission to provide seamless and aligned PK-12 curriculum for the WMCS school system. At the event, she was excited to share the successful goal of aligning all Social Studies curriculum across the school system and the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Mrs. Van Hekken also introduced the curriculum goals for 2017/18, which included the partial alignment of NGSS and middle school math school system-wide. The discussion of aligning Bible K-12 was also introduced. Her goal is to complete the collaborative mapping process of Science and Bible this year, with English Language Arts (ELA) and Math updated by 2019.

Photo of Jen Van Hekken speaking with mic in hand.

Jenn Van Hekken, who serves diligently as the WMCS Director of Curriculum & Instruction, was the gracious event host.

In the past, each school had worked as a single-school entity, using individual resources and curriculum paths for their students. By working together and creating system-wide curriculum maps, each of our schools are ensuring that students not only receive the best PK-12 education but also help to create a seamless transition as they graduate from their respective campuses to WMC for middle or high school.

By working together and creating system-wide curriculum maps, each of our schools are ensuring that students not only receive the best PK-12 education but also help to create a seamless transition as they graduate from their respective campuses to WMC for middle or high school.

“This isn’t a new philosophy for the majority of school districts out there, however, the distance between our buildings can sometimes be a challenge. Over the past three years we’ve begun meeting in grade- level groups K-8 to work together with our cross-building colleagues on aligning our curriculum and building a spirit of community. It involves the teachers sitting down together and mapping out the standards and benchmarks of each unit that they teach, discussing common assessments, and spending time in training,” explains Van Hekken.

The following Teacher In-Service Day breakout sessions were provided by various WMCS teachers who provided expertise in the following areas:

  • Digital Toolkit 2017: New tips and tricks for the classroom (Ian Turner – WMCS)
  • Behind the Smile: Helping our students cope with difficult situations (Amanda Bosscher – WMC)
  • How to Draw Kids Closer to God (Bob Koning – GHC)
  • Graceland Farms and the Diverse Learner; Q&A about Accommodation Plans and Educational Support Plans (Whitney Piersma and Jennifer Sunderlin – WMCS)
  • Movement & Learning: The effects of physical activity on student learning (Jacque Groenendyk – WMC)

Break out sessions for PK-12 grade levels and subject areas (Bible, English, Fine & Industrial Arts, Math, Health/PE, Science, Social Studies and World Language) also took place.  Teachers in grades K-5 met to discuss curriculum plans, share ideas and inspiration to start the new year.

MCS’s Dan DeKam shared, “It’s good for teachers to get together with other teachers and feel supported in the work of Christian education.  They were able to connect with other teachers, build relationships and share ideas.”  

It’s good for teachers to get together with other teachers and feel supported in the work of Christian education.  They were able to connect with other teachers, build relationships and share ideas.

NEC’s Principal Phil Morse noted,“Because we only have one teacher per grade level in our building, it is an appreciated opportunity for our teachers to discuss curriculum and student learning with other teachers from the same grade levels.  It was especially helpful for us this year because now our teachers have one year under their belt from which to draw on to ask questions.”

“My staff was so excited to be part of this day not only to meet with their new WMCS colleagues but to collaborate. From the start of worship all through the break out sessions we were inspired and informed. WMCS Teacher In-Service Day did not disappoint and far exceeded our expectations!” explained John Barkel, Principal of FCS.

My staff was so excited to be part of this day not only to meet with their new WMCS colleagues but to collaborate. From the start of worship all through the break out sessions we were inspired and informed. WMCS Teacher In-Service Day did not disappoint and far exceeded our expectations!

It’s this synergy, collaboration, discipling and teaching among the WMCS staff that makes all we do at WMCS true Kingdom work! Keep up the great work everyone!

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32

An abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter. To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter click here.

WMCS Members include, Fremont Christian, Grand Haven Christian, New Era Christian, Muskegon Christian and Western Michigan Christian Might Schools and Middle School