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West Michigan Christian Schools Announces New Community Based Instruction Partnerships for HS Students

ESS UPDATE: New CBI Opportunities in Grand Haven

West Michigan Christian School’s Educational Support Services (ESS) team is excited to announce new Community-Based Instruction (CBI) partnerships for our high school students at two local Lakeshore businesses.  

Grand Haven-based Lake Effect Kitchen and Chow Hound Pet Supplies are providing opportunities for CBI for Western Michigan Christian High School (WMC) students with diverse learning needs. Juniors and Seniors on the Certificate of Completion track at WMC, now have the opportunity to learn more about their God-given strengths and gifts in the workplace, which serves to prepare students for potential employment post-high school.

 

Photo caption: Sawyer Arkema, a New Era Christian School graduate and currently a Junior at WMC, enjoys cooking and loves animals. The WMC ESS team sought out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and passions.

“These Community Based Instruction opportunities allow our students invaluable and inclusive vocational opportunities. I am proud to share that we currently have the ability and resources to bring these opportunities to our students. This helps build on the vision of WMCS, which is to support whole-families by allowing students of all learning needs the opportunity to be a part of the WMCS family, no matter their individual ability,” shares Whitney Jackson, WMCS Director of Educational Support Services and CBI co-project head.

After conducting student “interest inventories,” the WMCS ESS team determines each child’s areas of interests, gifts, and passions. The ESS team then seeks out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and abilities.

 

Lake Effect Kitchen is a commercial kitchen located in Grand Haven, Michigan, specializing in take-home meals. They mentor students with disabilities through their CBI program and have recently hired two employees on the autism spectrum. Their vision is to provide authentic community and competitive employment for all.

As part of the CBI program, students participate in serving lunch to students at a local elementary school as well as prepare for lunch at the kitchen using their culinary skills. This helps students strengthen their social skills, as well as, learning skills for working within a kitchen setting.

 

Chow Hound Pet Supplies stores are located in the greater Grand Rapids area, Holland, Grand Haven, & Portage. As West Michigan’s largest family-owned pet store, students gaining experience at Chow Hound have the opportunity to help with daily cleaning tasks as well as preparing for animals to be groomed.

 

Once students complete their four years at WMC, students are eligible to continue receiving educational services until they turn twenty-six years old through their residential school district. Families are encouraged to reach out to their zoned districts to learn more about what programs they offer as each district varies.

LEARN MORE about WMCS ESS.

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.

West Michigan Christian Schools Begins Teaching for Transformation

TfT is a Powerful New PK-12 Christian Education Learning Framework

Dedicated to a process of continuous improvement and growth, West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) strives for excellence, relevance and resonance in Christian Education. Since our primary objective is to teach children how to think about, live in and interact with God’s creation from a Christ-centered perspective, every year we faithfully and strategically consider how we can do this better.

WMCS is excited to announce the launch of a new curriculum development program called Teaching for Transformation (TfT), which will assist our PK-12 teachers to better integrate faith and learning in a way that will transform the Kingdom-focused culture of our school system.

What is TfT?

The TfT program, as developed by The Prairie Centre for Christian Education (PCCE), provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living out God’s story. The TfT program is currently being used by over fifty schools worldwide (Canada, United States, Africa, and Central America).

“Being able to share the Gospel in the classroom is a gift and a privilege, so we want to make sure our faculty achieves this to the best of their God-given ability.  TfT adeptly and strategically gives our teachers the tools, training, and knowledge to make sure their class time shares a compelling vision of the Kingdom, one that also creates a longing and desire within every student to be an integral part in God’s unfolding plan,” explains Dan DeKam, Muskegon Christian School Administrator and Executive Director of the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative.

Being able to share the Gospel in the classroom is a gift and a privilege, so we want to make sure our faculty achieves this to the best of their God-given ability.  TfT adeptly and strategically gives our teachers the tools, training, and knowledge to make sure their class time shares a compelling vision of the Kingdom, one that also creates a longing and desire within every student to be an integral part in God’s unfolding plan.

WMCS TfT Faculty Training

Over the next three years, our teachers will undergo training in how to implement this new teaching framework.  This is an instructional practice for PK-12 that will be adopted by the teachers throughout our collaborative system.

As our teachers train and begin to implement their new TfT tools, we will be sharing new developments with the WMCS member school family via newsletters (like this) and via “The Voice” our WMCS blog.  

“Once you live out God’s grace in His story, you can’t go back to being normal and going through the motions; you can’t go back to a meaningless scene stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time,” shared a teacher from a TfT-trained school.

Once you live out God’s grace in His story, you can’t go back to being normal and going through the motions; you can’t go back to a meaningless scene stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.

Don’t WMCS Teachers Already Instruct This Way?

Yes, our WMCS staff teach from a Biblical worldview. In fact, West Michigan Christian Schools have been offering Biblical worldview Christian Education in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan for more than 100 years! Although God’s Word stays inerrant and relevant throughout time, as educators we have to work hard to make sure that the way we teach does too.

TfT’s impressive tools and intricate curricular framework provides teachers with a template to develop a unit from a Christian perspective in a fresh and new way, that will, we believe, result in transformed lives, for both students and teachers, while it also permeates the entire culture of WMCS. All five WMCS principals and our staff are encouraged and excited to bring this to our respective schools!” shares DeKam.  

TfT’s impressive tools and intricate curricular framework provides teachers with a template to develop a unit from a Christian perspective in a fresh and new way, that will, we believe, result in transformed lives, for both students and teachers, while it also permeates the entire culture of WMCS. All five WMCS principals and our staff are encouraged and excited to bring this to our respective schools!

TfT Costs

For an individual school to adopt TfT, the cost is about $30,000 over three years.  By adopting the TfT model as a collaborative, our cost over three years for all five WMCS member schools is $50,000. This is a significant cost savings for all the schools and demonstrates one of the ways we can do more together.

The funds raised at the WMCS Golf Outing 2018 will go toward Teaching for Transformation costs.

Interested in donating toward TfT? Become a WMCS Golf Outing 2018 Sponsor!

LEARN HOW!

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.

New Era Christian School Takes the Preschool Classroom Outside

Outdoor Education Space at NEC Allows Preschoolers to Explore and Learn with Nature

New Era Christian SchoolOutdoor education allows children to connect with nature and enjoy His Creation. It provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and to be creative with different materials made available to them. When playing in the outdoor education space, children are encouraged to use their problem-solving skills, ask questions, and work closely with their peers. The activities are open-ended, which allows them to determine how to play with the materials provided.

In a recent time outside, the preschoolers at New Era Christian School excitedly used loose parts and chalk to create and design faces, flowers, animals, designs, and other objects.

A large tractor tire suddenly became a tent and they used golf tees and string to create different rooms coming off from the tire. Students also added a “bonfire” using hula hoops as the pit and sticks as the “fire”. This type of play was strictly child-directed. They came up with this idea on their own and worked together to turn the tire into a tent and camping area.

Besides learning ABC’s and 123’s, learning through play is an important part of preschool. We are excited to create an outdoor learning space where this type of learning can take place.

Interested in learning more about New Era Christian School’s preschool or Kindergarten program?

ASK US!

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.

Western Michigan Christian School Offers Spanish Immersion Courses to Middle Schoolers

New Spanish Immersion classes at WMC Help Students Master Foreign Language

Classes Offered to Middle School Students in Grades 7th & 8th

This past school year, Western Michigan Christian welcomed in the first Spanish Immersion students from Muskegon Christian School (PK-6) as 7th graders. WMC offered a 7th-grade Bible class during trimesters 1 and 2 and a Spanish Language Arts class in trimester 3.

Western Michigan Christian Junior High and High School

Profe Johnston enjoyed teaching these students. “I had a great time teaching the first group of 7th-grade immersion students. They are a respectful and talented group!”

In Bible class, “Profe” as the students call him, followed the WMC curriculum for Bible 7 and learned about the history of Israel and Judah. In Language Arts class students learned about Mexican culture and read popular Mexican legends.

Johnston looks forward to growing the program and has set two goals for the 2018-2019 school year, “My first goal is to keep my curriculum for Bible 7 & 8 aligned with the English sections. I want to ensure that my students are meeting the same standards and expectations as their English language peers. My second goal is to incorporate more language-focused activities in all of my classes. In order for immersion students to continue progressing, they need to be challenged to acquire new vocabulary and grammar and not simply rely on their base knowledge from elementary school.”

My first goal is to keep my curriculum for Bible 7 & 8 aligned with the English sections. I want to ensure that my students are meeting the same standards and expectations as their English language peers. My second goal is to incorporate more language-focused activities in all of my classes. In order for immersion students to continue progressing, they need to be challenged to acquire new vocabulary and grammar and not simply rely on their base knowledge from elementary school.

The difference between language immersion in elementary school to middle school and high school is a transition from language acquisition to maintenance and mastery.   

Four of our five WMCS member schools offer Spanish Immersion programs covering the below-listed grades:

Interested in learning more about our Spanish Immersion programs?

ASK US!

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School (7-12) is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, the schools work together to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian Education in West Michigan.

At WMCS, everything we do is from the perspective of a Christ-centered worldview. We not only ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  we show our students “What Jesus Says” as it relates to the classroom, the athletic field and the community we serve. WMCS extends “Beyond Academics” and educates the whole child, putting Christ at the center of all we do. Academically, we perform with excellence, with top local and nationally standardized test scores.

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

Create a seamless, exemplary Christian educational experience for families in Western Michigan from preschool through high school. Provide excellent Christian education rooted in the gospel to all who desire it. Provide a model of collaboration that will serve as a roadmap for other Christian educational communities.

To learn more about West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) click here and for more information about WMCS Membership or Partnership contact WMCS.

Project Based Learning at Muskegon Christian School

MCS’s PBL Provides Authenticity: Students in Real Work, with a Real Need, for a Real Audience

Touring a new family around Muskegon Christian School is one of the best parts Sonya Doty’s job.  

That might surprise you. But throughout their conversation, she gets the opportunity to demonstrate how MCS serves the variety of students whom God sends their way.  “When I walk down our halls and into our classrooms with prospective parents, I am able to shine a light on fantastic teachers, innovative teaching, and transformational education,” explains Doty, Development Director at MCS.   

When I walk down our halls and into our classrooms with prospective parents, I am able to shine a light on fantastic teachers, innovative teaching, and transformational education.



Project Based Learning (PBL) was one innovative teaching tool that MCS incorporated into the curriculum this year.  PBL involves students in real work, with a real need, for a real audience.  Teachers begin by proposing a problem to be addressed. Each project has a checklist of features (a rubric) describing the success criteria, and teachers plan lessons that teach skills and content needed to complete the project.

How does that work in the classroom?  Kari Bonnema’s Kindergarten class was studying a farm animal unit and did some activities one might expect – going to Country Dairy on a field trip and writing/illustrating a short book on a chosen farm animal. But the culmination of this unit was the challenge of Designing a Chicken Coop formed around the question “If Mr. DeKam allowed us to have pet chickens at MCS, what kind of chicken coop would you build?” Kindergarteners worked with their 5th-grade book buddy to design the chicken coop, draw the coops out on big poster papers and answer questions about why they made certain design decisions.  Then they built a model (out of Legos, wooden blocks or Lincoln logs) based on their design and then shared their projects with other students.

As Kari shares, this PBL project was simple but impactful.  “The kids loved it and really got into it, demonstrating that they understood what factors were necessary to raise happy healthy chickens.  One student even wanted to build his designed chicken coop at home!  For real!  With wood!”

Muskegon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, the schools work together to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian Education in West Michigan.

At WMCS, everything we do is from the perspective of a Christ-centered worldview. We not only ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  we show our students “What Jesus Says” as it relates to the classroom, the athletic field and the community we serve. WMCS extends “Beyond Academics” and educates the whole child, putting Christ at the center of all we do. Academically, we perform with excellence, with top local and nationally standardized test scores.

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

Create a seamless, exemplary Christian educational experience for families in Western Michigan from preschool through high school. Provide excellent Christian education rooted in the gospel to all who desire it. Provide a model of collaboration that will serve as a roadmap for other Christian educational communities.

To learn more about West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) click here and for more information about WMCS Membership or Partnership contact WMCS.

 

 

Maker’s Week at Fremont Christian School

Exploring God’s Creation Through STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

This year, Fremont Christian School teachers offered students a variety of inquiry-based opportunities that are unique to the Fremont community.  These experiences activate the students’ natural curiosity and have them taking the lead in how they learn the information through hands-on exploration and problem-solving.

First, FCS began Maker’s Week, a week of problem-solving activities focused on teamwork, creative thinking, and design to achieve a goal. Students had to design roller coasters with a variety of turns, sailboats with sails that got a small boat far and fast down a canal, plus many other STEM-based building activities.

Students worked in their K-8 family groups, making this experience all the more interesting. It was awesome seeing a kindergarten student present an idea to an 8th grader as the best idea in the entire group!

Here’s our Maker’s Week video! 

In addition to Maker’s Week, FCS also introduced the following new and unique learning experiences:

  • Our second-grade students met after school for the first FCS Stem Club with Mrs. Yonker to solve inquiry-based and hands-on challenges.
  • Our middle school boys stayed after school with Mr. Stepanek to design a useable catapult. The thing was huge!
  • Our 3rd-5th graders transformed themselves into historical figures for a “wax museum.” Ben Franklin, Rosa Parks, Steve Jobs, and Franklin Douglas were among the many characters that the students learned about before portraying them to the public. Click here for pictures! 
  • Our Spanish Immersion students held a Multi-Cultural day where students in both English and Spanish Immersion classes earned their first FCS passport stamps by traveling to different Spanish speaking countries around the world! They experienced dance, music, food, and art from Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Spain! Click here for photos! 

This list is by no means complete, but are some of the significant and unique learning experiences from which FCS students were able to enjoy and learn!

Fremont Christian School is a member of WMCS,  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools work together to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian Education in West Michigan.

At WMCS, everything we do is from the perspective of a Christ-centered worldview. We not only ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  we show our students “What Jesus Says” as it relates to the classroom, the athletic field and the community we serve. WMCS extends “Beyond Academics” and educates the whole child, putting Christ at the center of all we do. Academically, we perform with excellence, with top local and nationally standardized test scores.

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

Create a seamless, exemplary Christian educational experience for families in Western Michigan from preschool through high school. Provide excellent Christian education rooted in the gospel to all who desire it. Provide a model of collaboration that will serve as a roadmap for other Christian educational communities.

To learn more about West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) click here and for more information about WMCS Membership or Partnership contact WMCS.

Grand Haven Christian Completes Year One of the First Spanish Immersion Class in the Tri-Cities Area of West Michigan

Habla inglés? Some Kindergartners and 1st Graders at GHC Do Now!

Approximately eighteen months ago, Grand Haven Christian School (GHC) began exploring the opportunity of becoming the only school in the Tri-Cities area to offer Spanish immersion. With the success of this program in other WMCS member schools, and after seeing great interest from our constituents, GHC decided to begin its own immersion program.

With the success of this program in other WMCS member schools, and after seeing great interest from our constituents, GHC decided to begin its own immersion program.

With a highly qualified teacher in place, GHC began with a kindergarten/1st combination class. Twenty students and their families joined in to experience the unique educational opportunity. This class brought in seven new students who were previously not a part of GHC and a couple of those families also brought additional siblings to GHC as well.

Grand Haven Christian School

“The class exceeded our expectations as we witnessed first-hand how quickly students were able to develop a second language and become conversational with their teacher and each other. The students have performed skits, presented reports, and eagerly shared verses or songs they know in Spanish, much to the delight of those who get to listen,” explains James Onderlinde, Principal of Grand Haven Christian School (GHC).

The class exceeded our expectations as we witnessed first-hand how quickly students were able to develop a second language and become conversational with their teacher and each other. The students have performed skits, presented reports, and eagerly shared verses or songs they know in Spanish, much to the delight of those who get to listen.

This fall, GHC will be graduating the current class to the next grade levels of Spanish Immersion and will add a new S.I. kindergarten class. Enrollment for the new class is going well and interest continues to grow.

“We feel blessed as a school because we are now able to offer a faith-based education to more families, and we are creating opportunities for these students to be able to share the good news in a second language!” shares Onderlinde.

We feel blessed as a school because we are now able to offer a faith-based education to more families, and we are creating opportunities for these students to be able to share the good news in a second language!

The Spanish Immersion classroom at GHC, led by instructor Señora Heather Grisales (who is pictured above with one of her SI students), was recently highlighted in The Grand Haven Tribune as “Classroom of the Week.” This video feature gives a deeper look into the benefits of a classroom like this. To view it, please click here and enjoy! 

Interested in learning more about Grand Haven Christian’s Spanish Immersion Program?

ASK US! 

Grand Haven Christian School is a member of WMCS,  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools work together to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian Education in West Michigan.

At WMCS, everything we do is from the perspective of a Christ-centered worldview. We not only ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  we show our students “What Jesus Says” as it relates to the classroom, the athletic field and the community we serve. WMCS extends “Beyond Academics” and educates the whole child, putting Christ at the center of all we do. Academically, we perform with excellence, with top local and nationally standardized test scores.

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

Create a seamless, exemplary Christian educational experience for families in Western Michigan from preschool through high school. Provide excellent Christian education rooted in the gospel to all who desire it. Provide a model of collaboration that will serve as a roadmap for other Christian educational communities.

To learn more about West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) click here and for more information about WMCS Membership or Partnership contact WMCS.

 

West Michigan Christian Schools Partners with CLC Network

Equipping and Challenging Every Student to Reach Their God-Given Potential

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) has made a renewed commitment to serving students at all levels of ability, by partnering with CLC Network to strengthen our inclusive Educational Support Services (ESS) program. We are thrilled to promise a place of welcome for students with disabilities (whether physical, behavioral, intellectual, or socio-emotional) and will make sure that each student who learns differently is well-served at our schools.

An inclusive education philosophy “pushes” academic support into the classroom for all students, whereas our former model “pulled” support out of the classroom for select students. Inclusion will ensure that each student — whether they are typically developing, academically talented, or intellectually disabled — is met and challenged at their level, fulfilling their potential in the Christian community.

Inclusion will ensure that each student — whether they are typically developing, academically talented, or intellectually disabled — is met and challenged at their level, fulfilling their potential in the Christian community.

We believe each person is shaped with different areas of gift and need that complement one another; like the puzzle, the kingdom of God is incomplete unless all members are integrated into the community. Inclusive education, like this puzzle, is a reflection of the community described in 1 Corinthians 12. We desire for the student body — composed of members with complementary abilities, strengths and areas of need — to reflect this puzzle and God’s Kingdom. An inclusive community is not just about Johnny who has autism spectrum disorder, or Sam who excels in math, or Erica who struggles with reading, but instead, it’s about everyone sharing their gifts and being challenged to reach their potential.

To ensure we have the right academic and social supports in place for each student, the school has partnered with CLC Network (Christian Learning Center), a nonprofit educational consulting firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. CLC Network works with more than 65 Christian and Catholic schools throughout the United States to ensure that students with a variety of abilities and disabilities are active, integrated members of their school communities.

CLC Network works with more than 65 Christian and Catholic schools throughout the United States to ensure that students with a variety of abilities and disabilities are active, integrated members of their school communities.

Pam Maat, a teacher consultant from CLC Network, will advise our WMCS Educational Support Services (ESS) staff throughout the school year to assist with creating strengths-based plans for struggling students. Pam will also offer curriculum assistance and promote general academic and social inclusion within the school. The Educational Support Services staff will then work with general education teachers to make sure students with learning differences get the support they need, academically, socially, and behaviorally. Our staff will work together so that each student has a sense of belonging in the general education classroom. All staff will have access to CLC Network’s best-practice professional development and training, as well as their team of school psychologists to help understand and create strategies for struggling learners.

All staff will have access to CLC Network’s best-practice professional development and training, as well as their team of school psychologists to help understand and create strategies for struggling learners.

“We believe that inclusion for students at all levels of ability changes the school community for the better,” said Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski, CLC Network executive director. “We are thrilled to work with Whitney Piersma (WMCS Director of Educational Support Services) and the entire West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) staff from all five schools to implement best practices that help all students reach their potential.”

We believe that inclusion for students at all levels of ability changes the school community for the better.

To learn more about CLC Network, visit clcnetwork.org. To inquire about WMCS ESS Program or West Michigan Christian Schools in general, please click the member logo below!

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.

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.

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.