West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

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Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Erin Studer

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Erin!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Erin Studer of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

The 2018-19 school year marked Erin Studer’s second year at Muskegon Christian School as a 3rd grade Spanish Immersion teacher. She is a third generation graduate of MCS and attended MCS as a child from Pre-K through the 8th grade (before the school shifted to a PK-6th-grade model). After MCS she attended and graduated from Western Michigan Christian (WMC) High School.

She attended Calvin College as an Education and Spanish major and met her husband Nathan there as well.   In the summer before her senior year at Calvin, she lived abroad with a host family in Argentina for a month and took several excursions including one to Uruguay.  She hopes to someday travel with her husband to other countries to get more stamps in her passport!

Erin and Nathan have 4 children, three of whom attend MCS currently. Her son Kyler is in SI 4th grade, daughter Lena is in SI 1st grade, son Westin is in SI PreK and son Jax will be starting MCS preschool when he is old enough!

Q & A w/ Erin

Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: The thing that I LOVE the MOST about my job is being able to teach through my Christian worldview!  Something that I tended to shy away from in school was talking about “my faith.” I always wanted to teach in a public school to show my student’s Christ’s love not necessarily teach it!

two-shot of Erin and her husband

Erin and her husband Nathan.

MCS-Spanish-Immersion-logo

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: The absolute BEST part of my day is who I get to share it with!  I was blessed in coming to MCS (after almost giving up teaching all together) and having my oldest son in my class.  This year though I don’t have any of my own children in my class but I can still check up on them throughout the day!

Erin's-four-kids

Kari’s kids: Kyler, Jax, Lena and Westin.

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

A: The LORD has gifted me as an individual with the gift of creativity. Sometimes I have to think of on-the-spot lessons that will make connections for students, other times I spend months planning and preparing to help lead the whole school in a praise service!

The LORD has gifted me as an individual with the gift of creativity. Sometimes I have to think of on-the-spot lessons that will make connections for students, other times I spend months planning and preparing to help lead the whole school in a praise service!

Erin-and-her-son-holding-a-teddy-bear.

Erin and Westin, who is in SI Pre-K at MCS.

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you? 

A: I love to dance!  Before we had children, my husband and I took ballroom dancing lessons for two years where we learned the tango, salsa, foxtrot, swing, waltz, rumba, bachata, cha-cha, merengue, and disco.  I would love to pick up ballroom dancing with my husband again–although that probably won’t happen for at least another 17 years!

Erin-and-her-daughter-in-matching-outfits.

Erin and her daughter Lena twinning!

Q: What’s your most favorite teaching moment to date?

A: Some of my most favorite teaching moments are in closing our morning/day/year in a circle prayer–it is just so powerful!  Also being able to start each day off in devotions with my students has proven pretty powerful too!

Earlier this year, I was talking in my devotion time with my students about the feeling of loneliness and how we are never really alone because we have someone who knows our deepest inner thoughts–Jesus! Later that day, I found a notecard written by one of my students that read, “You are NOT alone, you have God with you…ALWAYS!” Even as 3rd graders they just “get it!”

Later that day, I found a notecard written by one of my students that read, ‘You are NOT alone, you have God with you…ALWAYS!” Even as 3rd graders they just get it!’

Erin-and-Westin-on-a-ski-lift.

Erin and her son Westin who is in SI 4th grade at MCS.

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

A: I am MOST grateful to God in bringing me back to MCS. I started out teaching in the public school where as mentioned earlier I almost gave up after eleven years of teaching.  I was frustrated, worn out, run down, and my creativity was lacking. I also did not have as much parental support as I would have liked. God had bigger plans for me and I am just so grateful that the parents at MCS entrust me with their children for seven hours out of each day!

I am MOST grateful to God in bringing me back to MCS. I started out teaching in the public school where as mentioned earlier I almost gave up after eleven years of teaching.  I was frustrated, worn out, run down, and my creativity was lacking.

Jax-smling-for-camera.

Adorable Jax is Erin’s youngest child.

Q: What’s your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

A: Well, seeing as how I have only been teaching a total of thirteen years, I don’t really have stories of students coming back after graduation, however students that I did have in the public school I have run into a couple in public places like Meijer or a Chinese food restaurant and they have come up to me and talked with me and reminisced about when they were in my 1st grade class and how they remembered things being fun. They always have smiles on their faces!

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

A: Coca-Cola…both my students and I would agree I drink entirely WAY TOO MUCH!

coca-cola-can-image

Feel free to show Erin LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her to a yummy Coke! 😉

As a beloved faculty member, Erin is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Erin and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Erin, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Daniel Garland

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday during the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative highlights a teacher from one of our five schools.

We have many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Daniel Garland of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Western Michigan Christian Junior High and High School

Daniel grew up in the mid-west area of the nation, moving around from state to state with most of his time spent here in Michigan. He graduated from Jenison High School in 2009 and received a degree in special education from Grand Valley State University. He originally went to school for video game design, but God had different plans.  After doing some volunteer work with local schools Dan discovered a love for teaching, which led him to WMC in 2018. Daniel is an ESS (Education Support Services) teacher for grades 7-12, which consists of providing students with extra instructional assistance. This help can range from pulling a student from class to re-teach a lesson, to putting interventions in place to help a student learn more effectively, to assisting and co-teaching in classrooms.

Enjoy getting to know him a bit more!

Q & A with Daniel

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

My favorite teaching moment would have to be with the school’s robotics team at our first competition.  It was a multi-day competition, and this was our first time doing anything like this. Our first day of competing did not go so well.  Our robot had some bugs in the code and didn’t function exactly how we wanted it to. At the end of our first day, the students were down, and some were questioning why we were even there.

WMC Robotics team group photo at competition.

WMC’s Robotics Team at the first FRC Qualifier in 2019 in Kentwood.

We had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon. From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments.

From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments. On day two, we bounced back from our initial first-day mistakes and rocked it out, winning all of our matches! 

On day two, we bounced back from our initial first-day mistakes and rocked it out, winning all of our matches!  In the end, we received an award for being the highest ranking rookie team in that competition. The part I love most about this was how the students turned their moods and behaviors around before we even won the award at the end of the day. They learned a valuable lesson that will stick with them–the award was just the cherry on top.

The part I love most about this was how the students turned their moods and behaviors around before we even won the award at the end of the day.

Robot close-up shot

Our robot was designed to extend up to 8 feet tall and had a forklift type mechanism.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

I have a weakness for cats and dogs.  I think my cats and dogs are the most adorable animals ever. I may be a little biased though.

Photo of Daniel's black dog and cat snuggling on couch

Daniel’s pets, Ari and Mew, are both a year old, and they are BFFs!

3. What do you love about your job and why?

The part I love most about my job is helping students realize that they are able to do things that they themselves didn’t realize that they were capable of.

close up photo Daniel Garland and a student

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

The best part about my day is when I get to teach concepts and lessons to students in a different way.  Not every student learns the same way, and I love finding the best way for each student individually.

The best part about my day is when I get to teach concepts and lessons to students in a different way.  Not every student learns the same way, and I love finding the best way for each student individually.

5. How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher?

The Lord has gifted me with a speech impediment in the form of a stutter.  I haven’t always viewed it as a positive thing in my life and it has led to some difficult situations.  While going to school for Special Education I realized that having a stutter makes it so I understand what some students go through on a daily basis with a disability or other hardship.  My stutter is not as severe as it once was, but I know at least a little bit of what some students are going through.

While going to school for special education I realized that having a stutter makes it so I understand what some students go through on a daily basis with a disability or other hardship.

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

Mountain Dew Code Red

As a beloved faculty member, Dan is a very special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Dan and the amazing Kingdom work he does at WMC.

Dan, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Mikaela Deur

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Mikaela Deur of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School Store

Mikaela has been teaching Kindergarten at Grand Haven Christian since the fall of 2017. She attended GHC as a student all the way through, from preschool to 8th-grade graduation. After that, she attended  Western Michigan Christian High School and went on to Calvin College for her education degree. “It feels like coming home to be back here,” explains Mikaela. Having her back is a delightful homecoming for her and the GHC staff alike!

It feels like coming home to be back here (at GHC).

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Mikaela

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

One day last winter I was on recess-duty and one of my students ran up to me to hold my hand and walk with me. She looked up at me and said, “Miss D, I always walk next to you at recess because it’s the warmest spot… you know, because love is warmer than everything and you love us so much.”

I’m always overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that comes from kindergartners. I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them!

I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them.

Getting ready to sing with GRSC in Carnegie Hall.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

I actually sing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus.

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with them!

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with the Grand Rapids Symphony Choir!3.   What do you love most about your job?

3.  What do you love most about your job and why?

There are so many things I could say because kindergarteners might just be the best people in the world! They’re eager and enthusiastic about learning. They’re 100% authentic to themselves. They tell some pretty incredible knock-knock jokes.

But I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

Celebrating March is Reading Month with favorite book character day in Kindergarten.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

I love our mornings. I try to make sure every student is greeted by their name and given an uplifting interaction at least twice within the first 10-15 minutes. My students start the day being greeted at the door, then move right into working on their own specific list of sight words. Once they’ve finished this quick activity, everyone gets a high five or a fist bump, and then they get to play with loose parts for a couple of minutes. Almost every student is working on different sight words, so it’s a simple way to differentiate every morning. It also gives me a chance to have a conversation with every student and frame their day for success.

This always leads right into our morning meeting, where my students get to greet their peers, we sing a worship song and pray together. Not to mention, kindergarteners come in with an amazing amount of enthusiasm and so much exciting news to share after 18 hours away from their teacher, so it’s always wonderful for me to hear what is happening in their lives as they come in!

100 days of Kindergarten!

5. How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher?

I’m pretty much constantly singing, so it was only natural for me to become a kindergarten teacher. We sing about anything and everything. After our morning work and loose parts STEM play, we start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

We start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

Leading with the worship team at her church. When their church building was under renovation they meet in the GHC gym!

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

I’ve been known to sip on an iced coffee with cream and vanilla all school day… but I also love Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper.

As a beloved faculty member, Mikaela is a very special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating her and the amazing Kingdom work she does at GHC.

Enjoying a vacation to Gulf Shores, AL with her family.

Mikaela’s sister and brother, Paige Deur and Will Deur.

Mikaela, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Amber Bull

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Amber Bull of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Amber Bull joined the Fremont Christian School faculty in 2013. She enjoys teaching all subjects in the 4th grade. Amber and her husband Jacob have a daughter in preschool at FCS who starts in Kindergarten next year and a one-year-old who will join in the future too!  Amber herself is a FCS graduate and she also graduated high from WMC.  She’s a Falcon Warrior!

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Amber

1.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

Something fun that most people do not know about me is that I play the electric bass guitar. I’ve been playing since high school when I attended Western Michigan Christian High and played in the jazz band, pep band, orchestra pit, and chapels. I continued playing in college on the Calvin College pep band.  Today, I still play the bass for my church worship band, other worship conferences, and for special chapels at our school.  God gave me this talent, and I’m thankful to use it to glorify Him!

 

I still play the bass for my church worship band, other worship conferences, and for special chapels at our school.  God gave me this talent, and I’m thankful to use it to glorify Him!

Mrs. Bull, her 4th grade class and daughter Caroline up front

2.   What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is our 4th-grade morning routine.  We begin each day sharing “Good Things” that happened recently in each student’s life.  Then we turn off the lights, post God’s Word on the projector, and read the Bible together.  So far in 4th grade, we have read the first 50 Psalms, the book of Ruth, and are currently halfway through the book of Luke.  After reading God’s word, we sing praise songs together and pray.  This morning routine is a great way to start our day building friendship and community.  I pray every day that my students learn to love the Lord and each other more and more each day.

We begin each day sharing “Good Things” that happened recently in each student’s life.  Then we turn off the lights, post God’s Word on the projector, and read the Bible together.  So far in 4th grade, we have read the first 50 Psalms, the book of Ruth, and are currently halfway through the book of Luke. 

Amber and her 4th grade class in Spring of 2019 at FCS

3.   What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job? 

I am grateful for the opportunity to share learning about God’s world with this group of kids.  I’m grateful for the time dedicated to reading, writing, math, and content areas, but also how I can teach these students how these areas fit into God’s story.  I’m grateful for the support of the parents, and how they express that their student loves going to school and enjoys the 4th grade.  I’m thankful that Fremont Christian School is a place where we glorify God by educating and nurturing students to impact the world for Christ.
I’m grateful for the time dedicated to reading, writing, math, and content areas, but also how I can teach these students how these areas fit into God’s story.

 

Amber and her current 4th grade class in Spring of 2019

 

9.   How do you feel Teaching for Transformation will augment or re-shape your tactics/approach/perspective as a Christian educator? 

What I look forward to most about Teaching For Transformation (TfT) is incorporating real work, real people, and real need into what we learn in my classroom.  I’ve already started investigating this with my students and noticed engagement and motivation increase.  For example, we were working on our letter writing unit, and I decided to have students choose someone to encourage through their writing.  We would send out real letters to real people and meet the real need of encouraging people and spreading joy. Some students chose community members like the local vet and fire station.  Others chose people further away like authors they enjoy and even the President of the United States.  We were excited to do this act of service, and we even received some letters in return thanking us for the thoughtful notes! Through this project, I saw highly motivated young writers who used what they had learned in class to bless people around them.
What I look forward to most about Teaching For Transformation (TfT) is incorporating real work, real people, and real need into what we learn in my classroom.  I’ve already started investigating this with my students and noticed engagement and motivation increase.
As a beloved faculty member, Amber is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Alyssa and the amazing Kingdom work she does at FCS.

Jacob, Ivy, Carline and Amber Bull

Amber and her daughter Caroline

Amber, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

 

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

 

 

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Alyssa McKeiver

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Alyssa McKeiver of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Alyssa McKeiver joined the NEC faculty in 2016. She enjoys teaching all subjects to her 5th and 6th-grade students.  A graduate from Allendale Christian and Unity Christian High School, she loves her work in Christian education. Alyssa is kind enough to share her favorite pet with her students! Bowtruckle the hedgehog is loved by many! Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A w/ Alyssa

  1.    What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? Tell us the story.

My favorite teaching moment was probably our Good Friday/Easter chapel two years ago. My students were singing “In Christ Alone” and we had been practicing the build of volume on the line, “Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again,” to really emphasize the joy and the power that goes with those words. On the day of the chapel, the students built on that line and belted out, “And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.” It was such a powerful and beautiful moment seeing those children BELIEVE and share those words. That is something I will never forget.

New Era Christian School

On the day of the chapel, the students built on that line and belted out, “And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.” It was such a powerful and beautiful moment seeing those children BELIEVE and share those words. That is something I will never forget.

 

 

  1.    What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

My principal’s wife actually set me up with my now-husband! She worked on the same floor as him at the hospital and I was her daughter’s teacher, but it was still the fall of my first year and she just had a feeling we would work out.

We’ve been together over 2 years now and got married on December 29th, 2018!

 

 

 

  1.    What do you love most about your job and why? 

I love being able to be with my students who are 5th and 6th graders for every subject. The consistency and relationships that are built because of it are truly something I treasure and something that I think most students need at that age. They need someone to come to when life gets rough and they need to build organization skills and take ownership of their learning. Having them all day allows me to help with these things and I get to know them.

They need someone to come to when life gets rough and they need to build organization skills and take ownership of their learning. Having them all day allows me to help with these things and I get to know them.

  1.    What’s the best part of your day? 

The best part of my day is the in-class read-aloud. I love watching the students fall in love with a book and its characters and I especially love when the students beg me to keep reading. I know they are just as invested in the book as I am and we make a strong connection because of it.

The best part of my day is the in-class read-aloud. I love watching the students fall in love with a book and its characters and I especially love when the students beg me to keep reading. I know they are just as invested in the book as I am and we make a strong connection because of it.

 

 

  1.    What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

  Either Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper

 

 

 

 

9.   What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

I am most grateful for the connections I have with my students and fellow teachers. I have students that were in my class previous years come to find me every morning before school starts to give me a hug and an update on their life. Sometimes there are smiles, sometimes tears, sometimes frustration, but knowing that I am a safe place for them whether they are in my class or not is what I am most thankful for.

I am most grateful for the connections I have with my students and fellow teachers. I have students that were in my class previous years come to find me every morning before school starts to give me a hug and an update on their life. Sometimes there are smiles, sometimes tears, sometimes frustration, but knowing that I am a safe place for them whether they are in my class or not is what I am most thankful for.

Alyssa’s class attended her wedding! A special night for all!

As a beloved faculty member, Alyssa is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Alyssa and the amazing Kingdom work she does at NEC.

Alyssa, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

 

 

Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Kari Bonnema

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Kari!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Kari Bonnema of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

Kari Bonnema has been at MCS for 13 years. She teaches Kindergarten and Kindergarten Explorers. Her oldest, McKenna, is a senior at WMC. Her daughter Madison is a freshman at WMC and her twins, Meredith and Mason, are 3rd graders at MCS.

FUN FACT: Kari’s husband Chad has worked at MCS teaching 5th grade since 2011 and they created a program that allows their classes to interact. “Every week we get our classes together for Book Buddies, which is where we partner up a 5th-grader and a Kindergartener to read together.  Kindergarteners read their beginning reading books to the 5th graders and then the 5th graders read a book or books to them.  They all love it and look forward to seeing each other,” explains Kari.

Every week we get our classes together for Book Buddies, which is where we partner up a 5th-grader and a Kindergartener to read together.  Kindergarteners read their beginning reading books to the 5th graders and then the 5th graders read a book or books to them.  They all love it and look forward to seeing each other

Q & A w/ Kari

Kari and her daughter McKenna.

Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

Kari: I have SO many I can’t decide!!   Some of them include:

1) When a parent emailed me to say that her daughter accepted Jesus as her Savior.  She was so excited to share the news with me!

2) When I hear kids singing and humming praise songs as they work.  3) When I am called “Mom” by students and given multiple hugs daily.  I love it!

4) When I see such AMAZING growth from the beginning of the year to the end… it is a gift to share each day with them.

5) When I am called “Mom” by students and given multiple hugs daily.  I love it!

Kari, her daughter Madison, and Kari’s niece Brooke.

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

Kari: I enjoy welcoming each child back to our class each morning.  I am thankful for another day to spend with them. It makes me happy!

When I see such AMAZING growth from the beginning of the year to the end…it is a gift to share each day with them.

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

Kari: I love to sing and am quite musical.  I enjoy singing each day with the kiddos and we learn many songs to help remember what we’re learning… from Bible stories and memory verses to fun little songs about coins or birds. I also like to be creative and make up songs, too!

McKenna, Chad, Kari, Mason, Madison and Meredith Bonnema

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

Kari: I love the support of families and our fellow MCS staff.  We are all working together for God’s glory and the growth (spiritual, academic, emotional) of the children.  It really is a team approach!

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

Kari: Chai tea!

 

 

 

 

Feel free to SHOW KARI LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her to a yummy Chai! 😉

As a beloved faculty member, Kari is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Kari and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Kari, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

 

 

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.

Much Fun & Funds Raised at the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

Better Together: All Five West Michigan Christian Schools Come Together for an Annual Fundraiser

Over the past three years, the WMCS Golf Outing has made a difference in the lives of thousands of students who attend any one of our five West Michigan Christian Schools and their families. Whether by raising funds or by providing a fun 5-school community event of fellowship, this best-ball tournament is successful and well-attended every year.

“We sold out a week before the event,” explained GHC’s Kristin Clausing. “That’s a first for us! In years past, we always had room for foursomes to sign up the day of.” The WMCS golf event committee encourages golfers to get their foursomes in early next year to reserve a spot.

Barb serving and talking with golfers

Barb Sikkenga catered breakfast for the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing. She also served lunch!

I enjoy golfing but I also love to serve our 5-school community!

The event, held at Grand View Golf Course at Double JJ Resort in New Era, was catered by Barb Sikkenga, whose granddaughter currently attends Fremont Christian School and three children graduated New Era Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School. Also on the WMCS Collaborative Board,  Sikkenga served a lovely continental breakfast complete with her famous cinnamon rolls.  “I enjoy golfing but I also love to serve our 5-school community!” shared the service-minded Sikkenga.

When the golfers completed the course, they enjoyed a delicious picnic style lunch also catered by Sikkenga complete with pulled pork sliders, sides, and dessert. WMCS is so grateful for the generosity of the Sikkenga family— a sincere thank you to you and Brian for your ongoing support in our school community!

 

Denice Belknap with tickets

Denice Belknap, Director of Advancement at WMC, offered golfers a fun challenge at hole #11.

This year, Denise Belknap of WMC and one of the golf event coordinators, provided golfers with something new at hole #11. Belknap, who also serves as Director of Advancement for WMC, enlisted the help of WMC student golfers Daniel Vanbiesbrouk and Elizabeth Vos who, for a cash donation, gave the golf teams the option of using their best ball.  Many teams did! If they did not use one of the students’ balls, they received a long string of raffle tickets for the luncheon prize drawing. Thank you for your service, Daniel and Elizabeth! You made hole #11 the most fun of all! 

Check out Daniel’s near hole-in-one in the video below:

 

And the 2018 WMCS Golf Outing Winner’s Were…

First place went to (pictured left to right) Rick Ray, Tyler Ray, Caleb Johnson, and Brian Sikkenga. They won an overnight stay golf or ski package at Crystal Mountain.  Second place was awarded to (pictured left to right) Jon Brower, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger, and Kevin Kamphuis. The foursome won and a round of golf at Pilgrim’s Run.  Third place foursome was (pictured left to right) Scott Edema, Joel VandenBrand, Todd VandenBrand, and Todd Clarkin winning a round of golf at Grand Haven Golf Course. 

1st Place Champions of the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

1st Place Foursome

First place went to (pictured left to right) Caleb Johnson, GHC’s Tyler Ray, Rick Ray, and Brian Sikkenga. They won an overnight stay golf or ski package at Crystal Mountain.

2nd Place

2nd place foursome

Second place was awarded to (pictured left to right) Jon Brower, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger, and Kevin Kamphuis. The foursome won and a round of golf at Pilgrim’s Run.

3rd Place

 

Third place foursome was (pictured left to right) Scott Edema, Joel VandenBrand, Todd VandenBrand, and Todd Clarkin winning a round of golf at Grand Haven Golf Course.

Event Fundraising Update & Tally:

This annual fundraiser garners donations for the WMCS 5-school collaborative. This year, the five principals announced that 100% of the event’s funds would be going to something new and very specific.

Dan DeKam shared, “The WMCS 5-school collaborative strives for excellence, relevance, and resonance in Christian Education. We also aim to transform young lives for Christ.  That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of a new instructional framework called Teaching for Transformation (TfT).  Over the next three years, training in TfT will equip our PK-12 teachers with more effective tools with which to integrate faith and learning. Our schools have always pursued excellence in all areas of instruction and we are enthusiastic about the way that TfT will help our students develop a strong Christian perspective on learning and a desire to live a life of gratitude. Each of you plays a powerful role in preparing and equipping our teachers to better train up our students by participating in our golf outing as a sponsor and golfer.  Thank you so much for coming and supporting WMCS!”

The West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) collaborative system of schools strives for excellence, relevance, and resonance in Christian Education. We also aim to transform young lives for Christ.  That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of a new instructional framework called Teaching for Transformation (TfT).

DeKam went on to explain that the total fee for the 3-year TfT training program is $55K.  The Golf Outing successfully raised almost $20,000, which puts us on right track in year one of three.

Teachers had their first introductory TfT training this past summer and will reconvene again this fall for more. As our faculty from all five schools dig deeper into this new instructional framework, more stories about TfT will be shared on the WMCS blog.

The Teaching for Transformation (TfT) instructional framework is a 3-year training program for the 5-schools WMCS faculty. The 2018 WMCS Golf Outing raised almost $20,000 toward our $55k goal.

 

BETTER TOGETHER: The WMCS Golf Outing is an All-School Effort

Hosted and coordinated by the WMCS Golf Committee,  the event was a collaborative effort led by a representative from each of our 5 schools.  The WMCS Golf Committee included Heidi Snyder of FCS, Phil Morse of NEC, Lisa Taylor of MCS, Kristin Clausing of GHC, Denice Belknap of WMC, and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative.

Golf Event Coordinators on golf cart

The WMCS Golf Outing Committee: (Pictured left to right) Heidi Snyder of FCS, Lisa Taylor of MCS, Kristin Clausing of GHC and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative, and Denice Belknap of WMC. Not pictured is Phil Morse of NEC.

 

Our Fabulous & Faithful Sponsors

The event was supported and sponsored by those who were led by the Lord to donate. We received a variety of prizes and financial contributions to assist in making this event a success.

A special “Thank You” to our top event sponsors: Abbit Management, JOST, Calvin College, Cherette Group and Summit Laboratory.

Abbit logo

Abbit is a loyal WMCS 2018 Golf Outing Sponsor!

 

Calvin College LOGO

Calvin College is a loyal WMCS Golf Outing sponsor and always has a foursome in attendance!

 

Jost logo

JOST is a loyal WMCS Golf Outing sponsor with a foursome in the tourney annually.

 

The Cherette Group Logo

The Cherette Group is a new 2018-19 Golf Outing Sponsor!

 

Summit Laboratory logo

Summit Laboratory was a 2018-19 WMCS Golf Outing sponsor and also had a foursome in the tournament.

Golf Outing Sponsor banner

WMCS thanks all sponsors and everyone who came out to play and help make the event such a success. Be sure to sign up early next year to secure a spot!

Click here to see more event photos on Facebook! 

To see the full PHOTO GALLERY GO TO THE WMCS FACEBOOK PAGE! https://www.facebook.com/WMCSchools/photos/

What is WMCS?

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is 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 collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Our PK-12 School Family includes:

Want to help West Michigan Christian School reach its Teaching for Transformation budget?

Please EMAIL US! 

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.