West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for Director’s Letters

WMCS Says Goodbye to Two of the Fab Five Administrators

FCS’s John Barkel and GHC’s James Onderlinde Continue Their Christian Education Careers in GR

The end of the 2018-19 schools year brought a new beginning for two of our own.

John Barkel of Fremont Christian School will be starting as Head of School for Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School and James Onderlinde of Grand Haven Christian School will take on the new role of administrator for Byron Center Christian Elementary.

James Onderlinde's Family portrait

The Onderlinde family.

WMCS Collab Exec Director Dan DeKam and principal of Muskegon Christian School said this of his colleagues, “John is one of the great ones. His heart for his students was evident in how he genuinely delighted in his work. He will be missed and I wish him well on his new journey. Since 2014, James has tirelessly and virtuously led his staff, community, faculty. and students of GHC. His forward-thinking choice to launch Spanish Immersion marked GHC as the first and only school in the Tri-cities area to teach language immersion and it raised GHC’s enrollment exponentially. We’re grateful for his service and better for it. My fellow administrators, Samuel Greer (WMC), Phil Morse (NEC) and I will miss them both!”

John Barkel and his Family

The Barkel family.

We will all dearly miss John and James. Always moving forward, we are EXCITED to see how God will work these departures for the WMCS good—starting with the promotion of FCS’s own Nick Donkersloot, who is following in the footsteps of his own father and achieving a lifetime career goal with this new appointment. WMCS will announce the replacement for James once that has been determined.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28.

All of us at West Michigan Christian Schools wish many blessings to both John and James in their Kingdom work ahead. Please join us in saying a prayer for a smooth transition for each of these great men in their Christian education careers!

Interested in learning more about our 5-school faith-based education from preschool to 12th grade?

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), New Era Christian (PK-8), and Western Michigan Christian (7-12). 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: 2019 Year in Review

Dear WMCS Families, Alumni & Friends,

This spring, the faculty from our West Michigan Schools collaborative members reconvened for training on Teaching for Transformation.
It’s during this time when we are all together that I become the most passionate about the significant way that God is using our schools in West Michigan. 
group staff photo

Faculty from all five West Michigan Christian Schools.

It is also at these meetings that I am moved to be thankful for the tremendous people with whom I am blessed to work. 

The teachers of the WMCS collaborative are committed individuals who are striving diligently to help the children in our schools come to embody what it looks like to know and love God in our contemporary society.
The teachers of the WMCS collaborative are committed individuals who are striving diligently to help the children in our schools come to embody what it looks like to know and love God in our contemporary society. 
They truly are the heart of WMCS!
I wish all of our parents could sit in on some of these trainings and hear these educators talk about their deep love for the students.  I wish parents could hear them discuss how their love for the students instills in them a hope that all of their students can find their worth in who they are as children of the living God. And then, in turn, that they can be inspired to live a life of gratitude and work diligently to make this world more as God would have it to be – wherever God calls them.

God has blessed our schools with some tremendous educators with a passion for their students.  We could not ask for better allies in raising our children.

God has blessed our schools with some tremendous educators with a passion for their students.  We could not ask for better allies in raising our children.
This spring we launched Teacher Tuesday, a Q&A style feature of select WMCS faculty from each school designed to highlight and encourage. It’s also a great way for YOU to get to know our WMCS teachers in Fremont, New Era, Grand Haven, Muskegon, and Norton Shores!
To read all 2019 Teacher Tuesday posts, click here then go to the SELECT CATEGORY drop-down and choose Faith Matters.

A special congratulations to all the WMCS grads! Thank you all for your support of and prayers for Christian education!

Have a GREAT summer!

In His Service,

Dan DeKam
Executive Director of the WMCS Collaborative

Interested in learning more about our 5-school faith-based education from preschool to 12th grade?

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), New Era Christian (PK-8), and Western Michigan Christian (7-12). 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.

WMCS Executive Director Letter Challenging all WMCS Families to BE the Influence

From the Desk of Dan DeKam

Influence.  It can be subtle or it can be strong, but today it is everywhere.

The competition for our attention, money, vote or our values is intense and inescapable.  The bombardment of constant product advertising, social media, instant coverage of disasters, viral videos, even “news” that may not really be news is unprecedented.

Very little of it is honoring to our Lord.

The bombardment of constant product advertising, social media, instant coverage of disasters, viral videos, even “news” that may not really be news is unprecedented.

This is one of the reasons our family has been thankful for our partnership with our Christian schools.  My wife and I recognized that in a typical day our children were directly under our care for only a few hours a day (not including sleeping) and truly interacted with us for much less than that.  As our children grew we have been so thankful for teachers who continued to influence them to consider all things in the light of scripture. They have modeled a healthy prayer life and a desire to know and understand the world around them as God’s creation and themselves as His children.  They have praised God with them in good times and they have agonized in prayer with them during the tough times. They have been invaluable partners in helping us raise our children – to influence them – in the way they should go.

As our children grew we have been so thankful for teachers who continued to influence them to consider all things in the light of scripture.

This spring, our youngest (of 5) will graduate from Western Michigan Christian High School.  Her older siblings have not only told us how well prepared they were academically to face the rigors of college, we know they have been prepared to discern and withstand the influences of culture.

This spring, our youngest (of 5) will graduate from Western Michigan Christian High School.  Her older siblings have not only told us how well prepared they were academically to face the rigors of college, we know they have been prepared to discern and withstand the influences of culture.

Our Christian schools here in the lakeshore region are prepared and excited to partner with even more families and make a difference for Christ in our communities.

 

BE the influence for Christ in your neighborhood, family and church!

 

Our 5-school WMCS collaboration has been invaluable in providing an even stronger academic experience. It has also strengthened our community and helped us hone our philosophy and practice in Christian education.

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL to cut through the clutter and BE the voice of INFLUENCE in your friends’ lives!

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL to cut through the clutter and BE the voice of INFLUENCE in your friends’ lives!

Share with them the benefits awaiting their children and their families via West Michigan Christian Schools.

Your heartfelt referral speaks volumes as does your personal invitation to check out the school system that has brought your own family blessing. It makes sense that you would want to share with others you care about!

Sharing your own testimony with friends and family about why you choose WMCS and Christian Education for your kids is powerful Influence that can be the difference in someone changing his/her mind about where their kids attend school. SHARE!

 

THIS blog post is a perfect torch for you to pass on to potential WMCS families.
Simply text this link https://mailchi.mp/wmcschools.org/be-the-voiceof-influence-from-west-michigan-christian-schools-faith-matters-spring-2018  and/or print out a copy and hand it to a friend in person.  Let the Lord to the rest!

This blog post is a perfect torch for you to pass on to potential WMCS families.

Leading by example, I and my fellow WMCS Principals share our personal testimonies in this WMCS blog as to why we choose Christian education for our own children. We are all Heads of Schools but also tuition paying dads and husbands. Have a read and enjoy getting to know us all a little more.

WMCS Principals (left to right) include Samuel Greer (WMC); Dan DeKam (MCS); Phil Morse (NEC); James Onderlinde (GHC); and John Barkel (FCS).

Next, please do us the favor of leaving a positive review for WMCS on Facebook. Click HERE >> to do that now!

Thank you in advance for using your influence to help further the Kingdom!

Better together,

Dan DeKam

WMCS, Executive Director

This article originally appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Spring 2018 E-Newsletter. To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Spring 2018 E-Newsletter and to read ALL five of the WMCS Principals’ blog posts, click here or scroll down in this blog. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You won’t want to miss anything.

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

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

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

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

Better together,

Dan Dekam

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

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

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.

West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter

WMCS Newsletter Fall 2017

Starting the 2017-18 School Year Off Strong

The WMCS Collaborative newsletter will give you the inside scoop on all the news and happenings in our five-school PK-12 system and at each individual school.

To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter please click here.

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: