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West Michigan Christian Schools Announces New Financial Partner

Practicing Biblical Stewardship: WMCS Announces Larry Schutt as New Financial Partner for the 5-School Collaborative

Looking to honor Christ with all we have been given and be obedient in seeking Godly counsel, West Michigan Christian Schools is excited to announce that Larry Schutt has joined the WMCS family to serve as a financial partner.

Schutt’s area of focus is to analyze and determine the key financial indicators that our schools need to know in order to be as fiscally responsible as possible. Since the founding of WMCS, each school has either employed a bookkeeper or used a school board volunteer to work closely with each principal to set annual budgets and create financial plans. In this new position, Schutt will be a professional financial partner for the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative, DIBS! On Resale and all five school principals, bookkeepers, and boards as they set budgets and steward resources. He will strategically look for ways to both save money and to maximize the impact of expenditures.

“Having access to this high-level strategic financial expertise is not the norm for schools. I am eager for Larry’s strategic feedback an insight,” explains Dan DeKam, WMCS Executive Director and MCS Principal.  

Having access to this high-level strategic financial expertise is not the norm for schools. I am eager for Larry’s strategic feedback an insight.

Larry & Jan Schutt

A West Michigan native and a graduate of West Ottawa High School, Schutt is one of eight children raised in a Christian home, on a farm just north of Holland, Michigan. He and Jan, his high-school sweetheart, have been married for 44 years, and they have two children and five grandchildren.

Schutt studied at Ferris State University and graduated with a BS degree in Accountancy and became a CPA.  He worked as a staff auditor with BDO Seidman in Grand Rapids, Michigan for six years auditing the financial records of many types of organizations – manufacturing, service, insurance, governmental and non-profits.  Schutt then served as a Chief Financial Officer for three private companies in West Michigan for 33 years. In the 90s, he earned his Masters of Management degree from Aquinas College.

In 2016, he retired from a full-time working career, “leaving rich with many friends and good experiences.”  In retirement he enjoys a new found freedom spending time in many different ways – re-landscaping his home, playing with grandchildren, travel with his wife, helping family members and friends with projects, golfing, fundraising for Cran-Hill Ranch, consulting and mentoring at a company in Holland, and more.

Schutt has served as a Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, deacon, treasurer, and as an elder at Hager Park Church in Jenison, where he and his wife were active members for more than 25 years.  Other areas of service are RCA South Grand Rapids Classis Finance Chairman, Pastoral Search Committee, Education Committee Chairman, Treasurer of the RCA Synod of the Great Lakes, and mentoring youth in Christian discipleship.


“God is so very good and we are thankful!  Praise be to God, the giver of all things!” shares Schutt. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work under the ‘better together’ philosophy with such wonderful people at West Michigan Christian Schools.”   

God is so very good and we are thankful!  Praise be to God, the giver of all things! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work under the ‘better together’ philosophy with such wonderful people at West Michigan Christian Schools.

Currently, Schutt serves as a board member of Cran-Hill Ranch, and as a Governing Elder at Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven, where he and Jan have been members for about ten years.  

WMCS is blessed to have you, Larry! Welcome, on behalf of all of our schools, alumni, and supporters!        

Larry & Jan Schutt enjoying the thrill of Grandparenthood!

              

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

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 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.

West Michigan Christian Schools 2017-18 Year in Review

Annual Themes Serve as a Guiding Light That Ensures a Purposeful Path for all Five Schools

Below is an illuminating peek behind the curtain at all five of our very purposeful WMCS member schools.  In their own words, each school shared about the 2017-18 journey and how they saw Christ in it all.

Walking in Wonder

This year at Fremont Christian School (FCS), our theme had us “Walking in the Wonder” of Jesus Christ.

One area where this theme was so evident was in our building addition project, which required all hands on deck. We walked in His wonder when we saw the incredible ways His community of believers came together for a common goal.

This was especially evident in a number of students who went beyond what was expected of them. Several students set up lemonade stands and donated all the money earned. Some others raised pigs for the county fair and donated a large portion of their sales to the building project. These students were not asked to give, they did it out of support for FCS, God’s school.

Several students set up lemonade stands and donated all the money earned. Some others raised pigs for the county fair and donated a large portion of their sales to the building project.

This is the wonder of Jesus – His presence, His inspiration that drives young people to root for HIS school, and want it to continue on. The wonder of Jesus was surely evident through the grace and support of our students.

 

UNITE!

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

This verse became the foundation for the Grand Haven Christian (GHC) theme “UNITE!”

Throughout the year, our students were challenged through chapel presentations, classroom devotions, and teachable moments to live in unity with one another.

At times, it requires hardships and difficulties for communities to grow in exceptional ways. The trials that several of our students and families endured this year were catalysts for unity growth.

At times, it requires hardships and difficulties for communities to grow in exceptional ways. The trials that several of our students and families endured this year were catalysts for unity growth.

Three of our graduating 8th graders have experienced serious health issues, with two of them still facing challenges as they move into high school. Witnessing the 8th-grade class rally around these boys and encourage them along their difficult journeys exemplified unity.

Witnessing the 8th-grade class rally around these boys and encourage them along their difficult journeys exemplified unity.

A father of two of our students was also recently diagnosed with cancer, and again, the school community united together to provide meals for this family, support, and care for their children, and offer prayers to encourage this family.  

…the school community united together to provide meals for this family, support, and care for their children, and offer prayers to encourage…

Daily we see the students look out for the child who is sitting by him/herself, playing games as a class at recess, doing cross-grade level activities, and so much more! Living in unity together is something we strive for every day and every year at GHC. Through the focused chapels and classroom activities, our prayer is that students will take the concept of unity into all areas of their life.

 

He Must Become Greater

The Muskegon Christian School (MCS) theme this year was just a simple equation based on John 3:30:  HE>i.  

We kicked off the school year with Spiritual Emphasis Week and challenged our students to live out this theme by asking themselves in the various situations they would face, “Am I making God greater in this conversation, in the work I’m doing, in the way I’m treating others?”  

Throughout the year, student Family Groups (small groups of students K-6th grade) worked on projects that helped them reflect on our theme and apply it to their lives in practical ways.

We kicked off the school year with Spiritual Emphasis Week and challenged our students to live out this theme by asking themselves in the various situations they would face: Am I making God greater in this conversation, in the work I’m doing, in the way I’m treating others?

It’s powerful to see God moving in the lives of our students, even if it’s just in short moments of grace. In the words of Mother Teresa; ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’  We witnessed grace in the kindness of a 3rd-grader hanging back with a kindergartener on field day to encourage him (even helping him tie his shoes).  The kindergartener didn’t ask for help; the older student saw the need, reached out, and helped!

It’s powerful to see God moving in the lives of our students, even if it’s just in short moments of grace. In the words of Mother Teresa; Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

We’ve seen God made greater in students taking ownership of the times they fail and trying to make things right.  A student had been ‘clipped down’ numerous times for running in the hallway.  Well, one particular day he ran out of the classroom upon dismissal and rammed into a parent.  A few days later, the student sought out that parent at praise service and apologized – completely on his own!  Another young lady struggled with being honest all year for fear of getting into trouble or having a bigger consequence.  Despite that, she approached her teacher to share that she had taken something that wasn’t hers the day prior.  She apologized and replaced what she had taken.

None of us are perfect – we are all working out our salvation.  It is a blessing to share this journey together with a staff and student body who strive to make God greater in all that we do.  We are thankful to have shared another great year at MCS together!

None of us are perfect – we are all working out our salvation.  It is a blessing to share this journey together with a staff and student body who strive to make God greater in all that we do.  

New Era Christian (NEC): Living in Community with Christ

The Spiritual Emphasis for the 2017-18 school year for New Era Christian (NEC) was living in community with Christ.  On April 26 and 27, that expanded to Chicago where the 7th and 8th-grade students went on an overnight field trip to learn about art, architecture, world history, American history, science, and big city culture. While they were there, they served the community of Christ by serving the homeless. Preschool through 8th-grade students donated toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap and Subway gift cards. Those items were equally distributed in bags decorated with pictures and words of encouragement drawn and written by New Era Christian School students.

The students were asked to write about their experience handing out the personal care packages to the homeless.

Thorissa Carter wrote, “One man, in particular, stood out to me. When a care package was given to him, his face kind of lit up and he couldn’t stop smiling, even when we walked away.”

One man, in particular, stood out to me. When a care package was given to him, his face kind of lit up and he couldn’t stop smiling, even when we walked away.

Ani Hill composed, “We passed out not only utensils but also the love of God.”

We passed out not only utensils but also the love of God.

Isaiah Morales penned, “The most exciting part that made me almost cry was when we were crossing the street to go to our other location. I saw a homeless woman, who had nothing, with three people kneeling around her with their hands holding each other and their heads bowed.  Then I heard them saying these words, ‘Dear God, please help her….’ Then Joe gave her a bag. God gave us the gift to help all that need to be helped. Praise the Lord on that one.”

The most exciting part that made me almost cry was when we were crossing the street to go to our other location. I saw a homeless woman, who had nothing, with three people kneeling around her with their hands holding each other and their heads bowed.  Then I heard them saying these words, ‘Dear God, please help her….’ Then Joe gave her a bag. God gave us the gift to help all that need to be helped. 

These activities align with the purpose of the school – to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity.

 

Rise Up To Identity

Western Michigan Christian’s (WMC) theme for the 2017-18 school year was Rise Up To Identity. What does it mean when you find your identity in Christ? We find ourselves identifying with academics, athletics, and other things but it can be powerful to fully identify with Christ.

What does it mean when you find your identity in Christ? We find ourselves identifying with academics, athletics, and other things but it can be powerful to fully identify with Christ.

During the fall Spiritual Emphasis, we focused on loving God, loving ourselves and others, and making disciples. The spring Spiritual Emphasis focused on our faith journey. This included testimony from the perspective of different students including one whose family forbade him from being a Christian and being baptized. The spring session closed with a celebration of Sawyer Arkema on World Down Syndrome Day and Sawyer led us in worship. J.P. Dorsey, Site Director at Northpoint Bible College and pastor at Grand Rapids First, led a teaching on not being spiritual orphans.

God has adopted us and we can go out to live in the power of Jesus, knowing that we are children of God. When asked at the end of the school year what the theme meant to them and how this became reality for him a freshman student shared that rising up to identity meant, “…being identified as a child of our Lord and Savior, it is not being ashamed of what you are but being proud to be called one of His. For me, this means being a part of people’s lives so that I can show them the work of Jesus, and being backed up by the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. One thing that brought this to reality in my life was praying with my friends and seeing where their faith was with God as the year progressed. Another thing that brought this to a reality was having prospective students from other schools shadow me, it was fun to be a good leader to those people and to see how WMC is different from other schools that people are coming from.”

being identified as a child of our Lord and Savior, it is not being ashamed of what you are but being proud to be called one of His.

It was truly a year of growth for students and staff as they explored identity in Christ. Tyler Ingalls, Spiritual Development Coordinator at WMC, was encouraged by the growth of students and staff this year. “Our students prayed over each other and shared powerful testimony about where they were at in their faith journey. We had excellent participation by staff and I look forward to working next year with students from all backgrounds and experiences.”

Our students prayed over each other and shared powerful testimony about where they were at in their faith journey. We had excellent participation by staff and I look forward to working next year with students from all backgrounds and experiences.

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) 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 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.

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.