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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Ann Yonker

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to 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.

Ann Yonker

Celebrating Ann Yonker of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of FCS Principal, Nick Donkersloot:

Mrs. Yonker has a joy and love for her students and that is evident each and every day. A veteran teacher whom others lean on for advice and support, Ann always has time for everyone. Mrs. Yonker has the unique ability to create a whole world with just her words when she is telling a Bible story. Mrs. Yonker never settles for mediocre, both in her and her student’s work. She is constantly pushing herself and others to be the best that they can be.  

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I have taught at Fremont Christian for 29 years.

Field Trip to Muskegon Winter Sports Park with my 2nd graders. 


Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach 2nd-grade Outdoor Education – it’s the best!! 

Me and my students in the classroom.

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there?

A: Both of my sons graduated from FCS and WMCHS. Jonathan is 24 and Tyler is 20.

The Yonker Family: Jonathan, Ann, Steve, and Tyler.

A very proud moment – watching my son graduate from Marine Boot Camp in SanDiego, California.


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

A: It is really hard to come up with just one!  As a working mom, you sometimes feel like you are missing the time spent with your children, so it was very special for me to have both of my sons in my classroom.  It gave me a glimpse into their lives as students and I was finally able to go on field trips with my own children! 

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

A: I love going to High School events and having former students come up to me.  It is great hearing what is going on in their lives and it means a lot that they are willing to take the time to say hi and talk a bit. 

Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

A: I love to travel and try new things!  I have visited 48 states and toured through 27 different countries.  I’ve tried high ropes courses, white water rafting, the Muskegon Luge run, and skydiving.    

Kayaking in beautiful Glacier National Park 

A very friendly mountain goat we encountered while hiking on the Highline Trail in Glacier!
My favorite place in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring!

Getting ready to ride the luge run in Muskegon.

Camping near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. 

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

A: I love teaching second grade!  Second graders are excited about learning and school, but what I love the most is building relationships with students.  I get very close to my students after a whole year and really miss them when they move on (or have to be at home because of distance learning!).  Because I am in lower elementary I get to watch them grow up and move through the grades at FCS.  I love going to All-School chapels and having older students come up to me for a hug and to say hi.   

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: I love prayer journal time with my class.  We gather on the floor and share what is on our minds and hearts. It is a time when I learn as much from my students as I hope they learn from me.  It is powerful to hear your students praying for you! I am so grateful to be at a school where I can share my faith and sit in a circle with my students as we pray for each other. 

Q: If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be? 


A: Report cards!  It is impossible to give parents a good idea of what their child is like at school with the grades you give on a piece of paper.  No child can be defined by a report card!

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

A: Coke Zero – I’m a caffeine junky!

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

A: That every fall I get to start over at a job I love!  Teaching never gets boring because each year you can do things differently with a whole new group of students.  I am also very grateful for the overwhelming support of parents, fellow staff, administration, and school board.

As a beloved faculty member, Ann is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Ann! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Chad!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools 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.

Curious if you should switch your kids to FCS or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner. Being a PK-12 school system, WMCS is one-stop Christian education!

LEARN MORE about us!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Gladys Pell

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to 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 Gladys Pell of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

A quote from Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Administrator:

There is no denying the love that Gladys has for music. God has blessed her with a gift that she loves to share with her students. Her passion and joy are evident in how she is able to take our middle school students and turn them into amazing bands and choirs. Gladys is always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge her students. FCS is blessed to have Mrs. Pell. 

Gladys Pell

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I came to Fremont Christian School in the fall of 1985. I left in 1993 to be home with kids, did some teaching at Fremont Public and Providence Christian HS before coming back to FCS in 2006 and it’s good to be “home.”

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Currently, I am teaching all bands and choirs in grades 5-8, as well as 7th-grade pre-Algebra. I’ve taught everything from K music to 9th grade German over the years!

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there? 

A: My husband, Dan, and I have 4 kids, all graduates of Fremont Christian School: Michael (FCS ’07, PCHS ‘11) is married to Nicole Ribbens Pell (WMC ’11); Elizabeth (FCS ’10, WMC ’14) is married to Tyler Herlien; Emilee (FCS ’11, WMC ’15) and Hannah (FCS ’14, WMC ’18).

The Pell family celebrated a marriage this past summer.

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

A: In my 2nd year at FCS, I was able to take the Jr. high band to State Festival, where our sight-reading judge was my former 5-12th grade band director, Henry VanderLinde. I had dreamt of being a band director since 6th grade, and to be at Festival with him as our judge, and then to receive a top rating from him was very exciting for me! As a young teacher, it really felt like God was confirming the choices He led me to make for my career!

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

A: I was walking through the Amway Grand Hotel at a recent music teacher convention when a young lady ran out of a business in the hotel and wrapped me in a huge hug! It was a former student who recognized me and wanted me to know how much music class was a positive influence in her life, and the one thing she looked forward to every day in MS and HS. 

           
Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

A: My parents were first-generation immigrants from Germany to the United States. They spoke German at home all the time because they wanted to immerse us in their native language — a great selling point for immersion classes—it works! I can understand almost everything anyone says in German, but please don’t ask me to speak it! Since I don’t use it much, I would most definitely embarrass myself! And…my first trip to Germany was when I was only 18 months old!

The annual TIGER game day!

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

A: The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: That first cup of hot tea in the morning as I read through my morning devotions and get ready to face the day!

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

A: I have a fairly high tolerance level for noise, which I think is important in what I do. Sometimes musical creativity can be noisy! And, NO…I don’t wear earplugs!

I also feel God has blessed me with an ability to relate to MS kids and love them, even on their difficult days. 

Q: If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be? 

A: I would LOVE to get the bands and choirs back into the festival scene, which would give them a greater opportunity to be beauty creators outside of our community. 

Dan & Gladys on an Alaskan vacation celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

A: My students could answer this one: hot tea! You would be hard-pressed to find me without a cup close by (although often it does get cold….)

I also love a hot cocoa day with my 7/8 Choirs on those cold, Michigan winter days!

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

A: The support of an amazing school community: parents/grandparents, school board, and staff! It is so gratifying to have a team effort in raising kids to understand their role in God’s story!



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

A: I believe that Teaching for Transformation has been my goal since beginning to teach so many years ago. I love being able to share my faith through music and have always tried to encourage kids to grow in their walk with God through the music we use. I do love the current terminology that reminds us that we are a part of God’s continuing story. It is my prayer that my students will always see the value of music in their lives and how their music choices can impact the world around them. I pray that they will be active participants in worshiping God through music.

Gladys and her husband Dan.

As a beloved faculty member, Gladys is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, Allison, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Gladys! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools 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.

Curious if you should switch your kids to MCS or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? It’s time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE ABOUT US!

Does Your Child Need a Fresh Start? Explore New Beginnings at West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12

New Beginnings at WMCS

Today’s youth face a barrage of influences that compete for and invade their attention, at EVERY age.

Give your child a leg up with a fresh start at West Michigan Christian Schools!

At WMCS, the seeds of Truth are sown early and consistently cultivated until the child is rooted and ready for secondary school. Backed up at home, this powerful collaboration gives your child what is needed to grow into a fruit-bearing child of God.

Fresh Take on Timeless Truth

Lakeshore parents have trusted West Michigan Christian Schools for 137 years–not a typo!

WMCS Timeline Infographic with chronological dates and logos of all five schools
WMCS has been offering Christian Education in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan for more than 100 years!

Although God’s Word is timeless, how we reach students must be fresh

Our PK-12 school system provides preschoolers through high school seniors, with the fertile soil to transform and thrive spiritually, socially and academically.

The WMCS 5-School System offers:

  • Teaching for Transformation PK-12
  • Spanish Immersion and English programs PreK-6th
  • Preschool (PT and FT options)
  • Kindergarten; English or Spanish Immersion. (PT and FT options)
  • Active learning via STEM & Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • PK-12 Christian educational experience with Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School

Our schools 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.

Come to West Michigan Christian Schools and give your child the New Beginning he/she needs to bloom!

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, 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).

Go to WMCSchools.org to LEARN MORE and to determine which school is the best match for your family.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

A Testimony By Nick Donkersloot, of FCS

A Man After His Father’s Own Heart

By Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Principal

Every boy grows up wanting to be like their hero and I was no exception. A childhood hero is usually a superhero or an all-star athlete. My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot;
he also happened to be my father.

My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot; he also happened to be my father.

I have known I wanted to be in education my whole life, and after thirteen years of teaching, I have finally been able to realize that dream by becoming the principal at Fremont Christian.

I know that I am a fallen man; we are all fallen. I also know the joy of God’s never-ending grace and love for us. A love that meant he sent his son to die on the cross for us ensuring our salvation. I know that in all things I am in
God’s hands and no matter what I do he will never let go of me. This is the foundation of who I am, and it is truly a joy to share that with all around me. I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. One thing that I have loved about being a principal is being able to pop into the classroom and celebrate with them in whatever they are learning.

I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them (students).

Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them. My whole childhood was centered around Christian education. My education from kindergarten through high school was at a Christian school. My father was my principal for elementary school, middle school and first two years of high school. I also spent the first two years of my undergrad at Calvin College. I have always been thankful for the foundation in my background in Christian education. I not only learned the importance of a quality education where Christ is at the center of all things, but I experienced it. It is a foundation that carried me through to my teaching career. I have seen the value and benefits of having my faith and the faith of my staff and students woven throughout every aspect of FCS. This is why I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

We are part of God’s story and because of His redemption, we get to be a part of the restoration story. I take pride and joy in working on bringing restoration to God’s world.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Fremont Christian School’s PK-8th grade?

This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.

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.

Early Adopters Emerge in the West Michigan Christian Schools Teaching for Transformation Program

The Education of a “Peculiar People”

By Jennifer Van Hekken, WMCS PK-8 Curriculum Director & TfT Director

You may have heard the phrase “Teaching for Transformation” thrown around in various school communications and maybe you’re curious what it means.

Teaching for Transformation (TfT) is a program that is being integrated into Christian schools across the country, and we (the WMCS 5-school PK-12 system) are excited to be added to that esteemed list of schools.

The TfT model of education begins with three years of faculty training. Year one begins with eight modules, or lessons, delivered to all WMCS teachers.  In the second year of TfT, twenty-five percent of the staff emerge as early adopters of the program and begin implementing the framework into their classrooms. Year three of TfT focuses on the training of the remaining three-fourths of the staff, moving the early adopters into a training role.

Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information.

As WMCS enters our second year of training, I’m excited to observe unique teaching and learning already taking shape in our schools. Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information. Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks. I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!   

Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks.

At WMCS it is our desire that beyond anything else, our students understand that they are a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) who play an important role in God’s story and are set apart to do “good works which have been laid out for them in advance” (Ephesians 2:10).  TfT equips teachers to weave this concept into all of their lessons, making for an impactful and transformational learning environment. 

I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!  

Our early adopters are already capturing this vision in their classrooms through the addition of their Deep Hope for their students and the creation of a Storyline for their classrooms.

WMCS TfT Early Adopters Explain it Best

Athena Findlay (GHC) has chosen the Storyline “Find Your Purpose,” and is reminding her students through all of their English Language Arts studies that, as they read others’ stories, they themselves also play a role in God’s story, and they are challenged to consider their own purpose in that story.

Athena Findley, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a middle school English teacher at Grand Haven Christian School.

Jen Menefee (MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Loved by God,” and spends time in her classroom reminding her students that all of the people groups that they study in Social Studies, as well as every student in the classroom, is loved by God, which changes how they see both themselves and others.

Jen Menefee, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a second-grade teacher at Muskegon Christian School.

Nick Debone (WMC/MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Created to Worship.” He reminds his students that regardless of what type of music they are playing, what instrument they have chosen, and how difficult a piece can be, their ultimate goal is to understand that they were created to worship and that they get to use Band class to live that out. 

Nick DeBone, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a band director at Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School.

Believers are God’s Own Special People

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

As a 5-school PK-12 collaborative, we are so excited about the way that the TfT framework can continue to help us intentionally integrate faith and learning in a way that not only helps our students grow but also brings about transformation in both students’ and teachers’ lives. 

For more information about the WMCS Teaching for Transformation program, please contact us!

This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.

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.

The West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative Annual 2019 Golf Outing

The WMCS Annual Golf Outing is the only fundraising event of the year that benefits all five member schools. It’s so well-attended that the spots are selling out early!

This year we gathered at Chase Hammond Golf Course on September 14, 2019, as the sun started to rise. Our generous sponsors, partners, and supporters arrived ready for a fun day of best-ball golf while raising funds for the WMCS faculty Teaching for Transformation (TfT) program.

WMCS is excited to announce that we’ve raised $35,000 toward our $50k 3-year goal. That puts us right on track as we enter year two of the three-year faculty TfT training.

It’s due to your support and the steadfast generosity of our sponsors that allows WMCS to provide our staff with what they need to provide excellent education for children at our five schools.

We are always humbled by and so grateful for the generous support:

Platinum Sponsors: BettenBaker, Gort & Kraker and Summit Laboratory;

Gold sponsors: Advanced Printing & Graphics, Bishop Heating and Air, B2 Outlets Stores, DIBS! On Resale, and West Coast Pediatric Dentistry.

Silver sponsors: Hometown Pharmacy, B&B Designs, Independent Bank, Bornw Bear, Shelby State Bank. Don Rypma Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Landscape Design, Country Dairy, Cedar Crest Dairy, and Cornerstone University. 


Envelope Please. And the Winners Are …

1st Place, with a score of 57:

From left to right:
Dean Johnson, Jeremiah Johnson, Daniel Rosema and Caleb Johnson.
Caleb, an all-state golfer in his days at WMC, was also a member of last year’s first-place foursome.

2nd Place, with a score of 59:

From left to right: The Rop brothers: Steve, Stan, Dave and Keith.

3rd Place, with a score of 60:

From left to right:
Kevin Kamphuis, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger and Adam Ledger.

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 FCSPhil Morse of NECLisa Taylor of MCSKristin Clausing of GHC, Scott Liggett of WMC, and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative.

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!

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:

Interested in helping West Michigan Christian School reach its Teaching for Transformation fundraising goal?

Please EMAIL US! 

West Michigan Christian Schools Partner with B2 Outlet Stores to Raise Funds for Christian Education

We have Our Very Own Outlet Store ! 

West Michigan Christian Schools is excited to announce a new fundraising partnership with B2 Outlet Stores, a faith-based initiative that weaves together an emerging business model with a missional purpose.

For WMCS, that missional purpose is to support preschool through 12th-grade Christian education along the lakeshore of West Michigan at our five schools

B2 Outlet Stores serve the community by selling brand new, name-brand merchandise at reduced prices, then donating the majority of the store profits back into WMCS.

On October 9th, 2019 all five WMC Schools will come together to celebrate the B2 Outlet Store Grand Opening in Muskegon

            …and you’re ALL INVITED! 🎉

Shop, Save & Help Your School Win!

Each of the five West Michigan Christian Schools will receive a unique bar code, which is to be presented at checkout so B2 can keep a tally for sales for each school.

At the end of the academic 2019-2020 school year, the WMC School with the most cumulative sales will win a $250 shopping spree at B2! 

The bar code cards will be available in your school office as of Monday, September 16.

Already shopping at B2 and forgot your code? Tell the B2 cashier which school you are affiliated with and they will take care of it for you! 

To prepare for the Grand Opening, we need all helping hands on deck this month to get the store set up!

Volunteers Needed:

We need your help! To prepare for the Grand Opening, we need all helping hands on deck this month to get the store set up!

We are enlisting WMCS family, friends and student volunteers to get the store ready for the opening day next month.

The store layout is set, fixtures are purchased and clothing and other sale items have arrived! If you can hang items on a hanger, we need you!

Earn your annual school service hours while helping a GREAT cause!

Volunteer Info:

  • 2-8 volunteers starting Monday, September 9 through October 8
  • Volunteer Sign Up:
    1. Go to this link b2outlets.com/volunteers
    2. Choose the Muskegon store location by clicking the pull-down arrow
    3. Choose the hours you want to volunteer
      • Monday through Saturday shifts available:
      • M – F: 8am-11pm, 11am-2pm, 2pm-5pm, 5pm-8pm
      • Sat: 9-noon
      • Closed Sunday
    4. Enter your contact info and the B2 Team will be in touch

B2 Employment Opportunities:

The new store will also need to hire some full and part-time paid staff.

Where is it?

The B2 Outlet Store is located at 1638 Apple Avenue, in the commercial building behind Bob Evans off Apple Avenue, right off Highway 31. 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT of Christian Education at our West Michigan Christian Schools!

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 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 Complete Year One of Teaching for Transformation Training

TfT is Deeper Learning with a Christian Theme

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 offers teachers expert deeper-learning tools to better instruct in a way that engages the student and creates lasting transformation. 

This requires a shift to new way of thinking and teaching. That said, year one of TfT training has been introductory. The early adopters to the training framework have already been identified and they will be given additional training.

To help explain this sophisticated program and why we chose to embark on it for WMCS, we asked our TfT Coach Amanda Albright the following questions:

  1. How does TfT already enhance what is already distinctly Christian education at WMCS?
  2. What does TfT do for teachers and schools?
  3. How do student benefit from experiencing TfT in the classroom?

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).

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 engage and be an integral part in God’s unfolding plan.

The funds raised at the Annual WMCS Golf Outing 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.

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.