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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Kathryn Becksvoort

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 Kathryn Becksvoort of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:

Kathryn is an amazingly talented musician, teacher, wife, and mother of four. She is passionate about providing ways in which students can use their voice and other musical instruments to make beautiful music in praise to God. Mrs. Becksvoort also directs the choirs at WMC, providing different music opportunities for GHC students for up 13 years of their life!

Q: How many years have you taught?

A: This is my 17th year teaching music and choir at GHC.  It is my 13th year teaching middle and high school choir at WMC.

Directing the 5th Graders at the 2019 Christmas Concert

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach preschool-8th grade general music and choir at GHC.  I teach 7th-12th grade choir at WMC

Selfie in music class with Kinder

Q: Do you have kids at GHC?

A: My son Jack is in 5th grade, my daughter Clara is in 2nd grade, and my daughter Louise is in Young 5’s.  My daughter Cecilia will be coming to the preschool in the fall!

Selfie with the Men’s Choir as they prepare to sing at State Choir Festival at Hope College

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

A: I love being able to connect with my students.  Music is such a passion for many of them – being able to nurture and showcase their musical gifts is a privilege and a blessing.  I love seeing them take those gifts out into the community and into their churches to bless others as well!

Selfie with Lou on her 5th birthday, getting ice cream at Norm’s.

Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: I love getting up early in the morning, and being greeted by my sweet three-year-old.  She’s a morning person and a very early riser.  She always has a big smile and hugs for her mama!

Selfie with Jack on our taco date at Mercury Park

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

A:  I think God has blessed me with musical talents, which I love to share.  But beyond that, I think He has given me the skills of communication and empathy, so I can really reach my students where they are and help them grow.

Selfie with Dave this past summer at Silver Lake (while at Mac Woods)

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

A: I might let someone else teach fourth-grade recorders.  Just kidding – I actually love it!  Is that strange?

Selfie with the Chamber Choir, just before the Fall Concert at Orchard View.

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

A: Iced coffee!

Family photo from fall 2019
(from left to right) the kids’ order is Clara, Cecilia, Louise, and Jack.

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

A: GHC has always strongly supported the music program.  I know that whether it’s an elementary musical, a children’s Christmas program, a middle school choir concert, or anything else, I know that the parents, administrators, and teachers always come to cheer us on and support us in the audience!  Students then feel loved and encouraged in their musical endeavors, and strive to achieve excellence!  We know that as we share our musical gifts, we are there to glorify God.  I love being able to communicate that at GHC.

Directing the Chamber Choir and the Chamber Alumni at the WMC Collage Concert (at the Frauenthal).

As a beloved faculty member, Kathryn 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, Kathryn! 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 GHC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about us!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Hanna Cacciatore

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 Hanna Cacciatore of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School

A quote from Tim Annema GHC Administrator:

Señora Cacciatore is a caring and compassionate wife, mother, and teacher. She daily demonstrates these attributes to her Spanish immersion Kindergarten students. It’s amazing to walk into her classroom after just six months of school and hear her students purely conversing in Spanish. Hanna is a valuable member of our teaching staff and is intentional about building community both before and after the school day with students, parents, and fellow staff members.

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: This is my second year at GHC but my 10th year teaching.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Kindergarten Spanish Immersion

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

A: My daughter Natalie is in the Young 5’s classroom, my son Daniel will be in preschool next year!

Hanna with her daughter Natalie and son Daniel.

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

A: Last school year we read the story “Un beso en mi mano” (“The Kissing Hand”), after reading the story I had planned on having the students do a craft with a hand tracing and heart but the students really wanted to make a raccoon. Each student had different ideas on how to make a raccoon using different materials, I decided to go with it! It was a lot of fun to see their individual creativity come out, each raccoon turned out differently and it was fun to share them with one another.

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

A: While living in Honduras, my husband and I traveled around Honduras and ventured into Guatemala and Nicaragua. We got to see Mayan ruins, hear Kaqchikel (an indigenous Mayan language), and release baby sea turtles. Before we left Honduras my husband surprised me with a trip to Roatan with our kids and a friend, this was a trip I had wanted for the longest time but didn’t think we would get to before we left Honduras.

The Cacciatore clan at the GH Pier.

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

A: I love seeing the “Aha!” moments and watching the students’ faces light up with new knowledge and connections. I also love seeing the transformation of English to Spanish throughout the year. Most of my students enter the year not knowing any Spanish and leave at the end of the year speaking it fluently.

Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: The best part of my day is greeting parents and students at the door in the morning. I love seeing the smiling faces and the excitement of the students as they enter the classroom. I love being able to catch up with parents for a minute or two and developing the relationship between home and school.

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

A: My favorite drink is a caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

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

A: I am most grateful for the GHC community: my fellow staff, school administrators, parents, and students. This is only my second year at GHC but it feels like I have always been here. I feel loved and supported by the community and am very blessed to be here at GHC.

As a beloved faculty member, Hanna 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, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Hanna! 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 about starting your child in GHC’s Spanish Immersion program?

LEARN MORE.

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. 

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Wailand Groenendyk

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 Wailand Groenendyk of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:

Wailand has had a tremendous impact on my life, as a colleague and also as a husband and father of four boys. Wailand is calm, quiet, and soft-spoken outside of the classroom, but when the room fills with students his passion for kids, specifically middle school students, and God’s Word is evident. I have marveled over the years at his ability to teach Scripture while also speaking to the hearts of those in his classroom. Wailand is creative and a great leader of the middle school team at GHC.

Q & A with Wailand Groenendyk:

Q: How many years have you taught at GHC?

A: I have been a teacher at Grand Haven Christian School for 40 years.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: My first class was 5/6 grade, split class. For several years I taught 6th grade as a self-contained classroom. When GHCS transitioned from a K-9  to PS-8, I began teaching in the Middle School. I have taught 6th grade Bible and Social Studies, 7th grade Bible and Social Studies, 8th grade Bible and History and 9th grade Bible.  Currently, I am the Sixth Grade homeroom teacher and am teaching 6th Bible, 7th Bible, and 8th Bible & American History.

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

A: While attending Calvin College, I met my wife Jean (GHC co-worker Mr. Mark Brondyke’s sister). We have four sons and three daughters-in-law as well as seven grandchildren.  All of our sons (Tad, Casey, Will & Tully) attended GHCS K-8th grade and each also graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School. Tad attended Mid America Seminary and hopes to be a pastor,  Casey works for Bekins Appliances, Will is a web designer, and Tully teaches 5th Grade at Grand Rapids Christian School.  


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

A: Leading the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders through the Bible over three years is an absolute delight. To take them from Genesis to Revelation on a journey that helps them see the beautiful design of our Sovereign God opens up opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives. 

Teaching Living Through History is also a fabulous experience. When the kids connect their emotions to the content of American History and “feel” what it was like to have a tyrant King, crops destroyed, investments flourish, and gold fever they connect with those who paved the way before them.  There have been so many “Ah-ha” moments over the years like when I (as King G) was taxing the daylights out of the student colonies, they got so fed up they actually stood up in class and began singing the Star Spangled Banner, after which they promptly declared their independence! 

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

C:\Users\Wailand\Desktop\20190317_145549.jpg

A1: Last year’s Winterim, I “taught” the Bob Ross method of oil painting for a group of middle schoolers. It was a blast!  I have been dabbling with the oil paints since and have had some success in producing “art” that actually looks like art.

Maranda visits with “Bob Ross” (AKA Wailand Groenendyk)

A2: For twenty-three years I have taught “summer school” at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. I am technically a Title I tutor and I work with the adolescent boys in the Residential Treatment program.

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

A: The thing about my job I love the most are the middle school kids. They are so multifaceted; walking with them is like walking through a field of diamonds.  They gleam, beam, reflect, can be rough, can be tough, can be a solitaire, perhaps shine best in a bunch or just need a little polishing. There’s a part of kids that is so predictable that you can use that predictability to make successful teaching moments. Then there’s that unpredictability where a kid will come up with a “new” insight that also makes for a great learning experience.

Isaiah makes a visit to Mr. G’s classroom!

Kids are fun and funny. Nearly every day the students will provide an opportunity to experience joy, Sometimes it’s a muffled chuckled; other times the laughter can’t be contained. Kids are a challenge. They make you think. They keep you on your toes. They figure out new angles just when you think you have all the angles covered.  Middle School kids have a keen sense of justice and will hold teachers to high standards for fairness. While middle schoolers can be brutally honest, they are also quick to forgive and forget. What a blessing!

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

A: The older I get the more I can see the evidence of God’s providence.  My fifth-grade science teacher was Mr. Ron Zoet at West Side Christian School (Walker Building). Ron inspired me to be a teacher. Twelve years later, God, in His providence, brought me to a teaching position in the school where Ron Zoet was the principal. That was 40 years ago. My story has been unfolding in marvelous ways that I could not even have begun to imagine. God has taught me the patience needed to be a teacher, given me a measure of wisdom, and a love for learning.

King G of Blue Island also shows up once in a while.

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


A: Vernors!

Image result for vernors

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

A: I am grateful for the people I work with. We truly are like family. I genuinely enjoy being a part of the staff and family of Grand Haven Christian School.  Our parents are supportive and caring. The school climate at GHC is “WE” not us and them.

My colleagues and me on “Dress Like Your Grandparent Day.”
A proud grandpa and three of his grandsons.
My wife, kids, and grandkids on Memorial Day. “I am a blessed man.”

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

A Small Token of Appreciation

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

We have a couple small tokens of appreciation for you, Wailand! 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, Wailand!

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 GHC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about us!

A Testimony by Tim Annema, GHC Principal

Family, Faith & My Deepest Hope

By Tim Annema, Principal of Grand Haven Christian School

Growing up on a dairy farm, there was never a shortage of things to do; cleaning stalls, feeding calves, milking, or my personal favorite, fieldwork. My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He was up at 4:30 am each day and often worked late into the night paying bills, working out in the fields, or monitoring the birth of a new calf in the barn.

Through all of this, my dad made sure to make time for his faith and family. He was always at the table for family dinners and made it to all of our concerts, games, and recitals. He was also involved in ministry, serving on both church council and the Christian school board. Over time, I have grown to not only appreciate and value these attributes but also emulate them in my daily walk. These attributes did not just appear one day in my father or myself, they were cultivated over time.

The prayer of Oscar Romero hangs in my office as a reminder that God is at work, whether as a farmer, principal, parent, or grandparent. This is what we are about:

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the
Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

My deepest hope is that each child of God will experience value and love found in Jesus Christ while being equipped and called to action to live for Him. Often, we prefer to know that we have the skill-set and ability to complete a task before committing, however, many times God calls for us to act, promising He will equip us along the way. He did so through Moses as he led the Israelites out of captivity from Egypt, David as he defeated the Philistine giant, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, who endured the pain and suffering of the cross.

My deepest hope is that each child of God will experience value and love found in Jesus Christ while being equipped and called to action to live for Him.

As someone new to the role and responsibilities of a principal, I find comfort in knowing that God has called me to act and will sustain me along the way. Furthermore, as a parent of four boys, all at GHC, I am thankful
for the teachers and staff who play a significant role in my children’s lives, sowing and cultivating seeds of faith.

My prayer is that every student at Grand Haven Christian School and within all West Michigan Christian Schools will experience the call of God and respond, trusting that God will equip along the way.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Grand Haven Christian School?

This testimony was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. To download a PDF copy of the newsletter CLICK HERE.

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.