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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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Paula DeRoos

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

Celebrating Paula DeRoos of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Paule and her white Bichon Grace.

Paula and her best buddy Gracie.

The 2018-19 school year was Paula’s first year teaching at New Era Christian School. She teaches 3rd and 4th-grade. Being that she is from the Holland/Zeeland area, her children attended Borculo Christian and Zeeland West High School.

Paula graduated from Northwestern College with a B.A. in Education and English. After that, she attended Western Michigan University for her counseling masters and to Grand Valley State University for a masters in Educational Leadership.

In public education, Paula worked as a middle school teacher, high school teacher and counselor, reading coach, a district union president, and a high school principal.  In Christian education, she currently works at Cornerstone University as a part-time professor and has been a middle school teacher and principal. Paula retired from public school education as a high school principal in 2015.

She and her husband Kevin DeRoos plan to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Germany this summer.

Kevin and Paula and Lucy an infant

Kevin and Paula and their great-niece Lucy.

They have two grown daughters: Lindsey Castro and her husband Carlos who live in Harper Creek, MI and Kelsey DeRoos, who just graduated from GVSU. Animal lovers, they have three-quarter horses and two dogs.

Paula and Horse in pasture.

Paula and Hot Rod, one of her quarter horses, in the pasture.

Paula brings a vast amount of expertise to NEC and we are so grateful!

Q & A w/ Paula:

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

A: The lesson of tithing first gifts to God had been our focus in the day’s Bible lesson.  For science, students brought in many types of rocks and I had ordered Geodes for all of them.

That day, we had fun cracking the rocks open and learning what caused the crystal formation. A fellow teacher came out of her room hysterically laughing. She heard this conversation with two of my boys.

One boy said, “Those aren’t just crystals. Mrs. DeRoos is wrong. They’re diamonds! I’m going to sell mine and make a lot of money. What are you going to  do?”New Era Christian School Store

The other boy said, “I’m going to sell mine too, and buy a new Xbox with my money.  What are you going to do with yours?”

The first young man said, “Wait a minute.  We’d better give some to the school, you know the first gift goes to God. They gave us the rocks. They are going to do an addition.  We can really make it really cool! Then I’ll buy my PS 4.”

We’d better give some to the school, you know the first gift goes to God. They gave us the rocks. They are going to do an addition.  We can really make it really cool! Then I’ll buy my PS 4.

2.   Q: What is the best part of your day? 

A: I love our opening day devotions.  The children pick two praise songs they love and sing their hearts out. The students create choreography for each song. We say the memory verse together, read a devotion, talk about praises and prayer requests in our life and pray.  It is such a special time for us with God and each other.

Daughters Lindsey and Kelsey take a selfie with Kevin and Paula.

Daughters Lindsey and Kelsey take a selfie with Kevin and Paula.

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

A: Phil Morse (NEC principal) and I met through our common mentor, Jack Postma.  I am thankful for both of them! Jack connected me to Phil when he needed a teacher, and I wanted to continue teaching little kids.  

I had been a principal for several years but wanted the joy of being with the kids again. Jack told me, “You will know you are in the right place to which God has called you when the deepest gladness of your heart meets the deep hunger of the world.” I feel that every day at New Era Christian.

You will know you are in the right place to which God has called you when the deepest gladness of your heart meets the deep hunger of the world.

Jack passed away after his fifth victory with cancer on October 26th, 2018. He would have loved to see God’s continued work at New Era Christian School, a place he loved, the right place to which God has called us!

Paula fishing in Colorado

Paula fishing in Colorado.

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

A: Diet Cherry Coke with a bit of fizz and a cherry on top!

diet cherry coke

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

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

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

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

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

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Service-Learning Means Fellowship at New Era Christian School

Peer-to-Peer: Sometimes Just Being a Friend is All Someone Needs

Every month, our 7th and 8th-grade students partner with a group of middle school students from the Oceana County area who have diverse learning abilities.

They all meet at The Ladder Community Center in Shelby. The Ladder is a friendly, intergenerational and ethnically diverse community center aimed at knowing and serving our neighbors and uniting our community around Christ so that lives are transformed. The Ladder is dedicated to impacting families by guiding people to love and follow Jesus, making the organization a great partner for NEC’s service-learning program.

 

The students of New Era Christian School come to the community center to enjoy their peers and build them up by spending quality time together and just having fun. Their activities range from old school games like pool and puzzles to getting creative with a giant game of spoons, four corners, among other things.

“My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!” shared Tonya Springer, of West Shore Educational Service District. West Shore ESD is a resource for all schools in the area and NEC works in partnership with them so they can all connect at The Ladder each month.

My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like a typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!

This year they all performed Christmas carols using only their voices and spoons! It was a great time had by all. Nothing fancy. The key was the kids were present. No cell phones–simply face to face contact. Everyone connects and has a great time of laughter and fellowship. Being a friend to someone and playing together creates a powerful connection — for both the NEC students AND the kids that come to The Ladder. 

A few NEC students shared their reflections on their personal experiences at The Ladder this year:

“That day is a really big day for me. I usually hang out with Crystal. I don’t know what her disability is exactly, but she seems disconnected and younger than a typical fourteen-year-old. She is incredible at drawing and when we did a puzzle she did more than half the puzzle! I also was around another girl, Sharon, who is with autism. She seemed very shy and you could tell what she means by her hand motions more than her words. Overall, it has been a life changing experience to realize that everyone struggles with something but some things are more visible than others. They are still a child loved by God.” – NEC 8th grader Anna Morse.

“The Ladder is very fun. It is also very humbling because I have good social skills, I can run, and I get invited to parties. Gary and Rick struggle with those things.  I almost wanted to cry because of how humbled I was.  It makes me more sensitive to make sure all kids feel included.” -NEC 7th grader Brody Erickson.

This has been a great opportunity for our students to serve Jesus by serving others. It’s technically service-learning for NEC students but everyone is blessed in this win-win situation!

About NEC

Located in beautiful New Era, Michigan, New Era Christian School serves student preschool through 8th-grade. Of the many important decisions you’ll make in life, few are more significant than the ones that affect your children. Of these choices, selecting a school may well prove to be the most important. NEC exists to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity. To learn more about NEC contact us! 

New Era Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), 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.

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!

New Era Christian is a School Family That Cares

New Era Christian School: When The Storm Hits & Community Surrounds You

We are educators. That’s why kids come to school here. To learn and prepare them for high school. Academics are important and, to be honest, we do that very well here. Our students rank at the top in the state.

But there’s so much more going on here at New Era Christian School. We are a loving community of believers who support, disciple, love, laugh, pray and even cry together, year after year.

We GROW in the Word and as a school family. How? We get real and get low and jump in when needed. That can be teachers coming to work early for group devotions, prayer time and bible study. Other times it is seen when parents pray over each other in the halls or students lift each other up in prayer. As life would have it here in this broken world, sometimes families go through difficult trials and they need the loving support of our school community. One story, in particular, comes to mind that is a beautiful example of just that.

Dion and Amy Stumpo have three kids, ages 8, 6, and 4 in grades 2nd, K and a three-year-old in preschool. As life would have it, they hit some tough times. Here’s a sweet testimony about how the love of NEC touched them amidst their trial:  

Two years ago, we found out that our two-year-old daughter, Jubilee, had a dislocated hip for an unknown amount of time. It may have been since birth and nobody caught it. She had surgery in January 2017. We were pretty new to New Era Christian School. Our oldest son, Dion, had been in four-year-old preschool and at the time of the surgery was a kindergarten student.  We weren’t really familiar with the families or staff yet.  The only reason we informed anyone at school that the surgery was happening was that our son was quite concerned about it. If it came up at school, we wanted people to be aware so they knew how to help him.

When the surgery happened, Mrs. Wolffis told us to expect an envelope coming home with our kindergarten son.  Our assumption was that it was an envelope full of get well cards that the class had made. When he got home we saw it was this big office envelope full of cards signed by the students and staff with, “We’re praying for you” AND gift cards for gas, groceries and a quick bite to eat.  

Even after the surgery, we’d run into different people and they’d ask, “Are you the one with the little girl who had the surgery?  We’ve been praying for you. How’s she doing?”  People genuinely cared.  It was a little bit overwhelming because we had never been a part of a community quite like that.

When we would come in to drop Dion or Hannah off, kids would see us in the hallway with Jubilee in her big old pink body cast and would recognize her.  It wasn’t one of those things where they say that they are praying for you but they really are not. You could tell by the reactions of the kids when they saw her that they had been praying for her because they recognized her as “the baby who we prayed for.”  

Precious little Jubilee Stumpo in her pink body cast.

It was really cool to be part of a community that was so involved in helping in any way that they could.  We even had a friend through school and church that helped us with transporting our other kids from school a lot of days just so I wouldn’t have to buckle Jubilee in the car with the whole contraption.

It is really awesome to be part of a community that rallied around us and supported us when, at the time, they didn’t know us that well.

About NEC

Located in beautiful New Era, Michigan, New Era Christian School serves student preschool through 8th-grade. Of the many important decisions you’ll make in life, few are more significant than the ones that affect your children. Of these choices, selecting a school may well prove to be the most important. NEC exists to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity. To learn more about NEC contact us! 

New Era Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), 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.

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!

The 2019 Graduates of West Michigan Christian Schools

Congratulations to all 2019 Graduates of the WMCS School Family!

Bravo! We had a lot to celebrate this year at West Michigan Christian Schools. Below is a breakdown of 6th (MCS only), 8th, and 12th-grade graduates of each WMCS member school:

8th grade grads from Fremont Christian School on jungle gym

Fremont Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Grace Boisvert
Kiarrah Bridges
Lydia Deters
Madelyn DeWeerd
Christa Hale
Landon Heykoop
Caleb Pell
Keagen Rich
Mia Rivera
Gary Springstead
Josie Visser
Sydney Wagenmaker
Jacob Walker
Matthew Whemple
Reis Wiersema
Morgan Woods
Landon Bartilameoli

GHC 2019 Grads

Grand Haven Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Jaden Binnendyk
Jonathan Clausing
Makaela Crum
Ben DeGram
Meralee Detar
Ellie Dyk
Michaela Faith
Ainslie Granzetto
Casey Guthrie
Staci Krieger
Emma Leahy
Emily Matz
Austin Meiste
Libby Miedema
Olivia Roberts
Makenna Sytsma
Brianna Zuidema

MCS 6th Grade Grads 2019

Muskegon Christian School’s 6th-Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Trevor Breuker
Levi Brown
Gabriel Cook
Elisha Croff
Lexi Daggett
Maria Eenigenberg
Kennedi Flowers
Myles Foreman
Kimora Frierson
Avia Greer
Dakota Harper
Lillian Jackson
Paydon Jackson
Trezelle Jenkins
Abigail Leffring
Hallie Lindale
Jayla Lofquist
Jacob Lynn
Luke Maat
Melia Medendorp
Chandler Medendorp
Daniel Moorhead
Theodore Osterman
Talen Peterson
Levi Postema
Ryan Rogers
Josue Sandoval
Benjamin Visser
Jessica Wakefield

NEC Grads 2019 by lake

New Era Christian School’s Graduating Class of 2019:

Kayla Balder

Chase Gowell

Ani Hill

Anna Morse

Theodore Stone

GHC 2019 Grads

WMC’s Top 10 (Sarah VanderKooi not pictured): Back row left to right: Caleb Minasian, Eli Rotman, Jack Zuidema, Andrew Hill, Hayden Hubers, and Elijah Abel. Front row left to right: Rebecca TerHarr, Josian Aardema, and Emily Rosema.

Western Michigan Christian’s Senior Class of 2019, was led by WMC’s Top Ten:

Josian Aardema will graduate as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019. She is the daughter of Kevin and Kay Aardema of Grand Haven and a member of Ferrysburg Community Church. While at WMC, Josie ran Cross Country and Track, was a coach for Girls on the Run, and a founding member of the Earth Club. In the fall she will attend Calvin College and plans to major in Environmental Science.

Elijah Abel is the son of Charissa and Kyle Abel of Norton Shores and attends Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven. While he attended WMC, he was involved with Student Council, Science Olympiad, on the Yearbook Staff and was an International Student Ambassador. In the fall he plans to major in Engineering at the University of Michigan…Go Blue!

Andrew Hill is a member of Edgewood Lutheran Church where he is a church worship musician and the son of Mark and Rhonda Hill of Norton Shores. In the fall Andrew is planning to attend Calvin College and major in Finance. While at WMC, Andrew participated in Baseball, Tennis, and Jazz Band.

Hayden Hubers is the son of Ruthie and Butch Hubers of Whitehall and attends House Church. At WMC he led worship at Chapel, played Varsity Soccer, Basketball, and sang in the Chamber Choir. He served and was involved in leading worship for local churches, served on the Youth Advisory Council, packed lunches for Feed My Starving Children, and an International Aid volunteer. He also participated in Berkley College of Music’s Summer programs and led Basketball Camps. Hayden plans to pursue something music related while taking online classes in the fall.

Caleb Minasian is the son of Michael and Kelly Minasian of Newaygo and attends First Christian Reformed Church of Fremont. While attending WMC, he has been on the Soccer and Golf Teams. Caleb also was involved in the Fall Play Tech Team, acted in the Fall Plays, and Musicals. He played in the Jazz Band, Concert Band, and sang in Chamber Choir. In the fall he plans to go to Michigan Technological University for Engineering.

Emily Rosema is the daughter of Joy and Aaron Rosema of Fruitport. She played Varsity Soccer for four years during her time at WMC. Emily plans on attending Grand Valley State University in the fall where she will major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Spanish.

Eli Rotman will graduate as the Salutatorian of his class. He is the son of Eric and Dawn Rotman and attends Second Christian Reformed Church of Grand Haven where he was in the Brass Ensemble. In his years at WMC, he ran Cross Country and Track, was in Science Olympiad, and played in Concert Band. In the fall he plans to attend the University of Michigan for Materials Science and Engineering.

Rebecca TerHaar was very involved in Volleyball, Softball, Chamber Choir, Jazz Band, and Chapel Leadership the four years she was at WMC. She is the daughter of Curt and Cheri TerHaar from Grand Haven. She will major in Occupational Therapy at Calvin College in the fall.

Sarah VanderKooi is planning on attending Albion College and majoring in their PreVet program next fall. She was active in Cross Country, Track, and sang in the Chamber Choir at WMC. She volunteered as an Equine Horse Therapist, helped at the local food trucks, and worked at a Mississippi Service Project. Sarah is the daughter of Ted and Dawn VanderKooi of Fremont. She is a member of Bethel Reformed OPC where she helped with the church refreshments and enjoyed playing piano at church.

Jack Zuidema is the son of Mark and Julie Zuidema of Muskegon and is a member of Harvest Bible Church. Jack was involved in Cross Country and Track. He also was a 4th-grade Basketball Coach for Grand Haven Christian School. Jack plans to attend Calvin College and major in Actuarial Science in the fall.

The complete WMC Class of 2019 includes:

In alphabetical order: Josie Aardema, Elijah Abel, Drew Andree, Delaney Bakker, McKenna Bonnema, Zachary Butkis, Allesha Cooper, Bri Curtis, Ema Davis, Chuma Dumalisile, Anika Eenigenburg, Nolan Fairfield, Elijah Faith, Libby Fisher, Travis Goodrich, Holly Gould, Noelle Gray, Joe Hain, Lex Hall-Bacon, Andrew Hill, Mon Ho, Sydney Holtvluwer, Hayden Hubers, Haeseong (Daniel) Jeung, Yubin Kim, Morgan Kinnucan, Ngoc La, Jada Love, Li Xun (Morrison) Ma, Khanya Mbutuma,  Caleb Minasian, Sarah Moorhead, Kyle Morris, Tylor Morrison, Emily Myers, Madi Pearce, Tam Pham, Andrew Rasmussen, Emily Rosema, Eli Rotman, Evan Ruiter, Zandile Skolpati, Tyler Somers, Katie Summerfield, Jared Swords, Anna Sytsema, Brandon Sytsma, Rebecca TerHaar, Paul Tyaliti, Daniel Vanbiesbrouck, Sarah VanderKooi, Elizabeth Vos, Heechan Wang, Shangfei (Sam) Wang, Steph Weesies, Kyle Wolffis, Brant Zeerip, and Jack Zuidema.

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 Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Debbie Braak

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

Celebrating Debbie Braak of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Debbie Braak began teaching at New Era Christian School in September of 2015.  She has twenty plus years teaching under her belt with much of it spent at Grand Haven Christian.  To prepare her for her teaching career, she received a B.A. in Elementary Education with a Language Arts composite minor from Hope College.head_shot_Deb_Braak

Deb grew up in Portage and attended Kalamazoo Christian. She has been married to her husband Dan for twenty-five years and they have two children who attended Grand Haven Christian School PK-8th grade. Sam is a freshman at Calvin College and Audrey is a sophomore at Western Michigan Christian High School. 

“I love teaching in a Christian school where God is at the center of everything we do. I love watching these young children grow spiritually as they grow in their faith and love for Jesus and for each other,” shares Deb.

Debbie was made for this role as a Christian education teacher and she is so very gifted! 

Q & A w/ Debbie:

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

In my classroom, I use a variety of loose parts from gems and jewels to plank boards. One day a bunch of 3-year-olds were playing with cars and they wanted to make ramps. They got out the wood planks, set them up against the chair and they had a ramp. They happily zoomed their cars down the ramp to see whose car could go the furthest.

One little boy went over to where we keep the loose parts and found an empty tape roll and brought it over to the ramp. He proceeded to roll the tape roll down the ramp and to his amazement it rolled all the way across the room. He came running up and said to me, “ I just had the best idea about how to use the ramp. Come and I will show you my great idea!” He was so proud of himself for figuring out a new use for the ramp. 

This may not seem like a great teaching moment.  In preschool, when children explore and discover how different things work, and figure it out on their own, it is a victory and the overall purpose of loose parts play.

New Era Christian School

 

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

I love to travel!  One of my all-time favorite vacations was taken after college when I went to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. 

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

I honestly love everything about my job. The preschoolers are so fun to teach and there are never two days exactly the same. One of my favorite things is my outdoor learning space. Seeing the children play in nature, explore and discover the world that God created is such a blessing. Watching them play in the mud kitchen or working together to figure out how to ride a cable drum like a horse and not fall off is so rewarding. I feel very fortunate to be able to provide this type of education for my preschoolers.

I honestly love everything about my job. The preschoolers are so fun to teach and there are never two days exactly the same.

children_climbing_on_wood_palette_outside

Deb’s students during Outdoor Learning at NEC.

4. What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is our Bible time and the amazing questions these little people ask. They have so much love for Jesus in their hearts.

They have so much love for Jesus in their hearts.

Audrey_and_Sam_Braak

Deb’s kids Audrey, a sophomore at WMC and Sam Braak, a freshman at Calvin.

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

God has given me the gift being young at heart and also very patient. I love to play with my preschoolers and get messy right along with them. I also am very understanding of this age group.  I am able to relate to them and comfort them when they are upset and help them make good choices in the room. I always tell my parents that in preschool you never know what will happen and you need to be flexible and be able to change an activity very quickly if something is not working. 

God has given me the gift being young at heart and also very patient. I love to play with my preschoolers and get messy right along with them.

little_girl_in-pink_playing_in_outdoor_kitchen

Outdoor Learning at NEC

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

Cherry Coke. Not just any cherry coke. It has to be coke made with grenadine. That is the best!!

can_of_cherry_coke

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

One of the things I am most grateful for is the wonderful parents of the students!  They support the things we do in the classroom and do not mind if their child comes home covered in paint or mud. I am also grateful for our principal, Phil Morse, who is super supportive of my passion for outdoor learning and allows me to grow this program. 
 
One of the things I am most grateful for is the wonderful parents of the students!  They support the things we do in the classroom and do not mind if their child comes home covered in paint or mud.
child_playing_in_garden_by _ence

Outdoor Learning in the “Sound Garden.”

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

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

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

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

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

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

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

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

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

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

Q & A w/ Alyssa

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

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

New Era Christian School

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

  Either Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

 

 

West Michigan Christian Schools Announces New Community Based Instruction Partnerships for HS Students

ESS UPDATE: New CBI Opportunities in Grand Haven

West Michigan Christian School’s Educational Support Services (ESS) team is excited to announce new Community-Based Instruction (CBI) partnerships for our high school students at two local Lakeshore businesses.  

Grand Haven-based Lake Effect Kitchen and Chow Hound Pet Supplies are providing opportunities for CBI for Western Michigan Christian High School (WMC) students with diverse learning needs. Juniors and Seniors on the Certificate of Completion track at WMC, now have the opportunity to learn more about their God-given strengths and gifts in the workplace, which serves to prepare students for potential employment post-high school.

 

Photo caption: Sawyer Arkema, a New Era Christian School graduate and currently a Junior at WMC, enjoys cooking and loves animals. The WMC ESS team sought out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and passions.

“These Community Based Instruction opportunities allow our students invaluable and inclusive vocational opportunities. I am proud to share that we currently have the ability and resources to bring these opportunities to our students. This helps build on the vision of WMCS, which is to support whole-families by allowing students of all learning needs the opportunity to be a part of the WMCS family, no matter their individual ability,” shares Whitney Jackson, WMCS Director of Educational Support Services and CBI co-project head.

After conducting student “interest inventories,” the WMCS ESS team determines each child’s areas of interests, gifts, and passions. The ESS team then seeks out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and abilities.

 

Lake Effect Kitchen is a commercial kitchen located in Grand Haven, Michigan, specializing in take-home meals. They mentor students with disabilities through their CBI program and have recently hired two employees on the autism spectrum. Their vision is to provide authentic community and competitive employment for all.

As part of the CBI program, students participate in serving lunch to students at a local elementary school as well as prepare for lunch at the kitchen using their culinary skills. This helps students strengthen their social skills, as well as, learning skills for working within a kitchen setting.

 

Chow Hound Pet Supplies stores are located in the greater Grand Rapids area, Holland, Grand Haven, & Portage. As West Michigan’s largest family-owned pet store, students gaining experience at Chow Hound have the opportunity to help with daily cleaning tasks as well as preparing for animals to be groomed.

 

Once students complete their four years at WMC, students are eligible to continue receiving educational services until they turn twenty-six years old through their residential school district. Families are encouraged to reach out to their zoned districts to learn more about what programs they offer as each district varies.

LEARN MORE about WMCS ESS.

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

Much Fun & Funds Raised at the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

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

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

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

Barb serving and talking with golfers

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

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

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

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

 

Denice Belknap with tickets

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

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

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

 

And the 2018 WMCS Golf Outing Winner’s Were…

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

1st Place Champions of the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

1st Place Foursome

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

2nd Place

2nd place foursome

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

3rd Place

 

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

Event Fundraising Update & Tally:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Golf Event Coordinators on golf cart

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

 

Our Fabulous & Faithful Sponsors

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

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

Abbit logo

Abbit is a loyal WMCS 2018 Golf Outing Sponsor!

 

Calvin College LOGO

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

 

Jost logo

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

 

The Cherette Group Logo

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

 

Summit Laboratory logo

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

Golf Outing Sponsor banner

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

Click here to see more event photos on Facebook! 

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

What is WMCS?

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Our PK-12 School Family includes:

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

Please EMAIL US!