West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Did you Know that WMCS Has a Growing & Thriving ESS Program?

[Photo caption for above image: This is GHC’s ESS Student Success Team: (Left to right) Amy Binnendyk, Judy Dornbos-Langejans and Jill Osterbaan. Not pictured is Cindy Brace.]

Did you Know that WMCS Has a Growing & Thriving ESS Program?

What is ESS?

ESS stands for Educational Support Services. ESS teachers partner with classroom teachers and parents in order to ensure students are reaching their full learning potential. Services include tiered support for students with disabilities and for enrichment opportunities. ESS teachers share a vision of inclusion for all students to learn with their peers.

The WMCS ESS “Student Success Team” Supports WMCS Learners

With the year off to a strong start and a talented team in place, the goal of Whitney Piersma, WMCS Director of Educational Support Services (ESS), is to ensure that the momentum continues. to be proactive about the growth of students receiving educational support system-wide, Piersma has invited all elementary WMCS classroom teachers and ESS staff to participate in monthly Student Success Team meetings where they will analyze student data, discuss classroom observations, and put interventions in place. A specific topic will be chosen each month to develop with classroom teachers and ESS staff to ensure that everyone is equipped to support students of all abilities.

The topics in the coming months include Differentiation, Modifications, Accommodations, Positive Behavior Interventions and Assessments for Learning.

“Meeting in person so that we can work alongside each other to share ideas, findings, tackle challenges and celebrate breakthroughs, is the goal for these teams. Working in a vacuum does not allow us to function at the highest capacity possible. Monthly meetings are key to offering the best support to my team and, most importantly, the best instruction for WMCS students,” explains Piersma.

MCS’s ESS Staff: Paula Dusseljee and Paula Cashler.

Meeting in person so that we can work alongside each other to share ideas, findings, tackle challenges and celebrate breakthroughs, is the goal for these teams. Working in a vacuum does not allow us to function at the highest capacity possible. Monthly meetings are key to offering the best support to my team and, most importantly, the best instruction for WMCS students.

Have you met Whitney?

Whitney Piersma is the Director of Educational Support Services for all five West Michigan Christian Schools.

Whitney Piersma is the WMCS Director of Educational Support Services (ESS). Her job is to support classroom teachers and ESS teachers to ensure students are making academic gains. Whitney started working for GHC, MCS, and WMC in 2016 and now serves FCS as well. Prior to WMCS, she was a Special Education teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, teaching elementary and high school aged students with a wide range of abilities. She is a graduate of Calvin College with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Art, Communication, and Business, as well as from National Louis University with an M.A. in teaching Special Education.

Welcome, Whitney! We are delighted and very blessed to have such a gifted addition to the WMCS family!

To learn more about ESS for your child please call your school office or CLICK HERE to send an email.

This article originally appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter. To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Fall 2017 Newsletter click here.