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Pursue Academic Excellence

October 19, 2018
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

Over the next few months, we’d like to draw your attention to SCS’s seven core values: pursue academic excellence, develop the Christian mind, cultivate spiritual growth, encourage Biblical self-image, build strong social bonds, involve the supporting community, and serve the greater community.  These core values define who we are and show others what is important to us. We want you, our community, to have a strong understanding of these core values so that you can share them with others when you tell our school story and invite others to learn about our school. These core values are not just words!  We want each person who steps through our school doors to authentically experience these core values.

We have “pursue academic excellence” listed first because we are a school first.  Academic excellence is essential for preparing our students for college and career readiness.  It starts at the preschool level and builds each year. We want our students to work to their utmost capabilities and to apply what they’ve learned to the world around them.  This year, as a whole school, our teachers are focusing on two significant factors that contribute to our pursuit of academic excellence.

First, we are aligning our curriculum with college and career ready standards and assessments, from kindergarten through 12th grade.  This work is beyond deciding what content to teach, but also considers what we want our students to know and be able to do. It also includes building quality assessments so that we can determine if students are on track or need more support to get to mastery.  Our curriculum leadership team will be supporting teachers in helping them to get to the highest levels of student learning in and outside of the classroom.

Second, we are beginning to look closely at our academic data to inform our instructional practices at the individual level, classroom level, and school level.  Data can tell us what we are doing well and what gaps might be occurring in learning. We have formed a data leadership team that will be meeting monthly to review our work, provide feedback to teachers, and support next steps. Although our school was rated in the top 1% of schools in the state of Wisconsin in 2017-18, there is always room for improvement, and we want to improve our top rate status each year.  Data shows us our impact, and ultimately, the impact God’s work is doing in His world.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t consider the learner’s responsibility as we pursue academic excellence.  Each day, we are focusing on teaching students strong work ethic, respect in and outside of the classroom, and perseverance.  We encourage students to take risks and that it is acceptable to fail along the way, as long as learning is occurring. We want our students to take learning seriously, achieve to their best potential, and have the discipline to avoid mediocrity.  Through our Academic and Career Planning work with students, we are showing them the “why” of developing good study habits and personal goals.

All of this work to pursue academic excellence is really about honoring God’s gift to us - His children.  It’s our moral and spiritual responsibility to give them our best so they can be their very best for His world.  Join us in this important work by praying for our teachers and students each day!

In Christ,
Ann Steenwyk

 

God is on the Move

September 10, 2018
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

God is on the move at SCS.  Although there are days when my head is spinning with all of the changes, I know God is at work in all of these changes.  God invites us to move with Him, to “set out” at His command, much like the Israelites did long ago. Isaiah reminds us of God’s active leadership in Isaiah 43:16-21.

God’s provision and leadership at SCS has been particularly evident in SCS’s growth this year.  Growth in numbers. Growth in new families. Growth in new messaging. Growth in expanding Christian education in Sheboygan County.  Please join me in praising God for some of these details!

  • 246 students 3K-12
  • 45 new students
  • 36 new families  
  • 3% increase in enrollment (four times the number of new students compared to last year, double the number of new students from the last 2 years combined!)

Please continue to pray that our school will obediently follow God’s leading.  Within the next two months the following committee members will be working diligently to find the right person to fill the Director of Finance and Development position:  Myron Bolkema, Sharon Eggebeen, Becca Flipse, Eric Grasse, Eric Otte, Ann Steenwyk, Lori TenHoor, and Steve VanDrunen. 

In the interim, John Warmus has graciously agreed to fill in to continue the work that Justin Zylstra has started.  John is an alumnus of SCS and SCCHS.  He and his wife, Betsy, have three children: Natalie (4K), Grace, and Sophie.  John is well known in our community and is passionate about SCS and its growth.  He has emphatically expressed his desire to help us fulfill our mission and vision in the interim, as we search for our new administrator.  John has an undergraduate degree from UW Milwaukee and an MBA from Lakeland College with a focus in finance. He is currently employed with Matchbox LLC as the Director of Client Services.  He travels all over the country training corporations through Matchbox University (which he started), and his employer has graciously agreed to share him with us over the next couple of months.  In the summer, John is the Head Director of Camp Calvin and manages not only about 325 kids but also a large staff of camp counselors. John is also actively involved in his church, Hope Reformed Church, where he serves as a youth Sunday School teacher, First Hope Meal coordinator (and server), and church leader (Vision Team, Deacon).

Please also continue to pray for the Steering Committee, the Capital Campaign work, our teachers, and our most importantly our students.  Thank you for your continued support of our school. We invite you to join our work in any way that you can. It’s the right work!

In Christ,
Ann

A Personal Thank You

June 15, 2018
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCCS,
 

I’d like to take a moment to share a personal thank you.  I’m not sure if it’s about turning another year older or all of the end-of-year activities, but at this time of year I always find myself reflecting on how God has brought me to this particular point in time.  Because I have a son who graduated from high school this year, I reflected quite a bit about how God has brought him to this point. As I sat through the graduation ceremony, went through the reception line, and then celebrated with the community at various parties, I was struck by God’s amazing goodness and grace through it all.   

Two weeks ago, I sat at a Kohler-Christian track banquet and talked to a few parents who chose not to do a graduation party at all.  I really didn’t think much about that decision until I was at my own son’s graduation party. I was overcome by emotion when I looked around and considered how many people in our school and church community helped to raise our son in a distinctly Christian context.  Robb and I could never have done it on our own. Nor could we have done it well in another school context. I am so grateful for the teachers, church members, students, family members, and friends that have come along side of Robb and me in raising our children to know the Lord.  It is definitely a group effort. It has been an intentional, thoughtful investment of time and finances by many of us. It has been worth it all. 

On a similar note, the other day my kids were talking about church, and the long standing tradition of hanging out after the service to talk to other members.  The boys got into a conversation about all of the “old” people they enjoy talking to, and even commented about how much they learn from the conversations. Again, I was blessed to hear how God has put a community of Christian influence in their lives to help create exactly who they are to be. 

For our family (and hopefully yours too), SCCS and the community that makes it great has been the strong foundational component in raising our children. I hope that you will reflect on this as well.  There is no doubt that with community, sometimes there is heartache, struggle, frustration, and humility. God promised that those things would definitely be a part of life. Still, what makes our school and community unique is that we rest on the assurance of God’s sovereignty, his faithfulness, and his promises.  I can’t imagine raising my children in a community that didn’t share this same foundation. 

Please take some time this summer to reflect about your part in the Christian community of SCCS.  How are you an integral part of collectively raising up our children? Do you regularly pray for specific things that will build our community up?  Do you get involved by coming to events, cheering for kids you might not even know, volunteering, or sharing your personal expertise? Not one community member is too old, too young, too inexperienced, or too busy to take part in making our community stronger.  Thank you for being a part of something so much bigger than each of us individually.


“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 

With a Thankful Heart,


Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

Endings & New Beginnings

May 12, 2018
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCCS,


At this time of year, we are flooded with both endings and new beginnings.  I believe God does that to help us to have a healthy balance of celebration (endings) and also passion for moving toward the future (new beginnings).  Our endings and beginnings at SCCS help us achieve our mission and vision as a school. We are celebrating the end of our 12th graders’ career at SCCS, and their next steps as they go out to impact the world for Christ.  We are celebrating the completion of the accreditation process and yet looking forward to the next steps in making our school even stronger. We are celebrating our projection of increased enrollment, and we are looking forward to new marketing and branding for the school to recruit even more students.  Perhaps most important in the history of our school, we are looking forward to a new building project that will bring our students together K-12.  

I am excited to see what God will do when our children have access to new facilities and increased community K-12.  When the accreditation team was here several weeks ago, they made it very clear to us that new facilities needs to be a top priority in our school improvement plan.  They commented that the current facilities, particularly the K-8 building, does not match the 21st century learning that goes on inside the classrooms. When they came into the building, they expected to see old fashioned instruction with students in rows of desks.  Instead, they walked into the classroom and found Smartboards covering old green chalkboards and students actively engaged in collaboration and experiential learning. The accreditation team complimented our teachers for their 21st century instruction and best practices, and they were impressed with all that was happening inside of the classroom, despite the limiting factors of our facilities.  It’s time for our students and teachers to have exactly what they need to more efficiently accomplish the instruction so important for the growth of our students. We cannot keep putting this off. 

Yesterday, in kindergarten, students were working on Mothers’ Day papers.  One of the questions was, “My mom looks beautiful when…” One child’s answer was, “My mom looks beautiful when she prays.”  Is that not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever heard? It got me to thinking about how important our modeling is each and every day, no matter who we are in a child’s life.  This is one of the reasons I believe a unified campus will set us apart in achieving our mission. We want our older students to be godly examples to our younger students and to help them see what it means to walk in God’s ways, no matter what your age or grade level.  We believe students will benefit academically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally by being in a strong community of believers who are doing life together. 

I have been on my knees asking God’s will to be done for each next step SCCS takes in His kingdom.  Monday night’s vote is critical for the future of our students. Please pray. Please vote with a posture of humility and surrender to God’s will.  May God’s will be done, and may He be honored and glorified by our work to train His children in His ways, now and in the future. 

In Christ,


Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

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