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Core Values Series: Develop the Christian Mind

November 16, 2018
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

The other day I was with 1st grade students celebrating with them the publishing of their narrative writing.  Each student had a special story they had written with details, illustrations, and their personal perspective.  One of my favorites was entitled, “God’s Zoo.” The story was about the student’s trip to the zoo and all of the animals he had encountered.  What struck me was that this child perceived his experience as a part of God’s story. While he could have entitled it, “The Zoo,” he instead recognized God’s part in it.  

I then visited a health class where students were discussing how purity and marriage is a symbol of the Christ-Church relationship.  While most health classes might have taken a purely biological approach, our students were conceptualizing health as stemming from an understanding of who we are in Christ.

Each and every day I see examples of how SCS exemplifies our second core value, Develop the Christian Mind.  At SCS, we think and speak from a Biblical perspective. This means that we are always teaching from the context of our narrative being a part of God’s story.   When we think about concepts from a Biblical perspective, we get to know who God is, why he created us, and what our role is in His grand redemptive plan. Learning from a Biblical perspective also gives our students confidence to be bold amidst a culture that is in conflict with Biblical truths.

Our work to develop the Christian mind is an extension of your work to do so with your children and grandchildren at home.  During your devotion time around the dinner table or car rides back and forth to school, have conversations of what students are learning in the context of God’s story.  Challenge them to think about what their role is in it. Whether your child/grandchild is watching a butterfly come out of a chrysalis, navigating a dating relationship, or developing code to program a robot, they are formalizing a life-long perspective that will speak into their future decisions and relationships.  What would you like that perspective to be? Join us in our work to develop Christian minds.

In Christ, 

Ann Steenwyk

Core Values Series: 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

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