From The Desk of Ann Steenwyk
Dear Parents/Guardians and Friends of SCS,
Our students definitely live in a different context than we did when we were going through school. Our students are inundated with social media pressures, a fast paced societal culture, and new levels of competition.
As our children face new and challenging pressures, we have a responsibility to keep them focused on who they are in Christ. Our core value “Encourage Biblical Self-Image” is a critical element of what we do at SCS to teach our students that they are first and foremost children of God and that their self-worth is in Christ. How do we do this?
We first teach them about how God views us. Each and every day our students are learning about God’s character and His love for His children. They learn the true meaning of Psalm 139:13-14: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Students learn about God’s handiwork in them in every class, including art, music, and PE. You should be able to see evidence of this in our hallways and in our recent music performances.
Next, we teach them how we should view each other. When students have problems with each other or teachers, we meet to “fix it.” We model God’s mercy and grace through restorative practices that heal relationships. We also talk about how to view others through God’s eyes: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
Last, we teach them how we should view ourselves. We teach our children how they are created in God’s image. At school, we provide students with a variety of opportunities to explore the gifts and talents God has given them. We talk about choices, what it means to be different in the world, and how to be bold in who we are and how we act. We’re not afraid to deal with the hard stuff. For example, in units such as “Lost and Alone” at the high school level, students are given opportunities to explore emotional hardship along with the hope that only comes through Christ Jesus. See the picture above for an example of artwork created by Elliana Gonzalez (10th grade), and click the following link to view a poem written by Jocelyn Gartman (10th grade): Jocelyn's Poem.
Thank you for your partnership in encouraging Biblical self-image in our students. You have a role in it too. Please continue to come alongside of students in helping them to know who they are in Christ. They are strong and bold in the Lord!
Thankful for Our Students,
Dear Parents and Friends of Sheboygan Christian School,
As we reflect on Christ's entrance into the world and His love for us this season, we want you to know that Christ's love is celebrated every day at Sheboygan Christian School.
Spiritual growth is often represented by an increase in a spiritual discipline or a positive change in one's demeanor or lifestyle. However, when we consider what the Bible tells us about spiritual maturity, the most important aspect of our spirituality is our love for God first.
"The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." -C.S. Lewis
How do we teach and cultivate a deep love for God first? We teach our students about who God is -His character, His promises, His love for His children. We all know that to love someone deeply is to first get to know them. This very important aspect of our curriculum is what sets us apart from other schools. Although most schools may have moral and character training, and maybe even Christian teachers, most schools do not directly teach about who God is and how much He loves us.
Part of our deep love for our Father includes a personal response, particularly including devotion, prayer, praise and worship. At Sheboygan Christian School, we model these responses, and we practice them daily through devotion time, regular prayer, and scheduled chapel time. It's not just routine. Teachers model their love for God, and students have opportunities to practice their personal responses to God by having individual opportunities to pray, lead devotions, and plan and lead worship. Our students are highly involved in these practices; they are not just observers. Because they are not just observers, they are developing confidence and boldness in modeling it for others. I witnessed this recently when I was subbing in a classroom. Before lunch, I was getting ready to pray, and a student eagerly volunteered to pray. Similarly, when asked to write thank you notes to our donors, students often wrote about loving SCS as a place to pray, worship, and talk about God. Our students want to show their love for God. Our students and teachers are cultivating spiritual growth each day.
As parents and community members, we invite you to be a part of the spiritual growth of our children. Attend our chapel time, pray with our students (and invite them to pray), and talk to them about their relationships with God. Be a part of an eternal investment!
May God bless you as you celebrate God's love for us this Christmas!
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.