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Core Values Series: Involving the Supporting Community

May 17, 2019
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

I could sum up this whole blog in three words:  BEST. COMMUNITY. EVER. Research repeatedly has shown that community engagement with schools increases student achievement and school improvement.  I’d like to share some examples of SCS’s exceptional supporting community just in the last 2 weeks:

  • Today, a retired staff member volunteered to come into school to dig through files to help re engage our alumni.  (Who would honestly ask to dig through filing cabinets? Only someone who loves our school!)
  • Yesterday, a parent volunteered to take one of our teacher candidates on a tour of Sheboygan to show why Sheboygan is an awesome place to live.
  • Last Wednesday, our high school students went to ten different organizations in Sheboygan to serve in some shape or form, even when it was raining and cold.
  • Last weekend, our community, including a significant number of alumni, raised $25,000 within 3 days, and another community member matched it.  Exceptional generosity.
  • A community member offered to make dinner for our seniors on Capstone Celebration Night (during literally the busiest week of the year).
  • Multiple “retired” guys show up randomly at the school to fix stuff, to make our school more beautiful, and to encourage our teachers and students.
  • A couple of community members volunteer secretly behind the scenes to make sure our technology and security is running smoothly (literally all hours of the night when no one else is around - very stealthily).
  • Our community members love to spread the word about the great things happening at SCS via social media, in other communities, and sometimes to complete strangers.
  • A couple of our community youth leaders play guitar for our chapels, often on a moments notice.
  • A family donated to a class fund in the event a student may not be able to pay class dues.
  • Countless community members come to student events, even if they are not biologically connected to students!

I know many of you could add to this list because you experience it every day too. What a blessing to be able to use each of our individual gifts to create such a beautifully rich community.  Please help us expand it even further. How can we engage the supporting community even more? How can you get involved by sharing your part?  If you have ideas, please let us know, so we can engage and continue to further His kingdom. We want you to be a part of it!

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  1 Corinthians 12:27

Grateful to be a part of it,

Ann Steenwyk

Core Values Series: Building Strong Social Bonds

April 18, 2019
By Ann Steenwyk

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5: 1-2

Last week I had the opportunity to share a little about our school with a soon-to-be Dordt graduate interested in our school.  I was trying to portray the deep social relationships that are ingrained in our school community and the love that each staff member has for each other here.  Since I’ve been at this school in this role, I’ve noticed something very unique and special about the authentic care our teachers have for each other. Maybe you have seen evidence of this too.  For example, over the last few school days, we’ve had several events that have required a team effort on the part of our staff members. Moving chairs, setting up chairs, setting up and taking down bleachers, moving pianos, etc. I’m always astonished at how quickly this gets done.  Similarly, school board members and their families are frequently behind the scenes doing extra custodial and building jobs, buying coffee for staff members, covering the office, and genuinely sacrificing their own time and resources to show love and support.

This sacrificial love, modeled first by Christ in the most brutal way on the cross, is not only modeled by our staff and community members but it is also taught daily to our students. This is the kind of sacrificial love that creates strong social bonds and deep respect for each other. Because we can talk openly in our school about Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross, we can also teach our students what it means to show respect and sacrificial love in all of our earthly relationships.  I encourage you to share with me any specific examples you have observed of this sacrificial love in our social bonds here at SCS.

Obviously, as we continue to exist in a world where selfishness often takes center stage, we know we still have work to do in this area.  Our work is not done! Please join me in praying for our social relationships and that we can continue to model and teach the sacrificial love that Christ modeled for us.

May You Experience God’s Love for You in A New Way This Easter,

Ann Steenwyk

Encourage Biblcial Self-Image

March 20, 2019
By 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,

Ann Steenwyk

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