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Teaching for Transformation Blog Series: Inviting, Nurturing & Empowering

January 31, 2020
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

As you know, our teachers are embarking on a training that focuses on teaching our children how to live in God’s story.  Teaching for Transformation uses a variety of core practices that encourage our students to engage in the following:

Wonder - Our teachers invite students to see God’s world with wonder and awe, evoking thankfulness and gratitude.

Wisdom - Our teachers invite students to discover wisdom and a deeper understanding of God’s plan and call.

Work - Our teachers invite students to respond to God’s call to work in the world, with action in love to God and our neighbor.

How do SCS teachers invite, nurture, and empower students to play their part in God’s story?

For example, the last few months, our Math Curriculum Team has been discussing how to adapt lessons to get students to think about God’s story through math and His ordered creation.  You might think this would be difficult in the area of math, but our teachers are planning lessons to help students make these connections.  

  • In 2nd grade, students were asked to think about and then draw their thoughts, “Does subtraction have anything to do with what Jesus did for us?”  You can see all of the results in the 2nd grade hallway.  
  • In 8th grade, students were asked to respond to, “Name as many pairs of things that are correlated relating to God or your faith. Then identify if they have a positive or negative correlation.” Results are displayed in the middle school hallway.
  • At the high school level, the journal question for Mr. Bolkema’s Precalculus class goes like this: “In chapter 6, we learned about a method of mathematical proof called mathematical induction.  The first step in the proof requires you to suppose or assume something. If trying to prove the validity of the Christian faith, do we begin with a supposition or an assumption? Why or why not?  Do other religions begin with a supposition or an assumption? Why or why not?”

In order for this work to truly make a difference, we need to empower every student to practice and express what they are learning.  Next year, several teachers will be creating Formational Learning Experiences for our students, with the goal for our students to make real life connections with real issues in our community.  Maybe there is a role you could play in this. How would you like to see our students involved in transformational work in our community, in God’s Kingdom? See me if you’d like to get involved!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." - Romans 12:2


Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

Teaching for Transformation Series: God's Story at Work

December 18, 2019
By Ann Steenwyk


Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this."  Isaiah 9:6-7

In this beautiful, joy-filled time of year we are reminded that we are a part of God’s epic story.  The story started with a perfect creation, which was then wrecked by the fall of the very ones He created to care for His creation.  Because God loves us, He came down to earth as an infant and walked on earth with us. He then redeemed us. Now, we are an integral part of the restoration of His kingdom. 

We were created to play an important part in God’s big story.

Our work at SCS is all about forming our children to live a life worthy of His story.  Our lives are not only shaped by information and knowledge but also by learning how to live a Christian life through the lens of redemption.  How does SCS invite students to play their part in God’s epic story? Talk to our 7th graders about Mr. VanDrunen’s $5 challenge. Ask our high school students about the recent presentation from Teen Missions or the upcoming service trip to 7 Bridges in Atlanta.  Check out the relationships our b1 group students are building with students in Nicaragua. From bell ringing to supporting children in Mexico, our students are beginning to play their part in restoring God’s kingdom.

We are looking forward to seeing how the Teaching for Transformation framework will continue to challenge our students and our whole community to live in God’s story.  God promises that “the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Can you imagine what the Lord must be like when He has an intense, passionate enthusiasm for what He is concerned about getting done?  SCS is a part of it.  Praise, glory, and exaltation be to Him alone!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Ann Steenwyk

Teaching for Transformation Series: Student Surveys

November 27, 2019
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

You may remember that my blog series this year is focusing on our Teaching for Transformation training, an eight module series of training alongside Oostburg Christian School.  Through this training we are helping our students to see God’s redemptive story and practice “living” in God’s story both in and outside of the classroom.  

As part of the training, we surveyed all of our students K-12 to get an idea of our strengths and challenges and to see how our students think about their education.  Although the results of the survey are extensive and very detailed, I’ll do my best to summarize some of our students’ responses here.

What makes our school a Christian School?

K-5:  54% of students responded:  “We learn and talk about Jesus, God, and the Bible.”  The other 46% shared about learning to be Christlike, worshipping God, praying, and learning to be servants.

6-12:  47% of students responded about having worship.  34% indicated that Christian perspective and worldview make our school a Christian school.  56% commented on having Bible classes and the freedom to learn and talk about God.

Why is school important?

K-5: 58% of students indicated school is important for learning.  25% indicated that it is important to learn about God.

6-12:  54% indicated school is important to get a good career.  52% indicated that school is important to learn about the world.  17% indicated it’s important to learn about God and Christianity.

When does our school meet our mission statement?

6-12:  50% of students indicated that we meet our mission statement through teaching from a Christian perspective and worldview.  35% responded through Bible classes, worship, and service. 9% felt our school doesn’t meet our mission statement.

What does our school have in place that is “opposite” of our mission statement?

6-12:  17% responded that there is nothing “opposite” of our mission statement.  14% indicated our students don’t act Christlike.

Give an example of when your faith is a part of your learning.

6-12:  21% indicated that this happens in Bible classes.  23% indicated that this happens through assignments, in classwork, tests, Bible Portfolio, and journaling.  4% of students indicated that faith is not a part of their learning.

What do you wish your learning looked like?

6-12:  31% indicated they would like more “hands on” learning. 14% indicated that they wanted more “real world” experiences and more discussions about God.

When the teachers studied all of the data in detail, a few simple truths about our school emerged.  

First, although our students are being taught and are learning about what it means to be a Christian in this world, they aren’t necessarily being given opportunities to live it out in this world. 

Second, we noticed that although worship was rated high as being a part of our school, there is a disconnect in that our students don’t view worship as being a part of learning. (It is seen as something separate.)

Our students’ responses have helped us to consider new ways of teaching and helping them to be ready to “impact the world, both near and far, for Christ.”  We are looking forward to helping them become responsive disciples! We will continue to share with you the ways we are doing this at SCS.

“Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

In His Grace,

Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

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