Archive for Academics

Save the date for the 2019 MCS Auction!

We are excited to be hosting our annual Muskegon Christian School Auction at The Innovation Hub in downtown Muskegon on Friday, May 3rd at 6pm.  Our goal is to raise over $40,000 from this auction and all funds raised will help support our teachers and students at MCS.  This auction is our biggest event of the year and we love how it brings together our community leaders, donors, current parents, and friends of MCS.  We would love you to be a part of it!

We have some exciting items up for bid this year, many that are new to our auction! Here’s a sneak peek:

Mackinac Bridge Tower Tour for 2
Have you ever wanted to go to the top of one of the 2 towers of the Mackinac Bridge?  This year at our MCS auction, you can bid on 2 tour tickets for this rare opportunity! (The bridge authority only donates 25 tours a year so, we likely won’t be able to offer this opportunity again for a long time). More details available on our Facebook page.
Beautiful Dining Table from Blended Furniture Market
50″ wide round table with gorgeous heavy base. A beautiful table that blends with so many styles!
Backyard Pollination and Honey Package
Host a hive, learn the craft and make lots of honey on your own property!
10 Cu. Yards of Shredded Bark Delivered – Grand Haven Garden House Includes delivery within Tri-Cities area (S of Pontaluna, N of M-45, W of 128th.)
2 Hour Tour from West Michigan Cycleboat
It’s a Bike – and it’s a Boat! You and up to 11 friends can enjoy up to 2 hours on West Michigan’s first Cycleboat!

We are still collecting items for our auction!  Especially popular items include gift certificates from local businesses, getaway and ‘staycation’ items and once-in-a-lifetime (think ‘bucket list’) offerings.   Do you have a donation for us?  We love new and creative gifts to offer at our auction!  Hundreds of people attend our annual auction and your donation would be noticed by many more through our advertising efforts and in our booklet.

We are a 501(c)3 and all donations will be receipted for tax purposes.

Donations can be mailed to:
Muskegon Christian School, Attn: Auction Committee, 1220 Eastgate St, Muskegon, MI  49442
For more information on this event including donation and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us!

Look for more updates after Spring Break and sneak peeks on items up for bid here on our blog and on MCS Facebook page.
Plan to join us on May 3rd for an inspiring night in support of our students!

Enrollment Season has Begun!

We know that families are busy, so instead of just one traditional ‘Open House’ night, this spring we are offering many different ways for you to come explore MCS!

Tour Anytime (Really! Just call ahead)

We really love to have families experience our school when it is full of students and provide them with a personalized tour.  Call ahead to schedule a time and our principal will give you a tour and can answer any questions you might have.

OPEN HOUSE FRIDAYS any Friday in March

Come between 8am and 3pm any Friday in March to visit classrooms, meet teachers and tour the school.  (We do ask that you RSVP so we that we can give you a VIP experience:)  Just contact us!

STEM and Storytelling Night on March 21st from 6-7:30pm

Explore classrooms filled with fun STEM activities based on classic stories your child will love.
Meet our teachers, engage with current families and see the many opportunities available for your child to grow and thrive at MCS.  We will also have enrollment information available this evening, and staff on hand to answer all your questions.  No registration required – just show up!
Current families are encouraged to bring along friends or neighbors to join us on this night.  We offer a special gift for current families who share MCS in this way too!

We’d love to meet you!  So contact us today and arrange a visit in the way that suits you best.

The Power of Stories

Stories Worth Telling

What makes a story worth telling?  Miss Potts’ fourth grade class has spent some time this winter focused on this question.  As a starting point, Miss Potts’ grandma Mrs. Haak (a former teacher) came in and shared her story with the class. She helped the kids to think about God’s faithfulness and how, despite the fact that life has a lot of changes, God never changes.  The Bible is full of stories of people not so different from us who had amazing stories.

Short Stories

The class of students brainstormed some reasons that stories are worth telling, and after more reflection, started creating their own autobiographies.   Being on average 10 years old, their autobiographies were rather short.  Once they finished their stories, they shared them with some of the residents at Christian Care.

Longer Stories

After sharing their autobiographies, the students each interviewed a resident so that they could write a biography about their (considerably longer) stories.  In preparation for this phase of the project, Grandma Haak came back and shared with the class a little bit about Alzheimer’s disease. She helped the kids understand the disease and shared a story about her friend with Alzheimer’s.  She shared that even though the disease changes the person’s life, they are still the same person inside.  Grandma Haak prepared the kids a little bit of how to talk to people at Christian Care or what to do if they don’t respond in ways we might expect.

We asked the students to share what they learned from the stories that the residents shared.  Here are a few their responses:

Bryson: You can learn a lot from older people because you might ask them about it and they can help you with what to do.
Braeden: Their lives are kind of like us. (He liked games and basketball and baseball too).
Mia: Even though they may have disabilities they are still the same person.
Ny’Asia: Even if a person is having a bad day or eats different they are still a lot like you.

Future Stories

Miss Potts asked the students to think about what they hope for as they get older.  A few of their responses:

 Leah  “I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me in the future. I hope I live an amazing life with God, and a good relationship with my friends. I love my family, friends, and God and I count on them to help me at hard and good times through my life. I think life is going to be amazing with them.”

Becca  “I’m so thankful for all the gifts that God has given me. I hope that when I get older I can use my gifts to serve others right now I can use my gifts to serve my family by baking cakes”.

Our students were inspired by many of the stories that the residents shared.  As Isaac summarized, “They have experiences that we haven’t and they can give us advice to help us. Because they might have learned it the hard way. Maybe when I’m older I can do that (give advice to younger people) – because I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way.”

A Special Update for our Supporting Community

Highlights

We’re honored to share our mission with a wonderful community who lifts us up with their prayers, service and financial support.  We like to share with you how we are working to offer an exemplary Christian educational experience for our families at MCS.  So every year, we create an annual update – our MCS Report on Learning – that gives our supporters a taste of what is happening here at MCS.

Check out our Annual Report here!

Some highlights from the report:  We are happy to report that our school is thriving!  We have 270 students (PS-6th) representing over 58 churches.  We have a diverse student body with about 35% being of minority status.

Financials

We are thankful that God provides for our school through the faithful support of our community.  About 76% of our revenue comes from tuition: the rest (around $280,000) comes from charitable resources such as donations to the annual fund and interest income from our foundations.  Our numbers reflect how reliant we are on our supporting community!

Gratitude

Our hearts are full of thankfulness for all the volunteers, teachers, parents and community members who support our mission at MCS to provide academic excellence with a Christian worldview that engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship.  Our passionate teachers are focused on preparing our youth to serve and glorify God with their unique gifts.  Thanks for your part in it!

 

Unconventional Measurements

Sure, we use rulers and other traditional measurement tools in our classrooms. But learning can be much more engaging – and fun – when our teachers explore subjects with a more unconventional approach.

How many Kindergarten Body Length’s Long is a Walrus?

In Maestra DeEsteva’s Kindergarten class, students learn how they can use different units such as book lengths, straws, etc. to approximate the length of a larger object. They discovered that the walrus they painted was approximately 17 straws in length, which is also about three Kindergarteners long!

In Kindergarten, our students are learning patterns, shape and size attributes, position and comparison words, counting forward to 100, counting by 2s, 5s and 10s, recognizing patterns, time to the hour and ½ hour, money, measuring, graphing, estimation, addition and subtraction.  Maestra DeEsteva loves to have students work together in groups as much as possible.  “My students are most engaged when they get to explore the curriculum together.”

How many Outfits Could Mr. DeKam Enjoy Wearing?

Measurement becomes a little more complicated and sophisticated in Mr. Bonnema’s 5th Grade class.  Students were asked to determine how many possible outfits Mr. DeKam could have with 4 different shirts and 4 different pants.  As you can see,  they discovered that there were a total of 16 possible outfits for Mr. DeKam to enjoy.  And they had a lot of fun turning the principal into a math problem!

In math and other subjects, we pride ourselves in exceeding academic expectations, while teaching and applying a Christian perspective in all we do in and outside the classroom.  We use standardized testing and other State and National standards as we develop a Christ-centered and academically challenging curriculum.  While we do not make standardized test taking a focus of our curriculum, MCS consistently scores well above the average and is consistently the highest or among the highest in the area.

All this ‘adds up’ to a great academic experience for our students!

New Faces at MCS this Fall

New Spanish Immersion Teacher

Lisa Bonilla is our new 4th Grade Spanish Immersion teacher at MCS.  She was born and raised in Frankenmuth, MI. Growing up she was actively involved in sports, music, academic clubs, and youth group with church. After high school, she went to GVSU for one year to study social work, but then had an opportunity to go to Honduras to visit her sister who was involved in ministry there. After visiting for a month, she was offered a job to help open a school. She dropped everything in Michigan and moved to Central America for four years. While there, she taught Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and music.  “I was also involved with prison ministry, played soccer nearly every day, and fell in love with the language, people, food, and culture,” shares Lisa.  She also began studies online through Liberty University.

She moved with her husband to Virginia in 2014 so they could both finish their degrees at Liberty. After her husband finished his studies in 2017, they moved back to her home state of Michigan.  Lisa adds, “It’s good to be back!  After having been an ABA therapist for kids with autism for a year here in Muskegon, I’m very excited to be back in teaching.  A big thanks to all of you who have already made me feel so welcome here at MCS.”

Our Front Desk Has a New Face Too

Laura Scholma has 3 boys who attend MCS and her husband Josh teaches at WMC.  Laura loves to run and has coached cross country for the last 15 years.  She also worked at Covenant Life Church as the Early Childhood Coordinator for a number of years before joining our staff. She’s not afraid of a good challenge (eg. she has bicycled across the Mackinaw Bridge 5 times).  She is excited to help support the teachers and families by serving in the main office.

Other New Staff

We have a new teacher for our youngest students at MCS this year.  Patience Hartley enjoys leading a room full of active preschoolers in our 3 year old preschool room.  She attended Grace Bible College and was born and raised in Muskegon.
Our new music teacher, Brenda Oosterhouse, originates from Iowa but graduated from Calvin and now lives in Marne with her family.
Rhonda Hill is a new face in our support services office. She and her husband have 2 boys who graduated from MCS and now attend WMC.
Brittany Merrill is helping with our Preschool Spanish Immersion program this year.  She has been so impressed by the language acquisition of our students and is so excited to be part of this program.

Please welcome our new staff when you see them in the halls!

Parent (and MCS Principal) Dan DeKam Shares Why He Chose West Michigan Christian Schools

Why WMCS?
Almost twenty years ago, we brought our oldest daughter to Muskegon Christian School for her first day of classes.  This past Friday, our youngest daughter graduated from high school at Western Michigan Christian.
There is some rejoicing to have our last one through – yes, school principals pay tuition too. But there is also a lot of gratitude for our Christian Schools here in West Michigan.

We have had a great partner in raising our children to know and love the Lord, to recognize Him in the everyday business of life, to see the miracle of creation and give Him praise, and to live in obedience in the way we love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.

We are thankful for the examples set by the WMCS teachers, coaches, staff and administration in modeling a Christ-like life. As with any endeavor this side of heaven, it has not been perfect. But in the imperfections, we also saw the grace and the opportunity to understand accountability and forgiveness.

We are also thankful for all of you who have made these schools possible for these many years. We thank the donors who give so generously to this worthy cause and for other parents who sacrifice. With our five children all in Christian School at the same time, we have felt the generosity of the Christian community in reducing the tuition to a rate we could manage. While we admittedly look forward to a little relief from tuition payments we feel it was worth every penny and we are anticipating the opportunity to give back.

They Grow Up So Quickly!
Two decades ago, it seemed that the road to the day when our youngest would graduate was long and never-ending. Now we are left wondering how all of that happened so quickly.

To those who are just starting down this road – pay attention!    You won’t want to miss anything.

Give Your Child the Best Education
From both personal and professional experience, I very much recommend the PK-12 Christian Education that our WMCS collaborative family of five schools in Fremont, Grand Haven, Muskegon, New Era and Norton Shores offers. Covering such a wide area in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan, our school system has something for every family.

Come see for yourself!

March (Reading) Madness captures MCS!

Every year we offer up special opportunities for our students to develop a love of books during the month of March.

To kick off March (Reading) Madness this year, our staff inspired students with a video featuring themselves and challenged the students to commit to reading up to 700 minutes during this month (based on grade).   On March 6th, a few members of the Muskegon Lumberjacks shared a book with the students (and a few personal stories and hockey facts as well).

Kids were caught reading everywhere around the school!  Kindergarten students explored favorite Dr. Seuss stories together. Local author Susan Ream shared her book with the students in the gym.

Fairy Tales were a Highlight!

We particularly love sharing classic tales with students.  Ms. Potts fourth grade students created books that retold a well known fairy tale story from a different perspective (eg. The Three Little Pigs from the wolf’s point of view) and then read them to first grade students.

Our teacher’s reenactment of the classic story Chicken Little proved that our teachers have a flare for the dramatic and that this story never loses its appeal.

Reading Goals were Reached

We were able to raise over $2,500 from the Read-a-thon for the PPO.  More importantly, students were reading  and experienced great new books in novel ways.

Way to read, MCS!

Courtroom Experience Brings The Boston Tea Party to Life

“Not Guilty!”  That was the conclusion the jury came to in the ‘trial’ of fictitious character Samuel Bigglesworth for his involvement in the Boston Tea Party.  Mr. Bonnema’s 5th grade class participated in a mock trial as a culmination of a project to determine whether the Boston Tea Party was the sole factor in starting the Revolutionary War. The students developed both the prosecution and defense cases, and also created character witnesses to testify. The trial was presided by Judge (and our Principal) Dan DeKam, with Mr. Bonnema as the Bailiff, and the 5th grade Spanish Immersion class as the jury.

The student who pretended to be defendant Samuel Bigglesworth shared that preparing for the trial was kind of tricky.  “You only have so many questions you can prepare to answer – and they might have better questions than the ones you thought of!  I learned that people like Samuel were fighting for civil rights and considered the things England was doing acts of war,” Eli summarized.

In addition to the mock trial, the class also visited the Muskegon County Courthouse, met with a Muskegon County judge, witnessed a mock trial performed by the Prosecutor’s office and learned about trial procedure from the Assistant Prosecutor to Muskegon County (and MCS dad) Tim Maat!

“The project was a great civics lesson as well as a fun way to learn more about the Revolutionary period of our country’s history,” Mr. Bonnema concluded.

Contact Us and Come Explore MCS!

Would you like to talk with some of our Spanish Immersion students and staff?  (You’ll be amazed at how quickly our students learn to master a second language!)

Do you want to explore all of our classrooms including preschool and Kindergarten?  (We have activities to keep your young ones busy!)

Have you wondered what we offer at Muskegon Christian School and what makes us unique?  (We think we’ll surprise you.)

We offer more at MCS

More opportunities for students to actively engage with the curriculum through Project Based Learning.  A staff that is passionate to discover with our students how God reveals Himself through his Word and His world.  Traditional English as well as a Spanish Immersion programs from Kindergarten through 6th grade (with partnership with WMC Schools for a complete PreK-12 educational experience).  We are an educational community that wants more for our children and offers a quality education that prepares each student for a lifetime of Christian discipleship.  And we’d love to meet YOU!

Please contact us to schedule a tour so that we can show you what makes Muskegon Christian School unique – and how we offer more.