From the Principal's Desk

Below are a few words from Mr. Onderlinde after his first few weeks of school here at BCCS:

It has been a pleasure getting to know many of you over the last few weeks. Thank you for the warm introductions and greetings. I appreciate them very much. It is a blessing to work here each day and I look forward to getting to know you and your families better throughout the year.

The amazing teachers here at BCCS have been taking every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with your students while laying an excellent foundation of academics. I’ve witnessed the gospel being integrated within the curriculum, have heard kids singing heartfelt praise in chapel, and have witnessed students refining their leadership skills for service. I am thankful for the great teaching that takes place here every day and that your children can see their teachers live out and share their faith daily.

Thank you for making an amazing investment in your children. As someone new to the community who is blessed to see great teaching and learning taking place, I can assure you this school is about Kingdom building and that God’s work is being done here.


James Onderlinde

Be Willing

Each school year, our 8th grade theme team has the opportunity to choose our school verse and song. The verse they chose is Psalm 62:1-2, which reads “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” The school song is “Confidence” by Sanctus Real. Students also help select the school theme, which is ‘Be Willing.’

First, the verse is a great starting point for our school year. Students, staff and parents must have God as their focus. He must be or fortress, our foundation and our source of rest. At BCCS, Christ is at the center of everything we do and Psalm 62 is a great reminder of that. 

Second, ‘Be Willing’ is a theme that compels our students to action. Once we have Christ in our hearts, He calls us to act. We desire to help students become willing to learn, to grow, to love, to serve and are willing to find their passions. We want each student to know that they are a unique creation of God and that He as a special plan for each of them. ‘Be Willing’ is a theme that can unify our student body, but also be applicable to each individual student.

We are excited to see how God uses our school (students, staff, parents, and supporters)! In 2019-2020, we know our confidence comes from Christ and we will strive to be willing to serve him each and every day!

private school

Victorious Primary School

As some may know, Byron Center Christian School partners with a school, Victorious Primary School (VPS), in Uganda. BCCS students have prayer partners/pen pals, learn about Ugandan culture, and help support VPS through prayer and fundraisers. This spring, two teachers and two students had the opportunity to visit VPS and help train their staff on how to provide excellent Christian education. Clay Lubbers (middle school science teacher) shares the following:

Our arrival was overwhelming. Imagine being greeted by over 400 students who have come in to school on a Saturday to meet you. We were welcomed by them singing “Victory, we have victory in Jesus” while they waved branches. Tears began to fill my eyes -- never had I expected such a greeting. As we stepped off the bus to walk a quarter mile to the school, the students surrounded us, waved branches, and sang.  

victousus primary school

Much of my time with the teachers at VPS was spent discussing the integration of our Christian perspective in our teaching and how to teach using hands-on activities. Uganda follows a very “English” style of teaching -- the teacher writes on the board (actually rough slate) and explains, and the students sit in their seats and learn the material using rote memorization. Teaching by having students do something was very foreign to them. 

As BCCS has come alongside of VPS, one act of partnership I have seen is fundraisers in order to help their school. The big one that stuck out to me was a few years ago when we raised money for water filtration. I can be pretty competitive, so when it was announced we were going to have a contest, I simply told my homeroom that if we were going to participate and be serious, we needed to be dedicated to winning -- and we did. Then we arrived at VPS this spring, and I realized in a real way that clean water at the school has not only changed the community, it has literally saved lives. Kids don't get sick nearly as much, so the parents don't take them to a witch doctor for healing (where they get abused, bled, and marked). Now the community comes to the school for clean water, and since the school is also a church, they begin to hear about Christ. The witch doctors lose power on all levels: they lose influence, income, and prestige. In Uganda, every building needs to be blessed by the witch doctors to survive. When VPS doesn't do that and not only survives, but THRIVES, it sends a message to the community.  

The message of truth VPS continues to reveal is that when the light of Christ comes in, the darkness MUST leave. It made me realize how small our fundraising contest really was, but God, through BCCS, changed the community of Tata. I am now a witness to the fact that it’s WAY more than a fundraiser -- it's literally saving lives and bringing a community to God. It's restoring a very fallen and dark place and bringing light.

This visit will impact our school, and is impacting our school. The things we saw, the knowledge we gained, the relationships we built -- this is what being a community is all about. It is more than just being “Rescued,” it is about being “Rescuers” along with Ugandan Christians in a part of the world that needs it.  It is about BCCS walking alongside another school, being a light in the darkness, and helping each other become stronger in bringing Reformed Christian education to the world. It is about being used by God in expanding His kingdom.

best private school
christian school near me
best preschool in west michigan
preschool near me

8th Grade Final Project

Our 8th graders recently ended their time at BCCS by working on something called the Good Samaritan Project. The purpose of this project was not for the students to see what they were capable of doing on their own, but to gain an understanding of how they could use their gifts, open their hearts, and be willing to serve God by helping others.

technology christian school byron center

As a result of this project, students identified a problem that existed around the world, and worked to help solve the problem. Students collected pop cans to purchase bed nets, turned in scrap metal to help a Christian school in Uganda, collected toys and writing utensils to bring to kids in Guatemala. My deep hope for my students is that they love Jesus, help bring restoration to the whole world, and follow the Holy Spirit’s calling to live joyful and intentional lives. It was exciting to see the students experience this on their own!

Check out the website below to see some of their work!

Tom DeBlecourt-MS Teacher

Good Samaritan Projects

Byron Center Christian Welcomes New Principal!

To our community,

Byron Center Christian School is excited to announce the hiring of Mr. James Onderlinde as the new school administrator. After an extensive search, we strongly believe that James is the person God is calling to this role. We look forward to him leading our students, families and staff.

James previously served as the principal of Grand Haven Christian School and prior to that as a teacher at West Side Christian School. He brings a wealth of experience, but more importantly, a servant’s heart.  He is a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian School, has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Calvin College and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.

During the interview process this spring, it became clear that the gifts God has given James would allow him to serve this community well. He loves students, equips teachers and also builds strong relationships with parents. He seeks to glorify God each day through his work and service to others. BCCS board members, parents, faculty, and members of the administrative team have all recommended his hire after an extensive interview process.

Kyle Kuipers, BCCS school board president, stated that “the board and lead teachers have been engaged in conversations with James for a long period of time and we are very excited and thankful that God continues to provide great people and amazing staff members to our school. Praise be to God.”

Attached is a letter from James that tells a little more about him. He will officially begin at BCCS sometime this summer and we encourage students and parents to welcome him and his family to this amazing community!

We praise God for the service of Mr. John Kramer over the past five years and pray for James as he begins this summer. Above all else, we are grateful for the ways God continues to provide for BCCS as we seek to partner with parents to provide an excellent education that is rooted in God’s Word and prepares students for lifelong service.

Summer 2019: Now Enrolling!

We hope your family is having a great summer. Here at BCCS, we are busy cleaning, planning, and preparing for the 2019-2020 school year . If you are still looking to add a few things to your summer list, check out the GR Kids website for some cool ideas!

byron center christian private school

We also have limited openings in some of our early education program classes. That includes Preschool-4, Junior Kindergarten, Part-Time Kindergarten and Full-Time Kindergarten

Our preschool program is focused on learning through fun and has a four star rating from Great Start to Quality.

In Kindergarten, we strive for academic success, but also desire social, emotional and spiritual growth as well. You can click the links to learn more!

To enroll or to learn more about us, contact us online, call 878-3347 or email Andy Reidsma at We have tours available all summer and would love to learn about your child. It is our hope that the education they receive here with make a difference in their lives now and for years to come!

Why BCCS-Education with a Purpose

Logo CLear.png

As an enrollment coordinator, I deal with all types of questions from parents regarding the choice of school for their family.  When discussing the reasons for Christian school, I could talk about many valid reasons why BCCS is the right choice. Aspects of our education include teaching staff (and influence they have on the kids), the academic programs, the class size, extra-curricular activities, the spiritual development,  Christian practices, the growth of the whole child, faith integration into all subjects and so much more. However, the following example and thoughts are a main reason why Christian education is so important to me.

While walking the hall one day, I noticed two students headed to the playground. One student (let's call him Abe) was helping another student (let's call him Bob) calm down and prepare to spend recess with friends.  As I walked by, I recalled a few other times this year I had seen Abe helping Bob with tasks during the day. I smiled at this kind act and returned to my office. Later, I thought about what I had witnessed and how it encapsulates why Christian education is the best investment anyone can make. You see, It is not in Abe’s action, but in the reason behind Abe’s help that is key.

First, some background on this situation. Bob is a student with some specific learning needs. He sometimes struggled academically and socially because of those needs. Abe is a student who excels both academically and socially, a student that could be considered ‘top of his class.’ This school year, Bob is succeeding at BCCS as he learns academically, makes friends in the classroom and grows emotionally. Most importantly, his teacher shared that one day he began to cry when he learned that he was sinful (which of course led to a conversation about grace and Jesus). In the same way, Abe is succeeding at BCCS as he grows spiritually in the grace of Christ. He is exceptional in academics, a leader for his peers and participates in extracurricular activities.

The other important thought that came to mind was the integration of all students. If I am being 100% honest, sometimes I worry that with so many different types of students in a class, how can they all succeed. Then, I watch things like this happen and have to laugh at my foolishness. Both Bob and Abe are succeeding and accepted for who they are. And Bob and Abe are helping each-other succeed.

All that said, the reason Christian education is important is WHY the students are interacting in this way.  Abe interacts with Bob because he wants to, not because someone told him to or because he gets recognition. Like many BCCS students, he acts the way he does because BCCS teachers join with parents to teach students to show God’s love using their unique gifts. In everyday instruction, teachers strive to help students discover their passions AND recognize who gives purpose to their passions and their life. Each child is able to develop as an individual and as a community member. They receive an excellent education, which is rooted in God’s Word, so they are prepared to serve the world around them.

This makes a difference in their lives now, like seeing Abe help Bob, but our hope and prayer is it will make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them for many years to come.

Watching Abe and Bob reminded me why Christian education is so important. It is education that not only helps students succeed in all areas, but also develops a real foundation for each student so they are prepared for growth and service that starts now and that will last a lifetime.

True Community


We desire our students to know they are unique children of God, made in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made.  We also desire our students to know they are a part of the larger Body of Christ and are called to be active members of their respective communities.

The challenge is to combine these two important concepts, which almost seems contradictory. To overcome this hurdle, fifth grade students meet six times in September and October with some facilitators from Edgeline Resources, a local team-building consulting company. Together with the fifth grade staff, Edgeline coaches help students understand Romans 12. The goal is to encourage them to live out who God created them to be while living together and working as one body.

The main concept began with students brainstorming which behaviors and attitudes should be demonstrated in the Body of Christ. In contrast, they also wrote down many negative behaviors we often see and put those ‘outside of the body.’ As part of the process, students discussed that while they sometimes still act in ways outside of the Body of Christ, they know that God sent Jesus to take our place, thus making each one of us 100% valuable in the eyes of God. Since we no longer have to look to others (or things) for value, we are free to serve using our gifts (Romans 12:4-8).

Mr. DeVries commented, “I love seeing our fifth graders go through our Edgeline program. They learn about what it means to be the Body of Christ, think about their unique role in it, all while enjoying games and challenges with their classmates. Our mentors in this program have been a blessing to our fifth graders for years, and this is always one of the highlights of the fifth grade year.”

The unique aspect of Edgeline is that it uses a hands-on learning approach, where students actively participate. Students participate in discussions, work together to find solutions, participate in team-building activities, play some interesting games and even attend a day camp to cement the learning. Our hope is that what is covered in fifth grade provides a strong foundation for growth in middle school and beyond!

elementary school in byron center

Quality, Christian Education Requires Learning AND Action

During first semester, one of the second grade social studies units covered the topic of community. From a curriculum standpoint, this calls for lessons where students learn about common characteristics of all communities: natural characteristics, buildings, transportation, businesses, places to have fun, and human characteristics. Mrs. Kooyer said that our students “also decided that the most important part of a community is the people.”  The kids interviewed someone about what makes Byron Center special and wrote about their favorite places here. Teachers also incorporated a map study and students created their own town maps.

This is an important foundational lesson for the subject, but the lesson did not stop with simply learning about a definition. Teaching for Transformation (TfT) helps our staff ensure all subjects and lessons have real world applications and experiences.

For this particular lesson, teachers designed a learning experience that allowed our students to become community builders. To start, students wrote prayers and cards for the community businesses in Byron Center. Then, on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, teachers and parents took the students to those places. At each location, students stopped and prayed as a group for that particular establishment and brought the cards to an employee inside. Watching our students thank God for community businesses and ask for His blessing over employees was incredibly moving!  

Excellent education calls for students to simply learn about community. However, at Byron Center Christian, excellent education must also be rooted in God’s Word and prepare students for lifelong service. Watching students pray for our community and deliver a message of support shows that our students not only learned, but but also experienced authentic community on that day.

Building with a Purpose

South Christian High School (SCHS) opened in 1954 and has been faithfully striving to provide an excellent Christian education for the surrounding community since then. Their current mission is “to equip students to live Christ-centered lives and serve God to their greatest potential.” The school’s vision is “to be a spiritually vibrant educational community that reflects God’s Kingdom. We seek God’s leading in providing academically exceptional offerings, culturally relevant methods, and service oriented community with a heart for students.”

Byron Center Christian and South Christian are members of South Suburban Christian Schools, a group of four elementary/middle schools and the high school. The group serves as affiliated schools to provide preschool through 12th grade education to our communities! In January 2019, SCHS opened the doors to its brand new high school campus. The facility was made possible by families, grandparents, supporters, businesses and other partners who are all committed to ensure SCHS can fulfill its’ mission and vision. The campus is designed to not only serve current students, but also allows for future growth!

The new SCHS features many open community spaces, creative classroom designs, two gymnasiums, student collaborations stations, expansive co-curricular spaces/classrooms, and beautiful auditorium (just to name a few things). It is exciting for BCCS families as they look forward to their children one day attending school there. Our prayer for our students (even as they begin preschool) is that every grade they enter helps them grow more into the people God has created them to be. We are grateful to partner with SCHS as we know that growth will continue in high school as well!

Click this link to read the Christian Reformed Church article about the new SCHS!