Preschool Open House


The Byron Center community is invited to our Preschool Open House on January 16th, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. The event is held at our Early Education campus, which is located at 8705 Byron Center Ave SW. The evening is an opportunity for new families to tour the campus, meet the teaching staff, and pre-register for a class of preference.

Please note, some classes will fill that evening, so come with a few options on which class you would prefer. See the Early Education Brochure for class details and tuition information.

Contact Andrew Reidsma at 878-3347 or If you cannot attend that evening, you may schedule a personal tour of our preschool at any time!

Who: Everyone

What: BCCS Preschool Open House

When: Wednesday, January 16th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM

Where: Early Education Campus, 8705 Byron Center Ave SW, Byron Center, MI 49315

Why: Discover the difference an authentic, Christian education can have on your children and learn how BCCS is the best investment you can make for your family!

Question: Contact Andrew Reidsma at 878-334 or

We look forward to seeing you there!

Excellent Instruction in Action

How can a teacher teach an entire class and address all the individual learning needs? How can they help students at different academic levels? How can all the students get one-on-one instruction?

I am glad you asked! At Byron Center Christian, we recognize the importance of fostering strong reading and writing skills in our students. Teachers and staff use specific instructional methods called reading and writing workshop to accomplish this goal. The pictures below show this in action and the following paragraph describes how it works (and answers the initial questions).


In a workshop block, teachers will give a mini-lesson on the particular topic or skill (i.e. poetry, a new reading strategy, spelling, five paragraph essay, etc.) and then allow students to break into individuals or groups. From there, students actually apply what the lesson was on (i.e. writing a poem, trying the reading strategy, spelling practice, typing an essay, etc.). The teacher is then free to conference (or help) students on an individual basis to make sure everyone has a strong understanding of what is being taught. This also allows the teacher the ability to challenge high performing students and assist students that have not yet grasped the particular concept. Following the work-time, teachers can have the students share their work with the class or can summarize and review what was taught. While this is not how instruction always happens, workshops are a powerful tool for almost any subject.

This practice seems simple, but it takes careful planning and a strong knowledge of and relationship with each student to ensure success. We are able to use these instructional methods to teach to the group and to the individual student. We are also able to address the individual academic needs of our students so each child is able to succeed. While no teacher or classroom is perfect, we are blessed with amazing teachers who want to help each student grow!



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While Teaching for Transformation (TfT) has helped teachers introduce through-line themes in the classrooms for students, our 8th grade theme team still had the opportunity to choose our school verse and song for the 2018-2019 school year. The verse they selected is 2 Timothy 1:7, which reads “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” The school song is “Rescuer” by Rend Collective.

The verse is a powerful reminder that not only is God walking with us, but also He equips us with the tools we need to faithfully serve him. As a school, we want our students to know that God gives love, power, and self-discipline and His spirit helps them practice those things on a daily basis. It is not always easy to see God’s large plan for our life, but using Timothy as a reminder can help us focus on the simple tasks of loving those around us, being disciplined in our faith walk, and influencing with Christ-like power.

Corresponding with the verse is the popular Rend Collective song that talks about how Christ has rescued each of us. In one of the verses, it calls listeners to “come and be chainless, come and be fearless,” which fits with what Timothy says about living with power and self-discipline. It is important for students of all ages to know that everyone (including ourselves) will remain chained in sin unless we turn to Christ. Realizing that we need to be rescued allows us, in turn, to point others to Jesus.

Here at Byron Center Christian School, we are excited to see how God uses our school (students, staff, parents, and supporters) to help us develop the self-discipline to grow in faith, love deeply, and influence powerfully.

Pure Worship

Do you ever get ‘that feeling’ when singing in church, attending a concert, or even during your morning prayer - a rush through your body, sometimes even goosebumps, while worshiping in the presence of God? Every Thursday when second grade has worship time, that is exactly what one can experience.

As Christians, we are called to worship daily. At Byron Center Christian School, that is one aspect (of many) of a quality Christian education. Everything must start and end in Christ.

Mrs. VanWieren commented that sometimes worship occurs within a daily lesson, but other times it takes place by design. In a similar fashion, Bible is taught as a specific subject, but Bible is also present and prevalent in every subject. Teachers purposefully work to craft an environment where worship can happen not only during devotions or chapel, but also when exploring math, science, and social studies.

As adults, we sometimes have an inhibition or timidity when we come to worship, but our second grade students do not. Every Thursday morning, the entire grade gathers in one room to sing praises together. There is no hi-tech sound system, no fancy lighting, and sometimes not even an instrumental accompaniment. However, when you walk by Mrs. Battjes’ classroom, you will encounter one of the most pure forms of worship brought before our Lord and Savior. The kids are singing their hearts out to their Creator. There is no inhibition or worry about how they sound, but just powerful, authentic worship. There is no way to describe what is taking place, but it is absolutely beautiful. Simply put, the second grade students are fulfilling what God created them to do. And while our teachers encourage and lead this time, it is God working in each of their hearts. It is our hope and prayer that He will continue to provide us opportunities for pure worship of Him.

Educational Support Services at BCCS

With each child being created in God’s image and being a reflection of Him in many ways, we get a broad spectrum of beautiful gifts and learning styles. At Byron Center Christian School, our goal is to help every child to work to their fullest ability. Our school is blessed because of this great variety. With this in mind, we take a special approach to inclusive education. The thing is, you might not ever notice the amazing work that our Educational Support Services (ESS) team does, because it is meant to blend seamlessly within the classroom. Our desire is to educate parents on what an amazing benefit and blessing ESS can be to a wide range of students. ESS Director, Kathy Fleet, said last spring in the New Family Orientation, parents often take an apprehensive sigh when they get a call from her, thinking, “What’s wrong with my child?” If there is frustration in the home or at school for the student or parent concerning their education, ESS is a welcome set of eyes on each student.

The analytical and intervention approach are all geared toward each student’s success. Anything that interferes with a student’s ability is covered by ESS. There are many factors, such as attention, anxiety, learning differences, physical and/ or social skill needs. This is why our team has a response to intervention framework that includes four tiers. Intervention is simply the word used when ESS becomes involved with helping a student.


1. The ESS staff provide consultation to the general education teacher to assist with meeting student needs in the classroom (i.e. seating placement).

2. ESS staff design a more targeted approach for various students which could include a paraprofessional in the room. Progress is monitored.

3. When Tiers 1 & 2 have not met the needs, then a more intensive intervention is provided outside the classroom by a highly qualified teacher (one of the ESS staff). One example is Reading Recovery.

4. Students will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to include frequent and complete monitoring of all academics by ESS staff. Most of these students will have a full time instructional aide throughout the day to promote inclusion.

It is often thought that the current children placed in Tier 4 are the only children that our team services. However, there are approximately 75 students in their care. Our ESS team meets with each teacher weekly to assess each plan in place and diligently reviews all of our students’ needs. Parents are contacted if a student requires Tier 2 involvement. If you feel that our team would be beneficial in helping your student succeed, the ESS team is here for you.

An ESS plan can be initiated by our team or the parent. Our team creates individual plans to build on your student’s strengths, providing opportunities for them to develop strategies surrounding triggers that prohibit education for themselves or others, and they are always solution-finding in their approach. As parents, you wonder if you are making the right choices for your child, and with an ESS partnership, you can feel more confident in how your child is doing at school. Discover the Difference of what Educational Support Services can do for your family.

True Learning

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There are many differing opinions in the realm of education on student grades. For a great perspective, check out the letter to our lower elementary families that our teachers sent home with report cards!

Dear Parents,

Your child’s first report card of the year will be emailed to you on Friday. The grading scale for 1st-3rd grade uses a 1-3 scale that reflects how your child is doing, based on our expectations for his/her current grade level. If a student is secure in his/her work and is able to meet grade level expectations, he/she will receive a 3.  A score of 2 indicates that the student is developing in his/her work; sometimes concepts in that area can be difficult, but the student is continuing to progress toward meeting grade level expectations.  A score of 1 indicates beginning understanding and means the concepts in that area are difficult for that student.  You may see a 1, 2, or 3 with a plus behind it. A 3+ would indicate that a student is exceeding grade level expectations.  A 1+ or 2+ would show that a student is moving towards the next level of developing or secure.

Remember, education is more than academics.  Your child is a unique child of God and is learning in many ways - intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.  It is difficult to describe and evaluate a child with only marks in a box. Your child is and will become so much more than a report card could ever show.  A report card is a small picture of progress, and learning is a process. As teachers, it is our goal to meet your child where they are and help move them forward.

We hope that you will talk with your child about his/her progress in school - giving praise for areas of achievement and encouragement in areas of difficulty.  It is our privilege to be working alongside you this year, helping your children develop the gifts that God has given them. More important than the academics, it is our prayer that they will grow as children of God, rooted in His Word as they prepare to serve Him.  

In Christ,

The 1st-3rd grade teachers

Why Standardized Testing?


Why is it when we hear the words ‘standardized test,’ everyone seems to cringe? Maybe it is because we think of a packed gym, spending hours filling out a seemingly random test. Perhaps it was because you had to have a certain score to move to the next grade. Maybe your teacher pushed too hard to improve a score. Whatever the reason, standardized testing often has a negative connotation.

As a school, one of our outcomes is to ensure students are making academic progress. It is our job to partner with parents to make sure students are prepared academically to succeed in high school and beyond. In 2017, we implemented the use of MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) for standardized testing, which was created by NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association).

This new evaluation tool benefits our teaching staff and students in three ways.

  1. First, the testing is not a long or arduous process, nor is there any pressure on students to achieve a certain score. While they are encouraged to try their best, the testing environment is not pressure filled. The test also alters itself based on the student’s answers, so it forms to their ability level. While students do test multiple times per year, it is only in sections of roughly an hour spread over a period of a few days.

  2. Second, results foster instructional improvement. We test and then teach so we understand where each student and each class is at in their learning. In the same light, our teaching staff has been trained on how to use the analytical analysis of test results. The goal is to recognize class trends, identify strengths, and address weakness. The teacher can take the results and use them to modify instruction or focus on areas of concern.

  3. Third, the testing allows us to compare student results to national norms and track their growth over time. Both forms of evaluation are critical. As an institution, we want to ensure our students are performing well compared to other schools. That way we know instruction methods and curricula are effective. However, we recognize the fact that each of our students is different, each one a unique child of God. As such, we want to help each of them succeed. The goal, especially in elementary levels, is to help students grow in order to  build their confidence.

Testing many never be the highlight of the day, but we are excited about how it can help both our teachers and our students here at BCCS!



Frequently Asked Questions about Byron Center Christian

What grades does Byron Center Christian offer?

Preschool (age 3) through 8th Grade. Following middle school, most students then enroll at South Christian High School.

Are you accredited?

Yes, by Christian Schools International. Accreditation serves many purposes, but a main purpose is to provide parents, staff, and our governing body (the school board) the assurance our school holds itself to high academic standards integrated with Christ-centered excellence.

What curriculum do you use?

Check out the curriculum overview to see a subject area summary. It is also important to note the use of Teaching for Transformation (TfT) to help our teachers ensure our students are receiving the best Christian education that prepares them not only for the next grade level, but also for a life of seeking Christ.

What is the student-to-teacher ratio?

For our entire school body, the ratio is 14:1. In our early education programs, the ratio is smaller.

What type of extracurricular activities do you offer?

Where can I find your school calendar?

On the home page, select ‘Quick Links’ from the top menu, then select 'School Calendar’

Follow this link!

Do you have busing?

Yes, busing is available for students in Junior Kindergarten (not at half-day) through 8th Grade. It is provided through Byron Center Public Schools, so your family must live within the school district.

For more information, visit the Transportation Department website.

What age do you start teaching additional languages?

We begin our Spanish program starting in Kindergarten.

Are there opportunities for parent involvement?

Yes! We depend on a partnership with parents to help students succeed, but also for many other things. There are opportunities in the classroom, at recess, on field trips, with school events and in many other areas. The Parents Club is designated to promote fellowship, provide encouragement, perform services, and raise funds. Our school board is also composed of school parents.

Admissions Questions

How do I apply?

Check out our admission section on our website for application instructions based on grade level. Families are welcome to apply once enrollment opens (usually mid-January).

Contact the office for more information.

Do you offer visit days?

Yes!  We will have preschool and kindergarten open houses each year. We also highly recommend a personal tour so you have the time to see our school, see students and teachers, and have all your specific questions answered.

How much is tuition?

Select ‘Admissions’ on the Home Page, then select ‘Tuition’

Follow this link!

Is Financial Aid available?

Yes, for Kindergarten through 8th Grade! It is our goal to make Christian education possible for all who desire it for their family.

Please check out our financial aid information using this link.

For more details, one of our board members would be happy to walk you through the process. Contact office manager Missy Walters at 616-878-3347 to get started.

Still more questions?

Contact our office or stop at either of our locations and we will be happy to help with whatever you need!

True Value


Why does it seem that middle school can be such a difficult time for some students? The easy (yet still correct) answer is our sinful nature, and that often manifests itself in the way we treat others. Aside from sin, I wanted to form my own opinion on this, so I did a little research on the topic. While many articles had interesting information, I found the “Characteristics of Middle Schooler” by Julanda Howe helpful. I will try to summarize my findings in a question and answer format.  

Is middle school still challenging at a private school?

The short answer is yes. Our students, like everyone, are sinful. The difference is in two key areas. First, we hope the instruction and love given in our elementary grades forms a solid foundation for middle school growth. It is our hope that students have learned and continue to learn to find their value in Christ. The world tells us to put value in so many other places (friends, things, popularity), but our goal is to keep Christ at the center. Second, even if problems arise, we not only have a discipline system in place, but we can work with the students to find the root of the problem. Obviously there is an academic development in middle school, but we also want to foster spiritual and emotional growth as well. We use a biblical framework to help teach that there are consequences to our actions, but also that there is love and grace in Christ.

Why can middle school  be difficult?

There are many reasons given by many different people, but some of the most common include that kids that age are are establishing their own identity, want to be accepted, seek peer approval, can be emotional, and the many physical changes that occur at that age (and challenges those come with).  The problems arise when all the students are going through these changes in different ways and at the same time. They all want the same things (love and acceptance), but are still learning how to provide those things for others.

Howe notes that students “tend to move away from families and teachers toward their own peer group.” It is vital for parents and teachers to know this and not be discouraged when that happens. Both still play an important role in the life of teenagers, even if it does not seem like it.

What do our teachers do?

  • Build real relationships with students. Teachers know them as individuals in order to be a positive influence and role model.

  • Provide consistency and clarity in instruction and rules. Make sure students know exactly what is expected.

  • Model Christ with their actions. Students will notice the way teachers treat not only other students, but also one another.

  • Communicate with parents to ensure they are working together to support the many needs different students have.

  • Encourage!

  • Pray and have lots patience!

If you want more insight, just send an email to on of our many amazing teachers!

What can parents do?

  • Model Christ with their actions. Your kids will notice the way you treat them, each other, and other people.

  • Listen to them. It may not be often they share, but when they do, try to hear their perspective.

  • Communicate with teachers. Make sure you are working with your child’s teachers to support their learning and growth at school.

  • Encourage them to show love to others. The only thing they can control is their actions. Help them model Christ in how they treat peers (this is easy to say, but can be very hard to do).

  • Pray for your kids, their classmates, and teachers.

  • Have lots patience.


These are just a few simple thoughts on a topic many people have different opinions on.  By no means do I want to over-simplify or generalize, but just want to provide some insight and encouragement!  As a parent, if you remember nothing else, please communicate with teachers. When you work together with your child’s teacher (even in the hard times), that is helpful for your children.

We are blessed by our middle school teachers and middle school parents as they work to help our students find their true identity in Christ!


Check out the link below for more details or do your own research to find out more!

8 Ways to Get Connected in a New School!

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Are you a new family at your school? It can be a difficult transition for a new student, but elementary students are great at making new friends. But what about you? As parents, it can be difficult to feel like members of your new school community because you are not there every day. Check out the eight tips below for some ideas on how you can get plugged in!  

1.Attend School Events

Many schools have new family orientations, back-to-school events, early teacher conferences, or in-take testing. There will be current families at these events and the informal settings can be a great way to get to know other parents.

Once the year is underway, try to be present at a few class events. These can be field trips, sporting events, or other school activities.

2. Get to Know Your Child's Teacher

The heart and soul of a school is the teacher in your child’s classroom. Make sure you get connected with the teacher as soon as possible. They will sometimes meet with all parents to start the year, have weekly newsletters, or email updates to parents. This is important for two reasons. First, it allows you to support your child’s learning at home and partner with the teacher for success. Second, this is an easy way to see contact information for other parents in your child’s class. Reach out to a few of the parents you meet at an event and see if they want to grab coffee (or something similar)!

3. Connect to a Host Family

As a new family, some schools (including BCCS) will provide a host family for you. This usually involves a current school family (with children of similar ages) touching base throughout the school year. While this does not always lead to forever friendships, it does provide a contact so you can get to know the school from the parent prospective. Contact your school’s admissions representative or enrollment coordinator to ask about this.

4. Help at Recess

Want to see what your new school is like during the day? Volunteer to cover a recess shift for a teacher. It is always fun to see the kids interact on the playground and this is also another great way to meet parents. An added bonus is that it providers your child’s teacher a brief moment to catch up and eat lunch.

5. Church Connections

All families at Byron Center Christian attend local churches (of many different denominations). Contact your school office and ask if other families from your church attend the school. This is a great common ground to find other school families.

6. Host a Play-Date

Ask your son or daughter who they spend time with during the day. Grab your school directory and invite those moms (or dads) over for a play-date. Meet at the playground, go somewhere fun, or just have them over for kids to play in the backyard.

7. Follow Social Media

Many schools have a Facebook or Instagram page, so take advantage. This is a simple way to see what happens during the day, check upcoming events, and feel more apart of your new school. Some schools will have parents groups that allow you to ask questions about things specific to your child’s class.

8. Contact the Parent Organization

Schools all have a type of parent support organization (Parents Club at BCCS) that not only raises financial support, but also hosts events and does many things to improve school culture. The officers or leaders of this organization can be great people to reach out to. Not only will they know what events you should attend (skating parties, class trips, fundraisers, etc.), but they are often very invested in the school. Send them an email and ask their advice on how to get connected and involved!

Admittedly, these are all steps that you (the new family) have to take. At Byron Center Christian, it is our hope and prayer that our school will always be a welcoming place for families that are new and for families that have been here for generations. We have processes in place to accomplish this goal, but we are always always open to new suggestions. Never hesitate to contact our school office for help in getting started!

Want even more ideas? Check out another blog here?