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?

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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 students 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 of a period of a few days.

  2. Second, results foster instructional improvement. We test and then teach so we understand were 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 the 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!

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FAQ at BCCS!

Frequently Asked Questions about Byron Center Christian

What grades does Byron Center Christian offer?

Preschool (age 3) through 8th Grade. Following middles 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 is 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 that desire if 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

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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 physically 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 you own research to find out more!

https://network.crcna.org/sunday-school/characteristics-middle-schoolers



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?


SOS Day 2018

One important part of Christian education is helping students understand we all have a need for God, a need for His love, and a need for community. Once we realize this, we are called to go into God’s world and spread His love by serving others.

The video below has some pictures from SOS day, which is one of many opportunities we provide students to learn how they can be the hands and feet of Christ!

Like the song in the slideshow? You find out more here!


BCCS Apparel Sale!

Welcome to the 2018 Apparel Sale! You can order online, your items are sent to school, and we will distribute it to families (or anyone else who makes a purchase).  Make sure all orders are in by November 18, as the store will close after that date! Sample sizes will be available in the East Campus office. All orders will arrive before Christmas break and these items will make great gifts.

You can choose your colors, sizes, and some items can have a custom print (last name is common) on the back.

Share this site with friends, family members, or anyone else you think might want to purchase BCCS apparel!

Check out the link below to place your order now!

https://bccsfallapparel2018.itemorder.com/sale


Discovery: The BCCS Blog

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At Byron Center Christian School, we strive to offer the highest quality Christian education to the Byron Center community. Our mission is to provide for children of the Christian community and excellent education, rooted in God’s Word, preparing them for lifelong service in God’s Kingdom.

However, we do not work alone, as we partner with parents, families, churches, supporters, and other community members! Without their support, we would not be where we are today.

The purpose of Discovery (the blog you are reading from) is to provide updates on what is happening at BCCS. Our mission plays out everyday in the classroom, on field trips, during chapel, on the playground, at athletic events and in many other places. This blog will highlight those moments and provide another window for parents (and other partners) to see our school in action.

Please note that each post many have a different author and the thoughts and opinions reflect those of that author. We hope this is another way you can Discover the Difference here at BCCS!


Teachers Teach People

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In his book "The Cause for Christian Education," Dr. Richard Edlin claims that "teachers first of all teach people, not subjects." He goes on to explain that while teachers do teach math, science, reading and more, they are also teaching children about everything in this world. (As a side-note, Edlin's text is lengthy, but definitely worth a read)

This is true at Byron Center Christian School as we provide a quality Christian education in the Byron Center community. We recognize the importance of equipping children to impact the world for Christ. The impact a teacher has on his or her students cannot be understated. A good teacher will prepare students for the next grade, but our teachers want students prepared for more than that.  The goal is to help students understand who they are as Children of God and how to act in this world. That, of course, includes academic achievement, but it also means emotional, social and spiritual growth as well.

 To help accomplish this, our teachers have been trained and are implementing the Teaching for Transformation (TfT) instructional model. Doug Monsma, describes TfT as “a biblical framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living God’s story.” A strong understanding of math, science, history, and social studies is vital, but that knowledge without the proper Christian worldview goes to waste.  Here at BCCS, we are are grateful for the opportunity to truly teach our students.

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Pure Joy

Earlier this week, I was walking past one of our three year old classrooms and just popped my head in for a moment (teachers just love when we interrupt their class). However, upon doing so, I could not help but smile. One, watching the young students learn and answer questions is simply fun. They are curious and eager to expand their knowledge. Second, us adults could learn something from them. The students are simply happy being at school and being with their friends. They have their own community in the classroom with the teacher and their classmates. They are overjoyed to be at BCCS and be with those they love.

As adults, we miss this concept and get caught up in jobs, plans, possessions, trips, and just about everything else. Our source of joy must come from God and having confidence in Him. However, God created us for community, and often times, we are most happy spending time with those we love. As we enter another busy season of the school year, let us learn a valuable lesson from our preschool students. Sometimes, what we need most is just to pause and go spend time with our friends.

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