Every person in this educational institution contributes to the whole. Every piece is connected and every piece matters. This week we celebrate our Director of Community Development and Director of Admissions, Betsy Phillips.
Mrs. Phillips loves building community, connecting people, and talking about SJCS to new families! “When you really connect the value of education at SJCS to the benefits for children and families, I cannot imagine how a family would choose something different than what we offer. Not only are we intentional in the classroom, but also in every event and activity. The biggest distinctive we have is our partnership of school, home, and church. I think this approach is so unique in our valley. When people really understand that partnership, it can help their children thrive.”
Betsy and the office team engage the SJCS mission. They are intentional about displaying a love for God, a desire to learn and a commitment to serve. Their effective processes point to engagement with all the different members of our community. They support our teachers so that together our staff can effectively raise up kids to transform His kingdom. Betsy overflows with joy as she shares, “Because I believe in our mission statement with my whole heart, it is easy for me to share our story and build events, tours, and community connection points in support of that mission.”
From January 16-19, our student body, 5th - 8th grade, enjoyed a new experience called J-Term. J-Term is short for January Term: a short, condensed and focused time of learning in one specific topic area. Continue reading to see the amazing impact J-Term had on our students, school community and wider church communities. Our nine SJCS Throughlines wove throughout these electives in beautiful ways.
During PROJECT SERVE, a group of willing students spent four days sharing their time and talent at multiple locations that included House of Hope, Cityteam, Palo Alto Christian Reformed Church and SJCS. Our eyes were opened to see how community comes together to encourage and support members in our community who are in need. (Led by Mrs. Thompson & Mrs. Singh)
“I liked that we were helping others.” H.S.
“I enjoyed working at City Team the most.” C.B.
“We got to help the community.” S.V.
BUSINESS MARKETING students explored what it takes to run a small business through topics such as branding, marketing, and the social media opportunity. (Led by Mrs. Medeiros & Mrs. Hendricks)
“J-term gave me different tips and tricks to help a business succeed exponentially.” M.S.
“Business marketing can be used in real life as I hope to plan a successful business soon.” R.A.
“I find it really enjoyable to create and design things.” N.P.
HIKING ADVENTURES AND WILDERNESS WANDERINGS brought 12 students to local hiking trails such as Quicksilver & Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch. During the 3-4.5 mile hikes, students explored nature metaphors from the Bible and literature, grew in community, and practiced basic survival skills. (Led by Mr. DenOuden and Mrs. Baham)
“I loved the fresh air and trail discussions.” H.J.
“I learned more about the other students in my group.” Camille S. “I loved being able to learn and grow as a community, not just in a classroom, but in nature.” A.S.
ROBO-CODING (Robotics & Coding) students enjoyed building, programming, and flying drones while discussing the present and future impact of the drone industry. (Led by Robo-Robo Company & Mrs. Coetsee)
“I enjoyed my unusually high speed drone.” M.K.
“Each day there was something fun to do.” C.S.
“Students had time to be creative and pursue their interests in robotics and coding.” Mrs. Coetsee
READERS’ THEATRE prepared students to perform in small groups. During the week, students also learned performance techniques, costume making and make-up design. (Led by Mrs. Truong)
“It was nice to try something new and extra-curricular during school hours.” E.P.
“It was fun hanging out with people in different grades than me because it got me to connect and become closer friends with them.” M.S.
“Even though I have done sewing before, I got to try something new when we made our costumes.” A.H.
Students used their gift of teaching to bless younger students on campus as they took “A WALK TO THE LITTLE SIDE.” Students designed centers and activities for our preschool and JK classes (Led by Mrs. Nibbelink)
“I enjoyed playing with the little kids.” G.L. and C.F.
“It made me feel like I was a little kid again myself.” M.L.
“I think it would have been more fun if we could have been the teacher for a whole day!” M.S.
MAKE AND TAKE POTTERY CLASS students learned the basic techniques for working with clay in an advanced art studio course. Over the week, students completed multiple projects which were glazed before being returned to them. (Led by Ms. Webb)
“We got to make plates and paint them from scratch.” J.S.
“Pottery was lots of fun, and I enjoyed making things with my friends.” C.B.
“I really liked making a bowl for my cat.” B.L.
Let’s celebrate the gift of babies at SJCS! Infant Center Lead Teacher, Tammy Reulman, glows as she talks about SJCS and the Infant Center. “We have the best job ever. Our teaching happens throughout the day as we change diapers, sing songs, play, and teach about God’s love. Kids know more than you think they do! We focus on God as the Creator and the Golden Rule. Our program is amazing because of the teamwork of our staf. We really work together to give excellent care.” Tammy and her team focus on Psalm 139, Proverbs 22:6, Matthew 28:18-19, Luke 2:30, and Matthew 19:14 to frame their work each day.
Charieah Kephart-Ford enjoys working with babies because each day is diferent. “You never know what adventure you will be on. It is so fun to watch them grow and teach them about the love of the Lord every day.” Monette Dawson delights in watching babies develop into toddlers.”It also gives my heart so much joy to see the sparkle in their eyes as we sing songs about God and Jesus. I love being able to share the word of God with the babies.” Priscilla Ku admires the amazing mental, physical, and verbal growth of each child. “What amazes me even more is that God, the heavenly Creator, wonderfully and fearfully makes each child. The babies are a joy to be around every day.” Melinda Sanchez is so thankful to be a part of the ICC Team. “Our room is a joyful, noisy, busy room with never a dull moment. Working at SJCS has been such a blessing in my life, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful job where I can love and care for our littlest Tigers.”
Thank you, Infant Center Team, for living God’s love, peace, hope, and joy with our babies!
God created SJCS Librarian, Nicole Nesdahl, a connector. “I’m a connector. I love connecting students to books, each other, and God.” Elementary library classes begin with meaningful rituals: a squirt of hand sanitizer, student-led prayer, and candle-lighting. “We light a candle as a symbol of God’s presence. The light reminds us that God is with us and sets the tone for sharing our stories together.” As Mrs. Nesdahl reads books to her students she connects their lives to the story. Questions like “Is there such a thing as good luck?” or “Who can explain what a lightning bug looks like?” give students a chance to get into the text while sharing their own experiences.
This year Mrs. Nesdahl initiated new library opportunities for students and
teachers. Many students entered the bookmark contest. Four winners (Joey, Elizabeth, Sofia S, and Lauren S) will have their Micah 6:8 bookmark creations published for SJCS library visitors to enjoy. Middle school students applied for a new library interns position. Nine participants now meet twice a month to train on library procedures and connect with each other over books. Mrs. Nesdahl chose 1 TImothy 4:12 as the library intern theme verse. “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in life, in love, and in purity.” She sees the entire process of interviewing, working side by side, and growing in Christian community as part of the library’s mission to form wise decision-makers and engaged citizens. Over the summer Mrs. Nesdahl and many volunteers automated over 4,000 titles to a new library book checkout app. In addition, Mrs. Nesdahl started library cart support for teachers where she gathers books on particular topics for teachers to use as classroom resources. Take a moment to stop in the library, meet Mrs. Nesdahl, and thank her for the many ways she is leading our school in a love for God, desire to learn, and commitment to serve.
Walking into the Grasshopper room felt like a downpour of Living Water into my “love bucket”. The love and joy of these little ones reflects the loving atmosphere of Miss Blenda and Miss Sharokeena’s classroom. When I walked in, five children circled around me with smiles and curiosity, and books in hand. “Let’s read this one!” they exclaimed. The foundation of this classroom rests on basic truths of our faith: God made the world. God made each one of us. God has a plan. God wants me to be safe. God wants me to grow. Miss Blenda and Miss Sharokeena teach these beautiful truths through the study of what God has made--seasons, senses, and relationships. Even at this young age, SJCS students begin to understand how to be effective communicators, wise decision-makers, and humble servants. (For more information on filling someone’s love bucket, check out the book the Grasshoppers talk about together called How Full Is Your Bucket?)
Growing up in the Midwest taught me that hospitality is cleaning your house for company and preparing enough food for everyone to have seconds, thirds, and leftovers. Upon closer inspection, hospitality is so much more, and it offers rich implications for us as God’s people. One of our SJCS Throughlines reads: Healthy People hold a loving self-image as well as a loving view of others, both the friend and the stranger:
In a classroom, hospitality includes smiling at students when they arrive and looking them in the eye as we greet them. Mr. Hoksbergen uses music to establish hospitality in his classroom where students are welcome, and relationship with each other matters. Classroom hospitality can also mean welcoming strangers with open minds and hearts. Mrs. DenOuden modeled this the first week of school as she introduced her class to a new textbook. Students explored the book and opened their minds and hearts to the relationship they would have with it as they studied math together. Mrs. DenOuden wove important topics into their exploration such as learning styles, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.
Last week the 8th Graders considered the implications of what it means to show hospitality to the other middle school students. As leaders on campus, 8th graders can set the tone of holding a loving view of others, both the friend and the stranger. Be sure to ask our 8th graders about #SouthernHospitality!
As school wrapped up last year and the SJCS staff saw summer break on the horizon, Mrs. Thompson looked ahead to this school year. She decided to give each staff member a copy of Mindset by Carol Dweck with an invitation to read the book over the summer. Mrs. Thompson had read the book before, and knew it would affect teachers in personal and professional ways. “I want our teachers and students to focus on the can rather than the can’t. Rather that saying ‘I don’t know it’, we can say ‘I don’t know it YET.’”
Mrs. Thompson’s hopes that teachers would be on the same page about approaching setbacks and difculties are already bearing fruit. Miss Veurink commented that “Reading Mindset helped me identify my own mindset. And it has changed the verbiage I use with my students. Our “superpower word” for the year is YET. We use a ladder in my classroom to help us identify our mindset.” JK Teacher Suzie Van Ewyk shared, “When I read the book I realized that I live some areas of my life with a fixed mindset, and others with a growth mindset. I looked at the areas I approach with a growth mindset and started applying a growth mindset to other areas of my life.” Second Grade teacher Lynn Hossink discovered both personal and professional applications. “Growing up I was quiet and shy and thought success was other people validating me. Now I see that I need to challenge myself to learn and grow, and see areas that need growth as a good thing.” Dweck wrote that ‘Our best gift as educators and parents is to teach our children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy efort, seek new strategies, and keep on learning.’ It made me think about my classroom culture. When I am disciplining students, what message do I want to send: ‘I will judge and punish you?’ Or, ‘I want to help you think and learn.’
The middle school teachers decided to start our year with a middle school mixer around the topic of mindset. You can check it out on Mrs. Baham’s blog. We already see the impact of Mrs. Thompson’s leadership on growth mindset, and we look forward to the future impact this will have as we live this year together.
As you enter Miss Hossink’s Grade 2 classroom you will see a huge display above her cupboards with the words “IN OUR CLASSROOM WE...” surrounded by amazing things like “do love”, “listen”, “make mistakes”, “never give up”, “think first”, “include everyone” and the list goes on. Miss Hossink is fifth in line as the proud recipient of the “Karen Wynbeek Award”. This “teacher of the year” award began the year Mrs. Wynbeek retired. Each year the administration chooses one teacher to receive the award.
Miss Hossink faced a big decision in her final years as an elementary
education major at Calvin College. She came to a point where she was
not sure she wanted to teach. She had no idea what she should do with
her life. God providentially provided her with a small Christian school for
her second student teaching placement. Through that school, God brought
multiple people into her life who mentioned San Jose Christian School. Miss
Hossink felt that it was God Himself whispering this school into her ear. After talking with Mr. I in an interview, God’s plan was clear to her. Miss Hossink moved to San Jose with the belief that our school was the answer to her many prayers of “God, show me a path you have for me.” During her three years at SJCS thus far, she continues to pray for God’s direction. God continues to confirm her call to be at our school through students, parents, and experiences. She sees her job at SJCS as a story of God’s faithfulness to her!
Miss Hossink turned a di cult time in her late college experience into a growth opportunity. She faced her setbacks with courage and determination. Now, years later, Miss Hossink’s favorite part of being a teacher is enjoying the chance to build her own classroom community. She loves the energy of her students, and is grateful for the energy they bring out in her. She feels that she learns from her students, and grows in faith because of her relationships with them. She admits to using some “teacher tricks”. She did not reveal all of her secrets, but did admit to some classroom management strategies involving counting down from three, the “teacher look”, and the power of a whisper!
Fellow teacher and mentor Mrs. DenOuden noted that she has watched Miss Hossink “step up as a teacher leader”. Another colleague, Mrs. VanEwyk, shared that “Miss Hossink is one of those unique teachers and individuals that grabs your attention in the first twenty seconds and leaves you spellbound by her cleverness and quick mind. I've always marveled at how she can spin a simple lesson into a character building activity. Lynn is an exceptional teacher, her students always know they are loved and respected.” Fellow teacher and friend, Miss Laverman, added that “Miss Hossink has such an energetic presence and her students can't help but to catch that same excitement for learning. Her love for her students and for God shines through and is reflected in her instruction. She is truly an example of Christ's love in our SJCS community.”
Philippians 4:6 is a life verse for Miss Hossink. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”