City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you hear
Very soon it will be Christmas day
The song Silver Bells made famous by Bing Crosby, paints an idealized picture of Christmastime. It is what most of the world sees when they think of Christmas. We enjoy the Christmas lights, the busyness of the season, the performances, getting and giving gifts.
Juxtapose Amazon trucks zipping around, busy streets and crowded malls of present-day, to what happened when Christ was born. Mary & Joseph were young and just starting out as a family. They were traveling many miles from home and had nowhere to stay. The city was packed due to the call for a census. They ended up in a stable in a little town of Bethlehem. It was busy and it wasn't ideal. However, a host of angels appeared in front of shepherds. How amazing that would have been to see. In the midst of all that busyness, the Son of God was born in that little stable. Miracles happened that night. And often when we think of that night we think "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night". We idealize this time when Jesus our "bread of life" was born and would change the world forever. How fitting that Christ was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread”.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of busyness here on at SJCS. I have enjoyed this magical time on our campus. Being able to watch the different performances and see the variety of craft projects being done in classrooms always brings a smile to my face. Yet what makes our community so wonderful is that our focus during this season is on the Savior. Every celebration has included all the fun of Christmas, but even more special is the excitement around the birth of our Savior. We hope that as you take time with family and friends to share in special moments this Christmas, that we would all continue to focus on Christ and His birth.
Merry Christmas Tiger Community!
Thanksgiving means different things to different people—feasting, time with family and friends, getting away for a few days, the beginning of the Christmas season and perhaps Black Friday shopping. The first Thanksgiving in the 1600’s incorporated a three-day feast with the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Each group brought food and enjoyed a time of fellowship and thanksgiving together. Even though they suffered many heartaches and difficulties, they took time to offer thanks to a God that provided. We have so many blessings from God, yet many times we don’t see them because we focus on the things we don’t have. The Scriptures below help to remind us of how great and good our God is.
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind," Psalm 107:8
"Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalms 106:1
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
One of our Core Values at SJCS is providing our students with a BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW. Within our Mission & Values statements it says,
“At SJCS we value seeing life through the lens of Scriptural truth and living accordingly. We acknowledge the sovereignty of God over every aspect of creation. We address the fallen nature of humanity and the brokenness of creation by directly addressing their effects on life as God intended it to be. We do not avoid difficult issues; we teach biblical discernment.”
As we pause from our busy schedules to celebrate Thanksgiving, my hope is that we all take time to reflect on the goodness of God and the provisions He has given to each of us. Let us acknowledge all the aspects of God’s creation which have impacted us and been a blessing to our lives. For believers, Thanksgiving should be more than a once-a-year holiday. Thanksgiving should be the state of our hearts year round and in everything we should give thanks.
I give thanks to God for each one of you and how your families have blessed San Jose Christian School and the community in which we live. In the picture that goes along with this blog, I'm standing with David (Cityteam) and Sara (Cityteam & SJCS parent). We had just finished our all school chapel where we celebrated filling 13 barrels of food for Cityteam to distribute to our neighors in need, right here in Santa Clara County. Praise and thanks to God for this blessing he provided through all of you. Happy Thanksgiving Tiger Community.
Your Brother in Christ,
CREATIVITY! This word sends many of us running the other way. Ms. Webb often shares that the biggest hurdle she faces in teaching art is breaking students’ false belief that they are “not creative.” However, the truth is that creativity is required in most of our lives each and every day.
Creativity applies to so much more than the visual arts. Creativity, or the process of expanding ideas, shows up everywhere. Creativity considers new and unusual possibilities. Creative thinking is used to generate large numbers of ideas, different categories of ideas, and ideas that are unique.
- Math requires creativity for solving complex problems. Grade 7 Math recently created spaghetti bridges following design concepts. Bridges were tested to see which one could withstand the most weight.
- Friendship poses myriad opportunities for creative thinking. Building relationships and living in community stretches us to think in new and necessary ways. Coming to a new school, or meeting new people, requires a great deal of new and unusual opportunities to consider and navigate.
- Pastor Koschmann, Mrs. Koshmann’s husband, shared the gospel story with the Kindergarteners using Jack, a pumpkin who had messy insides until God cleaned away his sin. Each part of the pumpkin carving taught shapes as well as Bible truths such as the Trinity and the importance of God’s Word.
- Mrs. DenOuden explores creative thinking around the elements of art and design in both elementary art class and Maker Space. First graders created these fantastic trucks last year!
- Problem solving requires creative thinking. On the spiritual retreat the 7th graders worked as a team to move a blind-folded classmate through this maze of paper plates without touching one.
TIGER TALK: QUESTIONS FOR YOUR FAMILY
Whether you're with your fellow Tigers at the dinner table or cruising home during your commute, take a few moments to explore these Tiger Talk questions.
- Do you think God created you as a creative person?
- Besides art class, how have you been creative in other subjects at school?
- How do you use creativity to solve problems?
Welcome to the second quarter! This is a busy and rewarding time of year as teachers prepare report cards, parents look ahead to conferences, and students launch into new learning.
INTEGRITY weaves through all of our SJCS Throughlines: Growing Believers, Healthy People, Active Learners, Effective Communicators, Collaborative Workers, Wise Decision Makers, Humble Servants, Responsible Stewards, and Engaged Citizens. Integrity means acting according to a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Exercising integrity helps us do the right thing in a reliable way.
As Teaching Principal I see students, co-workers, and parents who choose integrity as a way of life. Here are some of the ways I have seen integrity in the past week:
- A middle school student in my office this morning said, “I think I have the information you need to understand why I was sent here to see you.”
- A co-worker shared her joy in seeing elementary students choose to clean up misplaced tanbark to keep the playground looking great.
(Editor's Note: She even snapped the picture of the responsible steward trio in this blog.)
- A parent-teacher discussion on how to partner together in understanding a scenario and take next steps.
- An elementary student simply saying to a friend, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Tiger Talk: Questions For Your Family
Whether you're with your fellow Tigers at the dinner table or cruising home during your commute, take a few moments to explore these Tiger Talk questions.
- How do you know what is right and what is wrong?
- Can you name a time when someone else in our family has made the right choice even when it was hard to do?
- What is an area where you are struggling to know the right choice? Make the right choice?
Welcome to a new week, San Jose Christian Tigers! And welcome to my new part of the web, The Principal’s Blog. In my role of Teaching Principal, a great joy and most humbling calling, is to lead our community as we develop habits that honor God, offer health, and bring unity. Over the course of the school year I’ll use my blog to highlight and introduce some of the ideas and ways that our faculty bring these habits into the classrooms.
The first series comes from the Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI). Two years ago Ms. Hossink and Mrs. Truong attended a science conference at VAEI and brought back a tool called Habits of Mind. These habits support the SJCS mission to provide exceptional teaching and curriculum that engages and transforms culture for Jesus Christ.
This week we look at self-direction. SELF-DIRECTION is active participation and control over one’s behavior, motivation, and thought processes. It is taking initiative and responsibility for one’s learning. From Junior Kindergarten to Eighth Grade self-direction takes a variety of forms.
- In the Fireflies and JK this takes the form of student jobs. Students explore language, math and so much more as they choose activities which must be completed responsibly and according to a given set of guidelines.
- In some classrooms this takes the form of projects. Heritage Day (Grade 2), poster board biographies (Grade 3), mission projects (Grade 4), and state projects (Grade 5) all require self-direction in the form of time management and student initiative.
- The 1:1 laptop program in middle school provides abundant opportunity for students to grow in self-direction as they practice discernment and responsibility. Middle school sometimes calls self-direction "grit". Growing in self-direction develops grit as well as the skills of metacognition, homework ownership, and responsible technology habits.
Each blog entry will end with suggested family discussion questions. Know that when parents show a desire to grow and make healthy choices, kids are watching and learning! This week take time as a family to consider the following questions for each member of your family:
- In what roles or opportunities in my life do I show self-direction?
- Where do I have the opportunity to be more self-directed at work/school or at home?
What do a physician, fisherman, tax collector, religious leader, and tent maker have in common? On the surface, they don’t have much in common at all really. These were people from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds and experiences, yet God called them together for a purpose. Despite their differences, God used them to spread the gospel and change the world.
Last Friday, at our annual staff retreat, the SJCS faculty and staff spent time together working on understanding all of our differences and how God can use our different skills, personalities, and talents to further his kingdom. It was a profitable, encouraging time in which we were reminded of how God in his providence has brought together the faculty and staff of SJCS to work towards a common goal—providing the best Christian education possible and equipping our students to be world-changers for God’s kingdom.
In I Corinthian 12, Paul talks about how even though the body of Christ is one, it is made up of different parts. God created us differently, and all of us have a part in the body, no matter how big or small, or how many or few, our gifts may be. One part of the body should never tell another part, “I am more important.” We are grafted into the family of God to help each other and to help spread the Good News. God has gifted us differently, and these differences should unite us not divide us. Our desire at SJCS is to use the wonderful diversity of talents God has given us in a way that will reflect how the body of Christ should work together and to encourage our students to do the same.
We are excited to be partnering with you to help your children understand what makes them special in God’s eyes and how they can use their diverse gifts to love, learn, and serve as part of God’s family.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAN JOSE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL!
As we begin this school year, we are happy to be celebrating our 60th year as a school. We welcome not only our returning students, but we are excited to welcome almost 50 new students this year to our JK-8th grades.
If you look at the picture from opening day, you'll notice two gifts given to SJCS to start the school year. The first is the beautiful shield with our logo created and gifted by David Schoepe of David's Custom Metalworks. The shield was gifted to mark our 60th celebration and ties in so well to our theme verses this year, instructing us to put on the full armor of God. Make sure to checkout David's work. The second gift is from some elementary students who grabbed an orange tiger in one of those claw machines and gifted it to me. You can see it sitting atop the podium where I'm speaking. I am amazed at God’s faithfulness to our school, continually providing through our community.
Sixty years ago when the school officially launched in 1959, the boom of modern day technology was expanding. In 1959, the first American spacecraft left Earth’s gravity and exited the orbit of Earth. Walt Disney released “Sleepy Beauty”. Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states. The average house in the U.S. cost a whopping $12,400.00.
It was an exciting time in our country, so many innovative things happening. But what I am most excited about is the fact the God called a group of people from local churches to start a covenant-based Christian school in the bay area and our school through God’s provision has remained steadfast to this vision.
As we begin a new year, our theme for this year is “Stand Strong”, after the passage instructing us to put on the ARMOR of GOD (Ephesians 6:13-17)
13 Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Stand Strong is a powerful reminder for all of us to put on the armor of God daily. The pieces of the armor are designed to protect our minds, hearts and encourage a Biblical mindset. We look forward to the year ahead as we weave this passage into our everyday lives, grow as a community and celebrate 60 years of Christian education here at San Jose Christian School.
May God bless our year ahead and stand with us forever,
Mr. Lemuel "Buddy" Hucks
Head of School | San Jose Christian School