Faith & Learning Blog
Connecting Faith and Learning Blog
Happy New Year Calvin Community! We have just experienced the time of year where we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ our Lord: Immanuel, God with us! It is my prayer that each and every one of you were filled with the joy of our Savior’s birth.
Do you see what I see? It is amazing what I see going on at both of our campuses each and every day. I am privileged to have some time each day to capture and document some of the many events happening at Calvin Christian. For those of you who do not know, I am adding a piece to my role here at Calvin. Not only am I the upper school art teacher and junior high life leader, I am also devoting a portion of each day to visually communicating the story of Calvin Christian School. In this first installment of “Behind the Screen with Mr. VDP”, I would like to introduce the importance of digital media and visual communications as a part of not only showing what our school is doing, but also getting the word out to others what makes Calvin Christian School unique. I would also like to occasionally “touch base” with you to keep you up to date on some of the ways we at Calvin Christian are working toward connecting with our parent, friend, and broader community about some of the great things that our happening here. Social media is one major part of a broader effort of our school’s marketing department to tell the story of Calvin Christian and how we want to invite others to be a part of this special school.
Social media is crucial in any Christian school's marketing strategy. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are social media streams that our school has chosen to utilize. They can be wonderful tools which help us to tell the story of Calvin Christian. One of my goals is to use social media effectively. Remember that social media offers everybody a window into our school and what it is all about. It is my hope that you will enjoy seeing our student and staff accomplishments showcased in a Facebook post with a great photograph to illustrate what went on. YouTube allows us to see major events archived on video, interviews with current students, tours of facilities and short videos about our school. Tweets giving instant updates about a popular game or event will keep you involved. Instagram helps us to feature special photos or ads about upcoming events. Everybody loves to look at photos of our students and what they are involved with each and every day at Calvin.
I can’t do these things alone. The special thing about being in a Christian school is the tremendous parent involvement that helps to support our school. Please consider the following things as we move into the new year here at Calvin:
SHARE posts, advertisements, or videos about Calvin on your own social media networks.
SHARE information about unique events in which our students might be involved in that otherwise might not get featured by the school.
BE EXCITED about what is happening here at Calvin by simply “liking”, or “following” our main social media outlets.
Thank you in advance for your help, support, and passion, for getting the word out about Calvin Christian. I am thankful for this supportive Christian community. I hope by following us on social media, you will see what I see.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Ron Van Der Pol
CCS Art Teacher
A Note to Nora’s Recess Buddies:
I am told by Nora’s nurses, and Mrs. Jackson, that at the start of the Calvin Christian school year, a small group of students met with Nora, during recess, to discuss ways to include Nora on the playground. Because Nora is non-mobile, and most playgrounds are not built to support her wheelchair, this can be exceptionally challenging, not just for Nora, but for all children who use extra equipment (like a chair or walker) to play on the playground.
As you know Nora is non-verbal, but somehow, this group was able to work with her to list a few of Nora’s favorite activities: walking in her gait trainer and kicking a ball, blowing bubbles, reading books in the grass, swinging on the adaptive swing Mrs. Jackson recently ordered for the playground, and coloring (just to name a few.) In one creative lunch meeting, under the guidance of Mrs. Jackson, this group was able to discover so many ways Nora can play on the playground.
From what I understand, as this group began to include Nora, more and more students wanted to be involved with helping Nora play. So many so, that eventually, Mrs. Jackson hosted a lunch time informational meeting for the upper grades, and started a “buddy” sign-up sheet for students who would like to be Nora’s playground buddy. I am told the sign-up sheet (which was started in November), quickly filled up — well into January.
When I asked Nora’s nurses about the roles and responsibilities of a “buddy” I was told that Nora’s recess buddies 1) help Nora wash her hands before going to the playground 2) use Nora’s picture/ communication board to help her choose a recess activity 3) push Nora’s chair 4) support Nora playing with her peers on the playground. When I talk to Nora about her day, and I ask her, “did you have fun with your friends today?” She answers with a big smile, puts her hand to her mouth to say “Yes!”
Thank you for taking the time to be a recess buddy and friend for Nora. Nora (and family) have enclosed a small gift for you, and the rest of Nora’s buddies —a purple awareness bracelet that says “Aicardi Syndrome.” Nora would like you to know that Aicardi Syndrome is part of what makes it so hard for her to walk, talk, eat on her own, feel strong and healthy, and even stay awake long enough, on some days, to play on the playground. But Nora would also like you to know, that having friends, especially friends who show up, every school day, to help her do the things she cannot easily do for herself, is a big part of what makes having Aicardi Syndrome not so bad. In fact, friendship is a big part of what makes Nora’s life, and most people’s lives, absolutely wonderful.
Thank you for being a kind, loving and caring friend to Nora. Merry Christmas!
Mrs. Van Leeuwen and family
“The greatest and most momentous fact which the history of the world records is the fact of Christ’s birth.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Christmas, when Christ came into the world, is the center point of all of human history. Before Christ all of the events taking place were preparing for the coming of the Savior. Christmas is about the coming of the “fullness of time” that God promised through the prophet Micah (Mic. 5:2) that a ruler would be born in Bethlehem. God, in his marvelous plan of salvation continued history marching toward the coming Savior. We see it in the perfect timing of Christ’s birth. God had prepared his world for the coming of Jesus.
With the birth of Jesus Christ the Old Testament prophesies were fulfilled and Christ redeemed us from our sin. Now we are looking toward Christ’s second coming. This is the history of the world after Jesus.
Christmas is the tipping point of history. The promised Savior came, and we and all history are forever different.
So, we are right to celebrate. Christmas is VERY IMPORTANT. Jesus presence on our planet as a human and his death and resurrection are the events that have given us hope.
Have a wonderful Christmas time. Thank God for sending his son into this broken world so we can enjoy Shalom with him for eternity.
A Timeless Analogy of the Relationship Between the Church, Home, and School
Christian schooling has a rich heritage in Reformational communities going back to the 17th century. In 1619, Church fathers in the Netherlands got together to discuss church doctrine at the Synod of Dort. This meeting accomplished many things, especially the emphasis of the sovereignty of God. It is said that a model for how to “catechize”, or to give systematic religious instruction of the Christian doctrines in three sectors of life - the church, home, and school also came from this historic meeting.
Enter the analogy of the three-legged stool. A three-legged stool is solid. It forms a triangle in which the legs are equally spaced, giving it stability. In fact, a three-legged stool is more stable than one with four legs. Geometrically speaking, the reason actually lies in the fact that it only takes three points to define a plane. Any point that is added to that plane will make it harder and harder for the plane to be stable. So if a stool with four legs was on an uneven floor it would be more prone to wobble. It is this three-legged stool that becomes a perfect analogy for biblical instruction. Our Reformed forefathers figured out the importance of Christian education being taught in three areas of a young person’s life - the church, the home, and the school. Because of this, early Christian day schooling developed in the Netherlands, and later Dutch immigrants came to the United States and Canada and founded Reformed churches and yes, Christian schools.
Geometrically speaking, the reason actually lies in the fact that it only takes three points to define a plane.
I have been blessed to have been a part of this rich heritage of biblical instruction. I was given a Christian education from grades 1-12 at Sunnyside Christian School in Sunnyside, Washington. The school started a kindergarten the year after I started at the school. I was taught early about the importance of the relationship of the church, home, and school when it comes to Christian education. I heard the importance of being taught from a Reformed biblical worldview at SCS. I heard it at my church, Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church, and I heard it in my home growing up.
The stool legs seem to be uneven in today’s world. There is a wobble in the stool. Where the church or the home might not emphasize an equal importance of a systematic instruction of God’s word for its children, the Christian school takes on more of the weight, trying to compensate. I pray that Calvin Christian School provides our families help with instruction of their children. That is why we partner with you, the home, to bring a biblically-based education while your children are entrusted to us each day. Our mission statement clearly states how important this relationship is…
The mission of Calvin Christian School, in cooperation with the home and church, is to teach the whole child from a biblical worldview, founded in the Reformation, providing children from Christian families with an excellent education for a life of Christ-centered service.
To God be the Glory!
Ron Van Der Pol
Art Instructor, JH Life, & Visual Communications