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What's an "In-Service"?

February 29, 2016
By Matt Kamps

Calvin sets aside 4 days per year for “Teacher In-Service”.  What does that mean? Simply put, these are days when our teachers become the learners. Every good teacher is a good learner already, always seeking to understand more about their students and their subjects.  On these days they dig deeper, searching for better ways to help our students flourish as we teach the whole child from a biblical worldview.

At the last in-service on February 12, the entire K-12 staff came together to investigate the ways we “integrate faith and learning.”  They took note of all the ways they had integrated faith and learning over the past few months in their classes.  They shared these ideas and concrete activites in small groups, and then shared in a large group.  We came up with a list of the ways that Calvin Christian integrates faith and learning (at least as we did from November through January).  We found there were several topics that were common among the teachers. 

Here's the list so far:  

  • Service
  • Discernment
  • Effective Communication
  • Appreciating and Seeing God in Creation
  • Discipleship
  • Justice


We have much to wrestle with together:  For example, what is missing from the list?  How will we know if the students are really learning those concepts and life-long behaviors?  What does this mean for our future lesson plans?  How do we ensure that these themes are integrated in all subjects K-12?  Like I said at the beginning, in-service is when teachers become the learners.  

At our most recent in-service, teachers from Junior High and High School learned how to utilize a web service called “Turnitin”, which helps our teachers and students learn how to recognize plagiarism while encouraging academic integrity with our students.  The elementary teachers worked on “Exploration Week,” an event that will happen in the second week of May which will focus on integrating faith and learning in science.   

When teachers become learners, they help make Calvin Christian a better place for our children to grow in their knowledge of God and His creation, preparing them to be His servants in the world.  If you have any encouragement for our staff as they learn, please share it with them - they are dedicated to the growth of our children.  

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Matt Kamps is the elementary principal at Calvin Christian School. Matt believes that the most formative things in his life, besides family, have been Christian education, Church involvement, and teaching for 5 years in Honduras. Matt is married to Missy and together, they have 5 wonderful children.