February 2017
In This Issue
  • A Note from the Director
  • How Our Students Practice Kindness
  • An Inside Look at P.E.
  • The Cultivate Project
  • Get to Know Your School Board
What Is Most Important?
By Bryan Walker, Executive Director 
It seems like in every meeting I attend, whether with staff or faculty or even school board members, we at some point begin talking about "excellence". The problem is, "excellence" can be a hard word to define and it means different things to different people. For us at Calvary we have begun thinking of excellence as "setting a high bar".
We are setting the bar high academically. Setting the bar high academically means accreditation. Currently we are focusing our attention on accreditation through the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) which take place every five years. Among other things, accreditation ensures that Calvary is providing families and students with outstanding instruction, classroom management and programming. This spring an ACSI audit team will visit CSH to scrutinize our school and measure us against the best practices of schools from around the world. We are determined to set the bar high in pursuit of academic excellence, and we are seeing positive results. Our ACT results received in August 2016 showed that our current CSH students consistently performed 10-15% better than the State of Michigan average for high school students!
We are setting the bar high school-wide. At CSH, there are many other areas where we are setting a high bar as well: athletics, facilities, our impact in the community, student preparation for life after high school, and so much more. We will soon present to you our short- and long-term vision for Calvary's future and how we will deliver excellence over the next eight years and beyond.
Most importantly, we are committing to the high bar that Jesus set. ALL of these measures of excellence are important, but they are not THE most important thing. When Christ was talking with Jewish leaders during His ministry (Matt. 22), they posed this question to Him: "What is most important?" They challenged the Creator of Everything with an excellence-measurement question. Serve more? Pray more? Give more? Attend church more often? Observe more laws? Make more sacrifices? Christ, in His perfection, answered in a way that blew their minds: love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. No other measurements can stack up to these two.
So we will, without compromising our focus, love the Lord our God with all of our heart. We will seek to serve Him, love Him, worship Him and put Him first and foremost in everything we do at Calvary. We will also take strong stands to closely follow His Word in all things, and in doing so, we will not forget to embrace and love people, we will not respond to evil with evil or judge our fellow man. Christ calls us to show mercy, compassion and genuine love -- and to stay closely tuned into His Word and what He commands.
We are committed to the high bar of mission. We are committed to providing your family with a place to trust and invest yourselves throughout the years, as well as to helping you prepare your children to stand strong as they learn to follow God's Word in all things. That commitment flows from the biblical framework of our Mission Statement and our Statement of Faith that have been in place for decades (you can view these statements on our CSH website).
We are grateful for you and we are excited to work together with you each day to grow students who confidently and courageously live out "what is most important".
Defining Our Values
As you have explored Calvary Schools of Holland's core valu es y ou might have come  across a sentence that looks like this:

Calvary Schools of Holland teaches the Word of God as th e only determinant of one's faith, the compass for one's direction, the basis for one's choices, the standard for one's daily life practice, and the source of one's values.  

This sentence is critical in understanding who we are as a school, because as the winds of culture blow and change, CSH is solidly committed to the authority of God's Word -- The Holy Bible -- which does not change based on the latest Gallup poll, popular opinion or cultural fad. God's Word is THE unchanging authority, it is THE rock-solid foundation for all of us, and it is THE true moral compass and basis to make wise, Christ-like choices to help us flourish in our faith as we seek to love and serve Him more.
The Science of Relationships: Courtesy & Kindness
By Cheryl Ward, Plasman Principal

This year, we have been working on eye contact at Plasman campus. At its heart, pleasant eye contact is an act of kindness. It is such a simple little thing yet so powerful. We want to make sure we are connecting with each other at school.

It is interesting to watch it work and transform our attitudes toward each other. Each day, two second grade girls jump out of their car at the drop-off line, race up to me, smile broadly, look me dead in the eye and say, "Hi, Mrs. Ward! How are you?" They are truly excited for that connection, and I feel delight at their enthusiasm.

I have seen shy, scared and self-involved students being transformed through this simple act of smiling and eye-to-eye connection. We have trouble believing that transformation is that simple, but sometimes, it is. How often do we find ourselves surrounded by a tempestuous day, frustrated and overwhelmed with another text or another task when all we needed to do was look up and connect with the people around us?

We have also been working on kindness overall. In Charlotte Mason's book Ourselves, she articulates clearly the elements of kindness, such as courtesy, graciousness, not showing off, and thinking the best of others. These principles of kindness are unfolding at our school, as students are helping each other with a new vim and vigor. Doors are being held for visitors without being asked. Students who were being left out are now being included more deliberately. One class actually asked their teacher if they could hold a classroom discussion on the unkindness that was being manifested in P.E. The teacher set up one student as the mediator, and each student was able to share their perspectives. In the end, the students chose a wise and fair solution to the issue.

If education is the science of relationships, then a focus on common courtesy just makes good sense. How can our students form good relationships with each other and the world if they are not actively engaged in foundational relational principles -- such as human kindness? There's a good reason that kindness is a fruit of the spirit. It is an outpouring of our relationship with Christ, which then breathes into our human relationships.
Inside Our P.E. Program
By Richard Laninga, Athletic Director & K-12 P.E.

Physical Education is an important part of a child's day. The goal of Physical Education is to learn the physical through the physical. Students are learning how to perform physical actions by doing those actions instead of reading about it or writing a paper.

Physical activity has been shown to reduce stress, improve test scores and help children connect with others socially. My goal in P.E. is to focus on the basic fundamental movements so that our students can someday become active adults.

Many children stop being active around 7th and 8th grades and carry that inactivity into adulthood. Some believe this is because kids are not confident in their ability to perform the basic fundamental movements and feel like they are being made fun of because of it.

Fundamental movements are made up of skills that are critical to our ability to move properly in everyday life and also while participating in sports. Kicking, jumping, galloping, skipping and running are just some of the skills that we work on. 

Hopefully, with this instruction, the students can be confident in their ability to perform these basic movements and become active and healthy adults. P.E. class is an important part of every student's short- and long-term preparation for life.
The Cultivate Project at Laketown
By Martha Davis, Laketown Principal

One thing we are proud of at Calvary Schools is that our teachers personally care about the lives of our students. But we want to do even better. So this year we started a training program for our high school faculty and staff called The Cultivate Project to help our teachers become even more effective as mentors and disciplers, in order to exercise a stronger life-on-life influence of students.

At Calvary High School, we're proud of our academic excellence, but we believe that a great education goes beyond learning facts. We are focusing on the growth of the whole person.

We've come to realize that one of the questions young adults are asking is, "Who else says so besides my parents?" Teachers have the unique opportunity to offer students a second (and third and fourth) voice which echoes their Christian parent's goal of calling them to a life of God-honoring maturity.

A growing body of evidence shows that when teachers improve their relational skills, students' spiritual growth, personal motivation, academic engagement and social skills all significantly improve.

Listen for the crux of why relationships are important in the school setting at 0:54.

The Cultivate Project Trailer 
The Cultivate Project Trailer

The Cultivate Project employs in-service training on disciple-making skills, a comprehensive textual approach, peer coaching, goal setting strategies and an online software package to stimulate ongoing training to meet the specific needs of individual students. In a day when parents are concerned about quality education, I'm excited that our school is taking this step to make our high school faculty and staff even more effective in influencing our students' lives towards success and Christian maturity.
Getting to Know You
Pastor Paul L. Davis, Secretary of the Board

Paul with his wife Martha and family have been a part of the pastoral team at Calvary Baptist Church since 1997.  Paul become Senior Pastor there in 2009. Before coming to Holland, Paul served as a Pastor of Student Ministries in Tuckerton, NJ. Paul's drive in this life is to win and develop believers into valuable, mature servants of God. He also enjoys playing guitar, hunting and photography. Paul's wife, Martha, is Principal of our Laketown campus and mother to their four children, Landon, Kierstin, Rachael and Ian. She is also an accomplished pianist, active in world missions, children's programs and women's ministries.

Mark Reifsnyder, Board Member 

Mark and his wife Tiffany were both transplants into the Holland area as young children, moving here from Pennsylvania and Texas, respectively. They have been a part of Calvary Schools for three years. Mark is a Mortgage Banker at Mercantile Bank of Michigan in Holland, and Tiffany is an active mom at both CSH and Calvary Baptist Church. Their daughter, Sophia, is in second grade at CSH, and their son, Charlie, is in kindergarten. Mark and Tiffany fell in love with their church family at Calvary Baptist, and then again at CSH Plasman when their children became of age to start attending school. They made the intentional decision 5 years ago for Tiffany to stay home with their children, which allowed them the time and energy to focus on the family and enhance everything they have been involved with at both church and school. They love spending as much time at the beach as possible, as well as working on home projects as a family.  Mark is a newer member to the CSH Board as of October 2016.

Put this on the calendar!

March 2-3
Parent-Teacher Conferences

March 9-10
Plasman Book Fair

March 23
Winter Sports Awards Night

March 31 - April 9
Spring Break

April 14-17

Easter Break

April 20
Plasman Celebration of Learning Concert
Did you see this on Facebook? Our middle and high school students were busy this Winterim! See them on balance beams, scaling climbing walls, maneuvering drones, wielding fencing swords, playing guitars, sculpting clay and more right here.