Each month of this school year, we are highlighting and focusing on one (or two) of our Portrait of a Graduate characteristics.
This month, principals, staff, and students focused on being Thoughtful Neighbors and Creative Solution Finders.
Here are a few examples of students living out these characteristics in their classrooms, around their schools, in their communities, and throughout their lives:
Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School - Evergreen Campus:
Evergreen Preschoolers highlighted the characteristic of Thoughtful Neighbors, and Team Three students highlighted the characteristic of Creative Solution Finders.
Evergreen Team Three — Creative Solution Finders
Team 3 heard from Kids’ Food Basket about kids who don’t have enough food to eat. We’ve teamed up Grand Rapids Christian High School to conduct a fundraiser to raise money for KFB. We’ll sell pickles at the high school and have made announcements about it through a video on the GRCS website, Facebook page, and at the high school’s chapel.
Evergreen Preschool — Thoughtful Neighbors:
"We are Thoughtful Neighbors when we help our friends with things they can’t do for themselves, like unstick a tricky zipper! We are Thoughtful Neighbors when we listen to and consider the ideas of others, like when we take a vote to see what we should do next."
Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School - Iroquois Campus
Creative Solution Finders
A 3rd grader and his 1st-grade sister told me that their family had made a commitment to recycling and to composting and that they wanted our school to put more effort into these two things here. They shared a slideshow of hand-drawn pictures to support their ideas. They volunteered as a family to get supplies and to bring recycled waste away. They suggested that we use compostable goods for hot lunch (like the middle school does). After Principal, Mark Krommendyk, met with this family, he talked to some teachers and they have organized a committee to work with these kids to make some of their suggestions happen.
Iroquois students are supporting the food pantry at the East Congregational Church right in the neighborhood because it is a wonderful way to give and to be thoughtful neighbors at the same time. They held a food drive over Thanksgiving. The food drive gives teachers a meaningful opportunity to share the importance of sharing our blessings with our neighbors.
Last week Rockford Christian wrapped up the service project Operation Christmas Child. Students were charged with gathering items (paper, socks, pencils, small toys, etc.) that would be sent on to less privileged children. When it was time to pack the boxes, the staff and parents partnered with upper grades with lower grades. Students worked 1-1 within these partnerships in beautiful and productive ways. Principal, Harry Knol, said he witnessed little students standing in line looking up to their older student partners and engaging in delightful conversations.
Students then worked diligently on a writing to include in the boxes and a dialogue as to how this project can, even in a small way, help someone less fortunate. This was just a part of being Thoughtful Neighbors.
Grand Rapids Christian Middle School
This year, GRCMS decided to focus its Thanksgiving service project on supporting two area community ministries: Degage Ministries and David’s House Ministries. These two ministries are organizations that support folks in our community who either are struggling with homelessness or who are adults living with some level of physical or cognitive disability. These folks are our neighbors in our community, and we want to recognize who they are in Christ and to consider how we as a Christian school community can come together to support them.
Mr. Dave Worst, one of our classroom aides, lives at David’s House. Mr. Dave has been in a wheelchair for his entire adult life. The kids have gotten to know David over the past year and are excited for the opportunity to support him and the other residents of David’s House through this service project.
It is our hope and prayer through this service project that our students will understand that their neighbors are all around them, often look and act differently than them, and that they can play an active role in being the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors in the greater Grand Rapids community.
Grand Rapids Christian High School
Creative Solution Finders
In the high school curriculum, administrators and teachers have made a push to go beyond learning just content. Teachers are working in their teams to identify skills and dispositions that we want all students to walk away with. This theme of the PoG highlights one of these skills. How do we engage in problems and work towards a solution? GRCHS has adopted common language across the curriculum to teach the process called “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning,” or “CER” as the students often say. Whether it’s writing a research paper in English class or doing an experiment in science, this common language helps everyone focus on this essential 21st-century skill.
The GRCHS Spanish students have found ways to be Thoughtful Neighbors as they partner with the students at Bethany Christian’s Bridgeway school. Bridgeway is a school for refugee students who are in transition. Because these students speak Spanish, it’s an awesome opportunity for the GRCHS Spanish students to host them and hear their stories. It’s also a great chance for the students to learn from them and practice speaking their target language.