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Curriculum

At Grand Rapids Christian Schools our mission is to prepare students to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society. We work to instill a love for learning and a love for Christ in each child. We give our students opportunities to explore, understand, and delight in God’s universe.  Our students explore old and new questions through a Biblical perspective. Our school’s teachers and staff convey God’s love and are committed to excellence in His name. We expect our students to be reflective, to ask questions, to discern what is true, and to seek wisdom. Our desire is to join the Holy Spirit in the work of redeeming God’s world through work and service.

The curriculum at Grand Rapids Christian Schools is rigorous and well-rounded, designed to lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. In addition to the core subjects of Language Arts, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Bible, the GRCS curriculum is enriched with World Language, Physical Education, Fine Arts and Technology. Grand Rapids Christian Schools uses the Common Core State Standards, the ACT College Readiness Curriculum, the MI Quality Indicators for Early Learning, and the Michigan Curriculum Framework as the basis for our K-12 offerings, content, and skills. Our curriculum, focused on educating our students for the 21st century, is founded on the Reformed worldview of creation, fall, redemption and restoration.

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Common Core Standards (CCSS)

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

Building on the excellent foundation of standards states have laid, the Common Core State Standards are the first step in providing our young people with a high-quality education. It should be clear to every student, parent, and teacher what the standards of success are in every school. The Common Core Standards have been written for English Language Arts and Mathematics, and have been adopted by 45 states, including Michigan. Common Core literacy standards have also been integrated into social studies, science, music, art and other technical subjects. This educational movement has been described as “... the most sweeping reform of the K-12 curriculum that has ever occurred in this country” (Calkins 1). See the Core Standards website for more information.

Elementary Curriculum

Every student in Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School, (Iroquois Campus, Evergreen Campus), and Rockford Christian), receives instruction in Bible, Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, Physical Education and Foreign Language learning.

Grade One

First graders study The Bible as God’s Story, learning about God through stories from the Old and New Testaments and memorizing key verses.   

They learn literacy skills to  read, write, speak, and listen, using an integrated literacy series that gives them the ability to notice, think about and work with the individual sounds in spoken words, learn the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of the alphabet that represent those sounds in written language. 

They develop reading comprehension, writing skills and develop reading practices. 

They can count, write and order numbers, add and subtract, measure, tell time, count money, work with shapes, data charts and probability.

They learn about their community: school, family and neighborhoods as well as other communities, and study science topics about plants and animals, magnets and rocks, health and nutrition.

Grade Two

Second graders study The Bible as the Story of Jesus, learning about His life and redemptive work from the New Testament and memory work.

They use literacy skills to read, write, speak, and listen, using an integrated literacy that gives them the skills in word recognitions, reading fluency, comprehension of narrative and informational text, developing writing traits and using writing tools, spelling, handwriting, as well as listening and speaking skills.

They understand place value, add and subtract whole numbers, understand multiplication and division, work with fractions, geometric ideas, measurements, and understand pictographs.

They continue to learn about their community and communities around the world, and study science topics about plants and animals, the surface of the earth, health and water cycles, sound and matter.

Grade Three

Third graders study God’s promise as taught in the Old Testament and key memory verses.

They use literacy skills to read, write, speak, and listen, using an integrated literacy that gives them the skills in word recognitions, reading fluency, comprehension of narrative and informational text, developing writing traits and using writing tools, spelling, handwriting, as well as listening and speaking skills.

They understand and solve problems with number operations that include place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions and use of data measurement, geometry and use of data charts.

They learn about Grand Rapids and use geography and map skills.

They study science topics that include animal classification and life cycles, bones and muscles, friction, motions and machines, pollutions and recycling.

Grade Four

Fourth graders study the books of the Bible, God’s work with the people of Israel and Judah, and learn key memory verses.

They use literacy skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing, developing and the tools of  good writing, spelling and word study. 

Fourth graders read a variety of literature to improve reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and their understanding of narrative and informational texts. 

They understand and solve problems using multiplications, division, fractions, decimals, geometry, measurement, data interpretation, and probability.

They study Michigan and use the five skills of a geographer and learn about ecosystems, health topics, changes in matter, electricity and magnetism, astronomy and earth surface.

Middle School Curriculum

Grand Rapids Christian Middle School and Rockford Christian School integrate faith with excellent academics to fully prepare students for success in high school and beyond. The middle school curriculum seeks to develop the whole child, with a balance of courses that include core academics and co-curricular subjects. All students participate in Visual Arts, General Music, World Language Study, and Physical Education. Learning experiences engage the middle school student in both exploration and mastery of basic skills. The average class size is about 25 and teachers hold state credentials for their teaching assignments.

Click to view a printable Middle School Curriculum Overview

Grade Five

Academic Courses

English Language Arts
This course teaches students to read and view critically and communicate effectively in writing and speaking. Students study specific narrative genre and aspects of literature, use of information texts, reading, vocabulary, writing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, word study, and English usage, as well as speaking together, presenting information, active listening, research, using and evaluating technology resources and viewing media.

Math
This course uses a variety of resources to teach grade level math expectations. Students learn the understanding and applications of concepts and problem solving skills in the areas of number and operations, Algebra, Geometry, measurement, and data and probability. In the fifth grade, emphasis within the number area shifts to understanding of the addition and subtraction of fractions, with continued consolidation of multiplication and division concepts and skills with whole numbers. The idea of remainders in whole number division is addressed. Students learn the meaning of a fraction and work with decimals and percentages.

Science
This course introduces students to concepts in the area of physical and life sciences. Students develop inquiry learning skills and focus on topics about scientific inquiry and reasoning with units on classification, adaptations, classifications, heredity, earth and solar system, force and motion.

Social Studies
This course introduces students to the Western hemisphere and the themes of geography, history and economics. Units are integrated with inquiry, writing, technology skills and research skills. Students study various countries and areas of the hemisphere countries and the U.S. in a project-based setting.

Bible
The focus of this year’s study is Jesus’ life and ministry as well as on various types of Old Testament books. Students are engaged with activities that make connections to their lives, learn through memory work, and see these truths through the framework of a reformed Christian perspective. 

Co-Curricular Courses

Art
This program incorporates six goals for design and media that include perception, conceptualization, visual organization, creative expression, applications skills, and aesthetic appreciation for the visual arts. Students study and apply design elements, various media processes, knowledge of art styles and themes in this year-long course.

General Music
This program integrates knowledge of choral reading, understanding, performance skills, and aesthetic appreciation of choral music. Choral focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles. In addition, students will study musical theatre, music history and important musical pieces.

Physical Education
This program engages students in health and fitness activities, develops skills and proficiency in various team sports, track and field events, and gymnastics, offers various movement experiences, develops understandings in these areas, and provides decision making opportunities. Girls and boys classes are separated and offer focused experiences.

World Language - Spanish
All students are engaged in world language learning through a communicative approach to language with emphasis on speaking and listening. Students will learn to converse with teachers and friends, talk about themselves, exchange information, as well as identifying Spanish-speaking countries, learning about their cultures, and developing cross cultural competencies.

Grade Six

Academic Courses

English Language Arts
This course teaches students to read and view critically and communicate effectively in writing and speaking. Students study many aspects of literature, reading, vocabulary, writing, grammar, punctuation, English usage, speaking together, presenting information, listening, research, evaluating technology resources and viewing media.

Math
This courses teaches grade level content expectations with emphasis on understanding and applying math skills, concepts and problem solving skills in areas of pre-Algebra, measurement, probability and statistics, Geometry, fractions, decimals and percents. Units include Prime Time, Shapes and Design,  Data Around Us, Covering and Surrounding, How Likely It Is, and Bits and Pieces II.

Science
This course introduces students to concepts in the area of earth and space, physical and life sciences. Students develop inquiry skills and focus on topics about the scientific method, science in the city, adaptations and diversity, mixes and solutions, simple machines and energy, classifications and patterns of living things.

Social Studies
This course introduces students to the Eastern hemisphere. Themes of geography, economics, history and research, writing and technology skills are integrated into content. Students study some early civilizations in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceana regions.

Bible
This course teaches the Old Testament stories, covenants, and lessons from creation through the reign of David. Students are engaged with activities that make connections to their lives, learn through memory work, and see these truths through the framework of a reformed Christian perspective.

Co-Curricular Courses

Art
This program incorporates six goals for design and media that include perception, conceptualization, visual organization, creative expression, applications skills, and aesthetic appreciation for the visual arts. Students study and apply design elements, various media processes, knowledge of art styles and themes in this year-long course.

General Music
This program integrates knowledge of choral reading, understanding, performance skills, and aesthetic appreciation of choral music. Choral focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles. In addition, students will study musical theatre, music history and important music pieces.

Physical Education
This program engages students in health and fitness activities, develops skills and proficiency in various team sports, track and field events, and gymnastics, offers various movement experiences, develops  understandings in these areas, and provides decision making opportunities. Girls  and boys classes are separated and offer focused experiences.

World Language -Spanish
All students are engaged in world language learning through a communicative approach to language with emphasis on speaking and listening. Students will learn to converse with teachers and friends, talk about themselves, exchange information, as well as identifying Spanish-speaking countries, learning about their cultures, and developing cross-cultural competencies.

Elective Performance Courses

Instrumental Music
Instrumental classes will be held three days a week. A student may choose to participate in one instrumental group. Choosing to be a member of band or orchestra should be carefully considered. Being a member of any performing group can be a tremendously positive experience. It also means a commitment to both the director and the group. Barring extenuating circumstances, students choosing to join band or orchestra must commit to a full school year of rehearsals and performances. 

String Orchestra
The strings program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through an orchestra experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

Band
The band program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through a performance experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles. 

Grade Seven

Academic Courses

English Language Arts
This course teaches students to read and view critically and communicate effectively in writing and speaking. Students study specific genre and many aspects of literature, reading, vocabulary, writing, grammar, punctuation, English usage, speaking together, presenting information, listening, research,  evaluating technology resources and viewing media.

Math
This course teaches math content expectations with emphasis on understanding and applying skills, concepts and problem solving skills in areas of pre-Algebra, measurement, probability and statistics, Geometry, fractions, decimals and percents. Specific units include Comparing and Scaling, Stretching and Shrinking, Accentuating the Negative, Filling and Wrapping, Moving Straight Ahead, Variables and Patterns.

Algebra
This course is for students who qualify through the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test and teacher recommendations in grade 6 and who have completed a Pre-Algebra bridge program. The course meets grade 8 Algebra standards and includes Algebra topics.

Science
This course introduces students to concepts in the area of physical and life sciences. Students develop inquiry skills that include research skills and focus on topics about the scientific method, interactions and biomes, force and motions, astronomy, human body systems and health.

Social Studies
This course integrates the Michigan core curriculum standards to teach students United States history form the pre-colonial era through the U.S. Constitution. Literacy skills are integrated into this course.

Bible
This course teaches the Old Testament stories, covenants, and lessons from the reign of Solomon through the inter-testament era with emphasis on the prophets. Students are engaged with activities that make connections to their lives, learn Bible passages, and see truths through the framework of reformed Christianity. 

Co-Curricular Courses

Art
This program incorporates six goals for design and media that include perception, conceptualization, visual organization, creative expression, applications skills, and aesthetic appreciation for the visual arts. Students study and apply design elements, various media processes, knowledge of art styles and themes  in this year-long course.

World Language - Spanish
Students develop their competencies in speaking and listening and begin to develop skills in reading and writing the language in this course. They learn more about grammar and language use and continue to use a variety of formats for their learning and to develop cross-cultural competencies, as well as cultural appreciation. Classes are conducted mostly in the target language.

Physical Education
This program engages students in health and fitness activities, develops skills and proficiency in various team sports, and individual performance, such as track and field events, dance, gymnastics, and offers various movement experiences, develops understandings in these areas, and provides decision making opportunities. Girls and boys classes are separated and offer focused experiences.

Elective Performance Courses

Instrumental Music
Instrumental classes will be held three days a week. A student may choose to participate in one instrumental group. Choosing to be a member of band or orchestra should be carefully considered. Being a member of any performing group can be a tremendously positive experience. It also means a commitment to both the director and the group. Barring extenuating circumstances, students choosing to join band or orchestra must commit to a school year of rehearsals and performances.

Choral Music
The choral program integrates knowledge of music reading skill, understanding of musicality, performance skills, and aesthetic appreciation of choral music. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

String Orchestra
The strings program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through an orchestra experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

Band 
The band program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through a performance experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles. 

Grade Eight

Academic Courses

Math Option: Algebra
This is the core course for grade 8. The course meets the Michigan standards and the grade level expectations for middle school Algebra and prepares students for high school math requirements.

Math Option: Pre-Algebra
This is a course for students who qualify through placement by their grade 7 teachers. This course prepares students for high school Algebra. Students’ learning needs are met through pacing, working with supported instruction and working with their academic peers.

Math Option: Geometry
This course is for students who qualify through successful completion of the Algebra program in grade 7.The course meets high school Geometry standards and includes standard geometry topics and pacing.

Science
This course meets the requirements of the Michigan Core Curriculum for secondary students. Students are introduced to concepts and vocabulary of Earth Science. Major topics include fluid earth, earth in time, and solid earth. In addition, they develop inquiry learning skills and focus on topics about the scientific method.

Social Studies
This course integrates the Michigan core curriculum standards to teach students United States history from the US Constitution through the 19th century. Literacy skills are integrated into this course.

Bible
This course of study uses the New Testament to teach lessons of our faith. We teach and experience through worship and other community activities, through New Testament stories, lessons and Bible study. Students are engaged with activities that make connections to their lives, learn through memory work, and see these truths through the framework of a reformed Christian perspective. 

Co-Curricular Courses

Art
This program incorporates six goals for design and media that include perception, conceptualization, visual organization, creative expression, applications skills, and aesthetic appreciation for the visual arts. Students study and apply design elements, various media processes, knowledge of art styles and themes in this year-long course.

Physical Education
This program engages students in health and fitness activities, develops skills and proficiency in various team and individual sports and fitness options such as dance, track and field events, gymnastics, and offers various movement experiences, develops understandings in these areas, and provides decision making opportunities. Girls and boys classes are separated and offer focused experiences.

Elective Performance Courses

Music
All music programs are elective, but students must choose to take one music program. A student may choose to only participate in band. A student may choose to only participate in orchestra. A student may choose to only participate in choir. A student may choose to participate in both band and choir. A student may choose to participate in both orchestra and choir.

Choral Music
The choral program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performance skills, and aesthetic appreciation of choral music. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

Instrumental
Music, Band and Orchestra classes will be held three days a week. A student may choose to participate in one instrumental group. Choosing to be a member of band or orchestra should be carefully considered. Being a member of a performing group can be a tremendously positive experience. It also means a commitment to both the director and the group. Barring extenuating circumstances, students choosing to join band or orchestra must commit to a school year of rehearsals and performances.

String Orchestra
The strings program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through an orchestra experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

Band
The band program integrates knowledge of reading, understanding, performing and valuing music through a performance experience. Focus areas include rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form, tone color, expression, approach to vocal music and awareness of various forms and styles.

High School Curriculum

Grand Rapids Christian High School provides strong preparation for college and career. Our rigorous curriculum includes math, science, English, social science, foreign language, religion, art, music, computer training, physical education, business education, applied technology, and family and consumer sciences - all taught from a reformed Christian perspective. 94% of the Class of 2012 graduates attend colleges and universities, and their performance on college entrance exams reflects the excellent quality of their education.

Grand Rapids Christian High teachers are committed to providing every student with an intentionally Christian, academically excellent education. Most of our faculty members have at least a master's degree, and the rest are working towards one. Our teachers continue their education through graduate course work, in-service training, conventions, conferences, and mini-grants. 

The average class size is 25 students.

AdvancED Accreditation

Christian Schools International (CSI) and AdvancED have formed a partnership for accreditation to provide CSI member schools with significant resources for school improvement and self-study processes. 

In April, 2012, the CSI site visit team unanimously voted to recommend to the CSI Accreditation Commission that Grand Rapids Christian Schools, K-8, be approved for full accreditation.  This includes Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School, Grand Rapids Christian Middle School, Rockford Christian School, and Grand Raids Christian Elementary School –Evergreen Campus, making our entire K-12 system accredited.

Click here to learn more about the AdvancEd Accreditation.


 

GET IN TOUCH

Ann Bakker, K-4 Academic Program Coordinator

Lynnette Kooienga, K-8 Academic Program Coordinator

Nick DeKoster, Director of Academic and Innovative Programs