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Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

Grand Rapids Christian Schools provides amplified learning in an innovative curricular experience for students in grades 9-12, bringing forth amazing opportunities for our students including unique on-campus courses, domestic and international travel, and professional internships throughout the community.

Winterim engages students in a two-week learning experience, allowing them to choose their own courses of interest.

Concentrated exposure and immersion in a chosen field provides an uncommon learning opportunity whereby students gain valuable tools to foster their true gifts, leading them to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society.


Winterim Philosophy and Policies

Why is Winterim a good fit for Grand Rapids Christian High School?

  • Students are able to choose courses that relate to their passions.
  • Teachers teach to their passions and are able to explore important topics normally not covered in semester classes.
  • Smaller class sizes allow for closer student/teacher relationships that are ideal for faith formation.
  • We partner with the community in providing unique educational opportunities not found in a normal seven-period day.
  • There is potential for a different learning experience that might reach a different type of learner.
  • Travel provides unique opportunities for service and global education.
  • Internships give direction as students look to make future decisions.

Do other schools offer similar programs?

Many private schools across the country do some type of January term. GRCHS spent time reviewing a variety of programs and specifically met with people from Wheaton Academy, a high school that has successfully implemented a Winterim for over 20 years. From that review, GRCHS has put together a program that we believe will best serve our students.

What opportunities do students have during Winterim?

Students are offered multiple Winterim opportunities based on their grade levels:

  • 9th graders: on-campus courses
  • 10th graders: on-campus courses and travel
  • 11th and 12th graders: on-campus courses, travel, and internships

Are there additional costs associated with Winterim?

  • There is a cost to travel, but financial assistance may be available.
  • There is no cost to intern, but a student must find her/his own transportation.
  • Most courses are free. There may be a few courses with extra cost if supplies are extremely expensive or if a student receives a certification.

Can I create my own Winterim experience?

No, families may not create independent studies or family vacations. We believe that the best opportunities for students will take place through established GRCHS offerings.

Is Winterim required for graduation?

Yes, four Winterim credits are required for graduation,

Is Winterim graded?

All students receive a grade of “credit” or “no credit.”

How does Winterim impact the school calendar and the other semester classes?

Winterim will replace one week from each semester and change our school calendar. School will start earlier (2nd or 3rd week of August) and allow for first semester to be completed before Christmas vacation. Although one week from each semester is removed, this calendar is ideal for learning and avoids an awkward January end to first semester.

How can I get involved in Winterim?

Community partnerships are very important for Winterim. If you are interested in teaching a Winterim course or hosting an intern, email Brian Karsten, Winterim Coordinator, at

Winterim Courses

How are Winterim courses different from regular courses?

For two weeks, students take two, three-hour courses that immerse them in an amplified learning experience. It allows for hands-on and community-bsed learning that could take place both inside and outside the classroom. It allows teachers to dive deeper into a topic or explore a topic not covered during a semester course.

Why and how are class sizes so small?

Smaller class size is a vital part of Winterim, allowing for students and teachers to work more closely and form deeper Christian relationships. Adjunct instructors will be hired to offer different courses and keep class size down.

How are guest instructors chosen?

Guest instructors must submit a proposal to the Winterim Coordinator and Principal for approval. Upon approval, guest instructors will sign a statement of faith and have background checks before entering the classroom.

What courses are offered?

Course offerings vary year to year.  Each year, in early fall, all courses will be published in a Winterim Curriculum guide which is distributed to all students.

When do students sign up for classes?

Students will sign up for classes online in late September/early October. Sign-ups take place by seniority.

Winterim Internships

Visit the Winterim Internship page to learn more about Winterim Internship details and opportunities, 

How is an internship a relevant educational opportunity?

An internship provides a student with an opportunity to sample a possible career. This experience has the potential to affect a student’s college decision and/or choice of a field of study.

Where can a student intern?

The student may choose where to intern in the community. The internship must be approved by the student, host, parent/guardian, and school before taking place.

Will the school set up an internship for students?

Making a connection with an internship host is the responsibility of the student. If the student doesn’t sense that he/she has a viable connection in the community, Winterim staff will help the student find a potential host.

How are students assessed at their internship?

A school representative (Winterim internship supervisor) will visit the student during Winterim at the internship site. The intern host will also evaluate the intern on his/her ability to fulfill the agreed-upon expectations.

Winterim Travel

Visit the Winterim Travel page to learn more about Winterim travel details and opportunities, 

How is travel a relevant educational opportunity?

Grand Rapids Christian Winterim trips are an extension of Christian education. Students are given a unique opportunity to learn and serve in the global community alongside a GRCHS staff. Winterim travel helps open students’ eyes to God’s amazing world.

Is travel just for wealthy families?

No!  Grand Rapids Christian Schools is committed to providing travel opportunities for all families who want this learning experience. GRCS provides financial assistance to families who submit a financial aid applicaiton form and qualify for tuition assistance. Trip offerings vary greatly by price, destination, and purpose. Some trips will be service-oriented and allow for tax-deductible donations.

Why can’t freshmen travel?

Freshmen will have only spent four months on the high school campus and need this time to mature and to form community on campus.

Can winter sport athletes travel?

Each winter sport coach has established a Winterim travel policy. Coaches have the right to change this policy each year and it may vary by grade level. Please contact Jason Heerema, GRCHS Athletic Director, at with questions about a specific sport.

What trips will be offered in future years?

Grand Rapids Christian High School will attempt to offer a wide variety of trips to many different parts of the world over a student’s three years of travel eligibility. Trips for the following year will be announced soon after the completion of each Winterim session.



Brian Karsten, Winterim Coordinator

Carolyn Groendyk, Winterim Assistant

Rebecca Polet, Winterim Internship Coordinator

Vickie Fischer, Director of Admissions


2300 Plymouth Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616.574.5500
Fax:  616.574.5510