ZCS 101 for 2020/21 New Families

We are here to help you!

**updated for 2020-21 fall changes**

Starting at a new school can be overwhelming - for children, but also for parents. This is not an exhaustive list but includes helpful information as you learn the ‘lingo’ of your new community. It may be helpful to bookmark this document and use it as a quick reference guide. It is our prayer that you not only feel welcome but feel like you belong here. Your whole family is part of the ZCS family now!

For General Questions

Call the front office at 616.772.2609

Email zcsinfo@zcs.org 


Blue Note: Weekly school newsletter which is sent by email on Wednesdays as our way of keeping you up to date on what is going on at ZCS. Before the days of electronic sharing, this newsletter was printed on blue paper - hence its name! Fun fact: print versions are still printed on blue paper.

Parent Handbook for 2020-21 can be accessed here.

Middle School handbook for 2020-21can be accessed here.

Preschool Parent handbook for 2020-21 can be accessed here.

Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

Request to join the ZCS Parent Facebook Group here.

Find a copy of the Student Supply List for 2020-21 here.

ZCS Student Life

All-School Chapel: Monthly event for Young Fives thru 8th grade that parents/grandparents are invited to attend as we all gather to worship our Lord and Savior. Elementary students also have grade level worship times held once a month and middle school students have a weekly chapel. All school chapel will not happen with all students and parents together in the gym this fall. However, leadership is exploring creative ways to worship together outside or via Zoom to make sure this core experience still happens regularly.

Batons: Each student receives a baton in Kindergarten. These are a baton of spiritual growth and encouragement to each student from their teachers. Teachers share comments each school year, passing the baton to each student at year end. The student then passes the baton to the new teacher the following school year. At the end of 8th grade, the final baton pass is to the student, as a journal of his/her spiritual journey at ZCS.

Counseling Services: We have been blessed to be able to provide short term counseling services to students at Zeeland Christian. At the request of parents and/or teachers, a counselor will see students for 3-4 sessions during the school day and then make recommendations if any further support might be helpful. The counselor is also available to support families who are involved in adoption or foster care.

For the 2020-21 school year, we are thankful for the addition of a full-time social worker to provide extra support for our students, teachers, and families.

Family Groups: starting in 1st grade students are assigned to a group they stay with all the way through their time at ZCS. These groups include a few students from each grade level, 1st-8th, who gather to study the Bible and work on projects several times throughout the year. The date at which family groups for the 2020-21 school year will start meeting has not been determined at this time.

MAP Growth: MAP stands for Measures of Academic Performance developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Each 2nd - 8th grade child takes a MAP growth assessment in the early fall and the late Spring. MAP® Growth™ measures what students know and informs what they’re ready to learn next. These reports are shared with parents twice a year.

Middle School Small Groups: Every middle schooler is placed in a small group with other 6th-8th graders where they will have a Bible study and discussion time with a group of their peers. Small groups meet regularly throughout the year. The date at which small groups for the 2020-21 school year will start meeting has not been determined at this time.

PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support): We want all our kids to behave with Christ-like AMOR (Acceptance, Mindfulness, Ownership, and Respect). We have amazing kids at ZCS and we want to be vigilant in acknowledging the positive behaviors that are happening all the time. We want our efforts to be focused on the behavior that we expect from kids because the behaviors that we are most attentive to are the behaviors that we will get more of in the future. We believe that behaviors need to be taught and retaught and we strive for clarity for kids and unity among our staff. 

PBL (Project Based Learning):   Students at all grade levels work to develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills through this approach to learning. A real-world problem or complex question is taken on by students over an extended period of time, culminating in a public product or presentation for a real audience. 

Spiritual Journals: Beginning in Kindergarten students make 3 journal entries each year, highlighting spiritual growth during that school year. The journals are presented to each student at the 8th grade banquet, highlighting their personal walk with our Lord during their school career at ZCS.

Common Events During a Typical School Year:

(Please note 2020-21 is NOT a typical year and several of these events may not be held. Please watch the Blue Note for more information)

  • Pumpkin Fest Parade: Preschool students are invited to ride on a float during the parade for the Zeeland Pumpkin Fest, on the first Saturday in October.
  • Grandparent/Grandfriend Day: This is a big deal! Scheduled for the first Friday in November for young-fives - 8th grade (preschool Grandparents Day usually happens earlier that week). The grandfriends are invited to come to a special chapel and visit their student’s classrooms. 
  • Jingle Jog: Fundraiser for our sister school in the Philippines the week before Christmas break as part of gym class. K-5 students dress up to run for 12 minutes at a designated time. Students are invited to get monetary sponsors and parents are invited to run too.
  • Family Ski Days at Caberfae: ZCS families and friends go to Caberfae twice a winter. Kids have a ton of fun skiing in and out and hanging with their friends. There is a potluck so you don’t even need to be concerned about buying food! It’s a great opportunity to ski and enjoy the fellowship at really amazing rates! Watch for dates announced via the Blue Note in December.
  • Unified Basketball Game:  Unified teams combine Middle School students of all abilities in a game of high energy that is a highlight for all who attend.
  • 7th Grade Car Wash: In the spring our 7th graders bless both communities in Zeeland and the Philippines by taking pledges and holding a Totally Free Car Wash downtown Zeeland.
  • 8th grade play: Performance held in the ZCS gym in March.
  • Middle School Camps: Each year, the students attend 1-2 camps that are specially designed to move them forward in their personal and communal development.
  • Fun Night: Fundraiser event hosted by the 8th grade on an evening in May. Dinner and games are available. All are invited to attend.
  • Memorial Day Parade: Students in K-2nd walk with their class in the Zeeland parade on Memorial Day.

Summary of Typical Extracurricular Activities:

(Please note 2020-21 is NOT a typical year and several of these things may not be held. Please watch the Blue Note for more information)

  • Elementary:
    • 5th Grade Band: The 5th-grade students come in before school on various days depending on the instrument they play. The 5th/6th-grade band will march in the Memorial Day parade.
    • Destination Imagination for 4th and older
    • Spelling Bee for 5th-8th
    • Running Club for 3rd thru 6th grade
  • Middle School: 
    • Music: Music is a gift and we want all students at ZCMS to experience it. Students have two performing options (Band and Choir) and one non-performing option (Music class). The 7th/8th-grade band will march in the Pumpkin Parade, 2 Tulip Time parades and the Memorial Day parade.
    • Athletics: Our bodies are a gift and students have an opportunity to explore using their bodies through a multitude of athletic opportunities. Some sports are played in cooperation with Holland Christian: football, tennis, cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, competitive cheer, swimming, track. ZCS requires a $50 "Pay to Play" for each sport your child participates in at Zeeland Christian. If you are participating in a Co-op sport there is already a "Pay to Play" fee payable to Holland Christian, so they are not required to pay the $50 to ZCS. 
    • Geography Bee
    • Calling All Colors: Calling All Colors is a program offered to students through the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance. They engage in age appropriate discussions and activities around diversity and inclusion, as well as exploring what that looks like in our community and beyond.
    • 8th Grade Play: Students have an opportunity to use their theatrical gifts and put God on display on the ZCS stage. 
    • 8th Grade Worship Team: Student-led worship is rich, meaningful, and imperfect. When students lead, the ZCS community is blessed.
    • Ski Club: When the snow flies, students have the opportunity to participate in ski club on most Fridays. Students have the option to pay to ride the ski bus.
    • Robotics, 7th & 8th

Things to know about ZCS

Facility Details

Attendance: Whenever your child will be absent or late to school please notify the school office by emailing attendance@zcs.org  or leaving a message on the attendance line 616-741-0051. When leaving a message please list your child’s name, grade, and teacher. Students who arrive late or need to leave early must sign in and out in the main office, listing the date, name, time in/out, and reason for leaving or arriving.

Building Security: Doors are open during drop-off and pick-up times only. During school hours all doors will be locked. To enter the school you will need to enter through the main doors (Door C by the canopy) and be buzzed into the office. There you will need to sign in through our electronic visitor management system.

Logo: We have a new logo as of the 2019-20 school year. This new flame logo intentionally has three sections to represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and has a circle encompassing the flame to represent the all-encompassing love of Christ and the inclusion of every student. This fresh and vibrant new look reminds us that there is a fire that burns in the hearts and minds of every student, educator, and faculty member at ZCS which drives us to be more innovative, more inclusive, and better servants with every action we take. It’s a God-given fire that burns in all of us, and for all of us, it burns bright.

Lunch: Lunch is eaten in students' classrooms - either packed lunch from home or purchase hot lunch. Hot lunch is available through the Zeeland Public School system (see partnership section) - students indicate their hot lunch choice upon arrival to the classroom each morning. Hot Lunch accounts are managed directly with ZPS. Parents may set up an online account or pay via check using a ‘Hot Lunch Envelope’ found in the school office. Parents should contact foodservice@zps.org to set up an online account. Accommodations for food allergies are taken into consideration on an individual classroom basis.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up: For the 2020-21 school year, pick-up and drop-off will look different than it has in years past. We are looking forward to these changes as we think it will provide a safer and more organized experience for families. You can find the new system outlined HERE.

Transportation: Busing is provided for students in the Zeeland Public School system (see partnership section). Please contact the ZPS transportation office to make arrangements if your child is going to be using the bus. Every student submits a new transportation form each spring.

Blended Learning

Blended learning is any combination of face to face and online spaces for instruction.
~Michele Eaton, author of The Perfect Blend

Week-at-a-Glance (WAAG): Teachers will provide a Week-at-a-Glance document via their classroom blog each Friday. This document will communicate their plan for the upcoming week, especially in the event a student needs to pursue learning from home for a period of time.

SeeSaw: Kindergarten through 2nd-grade teachers will communicate through SeeSaw with their full class. This platform allows teachers and students to record videos and share assignments digitally, especially in the event students are learning virtually.

Google Classroom: 3rd-grade through 8th-grade teachers will communicate through Google Classroom with their full class. This platform allows teachers and students to record videos and share assignments digitally, especially in the event students are learning virtually.

ZCS locations

  • Central Ave (Main Site)
  • Drenthe Preschool: Since 2005, we have had preschool classes at Drenthe CRC.
  • Creation Ridge Preschool: held at RidgePoint Community Church new in fall 2020.


Parental Involvement

Parent Points: to help reduce tuition, ZCS uses a system called ‘parent points’. You can either choose to pay a fee or sign up to volunteer earning a total of 10 points per year (5 points for Kindergarten families). Make sure you sign up in the spring or you’ll just be assigned a job for the upcoming year! Questions about this system can be directed to Jen Schafer.

Volunteer Opportunity: We love to have families involved during the school day. Parents will have OPTIONAL opportunities to sign up to volunteer in the classroom and drive for field trips. Field trip drivers must provide a copy of their drivers license and proof of car insurance at least 24 hours before the field trip; this must be resubmitted each year.

For 2020-21, the recommendation is to not use transportation to attend field trips so the start of the year will likely not include field trips. However, teachers will pursue creative opportunities to engage with community speakers/organizations to enhance student learning on-site. Additionally, parent volunteers in classrooms will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis due to the essential service they provide.


Zeeland Public Schools: ZCS is very grateful for the friendly and collaborative partnership we have with ZPS. ZCS works in conjunction with ZPS to offer hot lunch every day. Families may apply for free or reduced-fee lunch as well. Busing for in-district students is also provided on days ZPS is in session. All students need to have a transportation form filled out each year, even if they don’t use busing. We follow Zeeland Public Schools for delays and cancellations with announcements made via email, news stations, and Facebook. ZPS also provides a school social worker to support students who have qualified for that service.

Holland Christian Schools: We are committed to a strong relationship with Holland Christian Schools moving forward. From a practical standpoint, we share resources like technology and athletics. From a high level perspective, HCS and ZCS work together at the school board level, at the administration level, at the curriculum level, and at the teaching level. The ZCS sliding tuition scale applies to students enrolled at Holland Christian High School.

Grace Community Christian School: Our Sister school in the Philippines. The relationship between Zeeland Christian School and Grace Community Christian School began in 1999 and has grown through the years. Our connection now includes student trips, teacher prayer partners, classroom student connections, fundraisers (Jingle Jog & 7th grade Car Wash), and student sponsorship opportunities.

Ridge Point Community Church and Outdoor Discovery Center: ZCS has partnerships with both Ridge Point Community Church and the Outdoor Discovery Center to launch the Creation Ridge Preschool site. These are Spirit-led and natural partnerships that enhance Zeeland Christian Preschool.

Commonly Used Terms

Extended Care: care offered for students 3 yrs thru 5th grade who attend classes at ZCS. Children can be enrolled in childcare anytime between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm on school days. A ‘lunch bunch’ option is also available.

Language Immersion: ZCS offers total immersion programs in both Spanish and Mandarin. Students enrolled in these programs receive all their classroom instruction in their target language through 2nd grade. Students in every grade participate in a foreign language class several times each week. The Immersion Handbook can be found here.

Moms in Prayer: A weekly time of prayer, led by an organization called Moms in Prayer where moms can pray over their children and the staff surrounding them. We have had a group at ZCS for over 30 years and this year may be the year God is calling you to join! Learn more about when groups meet here.

PaperGator: The Green Paper Gator is in the back parking lot. Supporters are welcome to place newspapers, catalogs, magazines, junk mail, phone books, and office or school paper in the container. Please no plastic, metal, trash, glass, or cardboard (includes cereal boxes).

Power Hour: Middle School after school care is available for students who need to stay after school, namely, students who have siblings in the elementary school or students waiting for a ZCS athletic practice to begin. (If your child is not in one of these categories but needs after-school care, please contact the middle school principal.) In order to cover extra-staffing costs, families will be charged $2/day (added through Smart Tuition accounts). Students playing sports will not be required to pay the fee as it is covered in the cost of “pay to play”. Students will need to stay until the Elementary "walker bell" unless they are playing a sport or are picked up early by a parent.

Society members: are defined as families with children attending Zeeland Christian School, grandparents, ZCS graduates, and those who are regular financial and prayer supporters of ZCS. Meetings for members are held each year in the spring.

Support Services: Support Services is comprised of two strands. One strand is the resource room, which provides support for students with learning disabilities and other learning-related challenges. The other strand is the inclusion program, which provides modified educational goals for students with varied abilities to find a place of acceptance and belonging in the heart of the general education classrooms. 

ZCS Expand(ED) Summer Camps: Variety of summer camp options offered by teachers at ZCS (i.e. tutoring, sports, language, etc). Information released via the Blue Note around Spring Break. You can find out what is being offered for 2020 and register on this website.

Enrollment Forms/Terms

Continuous Enrollment: a form filled out once your child enters Kindergarten that will allow families to provide ZCS necessary information one time, set it and forget it! There is zero penalty for not enrolling your child for the next year. You will still receive the one-page tuition sheet (OPTS) to submit each year, but that is a very simple form.

Eventbrite: The online system that ZCS uses for Preschool, Young 5s, and Kindergarten Registration. Once a parent registers their student in Eventbrite the spot for their child is secured.

Infinite Campus/Parent Portal: Online system where you can access and track your child’s school records. Please note that grades are only available for viewing during the current school year, so print out any information you would like to refer to later. If you do not have a login please contact the office so you can complete the acceptable use policy then return it to the ZCS office so you can be given that information.

One-Page Tuition Sheet (OPTS): Form is mailed to your home in Mid-March each year. This is a confirmation of your agreement to pay tuition while your child is enrolled at ZCS.

Sliding Scale Tuition: This allows parents with more children to pay a lower percentage of the cost of education.

SMART Tuition: Setting up your account with SMART tuition finalizes the enrollment process. Payments for student tuition are handled through this online system. Through SMART Tuition you have the option to pay annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly, with your first payment for each new school year being due in July. If you have any SMART Tuition questions contact Mike Arendsen.

Lowering Out-of-Pocket-Cost

TRIP is a program that allows families to buy gift cards for goods and services in this community and then have a percentage of that purchase go directly into their tuition account in June and December. *TRIP profits can now be used for preschool tuition!* More questions? Click here

Tuition Assistance: ZCS families and donors have worked hard to be able to offer 80-100% of the assistance families qualify for, which is up to 50% of tuition. The application window for next school year is in March/April and is handled through the FACTS system. For more information contact Linda Hoekwater


(Please note 2020-21 is NOT a typical year and several of these things may not be held. Please watch the Blue Note for more information)


General Fund Fundraisers (lowers overall tuition)

Pig-in-the-Blanket sales: made in September, November & January then sold at school. 

Gift & Magazine Sale: Orders are due in October. Pick up date announced in Blue Note 

Banket: made in November then sold at school. 

3-on-3 Basketball Tournament: Last weekend in March. Ages 3rd grade - adults may participate. 

Auction: Friday after spring break. Dinner, silent auction, and live auction. 

ZCS ZIP: Third weekend in May. 5K for running clubs and the community. 

Endowment Fundraiser

Golf Outing: First weekend in September.


Preschool Fundraiser

Little Caesars Sale: Orders are due in October.