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**Updated Fall 2021**
ZCS 101: Terms for New Families
Starting at a new school can be overwhelming--for children, but also for parents. The list below is not exhaustive, but it includes helpful information as you learn the ‘lingo’ of your new community. It may be helpful to bookmark this document to use it as a quick reference guide. It is our prayer that you not only feel welcome at Zeeland Christian, but 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
Blue Note: Weekly school newsletter, sent by email on Wednesdays as our way of keeping you up to date with what’s 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.
Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
Request to join the ZCS Parent Facebook Group here.
Request to join the ZCS Early Childhood (3s-K) Parent Group here.
Find a copy of the Student Supply List for 2021-22 here.
ZCS STUDENT LIFE
All-School Chapel: Monthly event for Young Fives thru 8th grade that parents, grandparents, and families 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 weekly chapel.
Batons: Each student receives a baton in kindergarten. These are batons of spiritual growth and encouragement passed to each student from their teachers. Teachers share comments each school year, passing back batons to their students at year end. Parents are invited to add a note of their own over the summer each year. Students then pass their batons to their new teachers the following school year. At the end of 8th grade, students receive their baton one last time as a journal and keepsake of their spiritual journey at ZCS.
Counseling Services: We are 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. Our school counselor is also available to support families who are involved in adoption or foster care. ZCS also has a full time social worker available to families.
Family Groups: Beginning in 1st grade, students are assigned to a family group they will stay with throughout 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 together several times each year.
MAP Growth: MAP stands for Measures of Academic Performance and is developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Each 2nd - 8th grade child takes a MAP growth assessment in early fall, mid-winter and 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, and together they have a Bible study and discussion time on a regular basis throughout the year.
PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support): We want all of our students to behave with Christ-like AMOR (Acceptance, Mindfulness, Ownership, and Respect). We have amazing students 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 students, because the behaviors we’re most attentive to are the behaviors we’ll see more of in the future. We believe that behaviors need to be taught and retaught, and we strive for clarity for students 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 three journal entries each year expressing spiritual growth during that school year. The completed journals are presented to students at their 8th grade banquet, highlighting each student’s personal walk with our Lord during their school career at ZCS.
Events During a Typical School Year:
- Middle School Camps: Each year middle school students attend 1-2 camps that are specially designed to move them forward in their personal and communal development.
- 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 Y5-8th grade (preschool Grandparents Day usually happens earlier the same week). Grandparents/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 in Christmas attire 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. Students have fun skiing and spending time with their friends. There is a potluck, so you don’t even need to be concerned about buying food. This is a great opportunity to ski and enjoy 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.
- 8th grade play: Performance held in the ZCS gym in March.
- 7th Grade Car Wash: Each spring our 7th graders bless communities in both Zeeland and the Philippines by taking pledges and holding a Totally Free Car Wash downtown Zeeland.
- Market Day: In the spring, 4th grade students work in teams to develop marketing plans, create items and sell them at this event. Students in 1st-5th grade may bring up to $5 to purchase items during the sale. All funds raised support our sister school in the Philippines.
- Fun Night: Fundraiser event hosted by the 8th grade on an evening in May. Dinner and games available. All are invited to attend.
- Memorial Day Parade: Students in K-2nd grade walk with their class in the Zeeland parade on Memorial Day.
Summary of Typical Extracurricular Activities (not an exhaustive list):
- 5th Grade Band: 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.
- Running Club: For 3rd-5th grade students. This group meets 2x/week in the spring to train for the ZCS Zip 5K, held annually in May
- Spelling Bee: For 5th-8th grade students.
- Middle School:
- 8th Grade Play: Students have an opportunity to use their theatrical gifts and put God on display on the ZCS stage.
- Athletics: Our bodies are a gift and students have an opportunity to pursue physical health 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 and track.
- Calling All Colors: 6th-8th grade students may choose to participate in this group with the purpose of increasing respect and appreciation for ethnic and cultural diversity through age appropriate discussions and activities. CAC provides a space to explore issues of race, discrimination, and stereotyping through a Christ-centered lens and in collaboration with other area schools. Students develop an action plan to create greater appreciation for diversity at ZCS.
- Music: Music is a gift and we want all students at ZCMS to experience it. Students have two performing options (band and choir). The 7th/8th grade band will march in the Pumpkin Fest Parade, two Tulip Time parades and Zeeland’s Memorial Day parade.
- Robotics: Offered to 7th and 8th graders as a joint activity with Holland Christian Middle School.
- Ski Club: When the snow flies, students have the opportunity to participate in Ski Club. Students can ride the ski bus for an additional fee.
- Spelling Bee: For 5th-8th grade students.
- Worship Team: Student-led worship is rich, meaningful, and imperfect. When students lead, the ZCS community is blessed.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ZCS
Attendance: Whenever your child will be absent or late to school, please notify the school office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message on the attendance line at 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.
Building Security: Doors are open during drop-off and pick-up times only. During school hours all doors will be locked. To enter school you will need to come through the main doors (Door C by the front canopy) and be buzzed into the office. There you will need to sign in through our electronic visitor management system.
Logo: We updated our logo as of the 2019-20 school year.
Our 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 look reminds us that there is a fire that burns in the hearts and minds of every student, educator, and faculty member at ZCS, driving us to be more innovative, more inclusive, and more servant-hearted with every action we take. We pray that this God-given fire burns bright in every member of our school community.
Lunch: Lunch is eaten in students' classrooms. Students either bring a packed lunch from home or can purchase hot lunch at school. Hot lunch is available through the Zeeland Public School system (see partnership section). Students indicate their hot lunch choice upon arrival to their 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 email@example.com to set up an online account. Accommodations for food allergies are taken into consideration on an individual classroom basis.
Pickup/Drop-off: Please refer to the back to school information regarding pickup and drop-off for this year.
In general, students in 1st grade and above are not required to be picked up from their classroom. Students in Y5/K must be picked up by an older sibling or accompanied by a teacher to meet their parent/guardian at their assigned pickup door at the end of the day.
Transportation: Busing is provided for students through the Zeeland Public School system (see partnership section). Please contact the ZPS transportation office to make arrangements if your child is going to use the bus. Every student submits a new transportation form each spring.
- 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 of 2020.
Parent Liaison: Each classroom has one to two parent volunteers who act as liaisons for that particular class. These liaisons help coordinate teacher gifts and plan several parent gatherings throughout the year.
Parent Points: To help reduce tuition, ZCS uses a system called ‘parent points.’ You can either choose to pay a fee to cover this cost or sign up to volunteer in various areas of ZCS life, earning a total of 10 points per year (5 points for kindergarten families). Each year you’ll indicate your preference to pay or volunteer on your OPTS. To volunteer, make sure you sign up in the spring if you can, or you’ll be assigned a job for the upcoming year. Questions about this system can be directed to Fundraising Coordinator, Jen Schafer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Volunteer Opportunities: We love to have families involved during the school day. Parents will have OPTIONAL opportunities to sign up to volunteer in the classroom and to drive for field trips. Field trip drivers must provide a copy of their driver’s license and proof of car insurance at least 24 hours prior to a field trip. This verification must be resubmitted each year.
Welcome Family: Families who are new to the Zeeland area or new to Zeeland Christian are connected with a current ZCS family. This family serves as one more resource in answering your questions and getting connected to the greater ZCS community. If you’re interested in being a welcome family or being connected to a welcome family, please contact the Enrollment Coordinator, Nakisha DeJong (email@example.com).
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 (preschool coin collection, Jingle Jog, 4th grade Market Day, and 7th grade Car Wash), and student sponsorship opportunities.
Holland Christian Schools: We are committed to a strong relationship with Holland Christian Schools. We share resources including technology and athletics, and collaborate where applicable in board and administration efforts, curriculum and teaching. The ZCS sliding tuition scale applies to students enrolled at Holland Christian High School.
Ridge Point Community Church and Outdoor Discovery Center: ZCS has partnerships with both Ridge Point Community Church and the Outdoor Discovery Center to run the Creation Ridge Preschool site. These are Spirit-led and natural partnerships that enhance Zeeland Christian Preschool.
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.
COMMONLY USED TERMS
Extended Care: Care offered for students in threeschool through 5th grade who attend classes at ZCS. Children can be enrolled in childcare anytime between 7:00am and 6:00pm on school days. A ‘lunch bunch’ option is also available.
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.
Language Immersion: ZCS offers total immersion programs in both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Students enrolled in these programs receive all of their classroom instruction in their target language through 2nd grade. Students in every grade participate in a World Language Class (Spanish or Mandarin) several times each week.
Moms in Prayer: Led by an organization called Moms in Prayer, this is a weekly time 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.
Paper Gator: 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).
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.
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. An annual meeting for members is 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.
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.
ZCS Expand(ED) Summer Camps: A variety of summer camp options offered by teachers at ZCS (i.e. tutoring, sports, language, etc). Information is released via the Blue Note around Spring Break.
Continuous Enrollment: A form filled out once your child enters Y5/K that includes your family’s grandparent information and photo release permission. On this form you have the choice to opt-in, which allows us to roll over this information for each school year without you needing to resubmit it each time. If you prefer to opt-out, please indicate that on the form and you will be contacted to fill it out each year.
Eventbrite: The online system that ZCS uses for preschool, Y5 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 to complete the Acceptable Use Policy, then return it to the ZCS office so you can be given login information.
One-Page Tuition Sheet (OPTS): This 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.
Pay-to-Play: ZCS requires a $50 "Pay to Play" fee 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 an additional $50 is not required to be paid to ZCS. Please send payments to the Zeeland Christian office along with your questionnaire or sports physical.
Power Hour: Middle school after school care is available for students who need to stay after school. Students will need to stay until the elementary "walker bell" unless they are playing a sport or are picked up early by a parent. Families will be charged $2/day. Students playing sports will not be required to pay this fee, as it is covered in the cost of “Pay to Play”. Students who are not picked up by 2:40 will go to Power Hour.
Sliding Scale Tuition: This allows parents with more children to pay a lower percent of the cost of education per child.
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 Director of Finance and Operations, Mike Arendsen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
TRIP is a program that allows families to buy gift cards for goods and services in our community and then have a percentage of those purchases go directly into their tuition account. Credits are applied in June and December. TRIP profits can be used for preschool tuition! More questions? Click here.
Tuition Assistance: At ZCS the goal is for a family not to pay more than 15% of their income in tuition for their children to attend school each year. Tuition assistance is offered for families with children in Kindergarten thru 8th grade, up to 50% of a family’s tuition cost. If a family also has a preschooler, that tuition number is also taken into account when awarding assistance. The application window for each school year is March 1 -31 and is handled through the FACTS system. For more information, please contact Finance Assistant, Linda Hoekwater (email@example.com).
**Watch the Blue Note for additional details**
General Fund Fundraisers (lower overall tuition)
Pig-in-the-Blanket sales: Made in September, November & January and sold at school.
Gift & Magazine Sale: Orders are due in October. Pick up date announced in the Blue Note.
Banket: Made in November and sold at school.
3-on-3 Basketball Tournament: Weekend in March. 3rd grade - adults may participate.
Auction: Held in the Spring via virtual platform.
ZCS ZIP: 5K run for running clubs and the community, held the third weekend in May.
Golf Outing: Early September.
Little Caesars Sale: Orders due in October.