The purpose of John Calvin School is to assist and support parents in the education of their covenant children to the glory of God. In accomplishing this mission, the vision of John Calvin School is to provide excellent Christ-centered education in service to God and our neighbour.
Today officially brings us to the end of Week #13 of home-based learning and teaching, and the end of another school year; a very different and unprecedented COVID-19 school year. Hello again everyone on this beautiful Friday morning, the last day of the 2019-2020 school year. We thank the Lord for all that he has provided the school community during the course of another school year. Thanks again, parents, for all your work in teaching your children during the last three months of home-based learning because of the novel corona virus. It was very much appreciated by the staff and, hopefully, the students as well. Thanks for rising to the challenge of instructing your children at home, whether it was your daughter in Kindergarten or your son in Grade 8. May our Heavenly Father continue to bless the work we do together in providing instruction for His covenant children. We hope to see most of you at some point and time today during pick-up and drop-off.
Last week Friday we could have our virtual Year End Assembly. During the livestream portion of the assembly, Mr. Nordeman, Miss Buist, Mr. Joosse, and Mr. Hofsink spoke a few words of reflection on the year that was, a very unusual COVID-19 school year. We also said farewell to the Grade 8 students who are graduating, Mrs. vanBrederode and Miss Vanderzwaag who are retiring from full-time teaching, Mrs. Holtvlüwer who is moving to Ancaster, and Mrs. Feenstra who will be the new Kindergarten teacher at ACRES in September, D.V. We also bade farewell to several students: Damon, Alanah, and Tyson Ravensbergen (who will be home-schooled), Beth and Simeon Bos (who are moving to Dunnville), Angelina Holtvlüwer (who is moving to Ancaster), and Dylan Ondersma (who is moving to Strathroy). Our apologies to Dylan as we forgot to include him in the farewell list at the assembly. Dylan’s mom is getting remarried this summer and she and Dylan will be taking up residence in Strathroy. We wish the students all the best and the Lord’s blessing in their new learning environments.
Today, the students will be receiving their end of year, COVID-19 report cards. As was written in previous memos, this year’s final Report Card looks quite different from previous years’ final report cards. The 2019-2020 COVID-19 report card reflects the home-based learning model, and the state of emergency that did not allow for school attendance, that was in effect from March 23 to June 12 because of COVID-19, otherwise known as the corona virus. The focus of assessment and evaluation during this time was on assessment for learning; specifically on giving feedback both from the parent as instructor and the teacher as planner and instructor. Since the focus was on assessment for learning, there are no grades on this end-of-year report card, only check marks to show the progress the students made based on parent and teacher feedback. The check marks are further supported by general comments once again based on feedback provided by parents and teachers.
Students and parents are accustomed to seeing letter grades or percentages on report cards. Seeing a check mark on a final report card does not diminish the hard work that was done by the majority of the students during this term. Our work shouldn’t only be our best work when it’s going to be noticed, rewarded or recognized; our work is always done before the face of our Heavenly Father, and any effort we put in should be done first and foremost because He is pleased when we do our best. This is a valuable lesson for the rest of the students’ lives as they work to God’s glory, whether they are in elementary school, high school, post-secondary school or the work-place.
May the Lord continue to provide for those in our community who need Him in a special way; be it those who are sick, who are impacted by COVID-19, who are dealing with difficult family situations, or those who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Please note: Later today, the 2020-2021 class lists will be emailed to the parents. Putting the students in these classes was not an arbitrary matter. There are many factors to consider when putting these lists together and much thought and time was spent in coming to the final product. The Class Re-Distribution Protocol, shared with you on a couple of occasions earlier this term, gives further explanation as to the considerations, criteria, and procedures followed by the teachers for the 2020-2021 class lists.
*Please continue to be wary of ticks and mosquitoes.
*The first official day of summer is tomorrow, June 20, beginning at 5:44 p.m. EDT.
*Unfortunately, the state of emergency for Ontario has been extended to June 30. I guess we will have to wait and see what restrictions will be lifted to determine what we can and cannot do for the summer and into September. As soon as we are able to, we will share the plan for school in September with the community.
*Library Books and Lost and Found: If you have any school library books at home, please return them today when you return textbooks, workbooks, and chrome books. When you are in the school today, please check the tables under the overhang by the main entrance for lost and found items. All remaining items will be taken to the GBF or Value Village.
*Calling for More Library Volunteers: Because of the retirement of a couple of librarians, we will be in need of at least two more librarians for the 2020-2021 school year. If you are interested in becoming involved with the JCS library program or if you have any questions, please give the school a call.
*School Cleaning: Please stay tuned to your local church bulletin or church social for the plan for this summer.
*Graduation is planned for Friday, August 21. Our desire is to host a Graduation Activity as ‘normal’ as possible at that time; however, we are also making plans to host a grad activity if restrictions remain in place. For the time being, set aside that date and we will keep you posted as to our plans as the summer unfolds.
Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy Father’s Day on Sunday. May our good and gracious God grant everyone an enjoyable and safe summer and, D.V., we’ll touch base again via the pages of the Chronicle on Friday, 9/11. I leave you with these words of our good and gracious God from Numbers 6:24-26, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Wishing all of you the LORD’s blessing throughout the summer. I have enjoyed working with both the students and their parents this year. (AB)
This past year has been, for me, the most unusual ending to a school year. During the last three months, planning and assisting with “home-based learning” was the new reality. I did not envision such a conclusion to my full-time position as Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT). That being said, I am very thankful to have spent the last 25 years working with so many who have made a lasting impact that will never be forgotten.
It was this week that reality struck as I began the process of cleaning up my classroom. While busy with this, I received a surprise visit from many of the parents and students with whom I worked during this past year. This is it! I will no longer be a full-time SERT! While I can honestly say that I am looking forward to slowing down, the consequence of that decision also means that I will be leaving a position that I love.
I carry special memories of all the students that I have worked with over the years. I thank the Lord who has given me the opportunity and equipped me to teach his covenant children. I have been blessed with supportive parents who walked alongside me as I strived to teach their children and help them grow in their learning. I have worked with talented teachers and educational assistants who were always willing to share their expertise, to collaborate, and encourage growth in the students we shared. A special thank you goes to the volunteers who came in weekly to assist in the work with the students over many years. The students certainly benefited from the work you did with them and I was always grateful for your help. Finally, I was also blessed with the vision, direction, and supportive leadership of the principals who have served at this school over these 25 years. Thank you all so much! I will cherish the time that I spent working here.
May God grant you all a wonderful summer break as well as a time to refresh and recharge. I am looking forward to seeing and working with the staff again in September at a reduced work pace. Enjoy your holidays!
Miss P. Vanderzwaag
Here we are at the end of the 2019/2020 school year, and what a year it has been! It will be a year we will never forget, COVID-19! We, as Grade One teachers, are very thankful for all the hard work done by the parents and students on the home front. It wasn’t always easy and we wished we could have been in the classroom at least for the last few weeks of the school year. Thank you for all your encouraging words during this time as well as the cards and gifts we have received. It was very much appreciated. A very big thank you to our class volunteers, Mrs. Steph Visser and Mrs. Eleanor Schulenberg, for all their help in the Grade One classrooms. We wish you all an enjoyable summer holiday, and pray that the LORD will keep us all safe in His care.
JvB & JVE
It was also a year I will never forget as it was my last year of teaching Grade One at JCS. It was very nice to stay connected with all of you during this time via Zoom, driveway visits, and WhatsApp video calls. Thank you very much for the surprise get together and the beautiful pillow; it will be treasured for many years to come. After 32 years of teaching Grade One at JCS, the time has come to retire from full-time teaching. The Lord has richly blessed me during this time, and it has been amazing to work with a lot of great teachers and teach a lot of great kids. Thank you to the many parents who provided a lot of support and entrusted their little ones into my care during this time.
However, this is not a final farewell as I hope to see many of you in the coming school year. I will be graduating to Grade 2 (along with my students), teaching alongside Mrs. L. Schulenberg and Mrs. R. Gansekoele on a part-time basis, the LORD willing.
We also bid farewell to one of our long-time librarians, Mrs. Bep Ravensbergen. We thank her for 25 years of faithful service as one of the librarians for John Calvin School. She often went above and beyond her call of duty. I, for one, always appreciated her diligence to her library task, her love for the children, her love for books, and her sense of humour. Plus she and I had a common history, Smithers, B.C., which gave us time for reflection on more than one occasion☺. All the best and the Lord’s blessing with your retirement, Mrs. Ravensbergen.
© 2015 Canadian Reformed School Society of Smithville and Surrounding District