Isaiah 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Dear Forest Families,
All things bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all! I have been in prayer for each of you this summer. My prayer is for health, safety, and that you might deeply experience our God’s majestic LOVE! If you have been able to step away from your normal routine and find natural beauty, I pray that your eyes, ears and heart were open to God’s goodness. Our theme this year is Faith Like A Child. We’ll dig into the faith that Jesus held up and modeled in dear children. They receive the gift of grace with open arms and thanksgiving! May these next few weeks of summertime beauty give you and your family the opportunity to open your arms to God’s grace and goodness. God’s glory is on display all around us. Soak it in, my friends. And I can’t WAIT to hear your adventures shared through the stories from your child!
All joy and thanksgiving,
Per state law, all private schools are not included in the “Free Meals for All” program that you may have heard about in the news. Families may still apply for lunch benefits on the Holland Christian Family Portal. If your students qualified for Free or Reduced benefits last year, those benefits carryover through September 30. Please apply for Free and Reduced benefits as soon as possible.
Family portal accounts will be ready to receive deposits on Monday, August 14. If you do NOT have a family portal account set up, you will need your student’s ID number. Please email email@example.com for your student ID number. There is no fee to deposit money into your child’s account with a debit or credit card.
23-24 meal prices are the same as last year:
- Elementary: $2.75
- Middle School: $3.00
- High School Lunch $3.25
- Milk Ala Carte $0.50
- Free and Reduced Meals $0.00
Equipping Young Minds
I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer about how we can continue to do better at engaging your child’s interest, growing them in their God-given talents, and equipping their minds. We are partners in this effort, friends, and we need your help at home. Digital devices and screens have the potential to change the chemical balance in our human brains particularly when left unchecked. If you have a few moments, would you be willing to listen to this podcast from 1000 Hours Outside? Offered by a child psychologist, Dr. Victoria Dunckley, we can learn about the physiological effect of unchecked screen time and how, together, we can bring health to our children’s formative years.
Forest Family Updates
Welcome Miss Anna McCuaig as our new kindergarten teacher assistant supporting Miss Spoelman! We’re so grateful for your heart and the experiences God has blessed her with in preparation for this special role. She is eager to help create a home away from home for our littlest dear Forest Kids. In her own words:
I am a recent graduate of DePauw University with a BA in English Writing with a minor in Education Studies. Throughout my time at DePauw, I worked both as a Resident Assistant and an Admissions Intern, learning how to make a new space into a welcoming home for all who came.
Though my main course of study was writing, I picked up my education minor as I realized the two areas of study are not so far removed from one another. I believe that stories do more than simply create a world of fiction, but they provide a space for us to better understand ourselves, the world we live in, and our God. I believe that they are an important way in which we relate to one another, and even pass down information from one generation to the next. Stories, and really reading in general, are imperative to not just the academic growth of a child, but to their personal and spiritual growth as well.
As I begin this new season of life, I am thrilled to be a part of Holland Christian’s forest school as I believe it will allow me to become a key part in teaching children to read and understand stories, while also perfectly encompasses my love for combining learning with play. I look forward to engaging with God’s natural creation every day, and encouraging kids as they learn to recognize His glory in their day to day life.
When I have the free time, I am frequently found either on the shores of Lake Michigan, or hiding in a good nook with a new book in my hand. No matter what, I am also always working on a new project whether that be planning my next hiking trip or writing my next story.
I am incredibly grateful for this chance to be serving God within His creation and alongside His children, and I can’t wait to see what stories He has in store for us.
With the transition of Mrs. Slagter to the Outdoor Discovery Center, we have been so grateful to welcome a new teacher to our Forest Family. Mr. Ken Arthurs will be teaching first grade this year. He brings a wealth of experience, wisdom and JOY to our Forest! I’m excited for everyone to meet Ken. He’s compassionate, wise and highly skilled in growing little learners to know and love God and to know and love themselves as God’s beautiful creation. Welcome, Mr. Arthurs!
Forest Parents and Guardians,
Greetings! My name is Ken Arthurs and I’ll be your child’s first grade teacher at Forest School! I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to know your children and you! God has led me through an amazing series of events and revelation to get to this point, which I’m looking forward to sharing in detail at a later date.
I live on Holland’s northside with my wife of 33 years, Katy. We have three adult children; sons Alex (married to Sara), Patrick, and daughter Annie (married to Tim). I could go on and on, but will simply say we have been blessed beyond measure!
Teaching is my calling! My passions over the span of the last 30 years plus, include the nurturing of children and the outdoors. I have experience in middle school and lower elementary special education, while completing the last 22 years teaching 4th grade in West Ottawa Public Schools at Lakewood Elementary. My outdoor pursuits include canoeing / voyaging over 30 of Michigan’s rivers, five trips to Isle Royale National Park, hiking, swimming, a recent mission trip to Alaska and quite honestly being outside as much as possible. However, my greatest pursuit is fly fishing. To me nothing beats chasing steelhead, salmon and smallmouth bass with handmade flies on Michigan’s beautiful rivers!
In closing, I’m looking forward to an amazing year of learning, growth and fun with your kids at Forest!
Enrollment/Medical Paperwork 23-24
All students entering preschool, kindergarten, and new transfers have a variety of paperwork that needs to be filled out and turned in by August 4, 2023:
Please be sure your child entering these grades is up to date on all immunizations, and if you are pursuing an immunization waiver through your county health department, please call them for an appointment ASAP as appointments fill up quickly, and it needs to be done before attending the first day of school. If you have any questions, please email us!
If your child with a waiver is returning to Holland Christian for the 23-24 school year and moving from:
- 3s preschool to 4s preschool: Current waiver on file is good unless you have chosen to complete a vaccine series during the year that was waived on the waiver.
- 3s/4s preschool to Young 5s: New waiver needed; schedule an appointment.
- 4s preschool to kindergarten: New waiver needed; schedule an appointment.
- Young 5s to kindergarten: Current waiver on file is good unless you have chosen to complete a vaccine series during the year that was waived on the waiver.
- If your child is a new student coming to HC from a different school district, your old waiver is invalid and you will need to schedule an appointment.
Contact the Pine Ridge school office if you have any questions at 616.820.3505 or email us.
Class Lists & School Supplies
We are so excited to welcome your child back to school! Below you will find the links for class lists and school supply lists per class and/or grade level.
Parent Information Nights
This will be a night where just parents come to meet your child’s teacher. You’ll be able to ask more detailed questions about your child’s school and classroom experience.
- August 14 @ 6:30pm: Second Grade
- August 28 @ 6pm: Kindergarten
- August 28 @ 6:30pm: First Grade
First Day of School
Our first day of school is a full day, Tuesday, August 22. Dismissal will be at:
- 3:20 for all kindergarten-1st grade students at our cabin campus (880 Ottawa Avenue)
- 3:15 for second grade students at Pine Ridge Elementary School (we affectionally call this our “depot”)
Before & After School Drop-off/Pick-up Procedures
We ask that you adhere to the following traffic policies for Drop-Off and Pick-Up as specified. We appreciate your cooperation and doing your part to keep our children entering and exiting school safely each day!
For those of you really planning ahead, Forest School’s K & 1 picture day is September 7. Once order forms are received from GPI they will be sent home with students. If you are ordering a yearbook this will be the time to do that also. Second Grade Forest Kids’ school pictures will be taken on September 21 at Pine Ridge.
Medication at School
If your child needs to take medication at school, we need an updated form signed by their physician each school year. If you have not done this yet, please do so asap. The medication forms can be found on the Medical Information and Forms Page for your convenience. You are welcome to contact our school nurse, Hendrina Cupery (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will help you set up a plan for the office to assist in administering the medication. For safety reasons, Holland Christian Schools is not able to dispense any medication (prescription or non-prescription) to our students without a doctor’s order. Thank you!
Please call the school office at 616.820.3505 or email us any time before 8:30 am to let us know each day your child will be absent. You may leave a voicemail any time and it will be checked in the morning when the office opens.
Busing is available for some students needing transportation to and from Forest School or Pine Ridge. For complete busing details and to register, please visit our Transportation page.
After the school day is underway, all doors will be locked. All students who arrive late for school must stop in the school office. Parents are asked to sign children in and out at the school office if they are coming or going any time within the normal school hours.
PowerSchool is our student information database. You will want to bookmark this site! There is also an app available for PowerSchool for your phone which can be very helpful. If there is a change in your phone number or address any time during the school year, it is important that we are informed right away. Parents can update their information on PowerSchool directly on the Demographics Change tab. This assures up-to-date contact information for your child.
You must update your demographic information in PowerSchool each fall with your latest and most accurate contact information. Simply log in, then either an “update demographic screen” will automatically pop up, or simply click the “change demographics” button on the left of the screen. This information is necessary for field trip participation, emergency response and treatment, student photo permission, and for the office to easily be able to contact a parent or guardian as needed or desired. When listing your child’s emergency contacts, please be sure to list two contacts other than yourself.
The Elementary Handbook is a great resource for parents providing important details on things like our curriculum, discipline policy, etc.
Moms in Prayer
Moms In Prayer is a great way to connect with other moms, pray for your child, and have an impact on our school. Please join us on Fridays starting September 8 at Providence Church 8:20-9:20am. Contact Nicole Shook with questions at email@example.com
Important Website Links
- School Calendar
- School Supply Lists
- Hot Lunch Information
- Medical Information & Forms
- School Transportation
- Before & After School Programs
- 14: 2nd Grade Parent Night @ 6:30pm starting at the “depot” at Pine Ridge
- 22: 1st day of school
- 23: K & 1st Parent Information Night 6pm (K) & 6:30pm (1st)
- 30: All School Convocation
- 1: No school
- 4: No school Labor Day
- 7: K & 1st Picture Day
- 21: 2nd grade Picture Day
- 27: Walkathon
- 16: Parent-Teacher Conferences 4pm-8pm
- 18: Half day of school: Afternoon parent-teacher conferences
- 19-20: CEA Convention: No school