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Dear Parents,

Our year is off to a great start! We ended the first day in an all school chapel and talked about how we need to serve one another using the example that Jesus gave us in John 13:

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

I love how Jesus ends by saying that we will be blessed if we serve each other. My prayer is that we can continually serve each other and others in our community.

Thanks for coming to the open house on Monday. We had an impressive 98% attendance at that event. We are looking forward to meeting you for our annual HCMS Parent Night event on Wednesday, August 30 from 6:30-8:00pm. The evening is designed for you to meet the teachers and understand their passion for educating your students, becoming familiar with grade-level expectations, and gaining insights into our overall middle school program. Parents are invited to begin the evening in the gym for a brief welcome starting at 6:30pm followed by meeting 6th grade staff in the auditorium, 7th grade in the gym, and 8th grade in the library. If you have students in two grades you may have to have two adults along to hear all the details from both grades.

In June I had the privilege of going to a CESA (Council of Educational Standards & Accountability) conference. At this conference I met 51 principals from 17 different states and had my bucket filled. One takeaway I had was to put together a list of expectations we have that will help improve our culture. I thought it would be helpful to share the list that I have shared with our staff as we partner together to educate our students. As you read through the list of expectations please pay close attention to the highlighted areas as we all need to do those things well. The rest of the list is more for information about what we expect from each other:

Teaching for excellence:

  1. Live out our mission statement of “Equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ
  2. Represent Holland Christian well on and off campus. Be supportive of our colleagues and our community.
  3. Academic feedback will be done in a timely manner:
    • Timely feedback supports instruction
    • Be mindful as you set categories and weights in the grading system
    • Summative assessments must be graded, returned, and posted within a week. Research papers 2 weeks.
    • Formative assessments (if graded) will be returned and posted within 2 or 3 school days (depending on block day).
    • Teachers should average at least one PowerSchool entry per week. Adding appropriate feedback from the teacher or classmates should happen regularly.
  4. Communications with all stakeholders will be professional, timely, and constructive.
    • Return phone calls and emails within 24 hours. Weekends are not included in the time frame.
    • Update Learning Pages by Monday morning each week.
    • Greet each student at your door each morning.
    • Schedule send email to staff on weekends or after 8pm on weekdays.
    • Read school announcements every day.
  5. Adhere to the employee handbook.
  6. Be intentional with your instructional time, use it wisely, and plan well to leverage and maximize your time with students.
  7. Be intentional about giving House Points for students making wise choices or doing creative things.
  8. Remind and expect our students to follow our common expectations and the expectations of your classroom.
  9. Integrate your faith in your teaching and interactions with students.
  10. Take time to get to know each student and form positive relationships.

It is also important to go through the student handbook. Note each change for the new year is highlighted in the index.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about the information presented.

God bless!

Tom Strikwerda


September at HCMS

House System

Our HCMS house system is well underway. All 6th graders and new-to-HC students were placed in a house this week, and we are excited to have house shirts this year for all staff and students, thanks to our Walkathon funds from last year. We look forward to participating in many house activities this year and earning individual house points toward a community goal.

As a parent, you should be receiving an email in the next week from RCAHousePoints inviting you to download the app and receive a notice when your student earns a house point and how they earned it. We encourage you to participate in our community in this way and talk about these positive points with your child.

Counselor/Social Worker Forms

These forms will allow parents and students to have a direct link to Mrs. Travers and Mrs. Short. While emails and phone calls are always welcome, completing a referral form helps to ensure that student needs are fully documented and addressed.

Important Dates

The full 23-24 school calendar is available here


  • 1: No school
  • 4: Labor Day; No school
  • 7: Picture make-up day
  • 8: 6th Graders to Camp Beechwood
  • 27: Walkathon


  • 5: Fall Parent Teacher Conferences 3:30-6:30pm
  • 9: Picture retakes
  • 12: Fall Parent Teacher Conferences 5:30-8:30pm
  • 18: ½ Day; Teacher CEA Convention
  • 19-20: No school, CEA Convention
  • 27: End of Quarter 1