Category Archives: Blog

No Ordinary Friday

We’re back at school! It’s been three weeks now and school is starting to feel normal again. Waking up early, packing lunch and making sure our homework is done before we head out the door each morning. We are in the groove, but there are still some things that will surprise us now and then. Take, for example, chapel this past Friday at our Beverly campus. It began as usual with our favorite praise choruses and opening prayer. However, there was a buzz in the room that reminded us this was no ordinary chapel. It was the first chapel of the year where a lucky few were highlighted! The excitement you feel in the room is not just from the chosen students who will receive the “highlighting” honor, or even from their proud parents sitting a few rows back hoping to record it all. No, the greatest anticipation comes from the remaining students who fill the pews anxiously waiting to see their classmate recognized for who they are in God’s eyes.

If you are not familiar with our highlighting program at our Beverly campus, then you’re in the right place! The Highlighting program is an opportunity for the K- 7th grade classroom teachers to observe how each of their students reflect God in their everyday activities. As the Lord lays it upon the teachers’ hearts, they will publicly articulate, during chapel, a Christ-like attitude or behavior they have seen their student demonstrate.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another.” Romans 12:4

Our chaplain, Mrs. Kathy Ely, developed our school’s Highlighting program in the early 1990’s. Mrs. Ely was a Kindergarten teacher at Covenant Christian School when the idea came to her. She had a student who was difficult to manage. The administration wanted the student to leave the school, but Mrs. Ely felt called to give this child a chance. For one month the student was placed on probationary basis. During this time, Mrs. Ely was able to work with him and foster a renewed spiritual focus and eagerness for learning which helped turn this student’s time at CCS into a success story. It was during this experience that Mrs. Ely was inspired to create the Highlighting program. She believed that high academic achievement should not be the only achievement for which students are recognized.  Rather, all of God’s children should be highlighted for their individual strengths. Mrs. Ely said, “I realized that God has put gifts and qualities into all children and that it was our job as Christian educators to recognize what they were and nurture and cultivate them.”

Mrs. Ely’s story reminds me of how quickly, we as adults, tend to correct our children. We point out problems they make or troubles they cause. It is easy to discipline and then move on without reflecting on the situation.  We lead busy lives! But remember what benefits are yielded when we invest our time, our patience, and ourselves in that situation; when we thoughtfully and prayerfully encourage our children to realize Christ-like qualities every day.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” 1 Corinthians 12:12

For NSCS teachers, training up children in the way they should go is a fundamental responsibility; to help students give a reason for the hope that lies within them.  The faculty live and teach from a biblical world view. This means that scriptural principles are not merely integrated throughout the academic day but recognized as integral to each and every academic content area.

Our highlighting chapels in Beverly are special occasions for the students and their teachers. All of our chapels are open to families and friends of NSCS. I encourage you to attend on Fridays from 8:05 – 8:45am. Highlighting chapels take place on the last Friday of each month.

 

 

Frost for blog

Is it freezing yet?

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for the first frost of the season. Usually I don’t mind the summer’s warm weather spilling into my Autumn, but this year the first frost can’t come fast enough. Maybe you’ve guessed why I’m so ready for the cold? When temperature drops below 32 degrees, we have passed the threat of EEE.  Or so we thought. Although Friday night’s chilly temperatures brought our first frost of the season, the meteorologist at WBZ says we need “several successive frosty nights or more particularly, a freeze” to kill mosquitoes.

It sounds like we’re not out of the woods yet. So today, let’s talk about how to keep us protected from EEE. Most of us are aware that the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus is carried to humans by infected mosquitoes. The EEEV can cause inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting.Although there is no cure for EEE, the CDC has some preventative measures that we should be taking.

  • Use insect repellent with one of the active ingredients being
    • Deet
    • Picaridin
    • IR3535
    • Oil of lemon Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
    • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
    • 2-undecanone
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and out.
    • Use screens on windows
    • Be sure to empty and scrub things that hold water.

I would also suggest coming in from outside before dusk to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes. The administration at NSCS encourages you to spray your children with bug spray before you send them to school. We have bottles of bug spray in the office available if you forget to apply at home.

Weather producer Terry Eliasen at WBZ tells us that there is no “hard freeze” forecast in the next 7 days. So, we should continue to be vigilant protecting ourselves against mosquitoes.

But when that freeze does come, we can relax from the threat of EEE. However, we cannot let our guard down because the flu virus is now upon us! In addition to getting the vaccine, every year, the CDC recommends a few tips to prevent the flu.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose especially when sneezing and coughing
  • Washyour hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and moth

I have to smile when I read the flu virus prevention tips. For two years I worked in the preschool at NSCS on the Beverly campus. We would go over these rules with the preschoolers weekly: prompting them to cover their mouth with their arm when they cough, ensuring they washed their hands before lunch, after recess and after using the bathroom, and reminding them to keep their fingers out of their noses and their faces at least a foot apart. Maybe it’s true what they say, everything we need to know we learned in Kindergarten.

 

Board of Directors announce appointment of Pamela Heintz as Head of School

The North Shore Christian School Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Pamela Heintz, M.Ed., Ed.S., as Head of School. For nine years, Mrs. Heintz has served in various leadership roles at North Shore Christian School, most recently as Principal of its Beverly and Hamilton campuses. She will begin her duties July 1, 2019.

During her tenure as Principal, Mrs. Heintz has positively influenced the doubling of campus enrollment, the addition of Grades 6–8, the creation of a collaborative campus culture, the growth and morale of faculty, the excellent outcomes of students and teachers, and the utilization of research to implement quality curriculum and programming.

“Mrs. Heintz is a strategic and entrepreneurial academic leader who the Board believes will be instrumental in collaboratively developing a vision for North Shore Christian School and the resources to achieve it,” states Brian Gardner, Chair of the Board of Directors.

“It is humbling for me to accept the role as Head of School for North Shore Christian School,” Mrs. Heintz shared in response to her appointment. “I have adored my work as Principal and consider it an honor that God has allowed me to continue on in the good work taking place at the School. I believe in Christian education, and recognize its eternal value in building God’s Kingdom through the next generation. For almost six decades God has faithfully sustained the mission of North Shore Christian School. I am convinced that the School is poised to embrace an exciting next chapter in its history as we trust God with our future and the good work he is doing through our precious school.”

Mrs. Heintz’s appointment was the result of an extensive search process by the Board. In the fall of 2018, a Head of School Search Committee was formed that was co-chaired by Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, and Theresa Morin Hall, Chair of the Development Committee. The Committee was composed of parent and faculty representatives from the Beverly and Lynn Campuses. After reviewing applicants from around the world and conducting interviews with qualified candidates, the Committee recommended Mrs. Heintz to the Board without reservation. After an intensive interview process, the Board moved to call Mrs. Heintz to the role of Head of School and is delighted that she has accepted.

Founded in 1951 on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts, North Shore Christian School has grown to three campuses now located in Beverly, Hamilton, and Lynn. What began as our founders’ dream of a neighborhood Christian school accessible to all has grown to over 200 students in Preschool through Grade 8 who represent a vibrant community of diverse races, ethnicities, and denominations. Deeply rooted in historical evangelical Christian faith, North Shore Christian School, in concert with family and church, seeks to be a community that provides challenging elementary and secondary education. Through academic and biblical instruction, we strive to nurture each student’s learning and thinking, and equip them to serve God within their local communities and around the world.

All inquiries related to this announcement may be directed to Christine Saia at csaia@nschristian.org.

Fighting Against Summer Slide

Are your children counting the days till summer vacation? To a child this is a special time to lay off the homework, relax, and take part in hobbies or activities that they don’t normally have time for during the school year. Teachers too, look forward to a chance to recharge, come up with new ideas, and spend time with family. Parents, however may be worried about something that schools refer to as the “summer slide.”

The summer slide typically refers to a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session. According to All About Learning, numerous studies show that students who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability and math skills by the time autumn rolls around.

It makes sense really, that if we don’t practice something, (like our math facts, or sight words) for three months, that we may forget some of that knowledge. This means that for many students, the first few months of a new school year are spent relearning concepts that they lost over the summer months. How do we fight against this? Here are a few ideas to help parents keep their little ones on track for the next school year.

Read Every Day

One of the best ways parents can help their child avoid the summer slide is to read with their child every day. Go to the library or bookstore and pick out a few books that your child would like to read. In fact, now is a great time to find a book that maybe is a challenge or longer than what they would be used to reading for a book report in school. During the summer parents can read together with their child, swapping off pages to help with tougher passages.

If you are going on a road trip, get a few audio books that the whole family can listen to along the way. This is a good way to get some reading in and learn new vocabulary too!

Practice Math Facts

Maybe your child doesn’t want to pull out the flashcards during summer vacation, but there are some fun (and yes sneaky ways) to get some math in during a typical summer day. Find fun ways to use math wherever you can. Find math focused board games like Monopoly or Sequence that will get your child using numbers while making is enjoyable. Try cooking together from a recipe and have your child figure out how to double the ingredients or perhaps divide the recipe in half.

Explore Science

While you may not want to set up the test tubes and beakers, you can travel to science museums and take part in library STEM days throughout the summer. Check your local library for camps that are focused around science, technology, or engineering. There are also many Lego camps in our area.

Talk to your child’s teacher about what they may recommend for helping your child avoid the summer slide. She or he may have a reading challenge they are sponsoring or ideas on how to keep with the skills that were learned this year.

End of the School Year Goodbyes

One would think that the end of the school year, with the long, sun-filled summer days just waiting for all the fun, that students would be excited to ditch the books and start relaxing. While this is true for many students there are students who have difficulty transitioning from one school year to the next.

When anything comes to an end it is a little bittersweet. This is especially true for students who have come to love their classmates and teachers. Here are some ways to make the transition to the next grade a little easier because, believe it or not, even teachers have a tough time saying goodbye!

Create a Memory Item

Sometimes it is hard to let go of a great thing. This includes school and your teacher. Letting go can be easier when you create a tangible thing that you can look back at and have happy memories. Create a memory item like an autograph book, an enlarged photo of your class and teacher, or a collage of all fun moments throughout the school year.

Write a Letter

Saying goodbye for the summer can be a little easier when you put it in words. For students moving on to high school at another school writing a letter to each of your teachers from the past years can help you process the move. We also suggest writing a letter to yourself. You may find that when you read the letter in a year or so from now that all of your worries about the transition were for nothing or not at as bad as you thought it would be. Plus, it’s a fun way to look back!

Plan for the Summer

If your child is concerned about seeing friends, then make some plans now to do a few things right away to kick off the summer. A beach trip, museum date, or park hang out can be just the thing to allay any fears that a child won’t get to see their best buddies.

Visit the New Class

Whether your child is staying at NSCS or moving on to another school, it is a good idea to get to know the next year’s teachers. For most of our students they know the classrooms and teachers all year during chapels and school-wide activities so this anxiety is usually quickly forgotten.

For students graduating from NSCS take some time to visit your new school and get to know what your classes will be like in September.

Saying goodbye can be hard but remember that with every door that closes, God opens a window. Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer break!

 

The Benefits of Theater Productions

If you have ever been a part of a show, you know the energy and excitement around putting on a production is downright palpable. Whether your child is a main character, part of the ensemble, or a crew member, theater productions have so many positive impacts for students.

There is substantial research about the positive influences you people glean from being a part of a performing arts or theater production. The Center for Online Education publishes a comprehensive list of 10 Salient Studies on the Arts in Education that carefully lays out the reasons why arts education should be encouraged and supported in our schools.

Beyond what the studies have shown, is what we as teachers and parents can see with our own eyes every time a student immerses themselves in the theater arts. Here are just a few of the positive influences we see here at North Shore Christian School as we prepare for our theater production next week.

Self-Confidence

Performing in front of an audience shows young learners how they can trust their skills, talents, and creative ideas. Even if your child gets “butterflies in their tummy” on show night, they grow from overcoming that fear and completing the task they set out to do.

Concentration

Many parents and teachers remark that being a part of a theater performance helps their child learn to concentrate more. Long hours are put into practicing blocking, memorizing lines, and arranging props. All of this work helps young learners focus their minds.

Empathy and Cooperation

Taking on a role of someone in a play or musical means you have to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” This is a form of empathy and a way that actors learn to connect with their character. In addition, being a part of a theater group means a child learns how to work with people of different skills, abilities and backgrounds. This is a vital skill that will be needed later in life.

Enhances Learning

Not only is theater a way to improve or strengthen a child’s empathy, confidence, and confidence, but many schools believe it is a ticket to learning. Memorizing lines, ;earning to play a character, understanding the flow of a production can help students in the classroom as well. Theater brings to life the ideas that up-until-now have only been on the pages of books or plays. Education and theater are therefore partners in learning and enhancing learning.

North Shore Christian School is pleased to be performing “Ella Enchanted” adapted by Amelia Smith from the novel of Gail Carson Levine.  Amelia is the director of the theater production. She has been on staff at NSCS since January 2019.  Grades 3-8 are participating in the production.  Come join us this week on the Lynn Campus!

 

Online Safety

Summer is almost here and for many of us that means playdates, camps, and all sorts of fun activities. We want everyone to have relax and enjoy themselves, but we also want everyone to be safe. One the areas that we hope our students use their common sense and guidelines taught by their teachers and parents is safety online.

When we think about summer, usually we envision lots of outdoor time and, weather willing, beach time! Unfortunately, even Mother Nature needs a day off from the the sun to water the plants and trees. It’s on those rainy, cloudy days that you may have a chance to play online. Here are few guidelines to stay safe when you are watching your favorite YouTube videos, investigating your interests/hobbies, and trying out some new games.

Stay Private

No matter what games, channel, or video you are watching, never give out personal information such as your name, age, where you live, or your phone number. Don’t even give out information that may help someone find you like the name of your town or school. Along this same line, don’t give out your picture –  even if the person claims to be your age. You have no idea who is at the other end of the connection.

 

Follow Your Family’s Rules

Whether you agree or disagree, the rules your mom and dad put forth are there for your protection. This might include who you can connect with, what you can watch, and the hours you can use the computer. Never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.

Report Dangers

If you see or hear something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell an adult. This includes posts on social media and chat rooms that may or may not include your friends.

For parents: Kids Health – Internet Safety online has put forth some red flags that you may want to be aware of in case you believe that your child is being targeted by an online predator. These can include:

 

  • spending long hours online, especially at night
  • phone calls from people you don’t know
  • unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail
  • your child suddenly turning off the computer when you walk into the room
  • withdrawal from family life and reluctance to discuss online activities

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. We will see you in the fall ready to start a new adventure!

 

Art Classes on Lynn Campus

It has been a busy and wonderful year thus far for the budding artists in elementary and middle school grades! In art class, each NSCS student has been using a wide variety of materials and creating art from both observation and imagination.

In grades K – 4, students have been carefully layering tempera paint onto their “still life” paintings of sunflowers. Inspired by the vibrant colors of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, they have been learning basic color theory and have had a blast mixing new colors!

 

 

Grades 5 – 8 just finished a fantastic few weeks of working with clay, a fun and occasionally challenging medium. Many of them made scenes, characters, and objects from their favorite stories, problem- solving, planning, carefully forming the clay, and collaborating with others. The students enthusiastically dove into the project, and learned an important lesson about creating: the creative process (with both simple and difficult aspects!) teaches us to be patient and faithful in our work, and have fun along the way!

As we carefully refine our work – artwork, homework, housework – it refines us. It helps us to be faithful, take on challenge, and enjoy the journey with others.

 

 

The Benefits of Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives: you’ve probably seen them in your child’s classroom. The manipulatives might be in the form of beans, popsicle sticks, erasers, tiles, blocks, and the list could go on and on. Have you ever wondered why teachers use all these items during math lessons?

Math scholars have been using hands-on stuff to teach math for centuries. Just think about the first abacus as one of the earliest math manipulatives. We have come a long way since the abacus. Today, there are items that your child can manipulate: stuff they can touch, move, and handle to help them understand math concepts. Just think about how many times you have used your fingers to count off something or used play money in a board game. Those are math manipulatives at work. Here are a few ways that these items can make a real difference in the classroom when it comes to helping students understand math.

Understanding Abstract Ideas

Mathematical concepts such as adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying can seem very abstract to young children. By using items that a student can touch, manipulate, and organize on their own, those concepts become more concrete. For example, if a student is given 25 straws and asked how many there are, s/he can count them one-by-one or organize them into 5 groups, each containing 5 straws. That is the foundation of understanding multiplication and division. Understanding how grouping can lead to multiplication then makes that math process become more real to a student because they saw it with their own eyes.

Student Engagement Increases

Some students naturally understand math concepts, while others need to be able to relate the concept to something in their own life. For students who need a little help, manipulatives can get them more involved and engage them in the process further. With the math now lifted off the paper and put in a child’s hands, they become more interested and invested in the process and outcome of the problem-solving.

 

 

Students Gain Ownership of their Learning

Using items such as teddy bear counters, straws, or Legos can help a child take control over their own understanding of math concepts. When students use manipulatives to create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate their mathematical ideas, they begin to develop a more positive math disposition and take ownership of their own learning.

Student Confidence Grows

In the years before teachers regularly used manipulatives, students were left waiting to hear from an adult if their math work was correct or incorrect. Now with items on a child’s desk they can physically confirm their reasoning with the evidence in front of them. This can give students a powerful feeling that they are in control of their learning.

Ask your child about math manipulatives s/he uses in class. I think you will be surprised to see how far your child’s learning can come using these items under the guidance of our teachers. Here are a few resources about further benefits that manipulatives create in the classroom.

Resources:

Research on the Benefits of Manipulatives

Scholastic Books and Math Manipulatives

Hand2Mind: Why Teach Math with Manipulatives

 

Teachable Moments for Preschoolers

In our busy lives, most of us find that our days are planned from the moment we wake up until bedtime routine begins at night. School, work, sports, after-school activities, and church events make up the parts of our days and weeks that are planned. Then there are those unplanned moments in our day that can leave lasting impressions on our children, which is where the learning really happens. Those teachable occasions are great learning opportunities, so it is important to seize those fleeting moments and make the most of them.

Teachable Moments in the Classroom

Teachable moments are usually unplanned learning due to interests, events, or questions from your child. These critical times happen in the classroom often and teachers have opportunities to zero in on the student’s sudden interest and go with it. For example, during the string of hurricanes over the last year, students naturally wanted to know more about the weather and what causes extreme weather. Teachers know to use those interests and questions to further learning in the classroom.

At our newest campus of NSCS in Hamilton, our preschoolers and prekindergarten students love these teachable moments. Our teachers provide the perfect nurturing environment to practice not only academic skills that will lead to success throughout the school years, but also instill in them the idea that imagining, creating, and wondering about the world around you can be just as invaluable as the ABCs and 123s.

Teachable Moments at Home

Parents can also use these techniques at home. There is no better time for this than during the highly inquisitive age of preschool and prekindergarten when everything is new, interesting, and waiting to be discovered.

Toddlers are especially curious about things they see around them. They are almost like little sponges that just want to learn and learn and learn. Parents can take advantage of this time in their child’s life to teach basic concepts in fun and natural ways. Here are just a few things to try at home with your little ones. If you have some ideas of your own, please share them with us as we love finding new and different ways to capture the excitement for learning at an early age.

  • Make counting a part of your toddler’s daily life. Count the steps up to your house, the number of Goldfish they are snacking on, or even the number of teeth in their mouth!
  • Naming items can help your preschooler understand that words associate with the things around them. For instance, name the body parts as s/he gets dressed every morning. Name the animals in their books. Name the colors, items, and actions you see all around you.
  • Talk about directions such as left, right, near, and far.
  • Read about things that interest your child such as the dogs you saw on your walk, the language they heard being spoken at the market, or the rainbow they saw in the sky after a rainstorm. All of these things can become teachable moments.
  • Even watching television can become a learning moment. Ask your child about the characters, setting, plot, etc.
  • Take pictures of the same part of your yard during each season and talk about the changes you see and why that might be happening.
  • Look at the prices of items at the grocery store and how some items cost a lot and some not as much. Sort items by size, color, or any other way your child thinks they could be sorted in the cart.
  • When cooking, talk about ingredients and how they come together to make something yummy.

Teachable moments can be spontaneous or something that you keep in your mind for when your child shows an interest in a concept. The key is to take those moments and make it meaningful for your child. That is when the deepest learning occurs.