COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response – March 13, 2020

The North Shore Christian School made the decision on Friday, March 13, 2020 to move to a home-based learning model until Tuesday, March 31. NSCS’s three campuses (Lynn, Beverly, and Hamilton) will be closed for on-site schooling until Tuesday, March 31st.  On March 25th NSCS will reassess the posted resume date and adjust accordingly.

This decision was not made lightly.  Our school Board and Administration took the recommendation of both The Department of Health and The Department of Education under consideration as we sought to make the most prudent and educated decision for the students and families we serve, as well as our faculty and staff.

We hope that during this unprecedented time in history, God will allow his people to be used to bring a sense of hope and peace to those that we come in contact with.  This is a tremendous opportunity for God’s people to rally together for the common good as we seek out intentional ways to uplift and encourage one another.  It is the sincerest prayer of NSCS that God would ultimately be glorified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May our song be like that of the Author of Psalm 91, as we trust God to be our source of refuge during this pandemic, and as we trust Him with all things.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.’”

Psalm 91:1 & 2

basketball on the bench

Athletics in Lynn – Going Strong All Year.

By Todd McMillian, Middle School Social Studies

“What Team? North Shore! What Team? North Shore!! What Team? North Shore!!!” These words became the NSCS Girls Basketball team chant. It revved them up during a game and brought them closer as a team.

basketball on the benchThe girls basketball team, led by coaches Ari Ramsarran and Lily Rivera had a new starting lineup this year due to last year’s 8th grade graduates moving on to high school. The girls enjoyed friendships and experiences on and off the court, and improved week by week as the season progressed from its start in mid November through its end in late February. 7thgirls basketball grade team members included Cynthia Muriithi, Jade McMillan, Anastasia Mason, and Eliana Grullon. 6th grade members included Violet Saia, Danielle Nalesnik, Tiffany Dorsey and Akeelah Osun. 5th grade members included Kaylee Ashley and Shannon Ashley. We look forward to seeing what this team can achieve next year with a full slate of returning players.

The boys basketball team, led by coaches Alan Nahigian and Evan Betti, have laid down a solid foundation for the years ahead. The boys really enjoyed being a part of the program, worked hard in practices, and competed well in every game. The team will graduate 8th grade team members Matti W’Gebriel, McLaren Cook, and Sebastiano Di Modica. 7th grade boys basketballteam members include Isaac Portugal, Reid Smith, and Matthew Stuart. 6th grade members included Jayden Kelly and Daniel Brown. 5th grade members included Noah Thomas, Ian Bogertman, Josh DeSouza, Brendan Sharwood, and Alex Zemlyansky. Walter Ainsworth served tirelessly as the boys team manager, helping out with any needs during practices and by manning the stat book during games.

In other athletics news, NSCS is starting a co-ed Spring Track and Field Team! The program will be led by Miss Corinne Previte. Miss Previte is USATF Level 1 and 2 certified in sprints and jumps. She currently coaches at Gordon College along with teaching 5th grade at NSCS. Track and Field team members will experience different events that include distance, sprints, jumps, throws, relays and more! More details coming soon!

 

Robotics team in action

Big Wins Qualify Lynn School Teams for Robotics World Championships

LYNN – North Shore Christian School wins the Southern New England VEX IQ Robotics Championship.

NSCS sent two teams to the VEX IQ Robotics State Championship held at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester and brought home two wins. The middle school Steam Punks, consisting of 8th grade students, McLaren Cook (Wenham), Mattias W’Gebriel (Saugus), Sebastiano Dimodica (Saugus) & 7th grader Matthew Chatterton (Lynn) won the Premier Event at the Teamwork Challenge Alliance Competition.  The elementary Brobots, consisting of elementary students Ralph Gerber (Peabody), Brendon Sharwood (Saugus), Nicholas Saia (Saugus) & Gabriel Barbosa (Lynn) placed highest in their division based upon their total cumulative score in all qualifying competitions. The Steam Punks and Bros will travel to the Robotics World Championships in Kentucky April 26-28th. 

March Steam Punks Win Coach David Cook said, “In addition to all the hands-on learning that goes into designing and building the robots, these tournaments provide a microcosm of real-life experiences for our kids. They have to make complex decisions quickly, under pressure and in front of large crowds. These kids not only discover what they are capable of technically, they also learn how to work in teams, how to win well and how to lose well, what it means to encourage and to be encouraged. The program is as much about building character as it is about building robots.”           

Building on critical skills students develop in the KnowAtom science curriculum, NSCS began the robotics program because they believe the best way to instill a lifelong interest in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is to provide fun, engaging, and hands-on opportunities to explore and experience these for themselves. By its nature, robotics inherently incorporates all four pillars of STEM. March Bros win

This clean sweep for both the middle school and elementary school divisions of the invitation-only Southern New England Region put NSCS firmly on the map as a high-quality STEM school on the North Shore and in Massachusetts.

For more information, contact Jill VanderWoude, 781-599-2040.

 

History Fair

An Evening of Remaking History

By Liz MacDavitt, 3rd/4th grade teacher

On February 10, 2020 NSCS Beverly celebrated our students’ hard work at the History Fair. It was quite the celebration of what students have been learning this year, with projects representing “The History of Me” (K), “Famous Americans” (1/2), “Fifty Nifty States Parade of Floats” (3/4), “The Civil War” (5/6), and “Unsung Heroes of the American Revolution” (7). Students in all grades worked so hard to produce high quality projects and focused their in-class efforts on strong presentation skills. Parents, extended relatives, and friends enjoyed visiting each class’s displays and revelled in hearing from excited students. The following day, each class visited other classrooms to view each project. This year’s History Fair was a great success!

In 3rd & 4th grade, projects like the “Fifty Nifty States Parade of Floats” allow students to dig deeper into topics studied in class. Students have the freedom to learn more about people, places, and events in history while representing their newfound knowledge in creative and artistic ways. For this project, each student selected one of the 50 states and built a state float to represent important places, natural resources, landmarks, scenic attractions, agriculture, and historical events found in that state. These creative floats were accompanied by a one page essay on their state’s statehood process, or a well-known historical person/event in their state. To add to the fun of this project, students were awarded bonus points for dressing as a famous historical figure or sharing a popular food from their state. All of this hard work and creativity was celebrated the night of the History Fair! Their floats were amazing, eye-catching, unique, colorful, and accurate representations of 25 different states that make up this great country. I was so impressed!

Although projects like this are time consuming and may cause us as teachers to press pause on regularly planned lessons, they are important. Aside from teaching students more about history and their selected topic, this project taught students a great deal about time management as they followed a timeline of due dates, self-starting as they completed the majority of their research outside of the classroom, and that creative, artistic inspirations definitely have a place in the classroom. Some of the steps of this project were new and challenging to some students, but the end results were projects that had been completed carefully and with excellence. As a teacher, I love projects that allow students to display their learning in a variety of creative mediums, and it seems that so many students learn and remember more content when they are given the freedom to create and use their own talents and interests to enhance their schoolwork. This will forever be one of my favorite projects because I can see how seriously students take their research and how much they learn from it as a result. There are older students in this school who had done this project with me in 3rd & 4th grade who still talk about their state float and what they learned! This is a testament to their hard work and to the value of a well-done History Project at NSCS. 

For now, we’re back to regularly planned lessons, which are equally important, but do stay tuned for more creative and exciting projects before this year ends! 

 

Backyard Waterslide Engineering

By Dan Feins, Middle School Science

Engineers ask critical questions about what they want to create, whether it be a skyscraper, amusement park ride, bicycle or smartphone. These questions include: What is the problem to solve? What do we want to design? Who is it for? What do we want to accomplish? What are the project requirements? What are the limitations? What is our goal?

The seventh-grade class at the Beverly campus began an engineering unit in the New Year. After a very brief discussion, the class determined the problem to solve was how can we build a waterslide in our own backyard. Based on previous waterslide experiences, the students’ initial concept was to connect three or four “normal” plastic slides together, support those slides with wooden trusses, and have a long ladder to reach the top. Water would arrive at the top via a series of extension hoses and be deposited at the bottom into a pool.

Practical issues were discussed during the next class. The students were confronted with several issues, most of which involved physics and cost. For example, a person sitting at the top of a waterslide has inertia that they must overcome to start down the slide. Should the water give them a push, or should the person push themselves? Friction needed to be overcome on the way down the slide, and that required more water than could be achieved through a garden hose. And then there was cost. Although no budget had been set at this point, the team knew that money was not going to be unlimited.

Research commenced via Chromebooks. The team determined that a “trash hose” connected to a “trash water pump” would push the water up to the slide and then down the slide with enough pressure to move a person along. Cost comparisons were made in terms of buying or renting the trash water pump. The team leaned in the direction of renting because the waterslide would only be used for certain parts of the year, and even then, on certain days within those parts.

The team took some time to view videos of successful waterslides from around the world and from people’s backyards. The students were struck by one video which showed a backyard waterslide that was built on sloped ground, eliminating the need for plastic slides, a support structure, a ladder, and decreasing the size of trash water pump required. The team was introduced to the most critical aspect of engineering: it is an iterative process, meaning that we repeat the steps as many times as needed, making improvements along the way as we learn from failure and uncover new design possibilities to arrive at great solutions

At the next class meeting the old design was scrapped in favor of one that could be built along the ground and run down a hill. The students drafted up some designs and settled on a waterslide that twists and turns and would run the length of the hill, culminating in a shallow pool at the end. During the next class, with some students out due to illness, one of the students worked on their prototype. After several valiant attempts to construct a twisting and turning waterslide, it became evident that such a construction may not be possible for their prototype, given the materials at hand, and it may in fact be prohibitively difficult for full scale construction as well.

The next couple of classes the students turned their attention to building a linear waterslide. Tests of the waterslide were made using water from a pitcher poured down the slide from the top. The students quickly learned that creating a leak proof waterslide required a lot of work and attention to detail. But having stopped the leaks, the next test involved a scale stand-in model (a Playmobile figure) to start at the top of the slide and move down the slide with the flowing water from the pitcher and end in the shallow pool. Several iterations followed as the figure was stuck at the top of the slide or became stuck as it moved down the slide.

The students persevered until the plastic figure completed a transit of the waterslide on three separate trial runs. Success! But now could this be built in the backyard of one of the students? A site was chosen, and the student brought in pictures of where the waterslide Dan's Blogwas to be lodged. Unfortunately, the nature of the incline and the lighting at the time the photos were taken made it difficult to visualize how the waterslide was going to work in that area. There was also the matter of potential environmental issues if the area was going to be dug up and subjected to inordinary amounts of water and foot traffic. The students and the teacher decided that a trip to the proposed waterslide site was warranted.

The class set off a bright and cold February morning to the house of one the students. There, we were welcomed into the student’s home by her mother who gave us a brief tour, including a visit with the resident velvety soft rabbit and working cat. Once in the backyard, we walked the terrain upon which the student had done some preliminary clearing. This made it easy for us to measure the length of the hill (90 feet) and take some Dan's Blogsoil and leaf samples for analysis after February break. We returned to the house to warm ourselves with some freshly baked cinnamon bread. We said our goodbyes to the bunny, the cat, and mom, and returned to the school.

In the best tradition of engineering, the students now have new questions: will the results of the soil and leaf testing be in favor of construction? How much it will cost to build a 90-foot waterslide? How much water pressure do you need to move a person from the top to the bottom? What happens to all that water in the pool at the end of the waterslide? Will Mom and Dad really want to build a 90-foot waterslide in their backyard? Fortunately for the students, engineering is an iterative process, so a “no” at any of those points does not necessarily mean the project needs to be cancelled, only reimagined.

         

Rock Cycle extra credit

Extra Credit Leads to Extra Learning

By Taylor Morris, 3/4 Grade Teacher

Throughout the school year students are given the opportunity to do extra credit projects on a variety of topics. These extra credit projects allow students to dig deeper to extend their learning. Each project has multiple options so that even within the project different learning styles can be utilized. Extra credit also gives students a chance to fully understand a topic that our curriculum may only touch briefly on. This can be helpful for high achieving students who want to expand their knowledge on a topic and go further with a concept. It also gives students who struggle with a unit a second chance to understand the material taught through a second deeper look at information. All of these projects are optional but encouraged for each student.Blog, Rock Cycle

So far this year students have been given three extra credit options. While learning about the Earth’s Surface in science, students were able to further their learning by choosing a project about the rock cycle. Students were able to choose to make a comic book explaining parts of the rock cycle or to write an essay about how the rock cycle worked. Students then shared their work with the class.

In Social Studies students learned a bit about the civil war and were able to further their learning by choosing an extra credit project of making a recipe, drawing a picture, making a timeline, defining words, or writing about important figures in Civil War times. Students who picked a recipe then made the recipe and shared it with the class. Finally this year students have had the option of reading a book related to what we are learning in social studies or science. They are able to connect the book to our unit and share what they have learned about the book and what they enjoyed about it. 

Civil war extra credit                Abe Lincoln extra credit

Students have found that while these projects can add a boost to their grade, they are also enjoyable. When students turn in their work they are excited to share it with their classmates and likewise their classmates are excited to see what each participant has produced. Students who do these projects are able to more fully explain what we are learning in their own words to each other. 

 

NSCS Lynn Robotics Team Wins Again!

LYNN, MA — On Saturday February 1st, North Shore Christian School’s Lynn Robotics Club students competed in their third Southern New England VEX IQ Robotics tournament, hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The middle school Steam Punks Team brought home the victory, competing against 22 other middle and elementary schools to win both the Teamwork Champion Award and the Robot Skills Champion Award. The team scored 107 and 114 points respectively, achieving record-breaking totals for their region.

The Competition consists of seven match play events during which teams must use their Steam Punksrobots to complete specific tasks within one minute. Ten teams are paired together to battle it out in the Final rounds, one of which was the Steam Punks Team. During the Finals, the Steam Punks, with their partner team from Hopkinton, were the last team to compete and had to top a record-breaking score in order to claim the Teamwork Champion Award. The Steam Punks also earned the number 1 spot in the VEX IQ Southern New England Skills rankings.  The team consists of seventh-grader Matthew Chatterton of Lynn, and eighth graders, Sebastiano Dimodica of Saugus, Matias W’Gebriel of Saugus, and McLaren Cook of Wenham.

NSCS’s elementary school team, The Bros, were awarded their second Judge’s Award this season, which is a special commendation for exemplary effort and perseverance in the face of unexpected setbacks during the event and for design and programming that exemplifies the future of Engineering and Robotics. The Bros have earned the number one skills ranking among the elementary schools teams in the Southern New England region.

The BrosThe Bros consists of fourth graders Nicholas Saia of Saugus, Ralph Gerber of Peabody, Gabriel Barbosa of Lynn, and fifth grader, Brendon Sharwood of Saugus.

Both the Steam Punks and the Bros scored skills points for programming their robots to operate via remote control and autonomously, a complicated programming feat for students new to this arena.

Coach David Cook notes “It’s amazing how the kids’ love of math and science blossoms when they get to apply it in the real world. It’s particularly powerful for students who Robotics Awardstruggle with these subjects in school to see for themselves how much they can achieve.”

All three of North Shore Christian Schools Robotics teams have qualified to advance to the Massachusetts/Rhode Island State Finals in Worcester on February 29th.  Winners of the state finals proceed to the World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.

For more information, contact Patti Cook, 781-599-2040

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. North Shore Christian School has campuses in Beverly, Lynn and Hamilton.

kids on tech

Tech Wise

By Pam Heintz, Head of School

Whether it’s a buzz, beep, chime, or ding one thing is for sure – our minds have been programmed to respond to the subtle attention-grabbing noises (or vibrations) that our smart phones make.  We can hardly stop the almost involuntary response that over takes our body as we seemingly unconsciously reach for our device. What exactly are we checking for anyway? For adults, it is most likely one of two things – work or our children.  

But, what about our children…what has them so enamored that they can hardly pull themselves away from their technology?   I read an article recently which shared some sobering statistics. The article, which was put out by Focus on the Family (click on the link to learn more https://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/tech-guide/) indicated that children ages 8-12 are on technology about 6 hours/day.  This amount increases to about 9 hours/day for children ages 13-18. I encourage everyone to read this article, it was eye-opening, to say the least.  

While the article shared several good ways that adults can monitor their children’s screen time, as well as some available filters that are on the market that they can incorporate to help limit their child’s ability to view or participate on inappropriate sites, it doesn’t completely solve the problem of children and technology.  Our kids will eventually reach an age (and that age is getting younger and younger) when they simple are a bit more tech savvy than mom and dad. In other words, the filters we may be using to protect our children may easily be bypassed by our children. So, what exactly do we do to help protect our children from overdosing on technology, or worst, becoming what some have coined as a tech addict?   Researchers have argued that the part of the brain that is stimulated and effected by certain substances that can lead to an addiction, is also the same part of the brain that is stimulated when we our engrossed in our technology.   To learn more about this phenomena check out this article, https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/fcd/teen-technology-addiction.  

Over usage of the screen is epidemic and experts are urging parents to take the reins and help limit the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.  According to research shared by CBS (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/parents-need-to-drastically-cut-kids-screen-time-devices-american-heart-association/), “Kids and teens age 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours a day looking at screens. The new warning from the AHA (American Heart Association) recommends parents limit screen time for kids to a maximum of just two hours per day. For younger children, age 2 to 5, the recommended limit is one hour per day.”  

What can we do as adults to combat over usage of technology in our children?  Below are a few simple suggestions. Try adding a new suggestion each week until your child is spending a more appropriate (and healthy) amount of time in front of the screen.

  • For every 30 minutes of screen time, have your child read for at least 10 minutes.
  • If your family is not already in the habit, build in family dinners.  Pick a consistent time each night that dinner will be served…try preparing dinner with your child!  
  • Commit, along with your child, to leaving cell phones, laptops, iPads, and/or tablets on the kitchen counter each night before bedtime.
  • In the mornings instead of your child reaching for their technology first thing, how about leaving a Bible verse or inspirational saying next to their bed so when they wake up it’s the first thing they see as a opposed to the screen.

For more great tips to help your children combat the screen, check out this article https://www.verywellfamily.com/tips-for-limiting-electronics-and-screen-time-for-kids-1094870.

robotics competition

NSCS Robotics Team Continues to Excel

On Sunday, January 19th, the North Shore Christian School Robotics Team, along with 26 other teams from all over New England, competed at Hopkinton High School, in the Hopkinton Squared Away IQ Qualifier. This was North Shore Christian School’s second robotics tournament this season. NSCS’s teams consisted of an elementary team named the Brobots, a 6th and 7th grade team dubbed the Code Breakers and an 8th grade team known as the Steam Punks. 

Robotics competitionThe Brobots received the Judges Award which is given to the team deserving recognition for special accomplishments. They were also awarded the Think Award which highlights the team with impressive and effective robot programming.

The Steam Punks walked away with the Amaze Award, an award for the team with an amazing, well rounded, and top performing robot. The Steam Punks also received 2nd Place in the Teamwork Robotics competitionChallenge Finalist Award. This honor qualifies them for the State Finals.

The Code Breakers and the Steam Punks earned their spots to compete in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island State Championship which takes place at the end of February. Congratulations to both teams. The Brobots have one more chance to secure a spot in the State Championships. They will be competing in the WPI VEXIQ Qualifier at the Worcester Polytech Institute on February 1st. We will be cheering for the Brobots during their upcoming tournament.

 

What is RTI All About?

By Janelle Sweet Dean of Academics & Curriculum Beverly Campus

What is RTI??? It is an intervention program we have held on the Beverly campus for the past two years! This teaching strategy is used in many schools in many different ways.

RTI blog

Often, we associate the word intervention to suggest negative connotations, however, in education, it can imply a positive meaning!  Literally the word intervention means:  A situation in which someone becomes involved in a particular issue in order to influence what happens. In education, RTI technically stands for Response to Intervention. So, if we consolidate all of this, our RTI program on the Beverly campus is using a format where our teachers are involved with specific training in the areas of ELA and Math.

The goal is to influence students with targeted instruction to enable them to grow and strengthen learning strategies specific to their needs.  RTI provides children with enhanced opportunities to learn.  RTI is not a particular method or instructional approach, rather it is a process that aims to shift educational resources toward the delivery and evaluation of instruction that works best for students(Readingrockets.org)

Our school uses Response to Intervention (RTI) to help students be successful in all content areas.  In addition to classroom teacher input, we utilize student assessments to measure areas that a child would benefit from language arts or math intervention.

We began this RTI program last school year and found it to be successful! We categorize skill groups and place children in a grade band for tutoring over a 6 – week period.

3rd 4th RTIWe have had an ELA group and a math group.  By combining the expertise of our teachers, we are able to have three different ELA focus groups.  In the first-grade band, the teachers focus is on phonemic segmentation, letter and sound fluency, and letter naming.  2nd grade RTIOur second-grade band focuses on trick word fluency, phonics, oral reading fluency and guided reading.  Grade band 3 focuses on writing conventions and mechanics, (spelling strategies, punctuation, capitalization) and writing process review.  Our fourth-grade band focuses on reading fluency and fluidity, and comprehension of abstract text.

Our math RTI was broken up into three grade bands.  The focus has ranged from application and practice, fact memorization, drills, and concept review.

The afterschool RTI program for this school year is at the half-way mark!  We planned the program to run for six weeks this year with hopes of extending the time-frame in the future.   With many thanks to our teachers and students, it has been another successful and well-attended year.