Student Learning Conferences

Collaborating for Student Success

Student Learning Conferences provide many opportunities for student growth by
  • engaging students in goal-setting, self-assessment, and reflection
  • encouraging students to be active participants in their own learning
  • opening up dialogue between parents, students, and teachers
  • deepening understanding about the student’s experience while in class
  • cultivating relationships between students and teachers that foster a sense of belonging

See also: Parents FAQ



Welcoming New Teachers

Michael Maughan
Michael joins our English Department here at HD from his most recent teaching assignment at the Robert Land Academy in Wellandport, ON, where he taught English and Literacy. Prior to that, he pastored a church in Nanaimo, BC. He has also worked as a Student Ministry Director and English teacher at the Christian Alliance International School in Hong Kong.

Michael received his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta, and his Master of Divinity from Wycliffe College (University of Toronto). In his free time, Michael loves spending time with his family, listening to music, reading, and playing his guitar.

Zach Kingma
Zach joins our Math Department here at HD, having graduated from Redeemer University last year. Ancaster has been his home for the past 6 years, but he grew up in the London area (attending London Christian High). Zach loves the outdoors, particularly hiking and camping and plays a variety of sports, including the recent trend of disc golf. He will be coaching the senior boys’ basketball team this coming year.

Gordon Vanderwoude
Gordon went to McMaster University for his B.Sc and M.Sc, studying physics. While at MAC, he enjoyed performing in the McMaster Orchestra, and McMaster Choir. After completing his B.Ed at Brock University, he worked for a year as a TA at Hillfield Strathallan College. However, his first job was a two-month LTO in the spring of 2018 at HDCH. This year Gordon is teaching Computer Science, Vocal Music, ILP, Megabloc, and Math, as well as conducting the choir. He is the music director at Ryerson United Church and a Board Member of LIFT Church. He plays the violin, viola, and piano, but is primarily a singer these days. Besides music, Gordon enjoys reading and watching old movies.

Naomi Zagala
Naomi is looking forward to teaching French and History this year at HDCH. Naomi grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Education from Redeemer University College in 2017. She began her teaching career at Milton Christian School, where she taught French and Language Arts. Naomi has also worked as an occasional teacher for the Hamilton-Wentworth and Halton District school boards. She loves languages and appreciates the humility that she has experienced when discovering new cultures and perspectives. In her spare time, she plays the bass guitar and loyally supports the Montreal Canadians.

Community on the Ottawa River

Last Wednesday, 92 of our grade 12 students and six staff members made their way to the Ottawa River for our annual rafting trip with Wilderness Tours.

The first day students and staff teamed up in a 12-seat raft with a guide. One reason we love the rafting trip at HDCH is that students and staff have to communicate with each other and paddle together to successfully navigate the rapids.  When a raft does go over, the teams work together to right their boat and to help each other get back in. On the quieter parts of the river students were able to get out of the boats and swim. There was also an opportunity for cliff jumping.

On the second day, smaller boats were used and students become the “guides”. With support from the Wilderness Tour guides, students learn how to lead their teams and steer their boats in order to navigate the rapids.

In the evenings we played team games with students in the popular “minute-to-win-it” competitions.  This was followed by evening devotions. On night one our students were encouraged to create a school where everyone knows and feels they belong to each other.

“So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” – Romans 12:5

On night two, we spoke about how when we face brokenness in our lives, God’s grace is sufficient.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

The first day on the boat, a student in our boat exclaimed, “stop and look around you”. For many of us, in the midst of paddling, splashing others, and navigating rapids, we had forgotten about the beauty around us. We were surrounded by a canyon: Ontario on one side and Quebec on the other; an osprey was flying overhead; there was an incredible community of people experiencing this with us: this group we are privileged to call HDCH.

Students expressed thankfulness for an opportunity to be in a beautiful place, for an opportunity to just “be” with friends and peers, and for being mostly phone-free for three days (as the data coverage was weak at best). We are thankful for our grade 12 class and we look forward to navigating learning and life with them over their final year of high school.

A great day for Golf!

It was a great day on the course on Saturday at our HDCH Annual Golf Tournament at Flamborough Hills Golf Tournament. 132 golfers participated in the tournament, including many sponsors, parents, alumni and even an HDCH student!

It was sunny and breezy – a perfect day to golf. More than a few golfers laughed and named the wind as the scapegoat when they made a disappointing stroke.

There were many reasons to be in good humour. Tim Hortons provided coffee, tea, and Timbits to start the day off right. Golfers had the opportunity to “meat” Duncan Todd, in his new role as principal. Duncan’s Deli offered samples of meat, cheese, and jellies that were donated by Gourmet Meats. Also while on the course, golfers were treated to a bottle of water and a drumstick ice cream cone, donated by HDCH Student Council. Both Redeemer University College and Calvin University sent representatives that were HDCH alumni to greet the golfers on one of the holes. Photos of the golf foursomes were taken on the course and will be mailed to each golfer as a memory of the day. Thank you Hank Rintjema for always smiling from behind the camera!

Golfers took home fabulous prizes, if not because of the success of their golf game, then with some good luck in the raffle, including an LG 49″ Smart TV with a 2.1 Bluetooth soundbar and a pair of Toronto Maple Leaf Tickets.

A new contest was introduced at the tournament this year, The Lucky Slice. It was a challenge to hit the pizza box located on the green from a shot taken from the fairway. While multiple prizes were available to be won, there was only one lucky winner of a Gift Card. More than forty individuals and businesses contributed to the tournament, making this hospitality possible. We thank all the golfers and sponsors for making this day so successful.

The success of any event is dependant on a team of volunteers. The Golf Committee began their work in the spring to invite sponsors to partner with us. Thank you Mark Demik, Sam Garcea, Greg Kippers, Consuela St. John, Nathan Siebenga and Carrie VanDixhoorn. Owen Webb was the MC for the dinner and kept things moving along.

On the day of the tournament, the leadership team at HDCH, students, parents, and alumni all worked together to keep things running smoothly. Thank you, Duncan Todd, Cheryl Webb, James Apers, Harry Blyleven, Sara Whetstone, Julie Assaf, Lori and Taylor Corneau, Carrie and Wes VanDixhoorn.

Contact Tina VanDyk 905-648-6655 x 110 or if you would like to be involved in planning or volunteering at any of our fundraising events.

All funds raised through the HDCH Golf Tournament supports building improvements in an effort to keep tuition rates more accessible to enable families to attend HDCH.

Join us for Golf

HDCH Annual golf tournament ~ Sept 14th

Spaces still remain for more golfers – Register today.

Thank you to our golfers and sponsors for registering. We’re looking forward to another great day of friendship, good food, and fun, taking place Saturday, September 14th at Flamborough Hills Golf Club.

Thank you to the HDCH Golf Committee for their great work.

Join us for Dinner
Dinner tickets for our delicious Prime Rib dinner are still available. These tickets are $60 per person and can be ordered by emailing or calling Tina VanDyk at tvandyk@hdch or 905-648-6655, ext. 110. Please reserve your tickets by Friday, September 6.

Donating Raffle Items
Raffle items are still greatly needed and appreciated. Please drop them off at the office by Thursday, September 12.

All funds raised through the HDCH Golf Tournament supports building improvements in an effort to keep tuition rates more accessible to enable families to attend HDCH.

Word About the Bird

After eight years as Principal, Nathan Siebenga (“Siebs” to most students, but known as “the Bird” in this column) is stretching his wings into a different role encompassing special projects, innovation, and leadership development both inside and beyond HDCH. This reflects Nathan’s growing engagement and reputation far beyond our local Hamilton District Christian community.

It is a great privilege for HDCH to be able to release and share Nathan, with his extraordinary giftedness as a visionary leader, to be a blessing to Christian education beyond our own school, and even beyond our province and country. Nathan has sometimes been described as an “edupreneur” – he has a creative entrepreneurial spirit for Christian education, with a heart and vision too big to be confined to bless only HDCH. There never was a cage around this bird!

But, before we let Nathan take fresh flight into his new role, we wanted to say a little about him in his role these past eight years as Principal at HDCH, as an extraordinary and extraordinarily effective leader of our school community.

Nathan is a seer. He sees what is. He sees with clarity. He sees to the very core of people. He sees what is in the way of their flourishing. He sees right to the heart of the matter. And this perceptiveness is rooted in his fierce, lion-like love of people. He watches, notices, and cares.

Nathan is a visionary. He sees what should be and could be, and he pursues that Kingdom vision with passion and energy, restless and relentless for the Kingdom of Christ in our schools.

Nathan is a prophet. He speaks truth boldly, unselfishly, willing to risk unpopularity for the sake of helping others to see themselves more clearly and to see what could be and what they could be. Nathan is unselfish enough to have the hard conversations, to speak the hard truths to people, caring more for their good than for his personal popularity with them.

Nathan is a poet. His communication of a God-given prophetic vision for exceptional, Christ-centred teaching and learning is anything but prosaic. Rich in metaphor, sometimes mystifying, it connects not just with the head, but with the heart, and with the gut. Nathan is a poet indeed.

It takes a strong leader, with the confidence that only comes from humility, to allow others to shine and flourish. Nathan has always been one to recognize and celebrate others’ gifts, and to give them the freedom to fly. The mark of a true leader is someone who sets the conditions for others to be and do their best. Nathan has consistently challenged, encouraged, supported, and empowered others to be their best, without allowing his own ego to get in the way of their success. His heart for people is bigger than his ego!

Nathan’s driving desire has always been to create an ever-better school for our children’s learning and growth. Although he is not leaving HDCH, he leaves the helm of a school that is in a really good place. The Ministry of Education Inspector who reviewed our school in May was positively gushing in her praise of what she called “an exemplary model of learning” at HDCH. This is thanks in no small part to Nathan’s leadership.

Nathan, the Bird, encourages, allows, and empowers others to fly. And then he rejoices to see them soar on eagle’s wings. So now we will rejoice to see him soar over both this field of HDCH, and the wider plains beyond.

Duncan Todd, Vice Principal  |  Christy Bloemendal, Vice Principal
Cheryl Webb, Director of Operations

Celebration of Learning – Spring

We invite you to join us tomorrow to celebrate beautiful work.

As the end of the semester approaches, students are working hard completing projects and assignments they are eager to display at our upcoming Celebration of Learning. This evening is a highlight each semester when we gather as a community to admire and celebrate student learning.

This term’s Celebration of Learning runs from 7:00-9:00pm tomorrow (May 30th). Interact with our students, sample delicious snacks, enjoy interesting projects, engage with inspiring performances and celebrate learning.

Watch for these and many more …

Join us at the Celebration of Learning where Gr 11 Computer Science students demonstrate their robots performing tasks like climbing stairs, folding a t-shirt, printing on paper, playing a game, etc)

Come and help us judge 3D printed vehicles made by Grade 10 Drafting students. Originality and creativity are key! Enjoy the races.

FOODs students will kick off their food service outreach #PBL . Sample some of the meals on the Collective Kitchen menu. This project focuses on provided meals for those in need with our community!

Come and play one of our Gr 9 MegaBloc students’ virtual game designs around the HDCH campus! Use your device to login to the game they have created using their coding skills and get some fresh air while trying to complete the game successfully. Prizes if you finish it!

Come and check out Gr 9 MegaBloc‘s photography skills in the maker space. Browse their gallery of work, pose for the photo booth and get a fun pic to take home, or attend a 5 minute graphic design tutorial where you upload a favourite photo from your device and create an awesome black and white colour isolation effect! Full colour print outs provided for anyone who completes the tutorial.

Are you up for some laughs? Come and see the beginnings of comedy as the Gr 9 Integrated Arts class brings you Commedia Dell’Arte skits! Stock characters come to life with creative masks and silly scenarios.

The feedback that you give them will be essential to deepening the learning that has already happened. So please, engage with the students as you wander around and Celebrate the Learning.

Join us in the gymnasium at 7pm for some exceptional demonstrations. Then, wander through the hallways and classrooms and enjoy beautiful work and great refreshments.

The whole family is welcome. Admission is free!


Walter Walkathon

Students from the Christians in Society Class and WATCH group are coordinating a WATER WALKATHON on Wednesday, May 22nd to support the WASH – Water, sanitation and hygiene projects being implemented by World Renew in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

The students will be walking a 3 KM pathway carrying buckets of water to gain a better understanding of what millions of people must do daily to provide a similar amount of water for their family.

The challenging part is quite often this water is often not clean enough to drink and so this project is focusing on making a difference in the lives of families within these two countries that World Renew is presenting focusing. For $30 dollars we are able to provide a handwashing station and for $115 dollars a water filter system for a family.

Please join us in this campaign to help those in need today by sponsoring our students in this Walkathon! For all donations of $20 or more, you will receive a tax receipt via email from World Renew.

Your online support is vital for this campaign. Blessings and thanks for your generosity in supporting families in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Donate today!

HDCH Spring

Leadership & Renewal

Dear Membership of Hamilton District Christian High School,

Spring is finally upon us and signs of growth and renewal are everywhere. The shoots of new life throughout the creation serve as a beautiful reminder of the new life we have been given through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As the glory of Easter approaches, we pray that the entire HDCH community will powerfully encounter the grace of the Cross in new and profound ways.

We give thanks to the Lord for his work at HDCH. As we continue to explore new and innovative ways of providing Christ-centered education, we want to express gratitude to our teachers, support staff, and leadership team for their faithful efforts to contribute to the learning and faith-formation of our children.

There is no shortage of activity underway at the school right now; however, there are two items that we would like to update you on:

  1. Changes to HDCH’s Leadership Structure, and
  2. Campus Renewal.

Changes to the HDCH Leadership Structure

Recently, the Board approved a new leadership structure. The changes reflect a re-allocation of existing resources and do not reflect any new costs. Key considerations for moving to this new structure include:

  • the anticipation of future growth
  • provides a seamless succession plan
  • puts staff members in positions that align with their skills and gifts
  • keeps good people in the organization
  • reflects our strategic future
  • supports the achievement of our goals as laid out in our strategic plan

The change to the Leadership structure involves several significant changes to the leadership of HDCH.

Our current Principal, Nathan Siebenga, has decided to transition from the role of Principal and into a newly developed role, Executive of Innovation and Leadership. This is a part-time (50%) role that will focus on strategic initiatives as well as leadership development within HDCH. This includes leading capital projects, developing innovations for Christian Education, engaging in leadership development, and establishing partnerships that serve the mission and vision and HDCH.

The second significant change is the appointment of a new Principal. As the HDCH Board, it is our pleasure to announce the appointment of Duncan Todd as the new Principal of HDCH, effective September 1, 2019. Duncan has been Vice-Principal of HDCH since 2010 and in that role has formed strong relationships with staff, students, parents and members of the HDCH community, and has consistently demonstrated his commitment to HDCH’s vision of distinctive, Christ-centred education. Duncan’s character and leadership experience make him wonderfully suited to the role of Principal and we look forward to the HDCH community being blessed by his leadership.

As part of the reorganization, James Apers, our Director of Student Services, will join the school’s Leadership Team and a new position, Dean of Students, has been developed. We anticipate this position being appointed in the next couple of months. For many years, HDCH has worked to be proactive in building healthy, restorative relationships among its students and this will continue to be priority with James Apers on the leadership team and with the appointment of a Dean of Students. We are excited about continuing to deepen how we live together as a community of faith.

We are pleased to share these changes with you and covet your prayers for everyone involved. A diagram depicting the new structure is provided below, and will take effect in September.

Update on the HDCH Campus Renewal Conversations

As a board, we have continued to consider and discern, the campus renewal proposals brought forth by the Facilities Renewal Taskforce.

As you will recall, the membership requested the task force to examine and bring forth new building options in response to the increasing needs associated with our current building. These needs have been primarily driven by:

  • evolving space-related needs associated with teaching and learning priorities
  • significant repair and system replacement requirements in our existing building
  • anticipated enrollment growth starting in 2022 in response to growth occurring in many of the Christian elementary schools in the region
  • a desire that building renovations or construction minimize the disruption of the current cohort’s high school experience

At the fall 2018 membership meeting, a new building proposal was presented and discussed. At the May membership meeting, we plan to continue the conversation by providing more information on funding options associated with the project concept and addressing questions about the proposal.

Please be encouraged to attend and help inform the future of our school.

Thank you for your continued support of HDCH. Your prayers and gifts are so needed, and so appreciated.

Yours in Christ,
The Board of HDCH
Aaron Schat  | David Kingma | Annie MacLaren |  Ed Mafa | Andrea DeJong  | Allan Buist  | Trixie Zimmerman

Successful Spring Event

We Ate. We Gave. And we were Merry.

Thank you to those who came out and supported the Student Project Fund through our Eat Give and Be Merry Event. You make exceptional education possible. Although we don’t have the final numbers yet, we raised almost $11,000!

Student Project Fund
The goal of the Student Project Fund is to provide financial support for short-term, project-based learning experiences that fulfills HDCHs vision to take learning Deeper In and Further Out.

The following are some photos from the event.

Thank you to staff, planning committee, students and volunteers who gave of their time, muscle, talents, and energy to make the Spring Fundraiser Dinner such a success.

So many hands were involved in both the planning and execution, as we literally raised a ceiling, set up tables and decor, carried nursery stock, facilitated interactive activities, told bad circus jokes, shared about Deeper in and Further out, served tasty appetizers, drinks and delicious entrees, frosted cupcakes, cut fruit, and washed every last dish…and raised funds for Student Projects.


Collective Kitchen Cupcakes

An added element to the March 30th fundraiser included fresh fruit bouquets followed by a creative cupcake golden coin dessert option to raise money for the Collective Kitchen Project being initiated by the Food & Nutrition and Christians in Society Class this semester. The students baked 100 golden cupcakes with a lemon twist and 100 ultimate chocolate with a ganache filling to be purchased in the hopes of winning a cottage weekend getaway!

Student Learning Conferences

Collaborating for Student Success

Parents and students, please mark your calendars to join us for Student Learning Conferences on March 28 and April 2.

For assistance with Edsby, please contact Kris Slootweg at

At Student Learning Conferences, we invite students to join their parents/guardians in meeting with teachers to talk about their learning together.

  • Parents are encouraged to ask any questions they may have, listen to their child talk about his/her learning, and share their insights and perspectives during the discussion.
  • Students will talk about their work, what is going well, what they are proud of, and what is challenging; sharing ideas about what they need for their best learning.
  • Teachers will facilitate the discussion; listen to insights from students and parents; and share their own perspectives about student learning.

Media Frenzy Savvy

This Article is Not About Momo

It’s creepy. It’s alarming. And, by almost all reputable accounts, it’s a fake.

Most HD students are, by now, fairly familiar with the ubiquitous media image of a woman with bulging eyes, matted hair, and an “evil” grin associated with the so-called Momo challenge. Interestingly, most know about it only through news reports or conversations with their parents; so, there’s admittedly some danger of drawing attention to something by writing a response to it. Maybe the best way to approach it, then, is to focus on Momo as the latest example of a larger trend, and to open a conversation about the broader topic of social media trends.

There have been widespread reports that the image has been popping up on Youtube and on social media outlets like Instagram and WhatsApp as part of an online “game” or “challenge” which encourages children to engage in increasingly risky behaviors. Some reports indicate that the challenge coerces children into aggression, self-harm or suicide by suggesting that they will be “cursed” or that harm or danger will befall them or their loved ones if they don’t comply with the violent suggestions.

While the Momo character and the purported challenge are receiving lots of attention on mainstream news media and on parenting websites, there appears to be little to substantiate the widespread concern.

Despite allegations that disturbing images and messages are being targeted at and spliced into children’s programming and online content, there are actually very few substantiated reports of children and teens being exposed to the challenge or of young people engaging in risky behavior specifically linked to the challenge. In short, it’s largely a hoax, or, at least, a bit of a media frenzy.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous or harmful. These images and messages can be alarming; and, for some students, they may be particularly troubling or triggering. Certainly, the image itself may be haunting for younger children. Yet, perhaps the bigger story here is the bigger story – that this trend is really part of a much larger shift in our experience. Indeed, it seems like stories like this are an increasingly inescapable part of our social media reality.

Whether it’s something relatively innocuous like the ice-bucket or mannequin challenge, or whether it’s table diving, Momo, the Blue Whale, Slender Man or any other more dangerous social media trend, images and ideas can gain huge exposure before news outlets, schools and parents can catch up. And, while this one may be a hoax, we would never want any child to fall victim to similar, and potentially more sophisticated or sinister, phenomena.

So, perhaps it’s more important than ever to help our kids to be discerning and media savvy; and perhaps it’s more important than ever to have honest and open conversations with our kids about our engagement with mass media and social media. It’s hard to do this without sounding alarmist, without generating fear, and without throwing the baby out with the proverbial bath water; however, proactively connecting with children and teens about how we interact with cultural narrative can equip them with tools and strategies for when they inevitably encounter this type of content.

There are lots of great resources out there to help parents navigate these conversations with their kids. Like most things, it’s usually best to explore these issues when things are not elevated or escalated, and it’s usually best to think about equipping kids with media awareness in general, rather than identifying or responding to a specific trend.

We can’t (and don’t want to) monitor everything our kids encounter, and we really want young people to make good decisions for themselves. So, these conversations tend to be most effective when they are invitational (not confrontational), when they invite conversation about the student’s experience (rather than starting with the parents’ fears), and when they are collaborative and goal oriented (rather than punitive or directive). Finally, it’s important to recognize that kids, like all of us, sometimes mess up, and that it’s super important for kids to have a safe, loving and restorative place to fall.

The Canadian Government publishes a great guide on parenting for cyber safety. The guide suggests five guidelines, fleshed out in the document, for talking with children and teens about their online experiences:

  • Don’t be scared!
  • Talk to your kids.
  • Be a part of your kids’ media lives.
  • Be the person your kids come to when they have problems online.
  • Set rules and communicate values.

Below is a partial list of other resources that a family could use to help frame conversations around social media. Feel free to add to the conversation by responding to the article or by adding your own suggestions for resources.


The Government of Canada publishes a comprehensive guide on cyber-safety and digital citizenship, downloadable as a PDF. The website offers some helpful tips on what you can say and how you can respond:

The Australian Gov’t has a helpful guide for parents and general online safety:

National Online Safety, a UK organization, published this useful PDF Momo-specific infographic last week:

ChildNet has some great suggestions for opening conversations with children and youth, including a list of suggested conversation starters:

Common Sense Media has lots of resources for families around a variety of topics:

Canada Safety Council – on line safety rules:

Spring Fundraiser

Eat, Give & Be Merry ~ March 30

Student Project Fundraising Dinner. Visit our website for details >>

Support exceptional Christian education through the Student Project Fund. Your support through this fund will create dynamic learning experiences that take learning beyond the classroom. It will ensure strong growth and skill mastery, and potential for beautiful products that bless a community beyond HDCH.

  • Tickets – $80 each
  • Table – $1000 (includes a $200 tax receipt). These are tables of 10 which include 8 guests of the hosts choice and 2 guests representing HDCH (students/teachers/presenters).

Reception starts at 6:00
Enjoy a Signature Drink & Fritters

Seating for dinner will start at 6:30
Dinner will feature the culinary delights of local Chef Ken LeFobour from Nellie James


  • Silent Auction and Raffle Prizes
  • Coat Check provided – all donations will help to fund student mission trips

Reserve Today
To reserve your tickets and to learn more visit our website or contact Tina VanDyk, Engagement Coordinator, at or call 905-648-6655, ext.110.