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.

YOU ARE ALL AMAZING AND WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!

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 info@hdch.org.

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.

Resources:

Recommended!
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:
https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/cmpgns/cmpgn-06/gd-prnts-en.aspx

The Australian Gov’t has a helpful guide for parents and general online safety:
https://www.cssr.org.au/files/parentsguidetoonlinesafety.pdf

National Online Safety, a UK organization, published this useful PDF Momo-specific infographic last week:
https://nationalonlinesafety.com/resources/platform-guides/momo-online-safety-guide-for-parents/

ChildNet has some great suggestions for opening conversations with children and youth, including a list of suggested conversation starters:
https://www.childnet.com/blog/having-an-open-and-honest-conversation-about-online-safety-5-questions-for-parents-

Common Sense Media has lots of resources for families around a variety of topics:
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/privacy-and-internet-safety

Canada Safety Council – on line safety rules:
https://canadasafetycouncil.org/online-safety-rules-kids/

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

Plus

  • 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 tvandyk@hdch.org or call 905-648-6655, ext.110.

Campus Conversations

Please join us

All parents and community members are invited.

On several mornings (and one afternoon) this winter, our principal Nathan Siebenga, will be meeting with small groups of parents, alumni, and community members to hear your thoughts and questions about the proposed Campus Renewal project, and to share more about this exciting vision for HDCH’s future.

Each session is limited to 10 guests in order to facilitate good dialogue and time for all your questions. We hope you’ll join us in the HDCH Cafeteria on one of the following dates for coffee, continental breakfast, and Campus Conversation.

Morning Conversations ~ 8:15 am – 9:15 am
January 31; February 5, 12 and 20; and March 6.

Afternoon Conversations ~ 3:30-4:30 pm
February 28.

Please choose a date that is convenient for you and RSVP on our website, or contact our office at 905-648-6655.

Celebration of Learning

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 (Jan 10th). Interact with our students, sample delicious snacks, enjoy interesting projects, engage with inspiring performances and celebrate learning.

Watch for these and many more …

Kinesiology students will use a posture assessment tool to collect data about how the HDCH community uses their cell phones. They will then propose proactive and corrective measures to assist the HDCH community about how to best use their phones. Student’s will apply their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, ergonomics, and exercise.


Play Probability Games with the Math students and chat about the theoretical probability of winning and losing


MegaBloc students will show a product that they have individually created that integrates two of the learning blocks on MegaBloc: Communication Tech, Design Tech, Manufacturing Tech


Christians in Society students have been focused on local, regional or international needs and throughout the semester developed various campaigns to raise awareness, volunteer or support in order to make a difference. They will present their outcomes with you.


From courtroom illustrator & reporter to attorneys on both sides, Law students will showcase the products of the various roles in their courthouse mock trial (including a video).


Science students will showcase their electric toys. Students were tasked with creating toys that incorporated electric circuits. These creations were built while considering safety, environmental, design and marketing components.


Drama students will demonstrate some of the fun games they play to create community and trust in our drama classroom. Audience participation is welcomed!


Don’t miss the Rocket Pick Up Trucks designed by Physics students. Catch the display of performance evaluation regarding Newtonian mechanics.


Is HD crawling with bacteria? Biology students took samples from various surfaces in HD to see which sample would grow the most bacteria. Come and see the results.


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!

Exam Preparation

Exams begin the week of January 22nd

Overview
All exams start at 9am

  • Period 1 classes that have regular exams will write on Tuesday 22nd January
  • Period 2 classes on Wednesday 23rd
  • Period 3 on Thursday 24th
  • Period 4 on Friday 25th

In case of weather
Monday 28th is kept as a reserve exam day in case of weather-related cancellations.

Click here to see the full schedule >>

Study Mode
The school will be in quiet study mode, so many areas, including the upstairs and downstairs hallways, will not be open to student traffic. Please do not come to school if you are not writing an exam, unless you have a prior arrangement to meet with one of your teachers.

On the day of an exam, you need to:

  • Come to school appropriately dressed according to the school’s wardrobe regulations.
  • Proceed to the library to return course textbooks and pick up your exam entry ticket. Even if the course does not have a text to return, you still need to pick up an exam ticket in the library.
  • Go to your exam location a few minutes before the exam starts.
  • Leave backpacks, cell phones, and all electronic devices at the back of the gym or in front of the exam room.
  • Go to your desk. (Please note that the only refreshments allowed are water and unwrapped candy.)
  • Be prepared to spend at least one hour in the exam room. You will have up to three hours to write.
  • When you have completed, checked and handed in your exam, please leave the exam room. If necessary, wait for friends quietly, and leave the building as soon as possible.

Other Particulars
Students who have officially been informed about writing in another location are to report to Room 122 at exam time.

In case of any absence, please phone the school office immediately. A doctor’s note is needed if you are sick.

For courses that do not have an exam, all textbooks should be returned before exam week. All missing texts must be returned or paid for before the start of the second semester on January 30th.

School bus schedules may be different during exam week. Students should connect with their particular driver about schedule changes.

Best wishes as you prepare!

Duncan Todd, Vice Principal

Integrating Faith and Learning

In our professional development this year, one focus is to get better at how we integrate a Christian biblical perspective into all of our learning.

Earlier this month, our two VP’s (Christy Bloemendal and Duncan Todd) and one of our Department Heads (Owen Webb) were fortunate to attend a two-day coaching conference at Surrey Christian School in BC centred specifically on weaving biblical worldview through every course.

On the second day they were able to spend time visiting classes and talking with teachers and students, exploring how this looks in practice at Surrey. It was beautiful to see another like-hearted Christian school in action, and also encouraging confirmation that good things are happening at HDCH, that our teachers are designing deep and meaningful learning experiences for our students.

We look forward to a reciprocal visit from their Director of Learning, Darryl deBoer, over our Winter Residency in February, where the goal will be strengthening our faith integration in every subject.  This is at the core of our mission as a Christian school.

Duncan Todd, Vice-Prinicpal
Hamilton District Christian High

 

 

Building Community

Knights Unite

The grade 11 Business Entrepreneur class developed the event, Knight’s Unite for the purpose of creating a sense of belonging for all students and staff in a fun way.

The entire student body was randomly divided into 21 teams and teachers made up their own team.  Each team participated in a number of team building and competitive activities.  The winning team will enjoy build-your-own sundaes next Monday.

Here are a collection of pictures taken during the event last Wednesday.


Watch

The month of October has been focused on supporting our neighbours as the Christians in Society Class and WATCH group worked together on the Non-Food Food Drive – Milk Campaign.

The campaign involved collecting monetary donations from our HDCH community to be used by N2N throughout the year to buy milk. Neighbour2Neighbour is able to receive $9 in milk for every $1 dollar that we raise.

This year we are excited to announce that we exceeded our goal in fundraising and will be providing  N2N with a cheque for $5,373! This is the largest fundraising campaign to date and will be able to provide milk for one YEAR for those in need in this area!

A very special note of thanks to everyone who donated this year and to our campaign managers, Marielle Ibrahim, Jaidyn Vanderlaan and Matt VanVeen from Christians in Society and to Nathan Hart and Abby Ciona from WATCH.

Non-Food Food Drive

Non-Food Food Drive ~ WATCH
The 2018 Non-Food Food Drive (NFFD) / Milk Campaign is organized to raise money for Neighbour to Neighbour (N2N) so they are able to purchase and distribute fresh milk to families in need of this product in Hamilton.

Our Christian’s in Society class has been going to every homeroom in the school to collect donations once a day to try to reach our end goal of $5,000 to go towards milk for N2N. That’s enough money to supply them with a year’s worth of milk because

for every $1 we raise N2N receives $9 in milk!

As of October 16th, we have collected $1,763 which is just over a third of the way to our goal. We will continue collecting until October 24th. We are encouraging everyone to donate $15-$25 dollars as that will enable us to easily reach our goal. We thank you for your participation and hope for more donations over the next week and a half.

Sincerely,

Marielle Ibrahim, Jaidyn Vanderlaan and Matt VanVeen
~ NFFD/Milk campaign team