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While we’ve been splashing in the ocean’s edge, hiking through mountain forests, and taking in amazing cultural sights this summer, many of our EC teachers have been gearing up for the adventure of a new year with curriculum and instruction work. Our stellar faculty from each campus have been planning, prepping, and praying for the students in their care this year. 

Some of these faculty were recognized last year as the recipients of awards and grants on behalf of their departments and our school. We celebrate a few here as we enter a new year with our incredible teaching staff. 

Kristen Rudd, high school mathematics

Mrs. Kristen Rudd was the recipient of The Rosenthal Prize which is awarded to teachers exhibiting creativity and hands-on design in their lesson planning. This past year, Kristen shared the title of runner-up with a teacher from Georgia, both receiving $1,000. Kristen’s submission was two versions of a math lesson, one focusing on centers of triangles, and the other focusing on equations of intersecting lines. The main activity of the lesson was a scavenger hunt to find several very specific locations in the high school, using only the knowledge from the lesson.

How will benefit your students and colleagues? 

The Rosenthal Prize brings some acknowledgment to the strength of our math department, as I know that I am not alone in bringing innovation to our classrooms.  My colleagues continue to amaze me with the creative ways they present their material, and any one of us could have been worthy of the prize. The prestige of the prize also speaks well of the environment here at Eastern Christian, in that we are encouraged and supported to think of ways we can reach beyond our classrooms.  I see this as encouragement to continue to press forward in making our classes both relatable and content-rich. 

How do you feel about this “win?”

What can I say?  It feels nice to be validated in the work that I do! In the semester I applied, I was a new mom returning from maternity leave, not very sure of my abilities to continue teaching at the same level I had expected of myself before.  After all, my time suddenly was very consumed by a wonderful little boy, but I could not devote the same amount of myself to my courses as before. Being able to craft this lesson to the level I wanted to, to implement it, and to see it validated as something worth doing was a God-sent blessing.  It continues to propel me forward with encouragement to keep working for my students.

Adam Culp & Belen Araneda, the cross-campus Spiritual Theme Committee

In November and December of 2018, a team of representatives from the spiritual theme committee completed a proposal for a worship renewal grant with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The grant is awarded to churches, schools, and other Christian organizations every year in an effort to support already existing, as well as new endeavors for diversity in worship. The team recognized the increasing ethnic diversity in our school and decided to pursue a year of intentional conversation about diversity in worship. We desire to see the worship expression in our school better represent existing diversity, and better anticipate the gathering of the nations around the throne of God at the end of time. In May of 2019, Calvin granted our theme the requested resources to pursue a diversity-in-worship project. 

How will benefit your students and colleagues? 

In the next year, we will develop our spiritual theme, “every tongue, tribe, and nation” by utilizing resources make possible by the grant. We will prayerfully seek growth throughout the entire school community in our collective perspectives on worship and in the way we make our worship settings more inclusive and welcoming. This will be a cross-campus effort where teams on each of our three campuses will be working together with teachers, students, the EC community, and local churches/organizations to provide opportunities of authentic worship for our school. The team is trusting God to accomplish in the Eastern Christian community far beyond what has been imagined or proposed. 

How do you feel about this “win?”

It’s a privilege to be able to be part of the work we are doing with the help of this grant! Our school diversity is growing and with that comes an incredible opportunity to grow with our student body and community. It’s exciting to be part of this work and we’re looking forward to what God will do through all of this.

James Uitermarkt & Marcy Roniet, with high school social studies department

In their own words, “The Facing History and Ourselves In-Depth Program Grant is for educators and administrators who are looking to academically challenge and engage students, develop or strengthen a school-wide culture that values community and civic participation, and support literacy skills with standards-aligned primary source documents. This grant gives middle and high school History, Government, Civics, and ELA educators in the greater New York City metro area access to professional development and materials valued at more than $10,000.” Our high school social studies department received this grant in May. In June, the team met for the first time with our Facing History program assistant in preparation for utilizing the grant. Over the summer, 4 of the faculty attended extended professional development seminars. 

How do you feel this will benefit your students and colleagues? 

In addition to the seminars enjoyed by teachers this summer, the grant provides ongoing support throughout the year. There is potential for continued guidance and resources from Facing History. With the mission “to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry,” the Facing History resources are aligned with our school’s mission to see students become transforming agents in our broken world and our global competency goals. The grant will help us develop curriculum and instruction consistent with our vision for students.

Congratulations to all of our award-winning faculty on their achievements. We look forward to striving for excellence in our instruction with our colleagues this year!

Rebekah Sankey

By: Rebekah Sankey

Rebekah loves teaching English to the students of Eastern Christian!

Read More Articles by Rebekah Sankey
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