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Last Thursday the 5th-grade class traveled down to South Holland, IL to spend a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) day with their pen pals! Corresponding since October, the classes have formed great friendships through letters, but seeing them together was true magic. Beginning the day with a physics project of flipping water bottles filled with different amounts of water, and predicting which would be the most successful, the students bonded quickly. After a pizza party and recess, they participated in a series of food experiments where they mapped taste buds, determined flavor preferences, and predicted the longevity of different types of gum tastes! All in all, the connections we made with Calvary Christian Academy will remain with us and continue to blossom into a long-lasting relationship between our schools!
Westlake Christian Academy is excited to be launching an expanded Early Learning Program for the 2017-18 academic year. In order to support this expansion, from 2 classrooms to 3, Westlake is initiating a small capital campaign. This campaign will enable Westlake to make much-needed improvements to our Early Learning Center and new Kindergarten classroom located in our main building. This capital project includes New Flooring, Paint, Furniture and Instructional supplies.
Some generous donors have already come forward to pledge matching gifts up to 50% of the project cost. This means for every $1 you pledge, Westlake gets $2! Make a donation today and watch the project get funded in no time. With your help, it will be a busy summer of improvements in the Early Learning Center and new Kindergarten room.
“Good people bring out the good in people.”
There are many, many good people who keep Westlake running. There is a strong administration, dedicated teachers, and countless support staff that pour their hearts and minds into the ministry of Christian education. But there are often so many parent volunteers who humbly hide behind the scenes. Though I cannot name them all, I want to take a moment to highlight the love and encouragement of one special mother, Natasha Nieze. Mother to Jocelyn (7th grade), Caleb (4th grade), and Addisyn (2nd grade), the entire Nieze family has blessed our hallways for quite some time, but I would have to say that Mrs. Nieze has earned her place in all of our gratuitous hearts.
Though Mrs. Wilcox is a joy that will not soon be forgotten by anyone, Mrs. Nieze has willingly
dedicated herself to the job of fill-in librarian for the second graders every Monday. From reading short stories and novels, to letting them choose and share their favorite poetry, Mrs. Nieze has continued to fuel the passion these young readers have for literature and writing.
This past week was the final library class for the second graders and, once again, Mrs. Nieze did not hesitate to make things especially special. Laying out picnic blankets, bringing a cordless microphone, and goofy props, she allowed each child to share a piece of their own writing that they recently composed.
Filled with laughter and creativity, the grassy hills of Westlake were alive with narrative wonders! I can only say that half of this inspiration was due to the kind heart, constant time, and sweet voice of Mrs. Nieze. Thank you for making reading time come alive. Thank you for not being afraid to break down walls and be silly for the sake of the kids. Thank you for making a difference in the ever-present march toward loving literature fully.
“Education should not be about building more schools and maintaining a system that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. We can achieve so much more, at unmatched scale with software and interactive learning.” -Naveen Jain
If I were able to be in sixth grade again, I would pray that I’d have the fortune to experience math with Mrs. Coombe. Using interactive notebooks since the beginning of the year, I’ve been so awestruck by the detailed levels of depth and creativity she has inspired in her math students. The coolest project by far, however, has taken place more recently as the students study not just geometry, but apply geometric form and measurement to an authentic Project Based Learning unit on architecture.
Focusing on the skills of measurement, scale, ratio, area, and perimeter, the students were tasked with, “Designing their own dream houses by creating a scale drawing using architecture symbols.” Using price comparison and estimation, the students were then charged with figuring out a logical “price quote” for the papering, painting, and flooring of their imagined homes. As if this project wasn’t fun and interdisciplinary enough, Mrs. Coombe then rolled their designs into a real-world application by having the students present their proposals to a professional architect (Mrs. DeReus’ husband) from A. Perry Homes.
The sixth-grade class took a field trip to the architectural studio, and spent an entire morning: touring, watching the design process, custom home planning, and experiencing a virtual reality trip through a custom home being built right now! From the thrill of watching a career choice lived out before you, to the pride of being a part of something that effectually influences your future (whether in home design, home purchase, or architectural literacy) these students had an unbelievable time.
To finish out the unit on architecture, Mrs. Coombe decided to take the project one step further, and students are now building a scale model of their approved blueprint plans. Using foam board, measuring tools, and a LOT of hot glue, the sixth-grade room is quite literally “Under Construction.” Room by room, line by line, square inch by square inch, this lesson is more than a dream homecoming alive, it is a dream come true to any seeker of an authentic, project-based, and meaningfully interactive curriculum.
The movie Field of Dreams said, “If you build it, they will come,” and I can’t help but see that to be true, as we are all magnetically drawn to the architects of the sixth grade, as we watch their imagination and innovation soar.
Westlake Christian Academy is the newest member of the Illinois Christian Conference. Established in 2015, the Illinois Christian Conference is made up of similarly sized and resourced private Christian schools and homeschool associations. Joining the ICC athletic conference provides Westlake consistent competition with schools who share our core values of Christian discipleship and sportsmanship. Additionally, our student-athletes with have the opportunity to receive all-conference honors while Westlake’s teams can pursue conference season and post-season titles. With the addition of Westlake, the Illinois Christian Conference is made of 10 member schools split into two divisions.
Every child is unique. Every child is special. Every single soul who walks through the halls of Westlake is valued – is respected – is loved. But I will say that not every student “lets you in” the same way. Once in awhile, there is a kid who opens her or himself enough to share their singular light.
As a senior, Carlos Gil returned to Mrs. Krass’ second grade in pursuit of another meaningful year of service. Whether cutting, copying, correcting or connecting, Carlos has found an amazing way of relating to the students and staff he encounters. Mother Theresa once said, “In this life, we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” This has been the mantra that Carlos lives out each and every day in her class.
Dubbing him, “Mr. Handsome Hair,” the second graders literally cheer whenever Carlos walks into the room. He immediately gives in to their requests of high fives and hugs, and gets on their level to engage in conversation. The other day, when asked to help guide the students in a writing project, he promptly sat beside them and began a brainstorming session, drawing on their strengths and encouraging their creativity and confidence.
As an educator, it is important to know your cards and how to play them. It has become apparent to all of us teachers that Carlos Gil is a hidden ace. He has a way with students that brings them to a place of safety and motivation. While children respond well to their teachers, they react to a cool teenager who walks in the room. Personality has power, and Carlos has worn kindness on his sleeve so tangibly that the students literally seek him.
Recently, the senior class went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. While it was amazing to hear about their experiences in the elementary chapel, I would have to say that the moment of unparalleled connection happened the following Tuesday, when Carlos gave every second grader a bracelet that he had purchased from the market in the D.R. Shining with pride and importance at being remembered, the students walked around admiring the different colors they were given.
According to Elaine S. Dalton, “If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.” Carlos isn’t afraid to be different. He isn’t ashamed to kneel on the ground so that he is eye-level with a child trying to explain something important to him. He inarguably does any task Mrs. Krass sets before him with efficiency and cheer. He even litters a few of our desks with notes of encouragement to carry on.
All I can say is, the extra mile is never a wasted effort, and Carlos has proven time and time again that he is not afraid of distance. So thank you to him, and to every teaching assistant like him, who takes the time to not only care but carry the hearts of those around him.
Westlake Christian Academy is excited to announce it’s third annual Eagle Open Golf Outing. This June 19th, the men and women of the Westlake Community are invited to join us at Stonewall Orchard Golf Course in Grayslake for a fabulous afternoon of fellowship & golf.
12:45 Student Testimony
1:00 Golf – scramble format
- range balls
Contests & Prizes
Closest to the Pin
… and more
The Winning Foursome receives a Complimentary Round
at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club.
This event will be a great opportunity for us to deepen relationships and introduce new people to the Westlake community. We encourage everyone interested to invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, and church members to join us for a great day. All proceeds from this event will go towards Westlake’s Tuition Assistance program and the Senior Class mission trip.Register Here
Special Thanks to Our Event Sponsor …
1220 Washington Ave.
Wilmette, IL 60091
847.549.0668Serving Chicago, Washington D.C., & South Florida
I remember my mother always telling me that compassion is as much of a blessing as it is a curse. To be able to feel for others means being able to feel everything … the good, the bad, and the painful. It is difficult sometimes, oh who am I kidding, ALL of the time, to look at this world, at its suffering, and not feel too much. The anger, the poverty, the very essence of all those who are lost. It is overwhelming. But as Andrew Boyd said, “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it.” This year, the kids in Mrs. Salvador’s Spanish One class decided that they would not be crushed – not by the barriers of time, or space. Becoming a global citizen begins with caring about the people and the issues that are not directly related to you necessarily, but that wear on your heart to the point of changing it. In an effort to make her students more globally aware, Mrs. Salvador opened their hearts to the possibility of a beautiful relationship. Below, two students share their experience.
“Spanish 1 wrote letters to the children in the Dominican Republic where the seniors were going for their missions trip. We were all very excited to write to these children and hear back from them. When the seniors got back from their trip they had the letters that the children had written back to us. We were all super happy to hear back from these children and read what they had written us. The children who wrote to us were third graders and they went to school at Freedom school. We went to their school’s website and got to see pictures of them. Their website is www.itisforfreedom.com.” – Kenzie DeReus
“Our Spanish class recently wrote a letter to the Dominican Republic. We didn’t really know who would be receiving the letters. We wrote letters asking them many questions and telling them a little bit about ourselves. A third-grade class ended up receiving our letters and they wrote back to us. A 9-year-old girl named Rosa wrote me back. She was so sweet and told me so much about herself. I think that it is so cool that we got to communicate with a group of kids far away that we probably would have never been able to meet otherwise.” – Abigail Taylor
Mrs. Salvador had the amazing foresight to connect potential mission students of Mr. Flemming years ahead, with students they will actually have the opportunity to meet when they are seniors. “This way they will be able to build relationships,” she said. Not only is this lesson interdisciplinary and multi-aged, but authentic in investing in cultivating a global conscious and cultivating an open heart. What a blessing to Westlake that we have teachers who care so much that they are literally willing to stretch their compassion around the world.
Ladies’ Prayer Breakfast
Westlake Ladies are invited to join together for a time of fellowship and prayer. Come enjoy a lovely breakfast followed by a time of praise & worship as well as a testimony by special guest Tammy Chapman. We want to encourage our Westlake community to invite family, friends or neighbors who would be blessed by this time of prayer and fellowship. All are welcome.
When: Friday, May 5th, 7 am – 8:15 am
Where: Westlake Cafeteria
Who: Ladies in 5th Grade and up!
About our Speaker
Stefanie Boyce is a writer and speaker, best known for her unique perspective when it comes to difficult circumstances. She is no stranger to the pain and beauty of this world, and the tension that comes from living in the midst of both. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother of 3, and an inspiration to many.
A native of Rockford, IL, Stefanie attended Rockford Lutheran High School, and then went on to attend, and graduate from Eastern Illinois University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She met her husband, Justin, shortly after and married in 2004.
Over the years, Stefanie has worked as a crisis line operator, shelter advocate, and community educator for a domestic violence agency, and most recently, in a variety of roles at Immanuel Church in Gurnee, IL. She was first hired on staff at Immanuel in the youth ministry department as administrative assistant, and eventually worked her way up to Interim Director of High School Ministry, where she helped shape the ministry with her passion for small groups and mentoring. (…Read More Here)