In many ways, we look like other Christian schools in the area; we have caring teachers and staff who provide a quality, Christ-centered education, we have supportive parents who are involved in and believe in the mission of the school, and we have a body of students who care about each other and who work hard at their studies. But there are things about us that are worth highlighting.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that Eastside utilizes multi-grade classrooms. Each of the classrooms is led by a certified teacher with help from aides and qualified volunteers. Currently, the rooms are broken down into the following grades: Pre-K through Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd through 3rd, 4th through 6th, and 7th through 8th.
The Eastside Curriculum Manual describes all courses taught and textbooks used.
Eastside provides students a quality, focused education that covers all necessary subjects to prepare students for high school, starting from Pre-K handwriting all the way to 8th Grade science. Important to us is that each and every subject area at Eastside is taught from the perspective of Christ being Lord and Creator. In history (His story), students are taught to see God’s sovereign plan unfolding for His glory. In math, students are taught to marvel at the order, logic and wisdom of our God. It is our goal to help our students see and grow in their understanding of the Lordship of Christ in every subject area and to live for His honor in all areas of life.
In addition to teaching all subject areas from a Christian perspective, we also seek to nurture our students’ understanding and adoration of the Lord through regular classroom and all-school devotions, Bible classes, Bible memory, and daily singing praises to God.
Studies have shown that studying music, especially learning to play an instrument, improves a person’s ability to learn other subjects including math, science, and language. Eastside believes that learning music promotes a more balanced and complete use of the way our minds gather and assess information, and plays an important role in forming a person’s character relating to others and living to glorify our God. Students in grades 4th through 8th participate in orchestra and choir, both of which meet multiple times a week and include performances throughout the year. Students are excited about the musical opportunities at Eastside and it has become a valuable part of our school culture. See concert video clips.
I Corinthians 12 teaches that the body of Christ is composed of many members of differing abilities and gifts. As a small school, we can offer personalized instruction tailored to a student’s unique needs. This happens both formally and informally. In the lower grades, teachers are able to easily spot students who need extra help in certain areas, and can pull them out of the classroom for individual tutoring without much time being lost. Alternatively, students who excel in reading can be identified and challenged to grow their literacy skills. In the upper grades, students who excel in math have the opportunity to work ahead, and can graduate from Eastside one year ahead in the math curriculum.
We also draw on outside services when the need arises. At times we have utilized the Christian Learning Center for individualized assessment and help, as well as for giving us direction as we strive to ensure that all our students use their abilities to the fullest in the classroom. We are also able to avail ourselves of Grand Rapids Public Services for students who require additional outside help, including occupational and speech therapy.