What a year! It felt like a brand new school year began in April. We all stretched ourselves in many ways! Thinking of an entirely new way of doing school, connecting with our students virtually, and discovering that we are more flexible and gracious than we ever thought we could be, and through it all, we see God’s grace and goodness shine through.

We know that students are not the only ones learning at school! In fact, when we checked in with the middle school staff to find out what Connected Learning has been like, here is what they shared:


1. I learned how much I love seeing the students every day and have missed them every single day of this crazy time that they haven’t been at school! Linda Howard

2. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Tym Berger

3.  I learned I can eat a burrito and do yoga in the middle of a zoom meeting. Heidi Siebenga

4. I have learned how to mute my colleague when she is talking on the phone during a class Zoom meeting. I still need to learn how to turn her video off.  Jonathan Zuidhof

5. I learned that I am in the right profession! This time of Connected Learning has shown me that I am meant to work with kids. I have struggled with loneliness and motivation at home—just like so many others, including our students! The moments that I am able to connect with a student through video or at school in a socially distant classroom has brought me SO much joy and fulfillment. Being in relationship is so much greater than being attached to my computer and other forms of technology. Deanna Warkentin

6.  When filming videos of talent, science, etc., make sure you aren’t drinking Diet Coke out of your glassware that says Guinness on the side. Sandra Barthel

7. I learned that our ACS community is even more amazing than I ever could have thought! Linda Howard

8. Technology is fantastic when it works—but when it doesn’t…YIKES! Karin Hoogland

9. I learned that the trials, difficulties, and struggles I have faced in my past, God has used to prepare and equip me to be strong during this time and be able to support and encourage others! Linda Howard

10. SO, I recently learned that my class has a private class chat called the “Verbeekians.Dan Verbeek

11. I learned even more about how talented the students in 6B are! Some of their gifts that I’ve noticed through Connected Learning include drawing, mountain biking, completing trick shots, making videos, baking, creating cozy reading corners, dancing, photography, playing basketball, using technology to connect and learn, horseback riding, walking on their hands, writing funny stories, and encouraging others! Amy Morrow

12. I learned that God has created us all with such amazing capacity to be resourceful and creative and to think outside the box—and find brand new ways to do all of the wonderful things that happen here at ACS! Linda Howard

13. Connected learning was “the bomb” for some (good thing) and “a bomb” for others (not so good). Karin Hoogland

14. While I am quite okay with using technology and enjoy trying out new things, it is clear that I am not well-designed for teaching without the day-to-day spontaneity of face-to face-interactions with students. Sally Van Geest
15. Creative Connected Learning Haiku poetry. Sally Van Geest

Connected Learning
Screens taking over my life
I miss my students

16.Despite being a teacher and a parent, I learned cannot teach my own child. Sandra Barthel

17. I learned that it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself when you become frozen during a meeting with a not-so-flattering expression on your face. “Miss Warkentin, you look like you’re about to sneeze! Deanna Warkentin

18. I learned that our ACS staff are all even more amazing than I ever could have thought! Linda Howard

19. I learned when using your daughter’s room for virtual class meetings that it’s a good idea to clean up the stuffies on the bed behind you. Kristin Schut

20. I learned I am NOT smarter than a seventh grader. Trina Lambert

21.  I learned to make sure you check what’s on the clothes drying rack beside you prior to your online meeting. Dan Verbeek