News Blog

An ICS Book Club Story: Marleni Pimentel Digs Deeper

November 06, 2017
By Shelley Davidson

To say stories impact our lives isn't saying enough. Reading takes us places we many never go, and we experience the stories deep down in our subconcious thoughts and beliefs. When the last page is read and we lay aside the book, our experience still lingers, bouncing around in our minds.

Marleni, a student of 5th grade teacher Heather Hope, and her mother chatted on their way home from our October Book Club about Frances, the main character of several stories by Russell Loban. Experiencing Frances's dilemma, Marleni believed Russell Loban had more gold nuggets to share. That evening, like all ICS Book Club events, we read a picture book and did a literary analysis. We became detectives and dug deeper into what the author was really saying.

On that evening, after decorating warm donuts, we discovered a character, Frances, who had some growing up to do. We readied ourselves with detective tools (eyes and ears) and intentionally listened as Mr. Valdez (Trinity's dad) mesmerized us with his reading of A Bargain for Frances. When the story ended we had much to discuss concerning friendship, manipulation and putting others before self. Marleni found much joy coming through the illustrations as our story was read, knowing an excellent illustrator leaves hidden clues. On this evening, she was not disappointed.

While on her way to bed, Marleni and Mrs. Pimentel discovered the hidden message of Russell Loban choice of a tea set which would become the bargain made between playmates. Like a precious friendship, one where love, patience and kindness has been poured, china is delicate, fragile and easily damaged or destroyed. Gloria, Frances's playmate, owned a plastic, red tea set. Frances, who once had a china set that had been accidentally broken, was saving up for a new one. The plastic set that Gloria owned, wasn't the real deal. It was plastic and cheap, and there was no need to be careful because there was no need to care for and protect it. The set that caught Frances's eye required safekeeping, heedfulnees and attentiveness.

It was clear to Marleni and her mom that Russell Loban purposefully chose a china tea as the sought after toy for Frances to weave the value of friendship into the reader's mind. Like all authors, he wanted us to enjoy his story, but he also knew there were readers like Marleni who want to dig deeper, who find pleasure in basking in the story a bit longer, chatting with their mothers about growing up into the persons God has planned for them to be.

Russell Loban's story, the experience that he made available to Marleni, helped create in her the belief that friendship is precious, fragile and worth the time and energy it takes. She grew up a bit more on that car ride home, and I for one am certain she'll continue to seek the good in stories she reads, allowing them to seep in, becoming a part of who she's growing to be and being thankful for the storytellers like Russell Loban.

What's up in Middle School?

October 12, 2017
By Denise Buckley


“What should be improved?” I hear Ben Gutzwiller, 6th Grader, ask. His STEM class is working on their latest project: figuring out how to have a paper cup travel down fishing line carrying a marble which must exit into a dish of sand upon reaching the end of the fishing line. As Mr. Wirkus walks around asking questions and offering assistance, none of the groups have yet witnessed success. But they are persevering.

Outside, Mrs. Lyzenga’s Heart and Sole class is loud with laughter. They are doing some sort of physical strategic game to strengthen their bodies...and their hearts. I am confident the laughter is doing as much to build their stamina as the exercise.

This morning Mrs. Edwards gave the 7th graders a section of the MAP test, something new this year. Both the teachers and the students are embracing the learning curve with energy and positive attitudes. Later today, our volleyball and soccer teams will show their skills on the court and field; Mr. Longoria works hard to make sure we have coaches, refs, and enough games on our schedule to make learning the sport fun.

Tomorrow we will have chapel: Mr. Hope will lead worship while Ms. Kari Elshaug from K2 will speak to our students. I am looking forward to what she has to say to us, though I will also miss our small group time. We have some great curriculum this year and I love the time I get to meet with my group of middle school girls to talk about real life issues.

Friday will bring the MSLT event at Cornbelly’s. I am not sure who is more excited: Mr. Schaap or the kids. He loves the chance to have fun with our students. Mrs Edwards will drive the bus and the students will enjoy each other’s company all the way to Thanksgiving Point, before challenging themselves in the corn maze.

This is a peek into a week in the ICS Middle School. Students learning. Teachers encouraging. Spiritual, emotional, and physical growth right alongside academic pursuits. A Middle School Team that cares for their students inside and outside the classroom. And an assistant principal who is grateful for her front row seat to witness the Christ-centered learning community our school provides as we equip and inspire our students to thrive.

The Ulster Project

September 25, 2017
By Taylor Hawes, Sophomore
This summer I participated in a project called the ULSTER Project. The ULSTER Project has a goal of peace and focuses on decreasing strife between Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants. During the month of July, 12 teens plus two adult sponsors came to Salt Lake City from Omagh, Northern Ireland. They were greeted by 12 of us local teens, 2 adult sponsors and the local program directors. During the month all of us were busy nearly every day with service projects, leadership training and fun group activities. It stretched and challenged each of us uniquely and helped us see the importance of peace and unity.
This was a great opportunity to meet local and foreign teens outside of ICS. It opened my eyes to see a different culture and also see local kids and learn about their high school experiences. It made me aware of history and the conflict in Ireland. It challenged me to get along with different personality types other than my own. The project challenged me by going outside of my comfort zone and I made lots of new friends. We are trying to get together monthly to stay connected and also connect with our Norther Irish teens by Skype.

4 Essentials to Choosing a Great Kindergarten Program

July 17, 2017
By Leslie Clement

Most parents want a good, solid education for their child. Finding a kindergarten program can be the beginning of a positive start to real schooling and can set the stage for life-long learning. Kindergarten, although not required by many states, allows opportunity to learn and practice critical social, emotional, problem-solving, and study skills that he will use throughout his schooling. Kindergarten accomplishes these things by:

  • Developing self-esteem. Your child will need to be confident in his ability to actually learn. By gaining confidence, the kindergartner develops a sense of who he is and how he relates to the world around him. In the Christian school setting, the student learns that God values him as his creation and that value is of utmost importance.
  • Teaching and modeling to cooperation. The kindergartner is best served with the opportunity to develop patience, take turns, share, and listen to others. These skills are essential to becoming a life-long learner, in and out of the classroom.
  • Sparking your child’s natural, God-given curiosity. Classroom surroundings, teachers and activities ignite wonder and curiosity in the kindergarten aged child. Taking this wonder and directing the student to a natural love of learning is important to the kindergarten experience.

Educators, parents, neighbors and friends all have varied ideas and opinions on what the answer is but most educators agree a good program has four basic guidelines that can be helpful in the decision making process. A great kindergarten program should:

    1. Expand your child’s ability to learn about (and from) the world, to organize information, and to solve problems. This will foster the kindergartner’s sense of self-worth and confidence, ability to work with others, and his interest in challenging tasks.
    2. Provide a combination of formal (teacher-initiated) and informal (child-initiated) activities. Investigations and projects allow your child to work both on his own and in small groups.
    3. Keep large group activities that require sitting and listening to a minimum. Instead, most activities feather play-based, hands-on learning in small groups. As the year progresses, large group activities become a big longer in preparation for 1st grade.
    4. Foster a love of books, reading, and writing. Look for books, words, and kids’ own writing all over the classroom.

When looking at programs, keep these guidelines in mind — as well as the specific needs of your child and family. Not every program is perfect for every child. Some children thrive in a program with more direction, some with less. Want to know more about the kindergarten program at Intermountain Christian School? CLICK HERE!

Recent Posts

11/6/17 - By Shelley Davidson
10/12/17 - By Denise Buckley
9/25/17 - By Taylor Hawes, Sophomore
7/17/17 - By Leslie Clement
5/9/17 - By Mayci VanRanken