What HCS Parents Are Saying
Our multi-grade elementary classrooms
Who teaches in our elementary in 2020-2021?
- Katrina Petersheim: Ms. Katrina is our head elementary teacher and Kindergarten – 2nd homeroom teacher.
- Rosemary Miller: Ms. Rosemary is our main extended care teacher and teaches several math and language classes in grades 2, 3, and 4.
- Melody Yoder: Ms. Melody is the grades 3-4 homeroom teacher.
- Elizabeth Bongioanni: Ms. Liz is our grades 6-7 homeroom teacher. She is also teaching grades 3-4 science and 3rd – 7th
- Joshua Franklin: Mr. Josh comes to us through the Baltimore Children’s Choir, and teaches grades 3-7 chorus.
- Rikiesha Hawkins: Ms. Rikiesha is our art teacher for grades k-7.
- Jerry Fox: Mr. Jerry teaches science in grades 6-7.
- Christina Long: Ms. Christina teaches library class for pre-k – 2nd.
- Darrell Hershberger: Mr. Hershberger teaches grades 6-7 math.
An interview with our K-2 teacher
Ms. Katrina has been with HCS since its founding in 2011. She brings 15 years of experience in an elementary classroom and a deep love of kids.
We enjoy many good books, we learn the basics of reading and math, we exercise, we sing, we play, we learn to love and serve each other, we learn to love God.
I teach the children to read phonetically. I enjoy many good books with the children, sharing many of my favorite books with them. I highlight authors and we devour the books they have written. Quiet Book Time provides opportunity for children to read at school and our BookIt! program rewards them for reading at home.
Our multi-grade classroom has whole group activities in addition to classes specialized for one grade. There is usually a busy hum in the classroom with some students working independently while others are involved in direct instruction or exploration. There are moments throughout the day when I work individually with students that need extra assistance.
I remain close to the students and listen intently to see and hear if the children are gaining concepts.
I love to see changes of heart in students, students that are being unkind or otherwise disrespectful to a friend. I love to see them turn around, own what they have done, and write sincere apology notes. I love to see the forgiveness that is granted them and the relationships that are strengthened.
The moments when children really grasp reading are exciting. The light turns on; words have meaning; pages speak! One child, upon learning his first word, spoke enthusiastically, complete with flinging arms, “This is the best day of my life!”
All students at HCS are involved in lots of projects. Here’s a sample from Ms. Katrina’s class.
An interview with our Grades 3-5 teacher
Ms. Melody, our Grades 3-5 teacher, is in her 8th year at HCS. She moved here from Tennessee, and pours heart and soul into each class and student.
I love teaching grades 3-5 because students are taking more initiative and responsibility for their work, they are still inquisitive and ask lots of questions, we can have in depth conversations, and yet they still slip up and call me “mom.”
Hearty “good mornings” are heard as students enter the classroom and begin to unpack their homework folder and sort their papers on their desks. Students chatter as they begin making corrections, reading, or working on a puzzle before Bible class. My goal is to have the students engage in a learning activity before classes begin. The rest of the day is filled with individual and multi grade classes with outdoor breaks in between. Most of the classes are taught with the students sitting around the teacher on the carpet. Once they are sent back to their desks to work, I can assist students individually if needed.
I pay close attention to individual learning, mistakes, and progress. Small class sizes give students the chance to answer questions often, use manipulatives, and receive extra practice as needed.
Student growth is very rewarding for a teacher! When a student who was reluctant to read asked to stay after school to do Book-It! reading, I was delighted.
Grades 3-5 Projects
All students at HCS are involved in lots of projects. Here’s a sample from Ms. Melody’s class.
An interview with our 6th - 8th teacher
Ms. Liz, our 6th – 8th grade homeroom teacher, loves life and her students. She has often been compared to Anne of Green Gables.
Grades 6th-8th is about rigorous academics and so much more. Grades are important, but learning how to think and reason, form thoughts and ideas, and enjoy the process of gaining new knowledge is, in my opinion, what really matters. So, we take time to express various viewpoints in history class, we talk about theological questions during Bible class. I work with the students to help them express themselves better in writing, etc. School is also a place where students develop character traits that will help shape who they will become as an adult. Each day, we work on the how-to skills for things like respecting those in authority, following instructions, successfully dealing with conflicts, working hard, learning diligence and being responsible, and staying cheerful and positive.
I love this time of life, because the children are at an age where they are forming their own opinions and ideas. They have questions about life, about God, about friendships, and of course, about school work! Sometimes, they dream about their futures – what they will become, who they want to be. It is inspiring and exciting. When a problem arises, you can talk with them, point them to scripture, and help them to look down the road and see who they want to become in the long run. Often, they make mature decisions that help them to work through conflicts.
I also love the off-the-wall comments the children make during lunch break. Some can be quite encouraging. Some are just plain funny. There is so much personality, intelligence, and sensitivity bundled into each one of my students. I love them!
Each day is busy, and that’s nice. Who wouldn’t want his or her day filled with intriguing math problems, cool science experiments, fascinating stories from history, interesting discussions about readings from various literary works and the Bible? It’s a good balance of hard work and fun.
Usually, our mornings are spent working on subjects like math or science, writing, history, Bible, etc. We have 20 minutes of recess mid-morning to get some fresh air and exercise. Then it is back to our books!
Our afternoons have a lot of variety, which I love, and (I believe) the students love, too. Besides the typical subjects of literature, grammar, and either math or science, we have out-of-school instructors come in two days each week to teach art and music class. The students also get library time each week. On Mondays, the upper elementary school students participate in cleaning jobs – great for developing a good work ethic and learning teamwork! Each afternoon, we go outside for more fresh air and exercise, and we focus on a specific sport like soccer, track, ultimate frisbee, etc.
Daycare & Preschool
Infants & Toddlers
Our infant and toddler program provides a warm, welcoming environment where babies can grow and develop. Nurturing caregivers are focused on creating experiences and opportunities that invite exploration and support the rapid and important development that is occurring in a child’s first years.
Our preschool classrooms are inviting spaces where children are actively engaged in learning through play. We highly value play (including socio-dramatic play), the use of loose parts, and open-ended art experiences as integral to a preschooler’s development.
We offer both full-day and half-day preschool options.
Children of different ages have much to offer each other. Older students gain empathy and leadership skills. Younger students benefit from having older friends who can scaffold their learning to the next level. Each daycare classroom is paired with an elementary or pre-K classroom to participate in shared activities. We make a special effort to allow siblings to spend time together.
All students participate in service learning activities. These include cleaning up trash, planting flowers at the park, distributing neighborhood newsletters, packing Christmas gifts for children in need, and singing for the elderly. Service learning projects are an excellent way to help students contribute positively to their local and global community.
Socio-dramatic play is the highest form of play and occurs when children engage with each other in pretend play, finding roles and solving conflicts mostly on their own. Since this type of play develops only with enough time, a block of at least 40 minutes of uninterrupted free play is scheduled most days. Socio-dramatic play develops skills such as self-control, empathy, and planning.
Open-ended process art experiences are available for the children to participate in daily in the 3's and 4's classrooms. Process art focuses on the process of creating rather than a finished product. Children are encouraged to think creatively, express their emotions, work both independently and collaboratively, and develop fine motor skills.
Our daycare teachers frequently provide engaging sensory play opportunities for the children. Input through the fingertips is linked to brain growth. Sensory play provides endless learning possibilities, such as concepts of volume and size, one-to-one correspondence, and fine-motor skill development. Another benefit of sensory play is its calming effect.
Language & Literacy
A collection of books exploring many subjects and representing diverse cultures and ethnicities is available in a cozy reading nook in each classroom. Children are given the opportunity to explore many writing tools. In our 3's and 4's classrooms, each child has a journal in which they can draw and dictate/begin to write stories.