The mission of Holland Christian Schools challenges us to transform the world for Jesus Christ. Understanding and communicating well with others—including those of different cultures—is an important ingredient to meeting that challenge. To that end, we seek to strengthen the academic training that immersion students and native speakers have received, while adding the critical opportunity to use that knowledge in authentic interactions within the community and beyond. This isn’t just about academics; it’s about responding to the Lord’s call to love and care for others, and it’s another example of the HCS commitment to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and faith they need to engage the world around them and expand the Kingdom of God.
Holland Christian High School offers a Spanish Secondary Continuing Immersion Program for Immersion students and native-Spanish speakers. In the continuing immersion program at HCHS, students take certain courses in Spanish and then are integrated into English speaking courses with the rest of the student body for the remainder of their schedule. This program includes travel opportunities to Spanish speaking countries, a student exchange program with “Faces and our Cultures,” and dual enrollment coursework with Hope College.
Questions about our program? Contact our Director of Spanish Secondary Continuing Immersion, Anna Slenk, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
/ PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
What can you expect from one of our Spanish Secondary Continuing Immersion students? That’s a great question. Here are our goals for the program:
- Students will be both bilingual and biliterate performing on or above grade level in both languages.
- Students will achieve a high level of proficiency (Advanced mid to Advanced high) by their senior year.
- Students will demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors, high levels of self-esteem and cultural competency.
The following courses are taught at Holland Christian High School through the Spanish Secondary Continuing Immersion Program. All courses are taught in Spanish and are tailored to meeting the needs of students in K-8 immersion programs.
Spanish Immersion Language & Literacy 9 (2 semesters)
Divided into six units, this year-long course seeks to introduce students to various genres of literature (a novel, a play, poetry, and short story), informational texts, and types of formal writing (narrative, persuasive, research, etc.). Furthermore, students will learn and review grammatical rules and apply them to their oral and written communication. Throughout the units, students will be exposed to different cultures of Spanish-speaking countries.
The History of Western Civilization (1 semester)
This one semester survey course describes the factors that characterize the major eras of Western Civilization from Antiquity through The Great War. Students will be asked to use a Biblical perspective to describe, compare, and analyze people and events of these time periods.
Bible 1 (1 semester)
A study of the Biblical text, Genesis through Israel’s exile, beginning with Creation and ending with the history books. Students will engage the text and explore Biblical themes, paying close attention to their geographical, cultural, historical, and textual contexts. Students will consider how the living Word of God speaks to God’s people today, and they will be challenged to walk deeper into the Kingdom of God.
Spanish 5 AP Language & Culture (2 semesters)
This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and is designed to improve proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. This will be accomplished through studying the six main themes designated by the AP College Board: Global Challenges, Science & Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty & Aesthetics. This course covers about 60% of the actual AP curriculum and includes practice and preparation for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam. Depending on the college, if students score a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam they can earn between 4 and 24 college credits.
Spanish Conversation & Culture (1 semester)
Language and Culture are equally important. The goal is to get students to an Advance Spanish proficiency and to develop a deeper understanding of the cultures of the Spanish speaking world. We will focus on real communication, improving students’ linguistic and intercultural skills. For eight weeks of this course we welcome Guatemalen students who attend Holland Christian through the Faces and Our Cultures program.
US History (1 semester)
The first semester Spanish Immersion course examines nineteenth century United States history. Emphasis is placed upon the social, cultural, political and economic themes during this period. The survey also includes a unit focusing upon Michigan and local history. Students take their 2nd semester US History in English.
Years 3 & 4
Government (1 semester)
This course is a study of the structure and function of the national government. State and local governments are also referred to throughout the course. Students in this course will be encouraged to engage in discussions about the current political landscape and current events while increasing their knowledge of the foundations of our government. Attendance at local city council meetings and other community involvement activities will enhance the learning experience and encourage students to be actively involved in their government.
Translation and Interpretation (1 semester)
The main objective of this class is to introduce students to the craft of translating and interpreting. We will focus on the principles and techniques that will help students to acquire a wide view of key elements in the processes of translation and interpretation. The second goal is to equip students with a linguistic knowledge. During the semester, we will analyze in depth a variety of texts and we will study the differences in language mechanics in both Spanish and English. This will allow us to make decisions and reflect on what we do when we translate: we bridge communities separated by linguistic barriers.
World Cultures (1 semester)
This cultural and regional survey course examines the various cultures of the modern world. The historic, social, cultural, economic, geographic, and religious aspects of several of the major world regions will be examined comparatively in order to provide students with an understanding of the various and diverse regions of the world. The course will meet the need of providing students with a global framework and understanding, and will expect students to articulate Biblical ideals regarding relationships with other cultures.
Psychology (1 semester)
This course is designed to enlighten students on the complexity of the human psyche and behaviors. Using the guide of a college-level Introduction to Psychology class, the course will introduce students to theories of personality, development, emotions, and social psychology, while interweaving the history of the field and current trends. This knowledge will help students appreciate the image in which we have been created, better understand themselves and neighbors, and to create a capstone of Christian education with a foundation for future study of the discipline.
Hope College Courses (2 semesters/year)
Through our partnership with Hope College, students will take up to two semester classes per year during their junior and senior years. The exact classes will vary based on the student’s level. To learn more about our partnership with Hope College click here.
/ Meet the Staff
Meet our amazing Spanish Secondary Continuing Immersion staff members! Each is uniquely gifted with the background and education to work with our high school Spanish Immersion students.
Mrs. Anna Slenk
I graduated from North Park University (Chicago, IL) with a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies and Creative Writing in 2006. In 2016, I finished my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a certificate in Dual Language and Immersion Education.
In 2016, after living in Costa Rica for almost ten years, I moved back to West Michigan with my family. My husband, Andrés Castro, is a software engineer and we have three young boys: Levi (4 yrs old), Oliver (3 yrs old), and Wesley (1 yard old). While in Costa Rica, I helped start and lead El Puente, a bilingual Christian school in a small beach town on the Pacific Coast. I still work with the school from a distance in an administrative position, and have the opportunity to travel back and forth to support the school.
The mission of the school is to equip students “be a bridge,” showing the love of Christ by crossing linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries in the classroom, in the community, and in the world. That is my desire for all students I will have this year as well. Learning a second language is an incredible opportunity to start to understand and connect with others in our world in meaningful ways for God’s glory. I am excited to explore this through the context of the Bible 1 Spanish Immersion classroom this year. I am also excited about working to further develop the Holland Christian’s Spanish Immersion program at the high school level.
Mrs. Amanda Cisneros
I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. and K-12 teaching certificate in Spanish. After graduating I taught Spanish and English at Holland Christian High School for six years. Then I moved to Madrid, Spain for two years where I earned my master’s degree and worked as a bilingual teacher’s aide. When I returned to Holland Christian, I taught K-8 Spanish for four years, and now I am teaching at the high school again. Most recently, I have earned my ESL certification, allowing me to teach our English language learners.
I am married to my husband, Guillermo, whom I met while living in Spain. We have two young daughters, Lorena and Jayda. Aside from playing with our girls, we spend our time exploring new places, trying new food, and meeting new people! We also enjoy hosting international students during the school year. We attend Engedi Church.
I love teaching languages because God’s beauty and intelligence is so evident in its intricacies! He gives us language to live in community and discover the personal narratives that He has given to each person. What a gift! Just as I get to know my students, I teach them language so that they may get to know others, demonstrating Christ’s love.
I do my best to love and respect each student, model Christ, and pray with and for each student. I value being a part of the Holland Christian community and knowing that I, too, am being prayed for.
Mr. Chris Jacobs
After graduating from Holland Christian High School, I never would have thought I would come back as a teacher. However, God’s plans for our lives always seem to include frequent twists of irony. In college, I studied social studies and Spanish and studied abroad in Mexico, originally with plans of moving there permanently to teach after graduation. I graduated from Grand Valley State University in the winter of 2014 in with a degree in social studies and a minor in Spanish. After college, I worked as a para pro at Byron Center High School as well as taught Spanish at Holland High.
My amazing wife Kaitlyn (who is also an HC grad) and I are proud to once again be a part of the Holland Christian community. Some of my personal hobbies aside from Spanish and history are playing music with my wife at our church Ridge Point, kayaking, traveling, and building guitars.
I’m personally humbled by the opportunity that I have to teach at Holland Christian. I am extremely excited to help students grow not only in knowledge, but in a deep, real, and authentic relationship with their Savior. Learning about history and government to me is primarily a means to figure out who we are as servants of Christ and as those charged with helping bring redemption to this world. It’s to those ends that I desire to focus students as well as my own life.