michelMichel van Essen

Michel became the new World History and US History teacher for HEARTS in 2014. This year he will also teach Computer Science and American History. Mr. van Essen studied History, Theology and Jewish Liturgy in the Netherlands. Before moving to the United States Mr. van Essen taught History for over five years in the Dutch Public School system. Together with his wife, Kim, Mr. van Essen runs Van Essen Studio, a creative agency that creates an online presence.


If you have a different edition of you book, for example ‘Physics, Second Edition’ you might run into some differences as science is ever changing. However I will leave it up to you if you think you can manage navigating through the differences. Of course I’m always willing to make copies if it turns out that a whole chapter is missing or the chapter completely different.

Coming from a tech background, I have no problems at all with you sending me all the homework by email. Of course, it has to be possible. If you hand draw a timeline it would be more handy to bring it in class. Make sure though that I receive the homework in a timely manner. Sometimes you will be required to bring your homework in so we can discuss it in class. If this is the case you will have to print out your homework and take it with you.

Every person is different in striving for excellence. Some require less time to read a chapter and some have to make a lot of notes in order to comprehend the material. As a rule of thumb, you should not exceed 4 hours a week. Sometimes you’ll have to make strategic choices and choose what you can finish or focus on. If in any doubt, always feel free to email me.

Some of you might expect a grade every week for your homework and some heavier grades for tests, midterms and finals. I will not grade homework but I have a chart for participation that I keep. Participation means exactly what it sounds like: how well you participate in class. In most cases we will discuss homework and have a small opertunity to go ahead and make some homework before the class ends. It is important that you finish your homework in order to participate in class. Finishing your homework will subsequently result in a better participation grade.

Mr. van Essen will be sending a paper report card midyear and at the end of the year.

When it is not time for a midterm or final report card, every time you complete a Quiz or Test you will receive an email with the result. If you feel you do not receive such emails, please check your Junk Mail folder in your email account, then contact Mr. van Essen.

If you would like to log in to view grades, please see this PDF: ViewMyGrades

The PDF shows you how to view grades whether it is a course already completed or one currently being taken.

As always, you are always welcome email or call Mr. van Essen if you have a question concerning grades or the website.

All students need a binder, an agenda and a pencil. Even if you are a CS student.

Call or Email Michelle Gash, she will make sure that I know that you are sick or not feeling well and this way I won’t have to call your parents to tell them that I missed you in my class.


In the Netherlands, high school is called Preparational Education. It is understood that everything you learn in high school is in preparation for college. That’s why it’s really important to have that attitude. This is exactly why my policy hasn’t changed so far. All my students are young adults and I expect them to behave that way as well as my students expect me to behave like an adult. To clarify, I expect respect and that’s what can be expected of me. For example, if anybody talks in class, it is important to listen. Or if a student fails to finish his or her homework it will be really hard to follow along the class. Just like college, it’s a student’s responsibility to show up and have proper organization.