- Sponsorship -

Back to School Already? Get Ready!

GRPS Celebrates Return of School Year with Park Party

Among the thousands of parents and students who descended on John Ball Park recently were Alicia Allen and her daughter, Laticia. They came to the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Back to School Celebration to get information about Southwest Community Campus, where Laticia will be a first-grader this fall in the English/Spanish dual immersion program.

Allen said her goal for this year is that Laticia learns to read in both languages.

“We’ve been practicing throughout the summer,” Allen said. “She’s been doing good, but that Spanish is not quite there yet. I’m definitely depending on the school to help me out,” she added with a laugh.

Laticia seemed to take that as a challenge. First, she said “hola” (hello) and “como estas?” (how are you?) to a visitor, using what she learned last year in kindergarten. Then she started counting in Spanish, “uno, dos, tres …” and kept on going.

“You see why I’m smiling?” her mom said proudly.

Staff from Southwest Community passed out information from a tent, as did many other GRPS schools. There were booths for athletics, safety and health. School uniforms were on sale. Students played bean-bag toss and other games as they waited in line. Twisty balloon hats were popular items. Families dined while students played instruments and answered brain teasers from a nearby stage.

With school opening Sept. 8, and summer swimming and camp just about over, the park was abuzz with activity and anticipation.

Alicia Allen hopes daughter Laticia improves her English and Spanish reading skills this year
Alicia Allen hopes daughter Laticia improves her English and Spanish reading skills this year

Nature or Nurture? Both, at These Schools  

Laura Grahs and her daughter Aliyah were excited about her going into first grade at C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy, where students study rocks and go camping while learning academics. Blandford Nature Center and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council are community partners.

Grahs said that in Aliyah’s kindergarten year, she liked all the environmental activities as well as the school’s heavy parent involvement and strong academics. Her hopes for Aliyah this year are to work on reading, be in a safe environment and get involved with all the school has to offer.

“This is our first experience with the public schools,” Grahs added. “I was hesitant at first, because I went to all private schools. But once I walked in the school, I knew it was a good fit.”

Over by the stage, David Dorr listened to a student strings group with his son Oscar Peck-Dorr, a C.A. Frost grad who’s entering sixth grade at Blandford School.  The frog ponds and woodlands of Blandford Nature Center will be his outdoor classroom, where he will raise chickens and tap maple syrup.

The family considered Zoo School, the Center for Economicology and the new Museum School before settling on Blandford.

“I call it a bounty of riches, which I think other districts should be envious of,” Dorr said.

“We made a choice to buy in the city, and have lived in the city and gone to schools in the city,” he added. “It’s not going to work if you’re not committed to the city.”

CONNECT

How to enroll your child in GRPS

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

LATEST ARTICLES

Looking for classroom lessons in the great outdoors

Sally Triant is exploring every GRPS campus in the city, looking for places to turn the outdoors into an educational opportunity...

Fourth-grader’s pickle stand inspired by school marketplace

‘With my tiny fingers, I am good at stuffing them,’ said the young pickle peddler. ‘You can see how they are packed in, so you get more for the money’...

Home schooling inquiries grow as parents ponder how to meet children’s needs

The pandemic has caused parents to seek options for schooling and socialization. For some, home schooling becomes an option, while others create new ways to help their children...

GRPS to continue virtual-only instruction for rest of semester

GRPS leaders decided to extend the district's 100 percent virtual learning model for the rest of the first semester after the Kent County Health Department announced rapidly rising COVID-19 positivity rates...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Looking for classroom lessons in the great outdoors

Sally Triant is exploring every GRPS campus in the city, looking for places to turn the outdoors into an educational opportunity...

GRPS to continue virtual-only instruction for rest of semester

GRPS leaders decided to extend the district's 100 percent virtual learning model for the rest of the first semester after the Kent County Health Department announced rapidly rising COVID-19 positivity rates...

New interim director heads foundation support of K-8 student sports

An attorney with both sports and fundraising experience is the new interim director of a program that gives GRPS K-8 students a chance to play sports, regardless of ability to pay...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS