District showcases its ‘great things’ in visit from MDE

The visit took place during an award ceremony at New Beginnings High School, where these students were given certificates: Back row, left to right: James Myers, Matthew Cartwright, Marcus Rivas, Monique Rosas, Kaleb Gordon, Cole Guarisco Front row, left to right: Benjamin Batchelder, Dan Cole Jr, Jamie Whipple, Gloria Bliss-Ramos, Bailey Rocafort, Hannah Burnett, Jacob Scott

What does education look like in Cedar Springs? That’s what a representative from the Michigan Department of Education recently came to find out.

Martin Ackley, director of the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs, visited Cedar Springs in May to “see the great things being done in the district,” said Superintendent Scott Smith. The visit was part of MDE Leadership Team’s efforts to visit five local districts or child care centers during the school year.

Beach Elementary was also part of the tour with MDE representative Martin Ackley

Ackley said the purpose of the visits were to “highlight and celebrate” the great things happening in education across the state and to “find out what MDE can do for students and school districts throughout the state.”

The visit included the Cherry Health Center, which Smith said is unique in student support services. “I believe we are one of few that offers an on-site health center and transportation to and from for our students if needed,” he said.

The district also has a robust mental health service team that employs counselors, a licensed psychologist and child life specialists. “We are thrilled with the trickle-down effect,” Smith said. “Other districts have contacted us and are considering adding one (child life specialist) as well.”

A stop at Beach Elementary included a look at the the I-Ready program, designed to provide diagnostics, activities and inspiration to early readers.

Also on the tour:

  • Cedar Trails Elementary, to see the youngest district learners in an elementary science classroom with new hands-on standards,
  • a look at the middle college program, which offers high school students a free associate degree through a five-year program,
  • New Beginnings alternative high school, which hosted an awards ceremony during the visit

Photos courtesy Cedar Springs High School

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio

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