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Janice Holst

Janice Holst
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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

District adds child life specialist to robust mental health team

Cedar Springs mental health team grows with specialists trained to teach children how to process feelings before taking action...

Drones have students flying high

Learning about and operating drones is just one of the newest technologies used in summer and after-school programming for students from migrating families...

Laughter, gratitude, memories and art featured at reunion with retired art teacher

A retired Sparta art teacher hosts a reunion for reminiscing and allowing former students to pick up artwork she has saved through the years...

Blogger/teacher writes book to encourage educators to stay in field

Cedar Springs world history teacher finds some balance and shares strategies he uses in his ninth-grade classroom...

First-graders try on new donated backpacks

Officials from AT&T were on hand to distribute over 200 backpacks to Sparta district students...

Red carpet party rewards reading

Elementary students read all summer for chance to celebrate with VIP treatment when they return to school in the fall

Family man with a mega-resume settles in as principal

Brian Balding is the new Cedar Springs Middle School principal. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet the Principal...

New Sparta superintendent: ‘Put me in, coach, I am ready to play’

The first question Pete Bush was asked by the student panel during the superintendent interview process was how he would decide on closing school for snow days. That, he said, is an important question, because it deals with school safety...

Stress test: students speak their minds on the M-STEP

Rather than go back to the same hand-wringing sources about M-STEP scores, we decided to ask the people most directly affected by these tests: the students who take them...

New superintendent aims to be “positive influence” throughout district

Smith has been in education for 25 years — as a teacher, a principal or in other administration roles. “That collection of experience prepared me for this opportunity in Cedar Springs” he said...

At summer camp, teacher and her family get to know students outside class

In her 12 years working with the district, Shelly Alvarez has taught kindergarten, first, second and fifth grades -- and she’s been to summer camp with many of her students...

Don’t want to lose your smartness? Catch Books on the Run

Books on the Run, in its third year in Sparta, makes 20-minute stops throughout the district’s community every two weeks. Other stops this year included the Ida Red Apartments, Sparta Townhouses, Glenwood Estates and Dietrich Farms...

Hudsonville’s Scott Smith to become new Cedar Springs Superintendent

After narrowing the candidate field to one, the Board of Education voted unanimously to extend the offer to Smith, who has been serving as Assistant Superintendent for Hudsonville Public Schools...

Dealing with effects of e-cigarettes on school agenda

With incidents of vaping on school grounds on the rise, school officials are stepping up efforts to get information to students...

Retiring Superintendent Gordie Nickels moving from district duties to his family, church

Superintendent Gordie Nickels will move on from Sparta at the end of June, having announced his retirement in April. The school board has hired Pete Bush of Coloma Community Schools as his successor...

New schools chief seen as ‘incredible fit’ for district

Pete Bush, who has served the last four years as superintendent of Coloma Community Schools, will replace retiring Sparta Superintendent Gordie Nickels...
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District adds child life specialist to robust mental health team

Cedar Springs mental health team grows with specialists trained to teach children how to process feelings before taking action...

Drones have students flying high

Learning about and operating drones is just one of the newest technologies used in summer and after-school programming for students from migrating families...

Laughter, gratitude, memories and art featured at reunion with retired art teacher

A retired Sparta art teacher hosts a reunion for reminiscing and allowing former students to pick up artwork she has saved through the years...
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