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Janice Holst

Janice Holst
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Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. Recently retired from a fulltime staff position with MLive, 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

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...

MySchool@Kent students overcome obstacles to get to graduation

Students choose online high school for a variety of reasons. Here, a few of this year’s graduates reflect...

‘Awesomely different’

Local mom’s mission is to make sure students understand being different is just fine...

Family and friends pushed her to excel, grad says

To some, using a wheelchair might mean marching band was out, but not for Sarah Abma...

Financial aid guru has been district go-to for decades

Figuring out how to pay for college presents a number of challenges, and filling out financial aid forms is often the most difficult. But Jordon wasn’t worried...

Annual contest keeps veterans in students’ minds

“It seemed like a perfect fit to get our young students involved and thinking about those who came long before them and sacrificed their lives for us today”...

Book café gives students a taste of new reading

Students were encouraged to widen their choice of genres, thanks to a menu of books served on silver platters...

Determined grad finds her way from life-altering earthquake to success

Coming to U.S. from Haiti just two years ago, Roodflore Winkels has accomplished much and is reaching for new heights...

Voters in Kent City, Godfrey-Lee approve funding requests

The Kent City and Godfrey-Lee school districts won funding requests on the Tuesday, May 8 ballot by comfortable margins...
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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...
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