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Eli Howland, left, helps Brooke Derosia do an exercise using geometric shapes

Students Get Math by Getting Together

The first thing you notice about Andrew Smith's math class is that he isn't teaching it. Yet his students seem to be learning a lot. The Beach Elementary second-graders are scattered into half a dozen small groups, intently doing math...

Muslim Teacher Hopes to Plant ‘Seed of Understanding’

The Monday after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Sairah Ahmed went to teach her history classes at Cedar Springs High School with a heavy heart. Like her, the two terrorists were Muslim, but she felt no connection whatsoever to...

Building Strength from the Inside

Eighth-grader Gavin Spicer gave the challenge 100 percent and that is what mattered. Gavin was chosen by his classmates when Mike Benson, team captain of The Conquerors strongman team, asked for the strongest person in the room to take center...

Author to Teachers: Don’t Fear the Common Core!

Dave Stuart Jr. has a bit of advice for his colleagues when it comes to teaching the Common Core: Don’t freak out. The Cedar Springs High School English and history teacher knows whereof he speaks. Stuart has read the entire...

District Bands Together to Face Student Suicide

For district staff, the back-to-school theme is "promise" – a promise to tackle one looming problem. Losing three students to suicide in the past three years, Cedar Springs is ramping up its efforts to prevent further tragedies. Services and initiatives Cedar...

Lessons in how to handle grief take center stage at this elementary school

Staff at Cedar View Elementary find ways to help students understand and deal with grief...

This Time Last Year: From Ashes of Tragedy, Schools Brighten Family’sChristmas

Christmas was still nearly two weeks away. But judging by the excitement of Kim Fisk’s two daughters, you might think Santa had just made an early delivery to Cedar Trails Elementary School. “Mommy, lookit!” squealed Lonnitta, a kindergartener at Cedar...

Teacher Ties Lessons Together with Students’ Neckwear Choices

Of the dozens of ties hanging on his teacher’s bulletin board, Kamden Klaasen picked out one with special meaning for him: the one showing Bugs Bunny and friends playing golf. “Before my grandma died, she used to take me miniature...

Teacher Travels the World to Enrich Lessons Back Home

The lights are off. A projector screen glows with a map of Berlin with a line dividing the former East and West sectors. Shayne Dove, perched on a table near the screen, sports a neat, long beard and a graphic...

A new start for New Beginnings

New space, new options, ongoing support for students at New Beginnings High School...

New Superintendent ‘Thrilled’ to Be Back Home

Laura VanDuyn and her husband, Randy, had long wanted to return from California to their native Michigan and raise their two children here. So when she saw a job posting for a new superintendent in Cedar Springs Public Schools,...

Teaching About Religions to Foster Understanding, Respect

As students walked into Craig Beach’s darkened classroom on a recent morning, they heard the song “Wild World” by the former Cat Stevens, now the Muslim musician Yusuf Islam. A projection screen showed the Kaaba, the sacred building in...

At Home on the Range

"Zinga, zinga, zinga, zoo." "Higher ... now higher ... still higher," said vocal teacher Linda Tata. The boys repeated the melodic phrase in higher and higher tones -- and then lower and lower -- until each reached the end of his...

Poverty Persists Out in the Country, Out of Sight

Nine-year-old Marisol is doing handstands and 16-year-old Rocio makes a peanut butter sandwich as their mother describes her dreams for them. “I want them to be self-sufficient,” Flossie Bliss says of her daughters, who also include Gloria, 13, and Stephanie,...

First Day in the Life 2016

Editor’s note: This year, a quartet of School News Network reporters fanned out across Kent ISD and paired with a single person experiencing his or her first day. Below is a glimpse inside that exciting, nerve-wracking annual school ritual. Grand...

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...
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