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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...

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...

Writing Workshop Teaches Love of Words

Nicholas Wentworth was stuck. He wanted to write about his fish tank but didn’t know how to start it. His classmate Kaleb Harper came over to help. “You’re writing about fish, right?” Kaleb asked Nicholas. “Do you know what the...

New School-Based Health Clinic Serves Cedar Springs Students

Cedar Springs has long been an area under-served for students’ medical and dental needs. No more. The Cedar Springs School Health Center opened this spring in Red Hawk Elementary School. Affiliated with Cherry Health, the clinic offers an array of medical...

Six Teachers Seek National Board Credentials

Big names in teaching in Kent County – Michigan Teachers of the Year for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 – have joined forces to share the best ways to engage students and get them to achieve at high levels. A cohort of...

Car Crash Couldn’t Stop Him from Walking – or Marching

Editor's Note: This is the first of a series about students who have had to overcome unusual challenges and hardships to graduate this spring. Kaleb Robinson loves to play drums in the Cedar Springs High School marching band. But after...

Community Welcomes Refugee Family Home

Max Ceymoy stood with his family by his side in the living room of their new home and quietly thanked those who had made it possible. He spoke of the family’s arrival in the U.S. seven years ago after fleeing...

Making STEM a Team Sport

You could tell the sixth-graders gathered in the Red Hawk Elementary cafeteria know there's excitement ahead, but since this was just the second meeting of the new robotics team, they were just learning the rules to the upcoming challenge. A...

Students’ ‘Giving Hearts’ Help Needy Families

Some families at Beach Elementary School have needs of their own, but that didn’t stop them from helping out others for Thanksgiving. Students and their parents raised $1,900 in a week-long “Coins for Turkeys” fund drive to support Thanksgiving...
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