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District Hops into New School Year with Positive Message

High school biology and chemistry teacher Edward Johns has always believed his job is to help students become the "best versions of themselves." But he says training sessions offered by the district this summer have given him a new...

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...

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...

Class, Meet Gator — 972 Miles Away

An giant reptilian eye stared, unblinking, at a room full of elementary students on a recent Monday. It belonged to a juvenile alligator, in the hands of an expert on the creatures at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher,...

For These Seniors, Degrees Already in Sight

Three years ago, 25 district sophomores decided to get an early start on college. All are well on their way to graduating this fall, having already saved thousands on higher education. Enrolled in the district's Middle College program -- a...

Vietnam Vets Bring Realities of War Back Home to Students

Speaking to juniors at their alma mater, a pair of Vietnam veterans provided students both with historical perspective and a lesson more personal. Chuck Smith and Tom Hoskins told a Cedar Springs High School history class of the war's gritty...

Learning to Love Reading

After the school day ends, second-graders at Beach Elementary are still at work to become masters of the alphabet. In "super switch" groups based on reading level, they travel to other classrooms to receive extra help with reading. Most join...

Young Authors Learn from Published Ones — and Each Other

A room full of authors gathered at Cedar Springs Middle School. One was a guest speaker, author David Stricklen, and the rest were seventh-graders. Students in Amy Blauw's class have spent the past several months crafting their own page-turners through...

Building a Band Program, From Squeaks to Symphonic

If you talk to a sixth-grader or a high school senior from Kent City's band program, you will hear a similar story. For first-chair saxophonist and senior Zach Carlson, it began in elementary school during recess. "I would ask my...

Community, Consistency + Shared Expectations = Stronger Academics

A new banner meant to create a shared experience across age groups is getting educators, administrators and parents out of their seats, partnering up and modeling what their K-8 classrooms will come to look like. They're learning the ropes of...

A Friend’s Message on Suicide: ‘This is For Real’

Before the opening credits to a film about suicide, freshman Noah McGee took the stage at Cedar Springs High School to share his painful, personal experience with such tragedy. At the podium, football jersey tucked into his jeans, Noah shared...

Students Build Parting Gift: a Library

Now that they’ve built it, they hope people will come. A new Little Free Library stands near Red Hawk Elementary school, thanks to the efforts of two former students there who love reading so much they wanted to share the...

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...

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...

Painting, Dancing and Clapping Their Way Back to School

As summer vacation ends, many Cedar Trails Elementary students will be headed to school not just with new backpacks, but with classmates and teachers with whom they've already formed friendships. Kent School Services Network and Resurrection Life Church hosted a...

Career Day Aims to ‘Light a Fire’ for School and Beyond

Newspapers may be having a tough time surviving, but a lot of the district’s middle school students are into journalism. Nearly 100 of them showed up for sessions I led during a Career Day on my beleaguered profession. I was...
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