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Issues in Education

Recent Tragedies Heighten Schools’ Concerns About Mental Health

The theater was quiet except for the rustling of popcorn bags. When the movie ended, the silence was louder. That silence was what the movie was about: not talking about mental illness because of its stigma, not hearing the sounds...

Signing for Children Opens ‘Window to Information’

Early on a Monday morning, Kari Chapin’s kindergartners sit on the floor as she leads them through lively exercises -- singing the days of the week, counting the date with pennies -- then announces they’ll soon have their 100th...

For Most Students, Achievement Reflects Income

The higher the poverty, the lower the test scores. That’s the general story of academic achievement in Kent County public schools. Further, students’ economic hardships unfairly penalize poorer school districts when it comes to statewide rankings of their performance, experts...

Building a Talent Supply Chain

West Michigan rebounded from the 2007-09 recession by exceeding job growth in the nation as a whole by 500 percent.  To continue that trend, business and education must work hand-in-hand to help students get a better understanding of the...

School Funding: What Does The Future Hold?

While the Michigan economy has, officially at least, been in recovery for more than six years, school districts are still struggling to make ends meet. But with the recovery continuing, the future should look better, right? Guess again. While the current...

A Clean Sweep: Voters in Seven Kent Districts Approve Funding Requests

Tuesday was a good day for schools and students in Kent ISD, as voters approved tax proposals in all seven districts that requested them. Residents supported requests ranging from $3.6 million to $76.1 million in Caledonia, Comstock Park, East...

Easing Fears and Teaching Respect

For many students, the election of Donald Trump as president provoked fear and uncertainty, especially in schools with large immigrant and Muslim populations. For others it was cause for celebration, though fraught with deep divisions between fellow students who...

‘If It Saves One Person’s Life’

Evan Kobayashi was an excellent student, a talented baseball player and a considerate classmate. The high school student was “a humble, fun-loving, gentle soul,” said his mother, Kelli Kobayashi. “He was very kind-hearted and always put others ahead of...

Summer Migrant Program Stimulates New Generation of Possibilities

While scores of area children can be heard frolicking in the summer sun, an all together different buzz resonates inside the district's middle school classrooms. It's the sound of migrant parents' children working out a math problem at the white...

How Hunger Hurts Learning: Schools Seek to Feed Students’ Tummies and Minds

The list of ways hunger can affect a child's health is a long one. Chronic health issues like asthma, behavioral issues like anxiety and social issues like bullying are just a part of that list. Nan Evans has seen children...

Dear Governor & Legislature: Thank You

Superintendents: they heard you. Teachers: they heard you. Parents: they heard you, too. Gov. Snyder and Grand Rapids executive John Kennedy last week joined legislators, members of the governor’s staff and Grand Rapids Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal to announce the results of...

Thank You

I'd like to take the promise of this holiday season to thank all who work with children, with adolescents and young adults to help them become the men and women who will someday lead our community and our country. There...

Helping Students Grow After Bullying Incidents

When Tarena VanDyke was accused of bullying another student, it really hurt, she said. “I’ve never seen myself as a bully,” said the Northview High School senior. “I hope I’m a nice person.” But after watching a series of videos about...

Students take action, lend voices to honor Florida school victims and plead for violence...

The number 17 served as a marker not only for moments of silence in honor of those killed, but for students’ thoughts on how to make schools safer and kinder

Student with Autism Hits Milestones Thanks to Teachers, Students

Connor Zondervan is pretty much like every other senior at Caledonia High School. He takes classes, is getting ready to graduate, and figuring out where he wants to go to college. It’s a place his parents never thought he would...

‘The Goal is to Keep Them Reading’

Second-graders Leonel Santiago and Carlos Saldana hit an exciting benchmark this fall: They started reading their first chapter books. Besides helping them learn the important time concepts of "first, next, after that and finally," said Bonnie Biggs, a retired Kent...
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