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A Positively Positive First Day

What is Your Dream? A big sheet of paper with a big question written in big letters and spread across 8-foot-long tables greeted high schoolers on the first day. Students' answers were full of hope, ambition, compassion and a bit...

This Track Team Gets What Winning is All About

Matt Funk saw the members of his boys track team whispering back and forth before the 100-meter race at the district's meet and wondered what the heck was going on. The starter gun fired, and the runners took off....

Uncle in Navy Surprises Student to Thank Her

Allie Wilbur knew she was getting an award at the monthly Page Elementary character assembly, but what she didn't know was that her Uncle Jeff Wilbur was going to be home from Afghanistan to give it to her. "I didn't...

Community’s farm history celebrated with annual road trip

As part of a long-time tradition, the district’s annual spring week includes “Farmer Day” to note the importance of agriculture to the area...

‘You’re Doing Good’ Notes Pack a Lot in a Backpack

Simple notes tucked inside school lunches may seem too small to matter. But they have the power to put a smile on a child's face, get students through a tough day, motivate them to do well and warm up...

‘Weeees’ Sure Are Fun, but Business is Hard

A woodshop project can be much more than making something out of wood. A recent enterprise by three students taught them a business lesson in collaboration, marketing and, as it turned out, giving. Thornapple Kellogg wood production class students were...

Dear Congressman: Love the Beard, But Not the System

Everyone complains about politics -- even seniors in high school. Shepherd Trickle, a student in Thornapple Kellogg's government class taught by Jerry Robinson, is one of them. "There could be better people, and they could be doing things better," he...

Therapeutic Riding Builds Students’ Self Esteem

On the first day of school, several students at Thornapple Kellogg McFall and Page elementaries had one question for teacher Jill Pilecki: "When are we going to go horseback riding at Camp Manitou-Lin?" "They absolutely love it and count down...

Clothes Pins, Hot Glue and Elmo

District staff across Kent ISD busied themselves in the weeks and days leading up to today, readying their buildings and classrooms for students. Lowell Martha Hayden worked quietly but quickly to get her second-grade classroom at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell set...

“Typical Kid” with Movie Credits, Agents and a Screen Actors Guild Card

By most accounts, Derek Brandon is a typical kid of 15. He's a freshman at Thornapple Kellogg High School. He's growing out of his clothes, sports just a hint of acne, and likes to swim and play basketball. His mother Shannon...

Students Advise Superintendent on School Culture, Needs

It's not often students get invited to lunch with the superintendent, and that they get a chance to ask about anything at school, but it happens frequently at Thornapple Kellogg schools. Superintendent Tom Enslen has been periodically meeting with small...

Teachers help teachers take it to the next level at Van Andel Education Institute

Mastermind is a group of West Michigan teachers, principals, social workers and other educators who have met monthly at Van Andel Education Institute this school year, working together to overcome challenges common to many of them

Want to Boost Reading Comprehension? Make it a Contest

Sure, students can read a bunch of books to get principals to shave their heads, kiss a pig, eat insects and jump out of planes -- but can they remember what they read? Reading comprehension was the goal of the...

Showing Respect for Community’s Veterans

School districts across Kent ISD marked Veterans Day in ways big and small on Wednesday. Here’s a sample of how a few schools honored those who have served and are serving in the U.S. armed forces. Forest Hills Public Schools Pine...

Students Step Up to Clean Up

After the homecoming celebration at Thornapple Kellogg, the football stadium needed a major clean-up. State soccer finals would take place at the stadium the next weekend, but there wasn't much time or money to make it presentable. To the rescue...

From Schoolyard Garden to School Plate

At the middle school, a learning garden designed by resource room teacher Amy Forman hums along with flat-leaf parsley, Thai basil and burpless cucumber, which is a nearly seedless, sweeter and thinner-skinned variety than typical supermarket cukes. That's one of...

Dear Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

Editor's note: Following is Katie Marentette's letter to Leo Tolstoy, for which she won the state award for the Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest. My dad adores bookstores. He could spend hours nursing a cup of coffee and...
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