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Archive | Cedar Springs Public Schools

School board bits

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education heard several presentations Monday evening, February 26, and heard from several people during the public comment time. We will cover a few of them here and continue next week.

Reading Now Network

The board heard from Dr. Barb Johnson and several teachers about the success of the Reading Now Network program and the implementation of the I-ready program. According to Johnson, several years ago reading scores in Michigan were falling. So two to three years ago, Kent County Superintendents looked at 14 schools that were doing well in reading. They narrowed the list down to five, then looked for the threads that were common in all the districts that helped them do well. They then joined with other districts and got a $12.5 million grant from the Michigan Department of Education in November. 

All the children now have chrome books and are working on the I-ready program. Most are required to read 45 minutes daily on it during the school day. And there are fun games to help assess how they are doing. Since using the I-ready program, reading scores in most all elementary grades have improved greatly from last fall to this January. You can see the entire presentation on the board meeting video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ADR-JOiEwo&feature=youtu.be.

Public Comments

The board heard comments from several people Monday evening. The heard first from Tami Elliston, who said she’s had children in CSPS for 12 years. She said she has waited for three long years for the board members to act on multiple complaints from community members, current and former staff members, students, and other board members regarding Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. Elliston spoke about a recent issue of between the school and The Post regarding distribution on the school campus and the school page no longer appearing in the Post. (It’s now in the Advance.) She also mentioned that the Post binds all the papers into a book each year, and presents it to the Cedar Springs Historical Society, and now those school pages will no longer be a part of Cedar Springs history.

Elliston asked why the Hilltop admin building was given a secure entrance before buildings that house students. She also brought up the manner in which an investigation against a teacher was recently conducted. She asked the board to remove the Superintendent before she causes anymore damage to the community.

Teacher Virginia Valentine expressed concern about the lack of a Dean of Students, and there only being one principal for 1,000 students when one of the two are gone.

Katy Austin, of Solon Township asked the board to hold a no confidence vote on the superintendent. She reminded them who they work for, and who they serve—the public. She said that when Dr. VanDuyn was hired, she (Katy) was excited, but the change has went 180 degrees in the other direction. She noted that educators are leaving, and the ones that stay are afraid to speak up for fear of repercussions. “I’m here to give a voice to the voiceless. There is something wrong and it is your job to make it right. It isn’t a witch hunt or a good old boys club being bitter that their guy didn’t get the job. It is me pleading with you to do something! Even if only 10 percent of what I said is true it’s enough to finally take action,” she said.

Band Director Adam Borst shared about the band trip to Disney World.

Sue Wolfe asked about what they were changing in the board operating procedures, and asked a question about the data on the citizen survey.

You can see the entire board meeting video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ADR-JOiEwo& feature=youtu.be.

Next week: Citizen Survey

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, NewsComments (0)

School saves taxpayers $368,000

 

That’s over $3.5 million the last three years

The Cedar Springs Public School district took advantage of a low interest rate and refinanced a portion of their outstanding 2008 refunding bonds, saving taxpayers over $368,000 over the next six years. 

The 2018 refunding bonds were sold in the amount of $6,415,000, at a true interest rate of 2.015 percent with a final maturity in 2024.

In preparing to sell the 2018 Refunding Bonds, the School District, working with their financial advisor, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, requested that S&P Global Ratings, acting through Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) evaluate the School District’s credit quality. S&P assigned the School District the outstanding underlying rating of “A+.” The rating agency cited the School District’s stable enrollment trend, strong reserves and moderate debt in their rationale for rating of the School District at this level.

“I’m so thrilled that for the third year in a row we were able to refund bonds and save the taxpayers of Cedar Springs an additional $368,000 over the next six years!” said Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent. “When added to the savings of $680,000 in 2017 and $2.5 million from the 2016 refunding, that’s over $3.5 million dollars in total savings for the taxpayers of Cedar Springs.”

The School District’s financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, PFM Financial Advisors LLC and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.

Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel stated, “Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Bonds were well received by the bond market. We were able to take advantage of current interest rates that met the goals of the District and resulted in a nice savings that will be passed on to the District’s Taxpayers.”

According to Mike Gresen, with Thrun Law Firm, P.C., the school district currently has six outstanding bonds, and after May, there will only be five left to pay off. He told the Board of Education Monday evening that with interest rates going back up, he didn’t see any other opportunities in the future to refund any of the remaining bonds. “You have reduced what you can for your taxpayers,” he said.

The 2008 refunding bonds were sold for the purpose of refinancing the outstanding 1998 refunding bonds, which they sold for building projects. At the time, they went from a rate of 4.98 percent to 3.74 percent, with a prediction to save taxpayers $2.5 million over 16 years (until 2024). 

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FFA teacher receives honorary degree

State FFA advisor Mark Forbush (left) with Cedar Springs FFA advisor Larry Reyburn. Photo from Cedar Springs FFA Facebook page.

Cedar Springs High School teacher Mr. Larry Reyburn, advisor for the Cedar Springs FFA, received his Honorary American FFA degree on Wednesday, February 7. He was one of 59 recipients chosen in 2017 to receive the degree from the National FFA Organization, and the only person in Michigan. Usually this award is received at national convention, but state FFA advisor Mark Forbush made a special trip to deliver it personally. Congratulations, Mr. Reyburn.

In other FFA news, the Cedar Springs FFA will hold a fundraiser at Tractor Supply Company on Saturday. Stop by for baked goods, meat sticks, and homemade maple syrup. The store is located on the corner of 17 Mile and White Creek Avenue. 

Also this month, Tractor Supply Company stores in MI will collect donations during National FFA Week to support grants for FFA chapters in their community.

Coinciding with National FFA Week (Feb. 17-24), Tractor Supply customers can donate $1 or more at checkout Feb. 16-25 while shopping in-store, online at www.tractorsupply.com or by calling Customer Solutions at (877) 718-6750. Donations will fund the national Grants for Growing program, supporting FFA chapters in MI that are making a difference in their communities through unique and sustainable agricultural projects. The program is coordinated through a partnership with the National FFA Foundation and Tractor Supply, the country’s largest rural lifestyle retailer. 

“Through the generosity and assistance of our customers and team members, we are honored to support local FFA chapters across the country through our Grants for Growing program,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “This initiative not only allows us to invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders, but also the future of agricultural education.”
Since its start in 2016, Grants for Growing has raised more than $1.4 million for the National FFA Organization. The initiative has funded a total of 692 grants supporting projects involving more than 69,000 students. 

Earlier this year, FFA chapters submitted applications detailing how they will start or expand on a project that will benefit their communities as well as both current and future FFA students. Funds have been requested to purchase vegetation, trees, seed, chickens, feed, mulch and tools for projects ranging from greenhouses to aquaculture labs. 

Grants, awarded to winning FFA chapter initiatives in the spring, have a minimum value of $500 and a maximum value of $5,000. All donations remain within the state in which they were raised. 

For more details about the program, visit www.ffa.org/grantsforgrowing

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, Featured, NewsComments (0)

Incoming freshmen orientation

 

The class of 2022 will step into the world of high school and experience freshmen orientation next Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., at Cedar Springs High School.

Incoming Freshmen Orientation is the only corporate opportunity for students and their parents to learn about the Michigan Merit Curriculum and receive the CSHS Course Curriculum Guide, walk through the PowerSchool enrollment process, and get general questions about high school answered. 

This meeting is designed to provide parents with information they will need to ensure their child’s success in high school and beyond. 

Highlights include:

  • Review Graduation Requirements 
  • Gain an understanding of course offerings/sequence/credit requirements 
  • Develop a 4-Year Course Plan 
  • Outline PowerSchool Enrollment Process 
  • Discuss World Language Requirement 
  • Advanced Placement Course Information 
  • Dual Enrollment Requirements 
  • Tech 21 Academy Opportunity 
  • Kent Career Technical Center (KCTC) & Kent Transition Center (KTC) 
  • College Board Information 
  • Highlight Athletic Requirements and Sports offered 
  • Identify Student Organizations and Clubs 

The event will take place in the Cedar Springs High School auditorium, 204 E. Muskegon, at 7 p.m.

Questions? Call 616-696-1200 or email: rebecca.kooi@csredhawks.org (Student Last Name A-K) orshelley.pero@csredhawks.org (Student Last Name L-Z). 

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Lloyd VanDuyn Shares His Talents to Support the Cedar Springs Tradition of the Red Flannel Festival

 

On October 7, 2017, the Red Flannel Festival (RFF) celebrated its 78th year as our hometown tradition and landmark event for Cedar Springs. What a proud tradition we have that shows our community support for fun loving times together to highlight and celebrate this great city.

Lloyd VanDuyn, a local Grand Rapids artist, has been sharing his artistic talents with the RFF.  Lloyd is the artist who designed the 2016 and 2017 RFF logo.  This year the theme was “Rockin Round the Clock” and the logo he created was just perfect to spread the excitement of the theme on pins, magazines, TV commercials, mugs, shirts and more! 

Lloyd was born in the Midwest, raised in Michigan, and describes his path in professional artistry as a latecomer to the art world. From his late introduction to the arts, to his 28 years as a graphics artist in the sign business, to his current interest in pencil renderings (which can be viewed on Instagram as coolsigner or lloyd van duyn), he continues to enjoy being involved in artistic endeavors. 

For several years Lloyd has been a volunteer in the Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition. He has also volunteered his time and talent to assist in the judging of the recently held Red Flannel Festival Art Reviews. He states, “The level of talent in the RFF Art Reviews was impressive and I would like to see that competition take place again at future Red Flannel Festivals.” Lloyd also dedicated his time and interest to judging the RFF car show.  He has an interest in cars as some of his past work as an artist included hand lettering and vinyl graphics on race cars for professional drivers at the Berlin Raceway, as well as on snowmobiles and modified pulling tractors!  In addition to those interests and volunteerism in Cedar Springs, Lloyd helped bring a model train show to the RFF in 2016 as he builds trains and designs spectacularly detailed layouts. 

Lloyd has a great interest and investment in Cedar Springs, as he and his family have been a part of Cedar Springs for decades.  His wife of 54 years, Karen VanDuyn, spent her childhood in Cedar Springs visiting her grandmother and grandfather, Roy and Elizabeth (Libby) Reynolds who lived at 14 Mile Road and Myers Lake Road. Lloyd, Karen and their sons have fond memories of coming to Cedar Springs to the Reynolds farm.  Karen has historic memories of shopping on Main Street.  The VanDuyn family always loved attending the RFF and watching Randy compete in the marching band competition at Skinner Field and then carry the big bass drum in the RFF parade!  Additionally, Lloyd’s sister and her family and grandchildren reside in Cedar Springs – furthering the VanDuyn connections to the great community of Cedar Springs.

Lloyd is most proud of the Red Flannel Festival President, his son Randy VanDuyn, and his daughter-in-law, Laura VanDuyn, the Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools.  While any parent would be proud in this situation, he feels that it is incumbent upon members of his generation to provide support to worthwhile community activities.  Since the VanDuyns are involved in such important leadership of the Cedar Springs community, Lloyd says, “It is even more worthwhile of his support and involvement wherever possible.”

Lloyd and his family take great pleasure in being an integral part of the Cedar Springs community where they devote much of their lives to serving in many capacities.  It has been an honor for the RFF and Cedar Springs to have a local artist and volunteer such as Lloyd VanDuyn.  Thank you for sharing your talents with the RFF, Lloyd!

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Got School Breakfast?

 

Does your child miss breakfast– no time or simply isn’t hungry first thing in the morning?

Here’s a solution: School Breakfast!

School breakfast provides 1/4 of your child’s daily nutrition needs and research shows breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Breakfast at school is affordable, too. It’s available for all students and if you qualify for free or reduced price lunch, you also qualify for the free or reduced price breakfast.

Encourage your child to join us every day for school breakfast.

Cedar Springs Public Schools

Elementary School Price: $1.40

Middle School Price: $1.50

High School Price: $1.50

Free and Reduced Price for Families Who Qualify: $0.00-$0.30

Times Served: 7:10 a.m. & 8:30 a.m.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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From the Superintendent…

Laura VanDuyn

Dear CSPS Colleagues and Families:

What a day we have to continue the celebrations of our fantastic district.  The great news continues all around us…here are 3 highlights:

1. Our Cedar Springs Middle School students, staff and families raised nearly $12,000.00 in their September walk-a-thon!  Furthermore, our Cedar Springs Middle School students and staff collected nearly 1200 pairs of socks in “Socktober” to provide for students in need and for North Kent Connect!  AMAZING CONTRIBUTIONS AND LEADERSHIP BY OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL – THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HARD WORK AND GIVING HEARTS!

2.  Thank you, Jo Spry, Assistant Superintendent, for applying for and being awarded the Additional Instructional Time and Interventions grant from the Michigan Department of Education.  This grant was earned by Ms. Spry for the 2nd consecutive year and will bring $48,090.00 to our district again this year! The funds will be used to continue our work toward our CSPS academic and technology goals.  All monies will support our staff and students as they work so very hard to ensure our students are reading at grade level by 3rd grade.  There will be purchases for phonics and reading instructional resources for our teachers at Cedar Trails and Beach Elementary Schools.  Additionally, 151 new chrome books and 4 chrome book carts will be purchased.  This will t​ake Beach​ to a 2 to 1 student to computer ratio!  Way to serve our CSPS students and staff, Ms. Spry! 

3.  Congratulations to our Athletic Director, John Norton, who brought a new idea of a district and community-wide pep rally to Cedar Springs.  Mr. Norton wanted to have our entire community celebrate the many successes of our students, staff and coaches in sports and band.  The feedback on the event has been SUPER POSITIVE.  Here is some feedback from staff about the event:  

I have to say last night was one of the coolest, most uplifting events I’ve ever been to in Cedar Springs!! 

Dear John, I want to take a minute to tell you how great the pep rally was last night. I have never attended such a celebration…it was a true celebration of the district, the teams and the spirit of community. It was well put together, well facilitated and felt awesome to be part of the crowd. You did a great job incorporating all involved and keeping it moving! I got goose bumps many times…it was really special. You should be so proud of the changes and accomplishments that you have made in your short time here! It is an awesome time to be a Red Hawk. #whynotus Thank you for doing this for us.

Thank you for being an amazing A.D., John!  Trey Reed and Justin Harnden – THANK YOU for your team efforts and ever present school spirit to make the event one to be remembered by all.  Thank you to all students, staff, families and community members who were able to attend and celebrate CSPS success!

Best to all!

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Cedar Springs Public Schools

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Scholar Instrumentalist of the Month for October is Jenna Alcumbrack

 

 Jenna is a junior who has been in band for five years. Within this time she has participated in two years of marching band; one of which she marched Mellophone and the other being a Drum Major. Jenna is in her second year of being Drum Major and plays 4 different instruments: French Horn, Mellophone, Flugelhorn, and Trumpet. She has also experienced one year of Symphonic Band and one year of Wind Ensemble.

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September Student Athletes of the Month;

 

Carolanne Merlington, Junior, Cross Country

Emily Pierson, Junior, Sideline Cheerleading

Jacob Outwin, Senior, Boys’ Soccer

Courtney Pienta, Junior, Girls’ Golf

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, SportsComments (0)

Thanksgiving Break – 

 

No School Wednesday, November 22 through Monday, November 27.  Students returning on Tuesday, November 28

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