Posted on 12 April 2016.
Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:
Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.
Teaching and learning…it’s why we exist at Cedar Springs Public Schools (CSPS) and it’s why we work hard to be the best school district we can be. Our focus is on students, clear and simple. In order to focus on students, our administration, faculty and staff support each other in a collaborative manner to continue our practice of professional learning and interaction. We are engaged in an abundance of support for each other throughout our district…all in an effort to support our most cherished students.
As you know, great things are happening every day at CSPS! We are engaged with our parents, community, students and staff to provide the Board of Education with feedback for a new strategic plan. We are assessing our facilities and transportation operations to plan for the most effective and efficient practices. We are implementing a formal budget process that involves our administrators (they report how much they are enjoying the process and we’re proud of them for taking it on!). We are putting effective human resource processes and systems in place. We are continually updating our newly adopted Board policies that are now on our website. We are reforming and enhancing our business practices to plan for a bright future. We are adding a dental clinic to our medical clinic (at no cost to our district!). We are communicating with our parents and community more than ever before through our website, the Red Hawk Review, The CS Post. All this and much more is providing the “infrastructure” upon which we will continue to build this fantastic district.
All things we do, such as the aforementioned “infrastructure,” are to support teaching and learning. Let me highlight some of the fantastic things we are excited about as we support our most amazing teachers who in turn support our incredible students.
We are excited to highlight our teachers and administrators in the work they do each day for students during our on-site AdvancED accreditation review by an external team of evaluators in May! We are proud of the hard work, high expectations and outcomes we see in our classrooms and we want to share that in this rigorous process we choose to engage in every 5 years.
We are excited to witness the effective practices of Responsive Classroom® at our schools as the entire teaching and support staffs of Beach and Cedar Trails engaged in professional learning together and are establishing effective school wide practices. We are proud of our staffs for their commitment to professional learning and collaboration around Responsive Classroom®.
We are excited to see the hard work our K-5 teachers and administrators will do to select math curriculum to support our teachers and students for years to come. We look forward to the thorough process of curriculum review we have put in place to engage with publishers and to provide for high-level academic discourse between our teachers and administrators as they collaborate to select the curriculum (just as our 6-12 math teachers did last year).
We are excited to see our new Advanced Placement (AP) classes, like AP Economics, evolve due to the interest and commitment of our high school teachers and administrators.
We are excited to complete the School Improvement Plan process that involves our teachers, parents and administrators. Better yet, this year we directly aligned that process to a District Improvement Plan process that involves our parents, teachers and administrators as well. All of the intentional planning in this process helps us focus on goals at each site and as a district.
We are excited to see what our tech-inspired teachers do after attending the MACUL conference in Grand Rapids for solid professional learning and collaboration around all things technology. We were able to send about 25 teachers who will in turn provide professional learning and collaboration for our staffs next fall. We are proud of our innovative teachers!
We are excited to see the outcome of our Leverage Leadership training that all our administrators are enjoying throughout this year and next fall. The training is centered around the most effective way for administrators to engage with teachers in evaluations to help them further develop their craft. We commend our administrators for their continued interest in and growth around teaching and learning.
We are excited to engage in instructional rounds again in the coming weeks as it’s the district office and site collaboration around teaching and learning that is essential and energizing.
We are excited to see the positive results of hiring 4 counselors to support our students, teachers, and administrators. The counselors were funded through grant dollars and we now have support for our students who need counseling, behavior interventions, and other supports to remove barriers so they can focus on academics. This is a critical support to all.
We are excited to see the impact of implementing the Okay2Say program in our schools as students will have access to a confidential process to report acts of school violence, potential suicides, drugs, bullying, etc. The statistics for the program are incredible – we’ll soon take part!
We are excited to continue providing professional learning for our teachers who are asking to know more about Ruby Payne’s work on poverty and how it impacts teaching and learning.
We are excited to reap the benefits of more effective and efficient master scheduling after providing Powerschool® training for our middle and high school administrators, counselors and support staff along with offering district office support during the scheduling process.
We are excited to provide more math and reading interventionists to support our students and teachers. The interventionists are grant funded and offer small group or 1:1 targeted instruction for students in need of more support to meet academic standards.
We are excited that we used TRIG grant funds to provide new computers for our high school teachers and new computer labs for our students. We are making a concerted effort to budget for technology replacements so that all our teachers and students will have the tools they need for teaching and learning.
These are just some of the exciting ways teaching and learning is happening at CSPS. It is clear that our Board of Education, administration and staff have a clear focus on students. We extend our gratitude to our Board of Education for listening, questioning, visiting our schools in order to be well informed in their decision making and support of our efforts to improve teaching and learning for all at CSPS. Additionally, we extend our gratitude to all our parents and volunteers who partner with us in supporting our teachers and students. Together we are united in serving students, clear and simple!
Please know it is a pleasure to serve as your CSPS superintendent. I LOVE the work we do here at CSPS…it’s a passion of mine that is ever so rewarding. As you know, I maintain an open door to any and all who would like to talk. I am happy to answer questions you may have and appreciate the time you might take to seek answers on any variety of topics, such as all we are doing to support teaching and learning…because our Cedar Springs students deserve the very best!
Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.,
Superintendent of Schools
Office: 616-696-1204 ext. 1001