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Girls Talk program gives back to school, younger students

7th Graders (left to right) Willow Sidlauskas, Sophyna Ross help clean and change out seasonal clothes at the Alpha Women’s Center in Cedar Springs.

7th Graders (left to right) Willow Sidlauskas, Sophyna Ross help clean and change out seasonal clothes at the Alpha Women’s Center in Cedar Springs.

Creative Technologies Academy’s Girl Talk is an after school mentoring program in which high school girls mentor middle school girls.

The group meets 2-3 times per month after school and have activities that foster discussion of topics that impact the everyday lives of these girls – all of which is coached and moderated by the middle school math teacher, Ms. Liscombe.

Some topics covered include: being a good friend, being true to yourself, “Downplay the Drama”, positive body image, and many more!

Autumn Shelagowski (11th grade), Destiny Batchelder (8th grade), Ashley Shelagowski (8th grade) work in library.

Autumn Shelagowski (11th grade), Destiny Batchelder (8th grade), Ashley Shelagowski (8th grade) work in library.

They also participate in various service projects throughout the school year to give back to the local community.

For the past two years, they have participated in service projects for the Alpha Family Center and the Cedar Springs Library. At Alpha, they have done a variety of activities including: changing out seasonal clothing, cleaning and organizing, and stuffing envelopes.

At the Library, the group has helped clean and reorganize book shelves.

Cleaning and reorganizing aren’t always the most exciting tasks for teenagers, but the girls are able to build teamwork and cooperation skills in a fun way by giving back to their own community.

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Bringing physics to life with computer coding

“Pong” game in progress, which was coded by high school students in their Physics class.

“Pong” game in progress, which was coded by high school students in their Physics class.

Many teachers at CTA, including high school teachers Ms. Davison (math) and Mr. Fredenburg (science), opted to incorporate the Hour of Code into their classes in December.

Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify computer coding and demonstrate that anybody can learn the basics of coding.

Using a program called “Scratch,” seniors Josh Davidson and Keegan Shears designed a pong game and used the Makey Makey hardware to design a controller to play the game in their physics class.

Seniors Keegan Shears (L) and Josh Davidson (R) with their Pong game controller made out of a yard stick and circuits.

Seniors Keegan Shears (L) and Josh Davidson (R) with their Pong game controller made out of a yard stick and circuits.

They tied it into the Circuits and Electronics unit they were studying and where they learned how to interface the game using various circuits and electronics with a wooden yardstick as the base. The project follows the newly adopted next generation science standards in engineering design. Davidson and Shears currently have a working model and have additional phases planned to test and review their prototype to make improvements and redesigns.

Other student projects included a Dance Dance Revolution-type game, Firefly Sparts and a working model airplane. Each project presented its own unique challenges for the students to work through.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. This provided students with the opportunity to learn computer science, nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity to build a foundation for success in any 21st century career path.

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Coin Wars for Toys for Tots

8th grade students Zoe Lehman, Cameron Almy and Luke Hubbard with one of the filled coin war tubs.

8th grade students Zoe Lehman, Cameron Almy and Luke Hubbard with one of the filled coin war tubs.

CTA elementary and middle school have participated in a coin drive competition for charity for the past four years. Each year they like to mix things up to boost energy towards giving and this year was no different and the high school building joined in to make it a whole-school event. The hallways at CTA during the first two weeks of December were LOUD and JOYOUS! Lots of “We bombed you!” and “Not again!” phrases were heard from teachers and students alike. The entire school community seemed to get into the fun of the event. At the end of the two week period, all coins were counted and the winners of this year’s coin drive were the 8th graders with a grand total of positive $43.49! The class with the lowest amount of “positive” funds were the Kindergarteners with a WHOOPING GRAND TOTAL of negative $58.33. For the Coin War, pennies count as “positive” and silver coins and dollars counted as “negative” to come up each class total. For instance, if a class had 100 pennies and a dollar bill in their class tote, it was a wash and made their total zero, but they still had $2.00 to contribute.

During the coin drive week, CTA also held a Toys for Tots campaign and it was decided that the funds raised through the Coin Wars would be donated to Toys for Tots. Not only did students bring in money for the coin drive competition, they also brought in new toys to be delivered to children for Christmas! When all totals were tabulated, CTA raised almost $700 for the Toys for Tots campaign!

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Chargers team starts strong

 

The Creative Technologies Academy boys’ basketball team came into Friday night’s game against West Michigan Aviation with something to prove, as they had lost to Aviation’s JV team last year. This time, they played the varsity, and the Chargers were focused and came to play their best.

At the half, CTA was tied with Aviation, in a tight, back-and-forth affair. “I felt like we did a great job against the full court press in the first half,” said Coach Scott Bultman.

The Aviators built a ten-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Chargers held their own throughout the fourth quarter, but couldn’t make up the gap from the third quarter. The final score was 50-39. Sophomores Dawson Armstrong and James Hofstra led the Chargers in scoring with 17 and 12 points, respectively.

CTA is off for the rest of the week, with their next games coming against West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science on Tuesday, the 19th.

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Santa’s Shop a great success! 

 

The CTA Parent Association organized a Santa Shop in December with many gifts that were handmade and donated by CTA families. The Santa Shop provided an opportunity to CTA elementary and middle school students to shop for gifts for their family and friends.  From handmade candles, bath salts, dish towels to coffee cozies and hand warmers, there was a wide range of gifts for the children to select from. Volunteer parents also helped the children wrap the gifts when they were done shopping.  The Parent Association raised $750 to support student activities throughout the school year.  Thank you to all our families that helped with the gifts and helped the children shop throughout the day!

 

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‘Thank You’ to the CTA Board of Directors

January is School Board of Directors Appreciation Month and Creative Technologies Academy would like to recognize its board members for their commitment to changing our world by guiding us as we develop students with character, scholarship and leadership traits.They volunteer countless hours to serve the school and its students.

Thank you Andrew Willis, Stephen Phelps, Michael Tawney, Shane Courbier, Eugene Burley, Wallace Murphy and Shasta Gross for your commitment to education and the success of CTA!

 

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CTA Calendar

 

January

15 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.

19 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. WMAES 5:30-9:00 p.m.

21 Girl Talk 3-4:00 p.m.

22 CTA Spelling Bee

23 Boys (9:00 a.m.) & Girls (10:30 a.m.
Basketball vs.Big Rapids at Rockford Freshman Center

25-28 HS Student-Led Conferences 3-6:00 p.m.

26 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. Algoma Christian 5:30-9:00 p.m.

27 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. WMLS 5:30-9:00 p.m.

29 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.

Popcorn Day

29 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. WMAA 5:30-9:00 p.m.

February

2 NHS Meeting

3 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. Grand Rapids Grizzlies 5:30-9:00 p.m.

4 Girl Talk 3-4:00 p.m.

12 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.

12 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. Grattan at Grace Bible College 5:30-9:00 p.m.

15-16 No School for Mid-Winter Break

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Dedicated & Talented Middle School Art Student

Eilena Lopez shows off some of her artwork.

Eilena Lopez shows off some of her artwork.

Jennifer Swift, Art Teacher

I would like to take the time to celebrate an extraordinarily talented artist at Cedar Springs Middle School.

Eilena Lopez is an eighth grader who consistently demonstrates dedication, perseverance, the ability to think outside the box, and the artistic skills to create incredibly unique works of art.  She typically takes on more than the project requires, doing multiple projects, adding intense details, and even working from home.  She is thoughtful and reflective in every project and a great inspiration to her fellow classmates.

CSPS-Art2Eilena is skilled in a variety of art mediums, but her passion is drawing with value.  Eilena’s work will be on display at the administration office if you have a chance to see her work in person.  The attention in detail in her portraits is absolutely stunning!  I feel so very grateful to get to work with such an incredible person and artist every day.  Cedar Springs is very lucky to have Eilena here!

CSPS-Art3

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From the Superintendent’s Desk

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Dear Cedar Springs Public School Families:

Happy New Year 2016!  We are so happy to have our schools teeming, once again, with our students, staff and families.  It is my hope you enjoyed a restful vacation from school and that you are ready to take on all the excitement this new year brings.

As we know, there will be challenges and celebrations throughout 2016.  Our positive perspective on what is ahead will lead us to continued growth and development at CSPS.  Please join me in embracing each challenge we may face in 2016 as we know it’s how we learn, grow and thrive. We’ll have many celebrations as we work together and witness the greatness our kids and staff will achieve in 2016.  I know we have some seniors already considering a celebration as the magic “2016” is the year they have been waiting for a long time!  Hold off on that seniors…you still have a lot of work to do!

As we kick off 2016 I want to thank a committed group of people who keep this district so strong…our PTO.  I have witnessed the incredible number of hours this group of parents dedicates to all our schools.  I have learned about the countless things they do to raise funds and support our needs and wants. Just to name a few:  they pay for and build playgrounds;  they provide meals and support to our staff during conferences; they ensure Santa Claus and cookies are a part of the fun at Cedar Trails; they organize and run our book fairs and supply our teachers with many books for their classrooms; they host ice cream socials to build community; they supply books for and help run our libraries; they cheer on all our kids as they walk the track for our annual PTO fundraiser.  Our CSPS PTO seeks to serve and they do so with a smile and great cheer knowing that they are building community at Cedar Springs.  Thank you, PTO, and Happy New Year to all of you from all of us at CSPS!

We have many exciting things happening as we enter 2016.  One of which is strategic planning.  If you are interested in providing feedback for that process, please let me know as we would love to have your input.  There are parent and community group meetings to be held in February in order to provide the Board of Education with input to help them establish the vision (where we want to go), mission (why we are doing what we are doing) and core values (how we are going to go about it) of our school distict.  Our CSPS Board of Education values all constituent group feedback and looks forward to setting the vision of the district for future progress for all.

It’s great to be back!  Together, let’s make 2016 the best year ever!

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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January is National Board of Education Recognition Month

CSPS-super-heroes

Our school board members dedicate countless hours to our schools and community.  The seven members of the Cedar Springs Board of Education do this by always keeping children as the center of their work and decision making.

The district is planning to honor the Cedar Springs Board of Education members on the next Regular Board Meeting, January 11, 2016 – 6:45pm Hilltop Community Building, 3rd Floor Board Room.   Please join our entire CSPS staff in thanking our dedicated Board members.

Board members include Patricia Eary – President, Matt Shoffner – Vice President, Brook Nichols – Secretary, Michelle Bayink – Treasurer, Jeff Gust – Trustee, Joe Marckini – Trustee, and Shannon Vanderhyde – Trustee.

Thank you Cedar Springs Board of Education!

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