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Hard Work leads to Sledding Party

Kindergarten and first grade students enjoy sledding as a reward for meeting their reading goals.

Kindergarten and first grade students enjoy sledding as a reward for meeting their reading goals.

The elementary students were able to enjoy some winter fun before the snow melted!

The kindergartners and first graders earned a sledding party because they have worked so hard to meet their reading goals this year. Mrs. Bialkowski, the first grade teacher, and Miss Bostic, the kindergarten teacher, wanted to celebrate their students’ successes!

What better way to celebrate in the winter than with a sledding party followed by hot cocoa and a special treat!

“It was a blast seeing the excitement from these little ones and knowing that all this happened because they had been working so hard in the classroom,” said Miss Bostic. “These kids can make any situation exciting and enjoyable, even this small sledding hill!”

Thank you to all the moms and dads of the first graders and the kindergartners who made this celebration possible! Now they are on to setting and meeting even more goals for the year with National Reading Month right around the corner!

Posted in Cedar Springs Public Schools, CTAComments Off on Hard Work leads to Sledding Party

CTA Spelling Bee Winners


Runner up, Brenna Jibson (L) and winner Ericka Olson

Runner up, Brenna Jibson (L) and winner Ericka Olson

In January, 17 students in grades fourth through eighth competed in the first annual CTA Spelling Bee! For several weeks prior to the spelling bee, participants practiced, practiced, and practiced lists of spelling words in preparation for the School Bee. These same participants also attended the CTA Chargers Spelling Club led by sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Jenny Bangma and fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kate Norman; it was here that participants gained strategies for spelling words, remembering letter patterns, and the etiquette for the actual Bee. Lots of hard work was put in by our Charger Spellers over the last few months in preparation for this event!

Our School Bee went five rounds strong, resulting in a Champion and a Runner-up. Our first CTA Spelling Bee Champion was eighth grade student, Ericka Olson; our first ever Runner-up is fifth grade student, Brenna Jibson. The winners will head to the Regional Spelling Bee competition in Kentwood, Michigan on Tues., Feb. 23, 2016. We are so proud and excited for our Chargers!

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CTA News

Annual CTA Blood Drive

The annual CTA Blood Drive will take place Thursday, March 10, from 1-6:45 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, log onto www.redcrossblood.org (sponsor code: CTACHARGERS) or call Jennifer August at 616-799-0559.

Come donate blood and register with Delete Blood Cancer to be a part of the bone marrow donor registry at the same time.

Chargers Earn Consolation Victory Over Academy of Environmental Science

After being defeated in the first round of the West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (WMAES) tournament, the Creative Technologies Academy Boy’s Basketball team answered strongly in the consolation game, defeating the host team with a final score of 65-44.

WMAES scored 8 of the first 11 points of the game. The Chargers had an answer however, with brothers Dawson (13) and Casen (6) Armstrong combining for 19 of the Chargers’ 26 first quarter points. The Chargers controlled the rest of the game, never relinquishing their double-digit lead.

Junior Brandon Beck and the aforementioned Dawson Armstrong tied for the team high with 24 points a piece.

“I felt we were ready to execute our full court press for extended minutes for the first time this season, and execute it we did,” said CTA coach Scott Bultman.

The Chargers defense with its full court press wore down WMAES, which led to multiple fast breaks in the second half.

“With the Environmental Academy defense tiring from our fast break and press, we were able to pound the ball down low in the second half to our captain Brandon Beck, who finished well around the basket,” continued Bultman.

NBA – Never Been Absent 

At CTA, we believe there is no substitute for being in the classroom with our amazing teachers; we feel it is vital for the growth of our students that they attend school as many days as possible. The NBA (Never Been Absent) Program was developed to promote school attendance at both an individual and class level.

The attendance incentive program is for those in Kindergarten through fifth grade.

The first grade class had an average of 95% attendance for the month of January!  As a reward, the students received a classroom picnic lunch with Jet’s Pizza and a movie!  The first graders have earned the attendance award on two other occasions this year!

We are very proud of the fact that students continue to show up every day to work hard and learn!

Posted in CTAComments Off on CTA News

CTA Calendar



18Girl Talk (MS/HS) 3-4:00 p.m.

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

20 Let It Glow Valentine’s Dance Party

22 Boys & Girls Bball vs. Holland Calvary @Holland Christian 4:30 p.m.

23 Basketball Banquet 6-7:30 p.m.

26 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

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

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

Popcorn Friday


1 NHS Meeting during FIT

3 Girl Talk (MS/HS) 3-4:00 p.m.

7th Grade & HS Choir Concert 7:00 p.m.

9-11 HS Exams

11 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

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

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

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

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Fundraiser to benefit Brison Ricker


WERQ dance fitness workout March 11

Join us for a dance fitness party to raise funds that will go towards Brison Ricker’s medical care. Brison Ricker is a 15-year-old Cedar Springs student who was diagnosed in January with inoperable brain cancer.

What better way to raise funds than to come together for a 90-minute dance fitness party? Sweat to some of your favorite songs for a good cause. Let’s do what we can to help kick cancer’s butt!

No experience necessary—anyone can do it! Just throw on your fitness gear, bring a water bottle, a sweat towel, and your favorite dancing/workout friends!

The fundraiser will be Friday March 11, 6-7:30 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary. The cost is $10.  It will last 90 minutes, with multiple WERQ Instructors, and fun routines to your favorite radio hits!

Just DO IT!

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Cedar Springs Public Schools, HealthComments Off on Fundraiser to benefit Brison Ricker

From the Superintendent’s Desk


Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

As we kick off the month of February each year in our district newsletter, the Red Hawk Review, we salute the volunteers of our great district.  I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my personal thanks to our volunteers as well.  We know the partnership we enjoy with so many parents and community members is something special as Cedar Springs is such a warm and giving community committed to the students and staff of CSPS.

We’ve witnessed the giving of countless hours of volunteerism in our schools.  We so appreciate our parents and community members for bringing smiles to the faces of our students and staff.  Our volunteers spend time assisting students in small groups, they help teachers in busy classrooms, they raise funds, they shelve books, they serve food, they travel to far-away places to support our kids in a variety of activities, they support our Special Olympics, they bake and cook for our staffs, they organize countless activities, they hold team dinners, they donate thousands and thousands of dollars to support needs and wants otherwise not possible and SO much more.  Our volunteers do so with a heart and spirit of giving as they love supporting our RED HAWKS, young and old!  Thank you to all who support our schools – we couldn’t do it without you!

Speaking of volunteers, our Cedar Springs Board of Education is a group of 7 people who volunteer all year long.  They are committed to serving in many capacities to ensure the very best education for our nearly 3,500 students.  Their work goes far beyond a couple of meetings a month.  They spend days and nights engaged in the work of the district as their primary role is the “big picture” of the district in order to: set the vision for the district, hire/evaluate the superintendent, and set Board policy.  To that end our Board is currently volunteering in the strategic planning process in order to set the vision for the district.

Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining direction for the organization in order to accomplish goals.  In that process the vision, mission and core values of the organization are defined.  The vision is where we are trying to go; the mission is why we are doing what we’re doing; the core values are how we are going to go about it.  The Board of Education establishes the vision for the district by gathering input from the stakeholders of the district and community.

We are making great progress in the strategic planning process by involving our stakeholders.  A steering committee of staff, parent and community leaders reached out to secure large groups of participants to be in feedback groups during the month of February.  It is in those groups where staff, students, parents and community members convene to share with a facilitator their hopes and dreams for the Cedar Springs Public Schools.  Our Board of Education will then establish the “big picture” of a vision for a 3-5 year plan for moving our district forward in the very best way to serve students as our Cedar Springs students deserve the very best.  Thank you to ALL who are giving of their time in this important process.  It’s an exciting time at CSPS!

As always, it is an honor to serve as your CSPS superintendent.  Please know I maintain an open door to any and all who would like to talk.  Please do call, write or drop by for a visit at any time.  I would love an opportunity to get to know you and learn how I might support your wishes or to answer any questions you may have about any topic, such as strategic planning!


Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Office:  616-696-1204 ext. 1001

Cell: 925-899-3111

Email: laura.vanduyn@csredhawks.org

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February School News

Beach Elementary receives grant

Beach Elementary received a $500.00 grant from Exxon Mobil, store #310509 the Cedar Rock Mobil Mart on 11800 Northland Dr. Part of the stipulation of our grant is that we publish the information about the grant. The grant is titled Exxon Mobil Education Alliance program and they are made annually to support math and science.


Open Enrollment for the Tuition Based Preschool begins Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Classes will be forming for students who are 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2016.  Information will be available at that time for families that are interested in tuition assistance for preschool.

Kindergarten – Ready, Set, Go! “The Future Begins Here”

The Cedar Springs Kindergarten Team welcomes the parents and guardians of the 2016-2017 Kindergarten Class for an information night.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:00 – 7:00 pm Cedar Trails Elementary

Parents and guardians will meet in the multi-purpose room where our kindergarten teaching staff will present an outline of the typical day, share curriculum expectations and give some helpful tips on selecting a backpack and other frequently used items. We are hoping to answer questions and get everyone ready for an exciting start to the school year.

In August, after teacher assignments have been finalized, we will welcome the students to Cedar Trails’ Open House to visit their classroom and meet their teacher.

NEW Director of Business and Finance – Rosemary Zink, CPA, MBA, CMA

Rosemary starts at Cedar Springs Public Schools February 1, 2016. She comes to CSPS with a wealth of skills and knowledge in school business and finance.  Her office will be located at the Hilltop Community Building.  Please join us in welcoming Rosemary to the district.


Due to our increased Campus Kids Child Care enrollment, we have opened another Campus Kids Child Care location at Beach Elementary. We will have programming at the Beach location for 2nd through 5th graders, mornings and afternoons. Campus Kids will base out of the Beach cafeteria and we will use the gym, library, and computer lab for activities. We will maintain our Child Care program at Cedar Trails for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders.

Rates are available for mornings, afternoons, all day programming when school is not in session, and drop-in (based on availability). We will also be offering a Summer Camp with lots of fun activities and field trips.

Campus Kids Program Information

call: 616-696-1716

visit: http://csredhawks.org/Parents/Campus-Kids-Child-Care/index.html

stop in: Cedar Trails or Beach Elementary Main Offices

Monday – Friday, 6am to 6pm

Location: Cedar Trails Elementary & Beach Elementary

Mid Winter Break 

No School February 12 through February 16;  Students returning February 17

Education Foundation to receive plaque

Ed Foundation Plaque at High School Auditorium On March 5, 2015, the Education Foundation met in the High School’s auditorium with director and teacher Justin Harnden to present the official $25,000 Education Foundation donation check. New speakers and a sound system have been installed in the High School Auditorium. The school is very excited for these new additions, and will certainly be seen and used as often as possible. Thank you Holton family!

As a demonstration of appreciation, a plaque will be dis-played at the High School Auditorium to recognize the generosity of the Holton family.

2016 High School Winter Musical “Wizard of Oz”

For more information visit:


Mark your calendar for the show on Feb 4, 5, 6, & 7




9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.



The cold air is settling in, but you don’t have to give up your workout. Cedar Springs Public Schools supports your effort to stay healthy this season. Red Hawk Elementary will open their doors to all community members who would like to walk the halls from 4:00-8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday when school is in session. If Cedar Springs Public Schools is closed due to inclement weather, holiday or no school scheduled, walking is canceled that day.

Scheduled days closed… February 15 & 16

For inclement weather school closings, please stay tuned to your local TV Station listings.

Calling All Cedar Springs Community Members — It is Box Top and Labels for Education Submission Time!

CSPS-Box-TopsDo you have Box Tops or Labels for Education sitting around the house and no one to donate them to?    Box Tops for Education is a program created by General Mills to help schools earn cash to buy the things needed: books, computers, playground equipment and more.   You can find Box Tops on hundreds of products throughout the grocery store.  To get more information on the program, visit www.boxtops4education.com

Labels for Education a fun and easy program where families and members of the community work together to “Earn Free Stuff” for their school!  By collecting UPCs your school earns points that can be redeemed for Arts, Athletics, and Academics merchandise.  For a complete list of participating products, visit www.labelsforeducation.com.

Help out Cedar Springs Public Schools by dropping the box tops off to the district office.  District office hours Monday through Friday; 7:30am – 4:00pm.  Please drop off donations before February 11, 2016. The elementary school students thank you!


Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on February School News

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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