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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs Middle School"

Excellence in Education Award Winner Teacher Brett Burns


csps-excellence-and-education-brett-burn

Thanksgiving week, the Michigan Lottery recognized outstanding Cedar Springs Middle School teacher, Brett Burns, who is making a significant impact in the lives of Michigan students. Selected educators will receive: $500 cash prize and $500 grant to the educator’s classroom, school or school district.

In addition, all Excellence in Education award winners will be automatically considered for the Michigan Lottery’s Educator of the Year Award and a grand prize of $10,000. The award looks for Michigan public school employees who represent the very best of the Michigan public school system. Congratulations, Mr. Burns! We are proud that you are a Cedar Springs RED HAWK Teacher!!!

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Cedar Springs teacher wins Excellence in Education Award


Brett Burns poses for a photo with (left to right) Cedar Springs Middle School principal Sue Spahr, his daughter Cylie, wife Heather, and daughter Cassidy, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Brett Burns poses for a photo with (left to right) Cedar Springs Middle School principal Sue Spahr, his daughter Cylie, wife Heather, and daughter Cassidy, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

A Kent County educator known for his dedication to helping students improve their math skills and for using technology and current events to help them grasp concepts and increase their understanding has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Brett Burns, teaches mathematics at Cedar Springs Middle School, part of the Cedar Springs Public Schools district. He also serves as the basketball coach for the eighth grade teams.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Burns aired Tuesday evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and will air Thursday in Detroit.

Brett Burns talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

Brett Burns talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo, who recently presented Burns with the award at the Breslin Center.

Burns said he was attracted to a career in education because “it gives me the opportunity to make a difference every day. When I first started teaching math, I had a lot to learn about how to educate middle school students. I have grown and perfected my craft, but I’ve never stopped learning. Every year, I have to change with the new group of students that enters my classroom.

“As I look back, I remember how I used to assign 20 to 30 math problems as homework each night that didn’t require much thinking from students about the how and the why of solving the problems. Now my assignments are much shorter, but incorporate deep thinking and exploration,” he said. “Math is one of the most difficult subjects for middle school students, so my goal every year is to change their mindset about math. By the end of the year, I want them to see that they can do math and can be successful. That’s not an easy job, but I love the challenge and look forward to it each and every year.

“I am willing to grow and change and learn who my students are as people first, before I ever teach them a math lesson. I make that a priority and my mission is to earn their trust and show them that I care about them as people. This creates a mutual respect between myself and my students and helps me to be more effective as a teacher. The students know that I truly care about them.”

A colleague nominated Burns for the Excellence in Education award, saying: “High energy, integrity, collaboration, leadership and high relationship are just a few words that describe Brett Burns.

“Every day, he arrives at school at about 4:30 a.m. and works diligently to review student work and prepare quality lessons. Setting aside this time allows him maximum efficiency, so when students arrive, he is totally focused on them. Mr. Burns can be seen fist bumping, joking, complimenting, and welcoming the students each day. The students form a huddle around him, smiles all-around.

“Mr. Burns has dedicated many hours to improving math achievement at Cedar Springs Middle School. He has collaborated with a vertical team of sixth grade through 12th grade teachers to align instruction with the Common Core standards and the latest research on thinking mathematically. He also works to incorporate technology and current events into instruction to deepen engagement and conceptual understanding,” the nomination said.

“Mr. Burns breaks his groups down in collaborative teams, working in small groups with them to question, prompt, and cue them, not give them answers and direction with their struggles. Frequent emails to parents keep them informed of student opportunities to improve their mastery of the standards.

“Outside of the classroom, Mr. Burns pours his energy into coaching basketball for the eighth grade students. He continues to inspire and build relationships with students, encouraging them to break through barriers in their thinking that stop them from exceeding their own goals.

“His dedication to the students, staff, parents, colleagues, and community inspires everyone to be selfless in their work.”

Burns earned a bachelor of arts degree from Sienna Heights College and has been an educator for nearly 20 years, all with the Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.

Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.

Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.

Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts

Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

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MS boys track team goes undefeated


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The Cedar Springs Middle School boys track team had an outstanding performance this spring. Coached by Kevin Martens and Steve Banagis, the boys finished their season undefeated. The season came to a close on June 1 at the Megastar meet in Shepherd. Athletes qualified for this meet by ranking in the top 16 for each individual event and in the top eight for relay teams. The coaches accompanied 10 young men to the meet, and they competed in the large school division. While there, the boys displayed just how much they had learned from their coaches through their amazing performances, including personal bests, medals, and even new school records.

Individual medal winners for the meet included Michael Pigorsh placing fourth in the 800 meter with a time of 2:13.67; Jaydon Moleski placing third in the 1600 meter with a time of 5:00.51; and Nate Perry placing fourth in the 400 meter with a time of 55.56. Corey Bowers and Landon Totten also represented the school in the 3200 meter and the shot put, respectively. The school also had three qualifying relay teams. Landon Totten, Da’Monte Barnett, Ben VanDusen, and Ben Shaw represented the Hawks in the 800 meter relay. A close race was had in the 1600 meter relay, where Jaydon Moleski, Zak Schmid, Michael Pigorsh, and Nate Perry received a third place medal for the event with a time of 3:51.74, finishing just 1.32 seconds behind the overall event winner. While not quite fast enough to win the event, the boys did leave their mark with a new school record.  The school record for the 3200 meter relay was also broken at the Megastar.  The team of Michael Pigorsh, Zak Schmid, Brendon Carlson, and Jaydon Moleski finished with a time of 9:12.65 seconds to become not only the division champion, but the overall event champion as well.

Congratulations to not only these athletes, but the entire Cedar Springs Middle School track team and coaches on a great season.

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Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Head Start for Kent County

Apply today! North Kent Heat Start is a high quality preschool program at no cost to families. 3 year old – full day classes, family support – transportation (in most cases), nutritious meals and snacks, child health and development screenings. Accommodations for children with disabilities. Families must meet eligibility guidelines. Enrolling now! Complete an Application on our website www.hs4kc.org or call 616-453-4145. #22,23p

Summer Celebration Fireworks – View From the Hill

June 11: You are invited to enjoy the Rockford Start of Summer fireworks from the hill at Rockford Reformed Church, 4890 – 11 Mile Rd. NE on Saturday, June 11th. Popcorn, refreshments, and children’s activities provided. Please bring a chair or blanket, your family and friends and enjoy the beauty of the fireworks from the top of the hill at Rockford Reformed Church. Hope to see you there. #22,23p

Vacation Bible School @ Solon Center Wesleyan Church

June 12: Hey kids! Come for VBS beginning Sunday evening, June 12th from 6:30 – 8 pm. It’s family Night, so bring the whole family to enjoy the fun of the Double KK Petting zoo (weather permitting) and a hot dog roast. VBS continues through Thursday where you’ll make new friends, sing great songs, play fun games, experience Nazareth…where Jesus was a Kid and visit the market places of His home town. Monday through Thursday VBS is for children 4 years old through the 5th grade. Please pre-register by calling the church office @ 696-3229 or online at http://scwchurch.com/#/get-connected/vbs-registration. The church is located at 15671 Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Road. Come join the fun! #21-23p

Red Flannel Queen Pageant Contestants

June 12: Attention all young ladies living or attending school in the Cedar Springs School district who will be in the 11th grade in the 2016-17 school year. There will be a mandatory parent’s meeting for any interested young lady and her parents concerning the 2016 Red Flannel Pageant. The meeting will be Sunday, June 12th at 3 pm at the Springs Church (135 N. Grant St.) There will be a makeup meeting Sunday, June 26th at 3 pm at the Springs Church. For more information, you can contact pageant director Kaleigh Rosenberger at redflannelpageant@gmail.com. #22,23p

Praise the Lord at Cowboy Church

June 12: 2nd Chance will be having Cowboy Church on Sunday, June 12th at 6 pm. It will be at 2nd Chance School at 810 – 17 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs (corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes Rd). The message will be shared by Pastor Craig Carter from North Kent Community Church. Invite your family and friends. Cowboy Church will be every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Each service will have different people sharing God’s word and music. If you have questions, call 616-293-2150. See you there! #23

VBS at Snow Bible Church

June 13-17: Snow Bible Church, 1877 – 18 Mile Rd. Kent City, will host Cave Quest Vacation Bible School June 13 – 17 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm for grades K-6th. Enjoy Bible stories, crafts and games. Any questions please call Vickie at 616-901-5274. #23

A Magic Show with Tom Plunkard

June 14: Tom Plunkard’s entertaining and hilarious show includes animals, audience involvement and tons of amazing magic. For families with children. Tuesday, June 14th at 1:30 pm at the Nelson Township/Sand Lake KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #23

Flying Aces Frisbee team

June 15: You don’t want to miss the tricks, amazing feats, and the fun of seeing the Flying Aces Frisbee team in action on Wednesday, June 15, at 4 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. This family program is part of the Cedar Springs Library’s summer reading program. #23

The Village Puppeteers

June 15: It’s a raucous comic romp, packed with silly antics and featuring a cavalcade of colorful puppets. Puss ‘N Boots, the Three Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet and Rumpelstiltskin joined by a host of others, including a dazzling dragon. For families with children. Wednesday, June 15th at 6:30 pm at the Nelson Township/Sand Lake KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #23

Henna with Harsha Gohil

June 20: Experience the intricate art of henna tattooing with Harsha Gohil. Choose your own design for application and learn how to apply the henna yourself! For teens. Pre-registration is required, 877-243-2466. Monday, June 20th at 1:30 pm at the Nelson Township/Sand Lake KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #23

VBS at Cedar Springs UMC

June 20-23 & 25: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love at Surf Shack – 150 Vacation Bible School! June 20-23 from 6 – 8 pm. Grades K-6th are invited to Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St., to discover how to surf through life with God and others! New this year, as we celebrate our 150th year in this community – 150 Field Day on Saturday June 25th from 1 – 4 pm at Morley Park! Register online at www.cedarspringsumc.org. For more information, please call the church office at 616-696-1140. #23,24

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Middle school teacher receives Cool Teacher award


Middle school teacher Tim Relich receives Cool Teacher award at middle school.

Middle school teacher Tim Relich receives Cool Teacher award at middle school.

N-Cool-Teacher-award-Mr-Relich-cmykTim Relich, 8th Grade teacher at Cedar Springs Middle School in Cedar Springs, is the latest teacher to receive the WGVU Cool Teacher Award. WGVU honored Tim and his class with a pizza party on April 18.

Kristen Lubben nominated Tim Relich for the award because he makes everyday fun and doesn’t hesitate to admit his mistakes.

Each month WGVU judges all new entries and selects the best letters based on the students’ evidence of learning. WGVU hosts a pizza party for the winning teachers and their classes, and videotapes the celebration to promote the winning teachers and the Cool Teacher program on the airwaves of the local public broadcast station. Each winning teacher and their nominating student will receive vouchers for the USS Silversides Museum in Muskegon, Michigan. On May 4, 2016, WGVU hosted a year-end awards celebration at Eberhard Center Conference center on the downtown campus of GVSU to honor all of this year’s winning teachers.

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade can nominate their teacher by writing a letter describing why they think their teacher is cool. Included should be the student’s name, address and phone number, the teacher’s name and grade, and the school name, address and phone number. Entries should be sent to: WGVU Cool Teacher, 301 Fulton St. W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-6492. Students can also nominate their teachers and see winning teachers online at wgvu.org.

Cool Teacher is an example of WGVU’s mission to provide educational, informational, and entertaining programs and events to the West Michigan community as a service of Grand Valley State University.

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Friends of the Library quilt show 


Sheryl Fleser won the quilt raffle

Sheryl Fleser won the quilt raffle

Nancy Flierman with her first place quilt.

Nancy Flierman with her first place quilt.

Saturday March 19, was the 4th annual Friends of the Library Quilt show. It was held at the Cedar Springs Middle School from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. with approximately 180 people in attendance. Included were 36 quilts made by area residents. The winners of the show were chosen by those in attendance, with prizes going to:

Nancy Flierman, of Cedar Springs, won the Antique Quilt Category with her “Dresden Plate” quilt, and 3rd place with “Cathedral Window.” Both were specially made by her mother, Garnet Kline, who passed last year. It took her mother six years to make Cathedral Window, from 1994-2000. ‏She won a beautiful quilt rack donated by Bob Thomas Woodworking,

Barb Krawcyzk with her second place quilt.

Barb Krawcyzk with her second place quilt.

2nd place went to Barb Krawczyk, for her “Snake River Log Cabin” quilt. She won a quilt rack donated by Ron Akom.‏

Featured at the show were a yard sale of quilting goods, a silent auction, trunk shows from Blueberry Backroads and Red Button Quilt Company and a Quilt Raffle featuring a Queen size quilt pieced by the Scrappy Quilters and quilted by Aerie Quilting. The raffle quilt was won by Sheryl Fleser of Cedar Springs.

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Middle School wrestlers victorious


S-Wrestling-middle-schoolThe CSMS Wrestlers won a hard earned victory against the Allendale Falcons, winning 46 to 45, and against the Comstock Park Panthers, winning 39 to 33.

Allendale took an early lead with our Red Hawks battling back with every move made. Our young Red Hawks see-sawed back and forth with the Panthers the entire meet.  Coach Bill Van Ham stated, “I am very happy with this young team. They came together as a team to come back from behind and get the win.”

This year’s team has 11 seventh-graders, most with little experience,” said Assistant Coach Brandon Wood. “This young team showed a lot of heart, coming back from a huge deficit.”

Please come and support our grapplers at their home meets on 2/09, 2/23, 3/01 and 3/08. Start time is 4:15 p.m. at the Middle School. 

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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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A Thousand Letters home


Author Teresa Irish with Cedar Springs resident Claudia Mabie.

Author Teresa Irish with Cedar Springs resident Claudia Mabie.

By Tom Noreen

Over 130 people enjoyed the presentation last Thursday evening, October 22, at Cedar Springs Middle School, of A Thousand Letters Home: Journey of the Letters, by author Teresa Irish.

Irish is a gifted storyteller with a mission to remind us of the war that changed the world and the over 16 million men and women who served in uniform during that time. Her father, Bud Irish, wrote 1,000 letters home to his fiancé and parents during World War II and sent 250 photographs. These letters were stored in a trunk until after his death in 2006. Reading these letters changed her life, her outlook and ultimately her calling. She gained a complete new understanding of her dad and how it transformed him and of the war itself, both on the battlefield and at home.

While reading a letter on an airplane, she saw the many soldiers in uniform that were on their way to or returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She wondered how many times she had seen these uniforms in the 45 weeks she traveled each year and not seen the people in them or realized what they were doing. She made a vow never to pass up someone in uniform or a vet and not thank them for their service. She struck up a conversation with the soldier across the aisle who was on his way to Afghanistan, and a few years later ended up marrying now Colonel Brad Foster (who is on another deployment). She spoke of the many vets she has talked with that no one has ever thanked for their service, especially those from Vietnam.

It is not just Vietnam. My dad, Roger, served in the Navy in WWII, landing soldiers in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and finally Normandy. While we were stationed in Belgium, we traveled to Normandy on 1999 with him to show him the beaches from the grassy side. As we walked the large cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, he and Virginia rested at the memorial. During that time, a group of Italian college students came up and asked if he had served in WWII. He said he did and they thanked him for his service. He later said that was the first time anyone ever thanked him.

Just as important as recognizing vets, is recognizing the needs of those around us. Seeing people as we would like to be seen and giving them a warm greeting may make the difference between life and death.

Teresa said of the pictures that were in the collection that she couldn’t understand why her dad had taken and saved some of the more graphic ones. In particular, ones of a group of concentration camp prisoners that had been burned alive in a barn until she looked at the back and saw where he had written, “Pictures don’t lie.”

It might not have been a bucket list item but getting author Teresa Irish as a speaker to present was high on librarian Donna Clark’s wish list. After learning about Irish’s program, Donna contacted her and found out that it would cost more than the library could afford at the time. In the summer, Teresa contacted Donna and said she was going to be in the area for another program and could do one in Cedar Springs for about half of the original quote. Donna said yes. She then asked the American Legion Auxiliary to sponsor part of the program and they agreed to do half. Later, she brought the lecture up at a City Council meeting and Dave Ringler of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company said he would do the other half.

The Brewing Company also hosted a private party for the Women’s Club before the presentation. A buffet of chicken, roasted potatoes and other root vegetables provided an opportunity for the kitchen and wait staff to practice before they open. They were treated to the brewery’s “Cedar Creek” soft drinks.

People stood in line for an hour to buy Irish’s book and have her autograph it. If you would like to read the book, A Thousand Letters Home, the Cedar Springs Public Library has them to sign out.

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A Thousand Letters Home, the journey of the letters


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Tonight (Thursday) at Cedar Springs Middle School

Following the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. “Bud” Irish, of Saginaw, MI, Teresa Irish opened the Army trunk that had resided in the family home her entire life. There, nestled in row after row, were her dad’s nearly 1,000 letters from WWII. Visited only by him over the course of six decades, the letters were postmarked from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945.

The Cedar Springs Public Library, in partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary Glen Hill Post 287, invites residents to a special prograrm tonight, Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, 4873 16 Mile Road. A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish, will take you on an engaging and inspirational journey based on her father’s 1,000 letters from WWII.

The fragile and yellowed pages were written to Bud’s parents back in Hemlock, MI, and to the sweetheart who would later become his wife. From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart, to correspondence with the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, this is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith, and true love. A Thousand Letters Home is comprised of 320 of these poignant letters and 104 corresponding photographs.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

The firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. From training camps across the U.S.A., to Ports of Embarkation where they boarded ships and crossed the ocean to fight on foreign soil, millions of young Americans were abruptly pulled from civilian life and thrust into the unfamiliar world of a military at war. At every opportunity, Bud poured his thoughts and feelings into his letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away. Unable or perhaps reluctant to recount what they had experienced, many veterans chose to spare their loved ones the detailed atrocities of war – these would be their own personal burdens to bear for the remainder of their lives. Bud foreshadowed this in a letter to his parents written from Europe on February 4, 1945, “…Heaven knows they [soldiers] don’t want anything more on earth than to get it over and go back to their loved ones…We don’t want anything extra when we get home, but just want to find everything as we left it and forget everything that’s happened or we’ve seen over here…” 

Irish’s entertaining storytelling blends humor and history to leave audiences laughing, crying, and reminiscing. She reaches across generations with a little something for everyone. Lest we forget.  It’s a presentation you won’t want to miss!

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