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Deputy Tom McCutcheon chosen as school resource officer


 

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

By Judy Reed

When students return to school in September, there will be a new face there to greet them. Deputy Tom McCutcheon was recently selected as the new school resource officer (SRO) for Cedar Springs Public Schools. The position is through a partnership with the Kent County Sheriff Department, which the Board of Education approved on June 6.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the KCSD Cedar Springs unit, interviews were held at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Administration Building on June 28, where eight members of the school had an opportunity to interview five candidates from the Sheriff Department for the position. As a result of the interviews, Deputy Tom McCutcheon was selected as the Cedar Springs School Resource Officer.

Deputy McCutcheon began his career with the Kent County Sheriff Department in 1993. During this time Deputy McCutcheon has gained extensive knowledge and experience in Community Policing. Deputy McCutcheon spent many years as a D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Instructor, speaking in many different school districts, including Cedar Springs.

“While teaching D.A.R.E., you were never at the same school two days in a row, but you still felt like you were part of something that helped kids change and was a good influence in their life,” noted McCutcheon.

The Post asked him why he wanted the SRO position in Cedar Springs. “I hope to be a positive influence to the young people there,” he explained. “A lot of people think of security, and students feeling safe. But it’s more. I want to be a part of the school. It’s like what being a community policing officer is; you try to be proactive. If there is criminal activity going on, and people look up to you and trust you, you can help reduce a lot of that.”

Deputy McCutcheon has a passion for serving kids and has had immense involvement in school and communities. He has served in the Comstock Park School District as a football and girls varsity softball coach. He started a local Boy Scout troop and established KOPS (Kids & Officers Productive Society, a program centered around helping disadvantaged youth build self-esteem to become productive students).

Deputy McCutcheon was recognized as the Kent County Sheriff Department Deputy of the Year in 2007, and School Officer of the year by the West Michigan Crime Prevention Association. He has also served as president of that same group.

The School Officer of the Year award was given to him for his work in the KOPS program. McCutcheon is proud of the work he did in that program. He said he had been working with the same young man over and over at East Kentwood’s alternative high school, who kept getting into trouble. He spoke with the principal, and they formed the program to help troubled youth get back on track. “Over the four years of the program, we had multiple grads go on to college or work; students go back to regular high school; and students that had no more involvement in crime,” he explained.

McCutcheon is excited to begin his new position in Cedar Springs in August, where he will be on campus 40 hours a week. “I am excited and looking forward to the challenge of getting to know them (the students) and them getting to know me. I’ll do what I can to help them succeed. It’s just another piece of the puzzle—me doing what I can to help them achieve their goals,” he said.

The position will be jointly funded by the school and the county. The Kent County Sheriff Department offered to fund 30 percent of the program. The outstanding cost to the district would be approximately $76,000, after the Sheriff Department’s contribution. The cost would cover wages and benefits for 40 hours per week for the deputy; all standard issued deputy equipment; a Kent County Sheriff car, fully equipped, fueled and maintained; and all police training and supervision.

“We look forward to our partnership with the Kent County Sherriff Department and a focus on school safety and security throughout our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “We know through our surveys of staff and parents that they view safety and security as a priority for our CSPS and we do too! This initiative is just one way we are responding to that feedback. We now join many districts in Kent County in the SRO program and know it will serve us well.”

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Cedar Springs Public Schools 2ND Semester Honor roll 2015-2016


Red-Hawk-art-webCalling all proud parents and grandparents! The Cedar Springs Public Schools 2nd Semester Honor Roll is available for download. It includes Middle School 7th and 8th grades and High School 9th – 12th grades. Just click the link below and find your Honor Roll student’s name, print it out and keep it as a keepsake.

CSPSHonorRoll2516.pdf

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Girl Scouts beautify Hilltop grounds


N-Girl-Scouts

The Girl Scouts are doing their part to make Cedar Springs a beautiful place. On May 12, Troop 4482 did a community planting project at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Hilltop administration building.

The troop, which is made up of 25 girls in kindergarten, first and second grades, and four leaders, pulled weeds and planted flowers donated by V&V Nursery.

This is their second year completing this community service project for the schools.

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Car crashes into school bus


N-Bus-accident-school-bus

By Judy Reed

A crash involving a car and a school bus sent one person to the hospital on Tuesday, March 29.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, with the Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit, the crash occurred on 18 Mile Rd near White Creek, in Solon Township, about 8:23 a.m.

A 68-year-old Solon Township woman was traveling east on 18 Mile behind a Cedar Springs Public Schools bus carrying elementary children, when the bus began to slow down for another bus it was following that was stopping to pick up children. The woman was reportedly blinded by the sun, and did not see the bus stopping. She then crashed into the back of the bus without braking, according to a witness.

None of the children on the bus were injured. Another bus was sent to pick up the children and transport them to school.

The bus driver, a 48-year-old woman from Spencer Township, complained of general pain. She was checked out by Rockford ambulance but was not hospitalized.

The driver of the car was sent to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.

“We are forever grateful for the Kent County Sheriff Department, Fire Department, paramedics and all other first responders for their prompt, caring and professional response to the needs of our school district and community,” said Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Laura VanDuyn.

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Cedar Springs Public Schools 1st Semester Honor roll 2015-2016


Red-Hawk-art-web

HEY proud parents and grandparents!

The Cedar Springs Public Schools Honor Rolls for Middle School, High School, and New Beginnings Alternative HS are now available to download.

Click link below to download the Cedar Springs Public Schools 1st Semester Honor Roll 2015-2016

CSPS-HonorRoll-1stSemester-2016.pdf

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School board needs to listen to community


Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Board Members,

There are some deeply disconcerting issues that I and many parents are very concerned about. These are issues that I’m sure you are aware of, but the lack of leadership and reluctance to stand up to do the right thing necessitates the need for me to bring them to your attention publicly.

Over the past 18 months, we have lost four highly acclaimed and accredited administrators. These administrators were well thought of in the community and had given many years of selfless dedication to our children. Their departures were premature and the direct result of intimidation and a hostile work environment. When will this critical drain of vital resources end?

Morale among administrators, teachers, and support staff is at an all-time low. The current culture of “My way or the highway” and lack of institutional support does nothing to foster an innovative, healthy learning experience for our children.

Budget deficits are threatening our children’s quality of education. Blaming the deficit on past administrations, a trick many of our politicians often use, doesn’t explain how the district goes from financially healthy for many years to a sudden deficit. Maybe it has something to do with all the money being spent on lawyers, legal fees, consultants, financial experts, etc. that we never seemed to have needed before.

When will the impassioned pleas of the community make an impact? No credence is given to the phone calls and emails you most assuredly have received. It is difficult to watch you sit indifferent and stone-faced at BOE meetings while the future of our children and district is at stake.

Make no mistake, Board of education members. This school district is at a crucial point. It will take years to rebuild the trust of our leaders, restore a healthy learning culture, and ensure our future financial stability. You can no longer sit passively on the sidelines and watch.

There’s an old saying, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” The time has passed for you to indulge in the luxury of following.

Sincerely,

Steve C. Harper, Algoma Township

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Thrive program to start in Cedar Springs


 

North Kent Community Services is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Cedar Springs Public Schools. Beginning in February, NKCS will offer its successful Thrive Empowerment Program on the Cedar Springs campus, thanks to a generous offer of classroom space from Superintendent Dr. Laura Van Duyn.

“This is an excellent opportunity to help women with children living in Cedar Springs achieve their livable wage and educational goals,” said NKCS Program Director Chérie Elahl.

NKCS launched the Thrive Empowerment program in September 2014. Since then, several women have obtained or are working toward obtaining their high school diplomas, some are furthering their post-secondary education, and others have found better paying jobs.

“One of our participants described Thrive as a family of women,” said Cherie. “Thrive is an opportunity for the group members to work on their goals without the distraction of everyday life and with the support of other women who are in very similar situations. It’s powerful and beautiful to see what happens when our participants start to believe in themselves.”

The program sessions include financial literacy, connections to resources in Kent County, and time to work on goals in a group environment. One of the favorite classes involves mindfulness for parenting; the participants learn how to parent without anger and have a calmer home environment. Thrive is open to all women with children who live in northern Kent County. There are no income guidelines. “Having participants from different walks of life really enriches the group dynamics as well as the Thrive experience,” explains Chérie.

To learn more about the Thrive Empowerment Program, contact Chérie Elahl at cherie.elahl@nkcs.org or at 616-866-3478 ext. 105. The new cohort will begin in February 2016. Make a New Year’s resolution to reach your goals in this life-changing program. Class sizes are limited so call soon!

 

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Student Assessment Results Released to Cedar Springs Public Schools Families


Results Reflect Transition to MI Higher Standards

Families across Cedar Springs Public Schools this week are beginning to receive their students’ scores on the 2014-15 statewide assessment, known as M-STEP.

We are working to ensure parents and families know scores reflect both a new assessment and a major transition to higher standards.

The next few years will require significant transitions for students, families and educators, as the adjustment to higher standards and the M-STEP continues.

Students are adjusting to the new form of tests.  Expectations are higher, tests are challenging and even the way that tests are taken  – online – is new to some students.  Results from the 2014-2015 school year will set a new baseline for measuring student progress on this challenging test.  These results are important for understanding student learning moving forward.

Across Michigan, districts are facing the same challenges we are.  We know that it is important to set high expectations for our students and all of our teachers are working every day to help our students meet and exceed these expectations.  These kinds of changes – to higher standards and challenging tests – take time.  We appreciate parents being our partners in making sure that our students are getting the tools and support that they need to be successful, in and out of school.

Spring 2015 M-Step aggregate score results from Cedar Springs, Kent County and the State of Michigan are listed below.

Grade 3
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 54.3% 52.5% 50.1%
Math 62.4% 52.0% 48.8%
Grade 4
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 33.5% 50.1% 46.6%
Math 36.8% 44.8% 41.4%
Science 10.5% 14.9% 12.4%
Grade 5
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 44.5% 51.7% 48.7%
Math 43.3% 36.3% 33.4%
Social Studies 17.6% 24.4% 22.2%
Grade 6
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 47.8% 49.3% 44.7%
Math 40.4% 39.0% 33.3%
Grade 7
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 65.2% 51.7% 49.1%
Math 60.0% 37.6% 33.3%
Science 36.1% 25.5% 22.7%
Grade 8
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 59.1% 51.3% 47.6%
Math 31.8% 39.2% 32.2%
Social Studies 39.6% 34.1% 29.7%
High School Grade 11
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 51.3% 55.6% 49.3%
Math 22.4% 32.9% 28.5%
Science 32.5% 30.4% 29.4%
Social Studies 47.2% 46.8% 43.9%
New Beginnings Grade 11
 Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 15.8% 55.6% 49.3%
Math 0.0% 32.9% 28.5%
Science 11.8% 30.4% 29.4%
Social Studies 23.5% 46.8% 43.9%
District Grade 11
  Cedar Springs Kent County State
English Language Arts 48.1% 55.6% 49.3%
Math 20.7% 32.9% 28.5%
Science 30.8% 30.4% 29.4%
Social Studies 45.3% 46.8% 43.9%

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Power outage gives kids a day off


 

A blown fuse in a Consumers Energy tower early Tuesday morning gave kids in Cedar Springs an early Christmas present—a day off of school.

The electricity went off about 7:10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15. According to Roger Morgenstern, of Consumers Energy, the outage affected about 507 customers, including the Cedar Springs Public Schools campus.

Citing a long-term power outage, the Cedar Springs Public School district cancelled classes for the day, and returned students home on buses.

“At the time, we estimated restoration at about 10:30 a.m., because we were not sure what potential for damage may have been done,” explained Morgenstern.

Power was restored at 8:45 a.m.

“Sometimes it’s an animal or a tree limb that causes the outage. But we didn’t find anything. It was just a fuse that blew, so we put one back in and it restored power,” said Morgenstern.

He said the tower is located in the 14000 block of Myers Lake Ave.

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State of the School District Cedar Springs Public Schools


 

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Featuring Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Please join us to celebrate the fine students, staff, families and community of Cedar Springs Public Schools.  All staff, families and community are encouraged to attend.  Superintendent VanDuyn will provide a report on current and future initiatives of the school district as well as respond to questions from attendees.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Hilltop Community Building
3rd Floor, Board Room
December 10, 2015

6:30pm

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