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Tag Archive | "Kent Intermediate School District"

Schools of Choice – K-12 Non-Resident Enrollment


Cedar Springs Public Schools participates in both the Kent Intermediate School District Schools of Choice Plan and the Section 105c State plan. All students residing within the Kent Intermediate School District may apply for enrollment in any Kent ISD school that has available openings during the advertised timeframe (usually open during the spring). Students who reside in a district that is within a different ISD that borders the Kent ISD, may also apply under the Section 105c plan depending on available openings. Students who have been suspended or expelled may be excluded. Applications will be made available at our administration building, or on our website in April, 2017.

2017-2018 Schools of Choice Timeline and Applications

Total number of Kent ISD Schools of Choice Openings: Will be announced late March, 2017.

Total number of Section 105c Openings: Will be announced late March, 2017.

Students residing in Kent County may apply for Schools of Choice through the Kent County Schools of Choice Plan April 10 – May 12, 2017.

Students residing outside of Kent County may apply for Schools of Choice through the Schools of Choice 105c Plan April 10 – May 12, 2017.

Transportation to and from school is the responsibility of the student’s family.

Parent Notification:
Parents will be notified by letter if their child has been accepted for enrollment in Cedar Springs Public Schools through a Schools of Choice plan by May 22, 2017.  Acceptance or denial will be in writing only, no information will be provided over the phone.

Kent ISD Information:
If you would like additional information regarding the Kent ISD, please visit Kent ISD web site.

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Growing Cardboard

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller


As a child, I observed toilet paper rolls were not wrapped around a cardboard tube. By the time we removed the paper, a cardboard tube had grown on the inside of the roll. I remember my mother telling me a rock on a street corner near her house grew larger as she was growing up.

Our observations were faulty. Both my mom and I thought we made good observations. I looked inside the paper roll and did not see the cardboard. I was not perceptive enough. Mom did not make measurements on the rock to verify growth.

I recall taking local middle school students to Costa Rica to learn about Tropical Rain Forest. We visited schools to plant trees with students. We shared that forests are a renewable resource that were being cut faster than they could regenerate. Some rainforest soils get baked to laterite rock when cleared of trees.

Sustainable practices that support future generations of people living in the rainforest and here need to manage rainforest differently if we desire to have toilet paper or other forest products in the future. Some apply temperate forest management practices there and are unwilling to change because they desire to think it will work anywhere. As adults, we are not making accurate observations based on sound scientific investigations.

Naturally, tree harvest industries are most interested in cutting trees and shipping them. They keep moving and clearing rainforest without adequate concern regarding the impact on the local community or future generations. For some, the goal is only short-term profit for the company. Many people feel that is in their best personal interest and it is particularly true if they invest money in mutual funds that include that forestry company.

Others seek socially screened industry investments that work to provide healthy economic, social, and environmental practices for both present and future generations. It is known as the triple bottom line.

A recent national survey prioritized 12 US citizen concerns. Environment was number 11 of 12. The only one of less concern was immigration. Political policies are based on constituent desires. It is good when people develop good observation skills and behave to support the triple bottom line for the present and future.

When I was director at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, it was operated by the Kent Intermediate School District serving Kent County public and private schools. One purpose was to provide hands on learning to help students develop careful observation skills and to learn how scientists constantly review the work of other scientists to find flaws and correct them. When studies involve things like how nature niches work in forests, we can improve best practice management. Science has self-correcting peer review.

Field trip learning helps children develop accurate observations in fun natural locations. They learn to draw better conclusions than I did regarding toilet paper growing cardboard while on the paper holder.

The Kent ISD superintendent, in 2005, told me they were closing the Howard Christensen Nature Center because environmental education was no longer a priority in America. He stated he was not saying it lacked importance but only it was no longer a priority in America. In the presidential election prior to 2005, Al Gore, with a sustainable environment policy, won the popular vote but lost the electoral. The recent election went the same way with the sustainable environment policy candidate winning the popular vote but losing the election. Environment was only one of twelve American priorities but indicated a sustainable environment for future generations is low on our priority list. The role of environment for sustaining a stable economy is important.

Encourage your children’s teachers to go to HCNC. It is now operated as an independent nature center. Purchase a 2017 family membership. Rent snowshoes there and have fun outdoors. Emotionally connect with the environment that supports us and our future. It will help raise a sustainable environment priority.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Associate Superintendent David Cairy lands state-wide job


David Cairy, the associate superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools

David Cairy, the associate superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools

David Cairy, the associate superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools, is leaving his position at Cedar Springs this week to take on a new position as Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) Project Director. He will oversee the TRIG operations located at, and in partnership with the Michigan Association of Intermediate School District Superintendents, in Lansing. He will also have a home base at the Kent Intermediate School District.

It’s been an absolutely amazing 14 years here,” remarked Cairy. “When I came here, I was looking for a good job. What I found was a home, a place to raise a family, a community of top-notch educators, and a community that strongly cares about the education of their kids.”

Cairy first came to Cedar Springs as principal of Cedar Trails. He was promoted to associate superintendent in 2007, and has led a variety of educational initiatives as well as serving as the district’s chief financial officer. “The first group of kids I started with just graduated,” noted Cairy. “It’s fun to see a group through from start to finish.”

Cairy is well-loved and respected by parents, community and school staff members. At Monday’s board of education meeting, community member Sue Wolfe finished her comments by saying, “In my 62 years of life, I’ve never known a finer man than Dave Cairy.” The jam-packed room of staff and community members erupted in applause, and gave Cairy a standing ovation.

I was humbled,” said Cairy. “For those folks to think I did a good job means a lot. When that group shows up and says thank you—well, that’s something I will never forget.”

Cairy applied for the Superintendent job at Cedar Springs when Ron McDermed retired in 2014, and stayed on to work with the new superintendent, after the board chose Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “I’ve really enjoyed working with him,” said VanDuyn. “He’s such a good guy. He’s been a great colleague to a whole bunch of folks, and we’re going to miss him.”

While Cairy’s new office will be in Lansing, he won’t be moving from the area.

While I won’t be working here anymore, know my thoughts will never be far from the district,” he wrote in a letter to the staff. “The more talented educator in the family will still be here (his wife teaches at Cedar Springs), and our boys will continue to benefit from our wonderful system. Erin and I chose to live here for a lot of great reasons, and my job was only one of them. Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover how appreciative I am of the opportunity I have had and the support I have felt from this district.”

A consultant is helping the school district find an interim business director until they can hire a permanent replacement for Cairy.

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Schools of Choice for 2014 – 2015 School Year


Cedar Springs Public Schools participates in both the Kent Intermediate School District (ISD) and the 105c Schools of Choice plans.  If you would like to be put on the mailing list to receive an application, please contact Pam Kozicki at pam.kozicki@csredhawks.org OR (616) 696-1204 x1008.

Kent ISD Schools of Choice Plan

Families residing within the Kent ISD, but not a resident of the Cedar Springs School District may apply for enrollment by requesting a Kent ISD Schools of Choice application from their resident district or choice district during the application period, April 14 – May 31.

105C Schools of Choice Plan

Families who reside in a district which borders the Kent ISD, may apply under the Schools of Choice 105c plan during the application period, April 14 – May 16.

Applications will NOT be accepted until April 14, 2014.

For more information, visit www.kentisd.org/parents–community/schools-of-choice or www.csredhawks.org

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Cedar Springs to start Superintendent search

Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education began input sessions this week from various groups in the community as they start their search for a new Superintendent.

Superintendent Ron McDermed will retire in July, after serving 25 years in the district. He was hired as an elementary principal in 1989, and served in that role until 1997, and then as associate superintendent over curriculum until 2009, when he was chosen as Superintendent to replace outgoing Superintendent Andy Booth.

The Board of Education voted to use the services of the Kent Intermediate School District, and consultant Mike Washburn, former Superintendent at Forest Hills Public Schools, to run the search.

The board met with community members prior to Monday night’s board meeting, and with several other groups this week at various school buildings. They would like input from parents, staff and community members in what they value in the Superintendent’s role. If you have not yet had a chance to attend one of these sessions, they will meet on January 20 with the Cedar Springs Education Association in Conference Room B at Hilltop at 6:30 p.m., and again before the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on January 27.

You can also email questions and input to the various board members. Find the board members and their email addresses at http://www.csredhawks.org/board-education/meet-our-board-members


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Cedar Springs schools receives Chairman award

By Judy Reed

John Willette receives Chairman award.

Cedar Springs Public Schools received the Kent County Board of Commissioner’s Chairman Award at the 4th annual Green Schools Awards Ceremony on April 19, 2011, at the Caledonia Fine Arts Center. The award recognizes district-level energy projects, and this is the third time Cedar Springs has received the award.
The ceremony, hosted by Kent County and the Kent Intermediate School district, honored individual schools and five districts with 82 awards. Green certificates were given to individual schools for their green efforts, including Cedar Trails Elementary, Beach Elementary, Red Hawk Elementary, and Cedar Springs Middle School.
“Districts are working hard to save energy and taxpayer dollars and have long taught environmental awareness in their classrooms.  This new program helps us recognize their efforts,” said Kent ISD Superintendent Kevin A. Konarska.
Some of the environmental activities Kent ISD schools are doing to earn their certificates include holding a recycled fashion show for the community and tending a school garden that grows vegetables for the school’s lunch room.
The Cedar Springs district-wide energy program began in 2004 and has saved the district $1.25 million, or 26 percent in projected energy costs. For the 2009-2010 school year, it saved $240,000, or 33 percent.
According teacher and energy manager John Willette, the environmental impact of the program is carbon reduction of more than 7900 metric tons of carbon dioxide; carbon dioxide reduction is equal to approximately 10 years of growth of over 200,000 tree seedlings, or removing 1,400 cars from the road.
Willette says that 100 percent of the money saved able to be used for the important work of educating students.  “In this challenging fiscal environment these efforts have saved jobs and programs while helping to keep class sizes smaller.”
Cedar Springs was one of only five districts to receive the Chairman Award. The others were Caledonia, Lowell, Rockford, and Thornapple Kellog.

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Nature center to reopen April 15

By Judy Reed

It just wouldn’t be spring without a school field trip to the nature center. So it’s good news that Howard Christensen Nature Center, operated by Lily’s Frog Pad, will reopen on April 15, after closing in January due to funding cuts.

Cindy Perski, who took the lead in creating Lily’s Frog Pad, the non-profit group operating the center, will initially volunteer at the center full-time until they can find a part-time director. “We just don’t have any income right now,” she explained.

The operating budget for the center with a part-time director is $45,000. “We are working feverishly to find another organization to partner with, but we haven’t had any bona fide offers yet,” said Perski.

The property is owned by the Kent Intermediate School District, and Perski said that they have been “super supportive” in helping them reopen. “They rented the land to us for a $1 per year,” she noted.

The center will have many of the regular ongoing programs such as school field trips, after school programs, summer camps, family programs, scout programs and more. Some newer programs include dog walking on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a children’s craft time on Wednesdays, a 10-day adult outdoor wilderness survival, a seniors get together, and more activities. Families can even rent a 10-foot by 5-foot patch of land to grow a garden. For more information visit www.lilysfrogpad.com.

A volunteer orientation day is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They are looking for people who enjoy volunteering outdoors to work with the naturalists, teach kids about nature, help maintain the trails, cleaning, data input and filing, donating goods, and more. RSVP by emailing cperski@charter.net or calling (616) 325-4554.

Those wishing to make a donation to help with expenses should make checks out to Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. Contributions can be mailed to 12380 Pine Island, Drive, Sparta, MI 49345.

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