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Tag Archive | "Laura VanDuyn"

New sports turf installed at Red Hawk Stadium


Fall sports have kicked off, and one of the new items greeting athletes, the high school marching band, and fans, is the new sports turf at Red Hawk Stadium.

“We are excited to kick off the 2017-18 school year with a beautiful new Red Hawk Stadium turf,” said Cedar Springs Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “As our Cedar Springs Public Schools campus is the center point of this great community, it is our honor to shine for all to see our Cedar Springs pride with this new look.”

Replacement of the turf was identified as one of the needs in a 2011 bond issue study for the sinking fund millage. The cost at that time was estimated at $750-850,000. However, Shaw Sports Turf came in with a cost of $406,990.

The turf was replaced this summer, in time for the marching band to hold their annual band camp.

“We are grateful for the research, experience and work our Athletic Director, Mr. John Norton, and our Director of Operations, Mr. Ken Simon did to prepare and oversee this project,” said VanDuyn. “We are also grateful for our Board of Education supporting the purchase and installation of our new turf as well as for our principals, maintenance department, coaches and music directors for their input.”

VanDuyn said she hopes the community will come out to various events to see the new turf, such as at soccer and football games, the CSPS fundraiser walk-a-thon, the Red Flannel Festival Marching Band Invitational and the annual Powder Puff football game.

She also thanked the community for their part in making it happen. “On behalf of our Board of Education, Administration, staff and students, thank you Cedar Springs residents for investing in our schools, by providing for a sinking fund that made this beautiful new stadium turf possible.”

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COME SEE THE NEW LOOK OF RED HAWK STADIUM!


Dear Cedar Springs Community:

Laura VanDuyn

We are grateful for the research, experience and work our Athletic Director, Mr. John Norton, and our Director of Operations, Mr. Ken Simon did to prepare and oversee this project.  We are also grateful for our Board of Education supporting the purchase and installation of our new turf as well as for our principals, maintenance department, coaches and music directors for their input.

At CSPS, we have many points of pride.  Paramount to all others is our commitment and passion to serve our students well.  The enhancement to our Red Hawk Stadium illustrates the value we place upon providing for our students as they explore and enjoy extracurricular and community-building events and activities.  It will be our pleasure to see our students, staff, families and community gather around our new turf this school year!

Please take an opportunity to see our new turf (pictured on page 2) at upcoming events such as soccer and football games, the CSPS fundraiser walk-a-thon, the Red Flannel Festival Marching Band Invitational and the annual Powder Puff football game.

ON BEHALF OF OUR BOARD OF EDUCATION, ADMINISTRATION, STAFF AND STUDENTS, THANK YOU CEDAR SPRINGS RESIDENTS FOR INVESTING IN OUR SCHOOLS, BY PROVIDING FOR A SINKING FUND THAT MADE THIS BEAUTIFUL NEW STADIUM TURF POSSIBLE.

It’s going to be another fantastic year at CSPS!

Dr. Laura VanDuyn, 

Superintendent of Schools

 

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From the Superintendent’s desk


 

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Family:

On Tuesday, May 2, voters throughout Kent County will consider the Strong Schools, Strong Communities proposal, a 10-year, 0.9 mill increase for a regional enhancement millage that would allow local school districts to strengthen our future workforce and develop and attract strong talent right here in West Michigan.

If approved, the proposal will allow local districts to:

  • Expand career training and technical course offerings that will give students real life, on-the-job training and a head start on their careers.
  • Give students exposure to the world of work and business with partnerships that prepare them for careers.
  • Give students living in poverty a good start, and surround them with the support needed to keep them in school.

By law, if this proposal is approved, every penny generated from this proposal will be distributed to local school districts to maintain existing programs and improve services offered to students.

At Cedar Springs Public Schools this proposal would generate an estimated $723,000 per year.  In alignment with the purposes above, our district will focus on these priorities:

  • Continued expansion of the Early Middle College program and access to other college and career opportunities
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Academics and Behavior
  • Professional Development for continued best practices in instruction and student support
  • Enhanced afterschool and summer school learning opportunities
  • Comprehensive Counseling and Mental Health Programs
  • Technology Infrastructure and software enhancements
  • Maintaining or lowering class sizes
  • Improved assessment tools

Please share this information with your friends and family so they are informed about what’s on the ballot Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

Learn more at: strongschoolsstrongcommunities.com

Have a relaxing and enjoyable spring break!

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent

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From the Superintendent’s Desk


Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

Exciting School District News: 2017 Refunding Bonds! The Board of Education Cedar Springs Public Schools is proud to announce the successful sale of its 2017 Refunding Bonds in the amount of $7,060,000.  The Bonds are being issued for the purpose of currently refunding a portion of the School District’s outstanding 2007 Refunding Bonds and to pay the costs of issuing the Bonds. The 2017 Refunding Bonds reduce the School District interest expense over $679,873 for the taxpayers and will occur through lower debt payments over the next 12 years.

In preparing to sell the 2017 Refunding Bonds the School District, working with their financial advisor, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, requested that S&P Global Ratings, acting through Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) evaluate the School District’s credit quality.  S&P assigned the School District the outstanding underlying rating of “A+”.  The rating agency cited the School District’s stable economy with good incomes, strong market value per capita, stable enrollment, strong reserves and moderate debt burden in their rational for rating of the School District at this level.

I’m extremely pleased with the results of the refunding and thrilled that we’re able to save the taxpayers of Cedar Springs almost $700,000 over the next 12 years!   When you add that to the $2.5 million saved from last years’ refunding, that’s significant.

The School District’s financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, PFM Financial Advisors LLC and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.  The School District’s 2017 Refunding Bonds were sold at a true interest rate of 2.85% with a final maturity of 2029 (a repayment term of approximately 12 years). Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel states, “Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Bonds were well received by the bond market.  We were able to take advantage of current interest rates that met the goals of the District and resulted in a nice savings that will be passed on to the District’s Taxpayers.”

Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about this exciting news.

Warmly,

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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From the superintendent’s desk


Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Happy 2017 – it is going to be a terrific year!  We welcome everyone back to school as we continue our focus on teaching and learning at CSPS.

As we kick off a brand new year, it is an ideal time to learn about the vision, mission, core values and brand promise that was adopted by our Board of Education in December.  The Board of Education embarked on the strategic planning process to update the direction of the District.   The most important part of that process was to gather stakeholder feedback.

To that end, approximately 125 teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, students and community members participated in focus groups to provide input on the future and direction they (and those they represented) would like to see for CSPS.  Additionally, the entire staff of CSPS was asked to provide their input on selecting the core values, which define the way will go about our work.  The engagement and input was impressive and the outcome is just the same.  The following was formally adopted by our dedicated Board of Education and will shape our work as we move forward:

Vision (where we are trying to go):  Cedar Springs Public Schools will prepare all students to be independent thinkers and life-long learners who are confident and engaged in their community and world.

Mission (why we are doing what we’re doing):  Cedar Springs Public Schools is a welcoming, inclusive educational environment where students are challenged to reach their potential, and are prepared for life beyond school.

Core Values (how we are going to go about our work- we’ll do so with):  Integrity, Respect, Compassion, Accountability, Collaboration

Brand Promise (our “trademark”):  Purpose, Potential, Pride

We are excited to keep these tenets of our strategic plan at the forefront of our work with students, staff, families and our community.  On behalf of the Board of Education and our outstanding CSPS collegial team, I thank each and every one of the many people who gave of their time to commit to this important process.  Thank you for your part in continuing to move forward our great Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Warmly, 

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., CSPS Superintendent of Schools

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Honoring Outstanding School Board Members


 

Dear CSPS Families and Colleagues:

It is the time of year when we focus on that for which we are thankful.  There are many things in our district and community for which to be thankful, including those who rise above self and serve others.  Mr. Joe Marckini and Mr. Jeff Gust have done just that as they have served on our CSPS Board of Education for several years.  Please join me in thanking them for their volunteerism and for taking on the challenges of leadership with courage, engagement and compassion.

csps-joe-marckiniMr. Joe Marckini is a lifelong resident of Kent County and has been a Cedar Springs resident since 1996.  He is the proud father of 2 wonderful daughters, both CSHS graduates.  He and his wife Elizabeth are strong supporters of public education and have been active volunteers throughout the CSPS district and the Cedar Springs community.

Mr. Marckini is an active participant in the legislative process at the local, state and national level. He has taken trips to Washington D.C. to advocate for our Cedar Springs schools.  He is passionate about always doing what is best for students and has dedicated nearly 10 years of his time to seeing that passion through to successful results.  Mr. Marckini has participated in thousands of hours of school board member training and has earned several levels of achievements and awards as well as serving as President of the Board of Education.

csps-jeff-gustMr. Jeff Gust is a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs.  He and his wife Barb are proud graduates of CSHS.  They are the proud parents of 3 great children who all graduated from CSHS!  Not only does Mr. Gust serve but his wife does as well as a secretary at our high school.

Mr. Gust is well respected for the countless hours he has spent throughout the district, whether it is to referee the Red Flannel Festival powder puff game, serve in the concession stands, join in the excitement of Back-to-School nights, or help our littlest students find the correct bus the first week of school.  Regardless of the event or activity, you’ll find Mr. Gust there exhibiting his great Red Hawk pride!

Mr. Gust has served for nearly 6 years, most recently as the Secretary of the Board of Education.  Prior to that he has dedicated much of his time as a member of the Finance and Sinking Fund committees.

As these 2 long-term Board of Education members go off the board at the end of December, we will remember them for their selfless volunteerism and leadership as it’s quite impressive to give so generously in an effort to do what is best for kids.

Thank you, Mr. Marckini and Mr. Gust, you and your service to our district and community will be sorely missed!

Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

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From the Superintendent’s desk


Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear CSPS Families:

It’s hard to believe that November is here. We are so engaged in what we do as educators and students that the time flies…and YES, we are having fun! Our first 2 months of school have brought many fantastic opportunities for our students and staff. I’d like to update you on progress we continue to make as a progressive district serving our kids with passion and collaboration.

  • Strategic Planning: We are moving right along and look forward to completion of the process soon. This important process is one that a school district takes on every 3-5 years. It enables the Board of Education to establish the vision (where we are going as a district), mission (why we are here doing what we are doing) and core values (how we go about doing our work). This process involved approximately 125 people in feedback groups. Those groups were established by leaders from our teachers, parents, students, community members, support staff and administrators. The Board of Education is now using all the feedback from the constituent groups and will eventually vote on approving the strategic plan that will have 4 goals: academic, environment, 21st century learning, finance. This process has been inclusive and engaging!
  • Our new math curriculum implementation is going very well and rave reviews are coming in from our teachers, students and parents. Our principals are working with our teachers on tight alignment of the new K-5 curriculum with the 6-12 curriculum. This is exciting work for all of us. We are so proud of the process we put in place over the last 2 years to have our teachers work in collaborative groups to select the curriculum.
  • We are excited to know that our work on Responsive Classroom® (RC) is now being talked about in other districts. I’ve received phone calls and emails to talk about the great benefits of RC and the possibility of other districts looking at training for their schools. We are excited to be the first district to bring this to our region! Please read the article about our outstanding teachers and principals implementing RC in the School News Network: http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org
  • We are proud that our band students and directors are leading the way after coming in 3rd in two recent state band competitions. Our band will perform at Ford Field on Saturday. Thank you all for helping Cedar Springs lead the way…you make us proud!
  • Hat’s off to our business department staff under the leadership of Rosemary Zink, CPA, MBA and CFO! There has been a lot of work in the business department over the last year. We are elated to know that we are moving forward with transparency in reporting, collaboration and inclusion in budgeting and in systems development. Last November 1st we had to employ the services of a consultant to provide an overview of our business services after concerns were raised by a community member throughout the summer and into the fall of 2015. The great news is we were able to get a comprehensive look at our business practices in order to plan forward. Additionally, we were able to keep our business department going until we were able to hire Ms. Zink. Our business department employees are so dedicated to making sure we all have what we need to do our jobs. We are excited about what is ahead and purposely put a financial goal in the strategic plan to keep a sharp focus on all the advancements that are being made in the business department.
  • Anne Kostus and our terrific team of teachers and counselors at the high school continue to rally around Early Middle College. We are one of few districts offering this opportunity to our high school students. We are proud of being on the leading edge of this statewide initiative. This is so important for giving our students an advantage in college readiness. Hat’s off to all who are making this happen for our amazing students!
  • The OK2Say program has now been implemented at Red Hawk and with our current 7th and 8th graders at the middle school. We were honored last April when our Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his team thought enough of Cedar Springs Public Schools to spend his day with us kicking off the OK2Say program. That dedication to our district, being a leader in the OK2Say initiative, is humbling. We attribute that to Jo Spry, our Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, as she brought the program to Michigan. We love being on the cutting edge of such important work to keep our schools safe.
  • It’s clear by looking around our campus that our maintenance and grounds crew are working hard. In fact, we have data to prove that. Mr. Ken Simon, our new Director of Operations, is tracking data on work orders and setting goals for his department. Thus far his hard-working team has reduced work orders in progress to 8%…and the goal was 10%! We thank Mr. Simon and his team for supporting all we do as a district as their work is foundational to providing a wonderful learning atmosphere for our students.
  • We are proud of the staff we’ve had with us for many years and are proud of the new staff joining us for the first time this year. Last school year we created and continue to develop an excellent Human Resources Department. Leading that is Ms. Carrie Duddles who is doing a stellar job for all staff and for the district. To that end, there are processes that have been put in place that structure hiring and provide streamlining with the technology, payroll and other departments. There is misinformation that 50 or more employees resigned from the district since January, 2016. It can be confusing as there are times when people on the resignation list are those who resign from one position, such as interventionist, who actually earned another position, such as a teacher. Therefore, their names will appear as resignations when in fact, they are still employees of the District. Furthermore, retirements such as the 11 we had last spring along with 2 leaves of absence that were granted appear in the same category as resignations/layoffs. To add to that is the fact that there are some employees who earn what is called a “schedule B” assignment/salary for coaching athletics, etc. Those positions are counted on the resignation list when someone decides they won’t be able to coach anymore. Those may be teachers or support staff employed by CSPS who are only resigning their coaching positions, not their full-time positions … or they may be people who do not work in the district but only coach a sport, etc. As you can see, there is a lot that can make a list appear to be something it is not. The lists contain all support, teaching and administrator positions. Simple lists can be misleading without understanding what all is encompassed in them, but we know as we calculate the numbers of actual resignations that we are well within a general range of what can be expected for any district. It’s always important to gather the facts and we encourage all to seek facts prior to establishing concerns. Thankfully, we are putting these important processes in place to track our hiring, seniority, benefits, payroll, etc. These structures are incredibly important to keeping the District on track in budgeting…we are proud of the work we are doing in this area!
  • It is our honor to have with us, Dr. Barbara Johnson, a National Blue Ribbon School principal, principal of a Top 10 school in the state and a Reading Now Network school. Dr. Johnson is working with our new “Leader in Training” at Beach Elementary School. We are so very fortunate to have Mrs. Miranda Latimer (one of our excellent CSPS teachers who earned a leadership position in the district) as our administrator at Beach Elementary. She is getting the benefit of learning from our outstanding principal team as well as from Dr. Barb Johnson. It is to our benefit to have someone who has been a principal recognized in the state and nation for her terrific contributions in education. Please know that the affordability in this comes from a “Leader in Training” salary that is significantly less than a principal in order to afford the mentor, as agreed upon by the Leader in Training upon accepting the position. Dr. Barb Johnson is being talked about all over Michigan…we are THRILLED to be a district benefiting from her services.
  • NEOLA policy work continues as we are nearing the end of the work to add the Administrative Guidelines to the policies that were adopted this summer. This Board of Education and administration have worked long and hard to do a complete policy overhaul to ensure we are on board with the most state-of-the-art policy that is constantly updated and inclusive of any changed or new legislation. It’s so nice to be a district on the forefront of important reform such as policy as it guides what we do as a district.
  • Our School Resource Officer program is serving our students, staff and families so well. We have seen the countless benefits of the program in such a short time and look forward to continuing to develop the program. We are fortunate to bring this program to CSPS and know that it’s making a difference in our school operations and in our student and staff well being. Thank you, Deputy McCutcheon, for all you are doing to make this innovative program a success!

As we enter into the season for recognizing all we have to be thankful for, know that our staff and Board of Education are thankful that you share your most cherished blessings with us. Thank you for partnering with us to be make a positive impact in your child’s life. We, at CSPS, take very seriously what we do as educators to support your child in developing a successful present and future life. To that end, we hold high expectations and a commitment to accountability for ourselves and for our students. We are thankful that we do this together as we know our purpose is the same…seeing your child reach his/her potential.

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your superintendent. Please contact me at any time, should I be able to support you and your child in educational success.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

CSPS Superintendent of Schools

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From the Superintendent’s desk


 

Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

It is my hope you are enjoying our transition to the early days of fall. I was born and raised in the great state of Michigan and I’ve always LOVED this time of year. We especially love this time of year at my father’s house in the U.P. as the crisp weather means great bonfires, preparing for deer season and generally loving being outside in the peaceful surroundings. This is a wonderful time of year for children, especially after getting into the routine of the school year and enjoying the traditional Cedar Springs Red Flannel Festival…not to mention the thrill of Halloween!

As we head into this refreshing season at the start of our year together, it’s important to share the ways in which we communicate with all of our constituent groups. It is greatly important to me and to our Board of Education that we keep you apprised of happenings in the district.  Following are just some of the many ways we communicate with our staff, students, parents and community:

• Our new website

• Board of Education meetings (recorded and uploaded to YouTube)

• Newsletters

• Phone calls

• Emails

• The Red Hawk Review (electronic and sent via email to every CSPS family and any community members who request it as well as it being posted on our new website)

• The Cedar Springs Post articles and school pages

• Parent-Teacher conferences

• Open Houses

• Weekly folders

• Meetings with the superintendent at our local cafes (10/7 is the next opportunity)

• Facebook

• Teacher Web pages

• Twitter

• Progress Reports and Report cards

• Office announcements

• Face-to-Face meetings with the superintendent

• Annual State-of-the-School-District address

• Michigan Association of School Board workshops (November, 2015 and April, 2016)

• Strategic Planning Process

• School improvement process

I am grateful to all who ask the questions about what is happening in our district. I continue to extend an opportunity to meet with anyone wishing to meet so that any and all questions about our district, our Board of Education, etc. can be answered. Furthermore, it’s an opportunity to share some of the great work that has been shared at Board meetings, as we know not everyone can attend…which is one reason we publish them on YouTube.  It’s been refreshing to have so many staff, students, parents and community members meet with me to ascertain how we are progressing as a district.

csps-conversation-with-the-superintendentAs you know, especially from the many ways we communicate with our staff, families and community, I want every citizen, staff member and parent of Cedar Springs to ask questions and to be well educated about all that is happening in this great district.  We are proud of the forward motion we’ve made and will continue that trajectory.  I would love an opportunity to get to know you, to learn how I might support your wishes or to answer any questions you may have.  I encourage you to schedule a meeting, call or drop by for a visit as I enjoy getting to know our students, families and community members. I can assure you, you’ll be enlightened to hear about the terrific progress we are making to serve our students well!

It is an honor to serve as your CSPS superintendent.  I take great pleasure in knowing that at CSPS, students come first and that this great district is moving along in an excellent way, with a lot of support, to serve students and families.  On behalf of the CSPS Board of Education, administration, teachers and support staff, thank you for partnering with us to provide the very best education for our students.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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From the Superintendent


 

Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

Welcome back to school for the 2016-17 school year!  It is my hope you enjoyed the last few months doing the things you love to do during our beautiful Michigan summers.  I can assure you that you have been missed.  Our students and families fill our schools with excitement each school year and you are precisely why we choose to be educators…we love our kids and families!

As you have been away this summer we have been working on preparations for your return.  Our teachers, administrators and support staff have been preparing classrooms and schools for you.  They have been actively engaged in preparing for the academic and extracurricular year to begin.  They are anxious to have you back for another great year of learning adventures.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your CSPS superintendent.  I take great pleasure in knowing that at CSPS, students come first.  On behalf of the CSPS Board of Education, administration, teachers and support staff, thank you for partnering with us to provide the very best education for our students.  Please know I enjoy meeting and getting to know our students and families so call or drop by for a visit at any time.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.
Superintendent

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Education is proactive

Laura VanDuyn, our Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent’s message to us in The Post of April 14 was filled with good news about our improving educational program for our youth.

An extended study of change in business and industry years ago showed production improved with each change in work environment, leveled off, and eventually decreased. I think it was called the Hawthorn effect.

Education is a proactive thing. It’s good that the program we offer our children is proactive.

Lyle Perry Jr.

Cedar Springs

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