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Tag Archive | "Laura VanDuyn"

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

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on From the Superintendent’s desk

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

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on From the Superintendent


The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


 

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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From the Superintendent’s Desk


Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Dear Cedar Springs Public School Families:

Happy New Year 2016!  We are so happy to have our schools teeming, once again, with our students, staff and families.  It is my hope you enjoyed a restful vacation from school and that you are ready to take on all the excitement this new year brings.

As we know, there will be challenges and celebrations throughout 2016.  Our positive perspective on what is ahead will lead us to continued growth and development at CSPS.  Please join me in embracing each challenge we may face in 2016 as we know it’s how we learn, grow and thrive. We’ll have many celebrations as we work together and witness the greatness our kids and staff will achieve in 2016.  I know we have some seniors already considering a celebration as the magic “2016” is the year they have been waiting for a long time!  Hold off on that seniors…you still have a lot of work to do!

As we kick off 2016 I want to thank a committed group of people who keep this district so strong…our PTO.  I have witnessed the incredible number of hours this group of parents dedicates to all our schools.  I have learned about the countless things they do to raise funds and support our needs and wants. Just to name a few:  they pay for and build playgrounds;  they provide meals and support to our staff during conferences; they ensure Santa Claus and cookies are a part of the fun at Cedar Trails; they organize and run our book fairs and supply our teachers with many books for their classrooms; they host ice cream socials to build community; they supply books for and help run our libraries; they cheer on all our kids as they walk the track for our annual PTO fundraiser.  Our CSPS PTO seeks to serve and they do so with a smile and great cheer knowing that they are building community at Cedar Springs.  Thank you, PTO, and Happy New Year to all of you from all of us at CSPS!

We have many exciting things happening as we enter 2016.  One of which is strategic planning.  If you are interested in providing feedback for that process, please let me know as we would love to have your input.  There are parent and community group meetings to be held in February in order to provide the Board of Education with input to help them establish the vision (where we want to go), mission (why we are doing what we are doing) and core values (how we are going to go about it) of our school distict.  Our CSPS Board of Education values all constituent group feedback and looks forward to setting the vision of the district for future progress for all.

It’s great to be back!  Together, let’s make 2016 the best year ever!

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on From the Superintendent’s Desk

From the Superintendent’s Desk


Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

There is nothing more rewarding to me than being a servant leader – here to serve students, staff, parents and this great community.  To that end, I am pleased to share that we, the CSPS educators and support staff, focus our work each day on serving our nearly 3500 students.

The very heart and soul of our work and desire to serve is teaching and learning.  Although I am in school buildings all the time, the last 3 weeks provided an extra special time at our schools as we conducted “instructional rounds.”  Our district office administrators collaborate with building administrators, teachers and instructional coaches to visit classrooms and observe excellent teaching and learning.

Instructional rounds are explained by educational researcher Robert J. Marzano as “…the most valuable tools that a school or district can use to enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills and develop a culture of collaboration.”  We, at CSPS, couldn’t agree more!

I can share with certainty that our fine educators value the instructional rounds as we collaborate around focused data collection, dialogue and self-reflection.  That leads our staffs to setting goals for continued student success.

It has been an absolute joy to be in each of the classrooms we visited.  Our teachers teach with clear intention, consistency in standards and solid strategies to engage students.  Our students are actively engaged in learning and collaboration as they demonstrate skills and concepts they are learning.  Teachers and students alike focus on assessment of learning, which is impressive to witness!

In addition to our educators focusing all work on students, there are countless examples of how our support staff truly supports teaching and learning.  The hard work and dedication they demonstrate in their day-to-day work is clear.  What is not as well-known is the compassion and commitment they give behind the scenes to ensure educators and students are supported in their work of teaching and learning.  At CSPS, we appreciate the collaborative spirit of our highly valued educators and support staff.

I’ll say it again and again, 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.  A hallmark of my career has been being approachable to all students, staff, parents and community members.  It’s that servant leadership philosophy that I hold dear in all aspects of my life.  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 instructional rounds!

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Office:  616-696-1204 ext. 1001    Cell: 925-899-3111

Email: laura.vanduyn@csredhawks.org

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on From the Superintendent’s Desk

School Board Recognition Month


CSPS-2015 Board of EdJanuary is School Board Recognition Month  – An opportunity for us to celebrate the great things happening in our schools and the dedicated volunteer school board members that serve the Cedar Springs community.

School board members are regular citizens, like you and me,  that have an extraordinary commitment to the children of our community.

Today, our school board members are entrusted with the important work of shaping the education of our youngest citizens.  They dedicate countless hours to creating the mission, vision and goals that drive our schools.  They are dedicated to creating a school culture where collaboration and continuous learning are valued and displayed throughout our system.  The seven members of the Cedar Springs Board of Education do this by always keeping children as the center of their work and decision making.

Please join me in saluting the men and women who serve as members of the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Take a moment to express your gratitude for this important service to our community.

Brook Nichols-10 Years of Service

Joe Marckini-7 Years of Service

Jeff Gust -4 Years of Service

Matthew Shoffner -4 Years of Service

Shannon Vanderhyde- 4 Years of Service

Patricia Eary -2 Years of Service

Michelle Bayink-First Year of Service

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.Superintendent, Cedar Springs Public Schools

 

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School board approves new superintendent contract


The Cedar Springs Board of Education tabled the contract for their incoming superintendent Monday evening, but made changes and approved it 6-0 in a special meeting Wednesday evening, April 16.

Concerns in the contract included putting a cap on moving expenses and clarification on the contract period.

The board selected Laura VanDuyn Ed.D., of California, late last month. To replace retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

VanDuyn is executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority, a cooperative program providing special education services for school districts within the region. The Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority is located in Concord, approximately 22 miles northeast of Oakland, CA.

According to the contract, VanDuyn’s salary will be $147,000 for the 2014-2015 year; $149,800 for 2015-2016; and $152,796 for 2016-2017. She will also have 25 days of paid vacation. The contract also specifies up to $8,000 in paid moving expenses.

VanDuyn was chosen from among five candidates interviewed by the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board as potential replacements for retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

The other candidates were Assistant Superintendent David Cairy, a finalist in the interview process; Gibraltar/Shumate Middle School Principal Brad Coon; Boyne Falls Public Schools Superintendent Karen Sherwood; and Hudsonville Human Resources and Assessment Director Scott Smith.  They were selected from a pool of 15 applicants.

VanDuyn has served as executive director of the Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority from 2010 to the present.  She held a variety of administrative and leadership positions at the site, district and county levels from 2001-2010, and was an administrator in Minnesota from 1999 until moving to California.

She holds a doctor of education degree in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, a master’s in education administration from Minnesota State University and a bachelor’s in education from the University of Nevada.

“I’d like to convey my appreciation to the many staff and community members who took the time to come to the meetings and share their thoughts,” said Board President Brook Nichols.  “This was a very difficult decision because … the candidates brought different things to the interview and both (VanDuyn and Cairy) were very qualified.  Ultimately, the majority of the board felt that Laura VanDuyn would be a great leader for our district.”

 

 

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