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Tag Archive | "KSSN"

KSSN continues service to students and families

Community School Coordinators help break down barriers to learning

GRAND RAPDIS, MI – Kent Schools Services Network (KSSN) brings community services into the schools to serve students and families and increase both attendance and achievement. The non-profit partners with school districts to place social workers, called Community School Coordinators, on the front line in schools. They work with students and families in the schools to connect them with services they need–even when the buildings are closed. 

This now includes connecting families with the tools for distance learning in the time of the pandemic. 

The KSSN Coordinators are helping school families connect to free internet so they can participate with their teachers and classmates. They are also helping them access food and personal care items during this extended school closure. A $5,000 grant from Heart of West Michigan United Way’s COVID-19 fund recently made it possible for several coordinators to provide much-needed personal hygiene products to families in need.

KSSN community school coordinators are also offering virtual group meetings to help students process their emotions and maintain connections to their peers.  “None of this would be possible without the partnerships KSSN has developed with our 10 school districts and 42 community schools, mental health service providers, county government, community-based organizations, faith-based institutions, local businesses, and neighborhood associations,” said KSSN Executive Director Carol Paine-McGovern. “We are inspired by their dedication to our students and families. We are committed to continuing our collective work to meet the challenges created by this crisis today and in the future.”

This key school resource was initially created by Kent County, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Kent ISD. For more information on Kent Schools Services Network, contact Carol Paine-McGovern, Executive Director at 616.447.2480 or go to their website is https://www.kentssn.org/.

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Kent School Services Network to host parenting with purpose


September 23, 6:30-8:00 at Cedar Springs High School

What do lunches, books, haircuts, and speakers all have in common? They are all part of programs the Kent School Services Network has brought to Cedar Springs. KSSN is an initiative that involves many partners and services, with the primary goal being to increase student achievement.

KSSN is excited to offer a Parent Education Speaker Series this year on topics to cover everything from parenting, to anti-bullying, to emerging drug trends. The first in the series will be Parenting with a Purpose, on Tuesday, September 23, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Cedar Springs High School auditorium.

The session, taught by Zsanara Hoskins, M.A. Educational Leadership, is about intentional parenting. The description reads: “We all want our children to be successful but what are we doing to set the tone for their achievement? We all have goals and dreams for our children, but are the things we are doing moving us towards those desired results? Parenting with Purpose is all about intentional parenting! In this session, we will take a deeper look at what it truly means to be an intentional parent. Through a practical approach, Zsanara teaches parents 8 steps they should do to be a parent of purpose and ensure their child’s success! Target audience is K-12.”

Future sessions in the series are:

October 21: “Y do you hate me?” (anti-bullying)

November 18: Online safety for youth

February 24: Languages of love

April 21: Emerging drug trends

KSSN is in 29 school sites and nine districts within the Kent ISD. While services vary from school to school, depending on what families are seeking, typical services include counseling, health care, DHS. Special events, workshops, and activities may also be offered at the schools. Placing services at school removes many barriers families have in finding services and helps keep students in class. When students are in class, they can keep learning and achieving. The school offers a welcoming place, builds relationships with families and serves as the “hub” of the neighborhood in meeting community needs. This also provides a one-stop location for families, making services easy to use.

This summer, KSSN staff coordinated with school personnel and community partners to help bring in some programs to the Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. The CSPS Food Service was able to offer free lunches through their “Meet up and Eat Up” initiative.  Under the direction of Jane Webster, lunches were brought out to the Estates twice a week. Steve Seward, Assistant Superintendent, led the charge to spread the word to teachers and administrators, and rallied a troop of amazing staff who donated their time and their books to students. Children were read to, and given books.  Rachel VanHorn from the Kent County Health Department also ran programs, offering workshops on self-esteem, healthy decision-making, substance abuse, and conflict resolution.

Another program KSSN offered this year was free haircuts during open house at Cedar View and the Middle School. Stylists were recruited from the Random Acts of Hazel facebook page and donated their services. They were able to provide over 50 haircuts to students.

If you would like more information or have any questions regarding KSSN, please feel free to contact Community School Coordinators:  Jennifer Willette (Cedar View) 696-9102 ext. 6295 Jodi West (Middle School) 696-9100 ext. 6278.


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Are you struggling to make ends meet?  Do you wish you could find more resources but aren’t sure if you qualify?  Have you already been denied financial assistance from a program and think you’re out of luck?  Good news, you can stop in at Red Hawk Elementary on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5-8pm to see if you are eligible for any assistance.  You can apply for: food assistance, state emergency relief (energy and non-energy assistance), cash assistance, medical assistance, and child care.  If you have already been denied, but your situation has changed, you can re-apply. No appointment is necessary, but you can set one up by calling United Way at (616) 459-2255.  Staff will be available to assist you. You can also apply online at: www.michigan.gov/mibridges


Free Income Tax Preparation

KSSN has partnered with United Way and the Kent County Tax Coalition to provided free income tax preparation for the 2012 tax season.  Tax preparers will be available on Mondays from 4:00 – 7:00 beginning Feb. 6th through March 26th by appointment only.  To schedule an appointment you must call United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline or (616) 459-2255.  Please do not call the school to make your appointment.



Schools of Hope – Become a volunteer reading tutor today! Volunteer with Schools of Hope in-school reading program. You can make a huge difference in the life of child; all you have to do is give 30 minutes of one-on-one tutoring every week to improve reading skills of first through third graders. One two-hour training session is required, all materials are provided. For more information please contact Caroline Geist at cgeist@hwmuw.org or call at 696-7330 ext. 6298.

En-gedi – an after school youth center designed for students in 6th- 12th grades.  It is housed in Red Hawk Elementary.  Volunteers are needed on a weekly basis during the hours of 2:30 – 5:00.  For more information call Craig Owens at 667-7773.


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