Monthly Archives: April 2012

May 8 Is Voting Day!

Whitney Houston became famous when she so beautifully declared that “the children are our future.”  The words of that song touched a generation and are still so true today. We at Allendale Public believe it is our privilege and duty to “teach them well,”  but we need your help to continue to provide the quality education your family has come to depend on.

Two weeks from today our community will again have the opportunity to exercise its right to vote when Allendale Public Schools’ millage renewal is on the ballot. This 18 mil levy will provide our district with critical funds needed for operational expenses such as servicing buses, paying for heat and light, meeting payroll, and purchasing books and supplies.  Because this is a millage renewal and not a new millage, we are able to receive these funds without raising taxes to homeowners whose primary dwelling is in our district.

Never before has this millage been so crucial. A successful renewal would keep over $2,400,000 dollars in our district, and that means those dollars will be used to teach our students well.

Please remember to vote on Tuesday, May 8!

Categories: Community News, News You Can Use | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Three R’s Superstars!

Last year, Allendale social worker Bill Patteuw and school psychologist Erin Werkman had a brainstorm that would send ripples throughout the Evergreen and Springview buildings beyond what they had hoped or imagined.

Their vision? To create a motto of sorts–a mission statement– that all kids could learn and that would help to guide positive behavior at school. It had to be easy to remember yet something that embodied the type of student and citizen APS strives to help grow. What they came up with is now termed the three R’s: Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to Learn.

What they needed next was a student group to model the new “mission statement” and enlisting their help with the rest of the student body.

So last February a group of then-third graders was selected by teachers as the “Three R’s Superstars,” a group of eight kids who made it their mission to lead by example among their peers.

One part of their legacy is a collection of recorded videos that demonstrate appropriate actions in the hallways, on the playground, and on the bus. Those videos are still used as teaching tools for this years’ student body, housed on a hard drive for staff to access at any time.

This year’s set of exemplary young people (pictured here) were again selected by their teachers and have worked hard to make a difference at school. They are Ryan Blackburn, Kiersten Holleman, Lauren Butterfield, Lorraine Martin, Morgan Dyke, Sabastian Wells, Braydon Vissers, and Ben Bakran. 

Aside from encouraging their classmates, these superstars help with morning announcements and meet once a month during their lunch recess with advisors to discuss ways that they can help to improve their school and to share concerns or problem areas that could be smoothed out with positive behavior modeling.

Another role of the group is to discuss ideas for lunch time raffles based on students who have been “ticketed” in the hallways. “Falcon Tickets” recognize kids who are caught being respectful, responsible, and ready to learn. 

Mr. Patteuw noted that instituting the three R’s has helped “…catch those kids who would’ve otherwise fallen through the cracks. Those kids who perhaps once were sitting on the fence with behavior choices now want to be caught doing good.”

This group of students realizes that they have a special role to play and already feel that they have learned a lot in that role. When asked, here are some of their thoughts:

“I like that we get to discuss what we really need to work on.” (Lorraine)

“I like that we get to be leaders at school.” (Ben)

“If somebody gets hurt or needs help, the three R’s remind me to be a good friend; to treat others the way I want to be treated.” (Ryan)

“It’s important to be nice to others. For example, if they fall, help them up!” (Sebastian)

At the end of our time together I asked these small leaders if any of them would consider running for President one day.

The smiles stretched large and white, and the hands began to raise.

Four of them.

Who knows?

Respectful? Responsible? Ready to Learn?

Sounds like a winning combination to me!

Categories: Students in the Spotlight! | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

Oakwood Students present at MACUL

For those of you new to the acronym, MACUL is more than simply five letters: it represents a group dedicated to supporting educators seeking to better use technology in the classroom. Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning held their 2012 conference right here in Grand Rapids, and among its presenters this year were some of Oakwood’s fifth-grade students!

Sarah Lema in her Oakwood classroom

Oakwood’s Sarah Lema took advantage of a grant opportunity which allowed her to take six students to this year’s conference. Students were selected in January and worked throughout February to prepare their presentations for the March conference. Their focus? How Lema’s class and others at Oakwood use the 1:1 laptop program in class. Working together, students created a tri-fold board with curricular websites they use in their studies, described how they use online tools such as Moodle, Weebly, and Prezi, and brought their laptops along to demonstrate.

All conference photos courtesy of Sarah Lema

Additionally, students had worked together on a bullying movie using Windows “Movie Maker” and flip cams. They performed skits that were recorded and shown to teachers who were attending the conference.

With their station situated in the entryway of DeVos hall, Oakwood students had multiple opportunities to interact with guests and present the many ways that 1:1 laptops have transformed the way they learn and use technology. “I was so impressed with my students and the way they interacted with others and handled the questions,” Mrs. Lema beamed.

Mrs. Lema went on to share that in the three years that APS has had 1:1, she’s seen huge improvements both with the level of student skill and the seamless functioning of their programs.

“With the technology that we have available at Allendale, we’re really able to engage learners and differentiate learning by tapping into various learning styles.  …  Just to see their creativity is awesome!”

Categories: Student Presentations, Students in the Spotlight! | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

An Essay Contest and An Opportunity to Contribute

click for photo credit

If your child has aspirations of becoming a published writer or seeing their name in a headline, this April they may find their dreams coming true!

This spring we’re excited to announce an in-class essay contest for APS students that will encourage them to thoughtfully answer prompts about their school, the ways that learning in Allendale is fun, and influential teachers that have impacted their lives for the better.

Each of the winners will be photographed and featured here on Allendale Outlook throughout the summer months. Not only will their essays be published, but they will be highlighted on the APS Facebook page and receive a prize!  Winning students will be contacted personally by Superintendent Jonker and awarded a certificate for a free Jet’s Pizza and a Walgreen’s gift card.

Additionally, we’d like to hear from you! Please leave us a comment telling us what stories you’d like to see featured here! Who knows, maybe your name will end up in a headline, too?

Categories: Community News, contests | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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