Monthly Archives: September 2014

Helping Freshmen Succeed

Jon Fangboner, New Options High School Health Teacher, has introduced a new class for Freshmen this year to help them with a successful start in high school.   Studies have shown that students who do well in their Freshman year have a greater chance for graduating on time and successfully transitioning to college or career beyond high school.

The course’s official title is Health and Life Management. This course is designed to give the students instruction in study skills, organization strategies, goal setting, effective communication, and time management techniques. It introduces freshmen to the culture of New Options High School focusing on the traditions, activities, and services available. This class is designed to give the students the tools to be successful in their high school career. Students also work on high school planning and explore post-secondary career HLM 9-30options.

Mr. Fangboner said, “My goal for this class is to have the students take the skills we learn in class and use them to be successful in all the other classes.”  The class reinforces the school’s PRIDE characteristics of perseverance, respect, integrity, discipline, and excellence.

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Artist-in-Residence Program Comes to APS

quintetWe are very excited to have the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra partner with us in bringing instrumental music to our elementary students. Dan DeZwaan, Elementary Music Teacher, applied for a grant to have our elementary school participate in the Orchestra’s “Artist in Residence” program.  Today and tomorrow, classes of elementary students will get to experience a short program by the Wunderwind Woodwind Quintet!

quintet 2

The Quintet shared the story of “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub” through words and music



Mr. DeZwaan said, “Being part of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s AIR program is a unique opportunity for our elementary students to interact with music in a meaningful way.  As a program that we will be involved in for at least two years, it’s exciting to consider where this will lead students.  We start this year with the Wunderwind Woodwind Quintet.  This experience allows the students to hear and interact with musicians in a small ensemble.   Later in the school year, students in K-2 will get to have a full Symphonic experience with the entire orchestra in a program designed just for them.  Third graders will attend a workshop with the symphony’s percussionist Bill Vitts.  This could be the beginning of an interest in Symphonic music as an audience member or even inspire students to pursue this kind of music professionally.  We are thankful for this program and happy to be included in it.”

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Knights of Columbus Support Special Needs Programming

Giving back to the community is something we hope to inspire in all of our students.  One of the groups in our community which models this principle is the Knights of Columbus associated with St. Luke Parish.  For the last several years, the Knights of Columbus have donated funds to support the Special Needs pK of Crogramming at Allendale Public Schools.  Cork Horvath, a Knight of Columbus, is seen at right presenting two checks totaling $1,995 to Jennifer Coffey, APS Board President, at the September 8 Board of Education meeting.  The Knights of Columbus is an organization devoted to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism to serve their parish, community, and each other in faith.

Allendale Public Schools’ staff and students are very appreciative of the support of organizations like the Knights of Columbus and many others within our community that partner with our schools to help our students have a quality educational experience.  Donated funds, like these, are used to purchase learning resources and supplies for our special education classrooms.

An investment in our children is an investment in the future of our community!  Thank you Knights of Columbus!



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AHS Introduces “Heads Up Campus” Initiative

You see it everywhere…grocery stores, the mall, restaurants, and even the movie theater. People burying their heads in their cell phones, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings and the people around them. To this end, Allendale High School is focusing on becoming a “Heads Up Campus,” by encouraging students and staff to get their faces out of their cell phones, their headphones out of their ears, and socialize in the hallways and cafeteria at Allendale High.

heads up campus
The idea came after a group from the class of 2015 visited Western Michigan University last spring and students noticed the friendly nature of the campus. One of the campus ambassadors shared the notion to the tour group, including Assistant Principal Brent Hadden, and the idea stuck. The goal of the program is get students to socialize and enjoy one another on a more personal basis. “We are very proud of our atmosphere here at Allendale High School, and this is just another way to improve it. We want to encourage our students to branch out and be social,” stated Mr. Hadden.


“It’s a great idea. It’s hard to do, but it could change someone’s mindset as they walk through the halls,” commented Mason Dyke, a 10th grader. Senior Betsy Sauter recently gave a school tour to a new foreign exchange student and noticed a change. “I really feel like it’s made a difference. People are making a point to say hello to each other.”

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Traditions, Giving Back to APS

One of the traditions at Allendale High School is the class gift given by the senior class members back to the high school or dbird 2istrict as a remembrance of their years as students.  Each year at the Graduation Ceremony, the Senior Class President announces the gift of the class.  In 2013, that gift was the promise of a sculpture for the Ceglarek Fine Arts Center.  The Class of 2013 commissioned a Grand Valley State University art student, Richelle Nuney, to create a sculpture of a Falcon, the District’s mascot, in metal.


Rachel and Steve LaBrecque by the sculpture, “Soaring to New Heights”

Ms. Nuney completed the sculpture this summer and Rachel LaBrecque, 2013 Senior Class President, took on the task of designing a base to best showcase the falcon.  Working with her father, Steve LaBrecque, Rachel designed an “A” with the falcon flying from the peak.  We want to thank Rachel and Steve for their work in completing the base for the sculpture.  The sculpture is entitled, “Soaring to New Heights.”

As each graduating class leaves these halls, we hope the high school motto of “Attitude, Honor, and Scholarship” goes with them in whatever career they pursue.  Our teachers, staff, community, and parents have prepared them for the world beyond K-12 education and it is the traditions and experience they have had which will help them be successful and continue to give back to their community for many years to come.

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