Allendale Public Schools

6th Annual Allendale Rotary Amazing Reading Bus Fundraiser

6th Annual Amazing Reading Bus Spaghetti Dinner annual fundraiser for….you guessed it: the Amazing Reading Bus. Please join us Thursday, February 26 from 5-7 p.m. at the Elementary School cafeteria for delicious food for a great cause. Cost is $7/adults and $4/kids 6-12 (5 & younger eat free). We also have a silent auction there so if you have any items you are able to donate for the auction, please let us know:) Thanks for your support!
downloadSponsors: Chemical Bank, Peppinos and Dan & Faith Jonker

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Mark Your Calendars: Community Field Day is May 31

undefinedAllendale’s Third Annual Allendale Community Field Day offers both community beautification and learning experiences for a fun, action-packed family day on May 31.

Spearheaded by Allendale Middle School science teacher Keith Piccard and GVSU Professor Peter Riemersma, the day seeks to harness the “power of many volunteers” to build an outdoor learning space that can be utilized by APS teachers, the community and young scientists everywhere.

Believing that valuable educational opportunities await outside the traditional classroom, especially in the sciences, both Piccard and Riemersma excitedly await a morning of community interaction that will pave the way for that completed outdoor space. Once gardens are tended and water tested, their hope is that these outdoor learning spaces will be continually improved and promoted for more frequent use throughout the school year.

As for the day’s agenda, participating families will be invited to join in these events prior to gobbling up a free lunch:

  • Stream Flow Measurement Wiers and Duck Race: weirs will be constructed and installed in the Sevey Drain running through campus so that participants can measure water velocity. Using this information, along with the distance to the finish line, families will make duck race predictions before racing their own yellow duck.
  • Minnow Traps: Local boy scouts will be on hand to help participants create minnow traps and learn how to use them. Minnow traps play an important role in estimating local fish populations.
  • Project Budburst Garden maintenance: volunteers are invited to play a critical role in maintaining the garden work that was completed in the previous two Community Days. A key part of this venture will be simplifying and streamlining the tasks needed to maintain those areas.
  • Many other fun, educational activitieslike a nature scavenger hunt, walking tours of school gardens and previous projects, water evaluation under digital microscopes, looking at aquatic macroinvertebrates, and water conductivity and turbidity.

For information about how you can get involved, please contact Peter Riemersma (riemersp@gvsu.edu) or Keith Piccard (piccarke@gvsu.edu).

Hope to see you Saturday morning, May 31!

 

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AMS Students Rally to Keep Their School Bully-Free

Just like their Falcon counterparts in the high school, these middle schoolers are learning to Speak Up and Stand Out in their building, too. With the help of guidance counselor Rhonda Wilson, students spent a week learning to celebrate the characteristics that make them unique — and learning how to accept and celebrate the unique qualities in others, too.

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

Students were invited to add a post-it note of things they like about themselves during the middle school’s anti-bully week.

With statistics indicating that bullying peaks in middle school and that relational aggression among girls is at its highest in 8th grade, Allendale believes that attacking the issue of bullying is critical. To do so, Mrs. Wilson explained that one of the first steps they take is defining it clearly and explaining the difference between “an intentional, repeated imbalance of power” and mean behavior or normal conflict.

Another anti-bullying technique that Allendale Middle School continues to use gives students an anonymous way to report problems. It is called the “bully box.” The bully box offers students a way to submit reports of bullying to school administrators by merely dropping a note into the box — no name required.

Echoing the spirit of Elie Wiesel who once famously said, “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander,” one AMS student commented, “The bully box gives bystanders an outlet to say something.”

The school has also instituted an open invitation for students to put notes in their teachers’ mailboxes if they prefer. This, combined with other anti-bullying training that each grade receives, is helping to continue a safe learning environment at school.

“All students in the middle school were trained in anti-bullying techniques last year, and the 6th grade was trained and will continue to be trained each year.  It allows for common language and skills for sticking up for yourself and others,” said Mrs. Wilson.

The “Sit by Someone New” initiative at lunch is yet a third way students can build bridges and foster understanding with classmates. On this day, students were given color-coded cards that they matched up with another person holding the same color card. Once they found a partner, they had the opportunity to sit by someone they didn’t know or usually sit with.  The hope here is that walls will be broken down when students talk with those who seem “different” or are unfamiliar to them.

Finally, one of the new things Allendale Middle School will be trying this year is an online mediation forum between a school counselor and students struggling with relationships at school.  Mrs. Wilson shared that the school is working with the technology department to pursue options for this new platform.

For all the students who have made the commitment to be kind and be a friend, thank you! Our hallways are safer because you’ve pledged to work against bullying!

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

Mrs. Wilson joins a group of students for a lunchtime discussion.

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

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Allendale Alumni Hall of Fame Adds to its Ranks

With the lower level of Main Street Pub buzzing with anticipation, Saturday evening’s Allendale Alumni Hall of Fame dinner kicked off with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and an estimated one hundred people dressed in their Sunday best.

Allendale Public Schools

Allendale Public Schools

Designed primarily to honor the contributions of Allendale Public School Alumni, Dr. Jonker explained that the awards have been extended to include the service of APS-associated individuals, such as parents and staff. Having learned from other nearby school systems like Rockford and Ypsilanti, he explained that some of the magic of this recognition comes “…when students see what’s out there. They better understand what they can achieve when they have role models that came from Allendale who can inspire them.”

Allendale Public Schools

This year, five people were inducted into the Allendale Alumni Hall of Fame, three of whom were alumni and two of whom were honored for their service. Dr. Jonker noted that, “Our Allendale Public Schools Foundation committee really wanted to have a way to honor alumni who have made contributions, not only to the community but beyond.”

Today we extend our congratulations to Robert “Gene” Elkins, Betty LaBrecque, Robert Jackson, Nicholas Ceglarek and George Suchecki.

Allendale Public Schools

Robert “Gene” Elkins, who was honored posthumously, was a WWII vet instrumental in the establishment of Allendale High School. After serving as a principal from 1961-1964, Gene went on to serve as APS Superintendent from 1965-1985. His widow, Dorothy, expressed gratitude for the honor, saying that without the efforts of her husband, “there would be no Allendale High School.”

Betty LaBrecque, a 1988 grad, has worked tirelessly on dozens of parent-led committees, coordinating the work and donations of other parents, most recently as AHS Music Booster treasurer, vice president and president. She shared that she had a great high school experience herself, so her goal was to make high school a positive experience for her kids, too. Over time, Betty got more and more involved, doing things for her own children and the kids she “adopted.”

“The thing I like most is walking through the hallways and hearing the kids yell, “Hi Mrs. LeBrecque” and run up and give you a hug. It makes it all worthwhile — it is an honor.”

Robert Jackson, a 1977 grad, is perhaps better known as the 1987 “Cincinatti Man of the Year” after nine years of playing professional football for the Cincinatti Bengals. Now a motivational speaker, Robert said it felt nice “coming home,” though he wished his team members could have joined him.

“I didn’t make the holes or make all the passes myself — it was always a team. That’s the way we grew up, it wasn’t just one person”. Robert is also a 2009 inductee into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.

Nicholas Ceglarek, a 1991 grad, began teaching and working as an administrator in Rockford in 2002-2003. In 2003, Nick was awarded the GVSU Outstanding Administrator Award, after which time he worked as a superintendent in Baldwin, Fruitport and then Hudsonville, where he serves presently.

“It’s  hard to describe what this means to me. It’s an honor and it’s humbling to be recognized when you realize that there are so many worthy, unbelievable people that graduated from Allendale Schools who have gone on to do great things. Allendale has been such a treasure for me and has really shaped who I am. I’ll always have a heart here.”

George Sucheki was appointed as the first principal of then-newly-formed Allendale High School in 1969. He went on to continue in that role until 1990! Following his time as principal, George worked as the Computer and Tech Director from 1994-2001. During his career, he has also served as middle school basketball coach, golf coach (after being instrumental in starting the program) and State Champion softball coach.

When asked about the honor, George became emotional, saying, “It means a lot. My heart was always in Allendale. It never really left.”

Congrats to all of these 2013 inductees!

Allendale Public Schools

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Stand Up! Speak Out!

Speak Up Stand Out, Allendale High School

Pictured L to R: Angelenia Schneider, Jamie Egan, Mrs. Harp, Elizabeth Golembiewski, Savanna Wells

When Allendale High School teacher Tiffany Harp was asked to chair a committee charged with assessing the bullying policies in their student handbook, she never imagined that a seemingly “simple task” would lead to the formation of an entirely new student support group.

Having met twice a month throughout the winter of 2013 with her team, the group successfully updated the definition of bullying, named some of the reasons that kids are bullied and provided procedures for reporting the activity. Those updates can be found here.  These were important steps not only for protecting students, but for providing consistency throughout all district handbooks. Additionally their work resulted in more accessible language, making Allendale policies easier to understand.

But their work didn’t stop there.

Because Mrs. Harp had also attended conferences on bullying and desired to have an active, on-campus group to model desired behavior, she met with some students and proposed the idea of an anti-bullying group. It was there that the idea for Stand Up Speak Out was born.

Senior Savanna Wells designed the logo.

Senior Savanna Wells designed the logo.

“What Speak Up Stand Out means, is that we’re trying to send the message to empower bystanders, because when people are in a uncomfortable situation they kind of freeze up and do nothing. We want to encourage them to do something that they feel safe and comfortable doing– whether it is just going online and reporting it or actually saying something to a group which takes a lot of courage,” said Mrs. Harp.

Savanna Wells, pictured left, was invited to design the logo for the group which has been used to promote Stand Up Speak Out at the Annual Back to School Fair, on the Miranda Show, and at a September all-school assembly featuring Paul McMullen from TruthLocker.

Perhaps the most exciting product of the group’s work has been the creation of a PSA video to Katy Perry’s Roar.  This video not only featured students from the Speak Up Stand Out group, but went on to be featured twice on Good Morning America!

One member, Elizabeth Golembiewski shared,  “I think [Speak Up Stand Out] makes the students care a lot more about bullying, because I don’t think a lot of people talked about it before. Now, because of Speak Up Stand Out, they’re like, “Wait a minute–why is this not being taken care of?” Now we have this whole new initiative.” Elizabeth went on to state that bullying seems to be mostly prevalent online.

All the students involved in the group are committed to the idea of making every student feel safe and accepted at school. Jamie Egan, a junior, said that he had been bullied in the past, but after going to Mr. Remenap he’s seen a change for the better. “I realize now, though,” he shared, “…that I should have come forward sooner.”

We hope that all students will gain courage and inspiration from the work that this group and many others are doing. And for the inspiration he provided the group, Mrs. Harp wishes to thank Dr. Jonker.  “He really “co-chaired” this committee and you can tell he is passionate about this and genuinely cares.  It was great working with him.”

Categories: Allendale High School, Allendale Public Schools | Tags: | 2 Comments

Homecoming in Review

Last Friday, with warm temps and brilliant sunshine spilling across our Allendale campuses, students and staff eagerly prepared for another Homecoming celebration. After gathering in the high school parking lot and assembling the parade line-up, the group was led by Batman and Robin (Mr. Remenap and Mr. Hadden) through nearby neighborhoods and down Learning Lane to visit the elementary, intermediate and middle school students. Local families also came out and lined the street to enjoy the fun.

High school student groups represented in the parade included the cheerleaders, football players, Speak Up! Stand Out! students, the marching band, general members of the student body, and of course, the Homecoming Court. The young spectators cheered excitedly, waving signs with the numbers of their favorite players, and yelling and chanting for their team.

The lovable Falcon mascot gave high-fives while Mr. Remenap encouraged everyone to cheer loudly enough “so they hear us in Sparta!” Whether his instruction worked or it was Homecoming magic is unknown, but Allendale High School went on to beat Sparta that night, 38-7.

We want to thank everyone who helped make the day a success! Check out the school spirit on display below in our gallery of Homecoming Parade photos!

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

falcon, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

batman, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

cheer, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

tuba, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, APS, Homecoming

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Meet Your Principal: Dan Remenap

Dan Remenap, Allendale Public School, Allendale High SchoolTell us about your career journey in education, including how long you’ve been in your current role at Allendale.  

I am in my 18th year in education.  I started teaching at Grandville High School in 1996, and I taught English, math, and a Leadership class.  I then took a job as the assistant principal at Spring Lake High School and was there for two-and-a-half years.  I then came to AHS as the high school principal and am starting my 5th year here.

What makes you love coming to work each day? 

I love seeing the students daily.  I love their energy, enthusiasm, and positive spirit.  I really enjoy our staff, and I love the challenge as well.

What is something you do each day that people probably don’t realize principals have to do?  

I answer -sometimes literally- hundreds of emails, and I make decisions that will make one person or group of people very happy and another very unhappy.

Name something you personally look forward to each school year.  

I love football games because they involve so many aspects of the school community; the band, the players, the students having a ball in the stands, everything, I just love it.  I love Collage because I am consistently blown away by the caliber of our students’ talent.  I love meeting the freshman class, I love Honors Convocation, and I kind of love graduation, but I hate saying good-bye.

If you had an unlimited financial and/or volunteer reserve, what would you do to improve your educational environment?  

I don’t think funds have anything to do with environment, I believe it is the attitude of the staff, and I wouldn’t change a thing in that area.  I would love to have a program, though, that would mentor those students who just do not seem to have a connection to the school.

What was the best part of your summer vacation?  

The best part of my summer was all of the time I was able to spend with my family.  During the school year there are days I do not see my kids and it stinks, so we do a TON together during the summer.

What is your favorite book? (Can be a children’s book or an adult book)  

It is very difficult for me to choose my favorite book because there are so many good ones.  I LOVE The Catcher in the Rye and feel like it should be read by all teenagers, especially those who feel at odds or confused with life and/or adults.  Raising Fences is outstanding; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Fahrenhiet 451, The Scarlet Letter, The Prophet, The Bible … the list goes on and on!  As far as professional reading, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a life changer of a book…I could go on!  If I started on kids’ books, this list would not end because we have read to our kids every night for years and that list of books is really long!

What is one piece of advice you’d like to pass along to the students in your school?  

There is so much to learn that ONE piece of advice is tough.  That said, I would say, just be a good person, don’t sweat the small stuff, and enjoy your life.

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Meet Your Principal: Rocky Thompson

Rocky Thompson, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale Middle School1. Tell us about your career journey in education, including how long you’ve been in your current role at Allendale.

I started in education at the age of 29. I taught middle school students for a total of ten years and have been the middle school principal since then.

2. What makes you love coming to work each day?

I get excited to come to work everyday because of the energy that the students bring with them. I see them and know how good of a job I have.

3. What is something you do each day that people probably don’t realize principals have to do?

I have to fill a number of roles, but one that is surprising is I am the person that students are referred to when they have been injured in some way.

4. Name something you personally look forward to each school year.

The return of the students! It livens things up when they get here.

5. If you had an unlimited financial and/or volunteer reserve, what would you do to improve your educational environment?

I would hire a number of school counselors to go into the community to offer support for parents.

6. What was the best part of your summer vacation?

I didn’t take a summer vacation.

7. What is your favorite book? (Can be a kid’s book or an adult book)

The Poet by Connelly

8. What is one piece of advice you’d like to pass along to the students in your school?

If you want something that is important to you, put your heart and soul into working for it.

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Meet Your Principal: Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson, Allendale Public Schools
1. Tell us about your career journey in education, including how long you’ve been in your current role at Allendale.

 

This is my 30th year with APS! My undergraduate degree from Hope College is in elementary education with a major in special education and a minor in psychology. My master’s degree from WMU is in reading, I also have additional training in educational administration and Reading Recovery. I started at Allendale teaching special education in a resource room for students in kindergarten – third grade. I have also taught first grade and worked as a reading specialist with our district.

 

2. What makes you love coming to work each day?

 

I enjoy watching the students respond to their instruction.  There is nothing better than witnessing a love for learning.  Our staff is so caring and talented! The school community is supportive and appreciated.  There is something new and exciting every day!

 

3. What is something you do each day that people probably don’t realize principals have to do?

 

I usually walk about 11,000 steps a day, checking on students, teachers and building needs.

 

4. Name something you personally look forward to each school year.

 

The excitement of a new year with our youngest learners!

 

5. If you had an unlimited financial and/or volunteer reserve, what would you do to improve your educational environment?

 

I would lower the class size in every classroom and provide additional instructional support for every classroom.  I would purchase more resources for each classroom and update our technology including purchasing some IPADs.  Our current building is very close to capacity too!

 

6. What was the best part of your summer vacation?

 

My husband and I took an enjoyable trip to Maine.  We had a cottage overlooking Acadia National Park and seals swimming in the waters there!

 

7. What is your favorite book? (Can be a kid’s book or an adult book)

 

My favorite children’s book is Charlotte’s Web.  I had the chance to visit the Blue Hill Fairground where Wilbur won his ribbon. I think the book is a fine example of how we can all encourage each other in positive ways!

 

8. What is one piece of advice you’d like to pass along to the students in your school?

 

Learning does not take place without practice.  We need to experience new information many times before a connection is made in our brain.  Do not give up, it is worth the effort!
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School Kicks off By Offering Early College Program

Early College Program, MCC, Muskegon Community College, Allendale Public SchoolsFor many Allendale students, high school means classes, sports, lab reports, and even prom. For others, it may mean working after school, volunteering in the community, or starring in the spring musical.

But this year there will be another item to add to the list for a handful of students hoping to take advantage of additional learning opportunities offered through Muskegon Community College.

Allendale High School is proud to launch the Northwest Ottawa County Early College program this fall, which will allow juniors like Joe Secord and Jason Marshall (pictured left) to spend just one more year in high school in exchange for a free associate’s degree upon graduation.

“The program was designed for anyone, but particularly for the student who may not desire a four-year experience or for the student who can’t afford a traditional college degree. This will offer the opportunity for high school students to earn a two-year degree with all tuition costs covered,” said Allendale High School guidance counselor, Mr. Jason Fogel.

Mr. Fogel began laying the groundwork for this program a year ago after a meeting with Jason Pasatta at the Ottawa County Intermediate School District. At that time, the idea was just a skeleton with piles of paperwork looming, but with more and more schools inching toward this destination, they knew that offering college coursework to Allendale students was an achievable objective.

Allendale is now part of the first 60 student “cohort” to join Muskegon Community College’s program. With Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Coopersville rounding out the cohort participants, the number of students allotted per school is determined proportionate to the school size.

To fill those slots, interested students must first take the MCC Compass Placement Test which determines whether the applicant is ready for the academic rigors of college-level classes while yet in high school. Accepted students will be bused to the Tech Center, where MCC professors will be waiting to provide instruction. At this writing, both Joe and Jason (pictured) are candidates for the program.

“I think it’s always good to get a jumpstart on your education,” said Joe. “I wanted to have a plan so I can get moving more quickly, which will help save money. I’d like to study to be a math teacher because I love math and being around math, but I’d prefer to help others rather than just do my own thing. It just feels right.”

Jason’s motivation is different, but still reflects the drive to keep moving and seize this unique opportunity.

“I’m actually almost done with all my high school credits and I need good classes to fill in space,” Jason explained. “I’d like to go into the medical field, so I’ll be taking a lot of math and science classes–for free!”

Principal Dan Remenap explains, “This program helps students earn a degree. That’s what’s most appealing for the kids. Once they have that, it can’t be taken away. It also gets kids focused on their career sooner, which is a good thing. Even if they decide to not pursue this program, just considering it helps them move in the right direction.”

Categories: Allendale High School, Allendale Public Schools, District Updates, News You Can Use | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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