Special Projects at APS

3rd Graders “Paws” to Help the Kent Humane Society

Allendale Elementary, Kent Humane Society, Allendale Public Schools

This Christmas, third grade students in Springview and Evergreen Elementary Schools are returning the unconditional love their pets give to them each day by offering love to the animals at Kent County’s Humane Society. 

Mrs. Marla Chapin of Springview Elementary introduced the idea to her students before Thanksgiving with the hopes of creating excitement and raising awareness around the needs of animals without families. Instead of spending $3 on a traditional in-class gift exchange, students were invited to buy a gift for an orphaned animal in Kent County. Soon, all third grade classes in Allendale were on board and the project was underway!

“You should have seen the excitement on the children’s faces when we began discussing the idea! It’s a wonderful opportunity to underscore the importance of giving over receiving,” she said.

As items such as food, blankets, towels, and chew toys were collected, students were also able to look forward to a December 13 visit from the Kent Humane Society to learn more about their work as a non-profit organization.

Allendale Elementary, Kent Humane Society, Allendale Public SchoolsDuring the assembly, student educators from the Humane Society presented APS third graders with information about how they are organized and how they care for the animals entrusted to them.

Did you know that:

  • The Kent County Humane Society cares for 3,000 – 7,000 homeless animals each year
  • Over 250 animals were placed in homes last year alone
  • Volunteers contribute over 1,200 hours a month to the care of animals at KCHS
  • The “Kibble Connection” helps low income pet owners better care for their animals
  • The KCHS offers camps for children and teens to come and experience work in the shelter; over 500 West Michigan kids went to a humane society camp in 2012
  • The Kent Humane Society never turns away pets that are stray, neglected, abused, or unwanted, nor do they impose time limits on an animal’s stay.
  • Roughly 6-8 million animals enter shelters across the United States each year, and only 25-35% ever find homes.

Third graders wrapped up their visit with the opportunity to ask questions and pet a bearded gecko and a bunny.

Thank you to those of you who were able to contribute to this project! The animals of Kent County are grateful!

Allendale Elementary, Kent Humane Society, Allendale Public Schools

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Allendale Students Win Big at “I Challenge U”

Over the summer, forty-five students from fourteen schools in the Ottawa County area were invited to participate in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s (OAISD) first ever “I Challenge U” competition.

“I Challenge U” partnered area businesses with student groups and mentor teachers, inviting them to tackle real-life problems faced by business owners and suggest creative solutions that could actually be implemented.

After weeks of hard work, Justice Jones’ and Chance Storm’s work for the Ottawa County United Way garnered them (and their team) first place in the competition! Each team member was awarded $750 in scholarship money as well as $250 for their high school!Justice Jones, Chance Storm, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, I Challenge U, OAISD

Justice Jones and Chance Storm discuss their winning idea.

Justice and Chance’s group began by examining the challenge of getting food to those in need in Ottawa County. Justice noted that working in a group with new voices had its hurdles. “It was definitely challenging to learn how to work with others on a team. Many people had very strong opinions.”

The group visited food pantries, soup kitchens, and the Holland Rescue Mission to gather ideas and information about what was already being done to help those in need of food. Interacting with community members opened their eyes to the realities many face. Yet despite hardships, Justice commented, “It’s amazing to see how people with very little still found a way to stay happy.” 

The team decided that perhaps it was time for a new approach, but …“Finding data that could be helpful was difficult. It’s hard for people to open up about their needs. They don’t want to ask for help or admit that they need help feeding their families,” Chance explained.

Their creative thinking produced an award-winning idea for centralized “depots” or “superstores” like Meijer that would sell discounted food. Bridge card holders would receive a monetary allotment to shop at the depots based on income. The notion of shopping for food and making choices rather than merely accepting what was put before them, they reasoned, would create ownership and renew pride in the shopper. Their suggestion to the United Way included first opening a depot in Holland, where needs are greatest, and then following with a second store in Muskegon.

Passata explained the benefits of I Challenge U this way: “Project-based learning like I Challenge U gives kids exposure to real world, real business problems. Working this way helps students develop 21st century skills and spurs them to think critically about problem solving.”

This year six local businesses were involved in I Challenge U, but OAISD project coordinator Jason Pasatta is hoping to expand to twelve businesses and 100 students next year to give more incoming juniors and seniors a glimpse into real-world problems.

If you are a local business owner open to the idea of inviting students to participate in real-world problem solving with your business, please contact Mr. Pasatta at jpasatta@oaisd.org for details of how you might get involved next year.

Congratulations again to Justice and Chance for your success in I Challenge U! We are Falcon proud!

Categories: APS Celebrations, contests, Special Projects at APS, Student Award Winners | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Partners With “Wounded Warrior” Project

All photos this week courtesy of Ms. Jennifer Hodges (2011 game)

Listening to the National Anthem slice through a crisp autumn night reminds us that there were thousands who went before us to preserve our freedoms. It’s hard to remain unmoved by the sight of veterans saluting the flag they risked their lives to protect … while many of us sat comfortably in our living rooms watching history unfold on our flat screen televisions.

Have you ever wished there was something you could do? Some small way you could give back? An avenue for your family to get involved to say thank you?

This week, Allendale High School is giving you that chance!

For the past few years APS has partnered with the nationwide WoundedWarriorProject.orga non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of fostering “the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

By providing wounded vets with a backpack filled with basic needs, the welcome they receive from Wounded Warrior Project [WWP] is the first some of our servicemen and women receive upon their return home. Providing relief and counsel for those struggling to re-adjust to life, hosting family support and restoration retreats, and helping vets secure jobs via Warriors to Work are just a few of the things this organization spearheads.

Allendale is using this Friday’s Homecoming football game to raise money to support the Wounded Warrior Project. We are welcoming veterans from the Allendale community to join us and be recognized for serving our country (see sign up information below). Community veterans will receive a goodie bag, a Wounded Warrior Project t-shirt, and food at the game.  Last year over forty-five veterans participated and proceeds from the evening totaled $10,000! This year we’ve set our sights on raising $15,000!

Will you help us reach that goal? Here’s how you can get involved:

>>Come to the football game and participate in our silent auction. This year we are auctioning off a custom-painted bike!

>>For just $10 you can purchase a WWP T-shirt. Wearing your shirt = free admission into four athletic contests:

  • This Friday’s Homecoming Football Game (Sept. 21)
  • Sept. 25 Volleyball vs. Belding
  • Jan. 25 Boys & Girls Basketball vs. Coopersville
  • Jan. 30 Wrestling vs. Coopersville

>>For $15 you can sponsor a veteran.

>>Donate money to grow the work that Wounded Warrior is already doing. Consider doing this as a family. Discuss the project with your children over dinner and make this Homecoming about more than a parade or a coronation–make it a teachable moment!

>>Thank our community sponsors: Tolman Auto, Mainstreet Pub, Master’s Financial, Solid Rock Debt Services, Allendale True Value, Allendale Pack and Mail.

We look forward to a special night where we can recognize the athletes on the field and the service people who braved the battlefield. We are honored to participate in the 2012 Wounded Warrior Project on campus. Please come and help us fill our stadium with much-deserved applause!

If you are a veteran interested in participating, please contact Ms. Jennifer Hodges:

hodgesjen@allendale.k12.mi.us

Football game tailgating begins at 5 pm; Veterans should plan to arrive at 6:30

Categories: Athletics, Community News, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Allendale Community Field Day This Saturday

This Saturday the grounds of Allendale Middle School will come alive with students, parents, and community members joining our efforts to launch the nationally run “Project Budburst” on our very own campus.

Shovels will be slicing the earth and carving out new places for native plants, trees, and flowers that will help our students learn about the different stages of plant “phenology” (studying the natural cycles of plant life as they relate to climate). After students make observations together, their findings will be entered into a database for scientific study across the country!

If this sounds exciting, YOU CAN HELP!

This Saturday from 10 am – noon you are invited to join in our First Community Field Day as we begin a “garden” space that will be used for years to come!

  • NO SHOVELS NEEDED! We will provide all the tools you’ll need!
  • PLANTS WILL BE WAITING AT SCHOOL! In an effort to plant only native species, we will provide all the foliage to plant.
  • MEET IN THE EAST PARKING LOT AT AMS: Look for the crowd!
  • NOT A GREENTHUMB? NO PROBLEM! We’ll be here to help!
  • WEAR DIRT-FRIENDLY CLOTHES!  Leave your new stilettos at home!

In exchange for your efforts, Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard will be providing a FREE LUNCH to all who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help!

Saturday will be a day of planting more than trees: we’ll be planting the future…together. Join us!

~ ~ ~

If you have questions or would like to help by sponsoring some of the activities of Saturday’s Community Field Day,

please contact Dr. Riemersma or Mr. Piccard for details.

[Dr. Peter Reimersma]: riemersp@gvsu.edu   |   [Mr. Piccard]: piccarke@gvsu.edu


If you missed last week’s feature article on Project Budburst, you can read more about the program HERE.

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Allendale Middle School Collaborates with GVSU on Project Budburst

Dr. Peter Riemersma & Mr. Keith Piccard

When Dr. Peter Riemersma, Geology professor at Grand Valley State University, first approached a group of Allendale teachers last summer about the idea of creating specialized gardens for student use on the APS campus, they were all ears.

The idea? Why not plant Michigan-specific species on the Allendale K-8 campus so that teachers have a nearby location to do research and take science “field trips”?

The teachers embraced the possibility of being able to study plants, trees, and shrubs up close and help to record data about plant phenology into the Project BudBurst National database. Project BudBurst relies on the observations of thousands of school groups, hikers, gardeners, senior citizens and others who wish to contribute to the climate change conversation and its effect on plants. We are pleased to join the ranks!

It also operates on the premise that regular observations recorded in field journals will be added to the database and analyzed by scientists looking for trends. Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard believe that Project BudBurst would provide the perfect opportunity to get kids outside and enable them to enjoy nature while engaging in meaningful learning experiences. 

Students working with this national initiative will consider difficult questions about our changing climate and will work alongside interested community members to find answers.

Allendale sixth grade Science teacher Keith Piccard

Keith Piccard, who spends time doing field work in the state of Wyoming during his summers, is especially excited to contribute to field work right here in West Michigan. “I want as many kids possible to be outside. By connecting with Project BudBurst we’ll have 5-10 minute activities built-in so that kids can interact with science. Longterm, I’d love to collaborate with others to write a new outdoor curriculum that would also incorporate geology and aquatic invertebrates.” 

Dr. Peter Riemersma

For his part, Professor Riemersma is taking a sabbatical next year and will spend his time writing grants with the hopes of funding additional trees and plants to add to the Allendale BudBurst garden, as well as expanding the curricular focus to include more areas of study. 

Dr. Riemersma contacted Project BudBurst to obtain a list of recommended plants for Michigan participants; using these plants ensures that species specific to our region will be represented in the garden.

Both he and Mr. Piccard are looking forward to initiating Allendale’s participation in this project by launching a Community Field Day on May 12. This day will give community members, parents, students, and teachers the opportunity to plant new flowers, trees, and shrubs that will then be observed for years to come.

We are so grateful to both of these men–and the many others working behind the scenes–for their vision, their dedication to excellent authentic learning experiences, and for their generous gift of time to make it all happen!

Mark your calendars now for May 12 and come back next week for more information.

Lastly, If you would like to help with this project by acting as a sponsor, please contact Mr. Piccard or Dr. Riemersma.

Categories: Community News, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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