Posts Tagged With: Allendale Public Schools

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

Back to School Fair Makes Waves as Summer Ends

With sunlight filtering through trees and the calendar signaling the end of another summer, hundreds of eager families filled Allendale Township Park last week Wednesday to take advantage of the community-wide Back to School Fair.

firetrucks, allendale back to school fair

Organized by Tammy Walker of the ABC Coalition, an Allendale non-profit, this year’s fair brought together local businesses, church and para-church organizations, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, and both Allendale Public and Allendale Christian Schools. Groups like New York Life offered free child ID’s and the Sheriff’s Department gave horseback rides; several other businesses followed suit with their own freebies and giveaways.

horse, signups, allendale back to school fair

“This event shows what our community is all about. Each year it’s such an amazing evening — we’re lucky to have this kind of event!” said Tammy Walker.

Dr. Daniel Jonker, Superintendent of Allendale Public Schools, agrees:

“An event like this demonstrates the strength of our community partnerships and reminds us all of the people who come around students and offer to help each year.”

Run entirely on donations (each business pays $25 to host a table), the Back to School Fair gave a free Scholastic book and ice cream treat to each student. Additionally, it gave teachers the opportunity to connect with kids and families before school began, while welcoming those new to the area.

signups, allendale back to school fair

Allendale Middle School PTO volunteers Carlene Coone, Melissa DeHoop, and Karin Morgan used the evening to introduce themselves to incoming 6th grade parents, asking them to sign up and get involved in the school. Melissa, for instance, had two children in the middle school last year and shared that families who met them first at the park were much more eager to follow-up at the school.

“Teachers are working so hard that serving in the PTO, helping with funding and helping to plan activities is one way for parents to support the teachers,” said Carlene.

books, signups, allendale back to school fair

Kids explored the fire trucks, police cars and ambulance on hand while the new police sergeant and his deputy used the interaction time to talk about safety and rip tides in Lake Michigan. The excitement of the kids was palpable and parents were thankful for the opportunity to get some questions answered at the transportation table.

“I’m excited to see my friends again! ” said Grace Hilton, a 3rd grader, who attended with her grandpa.

We send our thanks to everyone who made this year’s Back to School Fair a fun, successful event! Strong communities build strong schools, and we are blessed to have both.

icecream, signups, allendale back to school fair


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Thank you Allendale, From Quentin Rauch

Allendale Public SchoolsThroughout all the up and downs I can truly say, my experience at Allendale High School has been invaluable. This four year opportunity allows kids to slowly take those first few steps toward becoming an adult. Some kids are inspired and take the bull by the horns, but some kids refuse. They don’t think much of high school, and what little they do think is negative. One thing those kids have taught me is that it is essential to have a positive attitude if you wish to succeed in any aspect of life.

I am so thankful for all of the teachers who helped me stay motivated and not lose track of what was important. I can credit all of my accomplishments to those individuals who helped me along the way. These past few years have been filled with much expenditure from being a tri-sport athlete, to being in student council, the National Honor Society, spirit club and Rotary Interact; I am motivated to continue to strive for this positive attitude while encouraging my peers to do the same.

High school can sometimes be a scary place that attempts to steer you away from your own personal beliefs and values, but Allendale is different. Allendale is unique. Our school allows every student to thrive and succeed in their own way.

Throughout my four years I have been blessed with many opportunities and learned many new lessons. Being positive about life and the individuals in it is one lesson that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to all the administrators, staff, students and coaches who have helped me become the man I am today.

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Thank you Allendale, From Dan Hoekstra

Allendale Public SchoolsDear Allendale Public Schools,

Thank you so much for everything you have done for me growing up. For as long as I can remember, Allendale has always treated every student equally, and everyone was given the best possible opportunity to achieve greatness and excel. I graduated in the top ten with a 4.05 GPA, and I give all the credit to my teachers and the staff in charge of running the school. I strongly believe that Allendale Public Schools is the greatest school in the area.

If I would have attended school in any other district, I would not have been treated as greatly as I have been treated at Allendale, nor would I be given the same opportunities that Allendale has to offer. Growing up in the Allendale Public School system has transformed me into the positive student, peer, and man that I have become.

Not only is Allendale a great school in terms of academics and opportunity, but the faculty and staff do an outstanding job of making everyone feel like one big family. I felt comfortable 100% of the time at Allendale, and I felt like I could talk to my teachers about anything. The staff will go out of their way to ensure a safe and family-like environment, and will come in at any time anyone needs some extra one-on-one help or study time.

At Allendale, the student comes first.

Thanks again, Allendale Public Schools, for everything you have done for me. Without Allendale, I don’t know where I’d be. Growing up in Allendale has taught me so much about myself and my character, and I cannot wait to take everything that I have learned to Hope College and into the real world.


Dan Hoekstra

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Thank you Allendale, From the Rader Family

Allendale Public SchoolsWe are very blessed to live in the community of Allendale where we can be actively involved in the lives of our children.  We are thankful for the commitment of the Allendale Public Schools in helping our children achieve personal excellence and providing them with so many extended learning opportunities.  We are grateful to be able to be involved in our children’s classrooms, their school buildings, and their extra curricular activities.

This year, we had Tarek at Oakwood in Mrs. Winkler’s 5th grade class, where I had the opportunity to volunteer weekly.   I was able to be involved in the PALs reading program, where students read aloud in partners following a system of checking and questioning each other.  I was impressed with the advancements I saw in the students’ reading skills.  Tarek was focused on improving his reading this year and with Mrs. Winkler’s goal setting, help from Oakwood’s reading interventionists, and the PALs program. He also saw an increase in his Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) score of 350 points!
Allendale Public Schools, Summer series, Rader FamilyTarek also had the opportunity to spend time every day with Mrs. Beck for 6th grade math, and we are very pleased that Allendale provides opportunities for advanced placement coursework. Tarek and I also got to go to 5th grade camp at Camp Pinewood for three days this spring.  The camp had never had such a large number of students and parents; it was a testament to our school and our community that we all want to be involved in the lives of our students and their classmates.  Not only was the camp designed to teach the students about survival, nature and testing their limits, it was focused on encouraging the students to see themselves as a community and supporting each other.   I’m looking forward to seeing this class move into the middle school next year with all of these involved parents looking after them.
Our daughter, Holt, was in 2nd grade this year at Evergreen with Mrs. Knauf. This was our second time having a child in her class, and her classroom management skills are excellent; she keeps the kids focused and on task in a very quiet, no-nonsense way.  I was very happy to be able to volunteer in her classroom every week reading plays, playing math games and getting to know my daughter’s classmates.  This year, Holt was excited to be a part of Mr. DeZwaan’s zero hour Falcon Kids Choir.  He gives up his own time to come in early to support and encourage those students who love music.  The Singing Falcons and the Falcon Kids Choir capped off their year singing the National Anthem at a White Caps game. What a thrilling opportunity!
I appreciate that Allendale Public Schools are focused on pursuing personal excellence,  offering advanced placement courses, addressing student’s needs as they arise, developing new strategies, providing extended learning opportunities, and encouraging parent involvement.  I am proud that our community supports our students and their school district.  We as a family thank you for another wonderful year at APS.
The Raders
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Thank you Allendale, From the Haisma Family

Allendale Public SchoolsAs a parent, there are many different decisions to make when raising your children. For us, there was a lot of apprehension when deciding what school our children would attend. As our oldest prepared to enter school, we asked many friends and neighbors what they thought about Allendale Public Schools. The sentiments were the same from each person we asked – you can’t go wrong with APS.

Once our daughter, Molly, was in kindergarten, we were glad we listened to our friends. Molly came home from school each day with a smile and full of fun stories about why her teacher, Mrs. Lee, is “so silly” and how they were building “stamina” for learning in her class. It is a blessing to hear a child so excited not just about school, but also about learning.

Beyond Molly’s classroom, the entire school atmosphere at Allendale Elementary is amazingly positive. Students are encouraged to be “Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to Learn” by earning Falcon Tickets throughout the school year. Molly practically flew off the bus beaming with pride the day she earned her first Falcon Ticket. That kind of positive environment is just where I want my child to attend school.

Haisma Family, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High SchoolAcademics are definitely still the focus at Allendale.  It isn’t uncommon to have a discussion with our six year old about how Robert Munsch and Jan Brett books are different, or how they learned to use their “eagle eyes” or find “word chunks” while reading at school.  Molly doesn’t even realize how much she has learned this year.  She just knows she has a wonderful time at school; the knowledge gained is an afterthought to her.  School is not a chore to be endured – it is an experience to be enjoyed. 

Allendale Public Schools is more than just a wonderful place to learn. It is also a place where teachers care.  They don’t just care about the curriculum in Allendale; they also care about the students. Molly isn’t just another child in her class, she’s an individual who is understood and valued. It isn’t uncommon to receive a quick update from Mrs. Lee if a morning has been rough or even if she just wants to share an accomplishment Molly had in the classroom. It is a blessing to have a child in an environment where you know everyone from the crossing guard to the principal, and everyone in between, will have a smile and a kind word for your child.

We are very thankful we listened to the advice and chose Allendale Public Schools for our family. It is definitely not a decision we regret.


Jorden and Jennifer Haisma

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Thank You Allendale, from Alexis Jimenez

Allendale Public Schools

What do you think of an alternative school? Well, don’t have the wrong impressions of them. All the people that go to them have different stories, so I, Alexis Jimenez, am going to tell you my story.

I’ve been that “new kid” quite a few times at schools since I’ve moved a few times, even out of the country. I’ve been to three different high schools since my freshman year. The previous schools I’ve been to are Kenowa Hills, which I attended from 5th – 9th grade. Then it was Jenison. I was there for all of 10th grade and only a few weeks when I was in 11th grade. That’s when I decided to make my choice to go to New Options.

It’s hard making new friends when you transfer schools, especially in high school where people in high school have friends since elementary school and know everybody. When I transferred to Jenison I didn’t fit in that well. I did try my best to make friends and even played sports to make friends. Day by day people would make fun of me or give me looks, so I changed myself. Who I was, my clothes, everything about me was different. It wasn’t who I was.

Alexis Jimenez, Allendale Public Schools, APS, New Options High SchoolAfter all that change it still didn’t cut it. I gave up and had enough of it by my junior year, and that’s when my brother had a talk with me and told me that I should go to New Options, so I took his advice. And honestly, going to New Options has been the best experience of my high school years.

Alternatives schools aren’t as bad as you think they are. Everybody has a story of why they go to them. My story was because of the lack of friends. I tried making them for so long I gave up, but at New Options, you make friends on the first day. The people are so nice and welcoming, here you can be considered family.

So don’t let a wrong impression of alternative schools fool you.

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Thank you Allendale, From Katherine Sauter

Allendale Public SchoolsAs I graduate this May and look back on my years at APS, I realize I have much to be thankful for.  The old saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child” and this is very true in my academic career.

First, elementary school.  Thank you, elementary teachers, for all you did to give me a great foundation to build on, for making learning fun, for caring about me, for being excited for every lost tooth, every show and tell, and everything else that made me feel so special.

Then came middle school. Thank you, middle school teachers, for building higher on our foundation, for challenging us for the tough classes you knew were ahead, for engaging us in fun and creative ways, for dealing with us as middle-schoolers.  The fact you willingly work with middle-schoolers every day with smiles on your faces and care and concern in your hearts speaks volumes about you as teachers and as people.

Katherine Sauter, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, Summer SeriesFinally, high school.  Thank you, high school teachers, for continuing to challenge us, for showing us what the world has to offer, for teaching us that language is more than words, that math is more than numbers, that music is more than individual notes.  Thank you for helping us discover ourselves and providing many outlets for us to do so.

Every year, thank you, secretaries, lunch moms, playground helpers, cleaning staff, bus drivers, crossing guards, for doing all the things we fail to notice and acknowledge that keep our schools running safely and smoothly.  Thank you for all the bandaids given, messages taken, yogurts opened, spills cleaned, wastebaskets emptied, routes carefully driven, and everything else you do daily that helps us in more ways than we know.

Thank you superintendent, principals, and Board of Education for seeking out the best teachers and making Allendale the best place to learn.   Your guidance and support helps Allendale to always strive for excellence.

Thank you, Allendale Public Schools, for giving me the skills and confidence to grow as a person and as a student.  I look forward to my next step/chapter/adventure at Michigan State University, knowing that APS has prepared me for success.


Katherine Sauter

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Thank You Allendale, From The Hinken Family

photo of the Hinken Family, Allendale Public Schools

Allendale Public SchoolsWe, as a family, were new to Allendale Public Schools this past fall.  We have two children, Josh (8th grade) and Jenna (2nd grade).

One of the things that impressed us about APS this past year was the kindness and concern the teachers had for my children as they transitioned into a new school.  By the time we left Jenna’s second grade open house, which was held before the first day of school, Jenna felt very welcome and at ease.  The evening of the first day of 8th grade, we, as parents, had an opportunity to meet Josh’s teachers.  That evening several teachers indicated that they knew Josh was a new student and expressed their interest in investing in a positive transition for him.  Both kids transitioned very well and for that we are so grateful!

This week I asked both Josh and Jenna to tell me one thing they liked about APS (I wanted to write something from their perspective).  Josh’s response was, “the size of the school (meaning with respect to the number of students): it is not too small and it is not too big!”  Jenna’s response was “the teachers!”  These are both very important when it comes to a day at school for a child/student.

I can’t believe how fast the school year has gone.  As I look back on the year I am not only reminded of the positive transition but other positive experiences the kids had at APS such as Josh’s positive experience in sports and Jenna’s positive experience in the Falcon Choir and at Good Time Friends.  I have told many family members and friends that when I ask the kids how their school day was they almost always respond “GOOD!”  For this we are also so grateful!

[photo courtesy of the Hinken Family]

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Thank You Allendale, from James Troost

Allendale Public SchoolsMy name is James Troost. I am a New Options student that came from a local high school. I came to New Options in early February of 2013. I have so far enjoyed my experience with New Options and I plan  on staying until I graduate.

Everyone comes to New Options for a reason. It is not just a school that a parent would enroll their kid into to get a regular high school experience. That being said, I am going to share the reason I have ended up at New Options. At my old school I was very stressed out. I have been going through a lot of personal life problems that caused me to go off the deep end. School became so stressful for me to the point where I could not concentrate in any class. At one point, I am not entirely sure when, I just gave up on myself and started to ruin my own potential.

Now with me not caring about myself as far as school goes, my quality of life drastically went downhill. My parents really had no way of motivating me because if I don’t care about myself no one is going to be able to get me to care about school. Not caring was what I saw as the only way to relieve the stress that was brought onto me.

After my parents ran out of ideas to try to help me, they suggested that I just drop out. If I wasn’t going to do anything in school, there really is no point in going. I really could not do that to myself. Just taking all of my potential and throwing it into the garbage. I was not going tolet that happen. So then my parents suggested the idea of enrolling me into New Options. This just seemed like the best of both worlds. I am going to be able to graduate from high school but on top of that I am not going to stress myself out to the point where I can’t function. This is what I saw to be the best solution to my problem.

James Troost, Allendale Public Schools, APS, New Options High School

New Options, I feel, was created to help those in difficult times to get as close as possible to reaching their full potential. I find that it is doing that for me. The reasons I enjoy this school are simple. New Options helps me complete all of my assignments within the school hours, that way I do not have the stress of bringing loads of work home with me. That was a huge problem at my old school.

Another reason I really enjoy this school is because everyone here has their own story, their own reason for being here. That helps me stay motivated because now I know I am not the only one dealing with these problems. All of the teachers here truly want to see you pass with flying colors, and they are willing to do anything they can do to help you achieve that. And nothing is more important in school than teachers that care.

New Options is a place that I am happy going to. I personally feel that it is the reason I started to care about my life again. If anyone ever goes through what I went through, I would strongly recommend that you enroll as soon as possible. When you feel there are no options left, there is always New Options.

Categories: Allendale Public Schools, Summer Series | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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