Jenison ‘In The News’

 

The Jenison community is full of many amazing people creating newsworthy moments year round! If you happen to have missed some of these incredible stories in the local news, I encourage you to check out the links and get inspired. These stories represent the #JPSBeRelentless attitude through commitment, ingenuity, compassion and perseverance. 


Sandy Tetro 

Sandy Tetro has been impacting friends, family members, students, co-workers and community members for as long as anyone can remember. Her enormous heart and boundless energy propelled a 20+ year career in special education at Jenison Public Schools and 15+ years coaching for Special Olympics. She is also currently recovering from a massive right ischemic stroke. She has been recognized as a top finalist for West Michigan’s Woman of the Year through local news WOTV4. While her recovery is amazing – it just makes her even more remarkable in our eyes!

Read the story and watch the video here

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Audrey (Tetro) Mitchell nominated her mother, Sandy Tetro as a ‘Remarkable Woman of West Michigan’, for the impact she has had on countless lives.


Andrew Medley, Senior Kidney Recipient

Andrew Medley is a Jenison High School football and basketball player who has lived with a kidney failure diagnosis for 8 years. He recently underwent surgery to receive a kidney from mother. Andrew’s energy may have waned over time but commitment to his teams never has; he has been a leader on and off the field. 

 We’re so happy to receive a great report on Andrew’s improving health since the surgery two weeks ago. Andrew is anxious to be back to school but will have to wait a few more weeks until the doctor gives the approval. His mother Susan is also healing well and has expressed amazement at the amount of support they have received from the community. 

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Susan Medley is so thankful that she was a match and was able to give her son Andrew a kidney.


2020 Senior Survivor

In ‘Season 2’ of the Jenison High School Senior Survivor game, the seniors exceeded last year’s amount by almost $3,000 – making their 2020 contribution to the Pink Out team over $8,000.

Read the story and watch the video here

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Tej Kothari, Congressional Bronze Medal recipient 

Jenison High School senior, Tej Kothari received the highest honor Congress can bestow on a young person. The Congressional Bronze Medal was presented to him by Congressman Bill Huizenga.

Read the story here

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Tej Kothari is the first Jenison High School Student to receive the Congressional Bronze Medal.


Jack Carrier, Student Law Changer 

Jenison High School senior, Jack Carrier was born with a vision impairment that would ultimately make getting his drivers’s license a little tricky. Jack knew he had run into some pretty restrictive obstacles. Jack and his father reached out to Senator Roger Victory for assistance. Sen. Victory helped Jack raise awareness for and get the law changed for others with similar visual challenges.

Read the story here

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Jack Carrier with State Senator Roger Victory (Photo source: Mlive)


Terry Dykstra, Jenison High School Counselor

As a Jenison High School counselor, Terry Dykstra has been cheering students on for 52 years!

Read the story and watch the video here

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Pink Out 2020

Last Friday was our 12th Annual Pink Out event. This is the one day of the year that our amazing community comes together to support and make the renewed commitment that we will do everything in our power to fight against the ugly disease we call cancer. We cherish the gift of life and we will continue to support our families. I am so thankful that our gym is packed to standing room only on a yearly basis on this special night!

While this is no doubt a community wide effort, I also wanted to recognize the momentum our Jenison High School student body creates each and every year. In addition to t-shirt sales and donations, these students have creatively invented opportunities for fundraising and donated nearly $15,000 through the ‘Senior Survivor’ as well as the Men’s Varsity Basketball free throw contest.

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We were also honored to share this evening with our neighbors, the Reeths Puffer community, who recently stood in battle with one of their middle school teachers. We empathize with their loss and are glad that they were able to experience being a part of something we know is near and dear to their hearts as well.

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2020

Jenison Pink Out Honorees

Melanie Davis, Kimberly Duch, Ofelia Munez, Jody Heyboer, and Zach Schab. Continued support to you, from our entire community!

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Melanie Davis

Melanie’s whirlwind cancer journey began during the pregnancy of her 3rd child. A headache revealed a tumor which was successfully removed during the pregnancy. Not long after that, additional tumors were discovered throughout her body and diagnosed.

She was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement that initially came from her son’s school – people who were perfect strangers. Melanie didn’t want to ask for help and wasn’t really sure what to expect through treatments or even what sort of support she would need. That expanded into an introduction to the Pink Out team. The leaders of Pink Out were the face to all the names that were already praying for and offering Melanie’s family support. They provided additional emotional support and a listening ear. Pink Out was there with gas and meal cards, flowers, cookies, encouragement cards and more! And in true Jenison fashion, the Pink Out team went above and beyond in support for the family when their infant daughter passed away after fighting a medical condition. Melanie, you are not in this fight alone!

Kimberly Duch

Cancer is relentless and knows no boundaries. Just a few years ago, the Duch family came to Pink Out to honor Kim’s Mother-in-law Dianne Duch. Dianne was a courageous fighter and a friend to so many in the community. She passed away about a month before Kim’s diagnosis. Today, Kim takes a spot on the Pink Out floor to share about her journey with breast cancer. After finally facing her overdue mammogram, she found herself building her life around consults, appointments and many other facets of this journey they were all too familiar with. Early detection was on her side and with an aggressive plan of action, she had a very good prognosis and now recovery. Kim is exceptionally grateful for the friendship and continued support from Pink Out throughout her battle. Kim, we’re so happy you and your family came to share your story.

Ofelia Munez

Ofelia, with her family by her side, has been fighting Lung cancer since last spring. Surgery, recovery and chemo left her very tired with much pain and sadness. A knock on her door from the Pink Out team ushered in a new season of joy and hope. She not only received financial assistance to ease some burdens of bills and Christmas shopping, but immense encouragement and a real sense of community as well.

It was a treat to hear Ofelia deliver her story in Spanish, then her daughter Kristen Vega, translated in English adding her own perspective. She was a 2017 graduate of Jenison High School who sat in these bleachers just a few years ago – never imagining she would be standing on this gym floor with her own family some day. She is so thankful to Pink Out for all the support her mom and family has received. Ofelia and Kristen, we are thankful for the opportunity to be of assistance during this time. May you keep the joy and hope you have found!

Jody Heyboer

Pink Out has been with Jody since the beginning of her cancer journey in 2017. She was an honoree of Jenison Pink Out in 2018 and she enjoyed participating in the event from the stands in 2019. This year, she’s back to share her ongoing story. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries describes the last two years for her and her family. And the journey is far from over. A new diagnosis has her starting chemotherapy again this week. The ongoing commitment from the Jenison Pink Out team helps her know that she’s not alone and definitely not forgotten. The theme for the Pink Out teeshirts this year includes an umbrella and she has definitely felt protection from the storm. Jody – we’re holding on tight with you during this rollercoaster ride! Keep choosing joy!

Zach Schab

Upon diagnosis of a brain cancer, Zach was no doubt aware that he would go through some major physical changes and challenges but he was shocked to feel the toll he would take emotionally and psychologically. Experiencing trauma creates a weight that is not easily carried alone. He makes a passionate case for helping your neighbor whether they are dealing with cancer or not. Thank you Zach for such a reminder that we all can give just a little bit of effort to offer a great amount of help.

“Thankfully as humans we are not a solitary species, we have the ability to lighten the load of everybody around us. As a community, we have the power to change lives and embolden others. And not just those who have struggled with cancer – everybody can use a little extra help.” Zach Schab, Brain cancer survivor

This evening is always so inspiring and I am proud to be a part of this community. Each year, this event serves as a celebration of those who fight tenaciously and takes time to pause for those that we remember.

Thank you so much to the community, students, businesses – everyone who has put forth a small effort to make a big change for those in our community who are suiting up for the fight of their lives. Hope is brought to these fighters by the community and we are going to walk every step alongside them until their storm runs out of rain!

Please visit the Jenison Pink Out Facebook page to watch the Live recording of the ceremony. The Pink Out game is jam packed with action – from games and ceremony to special performances. The full photo gallery can be found here.

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In its second year, “Senior Survivor” was able to bring in $8,600 to benefit Jenison Pink Out. Based on the television show, 9 senior students attempt to raise money and compete in challenges to remain in the game. Thank you to the school chaperones who spent the night at school with them, the local business who kept them fed and most of all their friends and family who cheered them on and supported their efforts!

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The YEAR ROUND dream team behind Jenison Pink Out! Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Moni Marlink, Cindi Covell, Katy Hevelhurst, Jean Krzewski, and Donna Bergeon. These are some caring, compassionate women on a mission to care for their neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU!!

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Principal, Jon Mroz accepts the Pink basketball in recognition of best Pink Out Spirit Day at Sandy Hill Elementary. Way to go kids little Wildcats!

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The Gift of Friendship

Developing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders is a core commitment at Jenison Public Schools and I see the LINKS program as an every day example of this.

Some of our students with different needs (including Autism Spectrum and others with a disability or cognitive challenge) may require a categorical program with a specific educational plan. While they receive extra one-on-one educational support either from a teacher or paraprofessional, studies have proven that students favor connection with and respond better to their own peers. Our peer-to-peer LINKS program allows for those students to receive the necessary extra supports in a more natural way, by placing a general education student by their side. 

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Depending on the needs, this awareness and connection between the students is cultivated already starting in elementary school. Informally teaching general education students about the uniqueness of their peers, to include others and how to interact with a student who may be having a difficult time.

As students reach high school, the general education LINKS student can further their education and choose the LINKS class as an elective. Mrs. Stacey Van Laan runs the program and meets with the class once a week for instruction that focuses on training the methodologies of working with people with different abilities. They also complete assignments and projects that promote the application of their learning. Each semester, the LINKS student is placed with a Peer student during one class hour (his or her elective hour). The role of the LINKS student is to act as a peer advocate, mentor, role model and friend for their Peer student. Together, they work toward the goal of independence and socialization. The Peer students learn to be a meaningful member of a pair or group and receive assistance with organization of assignments and supplies.

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Peer-2-Peer Bowling Outing

A few of our 11th grade LINKS students reflect on how much they learn from their Peers. Reveling in the uniqueness of their personalities and their interests. They are reminded to be patient with not only their Peers, but everyone they meet. It’s so encouraging to hear how they really love the role of being their friends and seeing them during passing, lunch time, and before and after school.

It’s beyond exciting when we hear parents of the LINKS students commenting on the passion they see in their child to help their Peers. It’s doubly exciting when parents of Peers reciprocate with how much their child is loving school and their LINKS friends. Expressing amazement at the connection and growth they have seen, after some difficult years.

“Jenison has the best kids for this program! We are super grateful for the LINKS students who take the time to help our son be awesome.”  

Parent of a Peer student

In addition to the life skill building that occurs during the school day, the LINKS program arranges social gatherings when possible. A few weeks ago, the group went bowling and during the fall they visited Post Family Farm. This week they finished their Christmas shopping together and celebrated with a cookie decorating and movie party earlier this afternoon. Peer students are also given the option to join a group for school sports, music and theatre events. These types of outings solidify their relationships outside of the classroom and gives all students the experience of a fun social outing.

The inclusive and connected culture within this program and Jenison High School is life changing. I’m so grateful for the gift of time and friendship that the LINKS so genuinely and generously give. Many of the students stay in touch beyond their semester class and continue their social connection. The LINKS program is changing lives through research, education and the relentless passion of our Jenison High School students.

A handful of recent Jenison graduates and former LINKS students are currently studying for their Special Education degree. Other recent LINKS students are planning to use their experience to fuel a career in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Child Life Specialist, etc… Today’s students WILL become tomorrow’s leaders.

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Peer-2-Peer Cookie Decorating and Movie Christmas Party

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Peer-2-Peer Club Post Family Farm Outing

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Peer-2-Peer Christmas Shopping Mall Trip

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Small change adds up BIG

As I look forward to spending time with my family this Thanksgiving weekend, it’s very easy to be thankful for all I have been blessed with. Today, I am also reflecting on a commitment to make one small choice daily; to live with an attitude of gratitude in all circumstances. I have been encouraged by the efforts of our students this month, joining together through many small initiatives to make a very big difference.
Our annual change fundraiser “Your Change Can Change Hunger” began in 1998 and is something the kids look forward to each year. After a 15 year partnership with another food pantry in West Michigan, the focus shifted to a more local organization. Hand2Hand partners with local churches and schools to provide a backpack filled with supplemental food that bridges the gap of weekend hunger. When students became aware that their change was going to help kids in their own school district, possibly even their own building – giving sharply increased. The fervor with which students wanted to take care of their own is so inspiring!

 

YCCCH Winning Class

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The high school students conducted a pop can drive, lunch time raffle ticket sales, hosted a movie showing with drinks and snacks for sale, promoted general collection competitions between classes, sold sodas and Post Family Farm donuts.

The Junior High had an another amazing year raising money through many avenues as well. Students sold coffee, hot chocolate, stickers and gelato. Classes thrived off of competing against one another, and setting personal classroom goals. Students and staff members worked hard at making each goal happen, and we believe they succeeded in many ways.

Competition polls with two containers were popular for students to express their preferences: Coke or Pepsi, Dog or Cat. Elementary class competitions brought an exciting pizza party or pajama day to the winning classroom.

They are always so creative and it’s such a positive environment during this fundraiser. Students are so generous with their time and money knowing how it is helping right here in their community. 

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Our annual contribution drive recently wrapped up with yet another record breaking year! I’m happy to say our students, staff and families have done it again … raising a record $27,567.79 during this year’s 22nd Annual “Your Change Can Change Hunger” fundraiser!!

It is both exciting and humbling to realize that since the inception of YCCCH here in Jenison, our students, staff and families have raised just over a quarter of a million dollars to fight hunger!! Donations have reached over $141,000 specifically for local students through Hand2Hand since 2013. What a wonderful community we live in! Small change can add up big and…Your Change really CAN Change Hunger!

Thank you so much to each and every one of our Jenison families for your part in keeping this wonderful tradition alive and growing to bless our kids.

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National Philanthropy Day Recognition

 The Jenison High School student body has been generously giving back and raising awareness for the Make-a-Wish Michigan mission for the past 20 years. I join Tracy Mossburger and Kelly Cole, JHS Student Council Teacher Advisors, in expressing an immense amount of pride in the integrity and efforts of our students! The Make-a-Wish organization itself nominated our students for “Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy” and said they “exemplify the spirit of the Kids for Wish Kids program“. Our student council representatives found out about the nomination and award during the homecoming pep assembly earlier this year along with the whole student body.

This program is a platform for youth to create fundraisers to help support the mission and grant wishes of children battling critical illnesses. In 2014 and 2018, our students raised a total of almost $30,000 during homecoming events. Students fundraised through many creative ways; selling bracelets, stars, pizza slices and they even hosted a community carnival and tailgate party prior to the 2018 Homecoming football game. The students led the way to make this a successful community effort. 

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Earlier this year at the homecoming pep assembly, the student body was surprised with the news that they had been nominated for and awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award.

In addition, each class adopted a child who had experienced a wish granted by Make-a-Wish Michigan, and created a themed float for the homecoming parade based on that wish. Our students were so inspired, and felt empowered to make a difference, through the chance to meet the local wish kids and partner with them on the creation of the float. 

“I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work with such amazing kids, they give so much of themselves each day to better our community. Please don’t ever think that high school kids can’t do something… give them some guidance, direction, and freedom to develop and they will do more than you can think possible! I am also lucky that I have gotten to connect with some pretty amazing people at, and through, Make-A-Wish.”

Tracy Mossburger,

Jenison High School Teacher and Student Council

Make-a-Wish Michigan has shown immense gratitude for the way our student body has displayed selfless acts of kindness for many deserving children in West Michigan. The creativity and perseverance of our students through these efforts shows them leading by example. The character of our students to work so hard, focusing on others is such an inspiring thing to witness. Go Wildcats!

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Tracy Mossburger and Kelly Cole, JHS Teacher Advisors attended the award ceremony with the Student Council representatives . 

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On November 12, the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan (AFPWM) honored Jenison High School with ‘Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award 2019’.

IMG_0297Make-a-Wish kid ambassadors in the 2018 Homecoming parade.

Homecoming Blog posts:

Homecoming Dreams Big 2018

Make a Wish for Homecoming 2018

Homecoming 2014

 

JHS Thespians present “The Miracle Worker”

The Miracle Worker tells the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller. William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker dramatizes the volatile relationship between the lonely teacher and her charge. The JHS cast and crew have stepped up to the task with some big challenges portraying this classic story. Don’t miss your chance to catch the phenomenal student-run, annual Fall production this week!

The Miracle Worker has powerful messages for everyone. In Helen, Anne, and Kate Keller (Helen’s mother), audiences can identify with strong and independent female characters.  Others can empathize with parents of children with disabilities, and try to imagine the challenges as well as rewards these courageous and loving families experience.  It’s also easy for those in education to admire the tenacity and strength of teacher Anne Sullivan. 


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Performances will take place at the Jenison Center for the Arts, November 7 – 9 at 7:30pm and a matinee on November 10 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for Senior Citizens or Students under age 18. 

*Due to its dramatic nature, this play is not recommended for younger children who are unable to sit quietly for the duration of the performance.


When Anne Sullivan died, her ashes were placed inside the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  After Helen died, her ashes were interred next to those of her beloved teacher. Teachers know how important and special a relationship with a student can be. Finally, everyone experiencing the show can relate to the importance of perseverance.

This year also marks the 25th Anniversary of Mr. Todd Avery bringing quality educational theatre to Jenison and our surrounding communities. 

Miracle_Worker_2019-1-2“Theatre can make a difference in the lives of everyone! No matter how our production touches you, we are delighted to share in our storytelling.  

Thank you to the many amazing volunteers overseeing essential teams such as set design, costumes, lighting, and sound. BRAVO Cast & Crew! Another job well done showcasing your talent and dedication! I am blessed to have the opportunity to direct this incredible play in my last year at JHS with this talented group of young actors and techs.” – Todd Avery, Director of Theatre Arts JPS

Click here for the full photo gallery.

Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.” Anne Sullivan

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JPS Wildcat PrinciPALS

The month of October is National Principals Month and I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to the hardworking JPS principals – and to thank them for their RELENTLESS work, day in and day out.

Webster’s definition of “principal” gives a rigid feeling of dominant control and authority. While the professionals in this role are definitely in an ‘authoritative’ position; ‘rigid’ and ‘dominate’ are absolutely not words that I would use to describe our Principals.

JPS Principals are true servant leaders setting the pace for our schools, as we seek to engage each and every child in our rigorous and comprehensive educational programming. Our principals are leading by example as we are eager to build meaningful and lasting relationships with the students we are privileged to serve. Most importantly, our principals hold firm to our core value that is to provide a safe, caring, nurturing, dynamic, and engaging learning environment in which every child can thrive. Our principals, and the staff they lead, provide a distinct difference and help Jenison stand out among other local districts.

Meet Jon Mroz, the new Sandy Hill principal – for the second time. Growing up in Jenison, he never fathomed he would find a teaching job in West Michigan, much less at his alma mater. 

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Jon Mroz, Sandy Hill Principal

Jon joined the JPS staff as a 6th grade Science teacher at Sandy Hill following graduation from Grand Valley State University. After 6 years of teaching, he stepped into the role of Principal at Sandy Hill. He loved working with the wide variety of kids in this different role, however he stepped away for a job in the private sector after two years. Two years later, Jon was missing the people focused profession of being a principal and I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to invite him back. Jon lives in Jenison with his wife and their three young daughters. He looks forward to a new challenge every day and is grateful to be surrounded by people that want the best for each and every kid they meet. One of his favorite perks of the job this year is riding to school with his favorite kindergartner, his oldest daughter.

Read more about the other amazing Jenison Public Schools Principals below:


 

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Dr. Brandon Graham, JHS Principal, is celebrating 20 years with JPS – the last 16 as principal. Brandon counts himself lucky to work with a highly dedicated and focused group of individuals at the high school. High school is a great time to watch the students grow into caring and compassionate young people who are dedicated to serving those around them. He is an appreciative leader who joins the team and is dedicated to meeting the needs of the entire student body.

 

 


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Brett Cataldo, JJHS Principal, brought his teaching and administration experience to the district 10 years ago. He loves being at Jenison and being a part of an “unbelievably supportive” team that gives 100% to keep the students the priority. The highlight of his day is centered around connection; with students, staff, and family.

“Everyone works so hard but we have so much fun learning together!”

 

 


38d1e0efa4c34d49965d3702bb5c175dCrystal Morse, Bauerwood Elementary Principal is very driven and loves to take advantage of creative problem solving and  forward thinking. After 8 years of teaching at JPS, she found herself packing up her classroom and moving to the Principal’s office. And for 15 years, she has been making decisions for the benefit of the kids. She continues to look for unique ways to show up daily for her students and demonstrate that they are loved and supported, no matter what. She and her staff work tirelessly to build relationships with students with the belief – and experience – that the academics will eventually fall into place.

“Each student is so important to me that the time, energy, tears, and each baby step to success is SOOOO worth it.” 

 


75c0d230c8894edc8c8bcaf80e3961afBrent Huck, Bursley Elementary Principal has been at JPS for 7 years, this is his 4th year as principal. One of Brent’s favorite parts of the job is socializing with the students. Chatting with them in the hallways, classrooms and playground is a highlight. He also feels blessed to work with such a tremendous group of hardworking and passionate educators. The genuine compassion they have for their students, their creative lesson planning, and unwavering commitment to student success are unparalleled. They never cease to amaze me.

“JPS students are the best! I love getting to know each one of them!”

 


3388d636734a455695d334a16d5cef8cRachael Postle-Brown, Pinewood Elementary Principal has been in education for nearly 20 years. Her roles of teaching high school and assistant administration have prepared her for the excitement of leadership in the elementary world. For 8 years, she has embraced the unpredictability and seized every opportunity to help a student with a new discovery, try a new way to encourage someone or just share a laugh with students and staff.

 “I am inspired by my staff every day, they don’t just work a job – they are on a mission to serve our students and our community.”

 


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Luke Verbeek, Rosewood Principal has been with JPS for 7 years; teaching 6th grade for 5 years and currently in his second year as principal. He loves being a principal in the Jenison district because he gets the opportunity to work with amazing students, parents, and staff members every day. Starting out as a teacher, Luke loves the opportunity to get back in the classroom and seeing what the students are accomplishing. Coming to work everyday puts a smile on his face because he loves greeting the members of his Rosewood village – students, parents, or the awesome staff he partners with daily. Words cannot express his appreciation for his colleagues and the commitment they share for the students at Rosewood.

“It truly takes a village to raise a child and I am proud to be part of the Rosewood/Jenison village.” 

 


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Lloyd Gingerich, Principal at El Puente has worked in education as a teacher and administrator for over 20 years. This is his 12th year in Jenison. For two years, he lived and taught in Costa Rica and was immersed in the Spanish language. He became a fluent speaker and gained a broader view of the world – outside of west Michigan. Daily, he takes those experiences and partners with his staff to challenge the students to grow and reach their potential. He was a key participant in the growth of the JPS Spanish Immersion program. He loves being a principal in Jenison because he feels that the whole community truly cares about education and they show that with their actions as much as with their words.

“The strong culture of teamwork in service of the children in our community is why I brought my own children to Jenison.” 

 


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Lee Westervelt, ECC Principal has spent his entire career in administration – 25 years with JPS. Being constantly surrounded by curiosity and wonderment is something that excites him on a daily basis. Lee sees his daily playground duty as his classroom where he can guide the children in ‘Being a Good Friend – 101’. Watching them cooperate and play inclusively is a highlight which extends to the classroom and home. 

“I get to be a part of students’ lives and help shape them for a better future. How cool is that! I love what I do.”

 


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Matthew Baughman, Jenison International Academy – Elementary Principal is in his second year in the district. He loves putting his passion to work at JPS because there is an openness to rethink components of traditional education. Conversations and programs are clearly about helping kids and supporting teachers. Families value education and are engaged in the path to success. He feels the program is validated in the support JIA receives from the Central Office provides time, resources, and support for new initiatives. Greeting in a student-led way each morning is the highlight of his day. Matthew also has the opportunity to teach PE every Tuesday and Kindergarten Coding every Wednesday.  

“The JIA staff are committed not only to seeing that students learn important skills and information, but also how to apply that learning to the real world.”


osterberg_k_2019.jpgKrista Osterberg, Jenison International Academy – Junior/High School Principal has been part of JPS for 14 years. While teaching, she has been integral in the formation and progression of the JIA; participating in the development and guidance of each program over the past 10 years. Now, her 14th year marks the beginning of a totally new adventure, as we divide the oversight of the Jenison International Academy and she takes the appointment to Principal of the secondary programs for the JIA. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with amazing students, families, and educators – to be creative in providing optimal, personalized learning opportunities and pathways for our students in both virtual and blended settings. 

“I appreciate, and am proud of the numerous unique opportunities that JIA Junior/Senior High offers to JPS families”

JHS Recognized with Michigan Exemplary Athletic Program award

The honor and privilege of serving as the Superintendent of Jenison Public Schools is a humbling, yet greatly rewarding experience. As a destination school for many families, it’s no secret just how amazing this place is.

It is well deserved when our staff and programs are recognized for their excellence. JHS has been honored by Newsweek Magazine multiple times as the Best High Schools in America, the Washington Post’s most challenging high school as well as a GRAMMY Foundation Signature School. Also, receiving recognition as one of the best 100 communities in the nation for music education nine times.

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Cody Inglis – MHSAA Director, Tim Ritsema – JHS Athletic Director, Brandon Graham – JHS Principal, Emily Siler – Student Athlete and Tom TenBrink – JPS Superintendent. Banner held by Athletic Booster representatives, Erich Stoezner and Jason Kyle.

Not only do we have an outstanding music and fine arts program, but a successful athletic program as well. Established in 1971, Jenison has a short but rich history of athletics and hard working supporters. At Jenison, we believe in the value and benefits of dedication, motivation, and perseverance. We see our athletic program as a vital part of our total educational program and take pride in its achievements. 

At our Homecoming football game on September 20, Jenison was officially recognized as an Exemplary Athletic Program by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s (MIAAA). We are one of 25 schools that have received this award – and only a handful of them are in the West Michigan area. This is the result of many years of hard work to create a quality infrastructure and a reputable athletic experience; one that functions as an extension to our fantastic educational and fine arts programs.

Former Athletic Director, Kevin Van Duyn (also 1983 Jenison student athlete/graduate and coach), was instrumental in laying the groundwork to bring our program to this point. After his nearly 20 year career at JPS concluded, it was an honor to see him inducted into the Jenison Athletic Hall of Fame in March of 2019. He embodies a core belief that good sportsmanship and personal integrity are the foundation of what defines success in both winning and losing situations.

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Tim Ritsema, Jenison High School Athletic director is happy to carry the torch and keep our athletic program operating at Exemplary status:

“We’re not perfect but it’s exciting to receive recognition for the hard work that’s taken place. We have some state of the art facilities and the Jenison athletic department strives to share the District’s vision, mission, and core values by stressing Community, Achievement, Tradition, and Service – CATS. When everybody rows together in this endeavor, everyone wins – regardless of the trophies and banners that are on display.” 

Recipient schools experience rigorous screening including an application process, written documentation of the program’s strengths and a two-day visit by an MIAAA evaluation team. Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) states that this award honors programs that model excellence and equity. Schools that are providing for what is best in educationally sound high school athletics.  

Our teachers are relentless in the classroom and many of them continue that effort on the fields after school – 56 of our staff are in assistant or head coach positions at JHS. Our district-wide commitment to the advancement of the emotional, social, moral and physical growth of all of our participants remains strong and is a key component to this recognition. 

I’m beyond grateful for the work of all members of our athletic department to support our “blue ribbon” level program. Our students benefit immensely from relationships built with coaches, the challenge of competition and lessons of teamwork. Go Wildcats!

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Cody Inglis – MHSAA Director presenting the award to Tim Ritsema – JHS Athletic Director

Check out this video footage of the beautiful outdoor Jenison Athletic Campus:

 

Make Your Mark!

“Make your mark and see where it takes you.” That’s the sentiment behind International Dot Day, a worldwide celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration. This holiday started just 10 years ago and has grown from a single classroom to thousands of schools across the globe. All because of a book with an inspiring message.

Dot Day is inspired by the Peter H. Reynolds book, “The Dot.” The book depicts the story of a little girl who is shy about expressing her artistic abilities. Following some encouragement from an art teacher, she begins with a tiny dot she put on a piece of paper and from that dot creates multiple works of art.

IMG_8926The concept of this book and the participation in International Dot Day both encourage a ‘growth mindset’ and helps students believe in themselves – something we feel strongly about at Jenison Public Schools. Throughout the day, the students created projects that emphasized the importance of embracing individuality. I love that the Pinewood students joined the celebration again this year and are reminded – that as unique individuals, they can grow and learn and be successful.

I’m grateful for teachers that believe in our students and want them to believe in themselves. These may seem like easy art lessons to some but if our students can learn like the character in the story, Vashti, to be brave and help others, they will eventually believe they can really “make a mark” on the world.

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The Pinewood students crafted unique dot-inspired drawings on a paper plate, cutting them in half and then combining them with a partner’s to form a whole circle.

“I think the message behind Dot Day is so important for students of all ages, it reminds them that they are unique and have something special to share with the world. Dot Day is a celebration of this but we try to help our students see this every day. We feel passionately about giving students opportunities for leadership, and to recognize their gifts and share them. At Pinewood Elementary, all of our staff believes that each child is special and unique and has something they can contribute to our community.”
Rachel Postle-Brown, principal of Pinewood Elementary School.

 

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Wildcat Homecoming 2019

Spirit week activities, tailgates, assemblies, parade, football game, dance and welcoming old friends back home; there is so much about the tradition of Homecoming that I look forward to each year. I enjoy every aspect of seeing our friends, families, students and community members coming together to celebrate.

For me, the high school pep assembly represents the official kick off to homecoming and it is something I love to attend. It is full of excitement and high energy as the marching band sets the tone. The students and staff unite in their pride and have a fun time pumping each other up.

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The pep assembly is also the first official presentation of the Homecoming court. A simple but very special tradition surrounding this presentation is one that many may not know about. The homecoming court representatives choose a teacher to escort them during the pep assembly. This has been a Jenison tradition for as long as I can remember.

I love seeing the teachers that have been selected; more than that, I love hearing the reasons behind a student’s choice for their teacher escort.

Year after year, students are honoring their teachers by using words like ‘admire’, ‘role model’, ‘mentor’, ‘passion’, ‘genuine’, and ‘contagious positive attitude’. Sharing these moments with our students and their teacher escorts is such a highlight of my homecoming pep assembly. It is a very cool experience to see the positive and lifelong connections that are made between our students and their committed teachers. Read some more awesome student quotes below and keep going for more great Homecoming 2019 moments! Check out the full gallery of homecoming photos here!

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Sophomore, Lizzy Lee and Mrs. White 

Sophomore, Lizzy Lee – I chose Mrs. White as my escort because not only did I have fun in her class last year, we got to hang out outside of school through YoungLife and build friendship.

Senior, Sydney Addington – I chose Mr. Zamborsky because he has been apart of all of my musical career, which has been a large part of my life, and has always been someone I’ve looked up to. I amire how much he has done for his students, our band program and for our school in general. He is always very positive and knows how to cheer people up. He has also always been someone I can joke around with and just laugh at each other. Again, I chose Mr. Z because he is a very good role model and someone I hope to be like when I am older.

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Mr. Carmichael and Junior, Bella Van Slyke 

Junior, Bella Van Slyke – I chose Mr. Carmichael to be my escort because not only is he an amazing teacher, but an amazing person. He has such a big heart and is always making sure that each and every one of his students are doing well. He always welcomes people to class with a big smile. I aspire to be as positive as him every day.

Senior, Kassidi Hill – I chose Mrs. Borst as my teacher due to her contagious positive attitude and good vibes! This lady radiates positivity and we all need a little reminder of the good things once in awhile. I was only able to have Mrs. Borst for one class, American Lit, sophomore year. Even with a class that you would expect to be dull, Mrs. Borst was able to make it a fun experience. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever boring when it comes to Mrs. Borst. She’s constantly smiling and whenever you ask her how she is doing, she’ll say, “Better now that I’ve seen your smile!” Which, truthfully, only ever makes my smile bigger. I look forward to passing her classroom every day just for a quick little chat because we joke around and then get on with our day, but even those quick couple of minutes flips my day around after talking with her. I wish a lot more people made me feel the way Mrs. Borst does because those are the kind of people I want to surround myself with! 

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Mrs. Elsie and Freshman, Rosie Nobel

Freshman, Rosie Nobel – I chose Mrs. Elsie because she is very caring not about just school but more importantly her students wellbeing. Immediately when I walked in to class the first day she made me feel welcome and comfortable especially for my first time in the high school. I am so lucky to have her as a teacher! 

Senior, Matt Huizenga – I chose Mr. Brosseit because to me he was more than a teacher. He was a mentor to me. He made me happy when days were bad. He is a great man!

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Sophomore, Teague Stephens and Mrs. Brown

Sophomore, Teague Stephens – I chose Mrs. Brown as my teacher. As I have grown up, we moved into a house right by Mrs. Brown; I have gotten very close to her even though I’ve never had her for a class. When I was told to pick a teacher I immediately thought of her. I’m so glad that she accepted and I look forward to her walking with me.


WILDCAT HOMECOMING 2019

It was a gorgeous day to welcome recently retired, Mr. Waters as our homecoming parade marshall. The “Game Show” theme brought the creativity of the classes. The Freshman class walked away as the float champions for this year with their “The Price is Right” float. The Junior class took their “Supermarket Sweep” one step further with a shopping cart – parade route collection of food items for Hand 2 Hand ministries. They collected almost 100 items from the community! The football game against Reeths-Puffer was a thriller with an action packed second half. An exciting touchdown with just minutes left in the game paved the way for a big win! It was a great day of celebrating with our community – it was a great day to be a Wildcat!

Check out the full gallery of homecoming photos here!

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Check out the full gallery of homecoming photos here!

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