KidCAT Players Inspire

On the surface, it may seem like another celebration for the football team but look closer and you’ll see an initiative bringing a community together and modeling some pretty amazing attributes.

The KidCAT program started about 10 years ago when a teacher had the idea to foster a connection between the elementary students and the high school, with community events such as football games. It’s not always natural – especially for families who don’t know any players personally; however it has grown to be something that the varsity players and the elementary students look forward to each year.

IMG_6008

Sully Russ is one of 20 seniors on the team this year. He enjoyed sharing a visit with his Bauerwood friends. Go #24!

Early in the football season, classroom teachers adopt a player; sometimes a teacher is able to choose a player that once sat in their elementary rooms. The teachers and players alike, really appreciate having the opportunity to reconnect. This year, all 43 Varsity players were paired up with an excited classroom of little Wildcats ready to keep this tradition going. Teachers guide the young students in thoughtful exercises as they get to know their KidCAT player, then share notes, cards of encouragement, and small treats throughout the season.

And the Varsity guys get to give back as well. They are able to be a positive role model; sharing their character and work ethic in return. On the big day of the KidCAT football game, all the players go visit their elementary friends and spend some time with them. When the players arrive, the kids are star struck and in awe like a celebrity has entered their little world! It’s awesome to see the guys having a good time with some silly questions and leading the way for future generations as they promote literacy, community and kindness. As October is Anti-Bullying Month, we are proud to watch as the football team has also joined the Stomp Out Bullying, anti-bullying campaign this year. I’m proud of the leaders we have in this team.

The grand finale is when the students and their families rally to cheer on their KidCAT player at the Varsity football game. At game time, students are grouped in sections with their schools and it’s so fun to see our young fans totally engaged in the game while they cheer for their Wildcat. 

Jenison Walk (1 of 4)

Senior, Kyle Nott leads the pack through the student tunnel at the KidCAT game, October 12. Photo Courtesy of Damion Van Slyke Photography

 

 

 

 

 

Homecoming Dreams Big in 2018

Student Council representatives were very excited to line up for the 2018 Homecoming parade with a few special guests. And they knew the rest of the students would feel the same. This year, Jenison High School Student Council decided to partner with Make-A-Wish Michigan for their Homecoming theme.

Last Thursday, the student body was introduced to these 4 special guests and by the time the Friday parade rolled around – Brody, Sam, Kia and Izzy were practically hometown celebrities! These special people are local Wish Kid Ambassadors and they have had the opportunity to receive a granted wish from this amazing organization.

Jenison class representatives worked tirelessly on parade floats they designed based on each child’s wish. Some of the kids even participated with design and building input for their float over the last few weeks. Members of student council were in resounding agreement that it was the best feeling to be a part of something important, to see their classmates thinking outside of themselves and really embracing their Wish Kids.

Following a cool, dreary parade, families flooded the high school gym to keep the fun rolling at the Make-a-Wish fundraiser Carnival. The students had a goal of raising $15,000 and the carnival was an integral part of meeting that goal. If the rain kept you away from the Homecoming festivities, they are still receiving donations through this weekend at  Jenison Homecoming Make-a-Wish Campaign.

There was plenty of action on the field Friday night; by the players, the band and color guard – however, the folks that stole the show were the Wish Kid ambassadors as they escorted the Homecoming Court during the half time festivities!

Despite a loss in the last minute of the football game that evening (to an undefeated team), I could not be more proud of the team’s performance and the spirit of every fan in the stands. Our guys have the hearts of a champion and they never quit until the very end. Homecoming 2018 was a great time with friends and family and just another reminder of what our Jenison community is made of: talented, hardworking individuals with compassionate hearts, trying to make the world around them a little bit better than they found it.

We were also honored to receive a good amount of attention from the local press last week. Having them partner with us to help spread the word about this special campaign is so appreciated! Check it out!

Homecoming Assembly Coverage from WZZM

Sunrise Sidelines from WZZM

Enjoy reliving the experience of Homecoming 2018 with photos from Missy Brandt.

128748912852c64dd9099629fd920a665897cc94

Princess Izzy was the Wish Kid Ambassador for the Senior Class. The seniors also happened to win the float design competition at the end of the night!

12874880070ff7261ab9bae4c682618d2b9f0a7b128749371964a19db47082c9943a88da9832664f1287508834b3c6db2234f424d2d20a96720ea47d

Kia was the Wish Kid Ambassador for the Junior Class.

128751047b51ee7da8d1d731ceea3f9c4e3a1f57

12875028af9768e8c024bc575666676a73d279c5

Sam was the Wish Kid Ambassador for the Sophomore Class.

1287491113c1a4bb8e35239c4834427c6f2070b712875025021e227af147d1a8b1c2b2e0e5d8cba51287488780507ce3d637f583b6aa7e86d04cc8c7

Brody was the Wish Kid Ambassador for the Freshmen Class.

12874884d0a14c50d95550e0f01fe794036c09d41287498514b7bc68866d2f11b9f40fc5b4d4e22612874856e1c08326136243e211e355ce204822c9IMG-5586IMG-558512874929ae2033c60dcedbdd9e6c9278184a027512875068934860765ed8b9d98d936b65cc419cf212875109b8b3addd9a1a0ddf8c28ba2b2092c4e8128751512bbcb9fb0e0c1f4efc713fbcbdee0e2d128749656cdc5f9a8a93334494cf0bb6561081a7128751892f63c63189ae2beccddade6336187365128751971f57ceaf939bbb6e64c753b586ff3aeb12875240b80c401cb7c6b9873557495bcb81e9de12875251d8a4476bc459afbf9974f96c653985a2128752531a2ba9c3c749e4e89bffa43b3de12f8d1287526027762ed22effadecc82a495ee7ad6608128753100f09e1c872bb65fa0459e0daca778f7912875355732e8e76a779c59ee73cfeddeac85f1c128756111877a103d1a732ccb729048bad0eba1712875650e572cb489793ebbc04066537b125ebb7128756569fa3205ce66caecd33b0088fa418c3381287566130020b4a69fc8575111da9a2fe97cfb3128756670e7df269d68611c378e6b796555b38d51287567398aabcf5d0a5a1645af9fc48a545ad42IMG-558712875892b2808b38f16cdcf73ce1e602584efd5912875898b9007d230d9ee9351066b2d393c6e9a212875912b8bab8fa2e9b29a8c1c786714dc34cb9

Make-A-Wish for Homecoming 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 1.53.25 AM

There are so many things about our district that make me beam with pride! I love to celebrate our students who work hard and reach goals in their personal endeavors; but when I see our kids pouring themselves into a project that allows them to give back to their community – it’s beyond inspiring.

Homecoming week is nearing the grand finale, and students throughout the district have been enjoying theme days and fun contests within their schools to show their Wildcat pride. However, tomorrow (Friday, October 5) is when the real fun happens and we don’t want you to miss it!

This year, Jenison Homecoming will be much more than a parade, some football and a fancy night out. As they did 4 years ago, Student Council has decided to bring the community together and plan events to support Make-A-Wish Michigan. They have a goal to fundraise $15,000 to grant wishes to kids in our local area battling life threatening illnesses. There are multiple ways students are raising money this week; selling tee shirts,  ‘Miracle Minute’ cash drops at the assembly, raffles at the football game and the biggest event is the Homecoming Carnival that is happening right before the game tomorrow night. If you’re unable to attend, online donations can be accepted here, through the Jenison Homecoming Make-a-Wish Campaign.

Students have been paired up with a Make-A-Wish Kid ambassador to help spread awareness about this life-changing program. Floats for the Homecoming parade have been under construction according to the theme of the child’s wish. I can’t wait to see the creativity of the classes with modest budgets and float themes like: Disney princesses, Seven dwarfs / Mickey Mouse, Star Wars and Swimming with pigs and sharks in the ocean in the Bahamas! Those are some amazing wishes! It is also worth mentioning there is alot of buzz about the senior class and their float building skills. They have won the float design contest the last 3 years. Can they do it again? Will they graduate with their float building dynasty intact? Here is the class of 2020 feverishly working to dethrone the class of 2019!

We’re honored to have our Kid Ambassadors join us for some great activities throughout the weekend as well. First, they will visit the high school for the assembly and present to the student body about their personal life changing experience with Make-A-Wish. They will get to ride in convertibles alongside the class representatives through the parade as their float is presented. They will be present at the football game with their families and given some special, fun duties there as well.

We’ve yet to celebrate the full weekend but I’m already so proud of the work that has gone into planning something amazing for our community! I hope to see many of you at this weekend’s events!

2018 Community Homecoming Events

Parade | 4:30-5:30p

Carnival | 5:00-7:00p (RAIN OR SHINE!! Starts after the parade and will end when the game starts.) 

Football Game | 7:00p kickoff

Saturday: 2nd Annual 5k – Family Fun Run

Carnival Flyer

Safety, a Community Effort

Our building principals, teachers, and paraprofessionals come to work each day prepared to meet the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs of each individual Jenison student. We are a team committed to building meaningful relationships so that we will be able to instill the knowledge that students need to be successful in life. However, it’s a harsh reality that we must also address the safety in today’s learning environments. Students and staff must feel safe before they can focus their energy on learning and as such, security has become a top priority for our community.

12709918d0b9ae30ed81bbce1d919281db4ee481

Officer Brad Bennett and Officer Scott Davis 

I am pleased to introduce our Community Police Officers, they are an integral part of the team of professionals listed above. These guys are two fine men with law enforcement in their blood. Officer Brad Bennett is a west Michigan native and has worked in Ottawa County for the last 6 years and at the high school for 3 years. He is one of 7 police officers in his family, including his dad and sister. Brad really loves the opportunity he gets to present himself as an approachable person who cares about the students – he calls it “humanizing the badge”. He likes that he can educate the students and be a resource for them. Brad is married with two young children and he says that integrity is everything. He knows that his kids at home and the students at school are always watching.

Officer Scott Davis represents the 4th generation of police in his family. Growing up surrounded by law enforcement and first responders, he knew at a young age that this was the profession for him; he also enjoys helping people and serving his community. With 9 years Police experience, he joined Jenison this year and will spend most of his time at the Junior High, while also sharing duties and coordinating efforts with Officer Bennett. Scott is married with a young daughter and is a sports fan, he also coaches some football. Growing up, Scott remembers the officer at his school as a positive person who worked to be involved with the kids. That reinforced the idea that it is important for him to be more than just a stern uniform in the hallways. He strives to be a part of their community and someone the students can count on.

They are both thankful to the community for the dollars that allowed us to invest in the safety of our students. I wholeheartedly echo that gratitude – accomplishing many facility security updates in the last few years and adding an additional community police officer is a huge positive investment for our district and I hope the students, staff and parents feel safe and secure each school day.  

12711204996f1117fb15dd8b294da885bc4515aa

About two years ago, planning and work from the 2016 Bond had begun. This included beefing up the security for our buildings. I’m proud to say that the beginning of this school year brought the final step of those security measures:

  • Security cameras throughout all of our schools and on our buses
  • Secure vestibules with locked entrances into our school offices for all buildings
  • Revised Crisis Manual – Professional training focused on security for administrators and district teachers
  • Two Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies + a retired Kent County Sheriff’s deputy at the high school and a security guard in our high school parking lot

 

 

 

Home Field Advantage for AD, Tim Ritsema

1270991261e92b45cadffeb0d92fe70aa2494837Tim Ritsema, our new Senior High Athletic Director, may be wrapping up his second full week on the Jenison High School campus but he is no stranger to these halls. A Hope College and Grand Valley State University grad, Tim actually started his career with us and is happy to be suiting up in Wildcat green again.

During that early decade, Tim was teaching PE, coaching Track and Cross Country; he also spent two years as the Jenison Junior High Athletic Director. Most recently, Zeeland East had the pleasure of Tim as their Athletic Director for 14 years. Those that worked closest with him during that time, describe him as one that will be remembered as the role model he is – as a father and a fan of athletics; while understanding and achieving a healthy balance.

Walking onto the track at Wildcat Stadium for the first time in 14 years was a surreal experience for Tim. He fondly reflects on former athletes and memorable contests, but it’s ultimately about the relationships. Not only with coaches and other staff, but the kids. Tim has such a heart for the student athlete and says he can’t imagine doing anything different. He will definitely acknowledge that “wins are fun, of course, but trophies fade.” His real inspiration comes from connecting with student athletes 5-10 years later. Finding out they are doing great things with their lives; “that just jazzes me up, and I am not ready to be done with that.” He recalls numerous valuable lessons in his upbringing when adults took an interest and invested in his life. He feels that being present and involved in students’ lives is what drives him daily

1270990634eeaf829b196e46a76d9eb0cbf3eb83.jpg

Time has obviously passed and some things have changed (some of my former students are even coaching here now!) but I feel so at home and one thing remains, Jenison has strong programs and an outstanding reputation in so many areas; I intend to build on that momentum with new and fresh ideas. I am so excited to be back and I look forward to applying my years of experience gained at Zeeland.

Tim Ritsema, Jenison High School Athletic Director.

It is an honor to be able to offer a quality athletic experience that functions as an extension of our fantastic educational and fine arts programs – and that we have Tim back on our home turf! Let me officially say “Welcome (home) Tim!”, the Jenison families are blessed to have you lead our student athletes, teaching them character, commitment, a true sense of sportsmanship and an appreciation for that healthy balance.

Student Directed Plays Make a Big Splash!

41432736_692829421085471_1502936192197328896_oTeaching, acting and directing is second nature to Mr. Todd Avery, our very own Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts, and he’s always eager to share his love of the energetic, fast paced world of performing arts. When he joined our community 24 years ago, he dreamed of providing students with an outlet where they could create something on their own; with guidance, and inspire other students. He is beyond excited that he witnessed the dream come true and so proud that 24 years later, the program is still going strong.

41517292_692826804419066_4401504762936164352_o.jpgThe annual Festival of Plays kicked off the 2018-19 theatre season this past weekend. However, behind the scenes work has been going on for months. Student directors go to work on the project before school even adjourns for the summer. Mr. Avery acknowledges that directing a play/musical is no easy task and knows the students will be challenged and stretched in many ways. As one who has over 50 outstanding Jenison productions under his belt, he should know.

The student directors are charged with choosing a play, analyzing it, developing a concept and then persuasively presenting it to be chosen as part of the festival. If their play is chosen, they move forward with developing an audition plan, sit through a 3 hour audition process, negotiate with other students regarding casting decisions, and ultimately choose and notify the cast. That all sounds like a huge undertaking, but wait – learning lines and countless hours of rehearsals hasn’t even made the list yet!41477438_692828077752272_3499005213468000256_o-e1536801411220.jpg Student directors and stage managers for 2018 include Brandon Zink, Emma Byerwalter, Caden Hembrough, Hailie MacKay, Drew English, Isabelle England, and Alyssa Sumption. Most agreed that developing a summer rehearsal schedule and working around the 40+ cast members with time conflicts was the most challenging piece of the puzzle. They were also tasked with finding rehearsal space (usually a location in the director’s home), then worked to perfect their performances by the show deadline. 

 

festival-of-plays-7At the conclusion of this year’s Festival, Mr. Avery says, “The opportunity to problem solve, develop friendships, and build self-confidence are a few of the many benefits that a theater experience can provide and every year, I am pleasantly surprised by the independence demonstrated by the student directors. They take their jobs seriously and treat their actors with respect. I always stress that the rehearsal process should be fun, useful, and efficient. If the process is good, a good product is bound to follow. These kids grow together and support one another as they create some really good theatre. I couldn’t ask for anything more or be more proud of their work.” 

 

The students enjoy the process and learn so much. We are all very honored to have Mr. Avery in Jenison building up our students and helping them succeed on and off the stage. Keep reading to see what some of the students had to say about their experience…

IMG_4142

Jenison High School cast of “21 Chump Street” by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Director: Brandon Zink and Stage Manager Emma Byerwalter)

Brandon Zink, Senior – There’s no doubt that Jenison is the best when it comes to our theatre program. We are offered countless opportunities to showcase our talents, and the creative independence with these FoP shows is so rewarding. These student directed shows give you a taste of how there won’t always be an adult to hold your hand and guide your every move, we’re given the freedom to do what we want with our shows. I feel so thankful to go to a school that cares as much about the arts as Jenison does. The faith that Mr. Avery has in his thespians and their capabilities is outstanding and so beneficial to our growth as performers and all-around members of Thespian Troupe #5421.

Emma Byerwalter, Senior – We are so lucky to be provided with many different opportunities to learn and grow in the Jenison Theatre program. From plays and musicals, dance workshops, festival of plays, 24-hour play, and State Thespian Festival, our program really has it all! Plus, the other students I work with in this program are the absolute most kind hearted and genuine people I know! We support each other no matter what. I feel as if the students in this program are overwhelmingly inviting, we are brought together by a love of theatre and enjoy sharing it with as many people as possible.

IMG_4143

Jenison High School cast of “Last Night in London” by Kimberly Lew (Directors Drew English & Isabelle England and Stage Manager Alyssa Sumption).

Drew English, SeniorThanks to Mr. Avery and everyone else who has made this program possible.  It’s truly life-changing and I’ll never forget the memories I’ve made in theatre. Directing has taught me so much about all the work that goes into a show and has made me a more detailed person in all aspects of life. Theatre has taught me to slow down and live in the moment and that time goes by fast when you’re having fun.

Isabelle England, SeniorThe JHS theatre department is so amazing and for many more reasons than just one. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing director running the program. Mr.Avery and his vision for all the shows we do is amazing. He is so kind, funny and caring and he is just one reason this program is so amazing. I have worked on costumes for all 6 shows I have done, the upcoming play being my 7th, and I’ve not only learned how to sew but I’ve learned so many amazing life skills like leadership and conflict resolution, and how to work as a team. I’m really grateful for all the wonderful adults and all the kids that make the program so great.
IMG_4144

Jenison High School cast of “The Customer is Always Wrong” by Ian McWethy (Director Caden Hembrough and Stage Manager Hailie MacKay)

Caden Hembrough, SeniorThere’s no question Jenison Thespians are learning a lot about life from theatre. I think the biggest lesson we learn is responsibility. Theatre is both an individual and group effort. To learn to do your part on or off stage is what benefits everyone involved.
IMG_4145

BRAVO!! Hats off to Mr. Avery, all the student leaders and cast members who poured so much of themselves into these amazing shows! You are an amazing reflection of our Jenison community. Thank you to Bella Van Slyke and Emma Byerwalter for sharing their photos.

Senior + Self-Published = Literary Success

 

Senior Pictures 074
JHS senior and self-published author, Erika Buhk – Photography by Nicki Prentler

A four year Varsity athlete on the swim and dive team, a representative on the executive board for National Honor Society, a solid big sister and friend, youth group participant, church volunteer with her cello, 12 year Girl Scout, and junior high assistant diving coach… With a list like that, you wouldn’t think senior, Erika Buhk would have a whole lot of free time for writing and publishing a book. But that’s exactly what she did.

Erika credits her natural love for reading and writing, as well as the Jenison teachers who came alongside her, to help bring her to the completion and publication of her first book. Even as an elementary student, she was being challenged to think deeper as a participant in the ACT program, which is a pull-out program for academically talented and gifted students in 3rd-6th grade. Her teacher was Mrs. Karen Weaver and even though the content wasn’t Language Arts based; Erika feels she came away with a sense of confidence and insight into how to truly embrace every opportunity to learn. This teacher and this experience really influenced some of Erika’s key beliefs and behaviors and has helped her forge her own path.

She deeply appreciates the way her skills have been shaped by her Jenison High School English teachers. All of them have been so different and each of them have taught her something very unique, yet very important to the writing style she now uses. Over the years, she learned about the mechanics of speech and grammar from Mrs. Cindy Wabeke, spent time refining her individual writing style, learning the power of a good introduction/conclusion and persisted in taking her writing above and beyond in a college level writing class with Mr. Mark Doby. Mrs. Kathy DeBoer, although not a writing teacher, was also instrumental in helping Erika gain a well rounded appreciation for literature, which she thinks has encouraged her own writing style as well.

Senior Pictures 044

Erika embraces learning wholeheartedly and is a keen observer; she often finds her mind on ‘run-away train’ mode, trying to imagine a backstory while she sees the world as a variety of mini-plots. Around the time she was starting at the Junior High, she actually sat down and put pen to paper. It didn’t take her long to realize that she had a whole plot line in her head. Once she got started, she really loved the process of developing her main character asking herself, ‘What else could happen to him?’ She was writing a story in a spy fiction genre, and found that she loved the military order and discipline of the profession but also the complex existence of her young character. As life happens, there were days when she was pursuing her project and other days she wasn’t. However, she enjoyed the process throughout, saying she was always thinking about what and how she wanted to write.

So, what’s next for our friend Erika? With this deep interest in literature and love for learning – not to mention a father who is a teacher himself; it is often assumed that she’ll go into an “English” driven career. Actually, she’s headed to Michigan State University to start a Pre-Med track. She’d rather keep writing as the thing she really loves to do, and can escape to. However, mentioning a few career possibilities that offer fast pace variety from day to day or even a little mystery solving, it sounds like she’ll experience no shortage of “plot lines” for inspiration.

We’re so proud of all our students, but Erika’s story is evidence that teachers throughout Jenison schools have taken ownership of our mission wholeheartedly. It is so exciting to be a part of this team; working together to help our students grow intellectually, emotionally and socially while becoming lifelong learners.

Download Erika’s book on Amazon today!The Unseen Final Cover

The Unseen: Erika L. Buhk

Jackson Bryant is like every other teenage boy in the country; he’s intelligent, athletic, and he’s very aware of the girls around him. He cares deeply about his family, is working his first job and is developing a crush on a special girl. What makes Jackson different? It might be that his intelligence and athleticism are the results of one-on-one training with the top Secret Agents in the US. It might be that his family consists of his late parents, two other teenagers, and an agency’s worth of operatives. But what really separates Jackson from the teenagers around the world is that he is employed with the CIA and his colleagues call him Agent Bryant.

After Jackson was abandoned by his guardian, the CIA cleared him to act as a full field agent. At the age of seventeen he has traveled around the world, assumed countless identities, killed some of the world’s worst criminals, and saved his country doing the only thing he’s ever known; acting as an undercover spy. Jackson’s next mission sends him to a small town in Pennsylvania and he must act like a normal teenage boy. Now that he’s had the chance to taste the life he’s never had, a life he’s beginning to enjoy, Jackson’s mission is about to end in disaster.

Follow Jackson as he acts under pressure, completes the impossible and finds himself through the most unlikely of friends. In a world that has forced him to grow up very quickly, watch as Jackson struggles to accept his past and fights to live the future he wants. Get an insight to the unique life Jackson leads, experience the very adult problems this teen is tasked with solving, and uncover the next chapter of his very complicated life.

Summer Series: Teachers Choose Jenison [JHS]

This summer, in an effort to celebrate the amazing teachers at JPS, we will feature one each week and their decision to make our schools their professional home. We are thankful for their boundless creativity, pursuit of their own education, and passion for not just their students, but the entire school they serve. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these incredible men and women as you enjoy your own season of rest and fun!

Science teacher, Alice Putti:

“I choose Jenison because it is a supportive and caring community that values values education.  There is a tremendous amount of parent support at home and in grades K-12. I think Jenison is a different school district because from the administrators to the parent volunteers, meeting student needs are the priority.  Student success is important to everyone in the district.

This attitude is exemplified in the ways that every teacher and administrators spends countless hours working with students in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.  

This is summer I am looking forward to attending conferences and running summer workshops for AP chemistry teachers.  Teaching is my passion but I also love to learn too. During the summer I attend chemistry education conferences, so I can learn new content or teaching strategies. I am part of the Biennial Conference Committee and help plan a national chemistry education conference that runs every other year in various locations around the country. In addition to teaching at JHS,  I also am a consultant for College Board and I run workshops to help train AP chemistry teachers. Most summers I run 2-3 workshops and they are usually four days long.”  

This coming school year marks and important milestone for science at JPS. “Next year will be the first year that elementary school girls who participated in the Girls in STEM club will attend high school.  I am looking forward to seeing them in the building and learning if the program has made a lasting impact on their lives. The last three years have been a tremendous success for Girls in STEM and I hope this will continue in the future.  

Be a guide for a company that leads hikes/bike rides etc or a guide for a city tour or historical location.  When on vacation, I love to go on tours and learn about the area, history and culture. As a guide, I would be able to share my knowledge with other people. [Sounds kind of like being a teacher, huh?]”

Thank you, Mrs Putti, for your dedication to our schools and community! We’re thrilled you’re on our team!

Mrs Putti was chosen for this story by High School Principal, Dr. Brandon Graham

Summer Series: Teachers Choose Jenison [JHS]

This summer, in an effort to celebrate the amazing teachers at JPS, we will feature one each week and their decision to make our schools their professional home. We are thankful for their boundless creativity, pursuit of their own education, and passion for not just their students, but the entire school they serve. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these incredible men and women as you enjoy your own season of rest and fun!

Math teacher, Caroline Clement:

I was born and raised in Jenison – and I love Jenison.  My husband Dana was also raised here, and we are graduates of Jenison High School.  We are very proud of the education that we received at Jenison High School, and how the educators and the curriculum have shaped who we are as human beings.  We learned many lessons during our time here – both academically and life lessons from some of our legendary teachers during the 70s and 80s.  I want to continue that legacy during my time here at Jenison.  We have raised two children who have also graduated from JPS, and they are also very proud of their experiences here.  They received a great education, have created lifelong memories, and their time here has helped build a foundation for the rest of their lives.

I think Jenison is a different school district because of the community that the teachers build with the students.  I taught previously in another district, and it was a great experience that I enjoyed very much.  But Jenison High School has created a climate where the teachers are not friends with the students, but are friendly with the students.  The culture is one of respect, and the students and teachers are able to effectively work together in a friendly and comfortable climate.  Everyday I look forward to coming to teach my students.  I thoroughly enjoy their attitudes toward school, toward their teachers and toward their peers.  I attribute this to the climate and culture that has been created since Kindergarten.   I  also believe Jenison is unique because of the academic focus.  We are driven to be the best, so that when our students graduate, they can have many doors open to them.  The teachers invest a great amount of time in creating curriculum that is beneficial to all of the students.  Also, the teachers truly care about the performance of their students. There is constant sharing of ideas between teachers to help improve the academic successes of our students.  Teachers are willing to give up personal time to work with struggling students to help ensure their success. 

My building exemplifies this by being visible in the hallway, working with students during lunch and after school and showing a true interest in the students’ lives.  Teachers are always visible in the hallway, allowing us to chat with students in between classes.  It allows us to speak with current students and past students in a more casual manner.  We also care about our students lives outside of the classroom.  Teachers are very visible at sporting events and concerts and plays.  We like to know how our students our doing in sports, the arts, and at their jobs. Also, there are many student led clubs that are monitored by the teaching staff to ensure that all students can find a place at Jenison.

I look forward to summer because I love to read.  During the school year I am busy prepping for my job and I also coach swimming for seven months, so I do not have the opportunity to read as much as I would like.  During the summer, I read as much as I can.  I teach Summer School  and do some part-time coaching in the summer, but I love to read in my spare time.  I write down names of recommended books from my avid reader friends, and I try to read as many as I can during the summer months.

At the end of every summer I look forward to the start of the new year because of the opportunity to meet new people.  My job remains similar every year because I teach similar content areas, but I am fortunate that my job also changes every year because I get new students.  This is a job that allows me to form new relationships every year, and that is a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, I do get sad at the end of every year too, because those relationships, especially with seniors, are coming to an end.

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be a lawyer.  In my mid-twenties I was a banker, and I decided to make a career change.  I was choosing between law school and education, and I chose education.  My husband always tells me I should have been a lawyer because he believes he has never won a fight in our 28 year marriage!

There are a lot of things that my students don’t know about me:  I am a first generation American.  I am varsity letter winner from the University of Michigan for swimming.  I took organ lessons for 11 years and have played in churches and in weddings.  Lots of little odd and interesting things in my life.

Thank you, Mrs Clement, for your dedication to our schools and community! We’re thrilled you’re on our team!

Mrs Clement was chosen for this story by High School Principal, Dr Brandon Graham

Summer Series: Teachers Choose Jenison [JHS]

This summer, in an effort to celebrate the amazing teachers at JPS, we will feature one each week and their decision to make our schools their professional home. We are thankful for their boundless creativity, pursuit of their own education, and passion for not just their students, but the entire school they serve. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these incredible men and women as you enjoy your own season of rest and fun!

Spanish teacher, Lindsey Remley:

“I choose Jenison because the schools are a main priority for the entire community. I once heard a life-long Jenison resident say that Jenison IS​ the schools. He was referring to the fact that families here faithfully support the schools. I see this in parent-teacher conference conversations, packed gyms for Pink-Out games, and sell-out shows for plays. My family and I are moving into the Jenison school district this summer because we want to be part of the community and take advantage of the Spanish-immersion program.

I think Jenison is a different school district because of how much every​ teacher cares so much about every​ student that enters the building.

One way my building exemplifies this by leading the charge to implement diversity training. This year, high school staff has been meeting with families, attending speeches, learning about implicit bias, and working towards being better educators for our increasingly diverse student population.”

When Mrs Remley is not encouraging students to persevere to learn a second language, she enjoys spending time with her family. “I look forward to this summer because I get to be home with my young children. I have a daughter who will be three in April and a son who will be one in May. I feel rushed during the school year but in the summer, I’m able to slow down and spend precious time walking to the park, eating homemade popsicles, and just hanging out with my kids.”

If Mrs Remley wasn’t teaching, she would have probably pursued a career in journalism “If I weren’t a teacher, I would probably be a journalist because I love to talk to people, hear their stories, and write concise, grammatically accurate pieces.”

Thank you, Mrs Remley, for your dedication to our schools and community! We’re thrilled you’re on our team!

Mrs Remley was chosen for this story by High School Principal, Dr Brandon Graham