Nature is a gift that surrounds all of us daily and we have the power to embrace and be caretakers of that gift. We are very excited to introduce The Jenison Outdoor Preschool program through the Great Start Readiness Program. The GSRP is a state funded preschool program for qualifying four-year-old children. The curriculum is implemented in addition to supplemental activities, allowing students to learn to preserve, integrate and engage in the beauty of nature.
The purpose of this program is to impact and engage future leaders to make lifetime environmental decisions. Research regarding outdoor education has displayed greater student focus, cognitive function, test scores, social skills, wonder and creativity. The outdoor preschool program is eligible for four-year-old students on or before December 1. Class meets Monday through Thursday, full days 8:15 AM to 3:15 PM.
“Cat Tracks” Nurturing Through Nature – Outdoor preschool is coming 2021-2022!
Students will spend 80% of their day outside; learning the same literacy math, and social emotional goals as indoor classes. A brand new cabin will be available for any time spent inside. This program implements all natural play elements to support learning and playing. Outdoor gear will be provided, including no plastic toys.
The outdoor program will be available September 2021. This program is designed to provide students with an active and combined learning experience. Students will be interacting with the surrounding environment and utilizing all five senses. The classroom will be a combination of movement, discovery and hands-on manipulation.
Our program will be staffed with the same highly certified Jenison Public School teachers. Our designated educators will have a masters in early childhood with a focus and outdoor education. They will be leading our students with 10+ years of experience.
The addition of this program is very exciting and I encourage families to investigate this amazing preschool opportunity. You may contact the Jenison Early Childhood Center at 616-777-6534 or email Trisha Bassler, email@example.com.
Recently, the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education met with Mr. David Killips, Superintendent Search Consultant with the Michigan Leadership Institute, to determine the candidates to be interviewed to fill the Superintendent vacancy due to my pending retirement effective July 1, 2021. I am highlighting the individuals that have been selected and the dates and times for the initial interviews.
Fifteen educators applied for the position. Most of the applicants were from Michigan, but applications were also submitted from Arizona, Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The Board reviewed the applications and has invited four educators to be interviewed. The process continues to be facilitated by the Michigan Leadership Institute.
The interviews will be held this week, April 12 and 14. Two interviews will be held each evening, with one scheduled at 6:30 pm and one at 8:00 pm. These are incredibly important interviews for the future of Jenison Public Schools so our school board members will be meeting in person with each candidate. Due to state mandated COVID-19 protocols and concerns for the health and well-being of our community members, the Board of Education has determined that the general public should witness these interviews through a live virtual platform. Accommodations will be made for virtual livestream accessible through our district website.
The interview schedule is as follows:
Monday, April 12 at 6:30 pm: Wayne Roedel, Superintendent, Fowlerville Community Schools
Monday, April 12 at 8:00 pm: Dr. Brandon Graham, Principal, Jenison High School
Wednesday, April 14 at 6:30 pm: Todd Tulgestke, Assistant Superintendent, West Ottawa Public Schools
Wednesday, April 14 at 8:00 pm: Al Cumings, Superintendent, Tri-County Area Schools
An opportunity will be provided for you to submit follow up questions for the Board of Education to consider for the second round of interviews. All scheduled Board of Education meeting dates & times can be found on ourJPS website under the district link.
The following information is provided for you to access these interviews through the ZOOM platform beginning at 6:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, April 12th and Wednesday, April 14th.
As this season brings extended daylight and rising temperatures, I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are able to enjoy a safe, fun, and relaxing Spring Break!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding. Together, we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic to keep your children safe, while learning in a face-to-face environment since August. We will also continue to strive every day to provide extra-curricular activities for all of our students within the protocols given to us.
Thank you for choosing Jenison Public Schools to partner with you in the education of your children. We are committed to providing our students with a world class educational experience even in the face of a world-wide pandemic. From all the teachers, administration, and staff at Jenison Public Schools, we wish you a time of refreshment and relaxation during this well deserved break! Stay safe, and we’ll see you back in class on April 12.
Let’s join the Pinewood staff as they lead the way into Spring Break 2021!
It’s a big week as the Jenison High School Thespians proudly return to the stage to present this year’s spring musical; Mamma Mia! Last year brought much frustration and disappointment at the start of the COVID pandemic; so the students are appreciating every minute of the hard work and being rejuvenated by the sheer energy of this show.
Our new Theatre director, Ashlee DeGraaf kicked off the school year with virtual performances of the annual Festival of Plays.As we approached the spring musical season, the cast and crew were eager to get back on stage. They have tirelessly navigated ongoing challenges and changes including quarantined cast members at times. The Jenison Thespians are always a bright spot in the final months of the busy school year and I’m ecstatic that we are able to allow, not only the students to perform, but the community to safely join the fun. Tickets are still available for this weekend;we promise – you will not be disappointed!
Mamma Mia! brings so much laughter, joy, and dynamic dance numbers combined with an unforgettable line up of hit songs. Get your tickets today and let yourself be taken away to a Greek island paradise and bask in the glow of the Mediterranean sea and sun.
The El Puente building received a wonderful gift in the last few months of winter. A beautiful, vibrant mural by Dominican native, Erick Picardo was recently unveiled.
Not only will it be a brilliant experience for all visitors of El Puente to enjoy for years to come, it has an educational component. During the creation of the mural, principal Lloyd Gingerich, captured a time-lapse video of the mural being completed and also produced a video of Picardo speaking about the mural in Spanish as a teaching tool for the Spanish immersion students.
El Puente families were also given the opportunity to contribute their individual art, communicating how they feel about the El Puente community. An 8×10 canvas from multiple families will soon be incorporated into Picardo’s work to complete the project.
Proud of his rich Carribbean heritage, Picardo intentionally incorporates culture and bright colors into his work; conveying energy and joy. He also lovingly calls Grand Rapids ‘home’ and is about to celebrate 20 years living in the United States. You might recognize his work from other murals around Grand Rapids. For more information about Erick Picardo, check out this magazine story and television news story.
Watch Erick Picardo create the El Puente mural masterpiece right before your eyes!
The finished product is stunning! Thank you to Erick Picardo for sharing his talent and to the El Puente Parents Club for sponsoring this beautiful gift to the school.
The strength of the Jenison Board of Education leadership comes from a determination to see JPS excel in everything that we do. Our Board representatives continue to set the bar high for all of us who serve the children and parents of our school district. I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table. They employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success. Today, I’m proud to introduce you to the newest member of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education, Chris Reed.
Chris Reed, Ph.D.
Jenison Board of Education, Trustee
As residents of Grandville, Chris and his wife concluded that there was something exceptional about the community within Jenison Public Schools. Through school of choice, they enrolled their children in the Spanish Immersion program at El Puente. Eight years ago, the Reeds found themselves solidly involved with their district of choice and Chris and his wife felt it was time to move their three kids and two dogs across town.
Chris is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Grand Valley State University, where he specializes in human anatomy; with a research focus on craniofacial growth and development.
Chris Reed’s name was added to the general election ballot this past November and we’re excited to have him join for his first year as a board member. In addition to the typical, yet complex work of a Board member, he and the group are also leading the charge in the search for a new superintendent following my retirement this summer. I appreciate his commitment to the Jenison district and his determination to help our district stand out. Welcome Chris!
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
My family is so appreciative of the Spanish Immersion program and we have since grown to love so much more about the Jenison Public School district. I wanted to join the school board because our family is invested in this community, and I sincerely want to support JPS in their continued pursuit of excellence in education. The Jenison Center for the Arts, intentional STEM curriculum at the elementary level, Spanish Immersion program, dedication to the arts and athletics, as well as the outstanding faculty and staff, are all reasons I love our district. Being as directly involved as possible in supporting those efforts, and to continue working towards progress for the future, is a privilege and I’m happy to be an advocate for families in our community.
Last summer, I proudly introduced the other Jenison Board of Education members. I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to work with such gifted, dedicated, and compassionate men and women who serve on the Board of Jenison Public Schools. Please visit these previous posts to get to know them and thank these passionate, hardworking people if you see them around town.
Don’t miss the Wildcats in action! Although tickets and venue capacity are limited, I’m so thankful to see our winter activities in full swing. We have been so blessed with state of the art facilities and it is energizing to see the flurry of activity around the campus.
If you can’t attend in person, I would like to invite you to check out the action through the live web feeds. The Jenison Athletic and Music Departments are utilizing Facebook pages and events to bring you a front row seat, without the trouble of finding a parking spot. It’s such an exciting way to honor our students and all their hard work.
The Jenison Bowling, Basketball, Wrestling, Competitive Cheer, Hockey, Boys Swim/Dive and Dance teams are currently enjoying their first season back in the OK Red.
You can also follow @JenisonWildcats on Twitter for all the game day info and reminders.
The staff at the Jenison Center for the Arts and the Jenison High School music programs also worked very hard to present safe and socially distanced concerts this week. The students work so hard and they deserve this time to show off! Check out the links below for upcoming broadcast of concerts this week.
To watch the junior high band performances TONIGHT (Thursday, February 25) at 6:30p, for 7th graders and 7:45pm for 8th graders, check out the live Facebook event.
To watch all the the high school orchestras perform TOMORROW NIGHT (Friday, February 26) starting at 5:30pm, check out the live Facebook feed.
Many things have made this year especially challenging. In response to public health concerns, the Jenison Public School educators and our students and families, have been rockstars in navigating the twists and turns of this academic year. The constant has been the widespread positive attitudes and commitment to flexibility. Now here we are, we made it to 100 days of school!
Local Reporter, Maranda from WOTV4 recently made the most of technology for a socially distanced interview with Pinewood Elementary School Principal Dr. Rachael Postle-Brown and 5th grade teacher Michelle U’ren.
Fifth graders from Pinewood Elementary, Eliza and Collin joined the conversation as well to discuss their experiences with the different learning modes and their appreciation for being back to in-person learning and with their friends.
It’s always great to see our staff and students representing the Jenison community. I’m so proud of how the district has been navigating this really tricky year, thank you Dr. Brown and Mrs. U’ren for leading your students well!
Wow! What an amazing week it has been for the Pink Out community! Seeing so many people show their support around town and in school has been very exciting. Each and every person who bought a shirt, made a donation, said a prayer – is demonstrating how much this community cares for our fighters and their family members. No effort is too small in achieving the mission that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!
The week is almost over, but for some, the fight is just beginning! You can support your neighbors through these donation methods.
The Pink Out honoree video stories give you the opportunity to hear from them in their own words. Please watch and be encouraged! Also, you can check out theJenison Pink Out Facebook Pageto join the conversation and stay informed on Pink Out activities throughout the coming year.
Jamey Mc Leod
On February 20, 2019, Jamey was diagnosed with a high grade, stage 4 esophageal cancer that had metastasized to lymph notes in his chest. His caregivers would be his wife Beth, his 10-year-old daughter Vivian and his 8-year old daughter Francine, both of whom attend Pinewood Elementary. Jamey never thought about accepting his grim diagnosis as an option. He had a family that depended on him! No matter how bad the treatments or recovery would be, he stayed focused on the reason for his fight, telling himself that it will get better. Just don’t give up. Make future plans. Do crazy stuff. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to accept help (which was his biggest obstacle). Your friends, family, community, and Pink Out are there for you.
Jody has a remarkable and brave journey and is a big part of our Pink Out family. She is joined in her cancer journey by her husband, Brandon, and her three children: Alexis who graduated from Jenison in 2019, Dylan who is a JHS senior, and Eliza who is in fifth grade at Pinewood. Jody was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2017 (stage III), which progressed to stage IV Dec. 2019, and then diagnosed with Stage II non-small cell lung cancer Jan 2020, and basal cell carcinoma each year, for the last four years.
Jody has a beautiful perspective that comes with staring death in the face, “I GET TO.” I GET TO be here and enjoy the everyday tasks as well as fall in love with living. I GET TO savor each day I am here and enjoy my life journey. For Jody, life is a rollercoaster with the ups and downs, but in the end she is always smiling, sharing that “one is given the choice to succumb to this horrific disease or rise up and live. I choose to live, I’m not dying today.”
Jill and Emily Barnes
Emily graduated with honors from Jenison in 2018. On her 21st birthday, November 11, 2020, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic kidney cancer. She is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatments and could use our prayers, especially this week as she once again has scans to determine the effectiveness of her treatment. Jill Barnes, Emily’s mom, knows all too well the effect of cancer on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 6, 2016 and had surgery one month later. Both she and Emily felt honored to discuss their cancer journey and have a chance to share their appreciation for Pink Out’s support and generosity. Jill states that, “Pink Out helps anyone with cancer, no matter what kind or how old you are. As the recipients of Pink Out support at several different times over the past four years, we have truly felt that No One Fights Alone in Jenison.” They know that Pink Out is always there to lift fighters up, spiritually and emotionally.
Dave Huyser and Brenda Jo Wierenga-Huyser are both 1984 graduates of Jenison High School. Their son, Zach Huyser graduated from Jenison in 2011 and daughters Kendra Huyser graduated in 2009, Heather Wierenga in 2011, and Holly Wierenga in 2013.
Dave Huyser’s first wife, Brenda Sue, was the first cancer fighter to be honored and supported by Jenison Pink Out. Although, Brenda Sue lost her battle with breast cancer, her legacy lives on through Pink Out. Dave allowed his heart to beat again, and in June of 2017 married Brenda Jo.
Unfortunately, cancer reared its ugly head again. In 2017 Dave was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma of the scalp which was treated with radiation treatments, and then this past September he was diagnosed with recurrent Stage 4 large b-cell abdominal lymphoma. He has undergone six cycles of continuous chemo for a week, every three weeks, with spinal chemo prior to each cycle. Dave and Brenda are deeply appreciative of the support that the Huysers felt from this community and Pink Out during Brenda Sue’s breast cancer journey. They have felt that same support now. They want everyone to know that God is in control. Life is short, so enjoy every minute, because it’s in His hands.
Kevin and Jeanette Clark raised three children, Justin who graduated from Jenison in 2003, Nick in 2006 and Monica in 2007. Jeanette has been a full-time employee and coach at JPS for 24 years. Their daughter-in-law, Julie, also teaches for Jenison Public Schools. Their children have blessed them with six young grandchildren.
Kevin was first diagnosed in 2015 with progressive prostate cancer. Kevin’s journey has been a very long and difficult one, but he has become very knowledgeable and strong along the way. Kevin is an exceptional listener who has become very dedicated to helping and supporting other men who have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kevin has shared time and again how deeply moved he and Jeanette have felt by the emotional support from our community through Pink Out. Kevin states that, “With calls, concerns, and gifts, it has helped people in our situation to feel like we’re not going through this alone. We are deeply grateful, and may God bless you.”
Jeanine Decker Jannereth
Jeanine began her battle with breast cancer about a year ago. Those by her side have been her husband, Chad, her daughter Cayleigh, who graduated from Jenison in 2017, and Stephen who is graduating this year. Her daughter Jaelynn is in eighth at JJHS and Kymber is in fifth grade at Vanguard Academy. Jeanine is passionate about bringing awareness to the growing prevalence of breast cancer, encouraging women to be proactive advocates for themselves. She has felt very blessed to be part of our community, which according to Jeanine has been there “every step of the way, motivating, uplifting, and inspiring (her) along the way!” She wishes to recognize Pink Out as a huge blessing not only for fighters, but for families and for the entire Jenison community.
THANK YOU Jenison Pink Out Representatives!!
These resident Angels work YEAR ROUND to be the hands and feet of our community. Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Katy Hevelhurst, Donna Bergeon, Cindi Covell, Jean Krzewski, and Moni Marlink . These caring, compassionate women lead the way to care for our neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU for everything you do!
JHS Virtual Assembly
The Jenison High School Student Council wanted to continue to raise awareness and donations for Pink Out. They worked hard to plan an alternative to the annual Pink Out Assembly… Introducing the premiere of the “Early Afternoon Show with StuCo”.
Student Council representatives hosted a news reporting style production to share socially distanced activities that were happening around the school. Students remained in their classrooms and watched via live feed. The Chamber Singers kicked off the event by performing the National Anthem in the choir room. The rest of the ‘virtual assembly’ allowed them to participate in the usual fun events including a pie-in-the-face trivia challenge, mock rock (a choreographed routine competition between the grades), the naming of ‘King and Queen’ for their first ever WildCat court, a “Miracle Minute” competition fundraiser between classrooms and a surprise visit from a special Wildcat guest! Way to go StuCo! They packed a lot of fun into that hour assembly and raised about $1,500 of student donations!
On a snowy Friday evening in February 2009, our entire community came together to support one woman battling breast cancer. We linked arms with one family and never could have imagined where this journey would take us. None of us ever dreamed the spark that was lit that year would still be growing stronger 12 years later. It has since been an honor to broaden the support and walk alongside those in our community fighting any form of cancer.
Throughout the years, the people and businesses of Jenison have surrounded these families in a very special way and have made Pink Out an annual highlight since the beginning. The event coincided with Friday night Varsity basketball games and were often competing with a Michigan winter storm. But the snow never kept us away. We sold out of t-shirts, we ran out of parking spots and we all experienced just how hot a standing-room-only gymnasium could be. And it became the norm, year after year. It was the best, and the atmosphere was never anything short of wholehearted support for those we came to honor. Pink Out has a rich and historic tradition in the Jenison community and I swell with pride each time we gather together to celebrate life.
Yes, this year will look different, but I can emphatically say, even now during a pandemic, the spirit of Jenison Pink Out can not and will not be stopped. We are still going to encourage those fighting the battle right now, continue fighting for a cure and honor the taken!
The Pink Out volunteers work tirelessly year round to coordinate support and be the hands and feet of the community for families in the fight. They host a public Facebook page with all the information you’ll want for this year’s virtual events. Seven honorees have been chosen for 2021 and their stories will be shared in the coming week via the Jenison Pink Out Facebook Page. You will get to hear their journey and witness their courage and bravery while in their fight against cancer. We can’t wait to celebrate them! The facebook page will also be sharing how students will be participating in different activities in their classrooms/buildings. Join and follow the page to be part of a very encouraging movement this coming week!
The team is also excited to announce that there is a new Pink Out website that now receives online donations: Check it out at www.jenisonpinkout.org
We may be socially distant, but we can stand together in support of our neighbors.
Jill Johnson Barnes
Jeanine Decker Jannereth
We are so thankful for the sponsors that have come alongside us this year. Pink Out could not exist without the support of the community business in this way. While you’re out and about, please take a moment to thank them for their support! Below, you’ll also see web links for each sponsor.