Online Learning with Community

Through Jenison International Academy, the Jenison Public School district has had the privilege to offer unique education choices. For the last decade, this fully accredited option has allowed us to partner with families of elementary, middle and high school students throughout West Michigan and even around the world. While it is indeed an online program, there’s much offered locally to create, and enhance a blended experience through community. Families find Jenison International Academy to offer mainly online options, with a community experience that doesn’t leave one feeling isolated or remote.

(*Some photos taken prior to Covid-19 protocols)

Many opportunities for students and families are available to touch base in a face-to-face capacity. Some of these include field trips, student led activities to promote social engagement and in-person learning centers/lab time for homework help.

One innovative program for high school students is called, ‘Transportation & Safety Applications’ and is taught in partnership with Century Driving School. This helps students learn about the safe use of the technology that is now prevalent in all aspects of our life. This includes learning about the responsible use of cell phones and other internet devices, from online safety to understanding digital footprint. One of the tasks is for students to go a full day without their cell phone – a daunting endeavor for a modern teenager! Students also learn about the steps needed to earn a driver’s license in the state of Michigan and about other concepts related to safe driving, especially the importance of avoiding distracted driving. At the end of the semester, they will have completed the requirements of the first segment of driver training education and driving practice, and will be allowed to apply for their learners permit.

Some subjects really come to life in an in-person setting, and Engineering and Science are definitely two of those subjects. Through a series of face-to-face labs, students work with our awesome Engineering and Science teachers on hands-on projects, including items such as creating their own longboard, flying drones, building robot “delivery trucks”, and many other cool activities that bring the learning to life! Complementing these labs are other exciting opportunities that JIA students can participate in, including the Drone Flying Team (competing against other schools) and Science Olympiad. 

Students learning to use Python code language to code a smart robotic arm.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing applying processes to building longboards.

If you would like to investigate additional educational choices, such as completely online or blended learning, please join us for our upcoming informational meeting.

A virtual Informational Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 26 from 6-7pm. Complete the form to register for the meeting. This is intended for families who are interested in enrollment for all K-12 programming for the 2021-2022 school year.

Capstone class: Engineering Design and Development. Seniors returned to a project from Engineering Explorations (a middle school elective) to enhance simple battery buggies with Arduino control structures and hardware.

Our mission is to provide an engaging,

personalized learning experience,

bringing the home, school and world together.


Training for the Future, Now

We are so fortunate to live in a community with quality, diverse resources to help our students prepare for the future. The Careerline Tech Center is a service of Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and is one of those rich opportunities offered to our students.

The Tech Center mirrors the commitment of Jenison High School, promoting personal success and lifelong learning while preparing students for tomorrow’s workforce. Providing career and technical education in 28 different programs opens doors for employment and post-secondary opportunities.

Recognizing that all students learn differently and have goals that are as unique as they are, we are proud to partner with the Tech Center; this year over 100 Jenison High School students are participating. Jenison High School Juniors and Seniors take advantage of work-based learning opportunities and earn college credit in program pathways such as Arts & Communication, Business, Management, Marketing & Technology, Construction, Engineering/Manufacturing, Health Sciences, Human Services and Transportation.

Meet three seniors who have discovered – and furthered a passion that has them excited about the future. I couldn’t be more proud to have these Wildcats representing Jenison as they expand their education beyond our halls.

Jaden Beaver

At first, Jaden wasn’t sure which program to choose for his first year at the Tech Center; however, he was sure that he wanted to minimize his time in a traditional classroom. Welding turned out to be a perfect fit. Along with learning the basic methods of welding, the class studies design, layout, cutting and fabricating of metals. He is pleasantly surprised with how much he is retaining as they study properties of metals and alloys. Jaden really appreciates the hands-on learning environment, and immediate feedback from his instructors as he works to hone his skills.

During the recent pause for in-person education, the Tech Center welding instructors took the opportunity to lead the class through online instruction to obtain OSHA certifications for the students. Following graduation, he is anticipating further education in the field of Welding. Jaden is feeling very positive about the future knowing that career prospects are plentiful.

Cierra Bolkema

The salon services industry is something that piqued Cierra’s interest long ago. When school dances and other events come around, she can be found helping multiple friends achieve their special look. She spent her early high school years anxiously awaiting this senior-only class. The cosmetology program is offered through Tulip City Beauty College in Holland and prepares the students to work toward their Cosmetology license. Cierra loves meeting new people through the program and is so excited to be getting practical application.

At the conclusion of the school year, she will have learned all the services that will be offered in a salon: hair shaping and styling, manicures, facials, waxing, and chemical services. She will also have gained 300 hours of instruction and knowledge to put toward the requirement for the State of Michigan license exam. Thanks to this program and the experience she received, Cierra has a very positive outlook for continuing her Cosmetology education after high school graduation.

Brandon Vlasblom

Participating in the Diesel/Heavy Equipment Mechanics program last year, Brandon is now studying Automotive Technology. This program focuses on Steering and Suspension, Electrical Systems, Engine Performance and Heating/AC. Students put their classroom knowledge to work by servicing customer cars, which are brought into the auto mechanics lab. He enjoys this hands-on type of work and likes getting the feel for the variety of problems and types of cars.

The program is accredited and instructors are certified. Through the duration of the program, Brandon will be given the opportunity to take a number of tests to gain State of Michigan certifications. He is grateful that he has found something he loves. Following completion of the Tech Center Automotive Tech program, Brandon likes the idea of pursuing the field further with more formal education following graduation.

JHS Welcomes New Teachers

The Jenison High School is thrilled to have these passionate and skilled educators join the team. Even with a year that has been different than most, these new staff members have proven they have the relentless commitment of a Wildcat teacher and have been great additions to our high school staff.

Amanda Alverson

Having grown up in West Michigan, and keeping JPS on her radar, Amanda was eager to join a district she considered to be ‘first-rate’ and return home. She has served in other teaching and staff roles on the east side of the state, most recently as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction in Taylor, MI.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with family (pictured here with her mom) and her dog, Georgie; baking, cooking, and crafting. If she wasn’t an educator, she might have pursued event management. It’s her personable heart and attention to detail that makes her a key leader as Assistant Principal at the High School.

Jordan George

A recent Hope College graduate, Jordan joins the Jenison community as a high school English teacher and Student Council teacher sponsor.

He never imagined he’d be starting his teaching career during a pandemic but he has been highly impressed by the hard work and efforts of all the teachers, administrators and students to keep things moving.

Jordan loves to spend time traveling, reading, attending concerts, and golfing. He also coaches the JV Basketball team for his Alma Mater, Forest Hills Central. If he wasn’t a teacher, you might find him chasing his other passion on the basketball court, and possibly pursuing a college coaching career.

Nick Berens

After student teaching at Bauerwood Elementary last year, Nick knew that Jenison would be his desired district upon graduation from Saginaw Valley State University. He had a great first semester teaching Social Studies and felt very welcomed by the students and his colleagues.

Nick enjoys spending time doing nearly anything outdoors, including backpacking, water skiing, and fishing. If he was not a teacher he would have followed in his fathers footsteps and would take over the family greenhouse business. 

Alexandra Aguilar

Alexandra appreciates and knows first hand, the commitment of the JPS school district because she is an alumna. She’s previously taught a combination of English as a second language and Spanish in public and charter schools in Utah, New Mexico, and Michigan. 

As her Jenison high school experience as a student was vastly different than the one she is observing her students tackle, she is very impressed with the tenacity and resilience they’ve shown this year.

Her free time is spent on the go… chasing after her 2 year old and 1 year old. If she wasn’t a teacher, she might be stay at home mom, working in education technology, or possibly immigration law.

Ashlee DeGraaf

Ashlee is a West Michigan native who made teaching stops in California and then Indianapolis before finding her way back home, and stepping into the position of Theatre Director and English teacher at Jenison High School.

She enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to more of that now that she’s back in the area. She has made the most of her Covid year while hiking, traveling and reading (with a count of over 50 books already)!

Ashlee is grateful for the community support of the arts and is really looking forward to kicking off the high school spring musical production.

Merry Musical Christmas 2020

The amazing Jenison student musician holiday programs is one of the things I really look forward to at this time of year. While we are definitely disappointed that our traditional festive concerts were unable to take place in person, the hard work of our students and teachers can still be appreciated. The Junior High and High School groups recorded their virtual holiday concerts from over 150 locations throughout the area. Stringing all these performances together is an amazing feat and a gift for us to enjoy from the comfort of our own homes. This year, we are also blessed with an extra special performance from our Music Department staff.

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope today is filled with much joy, happiness, and hope! There is so much to celebrate this season!

Jenison JH Prelude, Cadence, & Encore Orchestras wish you GOOD TIDINGS!

Jenison High School Concert, Sinfonia, Symphony & Chamber Orchestras

Don’t miss this gift of music from the Jenison Music Department!

JJHS Welcomes New Teachers

The Jenison Junior High is grateful to welcome new classroom leaders with exceptional talent and specialized expertise.

Tom Daller

Tom Daller has joined the Jenison Junior High Applied Technology department as Industrial Arts Teacher. Coming from Belding High School where he taught for 28 years; Tom taught Woodworking, Industrial Tech / Construction, CAD, and was involved in Robotics and Baseball.

He is eager to exercise creativity while he shapes the program in our beautiful facility. The welcoming attitude of staff and willingness of students to get to take the time to get to know him has really made him feel at home.     

If he wasn’t a teacher, Tom would find himself at the ballfields full time coaching baseball. He is now assisting his son after a 28 year head coach career. Some of Tom’s other hobbies include construction, hunting, antique auto restoration, relaxing at his cabin and family time with his 6 kids.    


Cristina Schreur

We welcome (back) Cristina Schreur as Social Studies teacher and 8th Grade Spanish Comparative Language to Spanish Immersion students. She’s not exactly new to Jenison as she was previously a 6th grade Spanish Immersion teacher at Rosewood Elementary before moving out of state with her husband.

After a few years in Colorado, and welcoming their son, they decided they wanted to return to the area. They looked forward to being closer to their family and they already knew the Jenison Public Schools and Immersion Program were communities they wanted their family to be a part of. She enjoys outdoor hobbies, Salsa/Latin Dancing, and Yoga.

Warriors of Virtual Learning

While we cannot pretend that this last week of virtual learning was without its own frustrations, there’s no denying the outstanding effort our teachers and staff put forth to remain connected to each and every Jenison student. I am extremely proud of our teachers as they delivered their individually built virtual curriculum and our hardworking students (not to mention their home support systems!) It was great to see the hardworking smiles on both sides of the screens.

The Jenison staff has risen to every challenge with great commitment and professionalism! They are true Champions of Children. I am so excited to have the Elementary and Junior High buildings back in face to face instruction and am hopeful the high school can enjoy the same very soon.

Jenison students (whose parents are teachers or staff) were able to complete their virtual school day at the ECC. It was important for these students to have this opportunity so their parents could focus completely on being the best they could be for their students.

Pinewood students were able to be focused, engaged and comfy during their week of virtual learning.

While it is no comparison to being in person, teachers loved being in their own classroom environments (as opposed to being at home like last spring) with no masks. And they loved the chance to see all the happy faces with no masks smiling back at them!

Athletics Boosters Auction and Fall Season Highlights

It was amazing to be able to continue with the Fall athletics programs at Jenison High School this year. The camaraderie of the teams and the physical activity had been a real bright spot in the lives of these students and a balm for some of the weary hearts throughout the community. While we can all agree that this season wasn’t ideal – the teams showed up ready to put their whole heart into it and they were granted a chance to show what they were made of. Read about the unique training methods they employed to get ready while they kept each other safe: Sports Teams Persevere as They Await the Reinstatement of the Fall Season. And read to the end to see some of the memorable, record breaking highlights from this unforgettable year!

Jenison Athletics Boosters Auction

The Jenison Athletics Boosters is an independent organization of junior high and high school parents that raise funds to benefit all 1,000+ student athletes and athletic programming. Coordinating closely with the athletic department and administration, the JAB identifies programming needs and provides support where necessary.

The Boosters would much rather see you in person and serve you some yummy concession goodies at a sporting event or enjoy a lovely evening with you at the Spring Hall of Fame fundraising banquet, alas this is 2020 and neither of those are options. So, I invite you stay comfortable at home and cross off some holiday shopping with the Wildcat Athletics Holiday ONLINE Auction.

The auction will run on the website now until 6:00 PM on Sunday, December 13. There are some great products and local services up for bid; our student athletes would be very grateful for the support.

Football and Coach Rob Zeitman

Jenison Varsity Football Coach Rob Zeitman was recently recognized as Regional Coach of the Year for Division 2. Our community is so proud of all the great work he has done investing in his students on and off the field. We are blessed to have him leading the Wildcat Football program and he is a positive force in the lives of our students and athletes.

Our coaches and players had a terrific season. They gave us lots to cheer about and some great memories. Congrats to our seniors who laid a winning foundation for all future Wildcats! Seniors, Jaden VanDalsen, Ethan Kirkland, Nate Rose, and Ryan Robinson were selected as First Team All-Conference members for the OK-Red. Juniors, Caleb Dean and Ethan Mate were also selected as members of the OK-Red First Team All-Conference. Seniors, Garrett Blood and Dylan Andrus were selected as OK-Red Honorable Mention All-Conference Members. Congratulations to these young men.

Cross Country

Working hard, on and off the course, the Jenison Varsity Girls Cross Country team finished their season with a recognition of Academic All State. They are the epitome of committed student athletes. These successful runners have an outstanding combined GPA of 3.817 and they enjoyed a 2nd place finish at regionals with Mya Guikema leading the girls with a fourth place finish. Well done ladies, you are a phenomenal representation of our school and community.

The Jenison Varsity Boys Cross Country team had a big year finishing 2nd at regionals. They went on to place 19th overall at the state competition. This was the first time in 16 years they qualified for state – and they qualified as a team. Despite all odds of the season being cancelled then reinstated, this running family meant business, each putting forth fantastic effort. Senior Connor Vachon finished 8th in the State D1 Finals with a personal record time of 15:38. Congratulations to these young men – they’re going places fast!

Girls Swim

Early November wrapped up the Girl’s OK Red Swim and Dive Championship with a 4th place finish overall. Every swimmer improved her time with a total of over 55 season or lifetime bests. The 200 Medley Relay Team (pictured below L to R) of Grace Albrecht, Elyse Radawski, Hailey Sherman, Rachel Huyser broke the 12-year old Jenison Varsity Record by 2.6 seconds with a time of 1:48.47! State cuts were made in every single swimming event. Seven swimmers qualified for the state competition. Way to go ladies – you took this unpredictable season and made it count!

Thankful for Community

As we spend this Thanksgiving weekend where we can and with whom possible, I sincerely hope this day brings you joy and a renewed attitude of gratitude for our daily blessings. Today, I can’t help but be immensely grateful for my family at home as well as my family at Jenison Public Schools.

This year has thrown each of us unwanted curveballs and forced many customary experiences to be canceled, but I wanted to to remind you that there is nothing that can cancel the unmatched community spirit of Jenison. Our community proudly holds each other up, through thick and thin. No one has to go through anything alone. 2020 has been a year like no other but JPS has risen to the occasion.

On Monday, Early Childhood Center and Bauerwood Elementary teachers were able to deliver family Thanksgiving food baskets to some families of students. This is an annual tradition for them and they were eager to continue, especially in light of this unpredictable year. The classrooms enjoyed helping with the collection and the students know they were a part of helping someone in their very own community enjoy the best holiday possible.

Bauerwood Staff delivered Family Thanksgiving Gift Baskets on Monday.

The Jenison Parent Liaisons is another group that supports our community in big ways, and not just during the holidays. The Jenison Parent Liaisons connect families to resources and support parent-teacher collaboration. JPS families can receive information and support regarding childcare, stable housing, mental and physical health services and other community resources.

The recent orders from the state that has shifted learning to a virtual platform for the next few weeks, may impact families in a variety of ways. Please visit the new JPS Parent Liaisons website to learn more about the support they can provide. The Classifieds page is a great place to see which unique resources they have readily available as well as which items they are in need of. I encourage you to check out the website (and share it with a friend) for resources that may help as you navigate the upcoming days.

If you are looking for ways to help others in our community this holiday season, check out the Classifieds page or the information from Love Inc. Together, we are Jenison! And today, I’m very thankful to be a part of this community.

To read more about the Jenison Parent Liaison program, also check out:

Happenings at Bauerwood

We’re so grateful for the face to face classroom experience we’ve had the past 12 weeks, and all of our Jenison Public School teachers and staff have really made the most of it. Fundraisers, playground activities and field trips all helped make this fall feel pretty normal at Bauerwood Elementary.

Minds in Movement

For the past 11 years, the Bauerwood Family Network has been able to fund many great fun and educational experiences for their students. And the annual Minds in Movement walkathon is what helps them kick off each year with a big bang.

Minds in Movement gives the students and families the chance to connect with local sponsors and maximize their fundraising efforts as 100% of donations go directly to the school. The students love it because they are engaged and active participants by walking, and they get to celebrate local sponsors. While the classrooms have competitions for their hard work, the whole school gets to celebrate together as they meet their unified goals. It promotes teamwork, connection and unity within the school and our community!

The face to face and extended traditional Bauerwood students came together for the walking days and worked hard to meet their goals and earn prizes along the way. Hat day… pajama day… movie party… a school wide dance party… all the way up to their top prize when Principal Julie Roby would bring her farm to school! The Roby family enjoys and loves animals and has been involved with animal exhibitions at the Hudsonville Community Fair for the last 5 years. She even greeted the students at the morning gate with a chicken in her arms! Mrs. Roby also brought a horse, goat, guinea pig and some kittens. The Bauerwood students worked hard to reach their $16,000 goal and had a great time visiting with the traveling Roby Farm!

Thanks to everyone who made Minds in Movement 2020 a great success!

Outdoor Discovery Center

Schooling during a pandemic forces field trips to look a little different. Bauerwood students were able to enjoy a “reverse field trip” with the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland. Learning about wild animals in our own frontyard was pretty fun.

Teacher of the Month

Bauerwood Kindergarten teacher, Samantha Duval received a well deserved recognition when she was nominated for a reward from Biggby West Michigan and EightWest. It is great to see families in Jenison nominate Sami (and other JPS teachers) for ‘Teacher of the Month’. Sami loves building a strong community in her classroom and her priority is that every child has a safe, fun, and positive environment to grow in! She received $500 to use how she thinks would most benefit her students. Thank you Sami for your relentless commitment to your students!

New Game

Bauerwood students were so excited to have a new activity on their playground this fall. The Bauerwood Family Network was able to provide the funds for a new ‘9-square in the air’ game while a special thanks goes out to the Sherman and Gillespie families and All Area Plumbing for the installation. The teachers seemed almost as excited to teach the kids this classic game!

Wheels n’ Reels at El Puente

Creative problem solvers are providing some real special opportunities to experience social activities these days. Remaining connected while keeping our friends and families safe is a win win!

The ‘Padres del Puente’ (Parent Club of El Puente) arranged a special night for families to enjoy some socially distanced fun with their first ever drive-in movie night. About 50 cars showed up to the school parking lot ready to get cozy in their vehicles and enjoy the double feature for the night.

The movies included Coco and Addams Family, and clear sound was available through the FM tuning on car stereos.

The excited movie goers included students who are part of in-person classes as well as those who are Extended Traditional Learners.

There was at least one battery that needed some friendly help but in the end, movie reviewers of all ages gave this event many thumbs up!