Welcome Back! 2019-2020 School Year

Every year, as families are packing in just a little more summer fun, their hardworking teachers and staff have already turned the corner with back to school training and preparations. This year is no exception. It was exciting to see district training and kick off sessions already happening leading up to this week. Our opening session on Monday, August 19 was especially encouraging as the JPS administrators, teachers and professional support staff prepared to greet our 5,300+ students the following morning.

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The opening session was a great time to reflect on good personal news for our team members, welcome new staff, recognize the experience among us and dig deep thinking through the challenging work ahead of us. 

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The beginning dialogue for the day was based on a concept by comedian, Michael Jr.; he shares a profound but simple explanation for knowing your purpose – “Know Your Why”. What happens when the thought process changes from “What am I doing?” to “Why am I doing it?” As educators, if we understand why we are doing something – what we are doing has more impact. Our talents, resources and opportunities should always be used to move us to our ‘Why’?

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JPS Staff and Administrators take out their phones to record their WHY

These opening sessions are also when we align behind the theme for the year. As we kick off the 2019-2020 school year, I challenged each person in the room to “Be Relentless”. Let’s be all in – let’s do everything we can to believe in ourselves and our students, providing them love that is reminiscent of a family, interacting with them in a purposeful way. Let’s be a constant source of inspiration for this generation of students. I, for one, do not want to look back on this school year and wonder what if? 

I’m so encouraged with the participation from the day and the takeaways from some of our building leaders. I am confident we have the right people in place to get the job done. 

STAFFPOSTERCrystal Morse, principal of Bauerwood feels that the focus to “Be Relentless” means “Every student will feel they have value and a place to belong. That they are not defined by the things that get in their way, and there is an adult that believes this for them – even when they can’t believe it about themselves….yet.” 

Rachael Postle-Brown, principal of Pinewood Elementary, reflected on our kick off day and said: “Our teachers at Pinewood, treat every single child at our building like they are their own and do everything they can to help and support them. For me, this “Be Relentless” theme illustrates our efforts and dedication to meet the needs of every child and help them grow, feel valued, and feel connected to our community.”

Brent Huck, principal of Bursley Elementary, feels the overwhelming call to “do everything possible to ensure that all students are able to experience individual success.  I want our students to feel connected, valued, appreciated, and loved. We want to Be Relentless in our pursuit of excellence!”

I am all in this year and I bring this challenge to the community members as well. I am committed to being relentless in supporting and walking alongside of JPS staff as they meet the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of our students. It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!! #JPSBeRelentless

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Terry Dykstra, Guidance Counselor at the high school recently received some well deserved and timely attention this week. He is the picture of what ‘Relentless’ looks like at JPS. Tuesday was his 52nd year starting back to school and still going strong! Watch this video and hear Terry’s heart for impacting the lives of young people.

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During the opening session with staff and administrators, we discussed the importance of simple, conscientious efforts like meeting students at the door to give them an individual, heartfelt greeting. This is something Bauerwood teachers have been doing but this year they will be at the student’s level – such a simple shift. Here, Mrs. Finses welcomes her students at the door, on their level to their first day of their best year yet!

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A Bauerwood 1st grader showed up early on Tuesday to make sure her Kindergarten friend had the best first day ever!

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Getting crafty on the first day at Pinewood

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A successful kick off to the new year at JHS.

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JHS teachers participating in a professional development session

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Jenison Junior High administrators & teachers experiencing a ‘Trauma Informed Educators’ workshop. We are all in for all kids! Being a Trauma Informed Educator prepares us to understand & meet the needs of students who need us the most!

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JPS K-2 teachers spend time getting ready to welcome our youngest Wildcats!

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Professional staff members new to JPS this year: we’re so thankful to have such talented, caring and dedicated educators who have “big hearts” joining the Jenison family!

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JPS employees invested 2 days of their summer in a life changing training called Capturing Kids’ Hearts.

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How will you show your relentless Wildcat spirit this year?

 

 

Excited to kick off 2018-2019!

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Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year at Jenison Public Schools! We’re so glad to have our students back with us! Please subscribe and check in with us every Thursday to catch the highlights happening in our schools!

As superintendent, I have more than a few first back-to-school days under my belt, but it’s still my favorite time of the year. For the last few weeks, I have been watching our amazing teachers and staff all across the district prepare for another successful year with our students. Working in their empty, quiet classrooms while anticipating the buzz and activity just around the corner; and looking forward to the promise budding within each student they will meet.

img-2918.jpgA pretty soggy start aside, it was a particularly exciting first day on Tuesday as we welcomed students to our new Kids First building. We are so proud of this learning environment with 40 state of the art classrooms. This new building is home to our Early Childhood Center and Spanish Immersion program. It’s a phenomenal opportunity to provide our students an up-to-date, caring, loving, and supportive place to learn and grow.

Lee Westervelt and Lloyd Gingerich will lead the Kids First family as principals of the Early Childhood Center and Spanish Immersion program, respectively. Lee has been in this role since 2004 and Lloyd comes from Rosewood Elementary, where he worked with the Spanish Immersion program since its inception 9 years ago. The Spanish Immersion program has been renamed El Puente, which translates to The Bridge. 

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L to R: Jonah Graham – JHS Student, Chelsey Danielson – ECC Staff, Lee Westervelt – ECC Principal and Sarah Stier – ECC Secretary.

 

Lee is looking forward to continuing an already strong focus on kids at this new building and said, “Kids First is a shining example of a community that supports education – and for that we are very grateful. It really was designed and constructed with our students as the focus. We have a common purpose of providing the best staff and facilities for every JPS student.”

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El Puente Principal, Lloyd Gingerich

The first day of school also marked the first time that Lloyd and El Puente staff and students were under the same roof. Lloyd eagerly awaits the unity this building will provide, “The Kids First building gives us the opportunity to unite a program that’s been functioning divided in two separate elementary schools for the last eight years. Our teachers are looking forward to collaborating with each other on a daily basis rather than several times a month. Today, the teachers and I finally felt like the team we were meant to be. The students, many of whom were apprehensive about mixing with a new group of peers, found even more friends to learn Spanish with.  It was a great start to our year and our future.”

When I arrived Tuesday morning to the Kids First building, I was overwhelmed with the number of adults who were standing in front of the building with umbrellas greeting our parents and students, wearing the most genuine smiles and walking them into the building. In addition to our amazing team of Jenison administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals greeting our families, we were blessed to have pastors and members of Fair Haven Church welcoming our parents and children to the first day of school.

What I witnessed that first morning at the Kids First building is what our Jenison community is all about.

Welcome back Wildcats, we’re looking forward to another amazing year!

Enjoy these photos from the August 15 community open house, when the weather was much more kind than it has been this week!

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