Something Special to be Thankful For!

[L to R] Katie Bremer, Mary Pollock, Betsy Norton, Sara Melton, Dan Searle

Did you know that something as small as a Tootsie Roll can earn $2500 for our schools? Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Jenison Knights of Columbus, the JPS Cognitively Impaired Categorical Program at Sandy Hill took home their generous donation from this year’s Tootsie Roll drive!

At this month’s Board of Education meeting, teachers Katie Bremer and Betsy Norton, along with Sandy Hill Principal Sara Melton and Special Ed Director, Mary Pollock accepted the donation on behalf of this important program.

According to Dan Searle, The Knights of Columbus in Jenison (Council #7487) is made up of 240 Catholic men “dedicated to the good works of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. With our #1 priority being charity”. Each year the members vote on the organization that will receive the donations from their annual Tootsie Roll Drive that takes place the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Easter. With volunteer families stationed outside local businesses, they happily pass out Tootsie Rolls in exchange for any donation.  Mr Searle adds, “Every cent we collect from the Tootsie Roll Drive stays in the community. The more we collect, the more that is donated back. Through other programs, our Council alone collects and donates approximately $40,000 each year back to the community.”

The donation will be used to support and advance programs within the categorical program at Sandy Hill. In the past, the monies have been used to purchase i-pads and supporting apps, assist with peer-to-peer groups and many other activities.

Ms Pollock knows the value of these donations to the amazing work being done by teachers and staff. “We have an amazing staff in JPS. Teachers, both general ed and special ed, and support staff are constantly meeting and planning to make sure all students have opportunities to be a part of the school community. This donation will help support the goal of meaningful inclusion. The Knights of Columbus organization has been incredibly supportive of our efforts and they contribute via their Tootsie Roll Drive every year. It is greatly appreciated!”

JPS offers Special Ed categorical programs for the variety of needs presented by our students (Cognitively Impaired, Emotionally Impaired, Autism Spectrum Disorder). Ms Pollock adds, “We appreciate the community partnerships because it helps to foster understanding in the community of how our programs and services are provided. We are very intentional about making making sure all our students spend as much time as possible with typically developing peers. Teachers Katie Bremer and Betsy Norton have done a wonderful job with their peer-to-peer program at Sandy Hill. Students with disabilities are accepted and benefit from the relationships with their peers and the typical peers gain from helping others and learning to understand differences.

The Knights of Columbus are certainly important community partners and the admiration between organizations is mutual. “Our kids attend these schools. We love our schools and know we are blessed to have such great and caring educators”, says Mr Searle.

On the day we take an extra moment to appreciate what we have, please add the Knights of Columbus and JPS teachers and support staff to the list! Giving all of our students the best education possible is certainly a team effort! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at JPS!

Board of Education Appreciation Month!

boe_1-2015

Second Row: William Waalkes, Paul Peppel, Craig Jenison, Eric Hartman First Row: Amanda Peterman, Geoffrey Brown, Craig Rockwell Not Pictured: Adam Tountas, newly appointed trustee

Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. It’s the foundation on which our democracy was built. Today local school boards continue to do the most important work of their communities—that of educating our youth.

As citizen leaders, members of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education continue to face complex and demanding challenges. Their extraordinary dedication to Jenison Public Schools is greatly appreciated. The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize school board members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions. We often forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make in fulfilling their responsibilities. Jenison School Board members contribute hundreds of hours each year leading our district. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the time school board members spend helping to lead our district.

The month of January is set aside to time to thank them for their untiring efforts. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Join with others from our district and throughout the state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

Please take time to show your appreciation to the Jenison Public School Board members who faithfully and with great passion provide leadership for our school district. The members of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education include:

Mr. William Waalkes, President

Dr. Craig Rockwell, Vice-President

Mr. Geoff Brown, Secretary

Dr. Eric Hartman, Treasurer

Mrs. Amanda Peterman, Trustee

Mr. Craig Jenison, Trustee

Mr. Adam Tountas, Newly appointed trustee

As further evidence of their dedication, be looking for a post at the end of January on an important, upcoming Bond Issue.

Thank you, Jenison Board of Education members for putting our students and their education at the top of your priority lists!  We are so grateful for you!

Thank You, Jenison Board of Education!

Jenison Board of Education, Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Michigan

From Left to Right: Ms. Amanda Peterman, Dr. Craig Rockwell, Mr. William Waalkes, Mr. Paul Peppel, Mr. Geoffrey Brown, Dr. Eric Hartman (not pictured: Mr. Craig Jenison).

This past Monday night was special for many reasons: not only did Jenison Public Schools honor staff and students at its monthly board meeting, it had the opportunity to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the community members who serve on behalf of us all.

The seven individuals who make up the Jenison Board of Education come from all walks of life and give their time to help guide the district on its path forward. Their input, wisdom, and desire to see Jenison reach its full potential are felt by all who work with them.

Superintendent Tom TenBrink shared a touching reminder that these individuals are true servant leaders who volunteer their time and lead by example. They are driven by a shared commitment and desire to help the district maximize budget dollars, promote the best course offerings possible, and impact kids’ lives positively and meaningfully. Their service to and for Jenison Public Schools models dedication and support for the tradition of excellence for which we’ve come to be known.

“There’s no question: without the leadership of the board, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Tom TenBrink

As a token of the district’s appreciation, Mr. TenBrink gifted each member with a pen made by Jenison employee, Jeff Clark. Crafted from the wood of a tree that once stood outside the former district office, the pens are a reminder of our common past and point the way to a future of growth and health. Another employee, Randy Noaeill, engraved the JPS logo on the top of each wood case, adding detail and beauty to each gift.

Like the tree from which these pens came, the Jenison Board of Education reminds us that we have shared roots in this community. The Board keeps us grounded, fighting the erosion of challenging times, and encouraging us to spread a shady canopy over each student who walks our hallways each day.

Their job is not an easy one, but it is one that we applaud and one that we honor.

Thank you, Jenison Board of Education!