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.
A 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.
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.”
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!