Full of Thanks and Giving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this day finds you embracing the people and places that fill you up and enhance your life! I am thinking about my loving and supportive wife, terrific children and the blessing of a new grandson! I am also thankful for the supremely talented and committed group of educators I get to work with daily. Not only do they sharpen each other as they strive for academic excellence, they sincerely invest in the heart and character of our students.

This month marks the 21st year that our staff has been encouraging our students to think outside themselves, cultivate true gratitude and give with compassionate hearts through the “Your Change Can Change Hunger” fund drive (YCCCH). That means there have been several graduating classes that have participated every year of their time at JPS. It truly has become a holiday tradition that we all look forward to. Initiated by Susan Hodson, a mom with two elementary daughters that many years ago – it just goes to show, one person can make a big difference.

I’m so proud to share more about this year’s YCCCH fund drive and all the ways our amazing Jenison community is giving back this Thanksgiving!

Kids First Pet Supply Drive

We love to see the generosity of our students combined with a little entrepreneurial spirit! Two sixth grade El Puente students, Grace Roth (left) and Randi Pennington (right) brainstormed and organized a collection for the Harbor Humane Society during the month of October and delivered the donations earlier this month. So inspiring to see our students putting their compassionate hearts to work!

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Grace and Randi, and their KidsFirst classmates collected over 100 pounds of food, dog beds, blankets, a bag full of toys, multiple bags of treats, leashes, and food dishes.

Jenison Parent Liaisons

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Ms. Tracy and Ms. Veldink

The mission of the Jenison Parent Liaison program is: Building bridges between home, school, and community to promote student success for all families of Jenison Public Schools. One tangible way they do that is through organizing collections of things that can be used to support local families.

1) Ongoing collections of gently used, in-style, in-season clothing for community partner, Threads Clothing Ministry. Also, currently collecting snow pants (through the winter season) in partnership with Rosewood Reformed Church. This provides JPS families access to any type of clothing as needs arise. If you would like to donate clothes or snow pants, please drop items to the Family Resource Center (Room 1) at Pinewood Elementary.

2) They partner with Mars Hill Bible Church, Fair Haven Ministries, Baldwin Street Christian Reformed Church and Sunrise Ministries to provide Christmas and Thanksgiving Assistance for our families.

3) Now accepting donations for family activities in the area; such as bowling, Rebounderz, movie theatre, etc., to give to families to enjoy special together time over Christmas break. Donations can be brought to the Family Resource Center (Room 1) at Pinewood Elementary. 

1st Annual Turkey Trot 5k

An idea led by senior, Max Zuber; the Jenison Men’s Cross Country team hosted the first Jenison Turkey Trot 5k. It was a little more wintry when the race actually took place this past weekend but it was an overall success for their first year. The donation table ended up nearly overflowing and items were delivered to Love Inc.: the Turkey Trot is good for your heart in more ways than one!

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There were over 60 runners of all ages at the first ever Turkey Trot 5k!

Jenison Public Education Foundation

To keep our little ones warm and cozy in the coming months, the Jenison Public Education Foundation conducted a hat, mitten, sock drive at their Expo event on November 3. A donation competition between elementary schools revealed Pinewood as the winner. They won $250 for their school and a school assembly with a magician! Since 1995, JPEF has been enhancing learning environments and funded more than 162 programs valued at over $200,000, for the students of Jenison. 

National Honors Society Thanksgiving Baskets

The NHS members (high school juniors/seniors) organized a Thanksgiving basket program. They donated the items needed for a full thanksgiving meal for 10 Jenison families. They traveled together to deliver the food to each family on November 16.

Jenison High School Thespians – “Trick-r-Treat So Kids Can Eat”

Of course, the Thespians had fun dressing up and getting into character on Halloween but they also organized an event called “Trick-r-Treat So Kids Can Eat”. They had another great turnout this year with many donations brought in to keep members of our community fed this holiday season.

Your Change Can Change Hunger (YCCCH) benefiting Hand2Hand

This annual change fundraiser began in 1998 and is something the kids plan for each year. After a 15 year partnership with another food pantry in West Michigan, it shifted to a more local organization. Hand2Hand partners with local churches and schools to provide a backpack filled with supplemental food that bridges the gap of weekend hunger. When students became aware that their change was going to help kids in their own school district, possibly even their own building – giving sharply increased. The fervor with which students wanted to take care of their own is so inspiring! We keep breaking the previous year’s record for giving – and I think we’ll see that again this year.

Coming into the 2018 fund drive, JPS students have raised over $196,000 since 1998 – nearly half of that had been given in the last 5 years! While the final totals are still being counted, I think we can quite confidently say that we will pass the $200,000 mark this year! That’s amazing! Your Change really CAN Change Hunger!

Thank you so much Jenison students and families!

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ECC: Introducing our youngest Wildcats to this awesome and impactful tradition.

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El Puente students show off their own collection box. Excelente!

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Bauerwood Elementary students excited to hear the final count for the district!

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Pinewood Elementary Student Council with their cash donation.

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Rosewood 5th graders proudly show off their school’s contribution of over $1,700 this year!

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The Sandy Hill third graders surpassed their collection goal on the last day of the change drive. They raised over $150 on Friday alone so Mr. Mosher took some pies to the face!

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Bursley kids excited to give back to others.

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Junior High Students with a hefty donation to YCCCH! When the final count is confirmed, the JH hopes to break their current school record of over $10,000 dollars collected. It definitely seems within their grasp!  Many students have come up with creative collection ideas such as coffee/hot chocolate sales and candy & pop sales. Good old fashion  competitions against other classes in the building have really kept the excitement high!

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JH Students paid $1.00 towards YCCCH to play in the gym for 1 hour before school.

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The High Schoolers also had unique fundraising opportunities: here they are selling pizza at lunch time as a fundraiser for YCCCH.

If you would like to join Jenison Students by supporting the work of Hand2Hand, please visit their website for more information about how to get involved.

 

Summer Series: Student Art Sample [5th Grade]

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Over the course of our summer we will feature various artists and art pieces from each Jenison elementary school as well as the Junior High and High School. Each piece was carefully chosen by our art teachers and we hope you will enjoy the talents and hard work of our students while you also enjoy a beautiful and relaxing summer!

“Optical Illusion”
By Aurora Sorrelle
Pinewood Elementary

During this unit on “Op Art” students studied various artworks which displayed an optical illusion. We discovered that creating the look of a 3 dimensional object on 2 dimensional paper is in fact an optical illusion. Aurora divided her square paper into 8 sections. The first part of the illusion occurred when Aurora created curved lines within each section, giving them shape. These stripes were then colored with colored pencil in an alternating pattern. Aurora then used a shading technique which gives the artwork the appearance of being 3 dimensional.

Aurora was patient and careful with her pencil strokes as well as the varying pressure necessary to create the illusion. This project was tedious at times, and Aurora’s persistence paid off with a beautiful result in this artwork.

Aurora and her artwork were selected by her Pinewood Elementary art teacher, Ginger Brown.

Summer Series: Student Art Sample [2nd Grade]

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Over the course of our summer we will feature various artists and art pieces from each Jenison elementary school as well as the Junior High and High School. Each piece was carefully chosen by our art teachers and we hope you will enjoy the talents and hard work of our students while you also enjoy a beautiful and relaxing summer!

“My Community”
By Dylan Nichols
Pinewood Elementary

For this project the students learned about the the three different types of communities.  The students examined the similarities and differences between the different types of communities.  Then they went on to design their own mixed media community!

First Dylan drew his imaginative community in pencil then he outlined his drawing with sharpie.  Then went on to complete his community by painting it with watercolor.

The students also learned about Vincent Van Gogh and color theory while creating this project.  The students demonstrated their understanding of color theory by creating a background with a color scheme of their choice.  Dylan used warm colors and white to create in Starry Night inspired background.  His community painting was then collaged on top of his Starry Night background to create a beautiful masterpiece!

Dylan is a very creative and talented young artist whose artwork always stands out.  I love his imagination and his ability to think outside the box.  Dylan said his favorite part of this project was designing his city and using the metallic paint on the stars.  Dylan is a very hard worker and I cannot wait to see his future creations!

Dylan and his artwork were chosen by his Pinewood Elementary art teacher, Ashley Hankamp.

Pinewood Sponsors “Donuts with Dads”

Jenison Public Schools, Pinewood Elementary

Donuts from Jenison Donuts

Last Friday morning, the Pinewood gym buzzed with the kind of excitement that only comes when dads give two thumbs up to sugar in the morning.

Because at 8 a.m., dads and sons and dads and daughters filed into school, ready for a little extra time together before classes began. With twenty-two dozen donuts ordered and over 275 RSVP’s, Amy Perrien, coordinator of the event, prepared herself for another year of smiles and laughter.

“Donuts with Dads is a great time to hang out with your child and enjoy the fall — and it’s the right time of year for donuts. We love providing the opportunity to do something fun with your child at school!” Amy said.

Aside from offering breakfast and setting the stage for extra time together, Amy created table tents containing conversation starters — not only for dads and children, but as an opportunity for dads to meet other dads. The air was filled with voices asking and answering these questions:

  • What do you worry about the most?
  • Donuts or bagels?
  • If you were invisible where would you go and what would you do?
  • Michigan or MSU?
  • How ‘bout those Lions?

With full bellies, packed tables and lots to discuss, it was obvious that the event was a hit. As dads settled in with coffee donated by Bigby of Jenison, we heard comments like:

  • “It’s great to have more time to hang out with your kids.”
  • “What I like is seeing your kids’ friends. It’s good to get to know them, too.”
  • “It seems like it’s the moms who usually get to do everything. This is a good opportunity for dads. We appreciate it.”
  • “I love having the one on one time with my daughter.”
  • “It’s a good opportunity to see the morning routine and see how stuff is done at school outside of conferences. It keeps me involved.”

Jenison Public School, Pinewood ElementaryAs for the kids, they were all smiles. In between slurps of apple juice and gobbles of donuts, they said things like:

  • “I’m so excited for free donuts!”
  • “I like to eat donuts with my dad because we usually don’t eat a lot of donuts. This is special.”
  • “The best part of today is that I get to spend time with my dad!”

With family members snuggled close, we knew that the donuts weren’t the only sweet thing in the gym that day. Sweeter yet were the relationships being strengthened by the simple act of sharing breakfast.

Jenison Public School, Pinewood Elementary

Jenison Public School, Pinewood Elementary

Jenison Public School, Pinewood Elementary

Jenison Public School, Pinewood Elementary

Pinewood Offers Terrific After-School Options for Students

It may have been the bananas and apples that got them going after school, but it was certainly the encouragement they received from Principal Rachael Postle-Brown that kept them moving forward. That’s because these students are staying after school with a goal: to increase reading fluency and mathematical know-how. And they’re doing it with the help of dedicated volunteers from  Grand Valley State University, parents, and their principal.

Jenison Public Schools, Pinewood Elementary, After School Support

Pinewood Elementary School’s math and reading support groups offer the additional academic practice some students need to hone skills and solidify new concepts. They explore strategies covered in class but approach them in new ways to increase their staying power. Using dice to conceptualize mixed numbers and working with number cubes to reinforce the significance of numerators and denominators were just two of the activities planned for this session.

Jenison Public Schools, Pinewood Elementary, After-School support

Principal Rachael Postel-Brown works with math students after-school.

While students whose learning styles are more tactical and hands-on appreciate the a more creative take on math, Mrs. Postel-Brown says it’s not just the techniques employed that help make the math stick — it’s the fact that parents are involved in supporting the process.

“Our parents are fantastic and so encouraging! We do our best to keep the lines of communication open and work together.”

The other component of the academic after-school program is focused on reading fluency. Mark Boersma, a Master’s Student at GVSU, uses the Read Naturally curriculum to help strengthen comprehension and reinforce the use of expression in reading.

“I’ve noticed a definite change,” Mr. Boersma says. Right now we’re working on writing summary responses and are focusing on punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. We’re monitoring their progress, and by using a lot of repetition and reading interesting stories, we’re making advances.” 

Mr. Boersma works with a student on reading fluency.

Mr. Boersma works with a student on reading fluency.

Over in the Pinewood gym, Dee Perry is providing care and individualized attention to kids in the before- and after-school program.  Affectionately called “Mrs. D” by her students, this beloved woman spends her energies not on academics (although they do read many books!), but on  childcare.

With hours of care from 6:45- 9 in the morning and again from 3:45 – 6 after school, Mrs. Perry has spent the last decade loving kids by providing them with a quiet reading space, help with homework, a snack to munch on, and playtime right at Pinewood Elementary. Currently there are forty-two students registered and thirty-eight actively attending. “Mrs. D” says she can’t wait to be with her group each and every day; they have truly become “her kids.”

“I just love interacting with and working with the kids! They make me laugh. I love seeing them grow and advance as people. It’s a great job!”

Jenison Public Schools, Pinewood Elementary, After-School supportWe applaud the dedicated time and effort that these adults invest in the lives of our students! They are indeed helping to shape our future!