August 7, 2017

Kindergarten Screening, Start School Ready, Non-Resident Application Process, Adaptive Schools Training, HHS Registration Information, HPS students showing their DUTCH pride, Legislative Updates & Alumni Spotlight

Kindergarten Screening

Each year, HPS screens its incoming Kindergarten class prior to the start of the school year. This process is a great opportunity to meet with early childhood teachers from the district to talk about your child’s readiness for kindergarten. The full process takes about an hour and includes The Brigance Screener (early math, reading & school readiness), time to play, and a parent questionnaire. At the end of this time, information about our full early childhood program will be shared and recommendations made to parents for placement. If you have a child who will turn five by September 1, 2017, and you are interested in enrolling and learning more, please contact Melissa Bosch 494-2044 and she will be happy to help you.

Start School Ready

Start school ready is a four-week, half day summer learning experience for children who will be entering kindergarten this fall. This program is made possible with a partnership with Ready for School. Students who participate in the program benefit from additional time learning how to socialize and participate in a classroom environment while receiving a solid foundation in early literacy skills. Congratulations to all of our 2017 summer graduates who are now better prepared to enter kindergarten this fall. We look forward to your ongoing success. Read more about this year's summer program online with the Holland Sentinel.

Non-Resident Application Process

Holland Public Schools is currently accepting non-resident applications for the 2017-2018 school year. This process is outside of the school of choice window which took place earlier this summer. Families who are interested in enrolling must first receive a written release from their resident district's authorizer. This is often the Superintendent's office. If released, families may begin the enrollment process at any of our school offices. Please bring with you a completed signed release. Please be sure to complete the Resident District Release  (06) in the center box at the bottom (Non-Resident Category) and select the Resident District Release in the box at the right (Resident District Release) . The releasing school district and authorized signature must also be completed. Holland Public Schools administration will verify that space is available in the building of choice. In addition, a student's prior performance history at their resident district is also reviewed to ensure that the child is making academic progress/on-track for graduation, has met any pre-requisites and other eligibility standards associated with particular courses of study, has not been long-term suspended or expelled in the prior two years, or has had attendance issues or truancy filed. For more information regarding enrollment, please contact Kate Mathe at 494-2068.

Adaptive Schools Training

District administration recently participated in adaptive schools training. This four day training is part of our ongoing continuous improvement efforts to enhance the time that we have with our staff to discuss school improvement initiatives; resulting in increased student performance. The following is taken from the adaptive schools website.

The goal of Adaptive Schools Seminars is to develop the collective identity and capacity of organization members as collaborators and inquirers and leaders. School-wide improvements in student learning accrue in schools whose work cultures are collaborative. The growing body of work on the impact of collaborative adult professional cultures in schools offers a positive and productive means for organizing the work of on-going school improvement. In such cultures, professionals learn to talk about the hard-to-talk-about details of learning, teaching, assessment and the cumulative effects of their work with students. The Adaptive Schools Foundation and Advanced Seminars present a productive, practical set of ideas and tools for developing collaborative groups in becoming effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. The work of the Adaptive Schools Seminars is to develop the resources and capacities of the organization and of individuals to cohesively respond to the changing needs of students and society.

The Adaptive Schools Foundation and Advanced Seminars present a productive, practical set of ideas and tools for developing collaborative groups in becoming effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. The work of the Adaptive Schools Seminars is to develop the resources and capacities of the organization and of individuals to cohesively respond to the changing needs of students and society.

The training not only explores what makes teams effective, but how to develop skills as facilitators and informed group members in informal and formal settings, in small and large groups. It takes participants beyond the idea of professional learning communities to the actual implementation, describing specific ways to weave the collaborative fabric of a faculty, develop group member skills, and acquire the principles and understandings to engage in a continuous cycle of team and individual improvement. Adaptive Schools is the “how” of professional learning communities: how to behave in groups, how to lead them, and how to facilitate them for improved leading, teaching, and learning.

In the four-day Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminars participants will develop:

  • An increased capacity to initiate, develop and sustain high functioning groups
  • New lenses for diagnosing the stages and phases of group development
  • An expanded repertoire of practical facilitation tools
  • Understandings of when and how to engage groups in dialogue and discussion, the limitations, forms and values of each
  • Skills to move groups beyond consensus to common focus
  • Ways to value and use dissension, argument and conflict
  • Strategies for keeping group members on track, on topic, energized and resourceful

HHS Registration

It's that time of year! Enrollment and registration for the Fall, 2017 school year is fast approaching. It is important that you have the necessary steps completed to take full advantage of our many academic and extra-curricular programs across the district. Learn more at HHS Registration.


Have you heard about the DUTCH Martix? This matrix was developed by HHS students as part of our ongoing work to build and sustain positive school culture. DUTCH stands for Diverse, United, Thrive, Committed and Honorable. This past week, I learned about two ways in which our students are demonstrating the tenants of this matrix.

  1. Students from our summer Autism Spectrum Disorder summer school program delivered popsicles to our HHS Marching Band during one of their hot summer day band camp rehearsals. Thank you staff and students for helping our band students thrive as they prepare for their marching band show: Michael Jackson-The King of Pop!
  2. Here is an email from my inbox. 

Hello Coach Pratley,

I am staying in Frankfort, MI this week with my family for vacation, as we have done for many years. Tonight, we waited in a (very long, slow-moving) line for ice cream at the Cool Spot. I was with my husband and my 3 sons, ages 3 and under, and we were surrounded by your players who I understand are here for camp this week. I just wanted to let you know how impressed we were by these young men. We stood in line for a half hour surrounded by these high school football players and they were joking around with each other and having fun, but also very polite and courteous and taking the time to talk to my very young sons (who are already obsessed with football) and they even offered other people to cut ahead of them in line. It was really refreshing to see a large group of young guys who were setting a good example for others.

We happen to be Muskegon Catholic Central alumni/fans (class of '03) but we would love to see your team do really well this year too. Seems like a great group of guys you have.

Erin Curcio

Kudos to our HHS football players for demonstrating honorable actions out in the community! Keep up the great work!

Legislative Updates

Our state legislators are on summer recess so there is nothing new to report at this time. If you haven't checked out the legislative updates page on our new district web site, you can do so here for more information that occurred prior to summer recess.

This past week I did have a chance to meet with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos along with 25 of my colleagues across the state. I really appreciated the time with the Secretary and discussing items of mutual concern. The focus of our conversation addressed the following: flexibility under ESSA; results driven methods; protecting our most vulnerable learners; components of the federal budget including Title I, Title II, Title III, Head Start, GSRP, and Medicaid; teacher quality; coordinated mental health services; early college/dual enrollment; inquiry-based learning; personalized learning and skilled trades.

Secreatry DeVos emphasized the need to focus on each and every student and what schools need to do to serve each of them the best. Within this context, she stated that the best results and opportunities occur from the ground up and not a result of ongoing federal mandates. She addressed her committment to ESSA and the flexibility that is afforded to apply school improvement initiatives based upon the needs of each state and in turn the districts of the state. She applauded the work of school superintendents and encouraged us to think more broadly about the continued paradigm shift from "batch education" of the industrialized 19th century to the needed 21st century learning of today. This included an emphasis on inquiry-based learning through personalization and student-centered learning experiences.

Another topic of discussion included the teacher shortage currently facing our districts, regions and state. We encouraged her to be a champion for public education and our teachers who make a difference each and every day. From her office, she can be part of the discussion that lifts the teaching profession back into the status that it rightfully deserves.

Alumni Spotlight

1990 Holland High School Graduate Tom Marsilje was featured in Newsweek-July 20, 2017, Cancer Clinical Trials: How new search tools make it easier for patients to find the treatment they need. His own personal experience with cancer lead him to study clinical trials and share this information with others. Congrats to Alumus Tom Marsije and his contributions to the greater good! #hpsproud