July 21, 2017

Carnegie Hall, Start School Ready, Return to School Ready, Teacher Leadership Advisory Council, IChallengeU Presentations, L.E.D.A., Joint Session with Holland City Council, $30,000 contribution to Holland High School, Alumni News and more take shape to extend the great learning experiences and collaboration with Holland Public Schools. 

HHS Choirs to Sing at Carnegie Hall-Holland High School choirs have received a special invitation from Ryan Kelly, Associate Director of Choral Activities at the West Chester University School of Music to perform at Carnegie Hall in May, 2018. They will be performing John Rutter's beautiful new choral/orchestral work The Gift of Life accompanied by the renowned New England Symphonic Ensemble. If you would like to support in our fundraising efforts, please contact my office at 616-494-2005.

Start School Ready/Return to School Ready-I had the opportunity this week to visit two of our summer school programs. Start School Ready, in partnership with Ready for School, is a fantastic four-week summer school program to prepare students for kindergarten. Students and families are building relationships together as they prepare for the coming school year in the fall. Our research collected to date shows a significant social/academic impact for those who participate in the program. In addition, HPS is sponsoring Return to School Ready for students who were in Kindergarten-2nd grade last year and are entering our 1st-3rd grade classrooms in the fall. This gift of time will assist our early readers in developing a strong early literacy foundation. I still chuckle with all of Destiny's questions to me over breakfast-"Which would you rather have, a porcupine for a pillow or an alligator for a bed?"

Teacher Leadership Advisory Council-Congratulations to Holland High School Teacher Amber Kasic on her selection to the Michigan Department of Education Teacher Leadership Advisory Council. She is one of 24 appointees from an applicant pool of over 300 to help guide the state's plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We appreciate her voice on this advisory council, her strong passion for public education, her innovative teaching practices and strong voice on equity and inclusion. Thank you Mrs. Kasic!

IChallengeU-Presentations are taking place this week with students who participated in the OAISD IChallengeU program. IChallengeU is an intense, two-week summer educational opportunity for 11th and 12th-grade students to work with Master Teachers from across Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) and Ottawa Area corporate, civic, and community leaders to develop solutions to real problems as posed by the partnering corporate, civic, and community partners. On Friday I got to sit in with a group of students who were paired with Tulip Time to look at how the Kinderparade can be more honoring of our history and more inclusive of our current community. Congrats students on a job well done! I am inspired by your innovation, problem-solving abilities and willingness to challenge the status quo. Another great example of how public school works!

L.E.D.A.-The district continues its focus on our strategic plan in the area of culture-Holland Public Schools will establish the elimination of institutional or structural barriers that inhibit the success of all students achieving the district learner outcomes. The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is one of our strategic collaborating partners in this work. We have recently completed an Organizational Systems Review of hiring and retention practices. Next week, our HPS Equity Alliance will be presenting their findings and recommendations following a year long study of research, best practices and opportunities for growth. Thank you to everyone involved in this very important work!

Joint Session with Holland City Council-This past week the HPS Board of Education had a joint study session with the Holland City Council. The purpose of this meeting was to talk about the opportunities that might exist for expanded collaboration between these two public bodies. After all, Holland Public Schools is officially on state record as the "School District of the City of Holland." Over 70% of the school age children in Holland attend our district. While perception of the district was one topic of discussion, may other spaces were identified for further study. Smaller subcommittees representing the school board and city council will continue meeting. One topic that did not make the newspaper article was a discussion of the city of Holland to be a world class city. As we think about this as a community, Superintendent Davis asked a world class city for who? How do all of our actions and decisions insure that everyone in our community has equitable access? You can read more about the news article at the Holland Sentinel.

Reading Now Network-Thanks to the Herman Miller Cares Foundation and matching grant from the Shine Foundation, Holland High School has received $30,000 to assist in building classroom libraries at Holland High School. The Reading Now Network has found this to be one of the fundamental principles that can increase reading achievement. Holland High School is currently the only high school part of this literacy initiative in addition to our five K-7 schools in Region 3. Thank you to all who made donations that made this matching grant possible. If you would like to contribute and build beyond $30,000, please contact the Superintndent's Office.

Holland High School Registration 2017 Registration Information-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 and Enrollment.

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.

Alumni News Update! 
"Good morning!  I just quickly wanted to pass on some past student press as a proud parent of a past HHS student.  Connor Borah was a 2014 graduate, played football and was part of the robotics team.  His life dream was the Air Force, something your counselors at HHS helped him pursue.  Connor just recently was awarded the Leo Marquez Award at both the base and the entire Air Force level which mean he is the top munitions/missile technician in the Air Force for 2017.  He is successfully living his dream and doing very well for himself.

I just wanted to share a success story.  Note that Connor married Jayme Aalberts (Borah) who was also a 2014 graduate and they reside in the United Kingdom on assignment.

Regards,  Susan Borr"

Thanks Susan for the update and congratulations to HHS Alum Connor Borah on this amazing accomplishment!

Enjoy your summer!