Important Messages/Updates

Bi-Weekly Communication 10.15.18


Don’t forget to Vote on November 6, 2018

School Board Election

In addition to many items on the 11/6/18 ballot, HPS will have two very important items on the ballot for your consideration. Mike McKay and Mark Woltman are each running for a six-year term on the Board of Education. Diane Ybarra is running for a two-year term.

Enhancement Millage

Leaders of the eleven K-12 Ottawa Area school districts felt the need for new revenues was significant enough to go to the voters.  All have seen the purchasing power of state revenue decline.  A report from the House Fiscal Agency in August 2017 found school revenues, adjusted for inflation, are almost eleven percent less today than in 2000. Leaders of the eleven K-12 Ottawa Area school districts felt the need for new revenues was significant enough to go to the voters.  All have seen the purchasing power of state revenue decline.  A report from the House Fiscal Agency in August 2017 found school revenues, adjusted for inflation, are almost eleven percent less today than in 2000.

Learn more about this important ballot initiative on our district web site at Enhancement Millage

Instructional Priority Highlights

Early Literacy

Holland Public Schools is working to ensure that all students will be able to read well and independently at grade level. Our focus on early literacy begins with our Early Childhood Special Education programming, and Great Start Readiness followed by a move into Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten. Our highly skilled teachers, instructional coaches and support staff are providing the necessary supports to engage readers in just right fit books and instruction. Through the generosity of the Herman Miller Cares Foundation and the Holland Educational Foundation we continue to build and add to our classroom libraries. I hope that you are spending time at parent-teacher conferences learning more about your child’s reading level and ways in which you can support them at home.

The Big Read Lakeshore

From Holland Sentinel Reporter Erin Dietzer 6/5/18

A post-apocalyptic novel set in the Great Lakes region will be will be the topic of discussion for the Holland area’s fifth annual Big Read in November, presented by Hope College, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel is set in the Great Lakes region 20 years after a flu pandemic wiped out 99 percent of the world’s population. The novel follows a traveling troupe that performs Shakespeare’s plays to the communities that have arisen in North America in the event’s aftermath. The narrative visits both the story’s post-apocalyptic present and the world before the pandemic, exploring the collapse of society and its aftermath while also emphasizing the connections between people and the efforts of those seeking to do more than merely exist.

For the second consecutive year, the event will also feature a “Little Read,” with Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” for middle school students and John Rocco’s picture book “Blackout” for younger children.

“The Giver” follows 12-year-old Jonas, who believes he lives in a utopian society, but gradually realizes he lives in a dystopia that has eradicated emotional depth from people’s lives. “Blackout” tells the story of a New York City family during an electrical power outage.

Details about this year’s Big Read’s food, music, art and lecture events, which will include keynote addresses by St. John Mandel and Rocco, will be released later this summer. Book clubs interested in reading any of the chosen titles are encouraged to sign up on the Big Read’s website.

Thanks to local resident artist Joel Schoon-Tanis for supporting the creative expression of this literature with many classrooms across the district through visual art displays.

STEM in Action

Did you know that Holland Middle School now has a robotics team connected with our world famous Team 74 Holland CHAOS US FIRST Robotics team? We are excited to engage students in the further application of their science, technology, engineering and math skills. If you would like to see what this is all about there is an event coming up just for you this Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the West Michigan Robotics Invitational (WMRI) at Zeeland East High School.  This event is a fun competition featuring local teams re-competing with last year’s robots and game. This is a great opportunity for our returning Students to get back in the game and for new Students and their Families to take part in the competition experience in a fun, convenient way.

Staff Accolades

Congratulations to Holland Middle School STEM Teacher Bill Boerman on his recent accomplishment and completion of National Board Certification! NBC is the highest symbol of professional teaching excellence. Recipients are awarded and judged by their peers in their respective fields.

Student Accolades/Learning

The Holland High School Marching Band performed their "Salute to Disney" halftime show at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association's (MSBOA) District 10 Marching Band Festival in Zeeland this past week. The band entered this festival one classification higher than last year and received a Division 2 "Excellent" rating for their outstanding performance, being, in fact, half of a letter grade away from a Division 1 "Superior" rating. We are extremely proud of the HHS Marching Band and the hard work and long hours they have put in starting early this past summer and all the way through the fall marching season.

Health Alert

Regionally, we have seen an increase in Chicken Pox. The vast majority of our students have been immunized for chicken pox. If you have questions regarding immunizations or symptoms, our school nurses and health aides are happy to assist.

Key Dates

  • October 16-Parent-Teacher Conferences-Full day for students PreK-5 3:50-6:50 p.m. and 6th-12th 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • October 18-Jefferson Family Fall Fest 6:30 p.m.

Athletic/Extra-Curricular Spectator Expectations

In an effort to improve the spectator experience and increase safety and security for all, Holland Public Schools will be making some adjustments to expectations at all sporting/extra-curricular events both at home and away.  This includes venues that are Holland Public Schools owned and operated, other school districts, and venues that are rented for a specific use from the public and/or private sector. This applies to the facility itself, parking lots and open public areas that are designated as parts of the venue where the event is being held. While most of these expectations are not new, we felt it was important to make sure they are clear to students, parents and community members.

We encourage all students and their families to participate in extracurricular activities and sporting events. This is a great way to build community and celebrate the many accomplishments of our students. While in attendance, we strongly recommend that all TK-8 students that attend events be accompanied by their parent(s) or guardian(s).     

We ask that students in grades TK-5 follow our “POWER” expectations: Pride, Own Your Actions, Wise Choices, Engaged, Respect; and students in grades 6-12 follow our “DUTCH” expectations: Diverse, United, Thrive, Committed, Honorable. These expectations are taught and reinforced in our classrooms. It is expected that these behaviors extend to extra-curricular events and activities. The expectation remains that students will also follow the HPS code of conduct at sporting events and all school-sponsored events. The District’s code of conduct is posted on our district website as links from each of our school programs.

Starting this Friday, October 5, 2018, we will be implementing a “No Re-entry” policy. Please make sure that you take all personal belongings needed for the game with you upon entrance into the stadium. We will also be enforcing a “no backpack or cinch sack” policy for students.

Moving forward, we want to share that students will be held accountable for their behavior in the following manner. Students failing to follow the school code of conduct (including profanity, disruptive behavior, disrespect, loitering etc.) at such events will result in students being removed from the event and issued a disciplinary infraction and “Trespass Notice.” They will also be subject to school consequences in similar fashion as if this behavior occurred at school.   Students failing to follow these expectations more than one time, after a first mediation session and review of expectations, will be subject to additional accountability for their actions which may include additional school consequences and exclusion from all athletic events and other school-related extra-curricular activities.

At the conclusion of a game, all spectators will be expected to leave the venue within 25 minutes.  Specifically at the Ray & Sue Smith Stadium on the campus of Hope College, a 25 minute countdown will begin at game’s end to notify everyone when the stadium needs to be cleared.   

If you ever see any unsafe activity or behaviors interfering with your ability to enjoy our events as a spectator or a participant, we ask that you report this to one of the many administrators and event coordinators on site. In addition, members from the Department of Public Safety are available to assist.

By working together, we can ensure that our student participants, and our spectators are able to enjoy these special events together as we cheer on our many athletic and extra-curricular participants. We appreciate your support and encourage you to discuss these changes with your family.

Thank you,

Bi-Weekly Communication 10.1.18

I am pleased to provide you with our first bi-weekly communication for the 2018-2019 school year. I hope that you find this information helpful as we celebrate and honor the great work happening in Holland Public Schools; and at the same time keeping you up to date with school events and activities.

Thank you,

Dr. Brian Davis, Superintendent


We sincerely appreciate the patience of staff, families and students as we continue to address transportation needs in the district. We have been working diligently to provide the best level of customer service possible while balancing the many complex needs of transporting students safely to/from school each day. We are still in the need of bus drivers. If you are interested or know someone who may be, please contact Deputy Superintendent Dr. Karen Sherwood at 616-494-2020.

Instructional Priority Highlights

  • Holland Public Schools is working to ensure that all students and staff are afforded powerful learning opportunities in safe, secure and predictable learning environments. We are a proud partner with the U.S. Department of Education and Michigan Department of Education in promoting Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS).  (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Students are intentionally taught and practice behavior utilizing “POWER” in grades TK-5 and “DUTCH” 6-12. Learn more about POWER at

Student Accolades/Learning

  • The Holland High School Chamber Orchestra Performed at the Confucious Great Lakes Institute "Friendships Last For Ever" Gala Concert at Millennium Park this past Sunday in Chicago. The concert was attended by thousands as was in cooperation with Valparaiso University. #hpsproud

Faculty/Staff Accolades

  • Congratulations to Coach Andrew Pratley on being named the 2018 Michigan High School Athletic Coaches State Association Coach of the Year.  The MHSCA selection of Mr. Pratley reflects positively on his school, community and Holland Public Schools. Coach of the Year selections are based on the performance of their program over the years and/or their contribution to the sport, school, and community. #hpsproud

HPS in the Community

  • Learn more about what is happening in Holland Public Schools each Wednesday  morning at 9:15 on WHTC 1450 AM/99.7 FM as we highlight events happening in our schools. The interviews are also posted on our district website at
  • Holland Hospital 5K Run-Don’t forget to support our school nursing program in partnership with Holland Hospital this Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. You can still register at

Key Dates

  • October 9, 2018 Parent-Teacher Conferences-Full Day for Students PreK-5 3:50-6:50 p.m. and 6th-12th 4:30-7:30 p.m.
  • October 11, 2018 Parent-Teacher Conferences-1/2 day for Students PreK-5 12:00-3:00 p.m. and 6th-12th 12:30-3:30 p.m.
  • October 16, 2018 Parent-Teacher Conferences-Full day for students PreK-5 3:50-6:50 p.m. and 6th-12th 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Parent & Family in Education

HPS Administration and Staff invite you to join us in developing a new strategic plan for parent and family engagement for the district. We will be participating in a 6 week on-line course in partnership with Harvard October 8-December 3, 2018. If you would like to join us in this work, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 494-2005 or email the office

Your input is wanted! Strategic Planning

The Board of Education is currently working on Strategic Planning for the District. If you would like to provide feedback on their draft plan, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 494-2005 or email the office


Holland Public Schools

The Choice for Educational Excellence

Caring Staff, Innovative Programs, Committed Community

Right for Me


Embrace, Engage and Empower each student for success in an ever changing world


We value…

  • Success for All-Our graduates are life ready and prepared for college or careers to be contributing citizens.
  • Educational Excellence-We provide state and nationally recognized academic programs and extra-curricular activities measured by high standards of performance and personalized support.
  • Innovation-We continuously improve through the study and implementation of best practices and programs with high expectations for achievement.  
  • Passion-We employ committed, talented and passionate individuals who care for the students and families they serve.
  • Inclusion-It is our collective responsibility to foster success that honors each individual.
  • Equity-We ensure that our policies, practices and programs serve our growing and changing community.
  • Safety-We provide all students and staff powerful learning opportunities in safe, secure and predictable environments.
  • Collaboration-We will intentionally develop staff, family and community partnerships to share the responsibility for the success of our students.



Holland Public Schools will provide educational excellence that meets the needs of each student in all district programs in safe, secure and predictable learning environments.                 


Holland Public Schools will support and engage staff, family and community partnerships through ongoing communication, involvement and accountability that lead to student success.


Holland Public Schools will establish and implement a sustainable budget that supports district programs, building infrastructure and facility master plan.


Holland Public Schools will recruit, develop and retain highly effective employees, community partners and volunteers.

8/29/18 Spring 2018 M-STEP Release

August 29, 2018

The Spring 2018 M-STEP scores were released on August 29, 2018 from the Michigan Department of Education to local school districts. Parents will receive individual student reports from their respective schools as they become available.

We are encouraged by the progress that many of our students have achieved in the core subjects of math and language arts as measured by the 2018 M-STEP. While we have seen growth, we did see pockets of lower test scores than anticipated at certain grade levels and subject areas. These results indicate that, while the academic changes we previously implemented have begun to take root, some students are still adapting to the new programs. We are also working to individualize supports for those students who have not been part of our academic programs as they enter into our schools at various grade levels throughout the course of the academic year. We believe in the success of each child and pledge our unwavering support to make this happen.

It is important to highlight our early literacy scores in Kindergarten and first grade. Our national and internal data demonstrate that strong early literacy skills are increasing as we have nearly 85% of our students leaving these grades on benchmark. Our focus on early literacy, smaller class sizes, and partnerships with Ready for School, the Reading Now Network and the High Impact Leadership Grant are all making a significant impact. We believe that with continued commitment of resources and partnerships, we will see improved results as students progress through our district programs.

Each year, we monitor and assess the progress and proficiency of our students. In just the past few years we have introduced program and structural improvements that will support academic proficiency and student growth. One such example is the implementation of Individualized Reading Improvement Plans for children in Kindergarten-3rd grade. This program recognizes the importance of working with parents as a child’s first teacher to encourage reading habits that will set the foundation for future academic success. We have also implemented instructional coaching support and rigorous performance evaluation systems based upon student growth to provide feedback and staff development for teachers and administrators.

This year we are providing acceleration in math to 4th and 5th grade students through our Challenge program. We also are providing advanced courses in 6th grade and above to continue to challenge and improve our students’ math skills, reading/writing skills and application of this content in courses like advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), science and US History.

We recognize that students learn at different rates. It is incumbent upon us to teach to each child’s educational needs. We have great students with even greater potential. We are confident the programmatic changes previously implemented will be enhanced by our district restructuring plan. The right-sizing of our facilities and staffing will allow us to better meet the academic needs of each student, specifically at the middle school grades. We also know that a successful school system is one that has the support of the entire community. Administrators, teachers and parents, as well as business and civic leaders, all play an essential role in helping our children become the leaders of tomorrow. We appreciate those who are walking with us in preparing all students to be successful in a diverse and ever changing world.

8/3/18 New School Start/End Times Announced

Updated, August 3, 2018

***Please note the new start/end times that were communicated earlier this spring. In the process of finalizing our routes and addressing the many variables below, we had to make an adjustment to our times between 5-15 minutes depending on the grade level. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. It is our hope that this advanced communication will provide an opportunity for adjustments to be made accordingly.

There were several contributing factors at play in the decision for our start/end times as we wanted to accomplish several goals.

Maximize the efficiency of our transportation services and available drivers. We are happy that our economy has improved and the employment rate in Ottawa County is <3%. This however, has created a high demand and a shortage for employment across many sectors. The school community is not immune to this. With the times that we have outlined, many of our drivers will be able to complete multiple runs in the same day, thereby reducing the number of drivers needed but increasing the amount of time of employment, thereby making this career more attractive.

We listened to parents indicating that they did not want combined bus runs where elementary students were riding with middle school/high school students. In some cases, depending on where individuals live, middle school students will ride with their high school family members. Middle school students will be dropped off at Holland Middle School first and then high school students will be taken to their campus. These same buses will then go out and complete our elementary runs, requiring our elementary start time to be delayed by 15 minutes.

We wanted there to be greater daylight in the morning for elementary students walking to school especially during the winter and daylight savings time transitions.

Parents indicated that it was important that there was time between buildings for picking up students after school. A family can do so beginning with the middle school to high school and then to the elementary school as needed. Parents can also drop off in similar fashion in the morning.

Parents indicated that it was important that older siblings have the opportunity to be home before younger siblings, when possible, at the end of the day. 

HPS coordinates many after school activities with other area high schools. These schools ended their school day significantly earlier than Holland High. This meant that many of our high school students were having to leave early on a regular basis. This caused significant amounts of instructional time to be missed. The times these after school activities began were often times out of our control, so we adjusted our school day to more easily accommodate these activities.

There was an expressed desire for the high school lunch program be increased from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. We have been able to accommodate this request. 

We recognize that these times are different from the past school year, but do align with many programs in the area. As we collaborate and have shared services across many sectors with other school partners, this maximizes our partnerships.

For those students who will be riding the bus to school, transportation routes will be available approximately two weeks before the start of the school year as in past years. These will be mailed directly to families' homes. Letters were mailed to families who do not qualify for transportation on August 3, 2018.

Prek-5th Grade Elementary Schools


HPS is pleased that our partnership with Life Services Systems of Holland continues into the upcoming school year. LSS has been providing this before school activity with HPS since 2003. A volunteer provided Books/Breakfast/Busses Program will begin at each elementary school at 7:30 a.m. Students will be able to enjoy breakfast, reading books, games or other structured activities inside.

Students must arrive at 7:30 a.m. as doors will not be open throughout the morning. Parents who elect participation in this program will be asked to sign a contract agreement understanding that this is a partnership program with HPS and an understanding of behavior expectations. As this is a volunteer service, students who are unable to meet the guidelines established for participation may be asked to leave the program and forfeit their opportunity for continued participation.

To learn more about this program, please contact the Life Services System Coordinator Lisa Lindemulder at Parents must sign up in advance for this program. Parents may do so by contacting Mrs. Lindemulder or at open house on August 20, 2018.

Doors will be open for the start of school officially at 8:10 a.m. for participation in our universal breakfast program.  Students riding the bus will be at school in advance for our universal breakfast program beginning at 8:10 a.m.. Supervision on the playground will begin at 8:10 a.m. Students not needing this service should arrive to school at 8:10 a.m. if they desire to have breakfast only.

Holland Middle School


Holland High School/HEC/HVRT