Important Messages/Updates

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 adustment 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

8:40-3:42

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 llindemulder@lifeservicessystem.org. 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

7:35-2:42

Holland High School/HEC/HVRT

7:45-3:01