2018-2019 Restructure Plan Q & A

2018-2019 Restructure Q & A

On Monday, March 19, 2018, the HPS Board of Education voted to approve a restructure for 2018-2019. We recognize that this brings forward many questions and needs for information, communication and clarification as we walk forward together as a school community.

This webpage will be updated on a regular basis to provide important information for staff, parents and community members regarding the changes taking place for the 2018-2019 school year. It is being organized by topic area for easier search and gathering of information. Please check the date of publication for the most recent updates.

Thank you,

Advanced/Honors GT (Grades 3-8)

March 20, 2018

Middle School Schedule Planning

The planning for the middle school program at Holland Middle School (6-8) is well underway.

The schedule will offer honors classes beginning in 6th grade for Math, 7th grade for ELA/Math. 8th grade will add honors US History and an Advanced STEM elective that will feed into the Project Lead the Way engineering pathway already in place at Holland High School. A specific process for placement of students in these classes is currently underway.

Gifted and Talented

A gifted and talented program is being re-introduced into the district for students in grades 3-5 at our K-5 schools. 

PATH/Dual Enrollment

Our partnership with Hope College will continue to provide PATH programming for eligible students. Dual enrollment options are also available for students who excel beyond the core classroom level curriculum and meet eligibility requirements.

High School Credit Options

Students in 8th grade at Holland Middle School will also have the option to earn the following high school credits:

  • Algebra I (A/B) 2 Semesters
  • Physical Education 1 Semester
  • Health 1 Semester
  • World Language 2 Semesters in Spanish or American Sign Language

Additional information will be updated here when the schedules are finalized.


Athletics-Middle School Model

March 26, 2018

The move to a true middle school will be beneficial for our student athletes and for the athletic department as a whole. In addition to allowing us to communicate more directly and efficiently with our students and parents, the new configuration will allow us to build a culture of participation within the middle school - not just for athletics, but for all student activities. In the previous configuration, a student athlete could be the only person in their school building that participated in a particular sport. With all students now in the same building, this will no longer be true. 

This move will also reduce the amount of class time that our student athletes will miss for away events. Whereas the previous building configuration required a bus to pick up team members at up to six different buildings before heading out of town for an away game, the bus will now pick up at one location, thus saving time out of the classroom for our student athletes. 

Ben Farkas-Athletic Director


Middle School Athletic Offerings

  • 7th-8th grade Boys/Girls Basketball
  • 6th-8th grade Co-Ed Cross Country
  • 6th-8th Boys/Girls Swimming/Diving
  • 7th-8th grade Football
  • 7th-8th grade Boys/Girls Soccer
  • 6th-8th grade Tennis
  • 6th-8th grade Track & Field
  • 7th-8th grade Volleyball
  • 6th-8th grade Wrestling

Attendance Boundaries for PreK-5


Attendance Boundaries

As we transition into a core PreK-5 program for the district and East becomes a 6-8 middle school, it is essential for us to redraw attendance boundaries for Holland Heights, Jefferson and West. This includes our GSRP program and Early Childhood Special Education.

New Attendance Areas

One of the many changes that will occur as part of this new plan is the reassignment of students to PreK-5 schools. This is based upon board policy and the creation of new attendance areas. Great care was taken to consider:

  • safe student transportation and travel based upon the geography and overall location of schools in our city and neighborhoods
  • effectiveness of our instructional program
  • an educationally sound balance of student populations
  • financial and administrative efficiency to balance building/class sizes based upon projected student enrollment

Internal Transfer Process for Resident Families

Families who desire to internally transfer to a different school from what they have been assigned may follow the district’s internal transfer process. Requests must be received by May 11, 2018 for consideration based upon space and availability. If more requests are received than space available, a lottery system will be completed. Please contact your current building school office for assistance in the completion of this request.

All current internal transfers must reapply for the 2018-2019 school year. It is our intention to honor all current requests who seek to remain at their assigned school. In some cases, an internal request may not be needed based upon the new attendance areas.
All new requests will then be considered.


The district is in the process of determining families who will qualify for transportation services for the 2018-2019 school year. You will receive a separate communication as this plan is finished.

PreK-5 Attendance Area

Band, Orchestra, Choir Program (6-8)

March 20, 2018

The 6-8 middle school program at Holland Middle School will provide the opportunity for students to participate in band, orchestra and choir without the need to bus students from one school to the other. The schedule and number of current participants will also allow the opportunity for us to implement the following classes separated by grade level rather than combined grade levels as in the past.

  • 6th grade band, orchestra, choir, music appreciation
  • 7th grade band, orchestra, choir, music appreciation
  • 8th grade band, orchestra, choir, music appreciation

This will allow our music educators to specialize on one grade level at a time.

There will also be some non-music elective options available.

This schedule also provides an opportunity to provide additional supports to students in math and reading.

Holland Language Academy

March 26, 2018

The district remains committed to the vision/mission of a two-way dual language immersion program.

As a result of exceptional interest and growth, the district has planned for a three-section K-5 school currently in place at Holland Language Academy.

Students in grades 6-8 will move to Holland Middle School for 2018-2019 where dedicated staff will ensure adherence to our vision/mission. This will allow students access to honors classes; band, orchestra, choir; and athletics without the need for bus shuttle services throughout the school day. Our committed 6th-8th grade teachers in the self-contained setting will have access to their other grade level core content colleagues to assist in continued curriculum development and instructional practices. Please note that students in the dual language immersion program must always remember that immersion is your filter for program selection. Not all elective and offering in the middle school are available to students who select immersion as their first program choice.

With the ongoing support of add.a.lingua we have been developing a strong middle school program to ensure fidelity of implementation. This work has included planning with our staff and parents. Work is already underway as well to define what a secondary program looks like at Holland High School.

8th Grade and Beyond

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the mission and the vision statements of Holland’s two-way bilingual immersion program?

Our mission and our vision have not changed since the inception of the program.

Our Mission: Dual language proficiency and bicultural citizens (academic achievement & cultural intelligence)

Our Vision: To provide instruction in the target language through a research-based two-way bilingual immersion program that brings together English Dominant and Spanish Dominant speakers/cultures.

What structures do you have in place to support these statements?

add.a.lingua has been identified as the key foundational partner to assist in professional staff training, literacy frameworks, advanced certification of staff, and program development.

“To enter this world successfully - a world in which U.S. companies expect the majority of the their growth to take place outside of their home country - graduating students will need to become employees “with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures to market products to customers around the globe and to work effectively with foreign employees and partners in other countries.” (Committee for Economic Development, 2006, Stewart, 2007, add.a.lingua, unpublished white paper, 2016)

We plan to align our program to the latest research and to ensure the message we send about student outcomes reflects accurately the design of our program. The end goal for our secondary program would involve the equivalent of three courses delivered through the Spanish language. This end goal vision, however, will require:

  • Enrolling a sufficient number of students
  • Identifying and hiring qualified, licensed and Spanish proficient teachers
  • Leveraging technology so students receive sufficient instructional time in Spanish

Why immersion for students in grades 8 and above?

Immersion, based on research available to date, demonstrates that to continue to learn to read, write, speak and listen in the target language (Spanish) students continue to grow when they are immersed in at least three content level courses each day.

What about other class offerings and electives?

When students select an immersion program, this is the filter from which all other parts of the day are designed. In order for students to have high levels of reading, writing and speaking skills in Spanish, they must live in the language during the school day.

What is a self-contained classroom model?

A self-contained classroom model states that students must be with the same classroom teacher for at least 51% of the day. Though “self-contained” might sound as if students will remain in one room for 51% of a given day, in reality the 51% refers to time spent with the classroom teacher. So, in order to have the students experience middle school transitions, we will work to have students break between classes, when possible, so they have the middle school experience.

Why is this model being utilized?

This model is being utilized to provide the best instruction possible given the limitations of high quality staff that are both content certified and language certified at the secondary level. We are pleased that we have staff that currently meets a self-contained model in the absence of secondary content/language staff that meets the requirements from the Michigan Department of Education for certification.

Holland Public will continue to seek out high quality candidates that are both content and language certified at the secondary level. At this time, based upon these qualifications, we must continue with this staffing model.  

Why will two-way bilingual immersion students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades be taught in self-contained classrooms?

  • Our program is still growing and we have very few students at the middle school level, a self-contained structure allows the district to:
  • Hire one high quality teacher per grade level (6th, 7th, and 8th), rather than three additional teachers who are not only certified in key core content areas, but also are proficient enough to teach the content in Spanish
  • Make sure we provide the required 50% of instruction through Spanish 

How many students are needed in order to have a self-contained immersion classroom at the 8th grade level?

HPS would need to have, at a minimum, 15 students participating to have an 8th grade classroom for the 2018-19 school year

The proposed plan includes the following schedule:

Taught by the self-contained teacher:
  • Language Arts in Spanish
  • Social Studies in Spanish
  • Science (combination of Spanish and English)
  • My Life 2.0 / Saying it with Style in Spanish (electives that all middle schoolers will take)
Outside of self-contained classroom
  • Music (Band, Orchestra, Choir)
  • Math (8th or Algebra I)
  • Elective (World Language ASL, Art, PE, Health, and/or STEM)

How will the course offerings evolve as classes come up through the grades?

Course offerings will be developed based on the HPS process for new courses through the Office of School Improvement.

As more and more two-way bilingual immersion students come to the high school, HPS will develop and vet courses that are worthy of Michigan Merit Credit.

We must have a sufficient number of students to offer a class.

All new courses must be ultimately approved by the Board of Education and first, recommended to the Teaching for Learning Committee of the Board of Education.

The research and support of add.a.lingua will be used to ensure fidelity to a true immersion model program.

What if we don’t have enough students to continue?

If HPS does not have enough students to continue the two-way bilingual immersion program in 8th grade for the 2018-19 school year, then we will work to offer a Spanish language class that is outside of the immersion program that will help students’ maintain their speaking and listening skills.

We will continue to re-evaluate the program each year, as students progress through the grades and interest increases.

Who will teach the 8th grade courses?

We will post for a K-8, self-contained, certified teacher who also has advanced-high to superior level Spanish proficiency. We will choose the most highly-qualified candidate from amongst the applicants.

How does the district support immersion teachers?

Holland Public Schools works to support our immersion teachers through the consultation services and professional development with add.a.lingua. We also have a part time bilingual Instructional Coach who focused about quarter of her time with the teachers in the immersion program. We also have ongoing curriculum meetings that immersion and self contained teachers participate in.

What will be the common experience for middle school students?

The common experiences will vary by grade level:

6th Grade
  • Music (Band, Orchestra, Choir)
  • Common lunchtime
  • PE/Art
  • Math
7th Grade
  • Music (Band, Orchestra, Choir)
  • Common lunchtime
  • PE/Art
  • Math
8th Grade
  • Music (Band, Orchestra, Choir)
  • Common lunchtime
  • Math
  • Elective (ASL or PE or Health)

Will my student miss out on other enrichment opportunities?

When students and parents choose two-way bilingual immersion, this is the filter that other choices must funnel through. In other words, if a student is in immersion, they may not be able to participate in labeled honors courses. Students are being advanced in another way, through learning and communicating in another language.

What will be different?

Students who are in the immersion program for 8th grade will experience their Language Arts, Social Studies and My Life 2.0/Saying It with Style taught in Spanish by their self-contained teacher. Science will be taught in Spanish and English by their self-contained teacher. Students will be immersed in the Spanish language and culture.

Why is the middle school program being moved to Holland Middle School rather than staying at HLA?

The transition to a middle school model in grades 6-8 across the district makes this opportunity for a transition relevant.

Our 6-8th grade self-contained teachers will have the opportunity to connect with their content level peers for instructional planning, training and discussion by being together in the same building.

Students will be able to experience more “middle” school experiences similar to other students across the district albeit through the lens of immersion.

Students will have opportunities to take band, orchestra, choir and some honors/advanced classes in the same building without having to be bussed across the district losing valuable instructional time.

We are no longer able to duplicate resources across the district in the same fashion as before.

This allows for HLA to continue program growth and development into a three-section building within the same building.

Why should we stay in the program?

  • As your child began the program, you were committed to your child becoming as language and culturally proficient as possible.
  • You viewed this as core values and skills you wanted for your child as a world ready graduate from Holland Public Schools.
  • HPS has remained committed to its mission and vision of providing the best program possible to do this.
  • Students who do not continue in the program will not maintain their language proficiency in the target language.

How might we expect our children to respond to the idea of remaining in two-way bilingual immersion program through the secondary years?

add.a.lingua has been exploring research related to secondary programs, student proficiency and identity.  They have observed how MANY immersion students approaching the middle school years begin to reject the idea of continuing in their programs.

Though research has quite a lot to say about “why” many Spanish and English dominant students respond negatively, we have boiled it down to the simple fact that most middle school students have a strong desire to fit in and to “be like everyone else.”

Since two-way and immersion programs are not yet considered an accepted method of educating students, students in these programs feel “different” and a bit outside “the norm.”

Thankfully, we have also observed that this very angsty adolescent desire for sameness begins to shift somewhat in high school. At this stage, many students begin to appreciate their bilingual skills and the opportunities bilingualism and biliteracy might afford them in the future.

What does 9th grade look like?

The program for 9th grade students, current 7th graders in 2019-20 school year and beyond, will look different through the coming years.

As the program continues to grow, so will the need and ability of the district to provide 3 content courses taught in Spanish. These course names will vary based on teacher certification and number of students registered for courses. This list may include AP Spanish and AP Spanish Literature.

If there are not 15 or more students registered to be in the two-way bilingual immersion program, then HPS will work to offer 1-2 courses taught in Spanish. This would be considered a maintenance program and not immersion. (See vision/mission statements above.)

Potential Schedule for 2019 through 2023

This will be based on the following:

  • Number of students who enroll and
  • The ability of the district to secure effective teaching staff
  • This is a continuation of Spanish related courses, not an immersion program
  • When there is a critical number of students, more content courses can possibly be offered in Spanish.
  • This will most likely occur as two sections of each grade begin progressing through the secondary program.
9th Grade, 2019-20
  • Course taught in Spanish
  • Biology
  • History or AP Gov
  • Algebra I or Geometry
  • English 9
  • Elective
10th Grade, 2020-21
  • AP Spanish
  • World History or Other
  • Chemistry
  • Geometry or Algebra 2
  • English 10
  • Elective
11th Grade, 2021-22
  • AP Spanish Lit
  • Physics
  • US History
  • Algebra 2 or Pre Calc
  • English 11
  • Elective
12th Grade, 2022-23
  • Dual enrollment options in Spanish
  • Pre Calc or Statistics or Calc
  • English 12
  • Elective

Holland Early College

March 30, 2018

Commitment of HPS Board of Education and Administration

The HPS Board of Education and Administration are committed to the continued growth and development of our early college high school program. This commitment includes an application to the Michigan Department of Education to become our own early college program.

We have valued and appreciated the partnership with the South Ottawa Early College program in partnership with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Muskegon Community College and Grand Valley State University. Over the past several years, our new learning and growth to meet the needs of our early college student population has resulted in expansion of career pathways and providing more services and support here in the city of Holland.

Andrea Mehall will continue as the dedicated administrator for our continued growth and transition to the campus of Holland High School. Dedicated staff, spaces and learning environments with a potential new college partner will allow us to build on the success achieved to date. Since the fall of 2014, Holland Early College students have earned over 1,500 college credits. We are looking forward to our second cohort of students graduating this year.


  • Holland Public Schools application to the Michigan Department of Education to become our own early college program has been submitted and under current review. Davenport University has been named as the district's potential university partner moving forward for 18-19, 9th-12th grade students. Current 12th year students who will be 13th year students in 18-19 will continue with Muskegon Community College for their final year. 
  • We are excited to share that our early college proposal meets many goals outlined in Governor Synder's Marshall Plan for TalentMichigan's Top 10 in 10 Years Goals, and 21st Century Education Commission.

Benefits of the Davenport University Partnership

  • Increased supports for counseling, academic advising, career services, mentor/internships, orientation for families etc. right here in Holland on their local campus

  • Well-defined program pathways & guidelines established to address HPS student interests and local community needs (incorporate articulated courses that can be applied towards 4 year degree) that include business, technology (that can lead to continued training in engineering), health services and teacher preparation

  • Early start (introducing college in 9th grade) to build confidence and scaffold success

  • Full year of Seminar (college success support course in 11th and 12th grade) for advising, tutoring, interventions, and progress monitoring

  • Intentional High School-College relationship (true “success team” model), allows opportunity for vertical curriculum alignment, ability to request college faculty, access to student’s schedules and grades, etc.

  • Opportunity to engage with Michigan Early Middle College Association (MEMCA) and affiliate collaborators to share our data & enhance our practices for continuous improvement.

  • Opportunity to continue on earning a four-year degree with Davenport University

  • Articulation of classes to other four-year partners for continuation beyond an earned Associate's Degree

Holland High School/Davenport University Campus Tour Scheduled

  • Holland Early College is currently in the process of planning orientation/open house activities to help familiarize students with their new campus prior to the start of school in August.


Students currently enrolled in the Holland Early College pathway program will have the first opportunity to continue with this new partnership. Spaces are limited for new students in the 18-19 school year. If you are interested in learning more about this program and enrollment options/opportunities, please contact Andrea Mehall at amehall@hollandpublicschools.org.


School Start/End Times

School Start/End Time for 2018-2019 ***NEW***

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


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


Holland High School/HEC/HVRT


Parent Engagement

The HPS Board of Education and Administration is committed to parental involvement and parent engagement. Both are uniquely different and essential to the operations of our schools.

As we move forward and bring details forward with our restructure plan, we invite interested parents and community members to engage with us.

If you are interested in working on the planning for the restructure itself, please email bkooiker@hollandpublicschools.org. Please indicate which specific topics you are interested in helping with.

If you are interested in being part of developing a specific Parent Engagement Strategic Plan, please email bkooiker@hollandpublicschools.org.


Teacher Assignments for 18-19

Teacher quality and curriculum/programs were cited by our Winter 2018 Parent Survey as the two driving factors that parents consider when selecting a school for their children.

Holland Public Schools is blessed to have highly trained, skilled and committed teachers across the district. Each day I am humbled by the work that they do to build a culture of learning in their classrooms consistent with our vision/mission.

We recognize that many of our teaching staff will be impacted by the restructure that will be taking place in 18-19. We also know that parents and students have many questions about what buildings their current teachers will be in next year. 

As a result of changes in state law, the process of determining where teachers will be and in what capacity is based upon professional staff evaluations. These evaluations are based in part on student achievement growth. The data that we use to calculate this growth will not be available until the end of the school year. This will impact our ability to communicate to our teaching staff their exact teaching assignments prior to the end of the school year. 

Once these assignments have been made, we will share the teaching assignments across the district by building and update our district website to reflect these changes.

We appreciate your patience during this process that is new to all of us.