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My Town: Four fun ways to prepare for heading back to school

My Town: Four fun ways to prepare for heading back to school

The start of the 2014-15 schools year is just around the corner.

As a parent, don’t let the start of a new school year catch you off guard- start preparing your students now to hit the books this fall.  While some activities, like waking up early, may be met with less enthusiasm, back-to-school preparation can be fun. 

Educators at Michigan Connections Academy have developed four fun, yet educational, activities parents and students can do together to help prepare for a successful start to the new school year— and the best part is the students won’t even realize they are learning!

My Town EGR: West Catholic students to earn credits from Aquinas College

My Town EGR: West Catholic students to earn credits from Aquinas College

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Students of West Catholic High School will have a new opportunity to earn college credits beginning this fall.

The school is teaming up with Aquinas College to create a dual enrollment pilot program.  Eligible juniors and seniors will have a chance to take Principles of Accounting in the fall and Principles of Management in the spring.  The college courses will have the same rigor and expectations as those taught on Aquinas’ campus, but will be taught at the high school by Aquinas faculty.  West Catholic students will not need to pay additional tuition for the classes, but will be required to purchase their own books.

My Town: More districts to add school resource officers this fall

My Town: More districts to add school resource officers this fall

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Four additional officers from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department will be patrolling the hallways and grounds of West Michigan schools next fall.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners last week approved contracts in which the Kent County Sheriff Department will provide a school resource officer to Byron Center Public Schools, Kent City Community Schools and Kenowa Hills Public Schools.  Lowell Area Schools is working with a community partner to fund a school resource officer and hopes to commit to a contract in the coming weeks.

The SROs will improve school safety by investigating school related incidences and taking a proactive approach to deter violence and crime on campus.

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide:

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

WYOMING, Mich.—While school is out for most districts this summer, another academy is starting up classes this week.

Public safety and police departments from Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville, Walker, Rockford, East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University are teaming up for the 19th annual Metro High School Police Academy.  The Michigan State Police Rockford post and Kent County Sheriff’s Department are also participating in the academy, which runs now through June 20 at Grandville High School. 

Approximately 40 area high school students are taking part in this year’s training program, which will give them a snapshot of what a real police academy would be comprised of- patrol operations, criminal investigations, community policing and physical training.  A graduation ceremony will take place at Grandville High School beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

My Town: Lowell teacher donates his shag to charity

My Town: Lowell teacher donates his shag to charity

LOWELL, Mich.—A teacher’s head is a little lighter this summer, after winning a very hairy bet to help others.

As a retired Army officer, Rob Stevens had always kept his hair trim; that’s why his friend Steve Cannady thought he could win an easy bet by challenging Stevens to growing his hair to at least ten inches.  If Stevens could resist the urge to pick up a pair of scissors, Cannady promised to donate $20 an inch to the charity of Stevens’ choice.

Earlier this month, Stevens celebrated his first hair cut since November 2012, during an assembly at Cherry Creek Elementary, where he teaches fifth grade.  The Humane Society of West Michigan was on hand to accept the $200 donation.  The hair will go into a wig for Children With Hair Loss.