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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.

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool
------------------------NEWS RELEASE---------------GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (First Steps Kent) – A collaborative team of parents, educators and advocates in Kent County launches a coordinated spring-summer marketing campaign for state-funded free preschool this week. Designed with bright colors, bold graphics, and adorable children, the materials focus on the benefit of preschool for little ones throughout the county. Campaign posters, flyers and yard signs will be shared by schools, preschools, doctors’ offices, salons, grocery stores and more—essentially, any organization serving parents of preschoolers. “We don’t have buckets of money for a big advertising push, so we are taking it to the streets with our amazing network of parent volunteers, community advocates, and grassroots activists,” said Judy Freeman, director of Great Start Collaborative for Kent County.

My Town: Kenowa Hills graduate delivers farewell rap

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  Kenowa Hills High School’s newest graduates will likely never forget the first speech delivered during their graduation.

On Wednesday, May 28, Sean Beachnau stepped up to the podium and with one deep breath, launched into a four minute rap.  Beachnau posted the entire address on YouTube with the message, “a great way to end my years at Kenowa Hills.”

Beachnau, who served as the senior class vice president, will attend Grand Valley State University in the fall.  He plans to major in international business.  Wheaton College, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are also among the schools this year's graduates plan to attend next.

Pennington says 212 seniors participated in the graduation ceremony, which lasted about 90 minutes.  More than 1,000 people attended the event, filling Kenowa Hills Fieldhouse to capacity.  Additional guests watched the ceremony from the performing arts center.

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Construction is underway on a greenhouse designed by pre-engineering students at West Catholic High School.

The students raised more than $8,000 for the greenhouse, which they will design and build right outside the school.  In a photo posted on West Catholic High School’s Facebook page on May 6, you can see the students putting up the walls.

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  It’s National Charter Schools Week and National Heritage Academies is celebrating a record number of applicants.

The charter school system says this year, so many children applied to NHA that 20,952 students were put on the wait list.  When it has more applicants than open seats, NHA uses a random lottery to determine who gets into its schools.

“We have experienced record numbers of applications and demand for our schools with wait lists of more than 2,000 students at some schools,” said National Heritage Academies President and CEO Chip Hurlburt. “We appreciate the support we receive from parents who feel so strongly about the quality school choice NHA provides.”