School News Network: Godwin Poetry Slam

Nov 18, 2019
Godwin Heights Middle School Poetry Slam photo
School News Network

Godwin Middle School eighth graders tapped into their own stories two write poetry, inspired by authors and the poetry of rapper Tupac Shakur.

When Language Arts teacher Betsy Berry introduced a poetry unit to her eighth graders at Godwin Heights Middle School recently, the response was...less than enthusiastic. By the time the unit was finished, students were writing their own poems in their free time, sharing their verses out loud, and illustrating their poems in art class.

How did that happen?

American flag half mast via Wikimedia | Public Domain /

Members of the student government at Grand Valley State University scratched the Pledge of Allegiance from the agenda at a recent meeting.

Student senator Samuel Jacobs tells WOOD-TV that "by removing the pledge, we can be accepting of all students." The vote Thursday was 21-10 with 10 abstentions.

Another senator, Dorian Thompson, says students have posted angry reactions on social media. He says skipping the pledge at the meeting takes away the "voice of the people." Thompson says it was the wrong message during the week of Veterans Day.

Philomena V. Mantella photo

The Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse served as the backdrop for the investiture ceremony. More than 200 faculty and staff members joined students for the inauguration of Dr. Philomena V. Mantella. Presidents Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers, Mark Murray and Thomas J. Haas offered remarks.

Dr. Mantella is the university’s fifth president and first woman to serve as its leader in its 60-year history. In her 20-plus minute address, Mantella made clear her vision for the future.

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Students and teachers at Rockford’s Crestwood Elementary School wanted to express the idea of kindness and community in their school. They did so by teaming up with an artist to create a hallway mural that colorfully expresses those values. In the process, students learned a good bit about art and story-telling.

A hallway in Rockford’s Crestwood Elementary is a bit more colorful and a bit kinder, thanks to a recently completed mural by Lowell artist Mary Bent-Buist.

Dr. Philomena V. Mantella portrait

Grand Valley State University President Philomena Mantella outlined her strategy for the school’s future during the November Board of Trustees meeting with her Reach Higher Together imperatives.

Dr. Mantella has been seeking input from the entire Grand Valley community as she formulates a strategy for the university’s future. Hundreds of faculty, staff and students have been meeting in what have been called “Grand Huddles.” Meetings where opportunities and challenges are addressed. More than 2,200 ideas and comments have been expressed.

standardized testing photo
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Michigan students rank roughly middle of the pack in reading on the nation's report card, inching up slightly in the latest two-year testing cycle.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress results were released Wednesday. They rank states based on a representative sample of students.

Michigan was 32nd in fourth-grade reading, up from 35th. It was 28th in eighth-grade reading, up from 30th.

Michigan was 28th in eighth-grade math, an improvement from 33rd. But it was 42nd in fourth-grade math, down from 38th.

SNN: Lowell therapy dog

Oct 29, 2019
Bruno, Lowell therapy dog photo
School News Network

Lowell Area Schools students are getting to know the canine in their classrooms this school year. The dog is a furry friend there when students need him.

Even though he’s a newcomer to Cherry Creek Elementary, Bruno is already quite popular. He’s third grade teacher Brook Beaufait’s golden retriever.

SNN: Kenowa Hills Connect Class

Oct 14, 2019
Kenowa Hills Connect Class photo
School News Network

Kenowa Hills Middle School has created a new, daily class called Connect this fall to enrich learning and bond students and teachers.

Connect Class, which meets daily for 18 minutes, focuses on the learning process, goal setting, life skills and group discussions.

Eighth grade social studies teacher and Connect planning team member Susan Trotter said the number one goal is to connect with the students for 18 minutes a day and slow down and have a relationship with them. She likes the idea of remaining with the same group of students from sixth through eighth grade.

Caleb Clark photo
School News Network

Comstock Park Public Schools is offering new program called Flex Academy for high school students to catch up on credits, preparing them for what comes next -- careers or continued education.

After falling behind in his classes, 16-year-old Caleb Clark says he’s finally on a path to get his high school diploma and start a career in welding.

Caleb is enrolled in Comstock Park School District’s new Flex Academy, a hybrid high school designed to help students who are behind or who struggle in traditional classrooms.

Mental health graphic

A multi-million dollar grant will help address youth violence in Muskegon area schools through a grant focusing on mental health support.

The United States Department of Education has awarded 20 education systems with grant dollars aimed at preventing youth violence. The Muskegon Intermediate School District is one of them receiving $4.5 million dollars. It will use the money for strengthening its Project Safe: A MYalliance Collaborative focusing on positive behaviors improving social, emotional and behavioral skills.