SNN: Kent City Drones

Apr 29, 2019
Kent City 8th grader Ivan Aguilar-Duarte with teacher Jeremy Smith photo
School News Network

Migrant students in Kent City Community Schools are learning to fly drones, getting exposure to STEM fields, they otherwise may not.

Until coming to Kent City, eighth-grader Ivan Aguilar-Duarte had never seen a drone, but now has experience operating them.

Learning about drones is part of the Kent City afterschool program for students in families that travel for seasonal work.

After The Grand Rapids Board of Education narrowed down a nationwide search for the next superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools to two finalists, and after an opening round of interviews last month, Monday evening marked each candidate’s last chance to convey to the Board why they are the right person for the job.

Both candidates are men, both are African-American, and both are outsiders, having never lived or worked in West Michigan.

SNN: GRPS Vision to Learn

Mar 14, 2019
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Grand Rapids Public Schools students are receiving free eye exams and glasses thanks to a partnership that aims to help them succeed in school by improving their vision.

Seventh-grader Frederick Charles had a lot to say about how new glasses will help him at school: His grades will go up. He’ll get A’s and everything will be easier to read.

Samantha Fuentes portrait
Samantha Fuentes

A survivor of the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School visited Grand Valley State University speaking about gun violence and school safety.

Samantha Fuentes recalls Valentine’s Day 2018 when 19-year old Nicholas Cruz shot and killed 17 of her Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School classmates using an AR-15 style rifle. She remembers scrambling for cover when Cruz sprayed her classroom with a shower of bullets. She was hit in the legs and still has shrapnel lodged behind her right eye.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is guest on WGVU-TV's West Michigan Week

Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited Grand Rapids Wednesday kicking of her post-State of the State Address “Home for Opportunity Tour.” It’s a statewide 50-event tour focusing on fixing the state’s roads and preparing the 21st Century workforce. I spoke with Governor Whitmer during a recording of WGVU-TV’s “West Michigan Week.” 

“We’ve got jobs that are going unfilled today because we have a big skills gap in Michigan and it starts with the education of our kids.”

SNN: Minimizing Polar Vortex affect

Feb 11, 2019
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Two weeks ago school administrators made it to work every day while snow-clogged roads and sub-zero temps forced them to call a week-long snow day event for students. Last week, ice is hampered efforts to dig out of a learning-time deficit.

Of Kent ISD’s 20 districts, only East Grand Rapids held classes at all last week during the polar vortex, and East was only open on Tuesday. It was the longest period of time school has been called consecutively, according to Rockford’s Mike Shibler, West Michigan’s longest-serving superintendent.

Dr. Philomena V. Mantella portrait

President Donald Trump dedicated one sentence to education during his State of the Union Address.

Incoming Grand Valley State University president, Dr. Philomena Mantella, attended the joint session of Congress as a guest of Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters. Monday before leaving for Washington D.C., Dr. Mantella told WGVU she was hopeful President Trump would highlight higher education’s role in America’s future. What did she make of the President’s brief remark?

“I would have liked to have seen education take a broader role in the conversation.”

Dr. Philomena V. Mantella portrait

Grand Valley State University’s board of trustees has unanimously approved the university’s next president. Philomena V. Mantella will be the first woman leading the institution in its nearly 60 year history. She’ll become GVSU’s fifth president replacing Thomas J. Haas.

SNN: KTC Core YMCA Cooking Matters

Dec 17, 2018
KTC YMCA Cooking Matters
School News Network

Using fresh ingredients and basic kitchen techniques, students with learning challenges are gaining skills for independence and potential. Like most young adults, students attending a “Cooking Matters” class at the Visser Family YMCA knew what snacks and treats could be found in their refrigerators and cupboards at home. But after the class, they now know how to stock those shelves with healthy food they can prepare themselves. The class was presented through Kent Transition Center’s CORE Program for students with disabilities.

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Monday’s weather gave many area students an extra day off following their Thanksgiving holiday. It also extended a series of GRPS superintendent search input meetings into next week.

Kent County’s largest school district, Grand Rapids Public Schools, is looking for your input on their next superintendent. Town hall meetings are being held this week and next so people can share their thoughts on the characteristics they’d like to see in a new schools chief. That person will succeed Teresa Weatherall Neal who is set to retire at the end of June.