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My Town: No school, no problem! Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

My Town: No school, no problem!  Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

During the winter break from school, many students will pack away their books and turn their attention away from learning. 

To help ensure your students are still learning, statewide virtual learning school, Michigan Connections Academy, is sharing activities you can do as a family to keep your young students busy and their brains active over the break.

1.       Practice math while baking holiday cookies. Students struggle with fractions and always want to know when they will “use math in real life.” The perfect time to practice fractions is while you are baking cookies. Two-thirds of a cup plus 1/3 of a cup equals one whole cup, which your child will see as you work on making those cookies, helping develop a real life connection to what they are learning in school.

From West Michigan with love: Students surprise troops with Christmas care packages

From West Michigan with love: Students surprise troops with Christmas care packages

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—West Michigan isn’t forgetting its troops,  who will be overseas this Christmas.

National Honor Society members from Kenowa Hills High School recently teamed up with the Ottawa-North Kent Blue Star Moms of America to fill a bus with care packages for troops.  NHS members went door to door, collecting donations from neighbors for the packages.  Each class competed to see who could collect the most items.  At the end of the drive, NHS members had collected more than 2,000 food and toiletry items, which filled 65 care packages.

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Thousands of students interested in Michigan’s cultural hot spots will now have a set of wheels to get there.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs this week announced the recipients of its latest round of grants for its Arts & Culture Trek grant program.  The organization is awarding $60,000 to 161 schools across the state, to pay for field trip transportation.  Each grant is worth up to $500 and must be used between Jan. 5, 2015 and March 29, 2015.

"A record-breaking number of Michigan K-12 teachers applied for an Arts & Culture Trek Grant this year, and the vast majority of recipients were awarded the full amount they requested," said Marianne Dorais, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts. "From Detroit to Kalamazoo to Flint to Marquette, this program will serve thousands of students from 42 counties across the state."

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is boosting tuition assistance for students, but time is running out to apply for it.

The deadline for applying for first round funding is Nov. 22.  The first round of grants will be announced in early February and distributed in early fall.

Bishop Walkowiak recently announced the Diocese is more than quadrupling tuition assistance, from $240,000 to $1 million each year.  The funding boost, made possible through donations and diocese scholarship accounts, is part of a three-year effort to make Catholic schools affordable to more families.  According to Private School Aid Service, even after all tuition assistance is distributed, Catholic school families still need $1.2 million a year.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Presents We Are GR School Choice Expo

Grand Rapids Public Schools Presents We Are GR School Choice Expo

Grand Rapids Public Schools We Are GR School Choice Expo

School of Choice for Teachers

School of Choice for Teachers

Thanks to Schools of Choice programs in Michigan, students are afforded the opportunity to choose a school environment that best meets their learning needs. These programs also offer our state’s educators opportunities to teach in environments that are best suited for them. Just as some teachers flourish in a traditional school, there are those who prefer teaching at a virtual public school, such as Michigan Connections Academy, the school where I teach.

I work with an incredible team of teachers – they are state-certified, specially trained in online learning, recognized as Highly Qualified under the guidelines of the No Child Left Behind Act—and live in Michigan. In fact, even though we teach in a virtual school, more than 60 teachers travel to the school’s office in Lansing every day to lead online instruction for more than 1,700 students across Michigan in grades kindergarten through 12.