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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: 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: Construction on an upswing in Plainfield Township

My Town: Construction on an upswing in Plainfield Township

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Hammers and saws are busy once again in Plainfield Township, as home and business construction picks up with the improving economy.

“Plats of land that have been on hold for years are coming back to life this spring,” said Bill Fischer, community development director for Plainfield Township.  “Many of these plats already have the infrastructure built; subdivisions that have roads and utilities, water and sewer.  And now, finally, the builders are feeling confident in the market and moving forward with construction.”

From Jan. 1 through the month of April, construction crews worked on homes and businesses in the township totaling more than $5.5 million in value.  Fischer says the long winter delayed many building permit applications until late April, so that investment only reflected a few weeks of investments.

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 Comstock Park: Hacking for Education Golf Outing deadline nears

My Town Comstock Park: Hacking for Education Golf Outing deadline nears

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—Enjoy the green while raising some green for school programs during the Hacking for Education Golf Outing, organized by the Comstock Park Educational Foundation.

The registration deadline for this event is June 1.  For a $70 entry fee, golfers get 18 holes of golf, a cart, lunch, dinner and entry into shot contests.  Registration and lunch is at noon, with a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m.  For a registration form, click here.

Proceeds from Hacking for Education Golf Outing will support the Comstock Park Educational Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that supports educational programs throughout the district.