NPS Teachers Honored

Congratulations are in order for four outstanding NPS teachers.  Each year, NC RESA hosts a community awards night at the Dogwood Center in Fremont.  Several individuals are recognized including school volunteers, teachers from each school district and students from the NCCTC.  Annually, each district nominates one teacher from each of their buildings.  Applications and recommendations are blind-scored and one teacher from elementary, middle, and high school in the county is selected as the finalist.  The finalist is given recognition and some funds for their classroom by The Fremont Area Community Foundation.

This year, I am very pleased to recognized the four teachers from NPS that were nominated.  They include:  Vera Wilsie Elementary – MELISSA HUBERT, Velma Matson Upper Elem. – JODI BULL, Middle School – DEB IWEMA, High School – DONNA GRODUS.  These four individuals were nominated by their peers and represent the finest teachers in the area.  We are also proud to announce that of the 3 finalists in the county, NPS won two of them!  Congrats are in order to Melissa Hubert and Deb Iwema for those honors.

Outstanding Educators 2013

Pictured from left to right is Melissa Hubert, Donna Grodus, Deb Iwema, and Jodi Bull.  NPS is very proud and thankful for these individuals and for all of our teachers.

Thank You NPS Secretaries

School offices are a hub of activity in most schools.  Teachers, students, parents, the principal, aides, custodians, etc., all have needs and many times the school secretary is the “go to” person for information and/or assistance.  The school secretary’s role has continuously expanded while resources and support around this position and in the school have dwindled.

April 24 has been declared Administrative Professional’s Day.  Here at NPS, we are fortunate to have some fine individuals working in our school offices.  I would like to take a moment to recognize the dedicated people who work in our school buildings in doing what, at times, can seem like a thankless job.  They are:  Vera Wilsie Elem - Shawn Adams, Carol DeWispelaere; Velma Matson Upper Elem – Pam Barton; MS – Terri Hubbard; HS – Peggy Boyd, Laurie Gracik, Lyn Shoemaker; Admin Bldg. - Jessica Borkowski, Tammi Newfer.

Thanks to all of these individuals who work in supporting our staff and students.

An Afternoon in Lansing Provides Insight

On April 16, I was able to attend a legislative retreat at the Michigan State Capitol.  This event was hosted by the ESA Legislative Group.  The afternoon was structured to have Superintendents or key people in Lansing when the Legislature is in session.  We met in the Speaker’s Library and took part in a Legislative briefing.  I was able to meet with and/or hear presentations from the following:  Representative Jon Bumstead, Senator Geoff Hansen, Anne Blankenhorn from Senate Education Policy, Susan Broman, Director of the Office of Great Start, Bethany Wicksall of the House Fiscal Agency, Scott Jenkins who was a former Ed Advisor for Governor Mitch McDaniels of Indiana and now works as a consultant, Senator Judy Emmons, Representative Bill Rogers, and Senator Phil Pavlov who is the Chair of the Senate Education Committee.  Each of the presenters shared their thoughts on policies, upcoming bills, budgetary matters, and general opinions on educational issues.

Many citizens have become disillusioned with the Lansing and Washington, D.C., and/or politicians in general.  Despite this, I have made a commitment to become more active in making sure my legislators know where I stand on educational issues.  This is not easy as it takes precious time and energy to communicate with lawmakers.  Because I had the opportunity to be at the Capitol while the House was in session, I was able to see the political process in action as well.  As a result, one thing became very apparent.  We are extremely lucky to live in a society where the legislative process is alive and well.  While we may not agree with everything that comes out of Lansing or Washington D.C., we need to be thankful that we do live in a culture where debating issues and having political discourse is welcome.

The next time you find yourself complaining about what is happening at the legislative level, take a moment and communicate with those individuals that represent you.  I was reminded today of the importance of doing just that and as a Michigan citizen, I must stay informed of the issues facing all of us.  Please join me in advocating for public education and making sure your legislators know how important public schools are for our democratic society.  Our children and our future are worth the time and effort it takes to communicate with leaders in Lansing.


School Board Approves 3 Tech Bid Packages

This evening, the NPS School Board approved 3 of 4 bid packages for Technology equipment.  Bid Category 1 was for classroom Audio/Visual Systems.  This includes a document camera, video projector, projection screen, new cabling between components and a sound system with a wireless microphone for each K-12 classroom.

Bid Category 2 included Security Systems.  This includes two aspects; Access control and Video security.  Access Control includes equipment so that each employee will have a proximity card/name badge to access buildings and we will have the capability to secure entrances and limit access to buildings at our discretion.  The Video security system includes new cameras throughout the district with all images recorded and stored for a specified period of time at a central server at the High School.

Bid Category 4 included Data Cabling.  This will bring NPS up to date with the necessary cables and infrastructure to accommodate a mobile learning environment now and in the future.

Bid Category 3 was delayed as we felt like we needed more information from the vendors to make a selection.  This category includes networking and wireless systems.  Once we get clarification on the equipment with these systems, our board will approve those as well.

These are exciting times and we feel like we are building a quality infrastructure to allow our teachers and students to move forward as well as addressing some basic safety and security measures in our buildings.




Bullying Presentation at Upper Elementary

Mat Emerick

The “Bully Stilts” assembly was today at Velma Matson Upper Elementary.  Mat Emerick presented to our 3rd, 4th, & 5th grades students and talked about bullying and respect.  While entertaining our students with juggling, tricks, stilts, and humor, his message was meaningful and well-received by students.

Athletic Physicals Have Been Scheduled

Athletic Physicals will occur for any NPS student-athlete who plans to participate in sports in the 2013-14 school year.

Girls Physicals - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boys Physicals – Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cost is $12.00.  Pick up forms and get more information in the High School Counseling office and/or the Middle School office.


Early College Program to Begin in 2013-14

Newaygo Public Schools in conjunction with NCRESA is excited to begin a new program called the EARLY COLLEGE OF NEWAYGO COUNTY (ECNC) program.

What is ECNC?  It is an opportunity for students to enter into a 3-year path to an Associate’s Degree in grades 11,12, & 13.  This program will be integrated into the student’s high school courses and students will be enrolled at NHS and MCC for 3 consecutive years.  “Early College” or “Middle College” programs have been popping up around the state and we are excited to be able to provide this opportunity for Newaygo students.

Benefits of this type of program include:  1) Students enter the early college program while still in high school, 2) Students receive mentoring, academic, and financial support for early college success, 3) Students leave NPS after the 5th HS year with BOTH a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree (which is transferable to another college).

The ECNC is not for everybody.  Students must be motivated, self-disciplined, career-focused, and adaptable.  The ECNC is not limited to the highest achieving students.  In fact, the ECNC can be tailored to meet the needs of students who may not have the top achievement scores but instead have a desire to work hard and earn a post-secondary credential (associate’s degree).

ECNC should not be confused with Dual Enrollment which is available for high school students as well. Dual Enrollment is typically a program utilized by students who have plans to enroll in a 4-year college immediately after high school.  We are pleased to be able to offer both Dual Enrollment and ECNC for different types of individuals with varying career goals.

The application process for the ECNC begins in the spring of the 10th grade year.  Students begin the program in the summer after the 10th grade year and then enroll in NHS & MCC classes for the 11th, 12th, & 13th years.  As we prepare our first group of students to apply for and enroll in this program, we will be sharing updates.  This is an awesome opportunity for our students!

Technology Bond

NPS has been able to purchase new technology as a result of the passage of a Technology Bond.  In the summer of 2012 and over Christmas break in 2012-13, over 150 new Dell desktop computers were purchased and installed on teacher/staff desks.  Those teacher/staff computers (mostly from the MS & HS) that could be reused were cleaned and redeployed in some computer labs and classrooms throughout the district.  We are now planning for the purchase and installation of the following in every classroom:  1.) Video projector in the ceiling 2.) Audio system with wireless microphone 3.) Apple TV or other way to show iPad information 4.) New projection screen where required 5.) New cabling between all components 6.) Document camera.  It is the goal to have all of these systems installed over the summer for use in each classroom for the Fall of 2013.

The recent bid package also encompasses: 1.) Security systems such as Access Control and Video Security 2.) Data Networking and Wireless Systems 3.) Data Cabling.

At some point in the future, decisions will need to be made on user devices (for both teachers and students), servers and storage upgrades, additional computers and a telephone system.

The planning and budgeting of the technology bond money has taken several months, but we have been very careful to make solid decisions in terms of spending taxpayer money in the most efficient way possible.  The goal is to have our buildings capable of handing wireless technology no matter what devices our teachers and students are using now and in the future.  Additionally, we have been able to methodically plan and budget for some safety and security upgrades that weren’t included in the original plans.

Stay tuned.  As equipment is purchased and installed, I will be sharing updates.

City of Newaygo Honors NHS Band

Newaygo City and BandOn April 8, 2013, the Newaygo City Council honored the NHS Marching Band for their MCBA Flight IV State Championship that they earned in November, 2012.  Mayor Ed Fedell read a resolution that was adopted by the entire city council and made the presentation in front of a large crowd of NPS band members and parents at the Newaygo City Council meeting.

Both NPS and the City of Newaygo are extremely proud of the music program, the outstanding accomplishments of students, and dedication of parents to the program.  The creativity, talent, and passion displayed by our students is a point of pride for the entire community.

Pictured above is Newaygo Mayor Ed Fedell congratulating Music Program Assistant Sue Cornell.