NPS Receives Excellence in Education Award

On May 16, NPS was one of 26 school districts that were recognized by the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB).  MASB along with the generous support of SET SEG School Insurance Specialists, annually selects school districts with innovative programs. Specifically, MASP honors districts that have found unique solutions to complex educational challenges, and haven’t let financial challenges and limited resources stand in the way of attaining excellence.The Education Excellence Awards honor the top three local school districts in each of eight categories and the top three intermediate school district programs.*

The program, PROJECT CITIZEN was honored in the Community Engagement category.  As you may be aware, Project Citizen is a program in which all NPS 5th grade students work together to identify needs and follow through with plans to make a positive difference in the community.  This program has greatly increased student understanding of becoming responsible citizens and the importance of working with other citizens to make communities better.  As a result, some of the projects have included the 5th grade students participating in environmental clean-up, reading and working with younger students, recycling, etc.

NPS is very proud of the PROJECT CITIZEN program.  Congratulations to the 5th grade teachers (both past and present) at Velma Matson Upper Elementary for this accomplishment.  Jaime Harkness, 5th grade teacher was on hand in East Lansing to accept the award.

Harkness & Ed Excellence Award

*Information taken from MASB Bulletin.


5th Grade Engineering Night a Success

On May 8, NPS held the First Annual Engineering Night.  In cooperation with NC RESA and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) Regional Math & Science Center, we were able to provide this exciting opportunity for 5th grade students and their families.  A total of 72 parents, siblings and students were in attendance.  This was the first year of the event for NPS and the goal was to provide several hands-on activities to get kids and parents thinking about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  We also had two professional engineers present to assist with the exploratory activities and answer questions about their career paths as well as a local dentist.  Twenty NPS volunteers along with 5 MAISD Math & Science Center staff were present to facilitate the activities.

Engineering Night

Feedback from the event was very positive.  One volunteer commented,  “It was great to see so many parents, especially Dads, participate with their kids in the activities.”  One 5th grade student quipped, “Building a robotic hand was fun and taught me what Biomedical Engineers do to help people.”  Another student added, “I really like making the hand and mining for chocolate.  I also loved spending time with my parents!”

It is the goal to have this event each year to provide opportunities and information for our students and families.  We are confident that it was a success as evidenced by two students showing up in the library the next day looking for books and information on what engineers do!

Thanks to NC RESA, the MAISD Math & Science Center, and the elementary teachers who gave of their time to make sure everything ran as scheduled.  It is because of their initiative and willingness give our students this opportunity that NPS was selected as a pilot for the MAISD program.  We definitely look forward to a bigger and better Family Engineering Night next year.



Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

This week has been declared Teacher Appreciation Week and today (May 7) is Teacher Appreciation Day.  I believe we should be thanking our teachers and showing appreciation all throughout the year but this week/day does give us the opportunity to recognize those individuals who work hard to meet the needs of students and families.

I am sure we all have a teacher that was a part of our lives at some point and had a positive influence on us.  For me, my parents were my first teachers and they taught me many things.  In addition to my parents, however, when I was growing up I had several teachers and coaches that helped me grow, learn from some tough experiences, and prepare me for life in general.  One teacher in particular, Mr. Spicer, was my high school math teacher and it wasn’t necessarily his math teaching that I recall.  While he was a very good teacher of math content, I remember him fondly because of his belief in me and my potential, despite my own efforts at times to the contrary.  He frequently encouraged me to work hard and try to excel even when I didn’t think I had the ability.

Do you have a teacher that influenced you in a positive way?  Have you ever said thank you to that person?  Do you appreciate what your child’s teacher(s) do day in and day out for your own children?  If so, take a moment and say “thanks” and/or drop him or her a quick note.  Teaching is a challenging job.  A little appreciation toward a teacher can go a long way.

NPS to Adjust Administrative Structure

During the mid to late part of the summer of 2012, three building administrators left Newaygo Public Schools and took positions in other school districts.  At the time, the positions occupied by those individuals were not immediately filled and we elected to have two principals oversee four buildings for the 2012-13 school year.

For the 2013-14 school year, we will not continue the administrative staffing structure as it currently exists.  The building leadership for next year will consist of:  Jackie Knight – HS Principal; Sarah Rodriguez – HS Asst. Principal; Steve Bush – Velma Matson Elementary Principal.  Terry Bourke is going to work as the counselor at the middle school.  We are currently advertising and working to find quality educators to join the NPS leadership team.  One new principal will fill a vacancy at the Vera Wilsie Elementary as well as assume some other administrative duties.  The other new principal will assume the Middle School Principal position.  It is my hope to have these positions filled by early June.  Even with all of these changes, we still will not be at the same administrative and counseling staffing levels as we were in the years prior to 2012-13 school year.

NPS continues to work very hard to operate in a fiscally responsible manner.  We are always looking at opportunities to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality education that this community has come to expect.  In these challenging financial times, we will continue to work on ways to reduce costs in light of dwindling resources.  Thank you to all of you for support as we try to examine ways to creatively use our limited resources.