Tag Archives: Godwin Heights Public Schools

School News Network: Kent County school districts make breakfast more accessible

Kindergaren teacher Joy Howard hands Jerez Prebble his morning meal.

By Erin Albanese

School News Network

 

Just after the morning school bell rings, West Kelloggsville Elementary School teacher Joy Howard calls up her kindergartners one-by-one to hand them breakfast. They settle back in their seats to sip milk and juice, nibble cereal, crunch apples and devour muffins.

 

“It makes us healthy,” said kindergartner Jerez Prebble, after polishing off his morning meal.

 

Following spring break, six teachers at West served breakfast in the classroom as a way to make sure their students not only had the option to eat at school, but that a meal was put right in front of them every morning. It’s a way to get more children eating; while free breakfast has been available to all students before school through the School Breakfast Program for years, the number of them arriving in time to eat was lagging. At West, 79 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches.

 

“The percentage of students at West eating breakfast was way lower than you’d expect the need to be,” said Principal Eric Schilthuis. “We want them to have a nutritious meal to get them through the morning.”

 

It’s a common scenario. Nationwide, 21 million U.S. children get free or reduced-price school lunch, but only half of those students get breakfast even though they are eligible. That’s according to No Kid Hungry, a campaign of Share Our Strength, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that connects children with healthy food offered through federal programs such as the School Breakfast and Summer Meals. In Michigan, offering breakfast is mandated in schools with a free and reduced-lunch population of more than 20 percent. Some low-income districts offer free breakfast to all students.

 

Research shows starting the day with breakfast has long-term benefits. According to the report, “Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis” by Deloitte and the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices, students who eat breakfast attend an average of 1.5 more days of school; average 17.5 percent higher on math tests; and are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school.

 

Since serving it in the classroom, breakfast participation at West jumped from about 35 percent to 68 percent building-wide. That should increase more when more teachers offer it next school year. “It’s been a great success here,” said Brenda Jansen, food service director.

 

Dexter Andrew digs into breakfast at West Kelloggsville Elementary.

The Big Picture

The story is bigger than breakfast: it’s about ending childhood hunger. Amy Klinkoski, breakfast coach for Michigan No Kid Hungry, is working with Kent County districts, including Kelloggsville, to make breakfast more accessible.

 

Klinkoski recently coached food service directors on implementing a “Grab and Go” option at Union and Ottawa Hills high schools and C.A. Frost middle and high schools. The option allows students to grab prepackaged breakfasts from mobile carts in high traffic areas, such as hallways, entryways or cafeterias. Since starting the option, the number of Union High students eating breakfast has increased by 250 to 300 students per day, she said.

East Kentwood High School offers vending and smoothies to students until mid-morning, and has the highest percentage of students who eat breakfast at a Kent County high school, Klinkoski said.

 

 

Wyoming, Godwin Heights, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, and Alpine Elementary in Kenowa Hills Public Schools have had breakfast in the classroom in place for several years.

 

Xaded Douglas has got milk.

In Wyoming’s Oriole Park Elementary School, second-grade teacher Danielle Terpstra said eating breakfast in the classroom is part of the routine for at least 50 percent of students. She keeps leftover breakfast items around for snacks later, so nearly every student in her room eats something.

 

“Some of the kids eat the food as breakfast, morning snack, some at lunch, and even ask to take some home,” Terpstra said. “I believe it gives the kids the necessary start to a healthy body and brain for learning that day.

 

“I am thankful that we can fill that basic need for so many of them,” she added. “I don’t have any test scores to back my claims, but I really believe that the breakfast is one thing we can do to get our kids just what they need at the start of the day.”

 

Klinkoski reminds hesitant educators that offering breakfast at the beginning of instruction time is the same type of interruption as having snack time later — and keeps hunger in check earlier. Also, increased revenue from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for more breakfasts offsets the cost of labor and food.

 

Alaina Humphrey enjoys her juice box.

Why it Matters

According to the report “Ending Childhood Hunger” from The Lunch Box, a network supporting healthy school food programs, 48.8 million Americans — including 13 million children — live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year. The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program monthly benefit is $1.46 per meal, and nearly half of SNAP recipients are children. Three out of four teachers say their students regularly come to school hungry.

 

In her kindergarten classroom, Joy Howard agreed starting the day with breakfast in class helps her students be more ready to learn until lunchtime.

 

“Some of the children who needed it the most were missing it,” she said. “There’s a comfort knowing that if they haven’t eaten, they can get it here.”

School News Network: School barbershop builds self-esteem, community

Senior Lazevious Steele gets a haircut from Duane Bacchus (Photo courtesy of School News Network)

By Erin Albanese

School News Network

 

Lazevious Steele sat snugly in a barber chair as Duane Bacchus used a razor to perfect his fade. The next day, Lazevious and other seniors walked across the stage sporting fresh haircuts to receive their high school diplomas.

 

Bacchus, a Kent School Services Network community coordinator, had opened the high school’s new barbershop — inside the men’s dressing room attached to the high school auditorium — for the first time the day before graduation, sprucing up seniors with free haircuts before their big send-off.

 

Next school year he plans to open twice weekly for boys to come in for a trim, and to participate in the ages-old style of barbershop banter that occurs when men gather for haircuts. Bacchus, whose job is to connect students and families with resources, has always included his own style of conversation and counseling in his duties. With the shop he’s adding a cool spin on how he serves Godwin Heights: a “neighborhood” barber where all are welcome, just like those he is used to.

 

“The barbershop has always been a place where nothing is off limits,” said Bacchus, who remembers “dying of laughter” from the conversations he heard in barbershops as a child. “There was a lot of wisdom and honest talk.”

 

Senior Gregory Sloan got a fresh style for graduation, thanks to Ace of Faces barber Chris Turner (Photo courtesy of School News Network)

Talking (Barber)shop
Bacchus, who cut friends’ hair in college for money, said he already regularly cuts several of his students’ hair. He had the idea of opening an in-school barbershop as a way to incentivize good behavior and build relationships.

 

With full support from the administration, he recruited his own barber, Chris Turner, from Ace of Fades in Grand Rapids, and another local barber, Miguel Estilo, who works at Maily’s Beauty Salon, to volunteer. Masonic Grand Rapids Lodge No. 34 donated three barber chairs.

 

Bacchus said he hopes to get more barbers to offer services, as well as a stylist for girls to get their makeup, nails and hair done for dances and special events.

 

“A haircut means so much to a kid in terms of confidence and your outlook on life,” he said. “You feel better about yourself, and it tends to make everything else easier.”

 

Turner’s also on board with helping students feel good and building up their self-esteem. “For some reason, people open up in a barbershop. It’s kind of reminiscent of a counselor. I listen and give feedback. Mostly, that’s what people need.”

 

Junior Sean Back snuck in for a quick trim.

‘Makes Me Feel Loved’

 

While Bacchus added the finishing touches to his hair, Lazevious reflected on how it felt to have someone care enough to give him a free haircut before graduation.

 

“It makes me feel loved and cared about,” he said. “I know Mr. Bacchus is a good barber. For him to take time out of his day to do this, it really means a lot to me.”

 

Part of his job is developing trust, Bacchus said.

 

“To sit down and have somebody take machines and run them through your hair, there has to be established trust,” Bacchus quipped. “That trust goes across the board. If you trust them to cut your hair, you trust them enough to talk to them as well.

 

“For me this project kind of embodies what KSSN is, making the school the center point of a kids’ life scholastically, bringing them community.”

 

Kent School Services Network is a countywide program that brings social and medical services to students’ schools and homes. It is run through a partnership with local districts and Kent ISD.

 

As they hung around the shop, students chatted.

 

“He’s a friend,” senior Gregory Sloan said of Bacchus. “He’s there if you need someone to talk to.”

 

“I don’t have to go to graduation with all this wild stuff on my head,” said senior Cameron Gray, touching his hair.

 

“(A barbershop) is a good environment. I think it makes everybody bond,” said senior Jamail Clark.

 

Next school year, students will be able to buy haircuts with Godwin Bucks, earned for good behavior through the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention Supports program.

 

Students with for their turns in the barber chair

Local high school sports schedule: Jan. 23-30

Looking for a Wyoming and Kentwood area high school varsity sports event to get out to? Here is your weekly list.

 

Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Girls Basketball

Grand Rapids Thunder @ West Michigan Lutheran

Boys/Girls Bowling

Wyoming Lee @ Godwin Heights

Kelloggsville @ Hopkins

South Christian @ Wayland

East Kentwood @ Hudsonville

Girls Gymnastics

East Kentwood @ Lowell

 

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

Girls Basketball

Covert @ Zion Christian

Christian @ Wyoming

Hopkins @ Kelloggsville

East Kentwood @ Hudsonville

Holland Calvary @ Tri-Unity Christian

Boys Basketball

Covert @ Zion Christian

Wyoming @ Christian

Wyoming Lee @ Godwin Heights

Kelloggsville @ Hopkins

Covenant Christian @ South Christian

Hudsonville @ East Kentwood

Fennville @ Tri-Unity Christian

Girls Cheer

@ East Kentwood

 

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

Girls Basketball 

WMAI @ Grand River Prep

Boys Basketball

WMAI @ Grand River Prep

Boys/Girls Bowling

Wayland @ Wyoming

Wyoming Lee @ NorthPointe Christian

Godwin Heights @ Calvin Christian

Kelloggsville @ Kent City

Middleville T-K @ South Christian

Grand Haven @ East Kentwood

Girls Cheer

Wyoming @ Middleville T-K

Wyoming Lee @ Hopkins

Godwin Heights @ Hopkins

Kelloggsville @ Hopkins

Boys Wrestling

Wyoming @ Zeeland West

Wyoming Lee @ Comstock Park

NorthPointe Christian @ Godwin Heights

Belding @ Kelloggsville

Grand Haven @ East Kentwood

Girls Gymnastics

FH Central @ East Kentwood

 

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017

Boys Basketball

Hudsonville Hornets @ West Michigan Aviation

Girls Basketball

West Michigan Aviation @ Tri-Unity Christian

Boys Swimming

South Christian @ Middleville T-K

Hudsonville @ East Kentwood

 

Friday, Jan. 27, 2017

Girls Basketball

Zion Christian @ Grand River Prep

Wyoming @ Hudsonville

Godwin Heights @ NorthPointe Christian

Kelloggsville @ Belding

Middleville T-K @ South Christian

Rockford @ East Kentwood

Boys Basketball

Zion Christian @ Grand River Prep

Wellspring Prep @ Potter’s House

Wyoming @ Hudsonville

Wyoming Lee @ Hopkins

Godwin Heights @ NorthPointe Christian

Kelloggsville @ Belding

Middleville T-K @ South Christian

Rockford @ East Kentwood

Ellington Academy @ Tri-Unity Christian

 

Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017

Boys/Girls Bowling

Wyoming @ Rockford

Godwin Heights @ Rockford

Wyoming Lee @ East Kentwood

Kelloggsville @ East Kentwood

South Christian @ Rockford

Boys Wrestling

Wyoming @ Montague

Wyoming Lee @ Reed City

Godwin Heights @ Okemos

East Kentwood @ Lakewood

Girls Cheer

Wyoming @ East Kentwood – LMCCOA

Kelloggsville @ East Kentwood – LMCCOA

Boys Swimming

South Christian @ Hudsonville

Girls Dance

East Kentwood @ Jenison

Girls Gymnastics

East Kentwood @ Kenowa Hills

 

Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

Boys/Girls Bowling

Potter’s House @ Christian

South Christian @ Christian

Wyoming @ FH Eastern

Kelloggsville @ Wyoming Lee

Godwin Heights @ Hopkins

Caledonia @ East Kentwood

Girls Basketball

Hudsonville Hornets @ West Michigan Lutheran

Kelloggsville @ Martin

Girls Cheer

Godwin Heights @ Hastings

Girls Gymnastics

East Kentwood @ Kenowa Hills

 

School News Network: Warm Hearts = Warm Clothes for the Holidays

Mariah Childs is excited over her new snow pants and boots.

By Linda Odette

School News Network

 

“It’s warm inside my hat!” a student yelled after putting on a new winter hat he received from the recent Warmth and Good Cheer event.

 

West Godwin Elementary spread that warmth and cheer to students before they left for the holiday break with a giveaway of mittens, winter coats, snow pants and boots — topped off with donuts and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

 

Every year the school receives $100 from the Godwin Education Association at the holidays to help others, and in the past the school has adopted a family. This year it decided to do something different.

 

“We thought ‘How about we do something for everybody?'” said Kristi Bast, the school secretary who organized the event.

 

First-Grader Lazer Leaf gets help from Kaleigh Salata trying on snow pants.

Several businesses, a local church, the PTO and members of the community helped, donating enough to give every one of the school’s 422 kindergartners through fourth-graders a hat and mittens as well as other winter clothing.

 

“A lot of schools give away stuff but this is a big deal,” said Kaleigh Salata, a behavior intervention specialist. “I think it’s very cool we are able to do this.”

 

Principal Steve Minard echoed her thoughts. “We all know how needy our families are, and winter items are huge for them,” he said.

 

Check out School News Network for more stories about students, schools, and faculty in West Michigan.

 

Godwin Scholarship Fund Increase is “GOLDEN”

Golden G’s scholarship winners were Katlynn Levian, Clemence Dusabe, Justin Roop, Alexis Gaertner, Rielle Walker and Taijhah Claybrook
Golden G’s scholarship winners were Katlynn Levian, Clemence Dusabe, Justin Roop, Alexis Gaertner, Rielle Walker and Taijhah Claybrook

by Linda Odette, KISD School News Network

 

The winners of scholarships from the Golden Gs this year at Godwin Heights High School were in for a bit of a shock when they found out the size of the awards.

 

For the last eight years, the Golden Gs have awarded three students scholarships of $2,500 each. This year, six students received scholarships for $6,600 each.

 

“They acted dumbfounded,” said Norinne Polkowski, the scholarship chairperson who handed out the awards. “One even asked, ‘Is that for each one?'”

 

An anonymous donor made the jump in the size and number of awards possible, but it was kept under wraps until Class Day on May 16. “I couldn’t wait to do it,” Polkowski said.

 

Seniors receiving the scholarships were Katlynn Levian, Taijhah Claybrook, Alexis Gaertner, Rielle Walker, Justin Roop and Clemence Dusabe. Students were judged on an essay about their family, plus their leadership skills, community involvement, athletic participation and several other characteristics.

 

The awards given by the Golden Gs are special because they’re more personal than state or national ones, which have hundreds of applications, said Tish Stevenson, Godwin Heights counselor. “To have something so very local ups the odds for our kids, and they realize this,” Stevenson said. “They know those people are from Godwin.”

 

The Golden Gs started in 1945 as a way to organize reunions for Godwin students. Since 2000, a major focus became the scholarships. Polkowski said the scholarship project got started because the Golden Gs wanted to do something for community youth. “They can’t afford college if they don’t get help,” she said.

 

The group collects funds toward the scholarship year-round from a variety of activities and events. All of the contributions go straight into the fund, with nothing subtracted for costs.

 

Polkowski said there have been lots of success stories since the awards started being given. She remembers a girl who was able to go to college because of the $2,500 scholarship she won. “She ended up getting a master’s and a Ph.D., and now works for government,” Polkowski said.

 

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Golden Gs