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Top Academic Students


School Matters

Front row, L to R: Konner Westerhouse, Megan Zimont, Zach Moeller, Lindsay Wiederhold, Emily Reifert Middle row, L to R: Ian Schwallier, Hannah Lewis, Paige Stoneburner, Heather Thompke, Hannah Brinkman, Hadley Harrison, Andersen Cole, Cameron Monroe, Katie Burnham Back row, L to R: Emily Hoisington, Abbie Reed, Ashley Correa, David Steele, Julie Warner, Brandon Kik, Taylor Rana-McGinnis, Max Hultquist, Dakota Doster, Lauren Saar


SUPERINTENDENT’S VIEWPOINT by Susan Wakefield, Superintendent

Another Fantastic Year


t’s been an amazing year here at Plainwell COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND Community Schools. I hope you’ve had an JOINT RECREATION By the opening of school in September, we opportunity to see our students perform and even more so, I hope you can see the de- plan to have on-line registration available velopment of ever stronger values and aca- for our classes offered through Community demic growth in our students. We keep our Education and all Joint Recreation activikids foremost in our minds with all of our ties. This should simplify the process for everyone involved in these prodecisions and it’s pure joy grams. to watch them shine. While this is the time We keep our ON-LINE CLASSES of year to reflect on our kids foremost We will continue to expand successes, and there are our on-line curricular offermany, it’s also the time to in our minds ings to secondary students prepare for the upcoming whenever it’s appropriate. year. We have several iniwith all of our This will allow students to tiatives, in various degrees decisions and broaden their academic studof implementation, which Online courses are not for we are excited about for it’s pure joy to ies. everyone. To succeed in an the 2012-2013 school year. watch them on-line course requires a high Here are just a few: degree of self-discipline and shine. motivation, but for those stuDYNAMIC PLANNING dents who are independent We began this process workers, it will provide them with our Community Forums last November in which members of with another option in their education. our community determined four broad goal areas that will guide our work over the next FIVE BY FIVE For those students who will be joining us few years. It was reaffirming to see such commitment to our schools from so many as our new Kindergartners this fall, remempeople. The next step in the process will be ber our Five by Five goals. The 5 skills by to select which ideas we will address first age 5 are: 1. Say the alphabet and that work will begin on June 4 at our 2. Count objects to 10 Board Work Session meeting. 3. Rhyme words 4. Print name ONE TO ONE COMPUTING INITIATIVE 5. Say first and last name, parents’ names, A wireless device in every student’s hands We began this year with a pilot program address and phone number If you haven’t started practicing these in our Middle School Science department and will expand to our Middle School Math skills, there is still plenty of time. It only department in the fall. At the high school, take a few minutes a day to master the skills each freshman student will be provided and it will help your child start his/her years with a device which they will be allowed at Plainwell Schools on solid footing. I hope you’ve enjoyed this past year as to take home daily. This programming will change the way we teach and the way they much as I have enjoyed it. Thank you for the privilege of working with our wonderlearn. ful students and I look forward to another fantastic year! Have a safe and fun-filled summer! n


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June 13 HALF DAY Last Day for Students* *If necessary, required make-up days due to school cancellations begin June 14.

Attention: Home Schoolers! Are you interested in an online, tuition-free, accredited curriculum that can be completed in the home setting?

Plainwell Community Schools is offering the full scope of the K-12 Curriculum beginning in the fall of 2012 for students in grades 6 -12. For more information, call 685-5823 or plan to attend our informational meeting on Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m. in the Administration Building.

FOCUS ON CURRICULUM by Bob VanDis, Director of Curriculum

Helping Our Students with Major Transitions


ith my own daughter and youngest son graduating from college this spring, I have been thinking about the major transitions that students go through in their education. Students have to transition from preschool to kindergarten, from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to post secondary education and/or a career. In Plainwell, we have been progressive with helping students and their families transition into kindergarten and to life after high school. Next fall we will be adding to and improving what we do to help students and their families transition into middle school and into high school. We now have a systematic program to help students and their families prepare for and be successful in making each of these major transitions in their school career.

families in making this big transition. Having a special part of the building for their classes and their teachers will ease the anxieties that sixth graders often have about getting lost or being late due to not finding their locker or classrooms in this new large building. More importantly, it will create a sense of community and togetherness for our sixth graders making this big transistion. Also new for next year, the middle school will be implementing Capturing Kids Hearts, a program that helps schools develop an environment “where trust, respect, and caring relationships flourish.” Capturing Kids Hearts has a proven record of helping students increase positive behavior, motivation, and success in school. In addition, the middle school will continue its orientation visits and presentations to 5th graders and their parents including the successful Meet in the Middle program on August 22.

Transition to Kindergarten Helping students succeed in kindergarten has long been a point of pride for Plainwell. Many years ago, we developed our award winning kindergarten centers approach to teaching reading; and we are one of the very few districts that still have an instructional aide assisting in all kindergarten classrooms. In 2009, we developed our Five by Five initiative. Five by Five makes explicit to parents the five things their child should know in order to be ready for kindergarten. This makes transitioning to kindergarten clearer and less mysterious. We provide area preschools with Five by Five posters, flyers, teaching ideas, and books so they can help children be ready for kindergarten. We also conduct spring assessments of our future kindergartners to gauge their readiness for kindergarten. Those who we predict might struggle are provided with summer reading support or are recommended for our new full year Kindergarten Readiness class. Plainwell parents also have access to many services for preschoolers and their families such as Parents as Teachers, Early On, and Play Groups through Allegan AESA’s Early Education services – all of which help children prepare to be successful in school.

Transition to High School Like the middle school, Plainwell High School has always had several opportunities for students and their families to visit the high school and attend orientation meetings as 8th graders. New for this fall will be a special meeting on September 4 for all freshman parents, where among other topics, students and parents will learn about and receive their mobile computers that they will use in school and at home all year. Also, like the Sixth Grade House, freshmen will have a common set of core teachers for their English 9, World History, Biology, and Health classes – teachers who will be specifically trained to work with freshmen and 1 to 1 computing. This will allow freshmen to build closer relationships with their core teachers and for those teachers to keep closer track of their common group of students so that failures can be eliminated or greatly reduced. Failing a class as a freshman is a leading indicator for failing to graduate from high school. And many students fail classes because they struggle with reading. Last year we developed a class called Reading for Success designed for freshmen who enter high school more than two grade levels below in reading. The class runs 1st trimester with a specially trained teacher. Then those students take English 9 in the 2nd and 3rd trimester from that same teacher where they can apply the reading skills they learned in Reading for Success. These new and current initiatives are all designed to help every student make a smooth and successful transition into high school.

Transition to Middle School Next year Plainwell Middle School will launch its Sixth Grade House. Our sixth grade students will all have their homeroom, lockers, and core academic classes in one part of the building designated just for sixth grade. Sixth graders will be scheduled with a common set of four core teachers who will assist their students and their

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Transition to College and Career Four years ago, we implemented a course for all 11th grade students called Post Secondary Preparation designed to help students transition from high school to their post secondary studies and careers. The course has two major components. The first component is Career Exploration and Planning where students re-examine the career options they have explored and learned about in the past. Every student in the class is expected to have a plan for their life after high school, whether it be a four year college, technical/trade school, military service, community college, or employment. The second component is College /Post Secondary Admission Process. In this portion of the class, students learn about college and job applications, financial aide, scholarships, admission essays, and interview skills. Much time is devoted to preparing for the ACT; first because doing well on the ACT is critical for college admission and scholarships, but also because ACT is a measure of college and career readiness. In recent years we have added two other tests from ACT that measure college and career readiness: PLAN given in 11th grade, and Explore given in 8th grade. Using these three measures, our teachers can keep track of how well we are moving students towards their progress from 8th grade to high school and on to their post secondary education and career. Linking to Our Dynamic Plan On February 20, the Board of Education accepted the Dynamic Plan developed by a group of school and community members earlier in the school year. One of the recommendations in the Dynamic Plan from a goal to revise district organization reads ... ease transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school. Another recommendation from a goal to expand 21st century competencies reads…Academies or other student focused groups. The new Sixth Grade House and Freshman Academy fit in part with that second recommendation. And with a system of transitions at every point in a students’ K-12 career, we are exceeding that first recommendation. We appreciate the guidance and wisdom of everyone who contributed to the Dynamic Plan, and we believe that the improvements and additions we have made to our K-12 system of transitions will greatly benefit all of our students and help them to be successful in each new phase of their education. n



CLASS OF 2012 Top Academic Students Hannah Brinkman is the daughter of Matt and Kim Brinkman. Hannah will be attending Saint Mary’s College in Indiana this fall and will be majoring in Chemistry. While at Plainwell High School, Hannah has been a Big Sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, a PAL, member of the Red Cross Club, a NHS member and played Volleyball.

Brandon Kik is the son of Dan and Julie Kik. Brandon has not decided on what he will major in when he attends Loyola University in Chicago this fall. While at PHS, Brandon has been a member of Student Senate, NHS, and Trojan Torch staff as well as playing for the Varsity Men’s Soccer team. He is a co-founder of the Ping Pong Club.

Katherine Burnham is the daughter of Mary and Tim Burnham. She will be attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College and then transfer to Western Michigan University where she will major in social work with a specialty in substance abuse prevention. Katie is a member of NHS and the Trojan Torch Opinion Editor. She is also the high school representative for the Plainwell Community School Board and she is a Kalamazoo Gazette Young Editorial staff member.

Hannah Lewis is the daughter of Bart and Trish Lewis. Hannah will be attending Bowling Green State University where she has received a Golf scholarship and will study business. Hannah has been a four year Varsity Golf member and she is on the Captain’s Council and in NHS.

Andersen Cole is the daughter of Brad and Kellie Cole. Andersen will be attending Ball State University this fall where she will major in Biology. Andersen has been a member of the Varsity Golf team as well as a member of the NHS and the Red Cross Club. Ashley Correa is the daughter of Tim and Monica Adams. Ashley will be attending Brigham Young University this fall where she has been accepted into the pre-medicine program. Ashley is the Trojan Torch editor, member of both NHS and Red Cross Club and she plays for PHS Tennis as well. Ashley has been honored as a National Merit Finalist this year. Dakota Doster is the daughter of Robert Doster and Georgina Rozeboom-Doster. She will be attending Grand Valley State University where she will major in mathematics and secondary education. While at PHS, Dakota has been part of the PHS Marching Band and Wind Ensemble as well as Quiz Bowl and NHS. She also plays tennis for the PHS Women’s Tennis team. Hadley Harrison is the daughter of Rich and Sue Harrison. Hadley has not yet decided on the college she will be attending this fall. She is the Trojan Torch editor-in-chief, member of NHS and Quiz Bowl and she has played for the Varsity Women’s Golf team. Emily Hoisington is the daughter of Susan Rogers and Keith Hoisington. This fall, Emily will enroll at Grand Valley State University where she will study Psychology. Emily has been a member of the PHS Women’s Tennis team and participated in the choir for four years. Max Hultquist is the son of Ron and Mary Hultquist. Max will be attending GVSU on a Presidential Scholarship to study computer engineering or biomedical engineering. He has been a Varsity track member for all four years, Captain his Senior year. He participated in Baseball for three years, Basketball for two years and Track for one year. He has been a Big Brother for the last two years to a Plainwell Elementary student.


Zachary Moeller is the son of Al and Tammy Moeller. Zach will be attending the University of Michigan where he will be studying nuclear/biomedical engineering. Zach is a four year band member as well as a four year football player and three year track member. He has also been part of Quiz Bowl and was selected for TAG team. Cameron Monroe is the daughter of Jane and Tom Monroe. Cameron is enrolled at the University of Michigan where she will major in Bioengineering. Cameron is in NHS and Student Senate and she has participated in the musicals including a lead role in Beauty and the Beast. Cameron has also been on the PHS Varsity Tennis team and PHS Varsity Swim/Dive team where she has been selected an Academic All-American. Taylor Rana-McGinnis is the daughter of James McGinnis and Saphia Rana-McGinnis. Taylor will be attending Western Michigan University where she plans to study either a math or science related field. Taylor has been in choir, the Ads Editor for the Trojan Torch and a member of the PHS Varsity Women’s Golf team. Abbie Reed is the daughter of Loren and Cynthia Reed and Rick and Tracey Hurdelbrink. Abbie will be going to Grand Valley State University this fall to become a Physical Therapist. Abbie has been in choir throughout high school and held a role in this year’s musical “Annie Get Your Gun”. She also is a member of NHS and plays tennis for the PHS Women’s Tennis team. Emily Reifert is the daughter of Kathy and Alan Reifert. Emily will be attending Eastern Michigan University this year and majoring in Communications. While at PHS, Emily has been a class officer, involved in Student Senate and a member of NHS. Lauren Saar is the daughter of Brad and Rene Saar. Lauren will be playing volleyball next year for the Georgetown University Hoyas where she will be majoring in Biology. Lauren has been in Student Senate and a member of the NHS as well as a member of Quiz Bowl. She is also a four year varsity volleyball and soccer player and a Detroit Athletic Club Athlete of the Year finalist.

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Ian Schwallier is the son of Andrew and Andrea Schwallier. Ian is going to major in Electrical Engineering at Brigham Young University this fall. Ian has run Cross Country for four years and as a Concert Choir student he has earned positions on the Regional, State, and All-State Honors Choir. Ian also had a role this year in the PHS musical “Annie Get Your Gun”. David Steele is the son of Mary Jo and Jim Steele. David will be attending Western Michigan University to study Mechanical Engineering. During his four years at PHS, David was a member of NHS and also on the PHS Varsity tennis team. Paige Stoneburner is the daughter of Mike and Valaurie Meddock and Scott Stoneburner. Paige will be attending Grand Valley State University this fall and she will be majoring in pre-medicine. Paige has been a Big Sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister program as well as a member of NHS and the Red Cross Club. She has also held roles in the PHS Musicals and ran cross country and played for PHS Soccer. Heather Thompke is the daughter of Richard and Kelly Thompke. Heather will majoring in Psychology this fall at Grand Valley State University. Heather is a member of NHS and was a member of the PHS Varsity Dance Team. Julie Warner is the daughter of Mary and Scott Warner. Julie is planning on attending Western Michigan University this fall where she will be majoring in Civil Engineering. Julie is on the Yearbook staff, Pro Youth team, the Red Cross Club, a member of NHS and a PAL. She also has been a Color Guard Captain for two years and plays tennis for PHS Women’s tennis team. Konner Westerhouse is the son of Jennifer Nelsen and Kevin Westerhouse. Konner will be going to Michigan Tech this fall and will be majoring in Engineering. Konner has played for PHS Football and PHS Basketball for four years as well as running track. He is also a member of NHS. Lindsay Wiederhold is the daughter of Gary and Renee Wiederhold. Lindsay will be attending Hope College where she will study pre-medicine and swim for the Flying Dutchmen. Lindsay is a Big Sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, a member of NHS and participates on Quiz Bowl. She is a Concert Choir member and had the lead role this year in “Annie Get Your Gun”. Lindsay earned the MISCA Academic All-State honors while on the PHS Women’s swim team and she also plays tennis for PHS. Megan Zimont is the daughter of Ben and Kathy Zimont. Megan is going to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she will major in Graphic Arts and minor in Architecture. Megan has been on the yearbook staff, an officer in NHS and Student Senate as well as a member of the Red Cross Club. Megan has been on the PHS Women’s Soccer team, Volleyball team, and Tennis team. This year Megan was selected as Plainwell High Schools DAR Good Citizen award nominee.


The Trojan Torch Brings Home the Gold! Tomomi Suwa (Kellogg Biological Station GK-12 fellow/MSU), Daniel Ablan, Jordan Chamberlin, Clarisa Laws, Lauren Saar, Bridget Hunter, Skyra Hybels, Maxwell Tustin, Sabiane Taylor (front), Meggan Martinez, Kelsey Cole (front), Kelsey Ernst, Teacher Sandy Breitenbach, Not Pictured: Seth Anderson, Zachary Blett, and Maxwell Hultquist

The Trojan Torch Staff Group Shot afterward at the Lansing Center. Back row: Mark Westdorp, Rachel Buck, Ashley Correa, Chelsea Chamberlain, Brandon Kik. Front row: Brad Curtis, Darby Wagner, Hadley Harrison, Andersen Cole, and Adviser Marilyn Hess.


he Plainwell High School Trojan Torch staff members came home from the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association with enough awards to fill a showcase! Torch staff moved up from Silver to Gold in the overall category, earned two first place, one second place and ten honorable mention awards. The individual awards were hard-earned, as this was the first year the Torch was in a larger, more competitive division. Kudos to: Chelsea Chamberlain, 1st Place - Photo Story, Honorable Mention - News/ Feature Photo; Hadley Harrison, Honorable Mention - Front Page Design; Mark Westdorp 1st Place - News/Feature Photo; Honorable Mention - Sports Feature Photo; Rachel Buck, Honorable Mention - News Analysis; Ashley Correa, Honorable Mention - News Story; Honorable Mention - News Page/Spread; Rashelle Paggeot, Honorable Mention - Sports News; Katie Burnham, 2nd Place - Environmental Coverage; Andersen Cole, Honorable Mention Feature Page/Spread; Brad Curtis, 2 Honorable Mentions - Entertainment Page/Spread n


Science Students Present Projects at GVSU


pril 25th was a BIG science day for 14 students from Plainwell High School. They each presented a poster on their independent project at the Michigan High School Math and Science Symposium at Grand Valley State University. Among 40 other presenters from southwest Michigan schools, the students from Plainwell represented their school very well. These students are from Mrs. Sandy Breiteinbach’s AP Biology class and since last September, they’ve been working hard to go through the entire process of science including picking interesting questions, designing an experiment and analyzing the data. Congratulations to our high school science students!

Samantha Wright cuddles with her pet python.

Science Night – A Monumental Success!


n April 18, Plainwell Middle School was transformed into a science wonderland. Staff and representatives from local groups, societies and departments showed off educational displays. As a sampling, Safari Club’s Sensory Safari gave students and guests the opportunity to experience Michigan mammals first hand. Michigan Botanical Club had several species of native plants and the Kalamazoo Nature Center offered up an interactive habitat display. Western Michigan University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences brought out WMU’s Sunseeker Solar Car.

(L to R): Jessica Nyberg, Mariah Crandall, Emily Wood and Amanda Gaulke from Wings Home


ot only do the new Plainwell Middle School Tshirts and hooded sweatshirts look great, anyone who bought one also helped support local families! The Plainwell Middle School Student Council recently completed a T-shirt fund raiser to benefit Wings Home of Allegan County. Student Council members sold shirts at conferences and during the month of February. Wings Home, which provides hospice care for people with terminal illnesses, will use the $200 to offset some of their many expenses. Thanks to the students, staff members and families who supported the Student Council’s Tshirt sale! If you would like more information on Wings Home, visit their website at

Ashleigh Bomgaars checks out the Audubon Society booth!

Plainwell Middle School Holds Special Flag Ceremony Four Plainwell Middle School students were honored at a special flag ceremony held on Tuesday, May 1. Cameron Tran, Alan Shultz, Ethan McDonald, and Colleen Loftus are the responsible individuals that have been raising and lowering the middle school flag every day without being reminded. They do it with great respect, and without complaint. Members of the local VFW Post 3030 attended in full uniform. Local Boy Scout Leaders from Troop 98 were also in attendance to honor our students. As the students lowered the flag, “Taps” was played.

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G I L K E Y • C O O P E R • S TA R R

Cooper, Gilkey & Starr Elementary Celebrate Reading Month

(L to R): Roberta Kuitert, Chris Adams, Nancy Heilig, Dick Lubic, Del Beier, Ron Hotchkiss, Donna Gorton, Rodger Yonkers, Erica Wallace, Scott Cohoon, Penny Soper & Ron Refior

PCS’ Volunteer Award Winners for 2012


welve Plainwell Community School volunteers were honored at a special reception held before the Monday, May 7 Board Meeting. Those recognized received certificates and keepsake jars. Chris Adams was honored for his gift of announcing varsity football, varsity boys & girls basketball and volleyball games. Rodger Yonkers has been a champion of the band program as President of the Band Boosters. Dick Lubic is an invaluable community volunteer for the Gilkey Elementary Environmental Lab. Dick walks the trails daily and has helped maintain them for years. Penny Soper is a former Cooper Parents Club President and has been in charge of fundraising at Cooper Elementary. She has run our Holiday Shopping program, takes photos at events and provides food for staff luncheons at conferences and during Staff Appreciation Week. Roberta Kuitert and the Red Hat Society has created a “Care Closet,” a place where our students can get things they need discreetly (soap, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion and washcloths) at Renaissance High School. Erica Wallace was first hired as a mathematics tutor and soon became a regular fixture at Renaissance. She will jump in and help any student who looks lost. Del Beier, Nancy Heilig, and Donna Gorton are Starr’s angels.  This year these women began the Hands to Hands program which supplies food weekly to our most needy families. Ron Hotchkiss has volunteered his time before and during the lunch hours at Starr Elementary. During the lunch hours he will assist students, wipe tables, mop spills, bag garbage, and has built a rapport with the kids. Nothing seems to stop Ron as he as he is always willing to offer a helping hand when an odd job needs doing;  such as retrieving balls from the roof, fixing broken chairs, and helping with the daily lunch delivery when it arrives at Starr. Scott Cohoon has been volunteering in the middle school wood shop for the last five years.  Additionally, he is a mentor of a middle school student as part of our mentor program. Ron Refior has been volunteering at the middle school for the last six months. He has been working on various projects to support our teachers and has recently built shelves for the choir room.



lainwell Elementaries were busy during Reading Month! Special reading guests included Joe Gross from Ransom District Library, who visited all three elementaries. Joe shared his love of writing and some very special books with our students. Everyone enjoyed his enthusiasm when reading and story telling! Cooper Kindergarteners even shared some of their writing pieces with Joe. The Plainwell community is lucky to have someone like Joe! n

The “Reading Igloo” at Cooper...built entirely out of milk cartons!

Noah Miner, Halli Davidson and Makennah Blackman put the violins to the test at the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo. The 4th graders at Starr Elementary traveled from station to station trying out lots of different instruments with the help of KSO volunteers.

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G I L K E Y • C O O P E R • S TA R R

earth week { at Gilkey Elementary

The Flying Purple Page Eaters from Cooper Elementary took 2nd place in this year’s Battle of the Books. Richard Jordan, one of many artists out on the river trail, shares his painting with students and parents.


his year Gilkey Elementary’s Earth Week festivities were truly special! Presentations were held all week with help from the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Western Michigan University’s Sunseeker team and local artists. Artist Steve Curl visited the classrooms and shared his successes using recycled objects and turning them into art - while the Plein Aire Society of Southwest Michigan artists painted outdoors along the trail on Friday. Seeing Western’s Sunseeker solar car parked in Gilkey’s lot was exciting! Gilkey Elementary has prided itself throughout the years in the way staff and students honor our earth. Mrs. Pendola, 2nd grade, has been instrumental in raising the environmental consciousness at Gilkey while establishing a beautiful learning environment. Thank you, Mrs. Pendola!

Western Michigan University’s Sunseeker solar car and a member of their team.

Battle of the Books 2012


his year’s Battle of the Books was extremely tough but all of our teams did an amazing job. The teams that made it to the Grand Battle included the Flying Purple Page Eaters (Cooper), the Awesome Rapid Readers of Books (Starr), the Novel Ninjas (Starr), and the Literary Geckos (Gilkey). A team from Otsego took the Grand Battle Champion title - but our Flying Purple Page Eaters took 2nd place. That team included: Julie Widman, Joslyn Miller, Lydia Miller, Kaylee Alvarado, Meghan Pallett and Evan Hockstedler. The Page Eaters were coached by Natalie Witt and Shelly Widman. Congratulations, Purple Page Eaters!

Army Staff Sargeant Varren Davis, wife Stacey, and daughters, Caitlyn and Molly, received a surprise visit the day before he was deployed to Afghanistan. Members of Moms in Prayer, Hutches Huddle Students from Plainwell Middle School stopped by the family’s home to wish Sgt. Davis well. Mr. Mielke’s PHS Interpersonal Communication classes sent letters. Caitlyn Davis is a student at Gilkey Elementary.

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Sponsored by Plainwell Community Schools and Gun Plain Township

summer youth recreation


Nothing to Do? Get Out!


ur students are so excited about summer vacation that their energy is radiating from the schools. I remember those days fondly. As a teacher, I’m really excited for summer. As a parent, I’m a bit apprehensive. When I was a kid, we’d get up, eat breakfast, and play outside until dark, possibly taking a break for lunch. Things are different now for our kids. With video games, the internet, limitless cable TV channels, and sugary snacks, there are plenty of things to do inside that don’t require a lot of thought, effort, or creativity. Encouraging kids to play outside seems to be a struggle for many families. In fact, some of our children struggle with what is informally called NDD, (Nature Deficit Disorder) because they do not play outside enough. By nature, kids want to play outside, they just need to have a reason to. Many parents often hear, “there’s nothing to do outside.” If you’re one of those parents, trust me, you’re not alone. Try showing your kids what fun there is to be had outside, and not fall victim to NDD. There are a variety of sports opportunities for kids in our community. Participating in sports teaches so many important life skills such as teamwork, discipline, exercise, how to win and lose, and putting forth their best effort. Sports are also great for helping build self confidence and worth. Gardening is a great way for kids to interact with nature, and also raise some healthy foods to share at the family dinner table. Growing vegetables doesn’t take much, anything from a corner of the yard to a few buckets of dirt on the porch can do the trick. Fishing is one of our favorite things to do in the summer. Our area is blessed with many lakes, rivers and streams. Better yet, combine a fishing trip with a bike ride to the lake and you’re guaranteed to create a lasting memory. Outside chores don’t sound like a lot of fun to a kid, but they are very meaningful. By trusting a child to do a certain task, we parents are allowing them to build self confidence and also giving them an opportunity to accomplish something. Confidence and accomplishment are vitally important to our children. As I’ve mentioned before, the outside opportunities for kids in Plainwell are endless. The schools have beautiful playgrounds, nature areas, and ball courts. The community has many sidewalks and trails, rivers and creeks, and there’s always a sport or camp to sign up for. Michigan is filled with campgrounds, and in a pinch, the backyard tent works just as well. So, have a fun summer and offer a big breakfast because hopefully the kids will be having so much fun they will forget to come in for lunch! n

CO-ED TEE BALL Ages 5 & 6

All boys and girls, ages 5 & 6, are welcome to join us for this introduction to playing ball. Kids will learn proper batting, fielding and base-running fundamentals while having lots of fun! Late registrants will receive a t-shirt with a number but no logo on it. Date: July 9 - 25 • Mondays & Wednesdays Time: 6:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Location: Plainwell Middle School Ball Field Cost: $40.00 $25.00 for Gun Plain Twp. Residents Forms and payment due back to school office by June 13, 2012. Late registration does not guarantee placement on a team. All late registrations must be dropped off/mailed directly to Plainwell Community Recreation, 422 Acorn St., Plainwell, MI 49080.

2012 Summer Tee Ball Registration Form Name_______________________________ Contact Phone_________________________ Address______________________________ City_____________________Zip_________ Cost_____________ Gun Plain Twp.?______ Shirt Size (please circle one): Youth: S M L Adult: S M L Please make sure you order the correct t-shirt size for your child as there can be no replacements issued after the order has gone in. When in doubt, order next size up. Only order t-shirts if you sign up for Tee Ball. It’s included in the price of registration.

– Jason Herbert Plainwell

Summer School

If you need to recover lost credit, are concerned about staying on track or want to work ahead...this is the perfect opportunity! Register on or before June 5 for the June sessions and on or before July 28 for the August sessions.

Registration forms are available at Plainwell Community Education, the Administration Building, High School & Middle School.

SESSIONS June A.M. June P.M. August A.M. August P.M.

WEEKS June 18 - July 6 June 18 - July 6 August 6 - 24 August 6 - 24

TIME 8:00 - 11:15 A.M. 11:45 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. 8:00 - 11:15 A.M. 11:45 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Each completed class = 1/2 credit. Slots are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cancellation may occur if not enough students enroll. Check will be returned if the session is full or cancelled due to low enrollment. Call (269) 685-9531 for more information.


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Instructor will work on basic fundamentals and etiquette. The fifth lesson will be played on the course. There is a limit of 20 per class. Clubs and balls provided if you do not have them. Date: June 18 - July 16 • Mondays Time: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Ages 13-15) 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (Ages 10-12) Location: Crestview Golf Course Cost: $55 per child $40 for Gun Plain Twp. Residents Registration Deadline is June 11, 2012.


Junior Golf is geared for boys and girls, ages 7-15, who will learn different aspects of the game. Fun for the novice as well as the person who just needs to brush up on their golf skills. Each day will focus on something new. There are only 12 slots per session, bring a friend and sign up early! Clubs and balls are provided if you do not have them. Cost: $60 per child/per session Location: Lake Doster Golf Club Instructor: Tim Hartson Session 1 – Date: June 18 - 21 • Monday - Thursday Time: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Registration Deadline (Session 1) is June 11, 2012. Session 2 – Date: July 9 - 12 • Monday - Thursday Time: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Registration Deadline (Session 2) is July 2, 2012.

CONTACTS: Community Education & Recreation 685-9531 Tammy Glupker, Director 685-1573

Sponsored by Plainwell Community Schools and Gun Plain Township

summer fun! ADULT GOLF GROUP PACKAGE Beginner to Intermediate

Groups of 4 or more. The package will include 4 lessons per person. Instructor: Tim Hartson Cost: $60 per person Location: Lake Doster Golf Club Date: Will work with your schedule. Call Community Ed at (269) 685-9531 to register.

BRAIN BLOSSOMS Ages: Newborn - 6 Years is partnering with Plainwell Community Education to bring early childhood (infants & toddlers) art, music and education to Plainwell area families for FREE! Classes are parent/caregiver participation and registration is required. Cost: FREE - for registration and class description, see Location: Starr Elementary - Room #111 Dates: May 10 & 17, June 21 & 28, July 19 & 26, August 16 & 23 • Thursdays Classes/Times: Music Blossoms 10-10:45 a.m. 8 mos. - 2 1/2 yrs. Art Blossoms 11-11:45 a.m. 2 - 4 yrs. Baby Blossoms 12:15 - 1:00 p.m. Nwbrn - 7 mos. Global Blossoms 1:15 - 2:00 p.m. 5 - 6 yrs.


Cross/Fit provides a challenging, high-intensity, high-energy workout that uses functional, wholebody movement to give you the best workout you’ve ever had. No matter what your current shape is, everyone is challenged safely. Our community of fitness will help motivate and congratulate your success. Instructor: Chase Mielke Cost: $35.00 Location: Plainwell High School Weight Room (Park in the back of PHS) Date: May 22 - June 28 (Tues. & Thurs.) 6 weeks Time: 6:00 - 7:00p.m. Registration Deadline is May 16, 2012.


There will be 3 two week sessions. Each class will be 30-minutes. Cost: $55.00 per session $40.00 for Gun Plain Twp. Residents Location: Plainwell Middle School Pool Times: 4:00-4:30, 4:35-5:05, 5:10-5:40 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays Session 1: June 11 - 14, June 18-21 Session 2: June 25 - 28, July 9-12 Session 3: July 16 - 19, July 23 - 26 Call 685-2425 for reservations.

Please check all the programs you or your child are registering for (one registration form per participant): Crestview Golf (Ages 10-12) _______

Crestview Golf (Ages 13-15) _______

Lake Doster Golf Session 1 (Ages 7-15) _______

Lake Doster Golf Session 2 (Ages 7-15) _______

Cross/Fit Training (Adults) _______ Participant _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone: Home ___________________________________________ Cell _____________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________ Township ___________________________________ Parents Name (if participant is under 18) ____________________________________________________________________

Pool Information 685-2425 Jason Herbert, Recreation 685-9531 Renaissance High School 685-1573

Email ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Understanding that there are certain risks and hazards involved in participating in any sport and that my child could possibly be injured while playing or practicing, I hereby give my permission for _________________________________________ (child’s name) to participate in the Plainwell Recreation Summer Youth Program. your signature _____________________________________________________________________ Please return money & registration form to your child’s school office or the Community Education Office, located at 422 Acorn Street in the Industrial Park. If you have any questions, please call Diane at 685-9531. Community Ed. hours are Mon. - Thurs. 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Community Ed. Summer Hours: July 2 through August 10, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to Noon. Closed on Friday. Our office will be closed July 4th, and July 9-22, 2012. We do have a dropbox located near the front door for your convenience. Please make checks payable to Plainwell Community Education.

W W W. P L A I N W E L L S C H O O L S . O R G



Plainwell Athletic Department Welcomes New Varsity Volleyball Coach:





he Plainwell Athletic Department is proud to announce the hiring of Georganne Hageman as our new Varsity Volleyball Coach beginning with the Fall 2012 season. Coach Hageman most recently has been the Junior Varsity Coach at Hackett Catholic Central for the past two years and also has coached a number of USA Volleyball teams; along with being a former volleyball player herself at Parchment High School. Coach Hageman graduated from Western Michigan University in the Spring of 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Hageman did her intern teaching at Gilkey Elementary. Let’s welcome Coach Hageman to the Trojan team!


SATURDAY June 9, 2012 9:00 a.m. to Noon • Boys Noon to 2:00 p.m. • Girls Cost: $10 Thanks to: Dr. Lewis & his staff

PHS LOCKER ROOMS Athletes: Please bring your physical card that has personal info filled out and signed by your parents to the June 9th physicals. Dr. Lewis and his staff will fill in the physical information area.

Plainwell High School’s track will be refinished and relined this summer and will be off limits to walkers, joggers, and runners from June 25 to July 9 (weather permitting).

RECOMMENDED ROUTES TO GET DOWNTOWN PLAINWELL MDOT expects that during the project eastbound M-89 traffic will be maintained through the stretch but westbound traffic will be detoured on a route along 8th Street, 106th Avenue and into downtown. MDOT realizes that local traffic may find more efficient routes. • Westbound M-89 traffic will be detoured at 8th Street in Gun Plain Township. Detour will direct traffic north to 106th Street,West to Farmer Street, and South back to M-89. • Northbound traffic from Douglas or 11th Street seeking to access downtown Plainwell will be allowed North on Main Street. • Northbound traffic seeking to go west will be detoured on to Starr Road (102nd), west to South 16th Street then north to Farmer and M-89.

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• All ramps on 131 and M-89 will be open except limited closures will be in effect when reconstruction work is done in the area of the ramp connection to M-89. • Borgess-Pipp Hospital patrons (only) traveling westbound on M-89 will be detoured south at Hicks Street to Hill Street, west on Hill to Brigham, north on Brigham to West Bridge, west on W. Bridge to Prince, north on Prince to Benhoy, west on Benhoy to Naomi, north on Naomi to the hospital.

106th Av e.

106th Av e.

East Traffic

N. Main/10th Street

South Truck Route Hospital Detour M89/Main Detour

S. 16th Street

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West Detour

8th Street

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East Detour

–– –– –– –– –– –– Richland

PLAINWELL The Island City

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102nd Av e./Starr Road

W W W. P L A I N W E L L S C H O O L S . O R G

For more information about this $11 million federally-funded project visit:


SAFE and Plainwell Corners Preschool


ummer is nearly upon us and the Plainwell Community School’s Plainwell Corners and the school age SAFE programs are currently registering children for the following self funded programs: Plainwell Corners Summer Camp: Designed for children between 3 years old and completing Kindergarten. Located at the Early Childhood Education Center. Special guests, games, crafts and other fun activities. Plainwell SAFE Summer Fun Camp: Designed for children who are completing 1st grade through 5th grade in 2011-2012. Field trips, swimming, games, crafts and loads of other fun activities! Plainwell Corners Preschool & Day Care: Prepares your child for success! A Preschool offering a developmentally appropriate and fun curriculum designed for toilet-trained children who are three or four years old. Plainwell Corners is now a licensed year around program open Mondays - Fridays from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Early Childhood Education Center at 307 E. Plainwell Street (next to Hicks Gym) for a $135 weekly rate or $37 daily rate. Now offering a half day rate. Halfday sessions for 3-year olds are offered on M & W for $125/ monthly. Half-day sessions for 4-year olds are offered on T, Th & F for $180/monthly. SAFE: A licensed before and after school program providing a place to make friends and enjoy recreational activities, available for children from all three Plainwell Elementary schools. Open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Cooper SAFE will be held at Cooper. Gilkey and Starr SAFE will be at their own school sites in the morning and are combined at Starr in the afternoon. Rates are posted online.

Check us out on the Plainwell Schools website and click the Parents section. or call 269.685.3103 for more information. We qualify for childcare tax credits, accept DHS payments and we are approved for Flex reimbursement.

Plainwell High School Band Director Accepted Into American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA)


PHS Band Director, Paul Mundo

aul Mundo, Plainwell High School Band Director received his letter of acceptance into the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA). It has been a process that began in the Fall of 2011. Mundo was nominated by Jim Hewitt (former director of bands at Otsego, director of the River Cities Concert Band, and longtime director of the Plainwell Music Society) and upon nomination, received three letters of support from current members of the ASBDA who have heard bands directed by Mundo. Founded in 1953, the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) is an extremely prestigious national organization for band directors of the highest quality. The primary goal of the ASBDA is to promote the concert band as the focus of an educational curriculum which teaches music as artistic expression. ASBDA draws together the finest minds and best teachers nationally for the purpose of helping influence the direction and furthering the cause of good music in the nation’s schools.” An induction ceremony will take place June 20 - 23, in Asheville, North Carolina, during the ASBDA’s National Convention. n W W W. P L A I N W E L L S C H O O L S . O R G


Board of Education

Amy Blades.......................................................................... President Jennifer Loftus.............................................................. Vice President Kevin Blue............................................................................ Treasurer John Nyberg......................................................................... Secretary Al Moeller..................................................................................Trustee Kim Shafer................................................................................Trustee Christine VanDenBerg..............................................................Trustee



Plainwell, Michigan Permit No. 37

Plainwell Community Schools 600 School Drive Plainwell, MI 49080-1595


Susan Wakefield......................................................Superintendent Bob Van Dis.............................Director of Curriculum & Instruction Patricia Carr.......................................................Director of Finance Jeff McNutt.................................................. Director of Technology Greg Smith....................... Director of Operations & Transportation

** ECRWSS **

Postal Customer

The public is invited to attend all Board of Education meetings. Business meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Building and workshop meetings are held on the first Monday, beginning 6:30 p.m. at various locations. The times and places of workshops and special meetings are posted at the entrances of the Administration Building which is located off Gladys St. between Starr Elementary and Plainwell Middle School. Published by the Plainwell Board of Education, Plainwell, Michigan 49080

PLAINWELL HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS • SUMMER 2012 Below you will find listed the summer sport camp offerings from the coaching staff at Plainwell High School. This is a chance for your son or daughter to learn some of the FUNdamentals of the sport(s) they are interested in and at the same time compete at a fun level with youngsters their own age. We have provided a brief description of each camp and a standard registration form at the bottom. Please fill out completely and sign where needed. Please feel free to copy as needed for families with more than one interested child. Grade designation is based on your son’s or daughter’s grade in the Fall of 2012.



Camp Date: Monday, June 25 to Thursday, June 28 Camp Time: 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. K- 3rd Grade 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. 4-6th Grade 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. 7-8th Grade

Camp Date: Monday, June 18 to Thursday, June 21 Camp Time: 9:00 a.m. to Noon Age: 3-5 Years (Minikickers) | Cost: $35 Grades: 1-8 | Cost: $50 Location: PHS Streidl Field

Grades: K-8 | Cost: $40 | Location: Middle School Gym

TENNIS CAMP Camp Date: Monday, June 18 to Thursday, June 21 Camp Time: 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. K- 8th Grade 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. 9-12th Grade Cost: $40 | Location: PHS Tennis Courts

PHS Summer 2012 Sports Camp Registration Form Camper’s Name_____________________________________________ Grade (Fall 2012)_____________________________________________ Contact Phone______________________________________________ Address___________________________________________________


City____________________________________ Zip______________

Camp Date: Monday, July 9 to Thursday, July 12 Camp Time: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Sport Camp(s) Attending:________________________ Cost_________

Grades: 9-12 | Cost: $40 | Location: Middle School Gym

___________________________________________ Cost_________ ___________________________________________ Cost_________


Total (amount of check) __________

Camp Date: Thursday, June 14 & Friday, June 15 Camp Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. PHS FB Athletes | Contact Coaches | Location: Streidl Field

Shirt Size (please circle one): Youth: S M L XL Adult: S M L XL XXL I state that my child is able to participate in all camp activities and I understand the potential for injuries exist in athletic activities and waive the camp staff of any and all liability in this area. I hereby give permission for any necessary and emergency care to be given to my child should the need arise.

Make check for the camp(s) payable to Plainwell High School Athletics

Signature of Parent/Guardian___________________________________

Mail registration form and check to: Plainwell High School Athletics 684 Starr Road, Plainwell, MI 49080


Camp t-shirts are part of the cost but please mail in the registration form at least two weeks prior to camp starting to assure your camp shirt is the correct size.


School Matters Spring 2012  

This is the Spring 2012 edition of Plainwell Community Schools quarterly newsletter, School Matters.

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