Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Above and Beyond #5

by Tamsin Troff

During the course of every calendar year some very exciting things take place in the CI program at HHS. Our school day activities are chock full of classes and activities ranging from several specially geared academic and life skill classes, to our Work Study program which involves 29 students being placed in volunteer positions in area businesses, two mornings each week.

We also arrange and fund raise for multiple field trips so that our students can participate in social situations that they may not normally be exposed. Most of these trips are within the community but every eighteen months we go on “the big one”. We alternate between having a camping experience at Camp Algonquin for three days and two nights, and having a city trip to Chicago for the same amount of time.

As a result of writing and being given a grant from the Holland Area Arts Council, our students will enjoy a second twelve week period (one hour a week) working with artists and making art at the HAAC. Our students were so proud last year when they showed off their art work at an evening open house attended by the public, family and friends!

We have traditions, too. This winter will be the twenty-third year that we have had a spaghetti dinner and then go to a HHS basketball game as a group. In the fall we have a pizza party before going to a HHS football game.

The planning for these students doesn’t take a vacation or know about business hours. We not only work with the students, but wind up being somewhat involved with their entire family. Although this sounds ominous and sometimes is, it is important for the comfort and trust of the parents. It also paves the road for good working relations when siblings grace our door.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Above and Beyond #4

Stop by Holland Heights on a Monday or Wednesday between 3:37 and 5 pm and you'll see a group of 15 boys running. For the first time, Holland Heights has a Total Trek Quest running team. Total Trek is the equivalent of Girls on the Run, but it's for boys. This program wouldn't be possible without the coaching of our very own 5th grade teacher, Todd McKay. Twice a week, Mr. McKay volunteers his time to run with the boys and teach lessons about self-esteem. The program culminates on November 22 with a 5K Celebration Run. Thanks to Mr. McKay for going above and beyond by giving of his time and energy for such a great program.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Above and Beyond #3

East K-8 has established a "family" atmosphere. Each family is headed by a staff member and includes a group of students ranging from grades 1 - 8. This year's family theme is character traits. The families meet monthly to discuss and do an activity highlighting a specific character trait. Each staff member at East k - 8 goes above and beyond by facilitating each family meeting. Lois Mulder has played and integral part in the success of the family concept. She has put in many extra hours, researching, planning, training staff, gathering materials and organizing implementation of the lessons. In short East K - 8 has a true family atmosphere because of the dedication and hard work of Lois Mulder, teachers, staff and administrators.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Above and Beyond #2

Beth Byrne is currently a first grade teacher at Harrington Elementary School. Over the last 10 years, Beth has voluntarily held a Summer Reading Club for her students. The students in her class are invited to come back to school during the summer months once a week for two hours. During that time, Beth does a read-aloud story where she continues to build upon the comprehension skills she taught during the school year. Each student also practices their reading using their own box of leveled books. Beth is there to support and encourage them. Since the arrival of the Big READ Bus during the summer months, Beth coordinates her club to be held on the same day as its stop at Harrington. This allows the students to take a book home from the box she provides, and visit the Big READ Bus to check out another book. Thanks to Beth for going “above and beyond” to support the students at HPS!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Probationary Teacher meeting

The HEA encourages all probationary teachers and their mentors to attend the Annual MEA Probationary Teachers' Workshop

This workshop is intended for all first, second, third and fourth year probationary teachers as well as their mentors and any other interested HEA members.

The 2008 Probationary Teachers' Workshop will be held on:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008--Holland Double Tree Inn Conference Center--4:00 PM until 9:30 PM.

Registration is from 4:00-4:30 PM, the MEA provides all materials and a free dinner. There is no cost to attend this workshop. Everything is free.

Not only can you receive very important information but all hours can be counted for "mentoring hours" as well as PSD hours.

In order to register all you have to do is call: 1-800-458-9213 and provide your name and the name of the school district you teach in.

All of you are strongly encouraged to attend this fantastic workshop.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Have a wonderful summer!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Kiel Nowakowski Receives HEA Scholarship

On Thursday, May 29, 2008 at the Holland High School Senior Honors Convocation the Holland Education Association presented its 2008 H.E.A. Scholarship.

This $500.00 scholarship was presented to: Kiel Nowakowski the son of Merri Martens.

Kiel will attend The University of Michigan to study Psychology and French. A few of his personal interests are international study and affairs, guitar and making movies. He also has been active with Model UN, National Honor Society, French Honor Society and Junior Rotary.

Congratulations Kiel Nowakowski.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Above and Beyond #1

Since it's creation in the fall of 2005, the HEA has been using this blog to share information with teachers and community members. Thank you for reading and being loyal subscribers. Today we would like to introduce a new piece called "Above and Beyond". This piece will focus on specific teachers or groups within the HEA family who are doing great things with students. Things that are above and beyond the requirements from the federal and state level. Great things are happening every day in Holland Public Schools. Great teachers make those things happen. Enjoy.

Please click here to read a letter to the editor about Mrs. Amy Johansen's first grade class at Holland Heights.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Learn why MESSA is unique, member focused and hassle free health insurance. Learn why so many Michigan teachers and their families value MESSA and consider it one of the best benefits to being a public educator.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vote for Jose Mireles for Holland School Board

The HEA proudly endorses Jose Mireles.
Jose Mireles will…

  • use communication with all members of the school and community as the key to improving the image of the Holland Public School
  • look at all sides of the issues and listen to facts, not propaganda
  • strive to make changes that bring families back to our community and schools
  • take pride in our HPS diversity
  • connect with teachers to see what we do in our classrooms and see what he can do to support us

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

HEA ratified the TA April 15, 2008

On April 15, 2008, the HEA ratified a 3 year tentative agreement for the 2008-2011 school years. Specific details were not released to the public. The Holland School Board will meet on April 21 to vote on the TA.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ratification Meeting

  • Ratification Meeting
  • April 15, 4:00 PM
  • Holland High auditorium

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fantastic News

To: All members of the Holland Education Association

From: Charles Bullard-H.E.A. President

Date: March 27, 2008

Re: Tentative Agreement to a New Contract

On Wednesday morning, March 26, 2008 the Holland Education Association and the HPS Board of Education signed a tentative agreement to a new three (3) year Master Agreement.

As you may remember our present contract expires on August 31, 2008.

Our tentative agreement will begin on September 1, 2008 and covers a duration of three school years:

2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

Details of the tentative agreement will be mailed to the homes of each HEA member during the week of March 31st.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Report from General Membership Meeting

Holland teachers given “great news” during district financial update presented at their March 18 General Membership meeting.

The Holland Education Association leadership has recently completed a thorough analysis of the Holland Public Schools audits, as well as completing a comprehensive analysis of teacher costs. The results of this work were shared with the teachers of Holland in a meeting held on Tuesday, March 18.

At this meeting, the Holland teachers were shown how the economic and financial conditions that have plagued HPS in previous years had been successfully managed and overcome thanks to the board’s decision to abandon the highly unpopular “Focus School” concept and reorganize the district prior to the 2006-2007 school year.

“The fruits of that decision by the board are paying off,” said Charles Bullard, Holland Education Association president. “Instead of continuing to be the victims of a declining enrollment trend in Holland, we are now grasping with that reality in a responsible way and accepting the fact that HPS has to adapt to its changing conditions,” said Bullard.

The result of this is a reduction in the escalating non-instructional costs that had occurred over the previous several years. This 5.7% reduction amounts to annual savings of well over $2 million dollars.

The best news of the meeting came when the HEA chief negotiator, Jon Toppen, showed the teachers how the average settlements in Ottawa county for the next 2 years could be obtained in Holland while growing the district’s surplus savings to one of the highest in the county by the end of the 2009-2010 school year. “The taxpayer surplus could easily be as much as 20-22% of revenue by then,” said Toppen. “This figure reflects continued enrollment decline, projections for funding, and insurance costs that the district has concurred with,” he said.

Teacher Patti Arndt said she had always known that better times would eventually come for HPS. “It sure is nice to know that I and my colleagues shouldn’t have to expect a long drawn out struggle with negotiations this year,” she said. Adding, “what a refreshing change this is for our community, our students, and the new beginning we look forward to with Brian Davis.”

The media is encouraged to contact Jon Toppen, HEA chief negotiator for a personal review of the financial information presented to HPS teachers.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Really keeping you informed. (Part 2)

Even with the financial conditions that continue to impact Michigan's economy, there are some real positive changes that will help our area schools.

Did you know that there was 1.02% reduction in the MPSERS retirement contribution required by districts? This reduction generated 1.02% savings from Holland's previously anticipated total payroll costs.

Did you know that this rate is GOING DOWN EVEN MORE next year?

Did you know that MESSA rates remained either unchanged or lower than what Boards were "projecting" 2 years ago?

The money's not looking too bad for Holland.

Too often public schools get "lumped" into everyone else's financial realities by the media and others that want to paint a broad stroke relative to employer costs and ability to pay. To get the real scoop on how these revenue increases impact Holland, you need to rely on the analysis of the district audits and costs performed by your bargainers.

Don't forget that there is a general membership meeting on March 18. Contact your building AR for more details.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Really keeping you informed.

Even with the financial conditions that continue to impact Michigan's economy, there are some real positive changes that will help our area schools.

Did you know that many districts built their budgets (including Holland) for this year fearing a mid-year pro-rata reduction in their foundation allowance? This will not occur, and the $96/pupil increase given to most area schools (including Holland) this year will be maintained.

Did you know that the Senate Fiscal Agency's preliminary revenue estimates report an increase of $186/pupil for 2008-09?

Did you know under Granholm's budget proposal, all schools would receive at least an extra $108/pupil?

Too often public schools get "lumped" into everyone else's financial realities by the media and others that want to paint a broad stroke relative to employer costs and ability to pay. To get the real scoop on how these revenue increases impact Holland, you need to rely on the analysis of the district audits and costs performed by your bargainers.

Our next post will focus on employer costs and how they impact Holland.

**All members need to attend a general membership meeting on March 18. Contact your building AR for more details.**

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't be fooled!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Right to Work Letter to the Editor

Please read this letter to the editor from the Holland Sentinel, Sunday, January 13.