March 18, 2022
Letter from Dr. Raichoudhuri
March 18, 2022
Dear KPS Staff and Families:
At last night’s Board of Education meeting, I provided the following update about our mask mandate: “While it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the past two years with constant new information, recommendations, and other variables, KPS has prided itself on providing consistent and stable leadership over the past two years of this crisis. We have been clear, transparent, and up-front with families, and we have not pulled back on commitments that we have made to our families and staff.
First and foremost on my mind is the commitment that we have made to families about keeping masks on for third trimester which gave them the confidence to move their children to in-person learning. Secondly, I value leading a school district where we see ourselves as not just an education entity but an organization that is focused on supporting the community at large and those who are the most vulnerable - in this case those are children (mostly younger siblings of our students who are not eligible for the vaccine), those are grandparents and family members of our students who have comorbidities, those are committed staff members who are not able to get the vaccine due to medical reasons but show up to work everyday to ensure that our children are learning and thriving, and the list goes on. These are people who are part of our community, they make the lives of our students whole, therefore, they are part of our KPS Family.
I’m also very aware of the need to be flexible when the world around us is changing. In this case I’m talking about the lifting of mask mandates almost everywhere, the new CDC recommendation, and the general psychological need that we all have (myself included) to return to normalcy. However, given the rising case rate in Europe and Asia, and given that without fail in the past the US has followed 2-3 weeks later, and given that our spring break is coming up and we have historically, without fail, seen case counts go up after holiday breaks, and given that BA.2 variant is being said to be one of the most contagious variant to date, and given that the health department has prematurely lifted mask mandates in the past only to revert back to them (while KPS has remained steadfast with our masking protocols). Given all of this, and also given our desire to be flexible when flexibility is called for and can be achieved, I would recommend to this board that we reassess our mask mandate at our April 7th board meeting. This is only nine school days away including tomorrow. This will give us an opportunity to observe and analyze the impact of the BA.2 variant coming from overseas, as well as the impact of any exposure in our community as a result of spring break.”
The Board of Education acted upon my recommendation and voted unanimously to keep the mask mandate in place and reassess it again at their April 7, 2022 meeting.
Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri
KPS Bond 2022
On May 3, the Kalamazoo community will have the opportunity to vote on a bond proposal. If voters approve this bond proposal, there is expected to be NO increase in the tax rate, and the bond would provide $197.1 million to fund capital improvements in our schools.
All voters can now vote from home. If you have not already registered to receive an absentee ballot, contact your appropriate elections office: City of Kalamazoo (269) 337-8793, Kalamazoo Township (269) 381-8080, Oshtemo Township (269) 216-5224 or Texas Township (269) 375-1591.
KPS Proud of Tony Spencer — Proud Michigan Educator
Arcadia Elementary School third grade teacher Tony Spencer was highlighted by the Michigan Department of Education in its video series "Proud Michigan Educator." Spencer grew up in Kalamazoo. After serving in the United States military, he became a school bus driver before starting a second career teaching. He encourages all of his students to consider a career in teaching as a way to give back to the community in which they grew up and attended school.
KPS is proud of him and salute him for inspiring his students and others around the state to become Proud Michigan Educators. Last year, KPS launched the Urban Teacher Residency Program to identify and support future educators, who may be currently serving as food service personnel, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and other staff members who are so vital to the supports the district provides our students.
For more information on the Urban Teacher Residency Program, contact Steve Leland, in Human Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Luck to K-Central Mock Trial Team
This year, the team is arguing a civil case. Hamlin v. Orange, Inc. is a negligence lawsuit stemming from the Plaintiff’s purchase of a popular cellular “smartphone,” the MePhone. The MePhone is manufactured by Orange, Inc. and allegedly has a defect which allows someone to take control of the phone and access the owner’s personal information and, possibly, lead to identity theft. The question at hand is to what extent Orange, Inc. knew of this defect and took appropriate steps to remedy it.
This year's team members are: Maya Alkema, Sheldon Chambliss, Nate Evans, Caleb Geldner, Lillian Mielke, Katherine Risley, and Ian Webster. Not pictured, team member Sheldon Chambliss.They are coached by Francis Bilancio.
Loy Norrix Students Score Several Medals at State DECA Contest
Loy Norrix High School students took home several awards at the Michigan DECA state conference held in Detroit, March 10-12. DECA is a career education program that helps students develop skills in four business areas: management, marketing, finance, and hospitality. Twenty-four Norrix students qualified for states after winning at the district level.
Chanel Wilson and Wendy Miedema earned a gold School Based Enterprise Award for reopening a pop-up school store and writing a 20-page paper about the experience. They also presented a report on the human resources aspect of the project.
Aliah Ward and Nateya Thomas earned medals and the DECA Glass Award for Career Awareness for hosting the I Have a Dream Career Expo at Norrix. More than 100 people attended the event at which local business owners met with students to share their work experiences. Alliah and Nateya wrote a paper and gave an oral presentation on the project.
Arturo Pinto competed in the Virtual Business Sports competition. He placed third in the Central Region, which covers Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Javon Harris earned a medal for a high test score and a medal for the best role play in his group event: Principles of Business Finance.
Chanel, Wendy, Aliah, Nateya, and Arturo will advance to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta in April.
Loy Norrix has been a part of DECA for 38 years. The program helps students gain “a deeper understanding of networking, professionalism, and business content as a result of the experience,” said Norrix business teacher Atiba Ward, who is the DECA advisor.
KC Students Will Join César Chávez March
Kalamazoo Central High School students will be attending the 2022 Kalamazoo César Chávez March and Celebration on March 24. Students from Itzel Gomez-Avalos' Spanish 3C class created posters to use during the march. The event begins at Bronson Park, then students will march to Western Michigan University, where keynote speaker Eduardo Chávez will address the importance of social justice and the contributions of agricultural workers to the fight for civil rights. Chávez is a filmmaker and the grandson of civil rights leader César Chávez.
Foundation Accepting Applications for Women's Education Grant
The Kalamazoo Community Foundation's Women’s Education Coalition Grant Program is officially accepting applications.
The WEC Grant Program is aimed at women who reside in Kalamazoo, Barry, Calhoun, Allegan, St. Joseph, or Van Buren counties who have had a significant break in their education. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how post-high school education will assist them in reaching their goals of increased financial independence. This grant can be used to enroll in professional development opportunities, trade, technology, vocational or certificate program, or an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree program. The grant may also be used by part-time or full-time students. This is a renewable grant, so applicants are able to apply again for further financial assistance.
Applications can be submitted through May 15. This is the link to the foundation website which has more information about the program.
KPS News on Break
Employee Update Form
Recently, the district sent an important message about closing for a snow day. Make sure we have your current contact information, so you can be updated on district happenings.
If you need to change or verify your name, mailing address, or phone number, please complete a change of address form and return it to Human Resources via fax (269) 337-0185 or email email@example.com.
Assistant Supervisor of Transportation
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Early Childhood Special Education Paraprofessional
Lincoln International Studies School
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Middle School Teacher - Social Studies
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Assistant School Secretary
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