The Appleseed

April/May 2023

Update from the Superintendent

The days are getting longer, and soon the flowers will start to bloom. Springtime has arrived! As our high school seniors prepare for their final stretch at HPS, the elementary kids are quickly storing their snow pants for the summer. We are deep into planning for the 2023-2024 school year as we prepare to open our 12th school, The 5/6 Building at Georgetown. Soon returning students will be placed in classes next year with excellent teachers and wonderful support staff. Our administrative staff is hard at work finalizing staffing needs and welcoming new families into our school system. There is still much work to get done this school year, and we want to bring a couple of significant issues to your attention. They both center around an upcoming vote this spring. On May 2, Hudsonville School parents and community members will have the chance to vote on two ballot initiatives.

The Non-Homestead Millage renewal is a yearly request that voters have approved for the past 27 years would generate approximately 6.8 million dollars in operating revenue for our school district. Please note this is not a tax on primary residences or a new tax. The Non-Homestead Millage will not affect those who own one home. It will have minimal impact on the property tax bill of businesses, second homes, and some agricultural properties because it will only be a continuation of the 18 mills that have been levied in past years.

The final ballot initiative will be the Hudsonville Public Schools Sinking Fund Millage Renewal. A sinking fund is a savings account into which a local school district can deposit voter-approved local millage revenue to pay cash for projects or repairs rather than borrowing through short-term notes or long-term bonds. This enables the district to pay directly for unforeseen maintenance, such as a new boiler, a roof leak, parking lot repairs, and updated student and infrastructure technology. Hudsonville Public Schools has been operating with a sinking fund for the past 25 years, but additional funding is needed as some of our buildings continue to age. With only 16.9% of registered voters casting a ballot last May, your vote is a vitally important voice in the school district. Please vote on May 2.

These two ballot proposals are instrumental as we continue our construction work throughout the district. We have been working for roughly two years and are thrilled to have these new projects nearly completed, with a few others about to begin. The gym at Forest Grove will be ready for use right after spring break, and the 5/6 Building at Georgetown will be completed in just a few short months. The high school construction work on the connector is complete and fully occupied by our students. The field house is coming along nicely and should get finished by the end of the calendar year. Next school year, the additional gym and classrooms at Bauer Elementary and Park Elementary will begin to take shape. To follow current construction timelines and photos, please visit for updated information. You will find details regarding all the construction projects taking place.

I hope this spring revives and awakens you. Enjoy the additional daylight, the fresh air, and maybe an extra walk on a dry sidewalk. Spring activities are in full swing, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our many events that our kids have the opportunity to participate in. Have a great start to spring, and please remember to vote on May 2, 2023.

Dr. VanderJagt


Hudsonville Public Schools Non-Homestead Millage and Sinking Fund Millage

Riley Middle School Means Business

The sixth-grade ELA students at Riley Street Middle School were immersed in investigating the question Why is the Hudsonville area a great place to do business? By partnering with our amazing Hudsonville-area businesses, students practiced narrative and informational reading and writing skills to write the business stories and create infographics to inform the community about what the companies do. The business partners visited to check student work and to provide students with feedback for revision. Then, on Wednesday, March 8, student teams presented to the public about their partner businesses at the RMS Business Showcase. ALL of the sixth-grade students did an excellent job, but the following five teams earned the most votes for their presentations.

Camp Bow Wow (Kennedy Buist, Beckett Heintskill, Avery Johnson, Reese Kloppe, Elijah Ouwinga)

Gemmen's Ace Hardware (Grace Brackenridge, Briella Dykgraaf, Claire Disler, Aubrey Gatza, Kinsley Slagter)

Love Your Neighbor (Charlotte Bailey, Lauryn Camfferman, Raelyn Dyke, Jamie Hart, Veronica Lehnert)

The Derby Tavern (Shaymus McCarthy, Ethan Miller, Grace Snyder, Piper Vugteveen)

The Derby Tavern (Addison Brott, Emersyn Deckinga, Ava Holy, Carter Pater)

Thank you to our business partners for making this authentic learning experience possible!

*Action Water Sports *Camp Bow Wow *The Derby Tavern*DeGraaf Interiors *Dinner Girl *Eagles Landing *Elise Davis *Gemmen’s Ace Hardware *Georgetown Driving School *Grandview Orchard *Hudsonville Lanes *J&H Oil *Jensen Jewelers *Lake Michigan Credit Union *Love Your Neighbor *Maggie’s Be Cafe *McConomy Photography *Onalees *The Pinnacle Center *Powerquest Electric, Inc. *Riley James Salon *Royal Technologies *Sunrise Acres *Truck and Van Specialties

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Reading Road Trip Across America

It was Reading Road Trip Across America at Forest Grove Elementary during the month of March. In honor of READING month, the entire school worked cooperatively to earn "gold coins" by meeting daily classroom reading goals to move our EAGLE BUS (full of students and staff) from Los Angeles, California, to New York City, New York. The gold coins, each one representing one mile, helped us to pay for the gas needed to travel nearly 2,800 miles across America. We made fun REWARD stops along the way and enjoyed special all-school prizes (i.e., popcorn day, extra computer time, dress-up days, etc.). Some of our stops included the Grand Canyon, Amarillo, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, St. Louis, Missouri; and Hudsonville, Michigan - just to say hello to our neighbors before we arrived in New York, where we had our grand finale celebration on March 29. Happy Reading from Forest Grove Elementary!
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Using STEAM to Solve Problems at Park

At Park Elementary, our kindergarteners are deepening their understanding of the engineering design process through many problem-solving challenges. In this design challenge, students were tasked with moving five rocks from one side of the room to the other without touching them with their hands. Through collaborative, hands-on projects, our students discover concepts related to friction, forces of motion, and simple machines like wheels and axles. We love learning about science, technology, engineering, art, and math!
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Students and Technology

Part of the district’s vision for technology is to prepare students to thrive in a digital world. This includes communication, collaboration, creation, working with information, and other skills. In addition, we have developed resources, activities, and courses that are designed to support students in these areas while enhancing the learning experience.

We also want students to be competent in the safe and appropriate use of technology. Our schools all have expectations for tech use, and those expectations are taught and reinforced in various ways. The goal is to be proactive and limit potential poor choices, but it can be challenging. We know that this is difficult outside of school too.

Here are some reminders and resources you can consider when addressing technology with your children:

  1. Talk to them! Ask what they are using, how they feel about it, and share your thoughts/guidance. Set your expectations.
  2. Learn more about the apps and trends that are occurring online.
  3. Use available tools to protect and monitor their activity, gradually releasing responsibility to them as they age.

We recorded a series of podcasts called ProTECHting Your Kids, and the episodes cover parental oversight, social media, and online criminal behavior. You can find them on the district website along with accompanying resources.

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Hudsonville Education Foundation Highlights

Hudsonville Education Foundation Launches Alumni Apparel Line to Support Student Scholarship Fund

Hudsonville Public Schools Alumni (and soon-to-be alums) can now wear their Eagle Pride with the first-ever line of Hudsonville Eagle Alumni apparel.

Choose from unisex t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, and quarter-zip pullovers in adult sizes small through 3XL.

The best part? $5 from every purchase goes to the Hudsonville Education Foundation Scholarship Fund to support graduating seniors with trade school, college, and university scholarships.

Place your order on the Hudsonville Education Foundation's website between now and Friday, April 28, 2023. Orders will be available for pick-up on Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19, at the HPS Administration Building, just in time for the HPS Class of 2023 graduation!

Go to to learn more and order today!

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Now Accepting Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Nominations

Do you know of a Hudsonville Public Schools graduate who has made exceptional achievements in their career field, selflessly served Hudsonville Public Schools, or uniquely contributed to their communities locally, nationally, or globally?

If so, nominate them for this year's Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame before Friday, May 12, 2023.

The categories of recognition are:

  • Cultural/Performing Arts Accomplishments
  • Career/Military Achievements
  • Service to Hudsonville Public Schools/Community
  • Honorary Achievement – Contribution to Hudsonville Public Schools/Community

A new class of individuals will be selected from among the nominations and inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame at the Hudsonville Education Foundation Eagles of Excellence Gala on November 6, 2023.

Learn more, read the biographies of former Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductees, and submit a nomination online here:

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March Reading Madness at Jamestown Lower

Jamestown Lower students are enjoying some March Madness fun with books! During March, each class will be reading and voting on their read-aloud favorites. Teachers have chosen a mix of fiction and nonfiction texts. At the end of the month, a champion book will be selected! So far, students have LOVED reading these brand-new books!

Jamestown students are also celebrating the month by doing fun activities such as reading with a flashlight, reading in our pajamas, and reading with a stuffed animal. We’ve also had some extraordinary mystery readers visit us as well!
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Baldwin Student Council Gives Back

The student council members at Baldwin Street Middle school took a trip to lend a hand at Kid's Food Basket.
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Diversity and Advocacy Committee

Hudsonville Public Schools uses committees to ensure proper stakeholder input is gathered when making administrative decisions or making a recommendation to the board of Education. The Diversity and Advocacy Committee’s (DAC) goal is for ALL students to experience a safe learning environment and to provide tools and resources for staff to support every learner.

The committee has developed the following problem of practice:

Discrimination and harassment on race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation is occuring at HPS. The DAC acknowledges that instances of discrimination and harassment are not limited to these protected groups. Our laws and policies require HPS to create an anti-harassment learning environment for all. With this as our starting point, how can we better collect data, implement proactive measures, and continually monitor and improve.

If you would like to learn more about this committee click here. We are committed to hearing your voices. Please look for a future survey.

Tryke a Trip to South

The students at South Elementary are thankful for the AmTryke that we have recently received! Frank says, "It's a great way to take a brain break and get more muscles!" AmTryke produces adaptive trykes for amazing people, and we are thankful to put one to good use daily here at South Elementary.
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Pancake Party with Homemade Syrup

The second graders in 2B, at South Elementary, had quite the surprise this month! One of our students, and their Kid's Hope mentor, spent many weeks collecting sap from maple trees to make maple syrup! The children had fun learning about the interesting process to turn sap into maple syrup! The kids were amazed to learn that it takes 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup! The best part was enjoying fresh maple syrup on warm pancakes!

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Park students participated in the school-wide Build-an-Eagle at Park Elementary this month! This event was provided by our wonderful Park Parent’s Club. Each child that built an eagle was able to give it a little love by placing a heart in each eagle. They then could sew up their new stuffie and take it home! The students really loved this experience! Thank you to the Park Parent’s Club for organizing this special event!

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