April 8, 2022
Message from Dr. Raichoudhuri
I hope you and your family were able to enjoy some rest and relaxation during spring break.
I wanted to inform you that at last night’s Board of Education meeting, I recommended that KPS keep the mask mandate in place and reassess it again at the Board’s April 21 meeting. This recommendation was approved by the Board.
My reasoning for the recommendation included the following:
There are still many unknowns with Ba.2 of COVID-19 and the other new variant, XE.
The impact of spring break travel has not yet been fully realized. This is only the fifth day back in session for KPS. Since the virus began, spikes in positivity rates have not historically been immediately seen following school breaks but usually follow a two-week lag.
Our county was one of three in the state that recently had more than a 20 percent increase in positivity rates over a seven-day period.
The district has state-mandated testing this month and next, and we do not want to risk having a surge in COVID-19 cases, which would impact staff and student attendance.
For those reasons, the timing was just not right to make the decision to remove the mask mandate.
I will inform you of the outcome of the April 21 meeting. Until then, I hope that we get to experience warmer spring weather — which we are all wanting.
John Kreider Wins OutFront Kalamazoo Always Out Front Award
John Kreider, Loy Norrix High School teacher librarian will be honored tonight with one of OutFront Kalamazoo’s Always Out Front awards for his work as the advisor for the school's Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
Kreider said they were humbled to receive the award because they know of so many other teachers and staff who have worked to support students.
“My work with GSA is important, but just as important are the countless conversations I've had with students outside of GSA about their evolving understanding of themselves and the world around them,” Kreider said. “A lot of students simply can't attend GSA for their own safety, or for fear of backlash from peers or adults. So it's very important to me to be available to students, just to listen and affirm them. I'm most proud of being someone a lot of students feel comfortable talking to. I don't give much advice, I mostly just listen and affirm, and direct them to other resources.”
In their role as the school librarian, Kreider said they are “responsible for curating a collection of materials that reflects the experiences and identities of all of my students. I'm constantly asked for books about and by LGBTQIA+ people. Right now books are being challenged around the country, and nearly all of them are by authors of color, or LGBTQIA+ authors.
“A common response to book challenges is to encourage people to buy those books. But that's not the same as having those books on school library shelves where students have free and equal access to them.”
Principal Chris Aguinaga said Kreider has done an “amazing” job as the advisor to the group. “They have helped turn the club into one of our longest running and most well-attended clubs at LN. Clubs often fade over time, but the endurance of the GSA has been excellent. They have helped move the GSA from a support group to a group of advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights at LN,” said Aguinaga, who serves on the board of OutFront Kalamazoo.
Congrats to KPS Student Programmers
Kalamazoo Central High School Senior Anthony Alvarez and Loy Norrix High School junior Benjamin Whitsett took the top prize in the Association for Computing Machinery High School Programming Contest held at Saginaw Valley State University in March.
The first-place duo were part of a group of 49 Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center computer science students who participated in the event, which was the first in-person competition for students in two years. The team is coached by computer science teacher Shannon Houtrouw.
Alvarez and Whitsett finished the entire set of 10 problems in just over 90 minutes and were the only team to do so. This was the second collaboration between Alvarez and Whitsett. In November, they teamed up for the Michigan State University Virtual High School Programming Contest, handily winning that event as well.
The Top 10 teams, of two or three students, were recognized at the end of the contest, with the Top 3 placing teams being awarded electronic devices. KAMSC had seven teams finish in the Top 10. All 17 KAMSC teams correctly solved at least one problem. The KPS competitors, along with their final rank and number of correct solves were:
1st place: Central senior Anthony Alvarez and Loy Norrix junior Benjamin Whitsett (10/10 solves)
5th: Central junior Alex Salinas (8)
7th: Central junior Evan McDermott (7)
9th: Loy Norrix senior Evan Teal (7)
13th: Central seniors Abigail Houtrouw and Emily Nguyen (5)
23th: Central senior Evelyn Roth (4)
27th: Central junior Ava Moaiery (3)
39th: Loy Norrix sophomore Vivienne Chapman (2)
Students pictured are: Evan McDermott, Abigail Houtrouw, Alexander Salinas, Evelyn Roth, Benjamin Whitsett,, Ava Moairey, and Anthony Alvarez. (Not pictured: Vivienne Chapman, Emily Nguyen, and Evan Teal).
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.
Books, Books, Books at Winchell Elementary
Before spring break, Winchell Elementary held a book exchange. Students, staff and families donated more than 1,000 books. Each student was able to select two books to take home - whether or not they were able to donate.
Winchell held a summer reading challenge in which students were challenged to read and take an
AR test on the books they received through the summer reading program. Winchell Principal Mike Hughes said 51 students took on the challenge and won T-shirts that say "Literacy Is My Jam."
Cardio Drumming at Parkwood-Upjohn
Physical education teacher Andrea Melvin added a little bit of performing arts to her classes for kindergarteners at Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School. Students got to play around with cardio drumming, which combines the cardio benefits of swinging drum sticks with fun rhythms.
Super Reading Fun at Washington Writers' Academy
Washington Writers' Academy recently completed their annual We All Read program. The all-school read was the book "Almost Super," about two brothers who have mediocre powers despite being born into a super hero family. We All Read launched on Literacy Night with a showing of "The Incredibles," and activities wrapped up the day before spring break.
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.
From Human Resources
To be Determined
Job ID: 3996
Accounts Payable Account Clerk A
Job ID: 3994
Middle School Teacher - Special Education (ASD)
To be Determined
Job ID: 3995
Community Education Center (CEC)
Custodian Split Shift