The Appleseed

October/November 2023

Update from the Superintendent

What a beautiful month of September we had! Now the temperatures have begun to drop leaving no doubt that fall is here. We have completed the first month of this new academic year and I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting updates and express my gratitude for the incredible start we've had to the school year.

First and foremost, our construction projects are progressing exceptionally well. Bauer Elementary's new gymnasium and additional classrooms are well underway, and the major remodel with an additional gymnasium at Park Elementary will begin construction in just a few short weeks. The high school fieldhouse is nearing completion, as we tentatively have planned our first event to be held there on December 22, 2023. Thanks to your unwavering support and the dedication of our hardworking team, our schools are undergoing vital renovations that will enhance the learning environment for our students. The improvements being made will provide our students with state-of-the-art facilities they truly deserve.

Speaking of our students, I am thrilled to report they have enthusiastically transitioned back into the classrooms. Witnessing their smiling faces as they reconnect with friends and teachers and the joy of learning has been incredibly uplifting. Outside the classroom, our sports teams have also kicked off the season with remarkable energy and positive sportsmanship. Whether on the field, the court, the course, or in the pool, our student-athletes represent our district with pride and commitment. Our fine arts programs are excelling in the classroom and in competition. I encourage everyone to come out and support our students as they pursue excellence throughout the year.

We have the most dedicated staff, and their commitment to professional development has been nothing short of remarkable as we begin the school year. They continuously seek ways to enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest educational trends. This dedication to excellence is a testament to their commitment to our students' success.

As we move forward into the school year, I want to express my deepest gratitude to you, our community, for your ongoing support and dedication to our shared mission. We continue to work to educate, challenge, and inspire all learners to become contributing, responsible members of a global society. Together, we are creating an environment where our students can thrive academically, socially, and personally. Please stay engaged with our schools and actively participate in your child's education. Attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer when you can, and participate in our school events. Your involvement is vital in helping us provide our students with the best possible educational experience.

In closing, I am genuinely excited about the promising year ahead. With your continued support, I do not doubt we will achieve great things together. Let's make this school year one filled with growth, learning, and success for all our students.

Thank you for entrusting us with your children's education and being an integral part of our exceptional community.

Dr. VanderJagt


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The Student Becomes the Teacher!

Before Mr. Dekraker was a second-grade teacher at Bauer Elementary, he was a treasured student at South Elementary. Pictured below with his second-grade teacher, Ms. Broek, his third-grade teacher, Ms. Kissane, and his fifth-grade writing teacher, Ms. Hoekema, Mr. Dekraker was an exciting new hire this year.

"I think this is a testimony to the love, time, and effort teachers like the three of you invest into your kids each and every year," Dekraker said in an email to his teachers turned colleagues. "I'm honored to step into the other side of that now alongside each of you! Thanks for your investment in me all those years ago, and I can't wait to put it to good use."

Dekraker teaches in the classroom next door to where his grandfather, Tom Vruggink, taught for thirty years. Dekraker recently received a special rocking chair from Ms. VanDenEnd and Ms. Farrell that Vruggink had donated to them many years ago. So now DeKraker's classroom has the exact rocking chair his grandparents rocked him in when he was young.

The addition of Dekraker to our staff serves as a beautiful reminder of the strong ties that our fantastic teachers have to our incredible community.

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Family Matters- Special Education Resources from the Michigan Department of Education

The Family Matters webpage offers multiple two-page briefs titled Family Matters Fact Sheets. These fact sheets provide information about special education system topics in family-friendly language.

The briefs offer families a concise overview of special education laws, practices, and procedural safeguards and include links to more in-depth special education system resources. The Family Matters Fact Sheets are available in English, Arabic, and Spanish.

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Third Graders at Park Elementary Celebrated the Third Day of School

The third-grade students at Park Elementary kicked off the school year by celebrating their 3rd day in 3rd grade! The students participated in many different fun activities, including listening to the story of the Three Little Pigs, working in groups of three to build the longest paper chain during a class community-building activity, and even math and word problems involving three!

To end the 3rd Day of 3rd Grade celebration, each of the third graders created a list of three goals that they wanted to work on during their year in third grade. Many of these goals included working on their multiplication and division facts, practicing a sport, and even making new friends.

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Community Education Scholarship Opportunity

Hudsonville Community Education aims to provide high-quality enrichment classes, recreational sports, and summer camps for everyone. We are proud to offer scholarships to members of the Hudsonville Public Schools community who are eligible for free or reduced lunch and reside within the boundaries of the Hudsonville Public School District.

  • If your child is eligible for free lunches, you can be awarded one $50 scholarship per school year. (Maximum 1 per family)
  • If your child is eligible for reduced lunches, you can be awarded one $25 scholarship per school year. (Maximum 1 per family)

There are a limited number of scholarships available. Submit application here

Scholarship contributions will allow us to continue offering scholarships to those who most need them. Make a donation to the Hudsonville Community Education Scholarship fund here.

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Hudsonville Education Foundation

Eagles of Excellence Gala

Monday, November 6, 2023

5:30pm - 7:30pm

The Pinnacle Center

$30 Per Person

Purchase your tickets now for a night of inspiration and celebration! The annual Eagles of Excellence Gala promises to be a truly memorable event. Hosted annually by the Hudsonville Education Foundation in partnership with Hudsonville Public Schools, this Gala brings our community together to recognize and honor the extraordinary achievements of Hudsonville Public Schools alumni, students and educators.

Celebrating Our Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees

We are proud to introduce the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductees:

Craig Hoppen, Class of 1982 – Career Achievements

President and CEO, J&H Oil Company and J&H Family Stores

Henry Luttikhuizen, Ph.D., Class of 1982 – Cultural and Performing Arts Contributions

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholar in Residence, Grand Valley State University

Their remarkable contributions to their fields are truly deserving of recognition, and we can't wait to honor their achievements at the Gala.

Eagles of Excellence Student Recognition

The heart of the evening lies in the recognition of our extraordinary students. Twenty-four current Hudsonville Public Schools students from the middle and high schools will take center stage in the presence of their families and educator mentors. These students exemplify the qualities of an "Eagle of Excellence" through their consistent commitment to academics and demonstration of positive character qualities inside and outside the classroom.

Join Us for a Night of Inspiration and Community

In its 6th year, this prestigious event continues to grow, uniting over three hundred educators, administrators, students, parents, alumni, community representatives, and business leaders for an evening of celebration. It's a unique opportunity to come together as a community and support the future of education in Hudsonville Public Schools. This event and Hudsonville Education Foundation programming in made possible by generous donor support. For a full list of Eagles of Excellence Gala Sponsors, visit

How to Attend

Don't miss your chance to be a part of this inspiring evening. Purchase your tickets today through the link below and secure your place at the 2023 Eagles of Excellence Gala:

We look forward to seeing you on Monday, November 6, 2023, at The Pinnacle Center for a night that celebrates the excellence in education that makes Hudsonville Public Schools truly extraordinary.

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6th Grade is Alive with the Sounds of Music

All 6th graders get to try a music class this year, which has been a huge success! Students are having a lot of fun in band, orchestra, choir, and creative music class at Riley Street Middle School and the 5/6 Building at Georgetown! The halls have been alive with the sound of music: singing, ukulele, brass, woods, percussion, and strings.


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Creative Music

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Little Eagles Learn to SOAR!

In September, the preschool students from the Early Childhood Center had a special PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) assembly with Mrs. Maday and the Hudsonville Eagle. They were introduced to topics such as listening with their whole bodies, playing safe on the playground, and ensuring they SOAR (be Safe, Own it, Act responsibly, be Respectful.) Our beloved Hudsonville Eagle even joined the children in a spirited game of Simon Says to help the students practice listening skills while getting some wiggles out before returning to class.

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New Author Visits the 5/6 Building @ Georgetown

Author Dana VanderLugt paid a special visit to our students at the 5/6 Building @ Georgetown. VanderLugt, a former instructional coach with HPS, signed bookmarks and answered questions about her debut book "Enemies in the Orchard." The historical fiction book, written in verse, is aimed at a middle school audience. VanderLugt indicated she was inspired to write the story after doing research about her family's Hudsonville orchard and she discovered her grandfather participated in a little-known program during WWII that brought German POWs to the United States as farm laborers.
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