From the Superintendent

Superintendent's Message

I hope your summer created many new positive memories of time with friends and family.  As we begin the new year, let’s remember to look for opportunities to transform the lives of our students.   You never know what that small or large contribution you could make to change the lives of our children.  To see the impact the KPS staff and community make every day, we only need to look at one of our graduates last spring, Jules Muhizi.

In 2009, Jules arrived in KPS and enrolled at Discovery Elementary.  He and his family came to the United States from Africa, resettling as refugees. His story is a testament of perseverance, grit, and accomplishment.  Like many immigrants, the biggest challenge in coming to the U.S. was the language barrier. Jules felt his inability to speak English interfered with his social interactions and was an obstacle to his education.  His frustration motivated him to work with the staff to learn the language and focus on achievement.

Jules immersed himself in books to increase understanding and he worked with counselors and interventionists to utilize the many resources available to him. Jules went on to graduate in the class of 2018 with a 4.3 GPA and a full ride scholarship to Harvard University!  During his time at Kentwood, he was a member of the National Honor Society, Model UN, and ran with the track and cross-country teams.

This is not just a story of grit and perseverance in the face of a challenge.  It is also an inspiring story that exemplifies who we are as a staff!  We challenge our students to be the best they can be as people and as scholars.  We partner with our families to build positive relationships and transform our world.  As we prepare for another year, here are the 2018-2019 themes that we will emphasize:

We are a transformative community: KPS transforms lives and prepares students for success.
We build positive relationships with a growth mindset:  Our staff and students build relationships that lead to personal growth and resilience.
We are committed to creating and sustaining strong partnerships:  KPS values partnerships with parents, civic leaders, and area businesses leading to student achievement and a stronger community!      

This year our All Staff Kick-off will be on Wednesday, August 15.  We are excited to announce that Flip Flippen will be our opening day speaker!  Mr. Flippen is the author of the Flip Side and the creator of the Capturing Kids Hearts program.  On Monday, August 20, we welcome back our students for their first full day of school.  

As we start the new school year, we will all continue to strive for excellence, equity, and celebrating our great Kentwood diversity.   Let us work together and create a safe, secure environment that encourages our students to succeed at every level. 

Thank you for your commitment to our students and our district.  I am grateful for your tireless work and look forward to serving together in the year ahead.

Sincerely,

Michael Zoerhoff, Superintendent

Key Points of Pride

Grit:  Our students have the inner strength and intellectual capability to meet and rise above life’s challenges.

Positive relationships and high expectations: Positive relationships provide the support needed to overcome difficult life circumstances.  Positive relationships provide the strength to meet high expectations and tackle what feels like the impossible.  

Global schools focused on excellence: We succeed on an international stage because Kentwood has a global perspective with a commitment to excellence in all that we do.