Tag Archives: child development and education

GRCC In the News, 8-10-17

Free play & learn groups launching to get more kids kindergarten-ready

Aug. 10, 2017; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – First Steps Kent and Grand Rapids Community College are partnering in an initiative help more children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed.

KISD students can earn associates degree tuition free

Aug. 9, 2017; The Lowell Ledger

Kent Intermediate School District (KISD) students are now given the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and a specialized associates degree tuition free in five years through a hands-on early college program, Launch U.

Early/Middle College is a career focus type of program that ultimately prepares students to go directly into the workforce or to continue on with school, said Ron Caniff, superintendent of the KISD. For the extra year of high school status, students will earn 60 or more college credits through Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) while their peers may have only upwards of 30 credits.

Culinary school to host pastry competition tryouts

Aug. 9, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

The kitchens at a local college culinary institute will be powdered with the sugar of expert pastry chefs next week.

Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education will host tryouts on Aug. 14 and 15 for the U.S. team in an international pastry competition.

Favorite Family Flavors: Bringing Tradition to the Table

Aug. 9, 2017; Women’s Lifestyle

You know you’ve entered a special restaurant when the aromas capture your senses. Basil, oregano, cinnamon, tomatoes, onions, wine and garlic drift through the air at Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen; a blend of corn, garlic, onions and spices permeate Lindo Mexico’s new modern restaurant; a rich broth filled with special meats and steeped with basil, ginger root, cinnamon, onions and other tantalizing spices is one menu item that will light your fire at PHO 616, the newest restaurant in the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

… One dollar from every Restaurant Week meal sold is donated by the participating restaurants to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education Student Scholarship Fund at GRCC, providing financial support to up-and-coming chefs and restaurant staff.

First Steps Kent, GRCC launch partnership to provide community play groups

A woman uses play money to make a pretend purchase from four children playing store with a toy cash register. The sign hanging from the ceiling says "Burton Veterinarian Clinic."First Steps Kent and GRCC are teaming up to provide community play groups in eight locations throughout Grand Rapids.

First Steps Kent, a Kent County nonprofit organization that works to strengthen and coordinate early childhood services, will work with GRCC’s Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory to organize the weekly play groups for children ages 2 to 5.

Parents, caregivers and children will take part in the free play groups with intentionally designed activities to prepare the children for success.  The parents and caregivers will learn about child development, early reading and positive discipline, said JaneAnn Benson, director of GRCC’s Early Childhood Learning Laboratory.

“We are excited to work in partnership with First Steps Kent and Grand Rapids Public Schools in sharing early childhood resources and activities throughout the area,” she said. “The play groups will help children build literacy skills while having fun. It will be a wonderful opportunity for caregivers to learn from us — and from each other.”

First Steps Kent started the Early Learning Communities playgroups as a demonstration project, said Annemarie Valdez, president and CEO of First Steps Kent.

“Since starting with FSK, Early Learning Communities has provided a quality early learning experience for many children, along with their parents and caregivers,” she said.  “We are thrilled to have Grand Rapids Community College as a partner to steer this effort going forward. True partnerships such as this benefit our children and the whole community.”

The groups will meet for 90 minutes every week during the academic year at:

  • Aberdeen Elementary, 928 Aberdeen St. NE.
  • Burton Elementary, 2133 Buchanan Ave. SW.
  • Coit Creative Arts Academy, 617 Coit Ave. NE.
  • Congress Elementary, 940 Baldwin St. SE.
  • The Grand Rapids Library’s main branch at 111 Library St. NE.
  • Harrison Park Elementary, 1440 Davis Ave. NW.
  • Madison Square Church, 1441 Madison Ave. SE.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy, 645 Logan St. SE.

GRCC President Bill Pink said the play groups would not be possible without cooperation from many community organizations.

“We are grateful to Grand Rapids Public Schools, the library and Madison Square Church for providing the space to help Grand Rapids children learn and grow,” he said. “All of us benefit when our youngest learners feel confident and successful in the classroom.”

Student Success Story: Alejandra Ledesma

Alejandra Ledesma
Alejandra Ledesma

When Alejandra Ledesma decided to become a teacher, she knew where her education would start: GRCC.

“GRCC has been a significant part of my family,” she said. “While our family grew, with two beautiful daughters, my husband was still able to complete his undergraduate degree and graduate degree because of the options at GRCC through Ferris State University.

“Going to GRCC was a ‘no-brainer’ when I decided to finish my degree.”

Of course, juggling work and family along with her studies was challenging, at times, for this busy mom. When she need help and advice, she turned to her “experts”: Child Development program leader Rebecca Brinks, faculty members Tricia Siegel and Keri Davis, and preschool instructors Andrew Wolinski and Penny Folsom.

Brinks said Ledesma will be “truly an asset” to the early childhood field.

“Like many of our students, she has a lot on her plate, but she always brings enthusiasm and a positive outlook to everything she does,” Brinks said. “Her desire to learn and become the excellent preschool teacher she it has been evident both in the college classroom and with the children and families at the Early Childhood Learning Laboratory.”

Ledesma will receive her associate degree at commencement, which takes place 7 p.m. April 28 at Ford Fieldhouse, 226 Lyon St. NE. She plans to transfer to Ferris State University to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“My goal is to be a second-grade teacher, bilingual in English and Spanish, and be the difference I’ve longed to see,” she said.

GRCC In the News, 1-23-17

GRCC holds grand opening dedication, open house for new preschool facility

Jan. 21, 2017; WZZM

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – Grand Rapids Community College marked the grand opening of the Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory with a dedication and community open house on Saturday.

Members in the News January 2017

Jan. 20, 2017; Merit

GRCC Replaces Nearly $590,000 in Textbooks Through Open Educational Partnerships

Through its new partnerships with the OpenStax program and other providers of free digital resources, Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) has replaced almost $590,000 in textbooks with free or substantially less expensive versions. Last February, GRCC joined Rice University’s OpenStax program, which provides free, high-quality peer-reviewed textbooks. During the fall semester, more than 90 GRCC class sections used the open-educational resource (OER) texts.

Together again

Jan. 22, 2017; Lanthorn (GVSU student newspaper)

Grand Valley State University’s Sibs and Kids Weekend will be a time of reconnection for GVSU students and their families. To celebrate this annual event, GVSU will be hosting a variety of activities Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28. Most of the activities will occur in the Kirkhof Center, although a few will happen in various other campus locations, as well as off campus.

… This year’s Sibs and Kids Weekend will be hosted by the Laker Traditions team, along with assistance from organizations like Spotlight Productions and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. In addition, the Grand Rapids Community College will be partnering with the YMCA to provide volunteers for one of Saturdays main events, Night at the YMCA.

World Affairs Council of Western Michigan Announces 2017 Great Decisions Global Discussions, Expansion into Holland

Jan. 21, 2017; 24-7pressrelease.com

Global health issues, nuclear proliferation, the complexity of U.S.-Saudi and U.S.-China relations are a few of the dynamic topics being explored as the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan launches its 2017 Great Decisions Global Discussion Series.

… In addition to strong participation from World Affairs Council members and the general community, more than 100 college students will take the series through their respective political science or international departments. Local participating colleges include Aquinas College, Calvin College, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Montcalm Community College and Western Michigan University.

American Law Society Recognizes Gary P Schenk

Jan. 21, 2017; military-technologies.net

Grand Rapids, MI, January 20, 2017 (PR.com) — Gary P. Schenk is a partner at Schenk, Boncher & Rypma based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gary’s practice focuses primarily on commercial, business, contract, and corporate law and associated litigation. His profound knowledge of commercial real estate has made him an expert advisor for both large and small business owners.

… Other notable associations and accomplishments include: serving on committees for the Grand Rapids Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan; he was a past member of the Grand Valley State University Foundation, the Grand Valley University Friends of the Arts; he is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and previously served on the Lawyer Referral Committee of the Grand Rapids Bar; additionally, he has served a term as Chairperson of the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees.

Jayhawks women’s team stifles Grand Rapids CC with tough defense

Jan. 21, 2017; Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)

MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Community College women’s basketball team didn’t lose any defensive intensity over the two-week holiday break.

The Grand Rapids Community College Raiders will attest to that.

Tour new preschool during open house on Jan. 21

Melissa Boman, Kathleen White, Kathleen Newman, Claudia Lovely-Jones and JaneAnn Benson sit in a hallway of the new preschool.You can check out the new Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory during a community open house from noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 21.

Tours and information about the preschool will be provided during the open house, and guests may park in the Bostwick Avenue parking ramp.

Since its founding in 1974, the Laboratory Preschool has been located in First United Methodist Church at 227 E. Fulton St. GRCC broke ground on a $8.7 million, state-of-the-art preschool building at 210 Lyon St. NE in summer 2015.

Preschool director JaneAnn Benson said the new building will be an early childhood hub for the entire area.

“Early childhood care providers from the community will meet here to learn and share practices that best support children and families,” she said. “The building will also serve to support families in the care of their children — providing a dynamic space for their children to learn and grow, providing child and community resources, and events that support healthy family development.”

The building, named in honor of the person who began both the Laboratory Preschool and Child Development programs, will feature:

  • Access to outdoor space for all classrooms.
  • Multipurpose spaces to host large motor activities for children as well as community and family events.
  • A children’s library.
  • Lockers and designated spaces for students in Child Development and Education programs.
  • Observation rooms for use by Child Development and Education students.
  • Individual meeting spaces in each classroom.
  • An office for Child Development and Education faculty.
  • An adult classroom, for Child Development and Education courses and for meetings of area educators and care providers.

An ecological theme is also woven throughout the building, based on the textures and design elements chosen to fill out the spaces, Benson added.

“Different textures represent things such as forest/woodland, marsh/meadow, lake/river and sand dune/beach,” Benson said. “There also are circles throughout the building representing many things, including how connected we are, bubbles in the river, bubbles that children love to play with, and our connection with the neighborhood.”

Additional classrooms in the new site will allow the preschool to expand services.

The program plans to broaden early childhood educational support for families and caregivers in low-income Grand Rapids neighborhoods in an effort to better prepare children for kindergarten. The Frey Foundation, PNC Bank Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided funding toward a new community liaison position at GRCC to implement an outreach program with the new preschool as a hub connecting families, teachers and students with best-practice early education resources.

Grant funding from foundations and donors provided $3.5 million for construction of the $7.2 million preschool building. Supporters include the Amway Corp., Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, Frey Foundation, Jandernoa Foundation, Kate Pew Wolters, Sebastian Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. GRCC’s Plant Fund and bond financing provided $2.2 million toward the project. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation also supported the construction with a $1.5 million program-related investment low-interest loan.


GRCC In the News, 12-20-16

Head Start receives $675K grant to launch ‘Grow Your Own’ project

Dec. 19, 2016; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Head Start for Kent County received a three-year, $675,000, grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to promote the success of kids through a “Grow Your Own” project that will help staff earn degrees and launch a Parent Leadership program.

… She said the nonprofit, located at 2626 Walker Ave. NW, has agreements with Aquinas College, Central Michigan University and Grand Rapids Community College to provide courses on site potentially as early as this March, making it more convenient for their staff.