Theme of the Month

Theme of the month: Energy



Parent Information Night will be held February 6, at 5:00pm. Please RSVP with your child’s teacher if you plan on attending. This PIN presentation will be covering Internet Safety. Ways to keep your children safe on the Internet and away from harmful sites, and much more will be examined. Dinner will be provided.

The Family-Only Breakfast has been rescheduled for Feb. 4 at 8:15am in the cafeteria.


Winter Camp

Read more about the 2014 Winter Adventure camps here >

CAMPUS NEWSShow Your Love Contest

Show Your Love

With February being the month of love, why not share with us why you love WMAES?

GreatSchools is a website used to rate our academy based on performance, location, and reviews. As a WMAES family member, we CHALLENGE you to give us a review. For every week during the month of February, a winner will be selected from the reviews posted on the GreatSchools’ website. Be sure to include your name and affiliation with the school at the end of your review so we can place you in the drawing for a WMAES prize. For example, you might end the review as: “Susan Savvy, Kindergarten mom”.

GreatSchools reviews are a quick and easy way to spread the story of our school to other prospective families. When families are searching for a new school, it’s helpful to hear reviews from others currently at WMAES. We are encouraging you to “Show Your Love”.

Want to continue spreading the love? Feel free to also give WMAES a review on Facebook. Reviews posted on both Facebook and GreatSchools will be included in the WMAES prize drawing.

We Are Top Ten

For the second year in a row, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science has been in Bridge Magazine’s list of Top Ten Charter Schools.

WMAES has received this ranking by raising student achievement above expected scores for the student body based on income level, according to a formula developed by Bridge Magazine and the Lansing research firm of Public Sector Consultants.

Bridge Magazine’s statistics were released to the public January 26, 2014, ranking WMAES 68th out of 540 schools. Individual rankings for fourth and eleventh grades were also included. The WMAES eleventh grade has been ranked fourth, and fourth grade was ranked ninth, in regards to charter schools.

Congratulations to the WMAES students, staff, and families for continually pushing the bar, and creating an educational atmosphere that continues to grow.

Changing Public Education

On Wednesday, January 29, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science was blessed to have organizers from Students First touring our campus grounds. Students studying

Students First is an organization that works to defend the interest of children in public schools, building an educational system that requires effective teachers, access to great schools, and effective use of public dollar. WMAES’ authorizer, Central Michigan University, nominated WMAES for the Students First celebration. High-test scores, effective teaching, and proficiency in education were all factors in why West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science was selected.

Festivities began early Wednesday morning at 7:00am. Teachers were provided breakfast in thanks for their support of effective student education. While students began filling the school with the squeaking of wet snow boots, the chatter of classroom joy, and the pure bliss of a wonderful school day, the three Students First organizers joined Principal Barrett on a campus-wide tour.

Walking out in the bitter cold, Students First was provided an inside look into the WMAES elementary. Children brushed past the group, spreading an ever so polite “excuse me” as they squeezed past. After a brisk walk from elementary classroom-to-classroom, the group finished their overview in the high school. A stop in Mr. Barrett’s AP Biology room was first on the list. As students intrigued Students First with the process behind cellular respiration and the hatching of the 200 salmon eggs, the group was taken aback by the pureness of WMAES. Every classroom performing as a small group, working together, and performing duties asked upon them without further instruction. WMAES was honored to have Students First on campus, getting a chance to view a public charter school at its finest hour.

For more information on Students First, visit: www.studentsfirst.org

Parking Lot Issues 

While our plows continue to be cautious and creative with their plowing initiatives, we do have an overwhelming amount of snow in the parking lot this year. Spring is on its way, but we know the parking lot can be frustrating. We ask that all parents continue to be patient and cautious when driving and parking in the lots.


PreK & Young 5's

Learning is out of this World

For the month of February, little ones will continue working on their zoophonics.

They will also be learning all about space. Students will be talking about planets, the moon, stars, and astronauts. Want to help your preschooler practice what they’ll be learning? Check out the hints below:

Elementary News

100th Day of School

Students in Ms. Dembinski’s class will be hosting the 3rd Annual Humane Society Drive to celebrate the 100th day of school!

The drive will begin Monday, February 3rd, and runs through Friday, February 14th. The goal for this year is to collect 100 items for the Humane Society of West Michigan. Whichever elementary class collects the most items will get a SPECIAL visit from Otis, the rescue dog!

Have a student who’s not in elementary school, but wants to help? Great! Bring any of your Humane Society donations to any elementary class.

A Kiss for YOU!

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, students in Mrs. McKenna’s second grade class will be making Hershey Kiss cards. The students will write nice sentiments to a secret friend in class. The students will also be going on a pretend field trip to the zoo, writing an itinerary, and using time telling skills to create their perfect field trip schedule!

Wonderful World of Fractions

Fourth graders are learning all about fractions, so don’t be too worried if your little one asks to have pie for dessert – it could become the perfect learning situation. Your mathematician could even help bake it, using measuring cups as a fraction activity. How many ¼ cups would it take to make a ½? In science, your mathematician will become a scientist, working with triple beams to find the mass of objects as they continue working with the states of matter. What’s next on their schedule? Exploring the volume of objects.

Middle School News

Dinosaurs Discovered!

The sixth-grade class went on a field trip to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Thursday, January 30.

WMAES students at Grand Rapids Public Museum

Students toured the museum as well as the new dinosaur exhibit as a way to reinforce their studies on fossils and the geologic timeline. The fossil exhibit proved to be especially interesting, putting real-life examples to their studies. Students were able to view the Michigan Ecosystem exhibit as well, which was studied earlier this year.

A student standing in space suit and a student next to dinosaur

GeoBee Champion

WMAES is proud to announce Isabelle TenElshof, an eighth grader, as the 2014 National Geographic Geography Bee Champion. This is Isabelle’s second-straight year as the WMAES GeoBee Champ. She was one of eight finalists following an earlier preliminary competition. The questions being asked in the GeoBee championship competition are challenging, but Isabelle took on all comers, and proved herself worthy of the crown. Isabelle is now competing for a chance to participate in the state level GeoBee, being held this spring in Lansing.

Reading Update

Sixth and seventh grades are wrapping up their unit on themes, and will apply the knowledge they’ve learned to their new novels. Currently, the classes are reading Al Capone Shines My Shoes, studying adjectives and adverbs, and writing about January’s character trait of Good Judgment in their Centers.

Upcoming reading books:
6th grade: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
7th grade: Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech


While Friday, May 30th is a ways away, it’s still time to begin thinking of the 7th grade field trip to Michigan’s Adventure! Students will depart from WMAES, by bus, at 9:00am. They will then return to school at 5:00pm. The field trip costs $20 for the Water Park, Fun Park, and lunch. Parent chaperones are also only $20. Permission slips were given at conferences, and will be coming home again soon.

Spelling Bee

Spelling Bee champions were crowned in late January. Claudia TenElshof (5th grade, winner) and Sylvia Medukas (7th grade, runner-up), are both advancing to the Regional Spelling Bee. Regionals will be held at Valleywood Middle School on Tuesday, February 11, beginning at 4:30.

Valleywood Middle School (KPS), 1110 50th St. Kentwood, 49508, 616.538.7670

High School News

Outdoor Bound Club

On January 18, Outdoor Bound headed out on a cold and snowy day to ice skate at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex.

Students outdoors

Students spent the day exploring the ice trail, trying out their skills on the rinks, and even playing a little hockey. The day ended with a trip out to Lake Michigan, where students were able to see the ice formations and explore the shoreline.

Group photo of students outdoors

Outdoor Bound’s next trip has cross-country skiing in store at Pigeon Creek, on February 15.

The GREEN Scene

As the snow continues to fly, we are entering into February, and that means students in grades PreK through 5 will begin learning about energy and our natural resources.

WMAES has a Science of Energy kit, which is a hands-on model for learning about kinetic and potential energy. There are over 8 experiments for students to become familiar with energy. After the fourth and fifth graders have mastered the energy basics, they will then teach the younger students using the Science of Energy model. What better way to show an understanding of the material then being an energy mentor for their peers?

It may seem far away, but we are getting ready for Maple Syrup season – which usually starts in March. We are keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping for an early season to get the most out of our lovely maple trees. We are looking for clean 5-gallon buckets to catch sap in. They must be food grade, and never had any sort of cleaning material in them. If you have any, please feel free to drop them off at Miss Holly and Mr. Shawn’s room.

As a reminder, please send your students ready for outdoor learning, as we will continue to go outdoors for environmental science, and many more adventures in snowshoes.

Entrepreneurial News!

Entrepreneurial Class at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

On January 22, the Entrepreneurial Class visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

At the show, the class analyzed and compared the variety of marketing strategies used in the auto industry. They were also able to learn how the auto industry is implementing new manufacturing processes to use recycled aluminum instead of steel. This process allows vehicles to be lighter and more fuel-efficient. At the Toyota exhibit, the WMAES Entrepreneurial students were featured on the Toyota Live Stage. It was a great time for everyone involved.

All Things Spanish

Wondering what is happening in Spanish class this month? Check out the fun lessons below:

Pre-K and Young 5’s: Students are continuing to study animals. So far they’ve learned: Gato (cat); Perro (dog)
Students will be learning: Pez (fish); Pajaro (bird); Tortuga (turtle)

Kindergarten: Little ones are going to be learning about their families. They will be learning the following words: Abuelo, abuela, mama, papa, hermano, Hermana, chico, chica, and bebe

1st grade and 2nd grade: Students are continuing to find objects within the classroom.

3rd grade: Speak with your child about their community. They are currently learning about community, and vocabulary that relates to our community.

4th grade: Students are studying the Caribbean and Cuba.

5th grade: Classes are still studying about the ancient civilizations of the Americas. They are also learning the alphabet in Spanish.


School Calendar