MARCH 2014

Theme of the Month

Theme of the month: Natural History



Recycle your plastic bags and help WMAES win the Earth Day Recycle Challenge - now until April 3!

March is Reading Month… if you read to your child for just 15 minutes every day for a year, your child will have heard over 1 Million words! Reading is power!

Join us for our Kindergarten Roundup and Open House, March 20 anytime between 5 and 7. Bring a friend or a new family – share your love for us with others!

Open Enrollment is from March 10-21. Feel free to call the front office if you have any questions.

There will be no Academic Acceleration offered from 3/4 – 3/21. It will resume on 3/24.



Show Your Love Winners
Thank you to all of our parents, students, and staff who submitted your LOVE for WMAES during the month of February. Below are our weekly winners:

Week 1: Jeanna Engberg
Week 2: Kerri Smith
Week 3: Sarah Montiel
Week 4: Mauricio Gonzalez


Winter Adventures

There's only one winter camp left! Read more about it and sign up here >


March is Reading Month!

Throughout the month of March, students and staff at WMAES will be partaking in various reading activities.

There will even be some special Facebook promotions for parents and students to get involved with – more on that below. Want to get an inside glimpse of all things READING happening in our classrooms?

Campus: Students will be competing in a College Door Decorating contest, aimed at representing a college. Students must also fill out their reading logs, and and based on the amount of minutes they've read, their college level is detected.

Young 5’s: Parent readers are encouraged to come and read their favorite childhood story with the class.

Preschool: A trip to the library will allow students to explore the wonderful world of books!

First Grade: Mrs. Shubert’s class will be having a handful of “Celebrity Readers” from Choice Schools Associates. Dr. Sid Faucette was able to read to the first-graders early Wednesday morning. Read A Book. Share A Photo. Win An iPad.

Facebook: Have you seen the Reading Superhero Photo Contest on Facebook yet? Simply submit a photo of you and your child reading, and you will be entered to win an iPad Mini! Share your photo with friends and families. Each like you receive will give you another entry.

Read a book. Share a photo. Win an iPAD! Who knew reading had such superpowers?

Biggby Art Contest

Celebrate your child’s creativity and help support the WMAES art department at Biggby!

From March 12 – 19, students’ artwork will be displayed at the Biggby Coffee in Standale. Family, friends and customers will vote for their 3 favorite pieces every time they visit.

On March 19, Biggby Coffee will be hosting the Award Night from 6-8 where Mrs. Buist will be the guest barista! Prizes will be handed out at 7. A percentage of proceeds from the night will go to help our art department.

School Nutrition Update

At WMAES, we are proud to be able to offer your students a healthy school meal each and every day.

Currently, WMAES does not have a kitchen capable of cooking meals, and so we rely on an area school to assist with cooking our meals and delivering them to our campus. At times, the area school may be closed for inclement weather while we remain open. In this instance, we will not receive our scheduled school meals, and will have to use items available for school lunches that day. While we try to avoid situations such as this, nature sometimes has other ideas in mind. Thank you for understanding as we try to make sure our students are offered healthy meals each and every day. As always, if you have questions please feel free to contact our Nutrition Specialist, Jennifer Dietrich at:

Uccello’s Helps Sixth Graders go to Camp

Every June, WMAES sends sixth graders to camp in the Battle Creek area.

This year, WMAES is lucky enough to have the opportunity to partner with Uccello’s in Standale for a fundraising opportunity to offset camp costs. Join us Wednesday, March 19 between 4-9pm. Uccello’s will donate 15% of the profits for our camp. The catch – a copy of the flier must be brought in or mention West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science.

Student Council Helps Young Mothers

For the month of February, Student Council members volunteered with the Alpha Women’s Center of Grand Rapids.

This organization provides food, clothing, and supplies to impoverished mothers in the Grand Rapids area. Student Council assisted in sorting donated goods, organizing diapers and supplies, and other various duties.  Student Council is planning to hold a kids clothing drive in the upcoming month to provide much-needed donations to the Alpha Women’s Center.

Student Council members at the Alpha Women's Center of Grand Rapids

Kent County Earth Day Recycle Challenge 

For the past 6 years, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science has participated in the Kent County Earth Day Recycle Challenge, and has continuously won!

Our prize? A special prize from the recycling center made from recycled bags, for ALL students who participate. How do we participate? Follow the information below, and collect those shopping bags from neighbors, family and friends!

Who: Students in grades K-5 (However, other grades can participate by bringing their collected bags to any teacher in grades K-5)

What to recycle: Plastic grocery bags with a #2 or #4 printed on the bag

When: NOW until April 3

Where: Count and label your bags with your teacher’s name, and turn them into their classroom Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, bags can be submitted to Miss Holly and Mr. Shawn’s classroom.

Why: Help the Earth by recycling plastic bags and WIN A PRIZE for our school – and the classroom that collects the most bags! The record for classroom collections was set a few years ago – 3,500 bags! Who will break the record?

*All students who participate will receive a special prize from the recycling center made from recycled bags.


PreK & Young 5's

Young 5’s Celebrate a Beloved Author

With March is Reading Month just beginning, Young 5’s will be Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday by reading many of his great books, and partaking in fun activities.

Our little ones are also planning to visit the Grand Rapids Public Library and will search the shelves for books to bring back to our classroom. If you would like to come read to the Young 5’s classroom, please contact Mrs. Fortuna at

March also brings fun adventures to our classrooms as we begin our Science Fair Experiments. Students will be directly involved in making a hypothesis and collecting data – more information to come!

Fun Adventures for our Preschool

Preschoolers will be going on fun adventures outside of the classroom this month. On March 6th, students will be going to the Children’s Museum to explore. Later in the month on March 27th, the kiddos will travel to the Grand Rapids Public Library in search of their favorite book – or a new one they’d love to read.

Elementary News

Lots of Excitement in First Grade!First graders ice skating

February was full of activities of celebration, and a fun ice skating trip! 100th Day of School, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and Black History Month were among the many celebrations taking place. Now we are gearing up for March is Reading Month and the Science Fair. February 28th kicked off reading month with a celebration of both Dr. Seuss’s birthday and our outstanding reading progress. There are many guest readers scheduled to come and read to the first-grade students their favorite stories. Students are also busy learning to become scientists by studying the scientific method through several fun experiments! March will definitely be full of learning adventures.

In February, first graders also went on an ice skating field trip to Walker Ice and Fitness. For most of the kids, it was their first time on the ice, but they did great! Showing characteristics of perseverance and cooperation on the ice, and as many said, “best field trip ever”!


Astrologists? Meteorologists? Fourth Grade Investigates!

For the month of March, fourth graders will be starting a unit on the Sun, Earth, and Moon – perhaps after becoming experts in the field, our students will be able to explain our crazy Polar Vortex weather! In math, adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators are on the scientists’ agendas. These brainy kiddos might ask to whip-up some granola bars just to show you their new math skills!

Lions, Tigers, and Bears – Oh YAY!

Thank you all for supporting this year’s Humane Society Drive! Mrs. Jones and her Pre-K students collected the most items. A special thank you to Ms. Novak’s classes for collecting 35 items. All the items collected went to the Human Society to support animals in need of a home. Most likely, the collectables will be divided among cats and dogs – not so much lions, tigers and bears.

Third Grade Entrepreneur of the Year

On February 21, the third graders at WMAES held their BIG Economics Sale. Each business set up shop in the cafeteria to sell their products and buy products from other businesses. During the sale, students were competing for “Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Creative Product of the Year”, and “Delicious Product of the Year”. From Mrs. Silveira’s class, Olivia Carlon was Entrepreneur of the Year by earning $100. Landria Powles earned Delicious Product of the Year with her chocolate covered strawberries. Abigail Garcia won Creative Product of the Year with her paper flowers. From Mrs. Garner and Mrs. Sterle’s class, Alondra Santoyo and Sandra Molina share the Entrepreneur of the Year award by selling $93 worth of products. Amara Holman received Delicious Product of the Year with her cookies. Lathan Engberg was awarded Creative Product of the Year with his Perler bead creations.

Leading up to the sale, students created a business that included a product to sell, taping of a commercial, and creating an advertising poster for their products. Throughout the lesson, they could earn classroom money to spend at the sale. All of the students did a great job and had a lot of fun too! A special thanks goes out to our parents for their support and help during this unit.

Third graders selling their products

Educational Support Update

It’s time for March is Reading Month! The theme at WMAES for reading month is College is Knowledge. Our Literacy Coaches are super excited to get students interested about career paths, college, and where their future college is located. There are a few different fun activities happening this month as well. The Classroom Door Decorating contest, a Career/College Writing Prompt, and a Reading Competition based on the amount of minutes spent reading are all in store! Students will be earning “College Degrees” based on the number of minutes read – the class with the most minutes will even win a prize.


Middle School News

y = mx + b

Mrs. Peterson’s 8th grade math class enjoyed going outside with Mr. Shawn for their math unit.

For many, this was their first experience snowshoeing. Students trekked their way from the fire pit to the vernal pond, calculating the slope of the hill with the information they collected. What an exciting way to discover math in the wonderful world of winter.


High School News

Outdoor Bound ClubStudents participating in cross country skiing.

On Saturday, February 15, Outdoor Bound Club headed out with 14 eager students to Pigeon Creek Park for a day of cross-country skiing and sledding.

The sun was shining and the snow sparkled as this fabulous group learned to ski. By the end of the trip, many students had mastered their technique and took their newly learned skills down “Plunge”, the park’s infamous hill. We had a lot of laughs, and a ton of fun! After a relaxing lunch by the fire, we headed back out to tackle the sledding hill. It was for sure a favorite trip of the year.

The next trip will take place March 22 with a location TBD by weather conditions.


The GREEN Scene

It’s time for the Earth Day Recycle Challenge, hosted by the Kent County Recycling Center. WMAES has won 6 times and we need to keep our winning streak alive.


Reduce, Reuse, and RECYLCE for the Earth Day Challenge!


Entrepreneurial News!

Did you catch Mr. Johnson and the Entrepreneurial students on WOTV 4, February 27? We’ve got you covered! Click here to check it out >

Group photo of entrepreneurial class in the gym.

At the end of February, the third Entrepreneurial Program class was selected and announced at the Spirit Assembly.

These students were selected because of their academic excellence and desire to start their own small businesses. Over the next year and a half, they will take several classes, visit local businesses, and create their own sustainable small business practice. Congratulations to the following students:

Mikaila Vander
Mai Nguyen
Denzel Wilson
Jason McIntyre
Joel Santoyo
Jessica Gonzalez
Jose Santoyo
Mitchell Musky
David Hartman
Azaria Lightfoot
Jovan Contreras
Alex Barwin



Girls on the Run will begin Tuesday, March 4 and continue until May 22. Practice runs from 2:45-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When Academic Acceleration is in session, practice will take place 3:45-5pm. Angela Otterbein, Elizabeth Mines, Barb Hosmer, and Jessica Heintskill are this year’s GOTR Coaches. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Coach Heintskill at

School Calendar