From the Superintendent

Superintendent's Message - Response to Current Events - June 3, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff:

This spring has been difficult for our students, families and staff.  We have dealt with fear and uncertainty regarding COVID19, the closures of schools, a Stay At Home Order, and increased isolation and stress.  Despite these challenges, we came together as a community to support each other with food, resources and caring.     

This past week, the images on television and the internet have left people shaken.  What occurred in Minneapolis with George Floyd was gut-wrenching and shocking.  Myself and many of our families, students and staff feel profound outrage and sadness.  This is not a problem created by a single tragic event, this is a deeper social concern.

As a global school community with over 90 languages spoken, multiple cultures, races, ethnicities, and religions, Kentwood Public Schools is committed to valuing a diversity of perspectives, working for excellence, and seeking equity for all.  Kentwood Public Schools has led the way in our community and we will continue to be a resource for change in this region.

We believe education is foundational to change.  We believe that learning is a life-long process that involves our community at every life stage.  Your KPS schools model and teach civility and mutual respect for all.  Our students and staff members have a resilient mindset that provides the strength and courage to face these difficult life challenges and engage conflict productively.  We know positive change can occur because KPS has worked intentionally over the last two decades to reflect the change that is needed.

Our district will continue to lead the way in calling for respect and civility at every level by every person.  We will continue to work with organizations and leaders within our community to learn best practices related to building strong positive relationships and what it means to create a culture of mutual respect.  We will continue to fight racism and fear and turn it into hope, compassion, and constructive engagement.

While we are separated by summer break, KPS remains committed to the children and families of our community during this difficult time.  We know that children may have trouble processing traumatic events.  This is a time when a trusted adult can provide advice, support and a listening ear.  While there are no easy answers, this is a time to help each child feel loved, valued, and heard.

As always, please feel free to reach out and email a trusted staff member if you are needing help or support.  We will help get you additional resources.  As you discuss these events with your children, there is a specific “Trauma Portal” on the Kentwoodps.org website that is available.  Please do not hesitate to visit that site. 

Our Kentwood community has always supported the power of education and learning as powerful means to change society for the better.  Now is the time to work together to fight critical social problems, while bringing about positive change.  We must create excellence at every level while modeling respect and civility for all.  As a community we will get through this TOGETHER.  That is the Kentwood way!  

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.