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My Town: U.S. News and World Report releases top high schools list

My Town: U.S. News and World Report releases top high schools list

KENTWOOD, Mich.—A charter school in Kentwood is the top West Michigan school on U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of Best High Schools.

The publication recently released its list of the top 500 schools nationally. The rankings are based on the student to teacher ratio, AP course involvement and math and reading proficiency scores.  The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, TX took the top spot.

In Michigan, 60 schools made the cut, with International Academy in Bloomfield Hills taking the top spot.  Excel Charter Academy-Grand River Prep School in Kentwood ranked second among Michigan schools.  City Middle/High School and Black River Public School were the only other West Michigan schools to crack the top ten.

The list of local schools includes:

MSU’s second annual Gran Fondo cycling event raises funds for skin cancer research

MSU’s second annual Gran Fondo cycling event raises funds for skin cancer research

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Michigan State University College of Human Medicine announces plans for its second annual Gran Fondo on June 28, 2014.

Italian for “Big Ride,” proceeds from this this non-competitive cycling event go towards programs to increase awareness, prevention and detection of skin cancer and supports MSU’s skin cancer research.

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  The Kent Intermediate School District is getting a federal boost to physical and nutritional education programs. 

 U.S. Department of Education has awarded 67 grants totaling more than $33 million to local education agencies and community-base organizations.  Only two groups in Michigan were awarded funding; KISD is getting $429,404 for programs to help K-12 students develop healthy lifestyles and meet state standards for physical education.

“A healthy, active lifestyle is an important ingredient of academic success,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants are a resource to help schools and communities develop programs that teach students the importance of staying active and developing healthy lifestyles. We need more states, districts, schools and communities to recognize the critically important role of physical education in improving student engagement and achievement.”

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  What started as a hashtag battle about the 2014 Jump Jam has turned into a friendly wager between Grand Rapids Public Schools’ superintendent and Spectrum Health’s senior vice president.

GRPS posted the hashtag battle between Theresa Weatherall Neal and Steve Heacock to YouTube last Friday.  In the video, Weatherall Neal challenges Heacock to a friendly bet on two of the Jump Jam teams, with the loser buying lunch from either the hospital or school cafeteria.  Mayor George Heartwell makes a surprise appearance at the end of the video.

My Town: IMMER5E museum exhibit to open at Harrison Park School

My Town: IMMER5E museum exhibit to open at Harrison Park School

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A group of fifth grade students from Harrison Park School is opening its own Grand River exhibit, created in partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Teacher Abbie Marr’s students were among the ten classes to participate in this year’s IMMER5E program, which takes children out of the classroom and into the museum for a week of learning.  As a culmination to the program, Marr’s class created their own museum exhibit, which opens at Harrison Park School on April 16.

Youth Service Day Mini-Grants for Michigan Youth

LANSING, MI. - The Michigan Community Service Commission, Michigan Nonprofit Association, Volunteer Centers of Michigan, The LEAGUE Michigan, and Michigan Campus Compact, with support from Youth Service America and the Corporation for National and Community Service, announced the distribution of more than $11,000 in mini-grant funds to support 2014 Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) projects across the state. Thanks to these mini-grants, hundreds of Michigan youth will lend their considerable resources to addressing critical issues in their communities this April.

Thirty-four organizations from across Michigan received funds to coordinate service projects that tackle critical challenges in their communities; including education, environmental stewardship, hunger, homelessness, and services for veterans.

Grants range in value from $90 to $500.

At Arts in Motion Studio, art is the great equalizer

At Arts in Motion Studio, art is the great equalizer

By Zinta Aistars
This story originally ran in Rapid Growth

Delight Lester, 53, sits comfortably spread out in the corner of the soft couch, her long pale blonde hair draped over her shoulders. She is surrounded by crayons and pastels, colored construction paper and paint brushes.