At this time last year, the Grand Haven district was in the early stages of planning a school reconfiguration in response to a mandated all-day kindergarten.
The change moved students in grades 5 and 6 to White Pines Middle School, and students in grades 7 and 8 to Lakeshore Middle School. Students in grades K-4 are at the district’s elementary schools.
“It turned out to be a fantastic thing for our district,” said Scott Grimes, the district’s assistant superintendent of human services.
For Lakeshore Middle School teacher Aaron Dean, the reconfiguration meant moving his classroom and supplies from White Pines to Lakeshore Middle School. The eighth-grade teacher said it was a struggle at first because the two middle school staffs had to learn to combine traditions and ways of doing things.
One of the positive aspects of the change is having the same grade-level staff in one building because they can collaborate and find best ways of individualizing lessons for students, Dean said.
Throughout the year, Lakeshore's staff and students have grown closer through team-building activities — such as the school’s Winterfest, when students played dodgeball and tug-of-war.
“It feels very much like a ‘we’ now,” Dean said.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.