Hello Narwhals! 

Check your email today for a detailed message from your child’s teacher. The email includes  enrichment activities to keep your learner active while we are away. These are totally optional and will include a mix of technology based and no technology required opportunities to practice skills already taught.  Here are direct links to the non-technology based activities! Please let your child’s teacher know if you have any questions! 

Kindergarten Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology



1st Grade Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology



2nd Grade Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology



3rd Grade Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology



4th Grade Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology




5th Grade Enrichment Activities Not Requiring Technology




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Toward the Day when “Black History” is Simply “History”

Dear Families,

February is Black History Month! Of course, every month is Black History Month (and women’s history, Latino history, LBGTQI history, etc.), in that we know that all people throughout history and in current times have stories to be told and from which we can learn.  However, the stories of the historically (and currently) oppressed are not told with the same frequency and volume as the stories of others, so it can be useful to shine a light on a particular group of stories in order to ensure they are told at all!  Enter Black History Month.

As a school, it is our responsibility (as educators and people) to work hard to elevate the stories and experiences of people who are black during this month and ensure this continues throughout the year.  However, students also need to learn and hear about Black History Month at home and in discussion with their families in order to grasp its true importance. Let’s all work together throughout this month to find ways to highlight Black History in our lives.  Here are some resources that you may find useful:

General Resources:

Raising White Kids:Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America– book by Jennifer Harvey

Teaching Your Child about Black History Month– Website for Parents, PBS Kids

Why Parents Should Talk to Their Kids about Black History Month– On Parenting, from the Washington Post

Black History Month Books for All Ages– Scholastic

GRCDC’s Anti-Racist Book Club Books:

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi

Families frequently ask me, “Is my child too young to talk about race?”  The short answer is, “No.” In our Reggio-inspired philosophy, we believe that children are whole and capable of handling complex ideas, cognitive struggle and big feelings.  In fact, our school’s core values of connection, inspiration, potential and equity call us to talk with our children about real history, current events, diversity, social justice, and our role in making our school and the world a better place.  Whether we talk to children about race or not, children notice race, they are talk about it, and they absorb messages from what we don’t say, just as much as what we do say.  

In the book How to Be an Anti-Racist, which we are reading for our staff and family book club, Ibram X Kendi writes, The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.”  Given this, let’s allow February to push our anti-racist thinking and actions, so that eventually “black history” will simply be “history” and everyone’s experiences are recognized and shared every single month of the year.

Respectfully yours,

Lisa Heyne


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What Does It Take to Meet our Vision for School Culture: Potential, Inspiration, Connection and Equity in ACTION!

Dear Families,

For the last 2 and a half years, the staff at GRCDC have worked hard to build a strong foundation of consistent academic and culture/behavior systems, processes and programming.  This foundation represents “Tier 1” of our school. As a school, we think about 3 Tiers in all we do. Tier 1 is what everyone experiences across all grade levels and defines the life of the school.  Tier 2 is for students (10-15%) who might need something a little extra, either in academics or class culture/behavior and typically these extra supports are designed and delivered by the classroom teachers and paraprofessionals.  Tier 3 support, both academic and behavioral, is for a small percentage of students (3-5%) and is designed and delivered by specialists in partnership with teachers- academic interventionists, Mr. Trevor, Ms. Heyne, Ms. Cooper and sometimes our special education teachers and staff.

For our Tier 1 Positive Culture and Behavior focus, in the past two years we have:

We are so proud of the work that has been done so far and can see our students growing and learning everyday about what it means to be a contributing member of our school community.  In conversations with staff and parents, we have realized we have come to the point where we are ready to take our work to the next level! It is time to continue to strengthen our Tier 1 practices, while also building out consistent Tier 2 and Tier 3 processes for culture and behavior across the school and in each classroom.  This level of refinement will help us all be on the same page when students are facing either a one-off conflict or an ongoing issue.

In order to guide the next phase of this work, we have formed a Positive Culture and Behavior Team.  This team is lead by Ms. Heyne and will be working on 3 main issues which the team identified as the most important right now:

SEL/Responsive Classroom and bullying prevention Extension and Resource Group  Ms. Hegarty

Ms. Elly

Ms. Abby 

Mr. K

Parent Connection/Communication/Outreach/Learning Group Ms. Ruth

Ms. Aimee

Mr. Metcalf

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Programming, Systems, Communications and Accountability Ms. Amash

Mr. Trevor

Ms. Lantinga


I wanted to share this because our staff does SO MUCH behind the scenes work to continue our growth and school improvement.  This work is outside of school hours and teachers and staff generously volunteer their time and talents to ensure that our school is a place where every single child grows at least a year in a year’s time academically and feels safe and valued every day.  As a parent, I know that the “behind the scenes” work of the school is not always transparent and I want to make sure I use our Narwhal page and the Link to keep you updated on our continued progress. We will be asking for parent input in our work with the groups above, so be on the lookout for a survey and other ways to engage.  Without your participation, support, and ideas no system we build can be complete!  We each have something to contribute to the process as this school community pushes to reach our full potential.  As always, if you have questions or ideas, email me at heynel@childdiscoverycenter.org or call 616-459-0330 to set up a time to meet. 

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Heyne


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