A Night at The National Archives in Washington D.C. by Guest Blogger Emily Ruf

This week’s blog post was written by former Pinewood student Emily Ruf.  Emily was able to immerse herself in United States history this summer through an exciting trip to Washington D.C..  Emily was gracious to share her experience with the Pinewood community through this blog post below.

On July 25 I had the opportunity to sleep over at the National Archives in Washington D.C. The National Archives display some of the worlds most important documents including The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and a 1297 copy of The Magna Carta.
     I became interested in this program when I saw an add for it on facebook. I did some research and saw that it would probably be worth my while. I filled out and online application along with a few paper forms. In the weeks preceding the program I received a few emails about the activities and speakers of the upcoming event. They sent me mini-biographies about Lewis and Clark, Sally Ride and Claire Atchison who were speaking at the event (O.K. Lewis and Clark and Sally Ride were represented by interpreters who spoke on their behalf)
     On July 19th my family made the 11 hour journey to Pennsylvania where we visited family. On the 24th we drove for 2 and a 1/2 hours to Reston, Virgina outside of Washington D.C..  We explored the more popular attractions of Washington via bus tour and continued exploring into the next day.
     Later that evening my grandfather and I entered the Archives. We were briefly security screened which was followed by a prompt orientation. After that we got to participate in a number of activities. I got to make an explorer badge, pack food for an “expedition”, get a snack, play dress up, read documents, explore the rotunda, and I still didn’t do it all. We then had the opportunity to ask the speakers questions. I asked Sally Ride what her favorite space food was. (M and Ms). After that we heard bedtime stories and rolled out our sleeping bags on the marble floor of the rotunda.
In the morning we had delicious pancakes flipped by none other than the archivist of the United States. After that I saw a copy of the Magna Carta from the year 1297 which was by far my favorite part of the whole experience. There where also chocolate ambassadors there. They made chocolate in front of our eyes from a recipe circa 1776.
 Then it was time to leave but they gave us gift bags to commemorate the experience. They had plenty of prizes ranging from coloring pages to books. This trip was not one to forget.
     I would sleep on the hard marble floors again in an instant. I would recommend this trip to anyone. There were plenty of fun things to do and see regardless of what your interested in.
Emily Ruff and her Grandfather at The National Archives

Emily Ruf and her Grandfather at The National Archives


Healthy, Happy, and Educated

For many parents healthy and happy are the primary goals they have for their children.  With my girls I have always reminded them that as a mom I have three very important jobs; to keep them healthy, safe, and learning.  Of course I want them to be happy as well but often these reminders come when they are upset because they can not have a piece of candy, or stay up late and happy isn’t exactly how they are feeling.  I am hopeful that throughout this summer I have shared many tips and strategies to help support your student with summer learning and developing a love of reading.  The Scholastic site students use to log minutes has a wealth of additional information on supporting your students academically.  Your students’ teacher will also be an amazing resource this year.  Pinewood staff members are great at sharing information and connecting with parents don’t hesitate to ever reach out and connect with them or myself.

To continue to support parents in helping them meet these goals of healthy, happy, and educated, this year Jenison is kicking off our back to school with a great speaker Kirk Martin.  Kirk will be speaking to staff and then will also have a free presentation to parents at our Jenison Center of Arts on Tuesday September 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm Kirk’s message is “Celebrate Calm and focuses on strategies to help parents and educators be successful in all of the different situations dealing with kids brings.  I’m really looking forward to this presentation.  If you are free that evening I look forward to seeing you there.

Last week I shared many parent resources to help you prepare for back to school.  Please take a few minutes to browse through them.

To help with the healthy goal we have our school breakfast and lunch program which does start on the first day of school.  Please take a few minutes to be sure your student has funds for lunch and consider filling out an application for free and reduced lunch, this application has to be completed each school year.  Even if you pack a lunch the program provides breakfast, a snack, and additional funding for our school.  In addition to this a small group of passionate parents and staff are working to raise awareness and offer educational opportunities about health and nutrition.  They will have a table at our Open House and will be working on initiatives throughout the school year be sure to stop by and visit their table.

Another way to help Pinewood help support parents and families is by continuing to partner together and have on going communication and community events.  Our Pinewood Parent Club has been working hard this summer preparing for a great 2015-2016 school year.  PPC will have a table at Open House with information on upcoming events and ways to get involved and volunteer.

Getting Ready For Back to School at Pinewood

Today as I was sitting on my deck with a colleague trying to get some work done and trying to convince my children to get into the pool, or go play in the yard and they were responding less than enthusiastically I realized as a mom and as a principal I am 100% ready to get back to school!

Pinewood staff has been working hard all summer attending conferences, taking graduate classes, teaching summer school, tutoring students, and reading.  I know I and many other teachers cherish the time in the summer to catch up on our professional and personal reading.  I hope your student is continuing to read here is the Scholastic site to help them log those minutes.  The next couple weeks will be full for all of us doing our best to get everything ready to kick off an amazingly good 2015-2016 school year.  Please share this video with your students to get them excited about their return to school.

There are many helpful links on our website to help you prepare to get your kids back to school here is our Pinewood website that has staff information and calendar information.

Here is our school supply list

All volunteers are required to fill out a volunteer form every year these will be available at Open House on Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm at Pinewood but if you print and fill yours out early we would love to have you drop it off that evening, or send it in with your student on the first day of school.

Students are encouraged to bring a healthy snack to school daily.  We have a great food service program that offers breakfast and lunch daily.  Please visit their website for more information.  You can pay for your child’s food service easily online, or send money into the Pinewood office.  Also please take a few minutes to review the free and reduced lunch application, even if you plan to pack a lunch for your child filling out the application could help provide additional funding to Pinewood.

If you have any transportation questions or needs prior to the first day of school you can find information at their website.  If your child does ride a bus you will be contacted by transportation with information about their pick up and drop off time and location in the next couple of weeks.

At Pinewood we have a very good before and after school care program available in our gym every school day.  Once you fill out your registration forms for the program and pay your registration fee, your child is able to join the program any morning and afternoon that your family needs.  You do not have to schedule ahead of time and you only pay for the days and times your child attends.

As you get ready for back to school also consider supporting our Jenison Public School’s Education Foundation here is a message from them with some fun upcoming events in August:

RiverTown Honda, Hand 2 Hand Ministries and the Jenison Public Education Foundation have partnered for some exciting events in August.   Your participation in any or all of these events will benefit the students of JPS.  
1) On August 22nd bring 5 of the food items listed on the flyer to RiverTown Honda and receive a FREEE oil change.  The food items will go in backpacks of food delivered to students throughout the year.  
2) Throughout the month of August donate $1 and guess how many Kleenex boxes are in the Honda Fit.  The winner receives a fall weekend getaway in Traverse City in a Honda of your choice for the duration of the trip.  All proceeds will be split between JPEF and Hand 2 Hand.  The Kleenex boxes will be distributed to JPS classrooms.
3) August 27 – 29 stop by RiverTown Honda and test drive the car of your choice (without a salesman).  For EVERY test drive done over these three days $10 will be donated to JPEF and Hand 2 Hand.  In addition, the foundation will be on site for games, Hot Dogs and more on the 29th for our Back 2 School Bash.

The Pinewood staff and I will be counting down the next 27 days with excitement to welcome your children back to our classrooms!  We can’t wait to see everyone on Wed. September 2, 2015 at our Open House.

34 Days


Thirty Four days is how many days we have left before we return to school.  Lots of time left to enjoy the sun, play outside, explore, and enjoy family time.  But also the perfect time to start preparing for the transition to school and fall.  I love back to school time.  I can’t wait to see the kids walk through the doors, see how they have grown, hear them share about their summer adventures.  But I also know back to school time can be very stressful for parents and students.  Over the next few weeks I will share resources and information, like our supply list that will hopefully help make your family’s transition back easier.

Some students are like me and can’t wait to get back and others are on the other end of the spectrum and are already feeling nervous and having stomach aches thinking of the first day of school, and others fall somewhere in-between.  My daughters both fall somewhere in the middle but one falls closer to the anxiety stomach ache end.  When she was a toddler the day care drop off was traumatizing for us both screaming and tears were unfortunately common.  Even before seeing her walk through the door staff could hear her coming.  After months of this I was desperate for help and started researching.  The amount of information out there is overwhelming but it was nice to know many parents deal with this and I was not alone.

Some of what I learned was when it comes to a transition or a return to school or day care preparing early is very helpful.  Also talking about and seeing the change as a positive something to celebrate.  Many of us are sad to see summer go but instead of focusing on missing summer make the focus on being excited to return to school.  Remind your student of all of the things they enjoy about school seeing friends, playing ga ga ball, catching up with their favorite teachers.  Turn those 34 days into a count down to an awesome first day of school, build their excitement.  If you purchase any back to school stuff keep it put up in a special place it will be one more thing your student has to look forward to.  Take your students to the school give them time to play on the playground, if the building is open (which won’t be for a couple of weeks) come inside walking the halls.  Walking through before everyone returns may help calm some of the anxiety.  Continuing to read or getting back on a regular reading and summer learning routine will help your student feel more confident, don’t forget to track those summer minutes.  Here are some additional tips for how to make back to school as stress free as possible.

Back to School Supplies

Back to School Supplies