Get Ready for Groundhog Shadow Day 2017!

Kent ISD’s Career Readiness Department is excited to announce that the student registration for Groundhog Shadow Day 2017 opens on December 1. Groundhog Shadow Day is modeled after ‘Take your child to work day’, except we have recruited mentors from all around Kent County who are excited to show off their industries to OTHER people’s children! This program will run on February 2, from 9:00AM-2:00PM and will be open to all Kent County students grades 9-12.

The goal of Groundhog Shadow Day is to give students an opportunity to explore their future career by meeting with mentors currently employed in a field that interests them and supplement the learning that happens at school with real world relevancy.

Local employers have very generously offered nearly 700 opportunities for students to shadow this year on February 2. As you might imagine, there is truly something for everyone.

Here are a few highlights of the awesome offerings that will be available for students to February 2, 2017:

  • Merchandise Manager at Meijer Corporate
  • Industrial Designer at Steelcase
  • CEO of Priority Health
  • Hands on simulations at Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center
  • Special Event Planner at Amway
  • Project Manager at Erhardt Construction
  • Development Director at WGVU Public Media
  • Executive Director at Grand Rapids Ballet
  • Pastor at Central Reformed Church
  • Finance & Operations Manager at Open Systems Technology
  • Owner & Physical Therapist at Apogee Therapy Center

Students who engage in this program with an open mind and enthusiasm will undoubtedly find valuable information, connections and experience. Will you help us spread the word?


Please visit our site to see the full list of opportunities and to enroll.


Career Readiness Network Meeting

We will be holding our 2nd Career Readiness Network meeting on Wednesday, November 16th, from 12:00-2:30 pm, at the Kent ISD in the Tamarack Room.

Goals for the meeting:

  • Start building a network of people – get to know others in the county who are doing/wanting to do some career readiness things in their school/classroom
  • Discuss a network of needed resources – what are the things you need support in to incorporate more career readiness into instruction
  • Share resources we already have – whether it be free events we’re conducting, materials to share or something else, we want you to be aware of what’s available to you
  • Begin building something you can use and do – begin the process of developing resources and lessons to use in the classroom immediately; find things that integrate with what you’re already doing
  • Hear about the impact of career readiness – hear from a local business partner about the what skills they need from their employees and how career readiness thought and instruction makes an impact

Lunch will be provided, but space (due to room size) is limited, so you must register ASAP so I can get an accurate count.  Fill out the following registration if you plan on attending: Contact Eric Kelliher @ with questions.

Are Soft Skills Making a Comeback?

Graphic of Soft Skills

We’ve written about importance of soft skill development before. We’ve preached, cajoled, pressed …. and preached some more. Yet the fact still remains that soft skills are  viewed as a “nice to have,” not a necessity. Standardized test scores still rule the educational landscape. But the question people should be asking themselves is SHOULD they?  “Well,” many say, “test scores ARE the best indicators of success, right?” A new report by the Hamilton Project (an economic policy arm of the Brookings Institution) says, “Not so fast,” as stated in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The report … found a teacher’s ability to improve a student’s soft skills has a bigger effect on graduation rates than her ability to improve tests scores.

– Hamilton Project report as quoted by The Wall Street Journal

The research indicates that students who demonstrated a combination of BOTH cognitive (thinking/processing/interpreting skills) AND non-cognitive (interpersonal relationships, adaptability, work ethic, etc.) skills did better and earned higher incomes than those with only one or the other skill set.

As the article states, the value of soft skills has been receiving increasing attention recently, with leading policy and research organizations stepping up to explore “overhauling” K-12 education to include added emphasis on these “other” skills. Maybe it’s time we get ahead of the curve. What do you think? Share your comments  in the link above.

GRCC Community Science Day

Join the Grand Rapids Community College for an exciting day packed with hands-on science and health-related activities! We have more than 30 unique, interactive sessions to enjoy with your fellow community members.

Admission is free and open to all ages! There will also be giveaways, prizes, face painting, temporary tattoos and, of course, hot beverages! Our sessions will also feature:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Obstacle courses to learn the science behind exercise and thinking
  • A traveling zoo
  • Investigating and testing pH levels
  • Using red cabbage to explore acids and bases
  • Extracting DNA from Wheat Germ
  • Creating your own silly putty
  • Building your own DNA model
  • Teddy Bear X-ray Clinic (bring your teddy for an X-ray!)
  • Building your own robot (5th graders and up)
  • And so much more!

Visit their website at:


Bring A Student to Work!

We are excited to announce that our Employer registration page for our annual Groundhog Shadow Day is now active! We are hoping to bring in Employer hosts from ALL industries to show off their ‘work world’ to students who are anxious to begin understanding where their own career path will lead.

Will you join us? Click here to learn more and register. Employer registration runs through November 18.

WHEN: February 2, 2017 — 9:00AM-2:00PM




Fashion as Art and Identity

GRAM has some outstanding programming available to educators, and their next session focuses on Fashion and features a powerful voice from industry. Check out the details and registration below.

GRAM educator night: Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion


Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016

Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Registration Fee: $20

Location: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Register at:



Program Overview

Step onto the runway this fall with an in-depth look at the work of Dutch fashion designer, Iris van Herpen. Cutting-edge designs by van Herpen have been worn by style icons such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Bjork and have electrified the runways of Amsterdam, London, and Paris. She has gained international acclaim for her combination of traditional craftsmanship and futuristic, innovative techniques—including some of the world’s first examples of 3-D-printed fashion. Her visually impressive, sculptural designs often feature unusual materials such as umbrella ribs and synthetic boat rigging.

Iris van Herpen produced her first collection in 2007, shortly after graduating from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Born in the small town of Wamel, she is now based primarily in Amsterdam. In 2012 she became a member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, where her designs regularly appear in biannual Paris runway shows. Van Herpen divides her time between the contained world of her studio, her global network of collaborators, and the international stage of fashion.

Speaking of her artistic philosophy, van Herpen says, “For me fashion is an expression of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods, and cultural setting. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion.”

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion features 45 haute couture outfits carefully selected from 15 of van Herpen’s collections designed from 2008 through 2015: 18 pieces from the designer’s most recent lines and a selection of her shoe designs, and 27 pieces from van Herpen’s solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands.



5:00 pm Arrival and Welcome

5:30 pm Fashion as Art and Identity

6:30 pm Private tour of Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

7:30 pm Reflection and Networkinggram_educator