Friday, December 26, 2014

BRPS Enhanced Parent Notification System

Beginning January 5, 2015, Big Rapids Public Schools will begin using Edulink notification system to better communicate important information to our district parents. Edulink provides Big Rapids Public Schools a communication tool that will be used for daily attendance, athletic and activity notifications, fee notices, inclement weather days, and most importantly, notifying our parents in the event of an emergency within our district.

Edulink has the ability to contact thousands of people within minutes either by using the primary phone number in the household, or by using the parent’s email address. Choosing the notification type, phone or email, is based upon the type of message being sent.

Edulink will be used by each school to make attendance calls to children’s homes who are absent and have not previously been excused by their parent. In this situation, phone calls to the parent’s primary number will be made in the morning on school days and another call will take place in the evening for these types of absences.

Edulink will also be used by the district for weather related school outages. This process will be an email notification to the parent’s email address. BRPS will not make a phone call to you for weather related school outages.

Big Rapids Public Schools will also be able to quickly make emergency notifications to our parents. In the event of an emergency that impacts one school building, BRPS will use both phone and email notifications to notify parents of students within that building. In the event of a district wide emergency, parents of students district-wide will receive both an email and phone call.

In the future, BRPS intends to add additional notification options to this system, including fee notices, eligibility notifications, and other opportunities that may help you to be better informed. Other enhancements and changes may be a result of updates and familiarity with features of the Edulink system.

It is also important that you know that your contact information will never be shared.

It is important to BRPS that we can contact parents as quickly as possible when necessary. In order for our new notification system to be successful, we need accurate contact information for every family. The easiest way to make sure BRPS has your correct primary phone number and email address is to update your information from within Skyward family access. All parents are encouraged to sign up for the free family access service at Big Rapids Public Schools. To get signed up, simply visit the Big Rapids Public Schools website at and click on “Parents”, then select “Family Access Application” to apply for an account. Once you have successfully logged into family access, simply click the “my account” link at the top right of your family access page, and update your contact information. Edulink uses your primary phone number and email address, so setting these values to your best available contact is vital.

If you have any questions about our new notification system, please feel free to contact Big Rapids Public Schools at 231 796 2627, or email our technology director, Joe Bouman at

Friday, December 19, 2014

December has been a busy month at Brookside

Students decorated the halls, and bought presents for their family and friends during the holiday shop with help from parents and BRHS students.  Students and staff finished off the month with singing holiday songs in the gym together.

Pat Heeter visits Brookside

Brookside Elementary Community Mentor Pat Heeter and Julie Fordham's first grade class made a chandelier based on the work of the artist Chihuly.  The students used playdoh and toothpicks to create their unique designs.

BRMS Celebrates the Holidays

The Big Rapids Middle School students were busy this week with a multitude of activities.  From band concerts, to basketball games, to dressing for the holidays with some crazy outfits, and to an afternoon celebrating the end of the week by participating in a variety of activities, the students were not too busy to do their schoolwork and to give to Big Rapids families in need.

On Tuesday afternoon, the student body was able to attend a Ferris men's basketball game.  The game was hosted by Jon Coles and the FSU athletic department and included a variety of activities in which students were able to participate.  Students were excited to give high fives to players and the mascot, Brutus the Bulldog, and they were especially excited to see Ferris win the game.  The BRPS choir students performed the national anthem.

The middle school bands, under the direction of Mr. Todd, gave successful concerts throughout the week.  The sixth grade band impressed their audience members on Tuesday with their skills after only one trimester of learning how to play their instruments.  The seventh grade band performed  on Wednesday and the 8th grade band performed on Thursday to admiring audiences as well.  Congratulations to Mr. Todd, Mr. Balch, and the students on great concerts!

Throughout the week, students participated in Christmas themed dress-up days.  Monday was accessories day, followed by red-out day, ugly sweater day, hat day, and Cardinal gear with a Christmas twist.  There were some great outfits!

For the last few weeks, the Big Rapids Middle School student council has worked with the student body and the community to adopt four Big Rapids families for Christmas, families that need a little extra help during the holiday season.  Each family has a child at the Big Rapids Middle School as well as other schools in the district.  The student council accepted donations of toys, clothes, and food.  Their goal is to make the holidays a little more joyful for a family in need.  Pictured with some of the incoming donations are 8th grade student council members Erika Galbraith and Pierce Morrissey.

On Friday, the students and staff celebrated a successful week and the upcoming holidays with an activity afternoon.  Students were able to stroll through the halls to an assortment of activities which included a hockey shootout, arts and crafts, an open gym, open computers labs, cookie decorating, face painting, dancing, and a cake and cookie walk.  The number of donated cakes and cookies astounded all of us.  Many thanks to the students' families and the friends of the school who donated their cookies and cake, items for the adopted families, and their time!  You made some students very happy!  BRMS wishes all of you a great holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BRHS Student Council offers Holiday Help for Students in need

The student council group "Helping Hands"  has been organizing gift boxes for 25 high school students in need.  

The boxes contain various gift items ranging from clothing to food items to certificates for hair cuts.

An anonymous member of the Lion's Club donated $2,500 to initiate a gift-giving program.The student council members came up with the name "Helping Hands".  This program will benefit at-risk BRHS students identified through the schools guidance office.

The group is very thankful that the donor provided the funds to start this program and would be willing to keep this going every year if the donations continue.They would like to see this program spread throughout the community. Area businesses have also given donations or lowered their prices to contribute to the program.

Friday, December 12, 2014

BRHS Donates gifts to Salvation Army - Angel Tree

The Key Club is a student-led community service organization at Big Rapids High School. Key Club, part of the Kiwanis family of community service clubs, emphasizes community service and fosters the building of leadership skills in high school students.

This holiday season, the BRHS Key Club has partnered with the Salvation Army to sponsor an Angel Tree. Students and staff selected cards representing 50 children in the Mecosta County area who are from families in financial need. Gifts were bought by participants and contributed to the Salvation Army.

According to Key Club faculty advisor Brian Weaver, “This is a fantastic opportunity for BRHS staff and students to help warm the body and hearts of children throughout our community. It serves to remind us that we are all part of a larger community and that we are responsible for the well-being of every community member.”

A great big “thank you” goes out to the Big Rapids High School students and staff who have contributed to a happy holiday season for everyone!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eighth Grade Band Shows Holiday Spirit

On Tuesday, December 2nd, the Big Rapids Middle School 8th Grade Band toured the Brookside and Riverview Elementary schools playing music and demonstrating instruments for the younger students.

 Our middle school band director, Albie Todd, explained the various types of music that school bands play, and taught the Kindergarten through 4th grade-aged students about the different sounds that instruments can make, and how they come together to form the whole band.

Both the middle school and high school have several concerts in the upcoming two weeks: 6th Grade Band and the High School Chamber Winds have their concert on Tuesday, December 16th, the 7th Grade Band and the High School Concert Band share Wednesday, December 17th as their concert date, and the 8th Grade Band and High School Wind Symphony have a combined concert date of Thursday, December 18th. All concerts are free to the public, begin at 7:00pm, and are held at the Big Rapids High Sc auditorium.

Monday, December 8, 2014

BRHS National Honor Society Hosts Blood Drive!

Big Rapids High School’s National Honor Society hosted its annual blood drive last week on December 5th. Community members and BRHS students and staff had the opportunity to give blood.

Most people, kids in particular do not like getting poked with a needle or seeing blood makes them squeamish. Why do High school students give blood?  When asked, here are some of their responses; "I want to make a difference", "to give back", "because I have the choice to do so", "the snacks are great",  "It gives hope to people", "It gets me out of class", "the blood supply is low" and "if I need it I want there to be some available for me".

NHS collected 33 units of blood, which were just 3 short of our goal. Considering this was an early release Friday we had an hour and a half less than we usually would have had, it was really successful.

Pictured: Corinne Marsh giving blood, Gina Weaver, Renae Lyon, and Staci Kitelinger waiting to give blood

Friday, December 5, 2014

BRMS Congratulates Isabella Waite!

BRMS is proud to announce that Isabella Waite was chosen as the winner for the Lion's District for the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  Each year, Lions Clubs around the world sponsor an art contest in local school and youth groups.  The art contest encourages students worldwide to express their visions of peace.  This year, the theme of the Contest was "Peace, Love, and Understanding."  Students of ages 11,12, or 13 were eligible to participate.  As the winner of the district, Isabella will be invited to a district Lions meeting in March for the presentation of an award and a check.  Posters advance through several judging levels: local, district, multiple district, and international.  We congratulate Isabella for her district level winning poster and wish her success in the other judging levels.

BRHS Art Department presents: "Stone Soup"

Enjoy a delicious soup dinner while celebrating our High School artists!   The annual Stone Soup Fundraiser and Student Art Show is an important tradition for the Big Rapids High School art Department. This event will be taking place on Tuesday, December 16th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the High School cafeteria food court.

The students make the bowls and plates in pottery classes and then they are filled with your choice of delicious soup. The fee is only $5.00 and all proceeds go to the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Come out and support our BRHS Art Department and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital!

Monday, November 24, 2014

BRHS Drama Performs "Seussical" the musical!

Drama II and Theatrical Design students recently performed the musical Seussical to a warm and enthusiastic response of large crowds.                                  

This colorful musical combines characters and stories from over ten beloved Dr. Seuss classics. The Cat in the Hat narrates to a young boy who goes through adventures and becomes part of the story as he meets Horton the Elephant, the “Whos” and the Jungle Creatures. The musical is filled with themes about everyone being important “no matter how small” and the importance of loyalty and friendship. 

This production is a collaborative effort with Ms. Hathaway as Artistic Director, Mrs. McInnis as Vocal Director, Mr. Balch as Music Director, and Mr. Lamar as Technical Director and Auditorium Manager.  Besides featuring theatre students, the pit is made up of Band students and adults and the cast features ages as young as two through middle school.  Seussical cast and crew will begin pick-up rehearsals December 1st as they prepare to perform at the State of Michigan Educational Theatre Association Festival on December 5th. Big Rapids High School is one of the three schools selected to perform at State.

Friday, November 21, 2014

End of 1st trimester is now Monday, November 24th due to the snow day! BRHS students

final exam days moved to Friday and Monday, November 21st and 24th!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BRMS 5th Graders Make Luminaries for Veterans Day

BRMS 5th grade students had the opportunity to work with students from the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center.  They learned about electricity and light through small group activities with the career center students.

The fifth graders were also able to see the electric car made by the career center students.

For a final activity, the students visited the Career Center, where they helped make hundreds of luminaries for Veterans Day.  The luminaries will be part of the Veterans Day Luminary Tribute at the Highland View Cemetery which begins at 6 PM on Veterans Day, November 11th.  The students enjoyed their time working with the Career Center students and are proud to pay tribute to our veterans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BRHS Makes Sugar Skulls to Celebrate a Hispanic Holiday

On Friday, October 31st, BRHS students in Mrs. Cousineau’s Spanish classes learned about Day of the Dead.                          

Day of the Dead is a Hispanic holiday celebrated from 10/31 through 11/2 where the people remember and honor their loved ones who have died.

After learning about this holiday the students created their own sugar skulls using rice krispie treats, frosting, m&ms, twizzlers, and sprinkles. The students really enjoyed this hands on activity and some came up with very creative sugar skulls! (A sugar skull is typically made entirely out of a sugar paste, molded into the shape of a skull, and hardened. Once hardened, a sugar skull is decorated and put on display at the market, in someone’s home, or at the grave of a loved one.)

Kayla Cousineau
Spanish Teacher
Big Rapids High School

Monday, November 3, 2014

Big Rapids Middle School Students Raise Money for the Fight Against Childhood Leukemia

The families of BRMS students have once again amazed us with their generosity.                      

Our October fundraiser raised $1,035.28 in one week!  The students raised money through an activity called Coin Wars.  On Monday through Thursday, students spent the last few minutes of the day walking through the halls depositing money in jars held by teachers.  The teachers with the highest amount of money in their jars at the end of the week agreed that they would be dunked in a dunk tank during Friday's Autumn Assembly.  The teachers who "won" this contest were Mrs. Somsel, Mr. Brejcha, Mrs. Pippin, and Mr. Blatchford.

Because of the weather, the dunk tank was substituted by pies in the face.  Thanks to the students and their families for contributing to this great cause.  Thanks to the student council for hosting this competition and for counting the change.

The BRMS student council will be donating $500 in gift cards to a Big Rapids family for their frequent trips to Grand Rapids where their son is being treated for leukemia.  BRMS will be also be donating $535.28 to the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed and helped to make this fundraiser a success.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween at Big Rapids High School!

BRHS showed their awesome school spirit and costume creativity on Halloween!  Student council had a Halloween costume contest with prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place costumes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BRMS Students Visit Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Forty students from Big Rapids Middle School visited the Michigan Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall October 17th.            

The wall was in Big Rapids over the weekend at the request of Altercare of Big Rapids and honors the men and women of Michigan who served in the Vietnam War.  Ten students from each grade attended the opening ceremony.  The students were able to thank many veterans who have served our country.  BRMS thanks Altercare for bringing the wall to our community.