We have compiled a list of common topics families seem to inquire about when entering kindergarten. We know you may have more questions as you begin your kindergarten journey. Please reach out to your child’s school at any time if you have questions or need more information. We’re so glad you are here!
Important Kindergarten Information
Welcome to Forest Hills Public Schools! We are glad you chose Forest Hills Public Schools as your school district for your child, and entrust us with the care of your child as they begin their educational journey. We don’t take this trust lightly and rest assured, your child is in excellent hands. Our staff embraces every child as if they were their own. We know that the best learning takes place when students feel safe and loved. This, and so much more, you will find here in every FHPS classroom.
Whether you are a new parent sending their first child off to kindergarten, or you have had a child start kindergarten before, this truly is an exciting time. As we embark on this educational journey together, remember that we are partners in the education process from the first day of school, to when your child crosses the stage to receive their FHPS diploma. We are preparing students for a lifetime of learning. Your educational journey in Forest Hills will take your child to amazing learning opportunities and they will truly achieve their greatest potential while in our care.
We know you probably have a lot of questions about kindergarten, and we have created this booklet to help cover many common topics. If you still have questions after reviewing this information, we encourage you to contact your child’s school. Our staff is ready to help make your child’s transition to kindergarten a smooth, successful one.
The world of a kindergartner is a magical place. Their worlds bounce with excitement. Watch a five- or six-year-old go into a school building. They do not walk or saunter. They leap. They skip. They vibrate. They emanate the energy of life. They aren’t afraid to try new things: to explore; to imagine; to wonder; to ask questions. When I think of a new school year, I think of all the wonders that our teachers and staff bring to our students, and all the joys our students bring with them with an eagerness to learn.
As your child enters kindergarten we celebrate the cultivating of minds in our youth and the limitless possibilities that entering kindergarten brings. We look forward to welcoming your child with anticipation, enthusiasm and love.
On behalf of Forest Hills Public Schools, welcome to kindergarten! I am confident that you and your kindergartner will have a bright and bountiful school year!
With deep respect and appreciation,
Dan S. Behm, Superintendent
All of our elementary schools with the exception of Ada Vista Elementary have the following start and end times:
ALL ELEMENTARIES EXCEPT ADA VISTA START/END TIME
School Day Full Day: 8:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
ALL ELEMENTARIES EXCEPT ADA VISTA START/END TIME
School Day Half Day: 8:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m.
Office Hours: M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
ADA VISTA START/END TIME
School Day Schedule:
8:10 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. (Full Day)
8:10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. (Half Day)
The 2023-24 FHPS school calendar will be released and communicated to families as soon as it becomes available. School calendars are tied to contract negotiations. School calendars will also be posted online here. FHPS follows the Kent ISD Common Calendar Agreement for breaks such as Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Breaks.
All of the key contact information families need to know can be found on each school’s web page on our website. Please make sure you bookmark this information! Or click on your school below:
FHPS Child Care Office is located at, 150 Alta Dale SE, Ada, MI 49301, and their phone number is (616) 493-8787.
Enrollment Age Requirements
A Michigan law amended the Revised School Code (MCL 380.1147), which changed the minimum age requirement for a child enrolling in kindergarten. Children must turn 5 years of age on or before September 1, 2023, in order to register for school. Children who turn 5 after September 1, 2023, and no later than December 1, 2023, may request entrance to kindergarten. A waiver form may be found online at www.fhps.net, or by contacting the school office.
Pre-Enrollment Form (Linked Here)
Incoming kindergarten families for the 2023-2024 school year must pre-register online. This helps the district plan for the number of incoming kindergartners. In addition to pre-enrolling online, there are additional enrollment forms and procedures.
Enrollment Form and Procedures
The easiest way to enroll is to do so online. The following forms must be completed in their entirety and returned to your child’s school building prior to the end of the current school year. The sooner you return these items, the better.
Kindergarten Enrollment Forms
The following forms must be completed in their entirety. They are found online, www.fhps.net.
- K-12 Enrollment Form
- Health Appraisal (with vision and hearing screening)
- Health History
- Consent for Disclosure of Immunizations
- Kindergarten Parent Questionnaire
- Kindergarten Preschool Questionnaire (if applicable, from previous preschool)
- Classroom Guidance/Prevention Education
- Concussion Awareness
- In order to complete the enrollment process, the student’s parent/guardian must also provide these required documents.
- Two Proofs of Residency in the Forest Hills Public School District
- Lease Agreement (including the page with the landlord and tenant signatures)
- All students must be listed as residents on the lease.
- Mortgage Statement (within last month)
- City Assessor’s Tax Statement (current year)
- Current Utility bill or Cable bill (within last month)
- Notarized Affidavit of Residence if living in someone else’s home/apt
- This person’s driver license and two (2) proofs of their residence
- The parent must also provide two (2) proofs of their residence
- Lease Agreement (including the page with the landlord and tenant signatures)
- For identification purposes only – A valid government-issued photo identification such as Driver’s License, State ID, or passport
- Child’s Birth Certificate
- Immunization Records
- Vision and Hearing Screening (required for kindergarten)
- Court documents, if applicable (i.e. guardianship, foster care, etc.)
- Please have the following information with you as well:
- Emergency Contact Names/Phone Numbers
- Previous School Name/Address, Phone and Fax Numbers
- Two Proofs of Residency in the Forest Hills Public School District
In addition to the documents listed on page 4, we encourage you to contact the school principal to help enroll your child who has special needs. It is very helpful to have your child’s last Individualized Education Plan paperwork as well as reports that were written at the time of your child’s last evaluation. Arrangements can be made to copy those files in order for personnel to use them in creating the best placement for your child. For additional information about special education, please call the FHPS Special Education Office, 493-8660.
Forest Hills Public Schools has a team of health professionals and school nurses. They advocate for our students with any type of disease process or medical issue that needs to be addressed while at school. Our team works with schools to provide a safe and healthy school environment and offers education and guidance to school staff on issues related to school health. Please refer to our website: www.fhps.net, for information on immunizations and other health forms needed for incoming kindergartners. If your child attended preschool, but did not receive hearing and vision screening, the Kent County Health Department will provide these services free-of-charge. For these free services, visit the Kent County Health Department’s website: www.accesskent.com/health. If you have specific health questions or concerns, please contact your child’s school.
To view a recent video by our FHPS School Health Services team, click here.
Health Care Needs During the School Day
If your child has a medical condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, acute allergies (food, insect bites, animals), or a physical disability, and/or requires treatments or procedures during school hours, please inform a school staff member prior to the first day of school. An Emergency Action Plan is needed for those students with potential complications such as allergies, asthma, seizure disorder, or diabetes. The EAP must be signed by both the physician and the parent/guardian. There are specific action plans for allergies, asthma, and seizures located online.
If your child has an allergy, please complete the Allergy Action Plan found online. Similarly, we have a number of children throughout the school with serious food allergies. Nuts seem to be the most serious and prevalent allergy. We ask for your help when we have students with food-related allergies, since for some children, exposure to nuts poses a serious health risk. In fact, for some children the allergy is so severe that simply smelling nut products or touching an exposed surface can lead to a dangerous reaction. If your child has an allergy, especially to a food-related item, please make sure to talk with the school staff and teachers as we partner with you to keep students safe. If there is a food allergy, such as a nut allergy in a classroom, teachers will take extra care when working with families on class parties and other school functions.
Keeping our children safe while at school is paramount. We want to assure you that we do everything we can to keep children safe while in our care. Throughout the school year, we routinely conduct tornado, lockdown, and fire safety drills. Our teachers and staff have explicit roles and responsibilities when it comes to the safety of our students. In addition to safety drills occurring at school, if your child rides a school bus, our transportation department will also educate students on bus safety and hold bus safety drills. Finally, when visiting your child’s school, all visitors must press a button to be allowed entrance into the main school office. Then you will check in with the school secretary and obtain a visitor badge, which must be worn, prior to entering the main school building.
Dispensing Medicine at School
A medication authorization form must be completed by the student’s health care provider and parent/guardian before any medication is administered by school personnel, or when permitted, self-administered by the student. The only medicines that can be carried and self-administered by students in grades K-6 are metered-dose inhalers and emergency injectable medications, if authorized in writing, by both the student’s health care provider and parent/guardian. Any medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter, must be in their original container and must be brought to the school by a parent/guardian, not by the student. A copy of the medication authorization form is available online.
What Happens When My Child Gets Sick?
When your child is ill, please don’t send them to school. Please use common sense and keep your child home when they are running a fever of 100 or more, have diarrhea, are vomiting, have a sore throat, have a continuous “barking” or deep chest cough, etc. Please call the school’s attendance line and report that your child will be absent due to an illness. When calling the school’s attendance line, please tell us the name of the student, what grade the student is in, who the student’s teacher is, and please briefly tell us the symptoms. Before returning a student to school, they should be fever-free for at least 24 hours without medication.
If your child comes to school sick or becomes ill at school, we will call you and ask that you pick up your child immediately. If we cannot reach you, we will call your emergency contact person to pick up your child. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION IS ALWAYS UP TO DATE. If there is an extreme emergency regarding your child, 911 will be called.
Student Insurance Available
Forest Hills Public Schools provides student medical insurance coverage for any student injured at school or during a school-related activity, including athletics. This coverage is secondary to any student or family medical insurance. In effect, the district’s medical insurance will cover medical costs for school-related injuries that are not covered by the family’s medical insurance as long as the injury falls within the range of coverage.
If a family wishes to improve upon the district’s plan, additional options are available for individual purchase. All necessary information will be made available to students at the beginning of school. Any family wishing to subscribe should complete the form and return it to their school. To obtain the insurance form, please call your child’s school.
Riding a School Bus
The Forest Hills Public Schools’ fleet of 80 buses is ready to serve our families and transport students safely to and from school every day. Recognizing that Forest Hills Public Schools will start school the week prior to Labor Day, the district is in the process of streamlining back-to-school communication initiatives. Families WILL receive communication before the start of school detailing bus route information, including bus stop location, bus number and arrival times. Please remember that during the first few weeks of school, arrival times may vary slightly as everyone gets acclimated to their new schedules. We encourage you to make sure your child arrives to their bus stop at least five minutes prior to their designated bus time. Due to security reasons, we do not post bus stop locations and times on the district website or publish them for general use.
In our continuous effort as a school district to allocate financial resources to support quality instruction and to standardize transportation services across the district, we continue to make adjustments to our routes. These small changes help our district allocate more money which goes directly back into your child’s classroom. More specifically this year, some of our bus routes will have fewer stops. There are some neighborhoods where buses may make several stops within the neighborhood in the morning, but may have only one stop outside of the neighborhood in the afternoon.
Believe it or not, kindergartners are excited to ride a bus to and from school! We like their excitement, but we want to remind them that safety comes first. Here are a few helpful bus hints:
- Introduce yourself and your child to your bus driver.
- Make sure that your child recognizes his/her bus driver and bus number.
- Practice what to do if your child is unsure of which bus to take, or if there is a substitute driver or substitute bus.
- Always make sure that your kindergartner has on his/her bus lanyard and/or backpack tag with bus identification. This will be given to parents in August during our Kindergarten Ready-Set-Go! event.
- Children are permitted to ride their assigned bus only! Permission to ride an alternate bus for play dates is not allowed.
- We recommend that you establish school routines from day one. Please consider sending your child to school on the school bus the very first day!
Currently, FHPS uses Versatrans MyStop App. Stay tuned for something new in the fall of 2023.
Versatrans MyStop App provides mobile access to bus information. With MyStop, parents and guardians know exactly where their child’s bus is on the route and an estimated time of arrival (ETA) at their stop. The location of the bus is automatically updated to accommodate any delays. Update frequency is dependent on a user’s data plan. The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices. When using the app, parents and guardians can choose to receive push notifications alerting them to changes in their child’s bus schedule. Links to the apps are available on our website at www.fhps.net/departments/transportation.
If you do have questions or concerns about the bus, please use the following guidelines:
- Contact your bus driver to share your concern or question.
- If you need further assistance regarding a transportation-related issue or routing concern, please contact the Transportation Department.
- If you are concerned that your child needs additional support with bus routines, let your bus driver know, and ask your child’s teacher to assign a classmate to board the bus with him/her when departing from school.
- Contact your school office with additional questions.
Finally, please remember that the safety of children is not only our priority, but we partner with you, as parents and guardians to ensure that your child is safely on their way to, and home from, their bus stop. We care for your child when they are on the bus, and it is the parents’/guardians’ responsibility to safely get their child to and from the bus stop each day.
Should you have questions pertaining to bus travel and route information, please contact the Transportation Department, (616) 493-8785, or email: email@example.com.
Car Line Drop-Off and Pick-Up
Families are encouraged to use school buses as the main form of transportation to and from school. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration:
- School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury.
- School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school.
- School buses keep an annual estimated 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning.
If you do decide to transport your child to and from school, please remember that the pick-up and drop-off areas can be very congested with traffic. Please make every effort to be on time to ensure a good start or end to the school day for your child.
Alternate plans for transportation should be communicated in writing to your child’s teacher with as much advance notice as possible. Permission in writing is required if someone other than a parent or legal guardian is picking up a student.
When picking up or dropping off, children must enter and exit vehicles on the curb side only! Children are not permitted to walk in front of, or behind vehicles. Please have the curb side seat of your car ready for your child to enter or exit to help keep this process safe.
Should you have specific questions pertaining to traffic flow and child safety during drop-off and pick-up, please contact the school office.
The Forest Hills Food Service Department is dedicated to serving nutritious and healthy food every day to over 10,000 customers. Approximately 56 percent of the products we purchase are locally grown and/or produced. Last year, Forest Hills Public Schools prepared, served, and sold a total of 825,000 meals. In addition to the traditional way of paying for your student’s lunch with cash or check, Forest Hills Public Schools offers another alternative where you can create an online student account and manage your child’s lunch account from any web browser.
First Few Weeks of School Lunch Tips
Lunchtime for kindergartners can be fun and exciting! A child-friendly variety of items is available to all students daily beginning on the first day of school. Your child’s teacher, along with the cafeteria staff, will help your child navigate his or her choices to ensure he/she has a positive lunch experience. Of course, you are always welcome to make a lunch of familiar items from home, but you may find that your child is excited to explore new food items from school. Whether your child eats hot or cold lunch, eating lunch and the social aspects of lunch are important parts of their day. Families can work with the child’s teacher and cafeteria staff to help their child become acclimated to a hot lunch routine by learning how to go through the lunch line, use their meal card, purchase milk, and much more.
Easy-to-Access School Menus
Forest Hills Public Schools, in partnership with Chartwells K12, uses Nutrislice to publish school menus to an interactive website. Families can view menu item descriptions and photographs, filter common food allergens, translate the menus into another language, view carbohydrate counts and calories, and much more. Click here for your school’s menus.
Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids
Each student that attends school all day is offered a school lunch. The elementary menu provides three choices each day. At least one choice per day will be vegetarian. Your student can expect to see a healthy variety of foods, meeting all USDA meal requirements. These include:
Colorful fruits and vegetables – We offer a large variety of nutrient-dense vegetables, including dark green, orange, and/or starchy vegetables, as well as legumes. Colorful fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals important for growth and development during childhood. Each student is encouraged to take at least ½ cup of fruits and/or vegetables with his/her meal every day (per USDA meal requirements).
Grains and proteins – We offer a variety of whole grains on menus with items like whole grain pizza crust, rolls, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and cereal. Portions are age-appropriate, ensuring nutritionally-balanced meals that provide the right amount of energy from healthful food sources.
Reduced fats – We only use food products and ingredients that are trans-fat-free, reducing our students’ risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases.
Age-appropriate portions – Meals are carefully planned to meet calorie and nutrient requirements for each age group.
We hope you will encourage your student to try new foods, including new fruits and vegetables! You are always welcome to join us at meal times to see our lunches for yourself!
School Food Allergies
With the easy-to-access online lunch menu, you can view ingredients and filter menu selections by food allergies and sensitivities. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Food Service Department, 616-493-8774.
School Lunch Accounts
Forest Hills Public Schools utilizes Family Portal for electronic payment of school meals. Family Portal handles all payments from one easy-to-use, fully self-service interface. You can access the Meal Magic Family Portal by visiting foresthills.familyportal.cloud.
To deposit funds into your child’s account using a credit or debit card please set up an account on the Meal Magic Family Portal, or pay by check/cash in your school’s office or at the Food Service Office (160 Alta Dale Dr SE Ada, MI 49301). Make sure any cash or check funds are clearly marked with your child’s name and state that the deposit is for “Food Service.”
Meals Are Always Available
We will always offer a meal to all students regardless of their lunch account balance. If a child’s lunch account balance is zero or below, we will offer a child a meal; however, they will not be allowed to purchase any à la carte items.
You can apply online on the Meal Magic Family Portal. When using this site, you will no longer need to send in the paper application. Once the application is reviewed, you will receive a letter indicating if the application was approved as free, approved as reduced price, or denied. Please be aware that any benefits will begin only after the food service representative has reviewed your application. Benefits cannot begin immediately as a determination of eligibility must be made. Any charges to the account before the application is approved will be your responsibility.
If you do not have access to a computer, you can fill out a paper application. Print the paper application and mail completed application to:
Forest Hills Public Schools
Food Service Department
160 Alta Dale Ave SE
Ada, MI 49301
Paper applications are also available in school offices. Our goal is to have healthy, happy, and well-fed children who learn to the best of their abilities. Please call the Food Service Office at (616) 493-8774 for CONFIDENTIAL help in applying for free or reduced-price meals.
- Apply for financial assistance
- Free and Reduced Price Meal Application
- Free and Reduced Application in other languages
- How to apply for benefits
- FAQs About Free and Reduced-Price School Meals
- Sharing Information with Other Programs
Meal Charge Policy
All students will be allowed to purchase a reimbursable meal regardless of their lunch account balance. If a child’s lunch account balance is zero or below, we will offer a reimbursable meal; however, they will not be allowed to purchase any à la carte items. This will create a negative balance on their account. Negative and/or low balance reminders will be emailed twice weekly to the email address on file. Parents and/or guardians are responsible for the negative balance accrued on their student(s) accounts.
Volunteers are an important part of our school community. We have a proud tradition of providing a wide variety of high-quality activities for students and families. Since many of our activities would not be possible without the involvement of family volunteers, we encourage family members to learn about the many opportunities to get involved in their schools.
In our ongoing effort to keep our schools safe, we require volunteer parents and community members to apply for criminal background checks provided by the Michigan State Police through their Internet Criminal History Access Tool, or ICHAT. All individuals volunteering in our schools must complete a form to have a background check and any response will be kept confidential. You must complete a new volunteer consent form each year.
Some of the ways you can volunteer are: help or assist in your child’s classroom, be a guest reader, volunteer to help the teacher with centers or classroom preparation, sign up to be a room-parent to help coordinate classroom parties, become active in the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and much more. Don’t be afraid to say, “Yes” if someone asks for help! There are many hands-on activities and “behind-the-scenes” opportunities to help in numerous ways. Many hands make light work. Please check with your child’s teacher as to ways you can volunteer and become involved in your child’s school.
We welcome and encourage family members to visit their children’s school. Please check with your child’s teacher for the best time to visit. When you arrive, you will have to press the “buzzer” in the school vestibule with a security camera to gain entrance. Then, be sure to sign in with the school secretary and secure a visitor’s pass from the school office. For security reasons, we do not permit unauthorized visitors.
The district has three School Resource Officers (SROs) through the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. These officers routinely visit our schools, interact with staff, students, and families, and help maintain a culture of open communication and safety while building positive relationships with students. Deputy Ben Dunneback services the Northern side of the district, Deputy Kresten Green services the Eastern side of the district, and Deputy Jim Svoboda services the Central side of the district. For additional information about fire, tornado, and other safety drills, and more, visit our safety and security page.
Forest Hills Public Schools believes in helping the “whole” child succeed. Sometimes, a child may need some additional assistance and may require additional help. We are proud that we have a full team of individuals to help teachers and partner with families when additional help is needed. In FHPS, we have special education teachers, school psychologists, school social workers, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, teacher consultants, other related service providers and support staff. While most of these services require an Individualized Education Plan or 504 Special Education Plan, one service that is available to all students is counseling.
We believe that the elementary school years set the tone for developing the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for our children to become healthy, productive teens. With a comprehensive developmental counseling program, counselors work as a team with the school, parents, and community to create a caring atmosphere whereby children’s needs are met through prevention and intervention.
Our elementary counselors:
- Help all children.
- Help create a positive atmosphere at school.
- Welcome and support new students.
- Teach students how to be friends.
- Train all children to expect respect.
- Teach guidance lessons to entire classrooms.
- Will sometimes work with small groups of children with similar needs.
- Help children individually.
- Are resources for parents, teachers, and staff.
Some of the things kindergartners are taught during the school year are bully prevention, how to be a good friend, friendship skills, understanding feelings, personal safety, and much more.
We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher and/or school counselor if there’s a particular matter of concern, and/or if you have any questions on how a school counselor can help your child.
We firmly believe that you know your child best, which is why we feel your involvement in the kindergarten program is essential. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to develop an open and honest relationship with each of you from the start so that together we may support your child as best we can and help your child get the most out of their school experience. As many of you know, having conversations at drop-off, or pick-up can be quite difficult. This is a dilemma we have attempted to resolve by establishing a variety of ways we will communicate throughout the year.
Teachers work best by email. Please remember, however, that we are teaching during the day, so an email reply may not be immediate. Teachers may only check emails a few times during the school day. Another way to communicate an important message is by calling the school office, and the teacher will respond as soon as they can. Face-to-face communication also is important, but please arrange an appointment with the teacher ahead of time so that classroom instruction isn’t interrupted.
We encourage you to call or email at any time if you have any questions or have information to share. Again, you may call the school office and someone will take a message for the teacher. The teacher will return your call when it’s a convenient time to do so during the school day.
Additionally, we know that kindergartners’ minds are constantly going. They may not be the best avenue to use to communicate an important message. Most teachers will email classroom notes and newsletters, important classroom reminders, and share pictures of fun school events and learning activities that have occurred. Some teachers have created their own websites, with secured usernames and passwords, where they share information with parents and guardians in a secure manner. Additionally, always check your child’s backpack for fliers or notes home from the teacher and/or school. Your child’s teacher will tell you more about their preferred ways of communication.
We hope the use of these numerous communication modes will meet your family’s needs and help us establish an ongoing, open dialogue. We are looking forward to having a relationship with you and are excited to share in this special time in your child’s life.
Just like teachers, our school principals understand the importance of communication and want to partner with you to make sure your student is growing in a nurturing educational environment and their school experience is a positive one. Principals are concerned about every child in the school’s care and are here to help families in every way possible. They too can be contacted via email and by phone, and appointments may be made for a face-to-face meeting. Some principals have monthly newsletters that are posted to school web pages, and some also use social media as a way to communicate to families, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
District Website and Online School Information
The district website: www.fhps.net, contains a wealth of information. The best way to use the site, if you’re looking for something in particular, is to use the search mechanism in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. The creation of the district website and school pages is encouraged as a means of communication with students, parents/guardians, staff, families, community members and the public at-large. There are two goals of the Forest Hills Public School District’s website. One, it is an opportunity for the school and its staff to showcase learning, events, activities and accomplishments of staff and students to the world through the Internet. Two, it also is a direct vital informational link to parents and community members.
Please bookmark www.fhps.net on your mobile and electronic devices. The website is a portal to all school pages where you’ll find important upcoming activities and events, reminders, announcements and school news.
SchoolMessenger is used to communicate a variety of information. This push notification system is an automated messaging service. The district uses this system to inform families of school delays or closures, when there is an emergency at a school, and information from the Superintendent. SchoolMessenger is also used by each of our schools to communicate, primarily through email, non-emergency information, school reminders, and activity updates. SchoolMessenger allows families to set preferences on how messages are received, such as an email, text and/or phone call. You can manage your preferences through the Parent Portal of PowerSchool. To “opt in” to text messages you must text “YES” to 67587 from your mobile device.
There is also a SchoolMessenger app available to download. The app provides families with a powerful way to stay engaged with their school and the district. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Please note that this communication tool will be the primary method for schools to communicate information to families.
Parents should always contact their child’s school to update their phone number and email contact information if or when a change occurs.
Parents and guardians can access PowerSchool, our student information system, through the Parent Portal. For our kindergarten through sixth-grade families, you are able to view contact information, important school information, and student attendance. For our seventh- through 12th-grade families, you may also view student’s grade history, teacher comments, and more. Parent Portal is also used to update your SchoolMessenger preferences as mentioned above, or you can install the SchoolMessenger app. Please be sure to update your child’s school with any changes to your contact information. This includes telephone numbers as well as email addresses.
The district uses a learning management system called Canvas. Canvas integrates all learning and assignments into one online place. It allows teachers to post grades, assignments, and information online and allows parents/guardians of students to also see assignments and progress. Each student will be given a Canvas account. Once students receive their accounts, then the parent/guardian may also set up an account to see the student’s account. Information about Canvas and Canvas accounts will come directly from the student’s teacher. Log in to Canvas from our Canvas Discovery page
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram
The district also posts news and updates on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Please make sure to like and follow us on the following channels:
We know there may be times you have questions or concerns about a situation at your child’s school. The most important thing is communication, and we offer the following guide to help.
- Discuss your question or concern with your child’s teacher.
- If you feel you have not received a satisfactory answer or solution, contact the school principal.
- If the school principal does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction, please call the Administration Office to discuss the matter with an assistant superintendent or schedule a meeting. The next step, if necessary, is to request a meeting with the school superintendent. Finally, you can request an appearance before the Forest Hills Public Schools board of education. If you wish to address the board, you must notify the superintendent in writing at least five days before the board is scheduled to meet. Your letter must also describe the problem or concern you wish to discuss.
By following this procedure, your questions and concerns about school-related issues will be resolved.
Parent Teacher Organizations are thriving in our elementary schools, and many programs, field trips, specials and learning opportunities couldn’t be possible without our dedicated parent volunteers who serve on committees, organize fundraisers, visits by authors and artists, book fairs, teacher/staff luncheons, and so much more. Make sure you contact your child’s school for volunteer opportunities and upcoming activities. All elementary schools’ PTOs are on hand in the fall to welcome families back to school!
Centers and Curriculum Development
Kindergarten is a time for fun and exploration. Whether your child is in one of our language immersion kindergarten classrooms or our traditional classrooms, a lot of learning takes place. A kindergartner’s schedule for the day includes a good portion of the morning devoted to center time. The development of a variety of centers in the classroom allows us to address several goals simultaneously. Each of these goals relates directly to processes of learning that we believe are important to foster in kindergarten. As such, they are primary to our intended curriculum, broad goals and objectives for children in our learning community. These include collaborative learning, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, resourcefulness, autonomy and perspective taking. In addition, we feel it is equally important to provide children with opportunities to build strong foundations in reading and literacy, phonics, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts so as to ensure a successful transition into their first-grade environments.
If your child is enrolled in our Spanish immersion kindergarten or Mandarin Chinese immersion kindergarten, your school’s principal will detail their language immersion “day in the life of a kindergarten” during orientation. If you do have more questions, please reach out to your child’s principal.
Time for Routines
We establish routines from the first day in kindergarten. From how we enter school, hang up our coats and backpacks and prepare for the day, a kindergartner’s day will be fun, busy and exciting. In addition to many curriculum-driven centers, the children will also have story time, calendar time, a time for sharing, songs and singing, and interactive play and exploration, recess and even some quiet or down time. Students will be given a variety of literacy centers, language and reading work, and writer’s workshop to develop emerging literacy skills.
Children do best on a full tummy. We know there’s a lot of time between breakfast and lunch time. Each day we will have snack time, and students are encouraged to bring their own healthy snack from home. When packing a daily snack for your child, please remember any food allergies that other students may have in your child’s classroom.
Kindergartners need to run, swing, climb, and play outside. Make sure your child is dressed appropriately to play outside every day. Kindergartners will have at least two recesses a day—one in the morning and one after lunch in the afternoon. Kindergartners will play outside in the winter, so make sure your child has appropriate winter weather apparel including: a winter coat, hat, mittens or gloves, snow pants and boots. When it’s raining outside, students will have indoor recess where kindergartners will enjoy games, toys, arts and crafts, and other fun activities.
Kindergartners also enjoy several “specials” throughout the week. “Special” classes include physical education, world language, art, and music. Students also will have the opportunity to go to the media center (or library) once a week to check out a book, and participate in technology and/or computer time.
Toys from Home
We believe our classrooms have a wide variety of rich materials and experiences to offer the children throughout their days. If there is a special area of interest in the classroom, we can provide additional materials to meet the needs of the children. Therefore, our guideline in the kindergarten classroom is that toys from home stay at home.
Please know that things such as music or books are always welcome. In addition, if you have other materials that will assist us in an investigation that we are working on, we would love for you to share your supplies and knowledge. This way we can bring home and school together through a common interest or topic. If you have any questions or need clarification please talk with us. Your cooperation and support with this is greatly appreciated.
One of the enduring social traditions of elementary school is celebrating birthdays with classmates. Our elementary schools ask you to consider the following as you and your child(ren) decide how to celebrate birthdays with classmates at school this school year. In the last several years, we have observed a sharp increase in food allergies among students. According to the CDC, 4% to 8% of children in the U.S. have food related allergies. The number of children in Forest Hills who are unable to participate in edible treats appears to exceed this national rate. Many families and staff have expressed concerns about the treats children are eating during the school day. We believe that families should have a final say in their own children‘s nutrition and food intake, and so we are moving away from edible birthday treats or goody bags.
Instead, we recommend that birthdays be celebrated with books or a game shared with the class! On your child‘s birthday, plan for your child to share a favorite book from home or the library with his/her classmates. Or you might consider having your child give a book as a “legacy gift” to your child’s classroom or the media center. Your child can present a book to his or her classroom with a bookplate or inscription inside showing that it was donated in honor of his/her birthday. Other legacy gift ideas might include a board game or playground toy. Please remember to add some type of label to the donation stating your child’s name and the year in order to memorialize the event and recognize your child’s generosity. A birthday is a wonderful opportunity for your child and his/her schoolmates to share a lasting gift that can be enjoyed day after day.
Developmental Profiles and Assessments
During our days in kindergarten, teachers observe and work with children both individually and in large and small groups. We collect information about each child and their developmental capabilities through various means of documentation including anecdotal observations, child portfolios, photographs and journal work. Our goal for assessing children is to share each child’s experiences in our classroom. We share this information with families in numerous ways. We like to take pictures of things happening in our classroom; we frequently use email to distribute news; we have student growth conferences twice a year; and we are always available if you have questions or concerns.
Student Growth Conferences (Formerly Called Parent/Teacher Conferences)
We will schedule two student growth conferences during the year, one in November and the other in February. However, we invite you to request a conference whenever you feel it necessary. We will also do the same. These conferences will be devoted to all of us sharing information regarding your child’s growth, development, and overall experience in kindergarten, as well as establishing goals for your child.
Forest Hills Child Care Services is located at 150 Alta Dale Road SE, Ada, MI 49301; phone: 616-493-8787, and their online information can be found here.
About Child Care Services
The Forest Hills Child Care program serves over 600 children during the school year at eight of our elementary schools and one of our 5/6 buildings. We also enroll over 90 children in our traditional and Spanish Immersion preschools. Our goal is to continue providing quality care and learning for more families each year.
We pride ourselves in offering one of the best programs in the area due to the quality of the staff at each of our child care sites. All of our directors and Child Care leaders are highly qualified–many of whom have their teaching degree or their child care endorsement which enables them to professionally run safe, warm, fun, organized programs. Their dedication to the children they work with is very obvious when you watch them interact with their kids on a daily basis. They continue to learn and improve their programs through various methods of training during the school year.
The aides that assist our directors and Child Care leaders are also experienced, dedicated staff. The fact that we are competitively priced with other programs in our area, provide flexibility in enrollment schedules, and are able to hold our programs right in a child’s home school also contribute to the popularity of the program for our families.
2023-2024 Child Care Registration
Please read the following updates as it pertains to the school year 2023-2024 registration process.
- Before care hours will be 7:00 am until the start of school.
- After care hours will be from the end of school day until 6:00 pm.
- Families will be required to sign up for 5 days per week/per program.
- For more information, please visit our Before and After Care program page
May 15, 2023, 8:00 AM
Registration opens to currently enrolled families and Summer 2022 families
May 17, 2023, 8:00 AM
Registration opens to new families
We do our very best to put together a comprehensive supply list for your kindergartner. We know that stores run back-to-school sales during the summer months, and children are excited to get their school supplies. Please visit your child’s school web page for specific suggested school supply lists.
Kindergarten Ready-Set-Go! is an event that is geared toward kindergartners and happens at school in the summer prior to the first day of school. Kindergarten Ready-Set-Go! is a time when kindergartners can meet their teacher, visit their classroom, drop off school supplies, find their “cubbies” or lockers, and even take a ride on a school bus! This event is something you won’t want to miss!
Kindergarten Ready-Set-Go! helps acquaint children with the school environment and helps alleviate any fears they may have coming to a new school. Families will receive a letter in August from your child’s school about this important event, and the dates and times of the event will also be posted online on the school’s website pages. The letter will include not only the date and time of the event, but will also share information about the child’s teacher and much more. Adult family members will also be given additional information from the school while students explore their new classroom.
Don’t forget to check your mailbox a few weeks before school starts for this important communication. We can’t wait to see you in August and meet your child at Kindergarten Ready-Set-Go! and share in the excitement that your child exudes starting school!