District News

Last Chance to Order a Yearbook & Dedicate a Page to Your Senior

LAST CHANCE FOR EVERYTHING! Final numbers for yearbooks are due by May 28, so If you would like to purchase a yearbook, now is the time to do it. The link for information on purchasing a yearbook is here

ALSO, parents of seniors, If you would like to honor your graduate with a senior dedication, we extended the deadline to May 28th because of the school shut-down. Order form is posted here!

Yearbook Staff Needs Your Help

Hello, everybody! The yearbook staff is working hard to finish well and on time. We are doing a special section on COVID-19 and need your help. Are you an "ESSENTIAL" worker? Do you have a family member that works in healthcare, food services, janitorial staff, police, fireman, grocery store, IT, teacher, etc.? We are featuring our Black River Community of Heroes in the yearbook. We would love to have a picture and what they have been doing during this "Stay at Home" order. 

The yearbook staff is on a deadline, so we need your photo ASAP. Please email us a picture at shirkj@brpsk12.org. Make sure to include the job title, the name of the person in the picture, and the relationship to Black River.

Example:   John Doe
                  Stock Clerk at Meijer
                  Black River Senior 

We would love to show our appreciation to all of those who have continued to be faithful and served our community.

Thank you,

BRPS Yearbook Staff

Class of 2020 Diploma Pick-up Information

Diploma Pick Up will occur on Friday, May 29th, 2020,  in the front of school, similar to Cap and Gown Pick Up. Please park in the main lot, and then cross the south crosswalk.  If things get "busy" we will have social distancing markers on the sidewalk.

Students AND FAMILY members of the same household may have pictures taken in front of school, together!

Seniors, make sure to wear your CAP and GOWN!

Please use the following schedule to help with traffic flow/timing. If for some reason this time does not work for you, it is possible to arrive at a slightly later (or earlier) time!

From:  Noon to 1:00 p.m.  Last Names: Alvarez-Gomez to Dykema
           1:00 p.m. to  2:00 p.m. Escot to Kibler
           2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Korte to Reinhardt
           3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Reyes to Zylman

In the event of bad weather, we will have an alternate pick up in the back parking lot, with some alternate options! Thank you and go Rats!

A Message for the Senior Class of 2020 from John Donnelly, Dean of Students - May 19, 2020

Dear Senior Class of 2020,

Thank you for your incredible patience as we have been looking at all options to celebrate you and your accomplishment of earning a Black River Diploma.  We are so proud of you all!  It has been a difficult task to fully understand what we can do to recognize you all within the parameters that we are allowed.  With that being said, we have planned a few different things for you that incorporate the most meaningful part of a graduation ceremony - walking up to get your diploma - as well as a professionally produced ceremony that we invite you all to participate in.  

For the first time ever, all students will have an opportunity to give a 10-15 second cell phone video (in their cap and gown) sharing future plans, a memory or two, and maybe a quote of advice for Black River students.   We are excited to announce that Grand Valley State University Charter School's Office in collaboration with WGVU will be producing this ceremony for BR. A Google Document will be shared shortly with specific directions on where/how  to submit your video.  The final compilation will include speeches by Valedictorian, Salutatorians, a student you elected to speak as well as a faculty member.  There will be a couple surprise guest speakers as well!  If you haven't voted yet, please make sure to do so!

Open Positions for 2020-2021 Fine Arts Boosters

The Fine Arts Boosters (FAB) has the following open positions for the 2020/21 school year:

  • Chairperson
  • Art Parent Representative

Volunteering is a great way to...

  • Feel more connected to the Black River community
  • Help meet the needs of the Black River Fine Arts department
  • Support your child/friend/relative in a Fine Arts activity
  • Build on skills and talents you may already possess

What about the time commitment?

  • FAB meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 5pm in the Lyceum.
  • How much time you devote to volunteering is completely up to you. From a few minutes of putting flyers around the school to setting up for one of our two main fundraisers, you decide what fits best with your schedule.

Who do I contact to find out more?

Middle School Honors Assembly Video

We are excited to announce our MS Honors Assembly Video is now available.

While we would love to be live in the gymnasium with all of you, we wanted to make sure we are celebrating our incredible students!  Watch now to see the amazing accomplishments of our MIddle School award recipients.

HS Honors Assembly Video

We are excited to announce our HS Honors Assembly Video is now available.

While we would love to be live in the gymnasium with all of you, we wanted to make sure we are celebrating our incredible students!  Watch now to see the amazing accomplishments of our High School award recipients.

A Message from Coach Kyle Lawton, Athletic Director Regarding 2020-2021 MHSAA Sport Physicals

The MHSAA has provided us with a important update regarding sport physicals for the 2020-2021 school year. If a student submitted a sports physical for the 2019-20 school year, they DO NOT need to submit a sports physical for the 2020-21 school year. Athletes (parents) who wish to go this route and not submit an updated sports physical for 20-21 will need to submit this completed questionnaire before they are able to participate in tryouts, practices or games:


This questionnaire link is also available on the MHSAA website. While we wait to get back together face to face, this is a great opportunity for each athlete to become a better individual athlete, to get strong, faster, quicker and return to his or her team as a much improved athlete. Please take advantage of this time!

GVSU Summer 2020 College Prep Week is Virtual - Register Now!

Each summer, the GVSU CSO College Prep Week welcomes high school 2020-2021 school year juniors and seniors from GVSU charter schools to participate in a week of academic and cultural exploration. Students from across Michigan travel to Grand Valley State University to experience what it is like to be a college student.

Due to school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, College Prep Week will be completely virtual for the summer of 2020.

Get more information and register here!

Does Your Student Need a Work Permit?

With summer approaching, lots of students will be getting summer jobs. You will find the appropriate work permit by clicking the Forms link on our website. Once the parent and student fills out the appropriate portions of the form, you scan it and email it to Christie in the main office (phillipsch@brpsk12.org). Please scan rather than take a picture as this saves a lot of ink for printing purposes and is more legible. If you don't have a scanner at home, TurboScan is a free app that will allow you to scan from your phone. Christie will fill out the school's portion and email it back to you. 

Printable Virtual 5K Rat Race Bibs Now Available

Printable Rat Race Bib  - Fill in your name and choose your favorite number!

Participate in the first ever BRPS Virtual 5K Rat Race! Mark your calendar and start training now. The Black River Virtual 5K Rat Race is on Saturday, May 30. Run or walk a 5K on Saturday, May 30 by yourself or with your family (map out your own route). Post pics (during the run or at the finish) to social media and tag Black River using the hashtag #BRvirtual5k

Facebook - Black River Public School
Twitter - @BRPSSports and @blackriverrats
Instagram - @sportsblackriver 


Rat Race Bib

A Message for the Caleb Fisher, Tech Director - May 12, 2020

Technology Updates: iBoss filtering & YouTube

There have been recent updates to iBoss filtering policies that are currently causing some issues.  Please know that IT is actively working with the ISD and iBoss to correct concerns. As for the iBoss Chrome extension, that is directly tied to BRPS student accounts, any BRPS issued device a student signs into will get BRPS filtering.  We understand that this is currently causing some issues and delays for which we apologize, but it is also the same filtering that keeps students safe while using a school issued device.

Last week YouTube tightened its video filtering.  IT is also looking at what our best approach is to work within their filters. Please contact your students teacher if your student is having trouble viewing a video upload. It may need to be approved again.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please direct those communications to IT support at support@brpsk12.org.

Class of 2020 Xavier Reyes Featured on Michigan Charter School Association Website #MiCharterGrad20

What a wonderful surprise to open our weekly email from the Michigan Charter Schools Association to see our very own senior Xavier Reyes was one of five featured grads across the state. The article starts, "Caps & gowns, new beginnings, fresh adventures & MORE. Michigan charter school grads are taking on their next big dreams as global citizens, bold leaders & passionate scholars." Read here for more!

Xavier Reyes

New Members of the Black River Chapter of the National Honor Society

The Black River Chapter of the National Honor Society is pleased to announce the new members for the 2019-2020 school year. These students have exemplary achievements in the areas of scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Each student submitted a detailed application and received positive recommendations from their teachers, coaches, youth group leaders, and other adults as a part of the application process. The entire Black River community congratulates these students for receiving this recognition of honor.

New Members of the Black River Chapter of the National Honor Society

12th Grade
Lauren Cooper
Noemi Lozano

11th Grade
Ethan Devereaux
Eli Edwards-Parker 
Henri Holland-Anderson
Connor Ockerse
Piper Kendall
Pradyumna Karyamapudi
Kasia Norman
Reilly Shuff
Fatima Sharief

10th Grade
Lindsay Brncick
Isabella Camarota
Jack Davis
Martin Dimitrov
Katie Dykema
Sam Dykhouse
Caleb Ewald
Ana Sofia Fernandez
Ava Freimark
Hanna Garber
Harper Gerow
Alden Gort
Emily Hearn
Hudson Hilgert 
David Hsieh
Matthew Koeman
Elliot Lappenga
Wesley Looman
Nolan Meier
Kylee Poulton
Annika Pearson
Layne Weatherwax
Sophia Yost

Peace Cranes Headed to Hiroshima Peace Park, Japan

Marguerite Stephens, History Teacher, has created an annual tradition for her students by teaching them how to make cranes that will be sent to Japan. Her middle school students were able to make 1000 cranes in different sizes before school was closed. These are now on their way to Japan to be placed in the Hiroshima Peace Park, symbolizing are need for peace and healing. Marguerite has even been lucky enough to see one of her BR students get to see the cranes flying in the park while visiting Japan. 

Photo of Peace Cranes

A Message from Shannon Brunink, Head of School - May 5, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

We are all disappointed that Project Term will not be happening this spring.  It is a special time of year and we look forward to the great offerings that we will have in the future.  As was communicated in the presentation on remote learning during spring break, ALL students will be continuing in their regular classes until June 5 - the last day of our school year.  This will help regain some of the lost time and content from the closure in our regular classes as well as continue what if finally becoming familiar regarding our digital format for classes.

Also, next Monday, May 11 was a scheduled day off for students.  It still is!  Teachers will be communicating their "Week at a Glance" on Tuesday the 12th.  

Thank you for making the most of the offerings that our teachers are working so hard to provide.

Be well,

Shannon Brunink, Head of School


Below is the message video portion of the message that was sent to all families during spring break:

View this Google slide presentation regarding remote learning at Black River Public School for the remainder of the 2020 school year.

Watch this video presentation by Shannon Brunink, Head of School


Community Service Requirement Update

While we want to encourage students to continue to do positive things for our community, the community service hourly requirement will not hold a student back from graduating this spring or from moving up in grade levels for next year. This applies to our current 3rd, 5th, 8th and 12th graders. 

Community service hours that students' have already completed for the 2019-2020 school year as well as new hours acquired can be submitted electronically by a parent and/or guardian through the Black River website > Quick Links > Forms > the Community Service Electronic Submission Form - Use During COVID-19 Remote Learning. Again, we would like to encourage students to come up with fun and creative ways to support our entire community during the Stay Home, Stay Safe initiative. Please use these service ideas and send us yours so we can continue to give back during these uncertain times.  

Course Registration for 2020-2021

Course registration for next year began before our unexpected closure.  The deadline to register for classes was April 17 however any enrolled student who missed the deadline can still register.  Families are welcome and encouraged to return forms by mail to:

Black River Public School
Attn:  Jennifer Wise
491 Columbia Ave.
Holland, MI  49423

Forms can also be faxed to 355-0057 or scanned and emailed to wisej@brpsk12.org.  (PDF copies rather than images are preferred for printing purposes)

Voter Registration Information for High School Seniors

Dear Seniors, We extend our congratulations to you as you wrap up the 2019-2020 school year. As you move on to the next stage of your life, we encourage you to register to vote. Anyone who is a US citizen and is at least 18 years old can register. If you already have a Michigan Driver’s License or State issued ID card, you can simply register to vote online at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/registervoter. Or you can fill out the registration form found at the same website and mail it to the Clerk’s office or place it in the drop box in the City Hall parking lot. - The City of Holland Clerk’s Office Staff

Update: BRPS #1 Charter in Michigan - US News Best Schools Ranking Report

Our wonderful Black River Public School, Holland MI is in the news. Congratulations to our families, teachers and staff members that raise us up and keep us connected every day!

Recently, we received word that Black River Public School is the #1 ranked Charter School in Michigan, #3 of all open enrollment schools in Michigan, and #345 in U.S. schools. (That's #345 out of 23,000 nationally.) 

In addition, the 2020 U.S. News and World Report rankings show that overall in Michigan, the No. 1 open-enrollment high school was also a charter school, Black River Public School in Holland. Black River came in at No. 7 on the list, but the six schools that finished ahead were either selective-enrollment schools or schools that don’t accept students from outside the district. 

Read two articles below:



Student Spotlight - Kenzie Brothers, Class of 2022

Our Student Spotlight is on Kenzie Brothers, Class of 2022.

As closures and social distancing orders meant to limit spread of COVID-19 sweep across the country, the impact is being felt in communities large and small. Holland area senior citizens have seen a dramatic increase in food insecurity during this time. Kenzie has been working with local volunteers packing boxes of food and basic necessities that will be distributed to seniors in our community who need it most. Thank you Kenzie for making a difference!

If you know a Black River student, grades K-12 that is making a positive impact during this time please email Kelli Heneghan at heneghank@brpsk12.org.

Packing boxes for senior citizens 

We the People Virtual National Finals Competition is This Weekend!

Please wish our We the People team, representing the State of Michigan, as they compete virtually on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 in the National Finals. These students have faced many difficulties in getting ready for this competition but have a tremendous amount of support from the school, the parents and friends of the student competitors, and the City of Holland. The Black River team, comprised of ten students, include::

Piper Kendall, 11th Grade
Eli LaBurn, 11th Grade
Johnathan Lowry, 11th Grade
Sierra Lynch, 11th Grade
Ariana Newberry, 11th Grade
Nathan Overweg, 11th Grade
Dylan Pennington, 11th Grade
Sia Rajgarhia, 11th Grade
Parker Seymour, 11th Grade
Aanya Usmani, 11th Grade

Coach: Peter A. Letzmann, a Grand Rapids attorney, who is assisted by Luke Ruiter, a Hope College student and Black River alumni. 

We the People National Finals Unit Video Recordings Available

Below are links to the Black River Public School team's unit video recordings from the 2020 We the People National Finals Challenge. Black River had the smallest team with 10 competitors versus some teams with 35 or 40, finished 13th of the 60 state champions that began the completion.  The BR team should be proud.

Unit 1 
Unit 2 
Unit 3 
Unit 4
Unit 5 
Unit 6 

BR Seniors Start brpsclassof2020 Instagram Page

Black River Seniors! Some of your classmates have started an Instagram page where they are celebrating the future plans/college plans of your graduating class. They have 31 seniors on the page right now and want you to get on there, too! The page is called brpsclassof2020 on Instagram - to get your plans and pic on there, DM them on Instagram with a picture of yourself and your future plans, or for those who'd rather email, you can send it to email blackriverclassof2020@gmail.com.  

Parents and younger students! Hop on Instagram and check out your awesome seniors - brpsclassof2020

Senior Instagram Page

Student Spotlight - Lauren Cooper, Class of 2020

We need some good news! Student Spotlight highlights some of the positive contributions being made by BRPS students during the Covid-19 crisis. Today's student spotlight is on Lauren Cooper, Class of 2020. Lauren contacted history teacher, Jake Stid two weeks ago to let him know that she was making masks for members of the medical community in our area during this time. She knew Mr. Stid's parents were doctors and wanted to know if their office would accept masks that she had made. After ironing out some logistics South Washington Family Medicine now has 30 PPE masks because of Lauren's awesome project. Below is a picture of some of the staff. Pictured on the left is named Sydney Knapp, mom of two daughters that are fellow River Rats in the 6th grade and Kindergarten. 

Masks donated by Lauren Cooper

To submit a Student Spotlight, please email Kelli Heneghan at heneghank@brpsk12.org.

A Message from Shannon Brunink, Head of School - April 10, 2020

Black River Families,

We hope this Friday update finds our families looking forward to the upcoming weeks as we dive in to new challenges and learning experiences together. As we prepare, we ask that you:

Read this letter from Shannon Brunink, Head of School 

View this Google slide presentation regarding remote learning at Black River Public School for the remainder of the 2020 school year.

Watch this video presentation by Shannon Brunink, Head of School

We are BR! 

Elementary Read Aloud with Upper Elementary Teacher, Ms. Carly
We've Shared a Google Doc with the Staff and Teachers Office Hours

We have shared a Google document that has two tabs (Middle/High School and Elementary) with updated Staff and Teachers Remote Learning Office Hours to keep our parents/guardians informed. This document will be placed on the District Home page under > Resources > BRPS Staff and Teachers Office Hours and will be updated as needed for the remainder of the school year.

A Message from the Social Work/Counseling Team - April 10, 2020

The Social Work/Counseling team would like you to read this letter on ways they will be able to provide support to our Black River families as we transition to remote learning. They have also compiled a folder with important ways for Coping with COVID-19.

A Message for Elementary Families from Mr. Jim - April 8, 2020

Hello BR Elementary Montessori Families! Please see this message from Mr. Jim regarding the elementary transition to remote learning. Details for our MS/HS families will be released soon.

All School Events Cancelled

Dear Students and Families of Black River,

As we all need to do our part to uphold the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, all school events are officially cancelled as previously scheduled through the rest of this 2019-2020 school year. While I'm sure everyone understands the situation, it does not make it any easier on our students.

Because we want to give our best care and support to our students, we are working to consider alternative ways to do some of the things that make BR so special every spring. Please keep checking the school web site for communications regarding non-traditional ways that we will continue to deliver the Black River Difference.

We are BR!

Infinite Campus Email Notification Tutorial

Black River Parents and Guardians - If you have access to Infinite Campus and are still not receiving email notifications, please watch this short video tutorial created by Mr. Jim on how to update your contact preferences. If you do not have Infinite Campus access or have forgotten your password, contact Kelli Heneghan at heneghank@brpsk12.org. 

Helpful Online Resources for Keeping BRPS Students Engaged

Making sure our parents and community members have access to free, digital platforms is one way to help keep our students engaged and learning during this difficult time. Below are sites that have been shared by teachers and parents to help fill our days with meaningful activities. Please contact Kelli Heneghan at heneghank@brpsk12.org if you have a site to add to our growing list.

Online Resources for BRPS Parents and Caregivers  

Elementary Read Aloud with Mr. Donnelly, Dean of Students

Join Mr. Donnelly reading, 'The Dinky Donkey' written by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley.

The Dinky Donkey Book Cover 

Elementary Read Aloud with Mr. Adam

When her parents go out for the evening, a little girl threatens to run off to the South Pole, but has a good time with the babysitter instead. Mr Adam reads the story, ‘Don’t Forget to Come Back’, by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Harry Bliss.

Don't Forget to Come Back

Self-Care is Important During the School Closure

self-care poster

Read 'The Current' for Students News and More During the School Closure

Looking to engage with your peers? Students and teachers alike are publishing fun and entertaining news for The Current, our student news website, which you can find at brpscurrent.com

New student polls are published each week, and commenting is open so that students can respond to each other's publications. This week's feature: Ms. Stephens' cat makes some observations about the new world order. 

Students can also submit their own work for publication here. Don't miss out!

Stronger together, From wherever!

No matter the changes we face in the days and months ahead - nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community. We miss you all and want you to know that we are here for you. Continue to take care of yourself - We are BR!

BR Family Collage

OAISD COVID-19 Response Interactive Lookup Map

Enter your address on the OAISD address lookup map to find a Food Distribution near you.

Black River Summer Camp Schedule Announced
OK2Say Hotline is Always Open

Stop the Silence! Black River Parents and Guardians - If you are worried about a student, don't be afraid to speak up by contacting the Ok2Say Hotline to leave an anonymous tip - OPEN 24/7 including weekends and before/during school hours. Specially trained technicians receive the tips and filter the information to the appropriate agency. Please use this resource if you have a concern during a time school is not in session. Contacting 911 with a concern is also an option. These methods will be the quickest way to ensure student safety. Thank you! 

Phone: 855-565-2729     Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)     Email: ok2say@mi.gov

OK2Say Poster

GVSU Charter School Office College Prep Week 2020

GVSU College Prep Weeks for Summer 2020 have been announced. The application link is available through Friday, May 1, 2020. 

GVSU Summer Flyer

GVSU Summer Flyer Back Page

Stay Current on School News & Events! Download our Stay Connected Mobile App

Stay up-to-date on BRPS current events and news by adding the Stay Connected App to your phone! Features include:

  • Headline News and Information
  • Calendar of Events
  • School and Staff Directory
  • School Notifications for Closings and Delays

Please click on the preferred link below to download the website application:
Click Here for Apple SchoolPointe Stay Connected App
Click Here for Android SchoolPointe Stay Connected App

Order your 2019-2020 School Yearbook Here!

It's time to start thinking about ordering this year's yearbook. We are working with a new company this year. Jostens offers a $5.00 incentive if you order your yearbook early. The Elementary Yearbook is $20.00 when ordering early, and the High School Yearbook is $45.00 when ordered early.

Below you will find the links to follow to order each yearbook. Please make sure that you click on the correct link for the yearbook you are ordering.

Elementary Yearbook $20.00 If ordered before October 11, 2019


High School Yearbook $45.00 if ordered before October 11, 2019


If you have any questions, contact Joy Shirk, the yearbook adviser at  shirkj@brpsk12.org  

Meet your New Infinite Campus Apps!

Infinite Campus has released two new and improved mobile apps: Campus Student (for students) and Campus Parent (for parents). Download your free app for real-time access to grades, assignments, schedules, announcements and more. 

School Code: 231963
District ID: PWHTPS

meet your new infinite campus apps


Download on the App Store

Get it on Google Play


491 Columbia Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: (616) 355-0055

Fax: (616) 355-0057