Annual Founders' Day Awards 2023
Congratulations to our Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Advocate, and Golden Acorn!
Charles Harp, Math Teacher
Many people find math to be one of the more intimidating subjects in school, but Charles Harp strives to demystify the material and ensure its accessibility for each student. Survey respondents provided
many examples: He offers multiple test retakes and makes teaching videos that students can watch at home for greater understanding. He grades quickly and gives feedback so that students can
correct their work and relearn the material if needed. He allows students to learn from their mistakes until they have complete understanding. He prioritizes our learning and comprehension of
the course material over anything else. Mr. Harp also supports seniors in developing strong post-graduation plans, “mentoring students about their career paths, even if they don't plan to study
mathematics.” Kentwood community members lauded him as a teacher who is approachable, kind and deeply caring, spending extra time to recognize and meet the needs of each student.
Scott Richards, Special Education Teacher & Curriculum Leader
Working in special education, Scott Richards encounters students with a wide range of learning needs. Parents and students at Kentwood appreciate that he is not only gifted at understanding and addressing those diverse challenges, but he also goes the extra mile to ensure that all students receive the appropriate support and services – whether or not they are on his caseload. Survey respondents gave examples of how he addresses needs that are often overlooked, responds quickly to parent questions, and helps struggling students reach “amazing” academic accomplishments. We heard from students that he is a tireless advocate who is always available to help, and from parents that he is a “teacher that goes above and beyond to improve the student experience.”
Darivanh Vlachos, President of Kentwood Community PTSA
Without an executive team in place as the 2022-2023 school year began, the Kentwood Community PTSA was on the cusp of folding. Darivanh Vlachos stepped up as Interim President to rescue our PTSA from dissolution in order to continue the support and advocacy we offer students at Kentwood High School. She rounded up a team of volunteer parents and students to revamp our web site and
processes, and she has worked hard to strengthen communication with the school. Darivanh “always pitches in to help out when committees are in need,” one survey respondent noted. Another remarked that she “gives freely of her time and talents... she cares about our school and supports an inclusive environment, where students feel safe and can thrive. She truly is a Golden Acorn.”