School News

Napoleon educator using technology to help teach


Above: Ackerson Lake High School teacher Jeremy Bush, right, explains an assignment about global warming to junior Kage Farmer.

By Zach Kanaan, principal, Ackerson Lake High School
and John Hummer, Editor

“Jeremy Bush is just what our students need here at Ackerson Lake.” That statement, which comes from Ackerson Lake High School principal Zach Kanaan, says a lot about how much Jeremy is appreciated at the school.

Bush, who teaches English at Ackerson Lake, an alternative high school, is in the middle of his fourth year at the school. He also serves as the school’s Language Arts Department head, school improvement chair, test coordinator, and credit recovery supervisor.

“Despite his many responsibilities, Jeremy is always eager and ready to take on a task to go above and beyond for his students and the school district,” Kanaan said. For example, as his response to students struggling with attendance, he has turned all his courses into “Google Classrooms” where he takes the lectures, notes, resources, assignments, rubrics, and other tools he uses in his face-to-face classes and makes them easily accessible to students through Gmail and Google Docs.

“This offers 24/7 access for students to get what they need to keep up and get work done,” said Kanaan. “This is also the case when it comes to students receiving corrections and feedback as they get work done outside of normal school hours.”

Bush said that students who attend an alternative high school, which is likely because they’ve had problems at a mainstream high school, often miss a lot of school.

He is not afraid to get creative and innovative when it comes to reaching and motivating students academically, socially, and professionally.”

Zach Kanaan
Ackerson Lake High School principal on teacher Jeremy Bush

“I kind of jumped on board with [Google Classrooms] and it’s really become something I’ve focused on,” he said. “They’re able to access their coursework from home, complete it [using Google Docs), and hand it in through Google Classrooms. I’m also able to grade their work and send back comments. We can do instant messaging or chat if that helps them as well.

“It’s almost like an extension of the classroom where you can work from home and still get stuff done. It’s actually worked out very well for meeting the needs of our students.”

Jeremy grew up in the Concord area west of Jackson where he graduated from high school. After attending Jackson College for a couple years, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in high school education, social studies, and language arts. Later he obtained a master’s degree as a reading specialist to allow him to teach K-12 reading.

Before coming to teach at Ackerson Lake in Napoleon Community Schools, Jeremy taught at two other schools with alternative programs – Concord School of Opportunity (now closed) during the early 2000s and da Vinci’s Learning Center in Jackson for a year.

Kanaan says that Jeremy continues to evolve and improve constantly by staying current with proven research and strategies to use in his classroom.

“He is not afraid to get creative and innovative when it comes to reaching and motivating students academically, socially, and professionally,” Kanaan said.

Another notable accomplishment is the number of students Bush has assisted as they prepare to find employment. He builds assignments into his courses that help students with creating cover letters and resumes andfilling out job applications.

“It’s been very beneficial, especially for our students who struggle financially,” Jeremy said. The job search skills he has taught students often helps them find jobs during the summer and holidays as well. He even teaches them about the necessary evil of tax forms. (More below Kelly Express ad)

Kanaan said Jeremy has shown to be a leader among his peers by presenting project-based learning strategies he has found successful in his own classroom to his fellow teachers during professional development days.

For instance, Bush has had his students work on business plans for starting a business that they would then have to pitch to a bank or an investor and teaches them how to apply for a loan and understand interest rates.

“It’s a living document they can always go back and revisit, change a few things, and try to get a business started if that was something, they were interested in doing,” Jeremy said.

He also recently put together a presentation for his fellow teachers on how to get more reading involved in their classrooms, such as utilizing the first 10 minutes of class for free reading.

“They can read pretty much what they want, then they have to write a brief summary of what they’ve read,” he said.

In addition to his busy teaching life at Ackerson Lake, Jeremy has his hands full outside of school. In his spare time, he serves as the village president for the Village of Concord. He is especially proud of the work he has done in obtaining grants to extend the Falling Waters Trail through his community.

Jeremy also enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife have two young children, five and three years of age. He likes to go mountain biking and refinishes antique furniture.

“I try to keep busy,” he laughed. At 41, he is definitely a busy man.

Kanaan summed up how he feels about having Jeremy on staff.

“This school is lucky to have Mr. Bush as an Ackerson Lake teacher and a Napoleon Community School employee.” That speaks volumes.

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