Ottawa Community Schools Network

You can now donate directly to Ottawa Community Schools Network through Ottawa County United Way. Please donate today to support our work with schools, students, and mental health during COVID-19 and beyond.



Who We Are: 

We believe that the community school strategy is the vehicle for achieving educational equity and justice for all students. The primary goal of the Ottawa Community Schools Network (OCSN) is to ensure that all students from grades Pre-K through 12 are physically, emotionally, and socially well and have strong family supports so that each student develops to their own potential.

OCSN Ottawa Community Schools Network logo

The core of our work is focused on four different, but interrelated, areas:

Health and Social Services and Support: In a community school setting, the basic physical, mental, and emotional health needs of young people and their families are recognized and addressed.

Family Engagement: A community school embraces families and mobilizes family assets, which increases the resources and relationships available to enable better learning.

Community Engagement: A community school facilitates the coordination of school and community resources based on the assets and needs of the school, family, and community.

Student-Centered Learning and Development: A community school coordinates school staff and community partners working together to provide expanded learning opportunities both during and outside of the school day.

Outcome area quadrants

What is a Community School?

Think of Community Schools as both a strategy and a place…

  • An evidenced-based strategy for bringing together educators, families and community stakeholders to attain collective impact for achieving educational equity and justice for all students. 


  • A place where the community gathers to support the education of its children and youth. It acts at the hub of the community to unite educators, community partners, and families to provide all students with top-quality academics, enrichment, health and social services, and opportunities to learn and thrive.


ACADEMICS: Improved academics and learning

ATTENDANCE: Decreased truancy and student absences.

BEHAVIOR: Decreased need for behavioral intervention in the school environment.

PHYSICAL/SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Increased access to physical, social/emotional and mental health assistance for students and families.

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: Parents are empowered to serve as partners not
only in their children’s education- but in school-wide improvement as well.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Increased number of strategic partnerships are formed between the school, local businesses, and non-profits.

Our Partnering Schools:

Holland Public Schools-Holland Middle School

Coopersville Area Public Schools-West ECC and East Elementary

Zeeland Public Schools- Roosevelt Elementary and Venture Academy

Meet the Staff

Caroline Geist
616-738-8940 x4180
Angela Dershem
Assistant Director
616-738-8940 x4181
Caitlin DeBoard
Coordinator/Community Schools
Lauren DeRoo
Coordinator/Community Schools
616-494-2425 x2471
Lana Kamer
Coordinator/Community Schools
616-748-4777 x1617
Sara Lothschutz
Coordinator/Community Schools
Casey VanAntwerpen
Coordinator/Community Schools
Alli Vance
Coordinator/Community Schools
616-669-9362 x4809
Jenna Walbeck
Coordinator/Community Schools
269-751-5413 x4009
Alli Watson
Coordinator/Community Schools
269-751-4436 x3010
Kari Wiersma
Coordinator/Community Schools
616-892-3470 x4120