Grand Rapids Public Schools
Strong Schools, Strong Communities
Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan’s seventh largest public school district and the third largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, serving nearly 17,000 students with 2,700 employees, including 1,400 dedicated teachers. The student population represents 55 countries with 54 different languages spoken, creating a value-added educational experience and benefit that is above and beyond a basic education. GRPS proudly offers the largest selection of school choices in all of West Michigan, including neighborhood, theme, Center of Innovation, special education, and charter. Neighborhood schools offer a traditional education.
They are located throughout the city and are open to all students within their attendance area. Exciting pilot programs are underway to strengthen the connection between neighborhood schools and neighborhood residents at Congress and Mulick Park. Theme schools offer the core curriculum through a unique lens, including environmental science, arts and music, global studies, leadership, Montessori, International Baccalaureate and more. In many theme schools, students have the opportunity for place based education and exciting extracurricular programming to enhance their learning.
Four of the theme schools are test-in schools. One of those schools, City High Middle School, consistently ranks as the top performing school in all of West Michigan and among the top in the state (ACT scores, “U.S. News & World Report”, and “The Washington Post”). The Centers of Innovation are unique public-private partnerships that offer students a rigorous classroom education along with opportunities to connect with professional mentors, complete job shadowing and internships, and earn college and trade school credits or career certification to prepare them for in-demand, high paying careers.
To ensure that all students are educated, self-directed and productive members of society
Strengthening our schools strengthens our future workforce, helping develop talent in our district. The students and staff in Grand Rapids Public Schools are grateful to our voters for approving the Strong Schools, Strong Communities millage which we are putting to good use for students. Some of the areas we emphasize include helping students consider and connect with possible careers.
We do this by building the skills expected in the workplace and teaching about options for after graduation including college, technical training or going directly into the workforce. We offer career and technical coursework programming options throughout our high schools. Innovation Central High School offers career exploration opportunities through each of its four career pathways, Academy of Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Academy of Design and Construction, Academy of Modern Engineering, and the Academy of Health Sciences. In addition, we have begun planning for a second career pathways school which will be housed at Ottawa Hills High School. We are finalizing potential career pathways at Ottawa Hills High School, and in 2017/2018, we began our first phase of this work by creating an Early Middle College.
Academics and Beyond
Strong academics are the basis for all of K-12 learning, beginning with literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. In addition to these areas, we engage students in a wide variety of courses including fine arts, physical education, JROTC, and various classes in technology. We also have theme schools which have alternative curricula (Montessori, International Baccalaureate, Museum Education, and college prep). After-school opportunities range from robotics (elementary, middle and high school) to a full complement of interscholastic and intramural athletics.
Support for Students
Most students will need a little help at some point in their schooling. They might struggle with a particular subject, an assignment, or a life challenge for themselves or their family. We work hard to support students so they succeed, including hiring the best staff to assist them. In addition, we utilize Title dollars to provide additional supports to students in low-income families including Youth Advocate Specialists, counseling, and lab classes that support the Michigan Merit Curriculum to help ensure students meet challenging academic standards.
Early childhood is a crucial time in children’s lives, a time when they engage in the world around them and learn all the basics they’ll use in school and beyond. Our preschoolers get to explore new concepts daily through hands-on activities with rich literacy and math learning materials integrated into the classroom’s interest areas. Children “Purposely Play” throughout the day. GRPS World-Class preschoolers also take their learning outdoors to do real-world learning thanks to our use of Creative Curriculum, which keeps the content highly engaging and relevant to young children.
How Grand Rapids is using the funds generated from the enhancement millage:
- Curriculum – We are using the enhancement funds to update and upgrade our curriculum, including new technology-based science and mathematics curricula. The funds are also being used to adequately train our teachers and other staff on the delivery of these new curricula.
- Early Childhood – We are using the enhancement funds to provide additional staff resources and materials for our Early Childhood programs.
- Third Grade Literacy – Enhancement funds are being used to provide additional staff resources and materials to improve third grade literacy.
- College and Career Readiness – Enhancement funds are being used to provide additional staff resources and materials to ensure all graduates of Grand Rapids Public Schools are college and/or career ready. Expanding access to Advanced Placement Courses, supporting mentoring programs for our Centers of Innovation students, additional counseling support for our high schools students are just some of the ways we are using the enhancement funds to prepare our students for successful college and employment careers.
Enhancement millage dollars received
2017-18 amount received - $3,573,999.13
2018-19 amount received - $3,682,003.55
2019-20 amount received - $3,648,486.12
2020-21 amount expected - $3,722,118.94
Educated and therefore able to:
Apply skills and knowledge learned from a rigorous and relevant core curriculum.
- Demonstrate proficiency in current technologies.
- Transfer career and employability skills across multiple settings.
- Pursue lifelong learning to succeed in a changing global community.
Self-Directed and therefore able to:
- Use a high degree of self-awareness to facilitate making life-directing decisions.
- Identify and initiate career-appropriate post-secondary options.
Productive and therefore able to:
- Appreciate and respect cultural and individual diversity.
- Actively participate as productive members of a democratic society.
Graduates will meet the specific credit requirements as defined by the rules of this policy. These requirements will meet or exceed the minimum graduation requirements as defined by the state of Michigan.
About Our District
Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan’s fifth largest public school district and the third largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, serving nearly 17,000 students with 2,700 employees, including 1,400 dedicated teachers. The student population represents 55 countries with 54 different languages spoken, creating a value-added educational experience and benefit that is above and beyond a basic education.