Grand Rapids Public Schools Hannah Turner

...all children can reach their academic potential through effort, high expectations, and strong support systems...
"Overview: 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."
"School Choices: 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."
"Schools may also offer services for English Language Learners; “community schools” with social, health, and mental health services embedded; all day preschool; all day kindergarten; and much more."
"Facilities: Eleven schools are new, state of the art buildings with the latest technology and educational designs to support instruction and learning. Eight of the schools are green-built and five are LEED certified; making GRPS a leader in the state and nation on green built schools."
"Parent University is a community collaborative to help parents become full partners in their child’s education. It will offer modules, activities, workshops, classes, conferences, mentoring and coaching to equip parents for success."

All of the written information above is sourced from the official website of Grand rapids public schools.

My Recommendations
Development: Theme schools are developed using resources that are already present in the community. Determine how to bring in resources to the community that would enhance what is presently available (re: global / multicultural enhancements).
Design: Ensure that technological skills are developed across all schools; theme school attendees should be as familiar with ed tech as non-theme schools.
Implementation: As more and more innovative ideas are applied to the structure of schools, grow your audience until it is on a national, or international, level.
Evaluation: The State of Michigan tracks data and makes it available to the public. In addition, bring industry leaders in to evaluate the project-based learning that occurs in schools.
I want people to know that I am about the Grand Rapids Public Schools; I love the kids and staff members. I believe in the kids and I believe in education. -TWN


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