Grand Rapids Public Schools

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The Grand Rapids Public Schools is a public education school system serving Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan's fifth-largest public school district.[1] It is also the third-largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids. GRPS serves nearly 17,000 students with 2,700 employees, including 1,400 teachers. The student population represents 55 countries with 54 different languages spoken, creating a diverse educational experience.

History[2][edit]

Legal history[edit]

Grand Rapids Public Schools was created in 1871, when the state legislature passed an act creating the Board of Education of the City of Grand Rapids. According to the act, the boundaries of the district were the same as the boundaries of the City of Grand Rapids. Prior to that time, the City of Grand Rapids had not established one single school district. Rather, the west side was known as the Union School District and the east side of the Grand River was served by two other districts.[3]

In the days following 1871, the matters of the public schools and the matters of the city were much more intertwined than they are today since the school board's budget had to be submitted to the city for approval. In that time, when city boundaries were expanded, school boundaries expanded as well. The Constitution of 1908 [4] prohibited special and local acts, so the city was expanded through annexation until the 1920s when the codified school law became more distinct. In 1962, the law stating that the boundaries for the city and the school district must be the same was repealed. Since then, enlargement of the city has not resulted in the expansion of the boundaries within the Grand Rapids Public Schools school district.

The relationship between GRPS and the city is very different than it was one hundred years ago. The city no longer has any control over the school budget, the district's bonding powers, or its borrowing powers. Currently,[when?] the city's basic responsibility is to conduct school elections and to collect school tax after the school board has determined how much tax should be levied. The legislature has continued to require that cities and schools operate separately.

School board history[edit]

Prior to May 1906, the board of education had twenty-five members. Two of these members were elected from each of the twelve wards of the city, and the Mayor of Grand Rapids served as an ex-officio member. The election process was responsible for the poor location of many schools in Grand Rapids.[citation needed] Many schools were located according to a specific ward, rather than according to the needs of the city. In May 1906, the membership of the board was decreased to nine. Each member is now elected by the residents of the city as a whole and serves on the board for a three-year term.

Originally, the board occupied space on the first floor of City Hall, but by 1915 had complete use of the fourth floor of the building. Additional offices were located in the old North Division School at 234 North Division Avenue and the old Junior College Building on Ransom Avenue. The maintenance department was located at 425 West Pleasant Street in the former Pleasant Street School. In June 1920, the Board moved all its offices to the fifth floor of a new addition to the George A. Davis Vocational and Technical High School. This building later transitioned into the West Junior College Building. The new addition was specifically designed to hold these offices. One important factor in construction of the administrative offices was a 1927 City Commission imposed rental fee of $5,000 per year for the use of the space in City Hall. Prior to this time, the space had been rent free. However, the main factor for construction was increased efficiency and a desire to have all administrative personnel at one location.[citation needed]

Administrative history[edit]

Administratively, the board initially used a dual system of control, where the superintendent of schools and the business manager were each directly responsible to the board. In 1937, the chief engineer also became responsible directly to the board of education; the chief engineer previously reported to the business manager.

On March 2, 1959, the administrative structure was changed so the superintendent of schools was the only employee directly responsible to the board. The business manager was placed under the superintendent of schools, and the Chief Engineer was assigned to report to the business manager.

Schools [5][edit]

GRPS offers a large selection of school choices, including neighborhood, theme, Center of Innovation, special education, and charter. Neighborhood schools provide students with a traditional education. Located throughout the city, these schools are open to all students living within a specific attendance area. Pilot programs in select neighborhood schools are working to improve the connection between neighborhood residents and their local school.[citation needed]

Theme schools take the traditional curriculum and apply a theme to create a unique curriculum. Examples of themes available at GRPS include environmental science, arts and music, global studies, leadership, Montessori, International Baccalaureate, and more. In many GRPS theme schools, students also experience place based learning and thematic extracurricular activities. Of the theme schools, four require students to test-in. City High Middle School, one of the test-in schools, consistently ranks as the top performing school in West Michigan. Additionally, it is also ranked among the top schools in the state by U.S. News & World Report,[6] and The Washington Post.[7]

Centers of Innovation are public-private partnerships that offer students rigorous academics along with opportunities to connect with professional mentors. Furthermore, the Centers of Innovation offer job shadowing and internships,as well as the potential to earn college or trade school credits or career certification to prepare for in-demand careers.[citation needed]

GRPS also provides center-based special education services for students from throughout the Kent Intermediate School District (KISD). Students qualify for these services through the IEP team process. Additionally, GRPS has one charter elementary school, Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center.[8] Schools may also offer services for English language learners; "community schools"[9] with social, health, and mental health services; all-day preschool; and all-day kindergarten.

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Brookside Elementary[10] (neighborhood)
  • Buchanan Elementary[11] (neighborhood)
  • Burton Elementary[12] (neighborhood)
  • Campus Elementary[13] (neighborhood)
  • Cesar E. Chavez Elementary[14] (neighborhood)
  • Creative Arts Academy[15] (theme)
  • Congress Elementary[16] (neighborhood)
  • East Leonard Elementary[17] (neighborhood)
  • Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary[18] (neighborhood)
  • Kent Hills Elementary[19] (neighborhood)
  • Mulick Park Elementary[20] (neighborhood)
  • Palmer Elementary[21] (neighborhood)
  • Sibley Elementary[22] (neighborhood)
  • Stocking Elementary[23] (neighborhood)

K–8 schools[edit]

Middle schools[edit]

High schools[edit]

  • City High Middle School[25] (theme, grades 7–12)
  • Innovation Central High School[26] (Center of Innovation)
  • Ottawa Hills High School (neighborhood)
  • Union High School[27] (neighborhood)
  • University Prep Academy[28] (Center of Innovation, grades 6–12)

PreK–12[edit]

  • CA Frost Environmental Science Academy[29] (theme, grades PK–9 in fall 2015, growing one grade per year)
  • Grand Rapids Montessori[30] (theme)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2017 Largest School Districts in Michigan". niche.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Our History - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  3. ^ www.grcmc.org, Grand Rapids Community Media Center - (December 12, 2012). "Keeping up with Kids". HistoryGrandRapids.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN OF 1908". mi.gov. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ "At a Glance - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ U.S. News & World Report
  7. ^ "See what Grand Rapids-area schools made Washington Post's 'most challenging' list". mlive.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Child Discovery Center - A Reggio Emilia School in Grand Rapids". childdiscoverycenter.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Kent School Services Network". kentssn.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  10. ^ Brookside Elementary
  11. ^ Buchanan Elementary
  12. ^ Burton Elementary
  13. ^ Campus Elementary
  14. ^ Cesar E. Chavez Elementary
  15. ^ Coit Creative Arts Academy
  16. ^ Congress Elementary
  17. ^ "East Leonard Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Ken-O-Sha W=Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Kent Hills Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Mulick Park Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Palmer Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Sibley Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Stocking Elementary - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Aberdeen K - 8th Grade - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  25. ^ "City High/Middle School - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Innovation Central - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Union High School - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  28. ^ "University Prep Academy, Grand Rapids, West Michigan, college prep, middle school, high school". uprepgr.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  29. ^ "C.A. Frost Environmental Science - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Grand Rapids Montessori - Grand Rapids Public Schools". grps.org. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]