Grand Rapids Public Schools http://michiganradio.org en Snyder gets praise for efforts to put more money into early childhood education http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-gets-praise-efforts-put-more-money-early-childhood-education <p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/2014-state-budget">This week, Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise</a> to boost preschool spending.</p><p>Today he got a chance to talk to some parents, teachers and school administrators in Grand Rapids about the proposal.</p><p>About a dozen four-year-olds sat in a circle around Gov. Snyder. He read them "Snowmen at Work," a children’s tale about what snowmen do for a living.</p><p>“Are they in school just like you?” Snyder asked the group.&nbsp;<br /><br />"Yeah!” they replied in unison.</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 23:36:37 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16343 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder gets praise for efforts to put more money into early childhood education State of Opportunity's hour on what it's really like in a "low-performing" school http://michiganradio.org/post/state-opportunitys-hour-what-its-really-low-performing-school <p>The MEAP&nbsp;test has been used to evaluate kids and schools in Michigan for over four and a half decades.</p><p>The test is meant to make sure public schools are teaching kids the basics. But&nbsp;MEAP&nbsp;scores affect where parents decide to send their kids, neighborhood housing prices, city tax revenue, and city services.</p><p>Basically, the economics of a city rests on how well 8 and 9-year-olds perform on this single test.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks inside Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids, a school with consistently low MEAP scores. Dwyer followed a third-grade class as they prepared to take the test. He interviewed students, teachers, and parents, trying to figure out how much these numbers matter. What he found was, the test scores do not even begin to tell the story. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To hear the documentary now and learn more, visit the <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/big-test-six-weeks-one-third-grade-class-low-scoring-elementary-school">State of Opportunity</a> website.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:26:41 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16246 at http://michiganradio.org State of Opportunity's hour on what it's really like in a "low-performing" school Lawmakers, educators work toward compromise on bills that would flunk some 3rd graders http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmakers-educators-work-toward-compromise-bills-would-flunk-some-3rd-graders <p>Lawmakers are working out the details of <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billanalysis/House/pdf/2013-HLA-5111-0F1C4A2F.pdf">a proposal that would flunk Michigan students who can’t read </a>at “proficient” levels by the end of the third grade.</p><p>Many in the education community are opposed to the legislation, including The Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers.<br /><br />The Michigan Association of Public School Academies supports it.</p> Sun, 19 Jan 2014 17:07:26 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16085 at http://michiganradio.org Lawmakers, educators work toward compromise on bills that would flunk some 3rd graders Grand Rapids schools want to hear what’s working, what’s not in ‘listening tour’ http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-want-hear-what-s-working-what-s-not-listening-tour <p>The head of Michigan’s fifth-largest school district is launching a “listening tour” this week.</p><p>Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal says the Grand Rapids school district needs to succeed in order for the city to succeed, and because that impacts the entire region, she wants to hear from everybody.</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 15:40:29 +0000 Lindsey Smith 15996 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools want to hear what’s working, what’s not in ‘listening tour’ In this morning's headlines: Medicaid, Pledge of Allegiance, GRPS uniforms http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-headlines-medicaid-pledge-allegiance-grps-uniforms <p><strong>Medicaid is first order of business in Lansing</strong></p><p>"The Michigan Legislature is back in session today to deal with the final details of a bill to extend Medicaid health coverage to thousands of working poor people. Governor Rick Snyder hopes to have the measure ready for his signature by the end of the day," Rick Pluta <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-lawmakers-return-work-lansing-week">reports.</a></p><p><strong>Schools must offer opportunity for students to recite Pledge of Allegiance</strong></p><p>"Some students could have their first experience reciting the Pledge of Allegiance today. A new state law requires schools to offer students "the opportunity" to recite the pledge each day," Tracy Samilton reports.</p><p><strong>Grand Rapids Public Schools phases in school uniforms</strong></p><p>"All 10,000 students in Grand Rapids Public Schools will wear uniforms within three years. It starts this year with students in kindergarten through eighth grade," Rina Miller <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/uniforms-its-what-all-grand-rapids-students-are-or-will-be-wearing">reports.</a></p><p><br> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 11:07:07 +0000 Emily Fox 14235 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's headlines: Medicaid, Pledge of Allegiance, GRPS uniforms In this morning's news: Detroit author dies, election confusion in Detroit, and Grand Rapids schools http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-detroit-author-dies-election-confusion-detroit-and-grand-rapids-schools <p><strong>Author Elmore Leonard dies</strong></p><p>Detroit writer <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/detroit-resident-and-hollywood-writer-elmore-leonard-dead-87">Elmore Leonard passed away</a> yesterday at age 87.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that Leonard was the author of 45 novels and was in the middle of number 46 when he suffered a stroke earlier this summer.&nbsp; Leonard’s work has often been adapted to well-known films such as <em>3:10 to Yuma</em>, <em>Out of Sight</em>, and the television series <em>Justified</em>.</p><p><strong>Detroit mayoral race has ballot counting issues</strong></p><p>In Detroit’s mayoral race earlier this month, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to have a clear 16-point lead over Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon.&nbsp; But now the results are being questioned because of ballot counting inconsistencies.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/confusion-over-who-won-detroit-mayoral-primary">reports</a> that “votes are customarily counted with hash marks but some election workers used numbers instead.”&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Grand Rapids Public Schools show improvement</strong></p><p>Some Grand Rapids Public Schools have had difficulty meeting Michigan state educational standards for the past few years.&nbsp; Union High School previously hovered in the lowest one percent of schools in the state.&nbsp; It has now pulled itself up to within the lowest ten percent.&nbsp; Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/state-data-shows-turnaround-consistently-low-performing-high-school-grand-rapids">reports</a> that the district’s superintendent said “it wasn’t just the district; this really has been a community effort.” Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:21:06 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 14079 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: Detroit author dies, election confusion in Detroit, and Grand Rapids schools State data shows turnaround at consistently low performing high school in Grand Rapids http://michiganradio.org/post/state-data-shows-turnaround-consistently-low-performing-high-school-grand-rapids <p>The Grand Rapids Public School District is making strides in turning around some of its lowest performing schools. That’s according to new data released by the state Tuesday.</p><p>Ron Gorman is the Executive Director of High Schools and Alternative Education at GRPS. He works with all of Grand Rapids high schools, many of which have problems meeting state standards.</p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 22:02:14 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14078 at http://michiganradio.org State data shows turnaround at consistently low performing high school in Grand Rapids Grand Rapids students tell policy makers what they want from school http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-students-tell-policy-makers-what-they-want-school <p>There are plenty of adults talking about what should be done concerning education in Michigan. But an event in Grand Rapids gave students an opportunity to explain what they need from their schools.</p><p>Lynn Heemstra helped organize the event, called<a href="http://grchildren.us/media/mayors-youth-council/activities/kidspeak/"> “KidSpeak.”</a></p><p>“It’s my belief that a lot of people that have legislative responsibility don’t really know the extent of what young people are dealing with in the their lives and what they’re receiving in the way of day to day educational opportunities,” Heemstra said. Fri, 26 Apr 2013 21:25:56 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12308 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids students tell policy makers what they want from school Former Grand Rapids schools superintendent gets $280,000 to settle lawsuit with district http://michiganradio.org/post/former-grand-rapids-schools-superintendent-gets-280000-settle-lawsuit-district <p>Bernard Taylor Jr. ran what’s now the state’s fifth-largest K-12 district for five years.</p><p>Eventually, Taylor and some members of the school board did not get along very well. By in the spring of 2011, it became clear Taylor was looking for a new job. He agreed to resign that summer and ended up signing a severance package.</p><p>But last month Taylor sued, claiming the district never paid him.&nbsp; He calculated GRPS owed him $330,000 including lawyer’s fees.</p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:23:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11885 at http://michiganradio.org Former Grand Rapids schools superintendent gets $280,000 to settle lawsuit with district The week in Michigan politics http://michiganradio.org/post/week-michigan-politics-35 <p>In this week in Michigan politics, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Rick Snyder’s upcoming budget address, the final days of the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/end-near-kilpatricks-public-corruption-trial">Kwame Kilpatrick trial</a>, and how 200 administrators in Grand Rapids Public Schools got <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-sends-out-first-round-pink-slips-transformation-plan">pink slipped</a>.</p><p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:54:54 +0000 Jack Lessenberry, Rina Miller & Emily Fox 11111 at http://michiganradio.org The week in Michigan politics Grand Rapids schools sends out first round of pink slips in “transformation plan” http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-sends-out-first-round-pink-slips-transformation-plan <p>About 200 administrators at Grand Rapids Public Schools are getting notice that they could potentially be laid off this summer. The school board voted Monday night to send out the notices, as part of a “<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/stateside-grand-rapids-restructures-its-districts-save-money-improve-education">transformation plan</a>” it adopted in December.</p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 17:50:37 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11098 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools sends out first round of pink slips in “transformation plan” Private donors pay for new public school building at Grand Rapids nature preserve http://michiganradio.org/post/private-donors-pay-new-public-school-building-grand-rapids-nature-preserve <p>Walk up to the new school inside the Blandford Nature Center and a flock of brown hens will quietly greet you. The hens are part of a business lesson about entrepreneurs at the Blandford School.</p><p>On Monday students and staff gathered to open the new school building paid for through mostly private funds.</p><p>Jennifer Brandstatter wipes tears from her cheek during the&nbsp;celebration. She moved her oldest of two daughters from a Catholic school to attend&nbsp; 6th grade at Blandford and she “loves it”.</p><p>“I just, I cry when I think about it. It’ just she’s having the best time of her life. The teachers are amazing. I mean it’s just such a unique experience,” Brandstatter explained. Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:15:13 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10650 at http://michiganradio.org Private donors pay for new public school building at Grand Rapids nature preserve Grand Rapids students and neighbors push back on new “transformation plan” for schools http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-students-and-neighbors-push-back-new-transformation-plan-schools <p>On Thursday night hundreds of parents and students got their first chance to respond to a <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/new-superintendent-works-unite-grand-rapids-schools%E2%80%99-community">"transformation plan"</a> for the Grand Rapids Public School district. The plan <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-unveils-transformation-plan-includes-closing-10-schools">unveiled Monday&nbsp;</a>includes closing ten schools.</p><p>There was a lot of push back, even tears at times in the auditorium at Creston High School; the only high school slated to be shut down.</p><p>“Honestly, it feels like the board is giving up on us,” Creston High School freshman Toni Cortazar said. Fri, 02 Nov 2012 04:09:21 +0000 Lindsey Smith 9746 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids students and neighbors push back on new “transformation plan” for schools Grand Rapids schools unveils “transformation plan”- includes closing 10 schools http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-unveils-transformation-plan-includes-closing-10-schools <p>The Grand Rapids Public School district would close 10 schools under a new <a href="http://www.grps.org/images/slide/pdf/102912TransformationPlanBookFINAL.pdf">“transformation plan”</a> unveiled Monday night.</p><p>Over the past decade GRPS has lost 7,000 students; dropping it to the fifth largest district in the state. Along with the loss of students, Grand Rapids Public Schools has cut more than $100 million and closed 25 schools. But almost half its buildings are still way below capacity and the graduation rate is only 47-percent.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:40:14 +0000 Lindsey Smith 9683 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools unveils “transformation plan”- includes closing 10 schools New superintendent works to unite Grand Rapids schools’ community http://michiganradio.org/post/new-superintendent-works-unite-grand-rapids-schools%E2%80%99-community <p>The interim superintendent&nbsp;of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/term/grand-rapids-public-schools">Grand Rapids Public Schools </a>will get rid of some controversial initiatives put in place by the former district&nbsp;leader. The state&rsquo;s third largest school district has been through a lot of turmoil over the last year.</p><p>Former Grand Rapids schools superintendent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/term/bernard-taylor">Bernard&nbsp;Taylor</a> made academic improvements during his five years serving the district. But he was divisive at least and a pariah to some. He resigned abruptly in January. His replacement Teresa Weatherall Neal has worked for Grand Rapids schools for 35 years.</p><p>&ldquo;I am truly, truly, one of you. This is my district and this is my city,&rdquo; Neal said in her &lsquo;state of our schools address&rsquo; Saturday.&nbsp;&nbsp; Sat, 10 Mar 2012 17:36:25 +0000 Lindsey Smith 6582 at http://michiganradio.org New superintendent works to unite Grand Rapids schools’ community Collaboration calling on lawmakers for more education dollars http://michiganradio.org/post/collaboration-calling-lawmakers-more-education-dollars <p>A statewide group launched a campaign Thursday demanding state lawmakers invest more money in public education.</p><p>Victoria Kovari is the lead organizer at the Michigan Organizing Collaborative. It&rsquo;s a network of faith-based, community and labor leaders. Kovari says they want lawmakers to significantly reverse the trend of education cuts in Michigan over the past decade.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a statewide problem. It affects rich and poor districts, city and suburban and rural districts all across the state. And it affects the lives of real people; young people and parents and teachers,&rdquo; Kovari said.</p><p>The collaborative is <a href="http://www.michiganorganizing.org/">asking people to sign an online petition </a>to lawmakers. She hopes the request will make a difference as lawmakers craft the state budget over the next few months. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 23:00:29 +0000 Lindsey Smith 6457 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids Mayor on state of city: "Our children need us NOW" http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-mayor-state-city-our-children-need-us-now <p>Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell dedicated his entire state of the city speech&nbsp;Saturday morning&nbsp;to highlighting the problems facing kids in the community.&nbsp;</p><p>Heartwell noted nearly 2 in 5 children in Michigan&#39;s&nbsp;2nd&nbsp;largest city&nbsp;live in poverty. More than 1 in&nbsp;5 students in Grand&nbsp;Rapids Public Schools drops out of high school.&nbsp;Many don&rsquo;t have regular access to the internet.</p> Sat, 28 Jan 2012 18:04:26 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5991 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids Mayor on state of city: "Our children need us NOW" Grand Rapids schools suspends superintendent search http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-suspends-superintendent-search <p>The school board of Michigan&rsquo;s third largest public school district voted unanimously Monday night to extend interim Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal&rsquo;s contract for 18 months and suspend the superintendent search.</p><p>Neal replaces former superintendent Bernard Taylor. Taylor had agreed to resign from Grand Rapids schools at the end of this school year after he was a finalist for other jobs beginning last spring. But he departed abruptly earlier this month.</p><p>In a written statement&nbsp;school board president Senita Lenear&nbsp;said:</p> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 00:16:39 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5907 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools suspends superintendent search Grand Rapids Public Schools has a new, temporary, superintendent http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-public-schools-has-new-temporary-superintendent <p>Former superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-superintendent-resigns">had planned to&nbsp;resign by the end of the school year</a>. But&nbsp;Tuesday&nbsp;night the school board of Michigan&rsquo;s third largest public school district voted unanimously to grant Taylor an immediate leave of absence.</p><p>In June 2011, Taylor agreed to resign from Grand Rapids schools by June 2012. That agreement came after he was a finalist for other jobs beginning last spring. It&rsquo;s unclear why Taylor asked to leave now. The request came in an official letter dated December 27<sup>th</sup>. He&rsquo;ll use all of his vacation and sick days left. The district would have had to pay him for those anyway.</p><p>&nbsp;GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt says Taylor is deferring all comments to the school board president.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if relief is the is the word,&rdquo; Grand Rapids school board president Senita Lenear responded to reporters after the meeting, &ldquo;but we definitely are looking at this as an opportunity.&rdquo; Wed, 04 Jan 2012 03:31:12 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5624 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids Public Schools has a new, temporary, superintendent Grand Rapids schools hopes to improve online learning model http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-hopes-improve-online-learning-model <p><a href="http://platform.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan-new/media/docs/FerdigReview_1_2.pdf">A report out this week</a> shows more than half of high school freshmen and sophomores failed the first semester of the new blended-online courses at Grand Rapids Public Schools. GRPS is Michigan&#39;s third largest K-12 district.</p><p>The program launched in the fall of 2010. At the time it was (and may very well continue to be) incredibly controversial. Like any new program, Grand Rapids schools spokesman John Helmholdt says there was an adjustment period the first semester.</p><p>&ldquo;There was both a district-wide layoff but also a huge early retirement incentive where we had more than 400 teachers, principals, and support staff retire; and so that first semester was a little rocky,&rdquo; Helmholdt said. The retirement incentive was offered by the State of Michigan to try to save districts and the state money.</p><p>Test scores improved in the spring 2011 semester, but the failure rate was still 44-percent. Wed, 23 Nov 2011 18:25:54 +0000 Lindsey Smith 5122 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools hopes to improve online learning model