Grand Rapids Public Schools
Superintendent of Schools
Dear Students, Parents, Prospective Parents, and Community Stakeholders:
For more than 150 years, our highly qualified, dedicated and compassionate educators have been serving the children and families of this great community. We have a long standing tradition and legacy of cultivating the talents of our students so they may achieve their greatest potential and go on to change the world. We have produced astronauts, U.S. Senators, Mayors, movie stars, nuclear scientists, famous authors, a Nobel Peace prize winner, professional athletes, Civil Rights leaders, industrialists, and a First Lady of the United State of America, just to name a few.
This is because of our deep rooted belief that all children can reach their academic potential through effort, high expectations, and strong support systems. GRPS has more than 1,400 highly qualified teachers who rank among the best, most dedicated, hard working educational professionals in this entire state. This includes more than 170 highly qualified, bilingual teachers and support staff that help set this district apart from the rest in serving English Language Learners. Just recently, the State Superintendent named one of our Ottawa Hills High School teachers the 2012-2013 Michigan Teacher of the Year. I believe this speaks volumes and is truly symbolic of the tremendous talent we have in this district working to support the success of our students.
In addition to our remarkable educators, our strength as a school system lies in the diversity of the very students and families we serve. Our student population is highly reflective of the real world and global economy with more than seventy countries represented, fifty different languages spoken, and a myriad of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds -- a value added educational benefit that truly sets the GRPS educational experience apart from other school choices in the region.
To meet the needs of our students and families, we proudly offer the largest selection of school choices, programs and services in all of West Michigan. We are one of very few districts in the region that can honestly say we have schools, programs and services to serve all children regardless of age, income, disability, and native language. We are home to:
- the top performing school in all of West Michigan, one of the best in the state – City High-Middle School;
- the region’s first and only International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programme – City High / Middle;
- the region’s first and only PK-12 Montessori school – Grand Rapids Montessori. We also the PK-6th grade North Park Montessori Academy;
- the region’s top dual immersion Spanish-English school – Southwest Community Campus;
- the largest number of “Theme Schools” with customized curriculum around the areas of environmental science, arts/music, global studies, Montessori, college prep, and more;
- five college-career prep schools known as “Centers of Innovation” partnered with the leading businesses and higher education institutions;
- eighteen “Language Centers” with customized services for English Language Learners;
- the largest number of schools with uniforms/dress code requirements;
- ten “community schools” with social services, health/dental services, and family support services embedded within the school;
- the state’s largest number of green built, LEED certified schools;
- the largest selection of “year round” schools; and
- center-based special education schools serving high needs students from all 20 districts in the county.
I hope you will take time to really study and learn more about all the school choices, programs and services that are designed to serve you and your student at the highest level. You are also encouraged to visit www.WeAreGR.com to obtain frequent updates and news about the happenings in GRPS and the City of Grand Rapids.
Teresa Weatherall Neal
Superintendent of Schools