The Grand Rapids Public Museum School is the product of an ongoing educational collaboration between the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, the City of Grand Rapids, and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is located in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street NW. The mission of the Museum is to be a living monument of artifacts, ideas, and stories told through exhibitions, events, and educational programming designed to inspire, motivate, and celebrate our human bond. We enrich the life of our community through experiences of the wider world in a uniquely Grand Rapids context.

“The Grand Rapids Public Museum School is a true and collaborative partnership between Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, GVSU College of Education, the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and the museum.  The uniqueness of the school born of this partnership is that curriculum will be founded upon and infused with design thinking, teaching theory and place based education principles.  It will make full use of the museum collections, the second largest and most diverse in the state.”

– Dale Robertson, President and CEO, Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Grand Rapids Public Schools

Grand Rapids Public Schools is the 5th largest school district in the state, serving nearly 17,000 students. Its mission is to ensure that all students are educated, self-directed, and productive members of society. To achieve this, GRPS proudly offers the largest selection of school choices, programs, and services in all of West Michigan to meet the needs of every single child regardless of age, income, ability, or native language. GRPS is proud to be a diverse school district, with students representing 70 countries and 50 languages spoken. Grand Rapids Public Schools is also the 2nd largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, with 2,800 employees, including 1,500 dedicated teachers.

In December 2012, the Grand Rapids Board of Education unanimously approved a bold and comprehensive Transformation Plan that focuses on re-investing in, replicating, and expanding schools that are succeeding; recruiting, retaining, and developing the top principals and teachers; and strengthening a culture of high expectations and quality schools for all.

“I am very excited to be partnering with the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, the City of Grand Rapids, and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. The school’s cutting edge curriculum, which is rooted in design thinking and place based education, is a direct result of this collaboration.”

– Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent, Grand Rapids Public Schools

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is committed to creating lasting impact in West Michigan and beyond through collaborative partnerships, cultural innovation, and an educational model that develops the talent of individuals into a force for intellectual growth, individual creativity, and community engagement.

KCAD offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate education in more than 17 fields of study in art, design, art education, art history, and architecture. Faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized practitioners in their fields who share their experience freely in the classroom and beyond. Professors know their students by name and are invested in their success. Our facilities provide well-resourced studios, classrooms, labs, workshops, and exhibition space, all of which are outfitted with the state-of-the-art technology used in the professional world. With 1,459 students and 189 faculty (as of fall 2013), we offer a culture that’s intimate, supportive, and collaborative.

“Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University is delighted be able to contribute expertise in experiential education and design thinking to the diverse collaboration that’s resulted in this remarkable school for our community. The unique curriculum of the Grand Rapids Public Museum School will help students build the collaborative and creative problem solving skills essential to both personal growth and professional success.”

– Dr. Oliver H. Evans, Interim President, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Grand Valley State University College of Education

Grand Valley State University’s College of Education is proud to collaborate with the outstanding organizations working to make the Grand Rapids Public Museum School an excellent new choice for students in our region. The College of Education believes the school will:

Provide Grand Rapids youth an engaging and empowering educational experience that will offer tools for becoming thoughtful and active community members;

Introduce future educators to unique hands-on experiences in an innovative school setting;

Encourage opportunities for faculty to engage in research focused on place-based education, design thinking, and the benefits of community partnerships to student learning.

“The Public Museum School will be a great addition to the Grand Rapids community. Students thrive in place-based education programs that engage real-world opportunities and issues.”

-Dr. Elaine Collins, Dean of the College of Education, Grand Valley State University

City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids has been recognized by many as a model city. Most recently it has been identified as the number one city for raising a family, one of the 10 U.S. destinations to visit in 2014, one of America’s best bike cities, one of the top five best cities to retire – and the list goes on and on. One of our secret weapons is partnership: our ability to work together to find sustainable solutions to create a high quality of life for current and future generations.

The City of Grand Rapids has had a long history of partnering with the Grand Rapids Public Schools to enhance the education of our children.  As a partner, we are delighted to be part of the design and implementation of the new Grand Rapids Public Museum School.  This new school is another key piece to creating a vibrant and sustainable downtown.

“This is an exciting moment for our city and the future of Grand Rapids Public Schools.  This innovative approach to education will serve as the catalyst for making our district the best in our region and the nation. We are delighted to be part of the transformation of the Grand Rapids Public Schools.”

– George Heartwell, Mayor, City of Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.

The mission of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is to make Grand Rapids the most admired, emulated, attractive, and well-run city of its size in the nation – with an unsurpassed reputation as a forward-thinking, bright spot to watch for how to do ‘Downtown’. DGRI is the one-stop resource for everything Downtown, from investments to livability to vibrancy.

“Not many cities have approached education in the context of Downtown planning, and we are excited to be leading the way right here in Grand Rapids. GRPS has joined us with the City of Grand Rapids in thinking about the future of Downtown and the River Corridor in our collective GR Forward Plan. We are looking forward to helping young people connect with the urban core of Downtown and are excited to see the fresh ideas that they generate as they learn within this place.”

– Kristopher Larson, President and CEO, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.


Dr Christopher Hanks

Christopher Hanks, Ph.D.

Tricia Mathes
Assistant Principal

Kimberly Rowland
Learning Experience Coordinator

Jennifer Teaker
Head Secretary

Matthew Beresford
Executive Director of PK, Elementary and K8 Instructional Support and Child Discovery Liaison