GRPS Approves Modified Transformation Plan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Theresa Weatherall Neal brought her latest and final version of the transformation plan to the GRPS Board of Education Monday.

The board unanimously approved the plan Monday evening.

This latest version includes modifications based on input received from students, parents, staff, and the community.

“I greatly value and appreciate all the questions, constructive feedback and thoughtful requests for additional information from students, parents, staff, the board and the community,” Weatherall Neal said.

The 3.0 modifications are extensive:

  • Removal of Blandford school expansions under Phase II Planned Growth.
  • Modification of recommendations for Union, Alger and Westwood’s “Turnaround Plan” specifically removing reference to Teach for America but maintaining language about exploring the “development of a talent recruitment initiative.”
  • Modification to the proposed IB Arts Academy to establish it as Phase II Planned Growth with exploration of potential Phase I opportunities pending the outcome of a feasibility study.
  • Modification of the Phase II Secondary/Alternative Education Study to include exploration of a strict discipline academy, with potential pilot for Phase I if feasible.

GRPS Board of Education President Senita Lenear shared her excitement over the transformation, calling it “exceptional.

But one mother who has a son with Down Syndrome expressed tearfully what changes to the Ken-O-Sha program could mean for her son who has a hard time communicating. “This group of non-verbal and non-mobile preschoolers, this is not the population to do this to.” she said.

The remainder of the Version 2.0 plan remained in place:

  • Creston High School closes and remaining 9th-11th grade students provided option to finish high school as a cohort of Creston students at the Central campus. GRAPCEP students are already slated to go to the new Grand Rapids Center of Innovation at Central that would also include some leadership and staff from Creston High. This makes for a smoother transition.
  • City High-Middle and 6th Grade Center for Economicology re-locate to and expand at the Creston High School site.
  • Shawnee closes, but plan has changed to keep the Shawnee PK-5 Oral Deaf/Hearing Impaired all together at the Ken-O-Sha along with the Shawnee Preschool/GSRP students. In addition, the Superintendent is recommending that a new PK-5th grade small traditional elementary be opened at Ken-O-Sha. The POHI students will also remain at Ken-O-Sha site.
  • West Leonard Preschool/GSRP and some Straight Preschool/GSRP will relocate to Stocking Elementary instead of bussing to Ken-O-Sha
  • Wellerwood Preschool/GSRP will relocate to North Park instead of bussing to Ken-O-Sha.
  • The proposed plan is expected to save the district more than $22.4 million over five years with at least half of the savings being re-invested in expanding schools as well as creating new ones. The remaining funds will be put into savings.

Below is a timeline for which transformations are expected to made and when:

PHASE I 2013-2014

  • All Proposed Building Closures
  • All Proposed Reinvest
  • All Proposed Close/Repurpose with Phase-In of K-8s growing one grade per year
  • Begin Work on Phase II Planned Growth Feasibility Studies

PHASE II 2014-2015

  • All Planned Growth with Final Recommendations on IB, Secondary Re-Design and Charter Options

PHASE III 2015-2016

  • Implementation of Planned Growth Recommendations

 

3.0 Transformation Plan PDF

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