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Published by: pmerrill7182 on Aug 24, 2012
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 Vol. 12 Issue 1Fall 2012
West Michigan is known for creating long-lasting,collaborative partnerships to accomplish goals thatotherwise seem unattainable. Grand Rapids PublicSchools and the City of Grand Rapids have workedtogether on many fronts to produce excellent results.We are pleased to bring you the inaugural editionof We Are GR – a newspaper, website, and socialmedia designed to significantly expand communi-cations with City residents while at the same timesaving taxpayer dollars.We Are GR demonstrates the energy and creativitydisplayed by the leadership of Grand Rapids PublicSchools and the City of Grand Rapids. This newcommunications initiative replaces the Grand Rap-ids Public Schools’ Highlights as well as the City of Grand Rapids’ Parks and Recreation Guide with theWe Are GR newspaper. The We Are GR newspaper will be printed and distributed to every business andhousehold in the City of Grand Rapids three timesa year to start (Fall, Winter, Spring). With the helpand support of our sponsors, our goal is to not only bring this publication to you “tax free” but also toexpand it to four times a year.In addition to the We Are GR newspaper, we havelaunched a website (www.WeAreGR.com), Face- book and Twitter that will include frequent updateswith news and information about daily, weekly, andmonthly happenings. Readers will be able to readabout GRPS’ programs affecting our community’schildren, the City’s initiatives related to transforma-tion and City services, and new partnership oppor-tunities between Grand Rapids Public Schools andthe City.We believe that this expanded partnership betweenGRPS and the City of Grand Rapids is further evidence of the out-of-the-box approach both our organizations are taking to maintain, expand andimprove services, while also reducing costs and ex- penses. If you have ideas or stories you would liketo share to be featured on We Are GR, please donot hesitate to send us your thoughts atcommunications@grps.org.Sincerely,
Greg Sundstrom 
City ManagerCity of Grand Rapids
Teresa Weatherall Neal 
Superintendent of SchoolsGrand Rapids Public Schools
 WEAREGR – GRPS and the City of Grand Rapids TakePartnership to a New Level
 Than ks  to  thegenerosit yo f ourad ver tisers,  this ne wsle t ter  was  funded using minimal  ta xpa yer dollars.
Inside  this Issue: 
Page  3
 GRPS S ta te Budge t Wins
Page 4 
SchoolOrien ta tion Schedules
Page 5 
 Teacher o f  the  Year  /Ne ws Brie fs
Page 6- 7
 Direc tor y /Bell  Times  /Ne ws Brie fs
Page 8- 9 
Facili ties/ Academic Calendar
Page 10-11 
Nu tri tion/ In vol ved Paren t
Page 1 2
  Transpor ta tion
Page 14
 FallSpor ts Reminders
Page 15
 Adult Educa tion
 Preschool/Kindergar ten Programs
 Report Card - Continued on page 3
Four Grand Rapids’ High Schools Ranked Among County’s 10 Best 
City, Creston, Ottawa and Central HighSchools Rank in Top 10 Kent County Schools;Outperform East Grand Rapids and ForestHills Schools in Mackinac Center Report Card
A study released on July 19, 2012 by the Macki-nac Center painted a bright picture of nearly allGrand Rapids Public Schools’ high schools. Thefirst of its kind study created a system by whichall public high schools could be more accuratelycompared as “apples to apples” than the tradition-al method of looking at test scores alone.“Education research consistently shows that so-cioeconomic factors have a significant impact onstandardized test results,” said Michael Van Beek,
 Admission to the zoo is a separate fee not included in the GRPS Back to School Celebration Event. JUMP passes are not valid for zooadmission during this event because the GRPS Back to School Celebration is a special event at John Ball Zoo this evening
*Rain date is August 22
Tuesday, August 21* | 3-7 p.m.
John Ball Park,
1300 Fulton St. W, Grand Rapids
 Admission is FREE!
John Ball Zoo
Puchase one full-price admission toJohn Ball Zoo and receive a second FREE!
(of equal or lesser value).
Valid 5:30-8 pm, Aug. 21 only.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
As a University of Michigan neuroscience student, Raymond’sdream to put his strong academic record to work as apharmacist is coming true.
Our commitment to help GrandRapids students like Raymondpay or college and become theLeaders and Best has never beenstronger.In act, we cover 100% o tuitioncosts or most resident studentsrom amilies earning $60,000 orless, and a substantial portion o their other college expenses.Our increasing aid to undergraduates enables many U-M students to pay less today than they would have in 2004.Even better, U-M resident undergrads had reduced need or student loans last year,thanks to $188 million in University grants and scholarships.  We’re making Raymond’s path rom Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills High School to thepharmacy possible, and afordable.
Meaningul nancial aid.Tat’s the Michigan Diference.
Raymond Jackson Jr., U-M Class of 2013, recipient of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts’ Susan J. Allen and Herbert E. Boynton scholarships.
 Report Card 
Continued from page 1
GRPS credited Grand Rapids arealawmakers, particularly Senator DaveHildenbrand and Rep. Roy Schmidt,for some important state budget winsthat helped the district to avoid morethan $5.3 million in budget cuts.The district targeted four issues in par-ticular: 1) the unintended consequenceof the proposed all day Kindergartenfunding formula; 2) the proposed elim-ination of Small Class Size categoricalfunding; 3) the proposed elimination of special education itinerant reimburse-ment; and 4) more flexibility to use31A dollars at the secondary level toreduce class sizes. The all day Kinder-garten formula would have cost GRPS$3.3 million, Small Class Size elimina-tion $2 million, and special educationitinerant as much as $1 million.Based on the conference committeereport approved this summer, GrandRapids area lawmakers batted 1000 for Grand Rapids Public Schools.“Greater Grand Rapids is fortunate tohave a delegation of state lawmakerswho recognized the adverse impactthe proposed budget had on GRPSstudents and went to bat for us,” saidJon O’Connor, Chair, Board Leg-islative Committee. “Senator DaveHildenbrand and Representative RoySchmidt were instrumental in securingthe support of their legislative lead-ership and votes of their respective col-leagues, with Schmidt really earningthe all day Kindergarten solution. Rep.Lisa Lyons Posthumus also playeda critical role in explaining why thelosses would financially devastate thedistrict.”While GRPS may have dodged a $5.3million budget hit, the district is stillreeling from the $470 per pupil fund-ing cut approved last year plus theelimination of a number of categori-cal grants that were targeted for high poverty, high needs students.“We are grateful for the heavy liftingour Grand Rapids area lawmakers didand appreciate that the Snyder Admin-istration, their legislative leaders andcolleagues listened, understood, andtook action. Representatives BrandonDillon, for working to help us provideflexibility in the use of 31A funds, andKen Yonker and Pete MacGregor for their work on the Kindergarten issuealso deserve special recognition for their efforts in helping GRPS. Welook forward to our continued work with them. We were very aggressivein our advocacy efforts and that won’tstop when the budget is approved.We will be relentless in our efforts toraise awareness about urban publiceducation issues, the complicated andunfunded federal mandates, and howGRPS has aggressively tackled our financial and academic challenges,”said O’Connor.
GRPS Applauds Grand Rapids Lawmakersfor State Budget Wins
Harrison Park Named“Outstanding Community Ally”
Harrison Park recently received theOutstanding Community Ally awardfrom Grand Valley State University.Harrison Park has helped Grand ValleyState University to create many serviceevents and opportunities for GrandValley students to participate in ongoingservice as Schools of Hope volunteer readers, tutors, student mentors, andteaching assistants.
Superintendent and PrincipalHonored by East Hills
Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Nealand Congress Elementary PrincipalBridget Cheney received the Women of East Hills Award. They were honored because of their strong leadership andthe ways they have helped East HillsCouncil of Neighbors make a differencein the community.
MLK CrownedCo-Ed SoccerChamps
The Martin Luther King Jr. Soar-ing Eagles werecrowned the co-ed soccer champions of thespring after defeating the UPrep/Montes-sori team in the finals. Final score: 1-0.
GRPS Visited by U.S. Dept. of Ed.for Town Hall
The U.S. Department of Education, theCorporation for National and Com-munity Service, and the White HouseOffice of Faith-Based and Neighbor-hood Partnerships held “Together for Tomorrow: A Town Hall on CommunityEngagement in Education” at OttawaHills High School on May 17th. TheTown Hall highlighted Together for To-morrow, a national initiative to spotlightand foster partnerships among schools,families, national service programs, andcommunity-based organizations in order to propel improvement of lowest-per-forming schools.
Ottawa Hills Student Named“Best andBrightest”
Ottawa Hills HighSchool senior Herbert Slatewas selected asa runner-up inthe Detroit NewsBest and Bright-est Outstanding Graduates 2012 in the“Against all Odds” category. Herbertwas initially in “Physical or OtherwiseHealth Impaired” (POHI) classes. Whenhe began high school, he enrolled ingeneral education classes and excelled toearn the distinction of top male graduateof the Ottawa Hills High School classof 2012.
PalmerReceived“Safe Route”Grant
The Michigan Department of Transporta-tion granted $108,850 in funding for theSafe Routes to School (SRTS) programfor Palmer Elementary School. Palmer and the City of Grand Rapids will installLED countdown signals, speed bumps,a pedestrian island, improve crosswalks,and educate students and families.
Student Coordinated Locks ofLove Donations
 North Park student Ce-leste Loser’shard work in recruitingdonations paid off whenshe and eightothers donated their hair for Locks of Love. Celeste was joined by her mom,younger sister, teacher, and classmates.There was much oohing and aahing aseach person left the hairstylists chair sporting a fabulous new haircut.
the Center’s director of education policy and a coauthor of the reportcard. “This is the first-of-its-kind at-tempt in Michigan to take this realityinto account, and it helps us identifyoutstanding schools that by most mea-sures would appear mediocre.”The study compared four years of Michigan Merit Exam and ACTscores, while taking into account the percentage of students who quali-fied for free and reduced lunch. Eachschool was assigned a Context andPerformance (CAP) score, with 100 being average.The results for Grand Rapids wereoverwhelmingly positive. City Highhad the highest score in the state for schools that use a selective admissions policy. According to the report, “…three other Grand Rapids high schools — Creston, Central and Ottawa Hills — were among the county’s 10 best andoutscored nearby East Grand RapidsHigh School and all three Forest Hillshigh schools.”
Headlines Around the District

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