GRPS Superintendent Reveals Final Transformation Plan

Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 19, 2012
and last updated 2013-02-20 12:50:24-05

A major restructuring plan was unveiled by Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal Monday evening.

The superintendent announced a series of community meetings along with a timeline for updating and approving the plan.

This plan included feedback from five community meetings, two board meetings, three online surveys, a dedicated transformation plan action line, email, automated phone calls, direct mail, and social media.

Key highlights of the changes:

– 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 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.

 Other detailed changes:

– Covell MICI students will relocate to Stocking Elementary

– North Park Montessori expansion to PK-8 starts with 7th grade next year and then adds 8th grade the following year

– Shawmut HIlls expansion to K-8 will include all three new grades, 6-8th grade, all in year one (2013-14)

– Union, Westwood, and Alger will implement the “turnaround model” with support from Cambridge Education and a principal/teacher retention/recruitment effort

– Phase II Planned Growth language changed to emphasize that Phase II is about “exploring” concepts for new or expanded schools — with particular sensitivity to the community partners.

The proposed changes actually save approximately $80,000 more than originally projected largely due to transportation savings.

In total, the district is still projecting about $5 million annual savings. Total projected savings over 5 years is more than $22 million.