State of our schools address sparks excitement in Grand Rapids Public Schools

Posted at 11:59 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 23:59:14-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- An annual assessment of West Michigan’s largest school district was center stage at Ottawa Hills High School Tuesday night. The Grand Rapids Public Schools state of our schools address drew a big crowd.

Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal gave a positive pep rally speech about the difficulties the district has overcome and the game plan for moving forward. She said big changes have been put in play aimed at stabilizing and growing the district.

The new academic plan focuses on three things: Pre-K through 12th grade literacy continuum, A curriculum review and strengths-based capacity building, and leadership development.

The superintendent was very excited about attendance improvements. “Over the last four years, we have consistently increased our student attendance," she said.

Neal also said graduation rates are up nearly 12% over the past four years. Grand Rapids Montessori had a 47% increase.

“I love that she took a look back to say this is where we were five years ago, and this is where we are going. And to say these are the problems we are working on next," Said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

As for what’s next, the superintendent said she's excited about construction on CA Frost Public Museum School, the demolition of the school building at 111 College Avenue NE, and expansion of the Montessori school at Ridgemoor.