GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Public Schools has revealed the results of its community input sessions. Close to 1,400 parents, teachers and other community members commented on ways the school district can improve.
The data shows that there are 12 areas many want to see the improvement made first.
Out of all the participants who commented on the survey, 94% said they want a strong focus on hiring, retention and support for teachers.
Kevin Davis and his family were one of the dozens of families who checked out what Grand Rapids Public Schools can offer their children. Some got a chance to meet their future teachers at the district's School of Choice Expo on Thursday night at Ottawa Hills High School.
"Our oldest boy is going into 6th grade next year, so we are checking some of the choices that might be available to him, some of which are Blandford Zoo School and Museum School. He's really looking to find what is a good fit for him. It seems like the Center for Economicology might be a good fit. He's enjoying being out here and checking out all the available options here for him," Davis told FOX 17.
After several community sessions held this year, a focus on the increased enrollment ranked two spots below teacher retention.
"We are in a national teacher shortage crisis, and we are in a national talent shortage crisis," executive director of communications & external affairs John Helmholdt said.
The community session information played a crucial role in the school district's strategic plan that was unanimously signed off earlier this week.
"Now, we are going into the next phase where the strategic-themed teams compromised of internal and external stakeholders are going to come up with initiatives," Helmholdt said.
Like many other families, Davis looks forward to how the district plans to take their children into the next school year.
"The children form bonds with teachers over time, and this really helps them in their education because they can relate to and really appreciate the individual they are working with as a teacher, instructor, and mentor; the really enhances their educational experience. Really overall contributes to their success," Davis said.
The school district plans to have its initiatives done by January. They say the idea is to roll them out beginning in February.
View the strategic plan framework here: