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GRPS Superintendent sees intentional, focused path forward

Hilary Farrell

Intentional and focused. 

That’s how Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal describes recent GRPS milestones and initiatives in her annual ‘State of the Schools’ speech on Tuesday.

It’s also, she says, how the district tackles challenges.

One of those is literacy.

"We’re going to focus like a laser beam. Not just pre-k through [third grade] reading – that’s not it, you guys. Every grade. We have some catching up to do."

"And we’ve already seen – whatever we focus on – we’re good at it." 

Weatherall Neal says student graduation, attendance and dual enrollment rates are all up – conflicts, absenteeism and security incidents are down. 

And she highlights a restorative justice initiative that’s expanding district-wide, teaching students conflict resolution, communication and coping tools.

"We have over 5,000 students that have gone through the circles. That’s huge, because now we are changing the practice at home, as well as in the district." 

Weatherall Neal says much more is on the horizon, including mentorship program expansions, district-wide eco-friendly and sustainable practices and the launch of the 'Middle Years College Program'. The program provides students a path to graduate with both a diploma and an associate’s degree.

She also unveiled a new district campaign aimed at recruiting and retaining local students.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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