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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Community members advocate for equity at GRPS forum introducing superintendent candidates

Michelle Jokisch Polo

“What would you to lead in the tension of keeping the options available and attracting the demographic to the district and increasing enrollment but then focusing on closing the historic  achieving gap that is tending to stay over certain schools and areas in our city?”

That’s Ashanti Bryant asking a question to Darrin Slade, one of the three finalists for the superintendent position at Grand Rapids Public Schools. Here is his answer. 

“If I were to be a superintendent of Grand Rapids is making sure the Grand Rapids schools improve by supporting teachers, creating a focus on instruction…so making you sure you create a better product.”

To ensure all students have an opportunity to succeed, candidate Erick Pruitt said he would focus on targeting resources for struggling students. 

“I would approach it that way where you want to be very targeted based on how students are performing, what supports they are given and then divert funding, resources to that school or group of schools to support those students who are struggling.”

When it comes to addressing the achievement gap, finalist Leadriane Roby said she would focus on providing wrap around services for students.

“If you are going to address the achievement gap, you have to look at the preparation gap and that means how students come to us. So they don’t come just as third graders, they come to us as three year olds and four year olds and such and what are the opportunities prior to getting to third grade that they have a literature rich background through family education, through social services.”

Slade, Pruit and Roby are the three candidates who were invited for second round interviews for the superintendent position at GRPS. By next week The Grand Rapids Board of Education is expected to make a decision on who will be the district’s next superintendent.

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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