Grand Rapids Public Museum School celebrates $10M grant

Grand Rapids school administrators are talking about expanding -- all because of $10 million in prize money.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Grand Rapids Public Schools must be doing something right: with the increase in graduation rates, attendance and overall performance, superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal says it's because of hard work from the community as a whole.

She also says the focal point is keeping the students' best interest at heart.  

Kim Rowland, the Grand Rapids Public Museum School's curriculum integration specialist, says: "This is authentic learning. Our students will be out 'doing' rather than sit and 'get.'"

Officials said innovation is the foundation of the Museum School. It started with a sixth grade class in 2015 and has been stretched to sixth and seventh grades.. 

Now with a $10 million grant from XQ, The Super School Project, the expected expansion to high school is made easier. 

"It’s an incredible experience from day one to walk out the school door and be in the museum. But, they really have no idea what’s in store for them," said Chris Hanks, the Museum School's principal. 

The historic Grand Rapids Public Museum at 54 Jefferson is the site of the new high school. The idea behind the grant is to change the way children are educated.

"When I took this position five years ago, I went to the community and asked for their help, I said, how can you help me educate my children," Weatherall Neal said. "Everyone in this city said 'yes I can', everyone said what else can I do for these children, Teresa. That’s the answer for education."

XQ Institute is dedicated to rethinking schools in America to create new learning opportunities for students. They say what stood out about Grand Rapids is the collaboration and innovation from the superintendent and school board members.

"For too long in the education conversation, we’ve had finger pointing," said Russlynn Ali, the chief executive officer of XQ Institute. "You rarely see a courageous superintendent like you do in Grand Rapids working with other city officials making school a hub of community."

The XQ Institute plans to showcase Grand Rapids lessons and share them across the country, saying conversations will be hopeful and now, evidence based.

The start of renovations doesn’t have an exact date, but will begin in 2017.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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