Frequently Asked Questions
We’re sure you’ve had lots of questions about your child’s education, as our world has shifted drastically over the past couple of years. We wanted to put together a list of the most common questions we’ve heard at school board meetings and in the community.
What are some of the new security measures put in place to protect students and staff?
- All school entrances are secure; visitors are buzzed into main offices
- Security glass at all entrances, 7 ft high.
- New high school fire alarm, ties into lockdown buttons, prepared message over intercom system, dispatch alerted automatically, doors locked (all faster response times)
- Surveillance cameras in all buildings and school busses
- Internet filtering systems upgraded
- Purchase of walkie-talkies district wide
- The new middle school will have keycard access to all classroom doors
Has Grandville been a good steward of our tax dollars over the years?
Building and infrastructure improvements over the past 9 years:
The NEW Grandville Education Center includes:
- Pathways Classroom (alternative education, secondary)
- Three pre-school classrooms (one pre-school classroom still at Cummings)
- Two all-day Treehouse classrooms (combination of 3-4 year olds)
- Professional Development Space
- Future early childhood special education beginning 2022
In addition, the new 7/8 grade building near the high school is scheduled to open in 2023. Old 7/8 building on Wilson will be converted to a 5/6 grade building, freeing up space in all elementary schools to reduce class size and to give programs like art and music their own classroom space.
Debt Fund Levy
Our Debt Fund Levy is at 5.05% ranking Grandville, the 6th lowest in Kent and Ottawa Counties combined.
Lower districts are: Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grand Haven, Kenowa Hills, and Holland.
The state of Michigan requires schools to maintain a minimum 5% fund balance to avoid extra monitoring and financial penalties from the state. Since 2013, Grandville has grown their fund balance from under 5% to the current 10%. Credit agencies recommend around 15%.
In 2016, a successful sinking fund renewal was passed through 2026. These funds have been used for things like roof replacements, redesigned parking lots, replacing carpet in all buildings and classroom and hallway door replacement along with secure hardware.
How has the pandemic affected enrollment in our school district?
From the start of the pandemic, Grandville had a short-term drop in enrollment of approx. 100 students, many choosing to delay the start of kindergarten by a year. This year, 2021-22 enrollment has bounced back to the 2019 number of approx. 5,600 students.
Is Grandville attempting to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT)?
The group seeking to recall GPS board members have stated, “We must not allow our schools to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT).” But what is CRT and how is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) different?
Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. It is the idea that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. The term “Critical Race Theory” is now cited as the basis of all diversity and inclusion efforts regardless of how much it’s actually part of those programs. CRT is known to be taught at the college level but there has never been a CRT curriculum designed and taught in K-12 public schools.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a positive youth development framework that refers to the building of skills needed to recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and handle interpersonal situations effectively. These capabilities are critical foundations for academic learning and for a person’s long-term personal and professional success.
How is Grandville addressing mental health concerns and academic achievement loss due to the pandemic?
Addressing academic deficits and behavior issues, and their relationship to each other, has been a high priority for the school board and administration in raising all student achievement.
Any child struggling academically is likely to work with an SEL coach. Children with a disability (ADHD, autism, other specific learning disabilities) are also likely to work with an SEL coach. SEL coaches work with the student and the teacher to help improve the overall academic and emotional state of the student and the classroom. When classroom teachers can find balance supporting all struggling students with academic and social behavioral issues, academic achievement increases for all students.
Since 2017, Grandville Public Schools (GPS) has hired seven Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Coaches in order to address help needed in academics and mental health.
2017- GPS hired two mental health coordinators who connect students to community resources (one middle school and one high school).
GPS hired a director of Multi Tiered Systems of Support (*MTSS) to address deficits in reading, writing, English, math, & behavior, closely tied to PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Support).
2019- GPS hired three elementary counselors, formally known as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) coaches, split among six elementary schools. In addition, GPS entered into an agreement with the KISD to hire someone from Kent School Services Network (KSSN) and split the cost. That person specifically works at East Elementary, our most underprivileged school.
2021- GPS hired two more elementary counselors (now a total of five+ KSSN). These five counselors are now referred to as SEL (Social Emotional Learning) coaches.
We still have school psychologists and social workers, who are specific to students with disabilities, and work with Individual Education Program (IEP) related issues.
Secondary level SEL coaches evaluate and refer to school counselors when necessary (four counselors in the high school, two in the middle school).
*A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a comprehensive framework comprised of a collection of research-based strategies designed to meet the individual needs of the whole child. MTSS intentionally interconnects the education, health, and human service systems to support successful learners, schools, centers, and community outcomes. Initial support for MTSS began in 2000 through the U.S. Department of Education. In 2003, Michigan’s Office of Special Education created a statewide initiative that provided assistance to local school districts to integrate MTSS into curriculum, focusing on improving behavior and reading. The following components make up a MTSS:
- State mandated by the Michigan Department of Education.
- Encompasses all school improvement, behavior and academic.
- Screening all students 3 times a year on reading skills
- Positive behavior support
- Measuring growth/progress for all students
- Grandville is a state-wide model for MTSS and is frequently referred by the state of Michigan to other school districts looking for a successful model.
How is Grandville monitoring the health of our students and staff throughout the pandemic?
A healthy environment is critical to academic achievement. The Grandville Public School District is committed to keeping our students in school and avoiding at-home, virtual classrooms whenever possible. Since 2019, the Grandville school board and administration has increased the ratio of students to nurses. Prior to 2019, the Grandville School District had one nurse servicing the entire school district. In 2019, they added a half-time nurse. In 2021, GPS increased that nurse to full-time, and hired two more full-time nurses, giving the district four full-time nurses. The two additional nurses were hired with a four- year grant that pays for two of the first four years. One nurse is assigned to the high school, one nurse is assigned to the middle school and elementary schools, and two nurses are responsible for COVID support, medical support, and contact tracing. All four nurses also deal with mental health concerns to some extent. Our school nurses also assist in training staff on how to deal with specific medical conditions that may be present with students and other staff members.
Get in Touch. Get Involved.
Contact us for the latest on the Grandville Board of Education recall, as well as other issues impacting our students, faculty, and staff in our district.