District Academics as described by our Annual Academic Plan articulates a clear and well-defined focus on scholar learning based on College Career Readiness standards. 

It is not about new work, rather a continuance of effort based education with the Principles of Learning, Common Core standards, SIOP, RTI, PBIS, and current district and state assessments. It also incorporates input from teacher leaders, principals, curriculum specialists, A&E, and others. The Academic Plan determines professional development for the current year, including the summer.

“Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) has educated children in Western Michigan for more than 150 years. Its more than one thousand teachers, together with the district’s nearly one thousand staff members and administrators, work to educate GRPS’ more than 14,000 scholars. Scholars are multi-racial, multi-national, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual, representing more than 70 different countries in which more than 75 languages are spoken. Currently offering the largest selection of school choices in Western Michigan, GRPS strives to educate its scholars, from preschool through twelfth grade, in neighborhood schools, theme schools, and Success Centers located throughout Grand Rapids.”

- Eureka Report 2023


Academic Models

The GRPS Academic Models were designed to give each school a clear focus and direction for their curriculum outside of Common Core standards. Common Core instruction includes English Langague Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Math. 

Dual enrollment programs allow scholars to enroll in college courses while still in high school. Scholars who successfully complete college courses earn high school and college credit simultaneously.

Dual Language Immersion is an English Learner model that assures proficiency in two languages by building high levels of competence in both languages. Instruction is given in both English and Spanish, and classrooms typically have half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers. Because the program relies on consistent linguistic development from kindergarten through 12th grade, scholars entering 2nd grade and beyond must show proficiency on the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) test.

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a state-funded preschool program exclusively for four-year-old children. Administered by the Michigan Department of Education, GSRP focuses on the social, emotional, and intellectual growth of its scholars. Please note: GSRP programs are housed in GRPS buildings. However, placement is arranged through the Kent Intermediate School District and priority is given to families with demonstrated financial need.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high-quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools, aiming to create a better, more peaceful world. IB scholars embrace their own cultures and are open and responsive to other cultures and views. They are fully engaged, ever curious learners for life.

Montessori is an educational approach based on the scientific foundation of the natural development of human beings. Through this approach, children develop an innate love for learning, as well as the ability to focus, concentrate, cooperate with others, and work independently.

Outdoor learning involves purposeful, experiential learning opportunities that focus on the natural world. Through hands-on, outdoor activities, scholars learn about themselves and the environment.

Through place-based learning, the community becomes the classroom. Scholars are immersed in local history, culture, organizations, and spaces that provide opportunities for job training, civic service, and real-world exposure.

Success Centers are designed to support students who may be credit deficient, are off-track academically, or have experienced other challenges that required an alternative educational setting.​

This English Learner model utilizes a scholar's primary language for instruction. It develops skills in the primary language (Spanish) and culture while introducing and developing skills in English. Scholars enrolled at a school designated Transitional Bilingual will receive ESL instruction and/or native language instruction.



Our Curriculum Guide provides details about the instructional requirements for 9th through 12th grade scholars that will support them in becoming educated, self-directed, and productive members of society. It is the responsibility of each school to provide opportunities to ensure that each scholar participates in the programs essential to achieving their goals.

For assistance accessing information on the Curriculum Guide, please contact our Accessibility Team at

Contact Us


Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell
Deputy Superintendent of Preschool-12 Learning & Leadership
Dr. Mayda Bahamonde-Gunnell
Executive Director PK-12 Instructional Leadership (Southwest)
Matthew Beresford
Executive Director PK-12 Instructional Leadership (Northeast)
Bridget Cheney
Executive Director PK-12 Instructional Leadership (Southeast)
Erich Harmsen
Executive Director of Professional Learning & Curriculum
Rukshana Ilahi
Executive Director of Special Education, Section 504 & Early Intervention Services
Dr. Karl Nelson
Executive Director PK-12 Instructional Leadership (Northwest)