So long, summer: W. MI students head back to school


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Monday is the first day back to school for many students across West Michigan, including those who attend Grand Rapids Public Schools.

The district is starting the school year off with two newly renovated schools: Buchanan Elementary and the Grand Rapids Museum Public High School. 

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A number of changes we’re made to the district and will be seen during the 2018-2019 school year. The district added two newly, renovated schools:

The new Buchanan Elementary school is welcoming hundreds of students for the first time since ground school leaders broke ground on the new building more than a year ago.

School bond money paid for the $13 million project to replace the original Buchanan Elementary, which opened in 1915.

“Really it is giving thanks to the voters in this community. We asked for a bond and they said, ‘Absolutely yes. These children are worth it,’” said Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal.

Another newly school in the district is the Public Museum High School located at 54 Jefferson. The school was among 10 schools in the U.S. to be named a Super School and win a $10 million XQ grant to expand in 2016. 

Other new additions to the district include:

  • Air conditioning added at six schools
  • A new academy of teaching and learning at Innovation Center High School
  • Changes to neighborhood school developments

New grassroots developments around Brookside Elementary. It’s an extension of what happened with Congress Elementary.

This is also the first year parents can register their children online. Superintendent Weatherall Neal told 24 Hour News 8 more than 13,000 students already registered.

While there are many changes, Weatherall Neal says the district’s focus on attendance and academic achievement remains the same.

“They (students) are ready,” said Superintendent Weatherall Neal. “And we’re ready for them… Summer is a long time and even though we started school earlier this year, our kids are ready.”

Her advice to all students:

“Don’t just be excited about today,” said Superintendent Weatherall Neal. “I want them to be excited about every single day.”

Other districts heading back to school on Monday include East Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Grandville. 

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