GRPS: Largest first day count in 20 years


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools counted its largest number of students on the first day of school in two decades.

GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal says they had more than 15,000 students in class on Tuesday.

>>Photos: Back to school

Although the official state numbers won’t be released until October and are likely to decrease, it’s still a number the district is very happy about.

“We’re just so thankful for the parents, for the community members, for students. Education is important and in this community we value it and our parents value it and that shows when they show up for the very first day so we’re rockin’,” said Weatherall Neal.

Weatherall Neal credits the district’s Transformation Plan which closed some schools and reorganized others.

The district lost nearly 1,000 students in 2007-08, but since then has been losing fewer and fewer students. In 2015, the district recorded a loss of about 50 students.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for C.A. Frost Environmental Science Middle High School. (Sept. 9, 2016)
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for C.A. Frost Environmental Science Middle High School. (Sept. 9, 2016)

On Friday, the district held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school that was initially closed under the Transformation Plan. The old Covell Elementary School reopened Tuesday as the C.A. Frost Environmental Science Middle High School.

GRPS expanded C.A. Frost Academy from kindergarten through 8th to preschool through 12th grade.

The project cost $7.7 million — most of which was covered by the recently passed bond.

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