Civil and Municipal - Jan 2024

With a mission centered on lifelong success for learners, the school district has consistently demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence, student safety, and preparing students for a rapidly evolving world. “It all starts with our mission, which is impacting lives by producing successful lifelong learners,” begins Superintendent Roger Bearup. “We believe people are always learning, they’re always growing. They grow at different rates, they have different ways that they do learn, so we are really in tune with how people learn best. Making a large impact through supporting them and championing their learning is what we’re all about.” ENSURING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE At the core of Grandville Public Schools’ mission is their commitment to academic excellence. Superintendent Bearup emphasizes the two-fold focus, sharing, “First of all, we want to ensure that each student reaches their fullest academic potential. We know if they do that, no matter what their dreams and goals are, when they graduate and leave us, they’re going to be able to accomplish those because they’re going to know and have the skills to do whatever it is they want to do.” The second part involves creating an environment where every student feels safe and has a sense of belonging.“We knowwhen kids have that ownership, they’re going to be much more successful,” he maintains. “We’re always focused on those two things, helping each student ensure that they meet their fullest academic potential and that they feel safe, have that sense of belonging, and have the support systems needed.” The district has implemented robust programs, which begin with the youngest learners, including tuition preschool, great start readiness, and early childhood special ed programs, to provide a solid foundation for students. “We purchased a facility right here in town, and it’s a hub for early learning for Grandville Public Schools. We have a heterogeneous melting pot of early childhood kids and services that take place there,” Bearup depicts. He adds that the district offers a range of early literacy components, partnering with parents to start students off on the right track. “We look at the early learning phases, as to how those things provide that core of experiences for our preschool students, so that as they move into kindergarten through 12th grade, they have that solid foundation, so they’re prepared for that next level of learning in the journey of school.” SAFETY INITIATIVES Grandville Public Schools understands that there is a delicate balance between creating a welcoming educational environment and ensuring the safety of students and staff. “The interesting thing about schools is, you want them to be warm, welcoming places for all people within your community,” says Bearup. “At the same time, you have to have processes, procedures, and protocols that have safety at the forefront. Kids need to feel safe, and parents need to know that their kids are safe when they’re within your building.” Notable measures include the incorporation of school guard glass in new facilities, controlled access, the introduction of vestibules, and ongoing staff training.“We believe that whatever we commit to as a district, we need to have our greatest resource, our people, be able to champion that. So, we’ve hired a director of safety and security, and that’s their job, to champion the safety of everything we do during a school day,” he asserts. A key element in their safety strategy is the close collaboration with the local police department, a partnership characterized by resource officers within the schools, along with regular meetings and joint planning sessions. Bearup recounts, “Our police department has access to many things that we have in regard to safety and security. The innovations that we have, work hand in hand with us within those partnerships, to help. If there is a critical incident that happens, we are all on the same page on our emergency operation procedures that would take place.” STEM AND STEAM EDUCATION Grandville Public Schools is taking an innovative approach to future readiness, by introducing students to the world of work and potential careers 265 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 5, ISSUE 01 GRANDVI LLE PUBL IC SCHOOLS