Museum School Wins $10 Million as a ‘Super School’

Grand Rapids Public Schools Program Gains National Prominence

The Public Museum School uses the museum’s 250,000 artifacts as the basis for project- and place-based learning

The Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Public Museum School got a major funding boost and national recognition this week by winning a $10 million grant from XQ: The Super School Project. The innovative school was one of 10 nationwide to receive grants under the $100 million contest initiated last year with backing from Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.

The grant, announced Sept. 14, will support development of the theme school that uses the Public Museum’s collection and city cultural institutions as learning resources. Currently serving 120 sixth- and seventh-graders in the museum at 272 Pearl St. NW, the school will expand by a grade each year and open a high school in 2018 at the former public museum at 54 Jefferson Ave. SE.

Chosen from some 700 entries, the Museum School was hailed by The Super School Project as one that “makes every day ‘a night at the museum.’” It noted the museum’s 250,000 cultural and historical artifacts undergird a rigorous curriculum and a “project- and placed-based learning environment,” including an ambitious restoration project for the Grand River.

“Co-taught by field experts, scientists and researchers, this Super School will show how to leverage community resources and activate students to become ecological and economic problem solvers on the road to college- and career-readiness,” stated the XQ website, calling the Super School Project an effort to “remake America’s high schools for today.”

The school will receive $2 million for each of the next five years, with $8.5 million going to building renovations and $1.5 million to technology, officials said. The Museum School’s design and development are in close collaboration with partners including Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art & Design/Ferris State University, the city of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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