Upcoming expos feature theme schools during sign-up period

Blandford School teacher Cheri McKay had a fun moment at last year’s expo, showing one of the school’s chickens to a curious visitor

Parents and students can learn more about GRPS theme schools and professional academies at an expo being held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29,  at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, 851 Madison Ave. SE. A second expo will be held in the same time slot on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at City High/Middle School, 1720 Plainfield Ave. NE. 

The School Choice Expo & Family Harvest Festival will feature information booths and staff from nearly two dozen specialty schools and programs, to help families decide where to apply for enrollment next fall. It will also provide children’s activities, a bounce house, games and free dinner.

The deadline for the first round of applications is Nov. 29 — an earlier date than in past years so families can be notified of selections by winter break. Officials said that and other changes, such as accepting 100 percent of neighborhood students who apply by the deadline, were made after gathering feedback from staff and parent leaders to address their concerns. 

The district has also streamlined its online application process, available at apply.grps.org, while paper applications can be had at all GRPS schools and the administration building at 1331 Franklin St. SE. Applications will still be accepted after Nov. 29 but may be subject to waiting lists, officials said.

Theme schools, listed below, offer core curriculum through special lenses such as environmental science, arts and music, Montessori and global studies. Academies focused on professional areas are offered within larger schools, such as the new Academy of Hospitality & Tourism at Ottawa Hills High School. 

  • Academy of Business, Leadership, & Entrepreneurship @ Innovation Central (grades 9 & 10)
  • Academy of Design & Construction @ Innovation Central (9 & 10)
  • Academy of Hospitality & Tourism @ Ottawa Hills (ninth grade only)
  • Academy of Health, Sciences, & Technology @ Innovation Central (9 & 10)
  • Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math @ Innovation Central (9 &10)
  • Academy of Teaching & Learning @ Innovation Central (ninth grade only)
  • Blandford School (6 grade only, test-in)
  • C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy (K-12)
  • City Middle High School (7-12, test-in)
  • Center for Economicology (sixth grade only, test-in)
  • Coit Creative Arts Academy (K-5)
  • Gerald R. Ford Academic Center (K-8, admissions criteria)
  • Grand Rapids Montessori Academy (PK3-12)
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum School (6-11, growing one grade per year to become 6-12)
  • Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy (6-12)
  • North Park Montessori Academy (PK3-8)
  • Early Middle College @ Ottawa Hills (10th grade)
  • Ridgemoor Park Montessori Academy (PK3-6)
  • Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy (K-8)
  • Southwest Community Campus Spanish-English Immersion (K-9, admissions criteria)
  • Zoo School (6 grade only, test-in)
Students chatted at last year’s expo with Yamaka Bracey, then of Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy and now principal at Campus Elementary
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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 or email Charles.

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