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Cedar Springs eighth-graders moving to middle school

Cedar Springs — Change is coming as the district plans to reconfigure its middle-level setup, sending eighth-graders from Red Hawk Intermediate to Cedar Springs Middle School at the start of the 2024-25 school year.

Superintendent Scott Smith made the announcement to students and families in June, noting that the shift will put sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders under one roof for the first time in the history of the middle school. 

The middle school will be overseen by one principal, Courtney MacDonald, formerly the principal of Red Hawk. 

Smith said the transition is a strategic decision, made in the wake of declining post-pandemic enrollment, which means less school aid dollars from the state. The district has seen its student count drop from 3,635 in 2019-20 to 3,129 in 2023-24.

Cedar Springs Superintendent Scott Smith

Smith noted his announcement that in October 2020, there were more than 800 students in grades 6-8. Those grades are expected to have fewer than 650 students this fall.

“Moving eighth-graders back to the middle school will save $450,000 in duplicate spending between those buildings,” Smith said.

The plan is to repurpose Red Hawk into a hub for district services. It will also continue to house the Early Childhood Center, as well as Campus Kids before- and after-school programming. Smith said there’s also ample room at Red Hawk to expand preschool programming if needed.

The consolidation was the result of “careful planning and foresight,” said Smith. 

“This decision, while it may come as a surprise to some of our families, is not a sudden one,” he wrote. 

Smith said the original vision was for the middle school to be a place for grades 6-8. There were even plans to expand the middle school if enrollment increased. 

But with enrollment trending downward, and no sign of an uptick anytime soon, Smith said, “This plan is the best way forward to ensure our students’ continued success and financial well-being.” 

Red Hawk was upgraded and turned into the district’s eighth-grade wing in 2023.

Read more from Cedar Springs: 
Cedar Springs students surprised by ‘ultimate party at recess’
Red Hawk finds peace, vows to advocate for abuse survivors

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Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley is a reporter covering Cedar Springs, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Sparta school districts. An award-winning journalist, Riley spent eight years with the Ludington Daily News, reporting, copy editing, paginating and acting as editor for its weekly entertainment section. He also contributed to LDN’s sister publications, Oceana’s Herald-Journal and the White Lake Beacon. His reporting on issues in education and government has earned accolades from the Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. Riley’s early work in journalism included a stint as an on-air news reporter for WMOM Radio, and work on the editorial staff of various student publications. Riley is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He originally hails from western Washington.


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