Many of the poor reviews were written by people whose kids don't fit in the East sweet spot. As you can see it's often rated as the top public academic high school and district in the State ( the charter schools ranked above it are mostly small lottery charter schools. Also, EGR high School rankings have strengthened over time according to all available data. EGR had a long history of excellence and that continues.
This high school is basically a small focused public college prep school for well above average intelligence & highly motivated children. If your child is average, not so motivated, finds trouble, or is highly artistic this is not your district. GR metro is still a mostly blue collar place and EGR is wealthy by GR standards. By Chicago or New York standards, it's not. Rather, it's a mix of middle and upper middle class kids with very few truely rich kids. In fact, most of the GR Billionaires kids attend GR Christian - for religious reasons.
However if you find yourself looking for a challenging school that will keep pace with New Trier in Chicago or Detroit country day, this is the only school in the Grand Rapids area you will want to attend. It's a smart and intimidating group of learners, especially for a public school. The high school just launched its IB courses as well.
My friends in new trier, in comparing our children's work, are surprised that East is equal in rigor and course difficulty. The main difference, however, is that New Trier is huge with programs for everyone while East is smaller and lacks the scale to cater to those who cannot keep pace. Also, EGR is very tough on kids who get caught committing a crime. No second chances here.
The negative comments in GR about East come from the parents whose kids are average or below or who are in trouble. This is the wrong school for those not interested in attending a selective college. Too much rigor here. It's not for everyone.
The schools employees blame the victims of bullies and coddle bullies. As long as your parents are involved in the schools, and since most mother's don't work in East GR, the school employees will side with you.
I came to Live in East Grand Rapids because I wanted my child to go to a good school. I was insulted by the secretary because I could not make the day to pick up school schedules since I have to work. I was asked if I lived in East GR as if I could not afford to live there.
My child is being bullyed by other children whose parents are more involved in the schools. The school social worker blamed my child for complaining. This same thing happened in the Wealthy Elementary. I am pulling my child out of East Grand Rapids School and putting them into a private school. I will not tolerate my child being treated like this.
As a former student and a current parent, I'm thrilled with the EGR schools. I was more than prepared for college when I attended and tested out of all Freshman requirements because the teachers had prepared me so well.
When we moved back to East as an adult it was for the schools and we could not be happier. We lived on both coasts prior to the move to EGR and our kids had to struggle to catch up to their peers at East but with the hands-on teachers here, they did and now thrive.
The community may be the biggest selling point to EGR. Sidewalks, a darling, walkable downtown, beautiful facilities and a small town that cares about your kid are all advantages you won't get at nearby schools. Whenever we meet kids from other schools they say they wish they had the community East does.
Yes, EGR has a reputation of being full of rich kids - I find this funny having lived in hedge fund towns, but there is really a lot of financial diversity here.
We relocated our family to East Grand Rapids when my kids were of Elementary school age.The two main reasons for this decision included that the community appeared to be safe and the schools were thought of as excellent. This has proven to be the worst decision we have ever made. I can not come up with anything positive to say about EGR's schools other than the dedication of a handful of teachers. The Administration should be ashamed of themselves! Now that we've experienced all three schools (Wealthy Elementary, EGR Middle School and EGR High School) I completely agree with the previous parent's post (Oct. 14, 2014) in that this district DESPERATELY needs house cleaning. They make their own rules, hand out the discipline of their choosing, deny students any learning in working through problems with everyone involved when an issue occurs. Those acting in charge, choose to deal with whichever illegal activity they see fit. They fail miserably in communication. Actually working through issues and doing what is best for the student is something foreign to the leaders in charge in EGR. Bullying is a major issue that one of my children has experienced at all three school levels. All three schools failed to deal with this, although I will say that at least those in charge at Wealthy and the Middle School admittted that it was an issue. Sadly, I am guessing that the funding is not allocated to any areas of emotional intelligence. The 'Be Nice' campaign doesn't appear to spread to the students. I would guess that this is just an in-service for which the teachers must attend & complete for compliance sake. I would never, ever, send my kids to EGR schools! In fact, we will not be returning to this school system. We have elected to pull our children out. Legally speaking, the school system has some things that need adressing and this is currently underway.
The school district and high school administration needs house-cleaning. They are not transparent yet portray a fa ade of getting input from the community on school issues (but have already made a decision). Classic case in point is their effort to get community feedback from focus groups and online surveys about which programs to scale back or cut when budgets were dwindling. The community overwhelmingly wanted a multi-building elementary principal (currently each of the three elementary schools have a principal). The community strongly opposed cutting the elementary foreign language program. The administration did not take the community s (taxpayers!) wishes and did what they wanted. This is one example of many.
As a parent of a student who graduated in the past few years, I can shed a not-so-favorable light on the high school. 1) The district is not progressive. Other surrounding districts are miles ahead with project-based learning, foreign language immersion, and experiential learning programs. EGR rests on its tradition and it s always been this way and it works . Innovation is not something the district seeks out. If parents have suggestions or ideas for programs, they most likely will get a canned response centering around why something won t work. 2) The administration is not flexible, rarely making policy in the BEST INTEREST OF THE STUDENT. Take AP classes as an example. If your student signs up for an AP class and realizes a week into the semester that she/he should not be at AP level, the counseling office WILL NOT allow a change to another class. Instead of looking out for what is best for the student, the administration is more concerned about touting that the high school has the largest percentage of AP student participants. The self-esteem impact, not to mention the damage on the GPA, is devastating.