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.
A good school when it comes to teachers but when it comes to drugs and alcohol its not very secure there are drugs all over the place and they dont really do much to keep them out. the vice principal and principal are not very friendly they insult both students and parents. if you are moving to east grand rapids dont go somewhere else it is a horrible area to grow up in my life is literally miserable here i have gone here since kindergarten the social structure is very self centered the kids are mean you make one mistake reputation gone, friends gone......
The messages surrounding the school and mottos that were created in previous years had good intentions, but the current school is a shadow of its former glory. The teachers have 10 year contracts; consequently, they don't uphold themselves to the "academic excellence" that our school supposedly stresses. Far more of the extra budget is directed at athletics rather than maintaining quality classrooms and teachers. If the average ACT score, which all Michigan students are required to take in conjunction with the MME, hovers around the national average, how can we possibly claim superiority? Furthermore, the mission statement of the district is "Educating and inspiring each student to navigate successfully in a global community", yet K-12 spanish and many other programs such as elementary art are being cut, while the athletic facilities continue to be renovated. I understand that hard economic times call for desperate measures, but I think we should keep in mind that 30 years from now, it is the innovations that we will be creating to stop global warming and public health issues that will matter, not how much weight we lifted in the overly- grandiose gym at football practice.
EGR is a small affluent insular 'tight-knit' community. Every September its schools system receive well above average intellectual & emotional raw material. It's no surprize educating this population is easy, since it comes from stable structured homes w/ capable & caring white collar professionals for parents, most w/ professional degrees. Parents expect - demand a better school public system. Predictably, test scores are above average & college placement is a given. The teachers & administrators are unionized, but wouldn't dream of striking, there are no gangs. Parents & their ordered households deserve the credit for the resulting academic achievement. (swap classroom from an outlying community & compare test results after 1 semester...) Arguably, EGR (& its school system) is not reality & leaves students unexposed to (& unprepared) for the real world.
The more exposure I get to public schools around the country the more I realize how phenomenal East Grand Rapids truly is. EGR has all of the offerings and extra circulars of schools 4-5 times its size, all while maintaining its "small town" feel of roughly 1000 students. The academics and athletics are second to no other public school in the state. The expectation of families and educators that nothing short of excellence is satisfactory is what gives EGR it's competitive advantage compared to other public schools. The mindset is not something that can be created by any administrator or educator. It is the product of sustained efforts of the district's employees, commitment from the community as a partner in education, and the unspoken pressure from the families that move into EGR to send their children to the school system. EGR's culture of excellence has been developed over time, and the current board of education, school leadership, and community that it serves will ensure it is the premier public school system in West Michigan for years to come.
My children have gone to East schools since kindergarten and they used to be wonderful schools. Now, they are just average schools surrounded by an expensive and beautiful neighborhood. They are very overrated with several districts, including Forest Hills, out performing East in all academic aspects. Shame on East for acting like they outshine everyone. All districts have their own issues but East has a bad issue-being conceited when they ARE NOT the best. My last child will be graduating from East with a 4.0 in June and I will never send another child there. Oh I forgot to mention, several minority students are treated differently because East and teachers are too stuck in their sheltered world to understand sensitivity and empathy.
As a former student in the late 1980's, I found East Grand Rapids, the city, and the high school, to be a rare, astounding combination of (1) friendly, close-knit neighborhoods with friendly, intelligent, socially mature people (and with streets packed full of houses right next to one another), (2) beautiful streets, parks, wonderful Reeds Lake and Fisk Lake, well maintained grounds throughout the city, residents concerned with the aesthetics of their property and neighborhoods, (3) a pleasant and fun city-center area with nice shops, people who like to be around each other, and a feeling of generational-history, as many residents have parents and even grandparents who lived in EGR, (4) a high school full of intensely devoted teachers and administration, who challenge students to improve and keep improving, both academically and athletically and artistically.