This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
East Grand Rapids High School2
Posted October 14, 2014
- a parent
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.
I am a former student and can't thank EGR enough for providing me with an excellent education. Being in college, understanding the fundamentals and being apply them to much more complex topics is so important. It is because of EGR's great teachers and programs that I have been so prepared and done so well in college. Socially I was very involved and any kid can be if THEY make the effort. There is extra curricular activities for all types of people. Arts, athletics, clubs, you name it.