GRCC, GRPS highlighting a strengthened partnership to boost student success

Interested parents and students should contact:

Dave Selmon, Associate Dean of K-12 Enrollment

(616) 234-3170


Karen L TenBroeke, Academic Outreach Support Professional

(616) 234-3007


March 30, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Rapids Public Schools leaders are highlighting a strengthened partnership through billboards focusing on opportunities for all city students.

GRCC President Bill Pink and GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal are featured on three billboards with students Najee Smith, Fatemeh I. Abedi and Mootayaw Paw, who are enrolled in the Early/Middle College program at Ottawa Hills High School.

“A stronger Grand Rapids can only be realized through strong partnerships,” Pink said. “We are committed to working with our good partners in the Grand Rapids Public Schools to ensure that every student has the opportunity to be successful.”

Pink said he wants to shine a spotlight on the seamless transition from GRPS to GRCC, and Early/Middle College programs are effective, affordable ways for students to earn a college degree. He said GRCC continues to enjoy the relationship with such a tireless advocate for students and families in Weatherall Neal, a Grand Rapids Junior College alumna.

“GRCC is like family to me,” Weatherall Neal said. “Our two organizations have a deep, rich history dating back to when it was Grand Rapids Junior College and a part of GRPS. We maintain a strong partnership, and GRCC continues to be one of our students’ top choices for post-secondary education."

GRCC’s Early/Middle College is a 13-year experience that gives students an opportunity to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree. They are dual-enrolled in high school and college courses, with tuition and fees for the college courses covered by the K-12 district’s state aid.

About 30 Ottawa Hills students are enrolled in the program this year. Pink said he wants to make sure more students and families are aware of the program.

GRCC also has Early/Middle College partnerships with Wyoming, Cedar Springs, the Kent Intermediate School District and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, with a cohort at East Kentwood scheduled to begin this fall. More than 333 students are enrolled in these programs overall, about 100 more than in 2017.

The Early/Middle College program is one of several GRCC-GRPS initiatives created or strengthened during the past year, including:

  • The Challenge Scholars Program, which allows students at Union High, Harrison Park Middle and Westwood Middle schools to earn up to four years of tuition-free college at GRCC and other colleges and universities. GRCC success coaches work with the students to help them grow academically and explore opportunities for postsecondary education and careers.
  • A GRCC associate dean who is assigned to focus full time on GRPS students, working with them, their families and their schools to ensure they are aware of opportunities and assistance available for them.
  • The Summer Learning Academy Cruisin’ to College program, where students earn college credit, grow college math skills, explore career opportunities, and visit area colleges and universities to give them the tools to be successful in their post-secondary academic career.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.


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