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Grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation enables GVSU to partner with BCPS

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Posted on May 13, 2019

A partnership among Grand Valley, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) will increase regional access to higher education programming, expanding the path to higher education options in Battle Creek.

The WKKF awarded a five-year, $15.5 million grant to Grand Valley, enabling the university to partner with BCPS to help provide middle and high school students a pathway to careers in health care and education; offer teachers enhanced professional development and mentorship opportunities; and continue to build a pipeline of talented educators in Battle Creek. The announcement was made May 13 in Battle Creek.

Grand Valley will open an outreach center in downtown Battle Creek this summer to coordinate student services. 

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Kellogg Foundation and we are honored they looked to us to provide targeted educational programs in Battle Creek,” said President Thomas J. Haas. “We know how education positively affects the entire climate of a region, and we look forward to a fruitful relationship and successful outcomes for the students, teachers and members of the community.”

The grant to Grand Valley marks the beginning of a strong partnership and vision to increase access to higher education options and build a powerful talent pool locally, and builds on a series of long-term investments to support the economic growth of the region.

“This new partnership reflects the commitment to collaboration that is guiding our shared efforts for children and families in Battle Creek,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “It is creating a new pathway in our community — one that ultimately can increase access to jobs and talent in our region.”

Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, said the university looks forward to building a strong partnership with the school district and community.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to work with the Battle Creek Public Schools to offer their talented teachers professional development and teach students about the vital careers in health care and education,” Cimitile said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in learning and community engagement. We are excited to contribute our faculty’s expertise to help in the growth and economic health of the community.”

Highlights of the partnership are listed below.

• Middle and high school students enrolled at BCPS will be able to attend STEM-focused summer camps.

• High school students can enroll in university classes in education and health sciences. 

• Special camps will target young girls to explore math and sciences to promote greater gender equity.

• GVSU’s College of Education will offer professional development opportunities to BCPS teachers through new teacher mentoring, leadership development and various programs to support curriculum development and instructional practices. 

• Classroom assistants will receive support to become certified public school teachers, and pipeline programs will be established to bring more educators to Battle Creek.

Kimberly Carter, Battle Creek Public Schools superintendent, said the partnership will create new avenues for BCPS to attract and retain talented teachers.

"The GVSU partnership will create a student-teacher pipeline to develop the next generation of local teachers right here in Battle Creek and help further develop our current teaching staff through university-led mentorships and professional development,” Carter said.