GRPS, Spectrum Health Unveil New Public-Private Partnership with School of Health Science & Technology

At a press conference this morning at Central High Campus, GRPS and Spectrum Health unveiled a new public-private partnership aimed at developing the School of Health, Science and Technology into the region’s premier high school centered on the college-career pathways in the health care industry.

The announcement today comes just more than a week after the district announced new high school “Centers of Innovation” starting 2009/2010 that is part of the district’s high school reform efforts.

“This is part of a comprehensive strategic direction aimed at making sweeping changes and reforms at the high school level to expand school choices, increase graduation rates, strengthen school safety and bolster academic achievement,” said Dr. Bernard Taylor, Jr. , Superintendent of Schools. “We must continue to think outside of the traditional educational box and foster more public-private partnerships for the purpose of supporting student achievement.”

Matt Van Vranken, President of Spectrum Health Hospital Group, announced that Spectrum Health is pledging $150,000 annually over three years plus a full time employee dedicated to working with GRPS officials to develop the curriculum, partnerships, and overall goals of the School of Health, Science and Technology.

“This isn’t just about schools – it’s about our community. The school are our community and they impact the future of who will be tomorrow – in terms of our workforce, our economy, and our ability to grow and thrive here,” said VanVranken.

Also participating in the press conference was former Kent County Commission Chairwoman and prominent business leader, Marge Byington, who spoke about how the high school component is just one part of a big picture plan to create a Pre-K through Medical School pipeline for students interested in the fields of health, science and technology.

“This is an effort to create a new public-private partnership model where K-12 education is connected with higher education and job providers to provide students with school choices and future employment opportunities that will also serve to meet the workforce and economic development demands of the region,” said Byington.

In October 2007, GRPS launched the “Centers of Innovation” as a new model and process to foster public private partnerships to develop innovative school choices.  The Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, once proposed as a charter school, was the first applicant that has successfully opened its doors and is now preparing to expand to serve students in grades 6 – 8. Last week, GRPS announced the creation of new high school “Centers of Innovation” starting with new 9th grade opportunities. These include:

School of Health Science and Technology @ Central Campus: The 2009/2010 school year will mark the beginning of the transition phase for the Central High School campus, as the comprehensive high school will be phased out and replaced with the region’s premier thematic high school centered on the fastest growing industry in West Michigan – health care.

The School of Health Science and Technology (HST) is West Michigan’s premier high school designed to prepare students for college and a career in the booming health care industry. It is located adjacent to the “medical mile” and partnered with the top medical institutions including Spectrum Health, MSU Med School, GVSU Health Science, GRCC and many more.

Academy for Design & Construction @ Union Campus: Thanks to a new public-private partnership with the region’s leading architecture and construction firms, including Christman, Rockford Companies, and Progressive AE, GRPS is launching the Academy of Design and Construction at Union High School starting with 9th grade only. Only 125 seats are available for students interested in being part of this cutting-edge new school.

New 9th Grade Opportunities at GRAPCEP/Engineering and Biomedical School @ Creston High: After nearly 6 years of successfully serving students in grades 10 through 12, the region’s premier engineering and biomedical school is expanding to include 9th grade. GRAPCEP has a 99% graduation rate and a 90% post-high school college enrollment.

New 9th Grade Opportunities at the School of Business @ Ottawa Hills and Creston: GRPS is also expanding the School of Business at Ottawa Hills and Creston to include 9th grade.

Applications are required for all four high school “Centers of Innovation”, seats may be limited for some 9th grade opportunities, and deadlines are set for February 5.
Parents and students interested in learning more about the School of Health Science and Technology and the other three high school “Centers of Innovation” may log on to, call 819-3276, or attend any one of the upcoming “Open Houses”.

9 – 12 Grade School Choice Open Houses*
TONIGHT – Wednesday, January 14 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm @ Union High School
Wednesday, January 21, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm @ Ottawa Hills High School

Thursday, January 22, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm @ Central High Campus / Montessori Building

6 – 8 Grade School Choice Open House*
Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm @ City High/Middle School
* Information will be available on all 6-12th grade school choices at each of the open houses