We are proud of our district’s commitment to high-quality education and look forward to an exciting new chapter for our elementary students and early childhood families. As we look forward to the opening of the new elementary schools and a renovated Cohasset Elementary, we’ve gathered answers to your most important questions.

Which school will my child attend?
Who will the principals be?
When will teacher placements be announced?
How will other staff be placed?
Will the new schools offer art or other electives?
What will the schools be named?
Was the community involved in the design of the schools?
Are local contractors involved in the construction of the new schools?

Which school will my child attend?
Throughout the summer and fall of 2019, the district invited community members, parents, and staff to work with the Transportation Department and Administrators to make a recommendation for new school boundaries and potential bus routes to the School Board. The recommendation will come before the School Board in December.

Definitions and policies will be shared with parents in January. There will be an implementation period of two years, after which the Board will return to the public for feedback and suggestions.

Who will the principals be?
The School Board approved creating 12-month lead principals for both the Grand Rapids and Cohasset schools. Due to the large size of the Grand Rapids schools, they will also have 10-month assistant principals.

The interview process for those positions will take place in December. The interview committee will include administrators, teachers, and parents. Information will be shared with families and staff when the process is completed.

When will teacher placements be announced?
Administrators and teaching staff created a process for staffing the new schools in 2018. Teachers will choose their new building based on seniority and grade level openings. Teachers will not be able to move between grades based on seniority unless a position opens due to retirement or resignation. 

The process of staffing the new buildings with teachers will take place in March 2020. Announcements will be made to families in the Spring, but students will not be assigned to teachers until Summer 2020.

How will other staff be placed?
When the principal positions were extended to 12-months, the School Board approved creating a 12-month lead secretary position at the East and West sites along with a 10-month assistant position. Cohasset will no have a 12-month secretary as well. These positions will be posted for internal application in 2020. The positions will be announced in February 2020.

Kindergarten ESPs will accompany their current teachers to the new buildings. Other positions will be posted as a part of the ESP realignment process in the summer.

Food Service staff who are displaced with the closing of current elementary schools will choose positions in the new schools based on seniority.

Any changes to the bus routes will be done during the route realignment process in the summer.

Will the new schools offer art or other electives?
In our current elementary schools, we have been limited in the number of electives (also called specials) we can offer to students due to a lack of available space and scheduling constraints. Our new elementary schools will include two music classrooms; two full-size gyms, equating to four teaching stations; “wet” labs suitable for such activities as science and art education; and makerspaces designed for flexible, creative work.

The Board received input from parents and from the Program Design committee. Principals will be examining schedules and recommending programming that takes advantage of these spaces while accommodating budget restraints.

What will the schools be named?
A Naming Committee made up of parents, teachers, principals, support staff, and community members will present a survey to the community to gather input on names for the new schools. The naming must fit within the ISD 318 Policy 899 Naming of Schools and Facilities. The committee’s recommendation, along with the community input, will be presented to the Board in late Februrary.

Was the community involved in the design of the schools?
Yes. The design process began shortly after the referendum was passed on April 10, 2018. The nearly year-long process of design included input from administrators, teachers, district staff, parents, and community members. Once the overall design was complete, smaller “user groups” made up of people using the specific spaces provided input into the designs of everything from classrooms and gyms to custodial spaces and meeting rooms. 

Are local contractors involved in the construction of the new schools?
Each school was bid as an individual project with staggered bid dates so that local contractors could be competitive in their bids. Bids are sealed until they are read aloud in a public meeting. At that time, state law says that the district must go with the lowest bid. For example, at the East Elementary site, 6 of the 21 work scopes were awarded to contractors within district boundaries and a total of 12 contracts were awarded to area contractors within 80 miles of Grand Rapids for a total of 74.8% of the project costs. A breakdown of contractor awards for all of the sites is available here on our site.