District Points of Pride
- Our district shows a commitment to health and student safety supports by offering a student services team consisting of a school nurse, liaison officers, and certified school counselors at every level.
- Big Rapids Virtual School has increased their numbers of graduates every year by allowing students to complete any time, any place, any way, and at any pace.
- Big Rapids High School was recognized as a “Top American High School” by Newsweek and a US News and World Report “Silver Medal School” placing BRHS in the top ten percent in the nation.
- Our elementary schools have a better than 11 to 1 student to instructional staff ratio.
- BRPS students excel in Advanced Placement courses. BRPS students also earned over 800 college credits last year, alone.
- Our staff is actively involved in a District-wide Bullying Prevention Initiative.
- We have State honored and regionally acclaimed dramatic arts, industrial arts, instrumental music, visual arts, and vocal music programs.
- Our elementary and secondary schools have also earned the State awards of "A Michigan Blue Ribbon Exemplary School," "A Michigan Beating the Odds School," and "A Michigan Rewards School."
- Our middle school has comprehensive enrichment programs including Spanish, art, choir, technology, physical education, band, and jazz band.
- Our Child Learning Center (CLC) after school enrichment program offers great educational opportunities to our students until 5:15pm every school day.
- Big Rapids High School has the highest ACT and College Readiness scores in the area.
The Leader in Me
At Brookside Elementary, The Leader in Me continues to be embedded in everything we do. The Leader in Me provides our children with solid principles and skills to be successful beyond the school day and well into their future! Our students and staff are implementing the 7 Habits, life skills from Dr. Stephen Covey's book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". In the spring of 2015, our school received a five year grant from the I Am a Leader Foundation and a plan of implementation was created through collaboration with the Franklin Covey organization.
Reward School 2014-2015 & 2016-2017
Brookside has been identified for a second time as a Reward School! In 2014-2015, we received a Beating the Odds recognition and 2016-2017 a Beating the Odds and High Progress School from Michigan Department of Education (noting in 2015-2016 they did not honor Reward schools). Our school continues to exceed academic expectations and is committed to empowering leaders.
This unique initiative connects a community person with an appropriate classroom to become their mentor, supporter, and super hero. This relationship develops during the school year with visits from their mentor, field trips to their place of business, and continuous support as suggested by the collaboration between the teacher and mentor. Building positive relationships between school, students, parents, teachers, and community is an integral part of teaching students the value of community.
Brookside continues to celebrate student success with many activities throughout the year. We encourage parental involvement and thank our PTO, as well as our Parent Lighthouse Team, for their commitment. This year brought the following outstanding events and opportunities showcasing student leadership roles and achievement: Math, Science, Family Literacy Nights; Science share; Leadership Day; Caught Being a Cardinal Monthly Assemblies; Track & Field; Lunch on the Hill; Winter Carnival, and many more.
Riverview prides itself on working hard academically, creating a positive school environment and engaging in community service. During the fall and winter, all kids at Riverview go through a battery of assessments to gather baseline data for school improvement and student academic growth. All staff members frequently attend professional development to help drive the academic success of Riverview. Technology has come to the forefront in education so Riverview instructional staff is utilizing an array of tech devices within the classroom for instruction. We are fortunate to have a Smartboard, Netbooks, Chromebooks, Document Camera’s and iPads in the classroom for an enhanced learning experience. Students in all grades work with each other as mentors, reading and bus buddies, as well as, academic tutors.
Our learning environment is also enhanced through a partnership with Ferris State University, which includes 40 and 80 hour education students, FSU Student Teachers, FSU “Reading Literacy” work study students, volunteers from FSU Athletic Department, FSU Social Work students, social organization volunteers and research students. Many community members volunteer their time at Riverview to work with our students academically and build relationships. Riverview prides itself in the Community/School relationship.
Riverview Elementary has an extremely positive school environment which allows students to participate in many positive learning environment activities including spirit week, concerts, plays, book fairs, Title Nights, online programs, parades, field trips, Life S.P.A.N, health and fitness, and parent teacher conferences.
Throughout the school year, Riverview students participate in a few community service projects, such as, Hats Off for Cancer, holiday door tag hanging, card-making for our troops, and continually building relationships and partnering with community organizations.
Riverview is excited to announce the school was recognized by the State of Michigan Department of Education as a Reward School for closing the gap in student achievement.
The staff at Riverview radiates high energy and embraces positivity, teamwork and the love of learning. They continue to “Rock” the students learning and work hard at making our students experience at school the best it can be!
Big Rapids Middle School
The Public School That Loves America
At the start of the school year, BRMS received over a million hits on social media with a patriotic tribute to our flag and all that it represents, including three television spots on the Fox network.
Michigan Music Conference
BRMS was one of only two middle school bands in the state of Michigan invited to perform at the Michigan Music Conference.
Bully Buster Month
For one month, we schedule events and guest speakers to bring attention TOWARD the positive climate we want at BRMS and AWAY from the negative interactions often associate with “bullying” in schools across America and the world. We want our building to be one where ALL students feel safe and secure in an environment that focuses on learning. This year featured local business persons, Ferris State University athletes, and professional musicians, all working with our kids to identify the key elements to make this a great place for all to learn and grow!
#CARDS - Going Viral w/ Positive Behaviors
Compassion - Attitude - Responsibility - Determination - Success
These are the characteristics we believe will help our students to be successful in the classroom and beyond. This new Positive Behavior Support program gives teacher opportunities to recognize and reinforce positive behaviors in our building every day.
BRMS started a Robotics program! 7th and 8th Grade students teamed up with local parochial schools, while 5th and 6th grade students started their own BRMS team. Shannon Kelley recruited sponsorship from local companies, making this STEM program a reality.
MathCOUNTS Wins Again
For the FOURTH consecutive year, BRMS won the Regional MathCOUNTS competition and qualified for the Michigan State Championship competition.
Big Rapids High School
BRHS has had an excellent 2016-2017 school year with many highlights. We are very proud to be included in the rankings again for the U.S. News and World Reports "Nations Best High Schools" as a silver medal recipient. The ranking places BRHS in the top 8% of all high schools in the Nation as well at the top 5% of high schools in Michigan!
Every year our students compete in the MITES (Michigan Industrial Technology Education Society) Competition and typically do very well. This year was no exception. Over 10 students qualified for the State level competition with 4th place finishes going to Cold Poortvliet (fishing net) and Matt Heydel (rocking chair). Two students earned 3rd place finishes: Pierce Morrissey (fishing net) and Brendon Garner (dining room table). Erik Rehkopf submitted a well-crafted bowl that netted him 1st place in his category.
The BRHS Robotics team “The Big Red Theory” had another great season. During the district completion, the team went all the way to the finals, losing in the final match of a best of three series. This strong performance qualified the team for the State Championship the following week at Saginaw Valley State University. There, the team competed in the Consumers Division where they went 7-5 which placed them 8th in the highly competitive field. They were eliminated in the quarter finals of playoffs, but received an award for creative design. The combination of the strong showing and the award earned the team a spot at the world championships in St. Louis, Missouri. The team competed in the Darwin division at the championship, finishing with a 4-6 record. While it was not the finish the team was hoping for, this capped off the most successful season in the teams’ four year history and returning students are looking forward to continued success next season.
As usual, our Fine Arts Department had an outstanding year. Troupe 1176's Theatre Group Scene was chosen for welcoming ceremony at Michigan Youth Arts.
The great depth of acting and student designs brought the emotional message of Flowers for Algernon to life.
Congratulations to both the high school Concert Band and Wind Symphony on earning straight Division I ratings at State Band Festival! Both bands did a fantastic job this year and we look forward to a great fall marching season and our 2017 show "Carmen."
Mollie Weber was selected to perform her solo with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival on Friday May 19th, 2017. This is the first Big Rapids High School band member to receive this honor. Congratulations Mollie on this monumental achievement!
Congratulations to BRHS Bella Voce and Serenade for earning "Excellent" ratings at State Choral Festival at CMU.
And finally, congratulations to Julie Farrier, Eric Mackall and Kate Tetsworth who will be touring Europe with "Music Ambassadors" in the summer of 2017!
Big Rapids Virtual School
BRVS continued our Cooking for Teen’s class with the MSU Cooperative Extension Office. Chef Don Zimmer and MSU Extension staff member Heather Prewo led the 2 classes and the students learned so many things.
BRVS graduation numbers continue to increase. 2017 saw 23 students receive their high school diplomas!
We are very proud of our celebrations of success at BRVS. Every time a student passes a class and moves one step closer to graduation, we celebrate by taking their picture and posting it on our wall of fame. We also post it on the Big Rapids Virtual School Facebook page, which is fed onto the BRVS website. Students also receive “rewards” when they achieve goals they have set.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, BRVS was required to show student growth by using a pre-test for reading and math. The results are in and our students have done extremely well and shown good improvement on their scores.
Our on-line classes are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Students can work from anywhere they have an internet connection. They also have access to the BRVS lab 39 hours every week. Students may come in to do work on the computer and get help from our staff.
BRVS had over 15 students attend the MOISD Career Center in a variety of programs. Not only did they attend but they were very successful!
Big Rapids Athletics
In the fall of 2016, our girls’ golf team claimed 10th place in the State Finals! Boys’ soccer won the CSAA league title and set a school record with eighteen wins. Cross country sent four runners to the State Finals (Mark Jacobs, Aliza Hengesbach, Meghan Langworthy, and Madison Hammer). Twenty-four of our student-athletes garnered All-Conference honors for the CSAA, highlighted by Aliza Hengesbach and Mason Gifford who were chosen as the Most Outstanding Players in their respective sports. Boys’ soccer, girls’ golf, and boys’ tennis also claimed Academic All-State Team Honors.
The winning ways continued into the winter as boys’ and girls’ basketball brought home their third consecutive CSAA League Championships! Varsity hockey highlighted their incredible season by winning eighteen games and a Regional Championship before falling in the quarterfinals. Brandon Hatchew won an individual district championship in wrestling. Fourteen student-athletes received All-Conference CSAA honors highlighted by Demetri Martin who was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player in boys’ basketball. Tait Morrissey was also chosen as one of thirty-two student-athletes in Michigan to receive a $1,000 scholarship from the MHSAA.
Spring arrived and it has been a juggling act with weather, but it hasn’t stopped the winning ways of the Cardinals. Baseball, boys’ golf and girls’ soccer have already claimed a CSAA League Title. Boys’ golf is currently ranked second in the state rankings and is headed for Regional competition. Boys’ track claimed a Regional championship and a number of student-athletes will compete at the State Finals. Girls’ tennis will send Katherine Langell to the State Finals as she was a Regional champion this season. Lastly, eight student-athletes declared that they will continue their athletic and academic careers at various universities next fall.
It’s been an exciting year for Cardinal Athletics and it’s certain to continue during the spring postseason. Be sure to get out and cheer on your Cardinals as they compete for an opportunity to advance in the state tournament!
We are BR!
Big Rapids Food Service
Big Rapids Food Service implemented “e-Funds for Schools” so parents can now pay on-line with a credit card or directly from a checking account. This is a secure feature that adds much needed convenience for busy parents.
Food Service provided luncheons in the summer of 2016 for the Senior Enrichment event and the BRPS Alumni banquet. They are looking forward to catering those luncheons again.
The summer of 2017 marks the 10th Summer Free Lunch Program! Staff has been working hard in planning various crafts, games, activities, and the Summer Reading Program for all community children. The Big Rapids Middle School will be host on weekdays between June 12th and August 18th from 11am to 1pm to any area child to join in the fun and get nourished with a healthy, free lunch!
In an effort to accommodate all students’ needs, four Food Service employees got certified in allergy training this school year. The Food Service Department takes pride in keeping our children healthy, happy, and active!
Big Rapids Facilities & Grounds Department
Our Facilities & Grounds Department currently has nine Custodial workers, one Maintenance worker, one Clerical staff, and one Auditorium Manager on staff responsible for ten district buildings and all district grounds.
This year, our district Maintenance worker identified a piping problem that has plagued the heating system of the High School since it was built. This is now corrected. He is also responsible for repairing and maintaining the district air handlers and exhaust fans for indoor air quality, monitoring district water chemistry, pumps, and countless other pieces of equipment that provide our students, staff and visitors with an environment that is safe and comfortable.
The Facilities & Grounds staff took part in the Middle School Gym facelift. This included processing over 1200 work orders! They have also supported over 1000 district events-- providing set up, clean up, and any other needs to make all events a huge success.
In addition to the daily cleaning tasks and added responsibility of the district grounds, the staff has successfully completed required district training and State of Michigan Integrated Pest Management training. Furthermore, all staff members are certified in CPR/AED rescue techniques and maintenance of emergency devices.
The department also has a certified Locksmith on staff, two certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators and two Basic Life Support Instructors!
We promote “BR Pride” in the district and for many community events.
Big Rapids Transportation Department
Our bus drivers transported, on average, 830 students per day. This year, our buses safely traveled over 176,000 miles for routes, trips, and athletics!