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 six percent in the nation.
- Our elementary schools have a better than 10 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.
At Brookside Elementary, The Leader in Me is beginning 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".
It has been an outstanding start to the 2016-17 school year. The remainder of the year brings March is Reading Month, Reading & Writing Night, PTO Book Fair, Leadership Day, Science Share Night, lunch on the Hill, and many more fantastic opportunities for our students to LEAD!
- Community relationships and collaborations continue to grow and enhance our classroom mentoring program. These mentors are positive role models showcasing their profession by interacting with our students. Their commitment of multiple classroom visits cultivates a unique and rewarding relationship, influencing lifelong choices for Brookside students.
- Brookside is striving to ensure all students read at grade level by 3rd grade. Our priority and focus are on implementing a rigorous core curriculum with solid supports and interventions. We are dedicated in partnering with our families to align strategies based on individual needs to guarantee success for all students.
- As of June 2015, Brookside was awarded the prestigious international title of a Leader in Me School! Our mission is to create a culture of student empowerment, recognizing that every student has a voice and can be a leader! We are committed to instilling the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey) and providing a positive environment for learning.
- Brookside is also very excited to host our first ever Leader in Me Family Learning Night on Wednesday, February 22nd from 5:15-7:30 p.m. The purpose of this night is to bring our families in for a student lead event where our kids are teaching about the 7 Habits- what they are, what they mean, and most importantly, how families can use them to improve their lives! We will have a room set up for each habit with a lesson and an activity to help parents learn more about them. Not only is this a great opportunity for our school to spread the word about the amazing, life long effects of the Leader in Me, but also a terrific opportunity to empower our students and let them showcase their leadership skills!
- Thanks to a grant from the Fuel Up To Play 60 Program, there will be several new additions to Brookside this year. Additions include new playground accessories, team building activity sets, outdoor seating for small groups, and a portable milk cooler. The Fuel Up to Play 60 program provides opportunities for kids to eat healthy and be physically active in school. Brookside’s Student Leadership Team was awarded an opportunity to participate in the Fuel Up to Play 60 Rally held at the Detroit Lion’s Ford Field. In February, Student Leadership Team members spent a full day on the field with Lion’s team members learning the importance of physical activity and healthy eating. They will apply what they learned to promote physical activity and healthy eating at Brookside and to apply for the Michigan School Wellness Award.
- Brookside is filled with enthusiasm, creativity, commitment and pride!
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. Riverview instructional staff are 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.
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, Reflex, ice cream socials, 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, food drives, holiday door tag hanging, card-making for our troops, and fundraising for specific community organizations.
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 hr 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.
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
BRMS is proud of the many great things that happen every day in our building as we continue to work to fulfill our mission: "To provide a safe and caring environment wherein all students achieve expected academic skills, develop positive attitudes, and exhibit responsible behavior. We believe this necessitates student, parent, teacher, staff, and administrative involvement."
- BRMS Student Council has been a busy bunch, learning along the way about finance and planning of all the events they've participated in thus far. Those events include: Match Day; raking for a community member; clothing/toy drive with donations going to the new Salvation Army store and the Wise Shelter; sock drive for My Brother's Keeper; and a food drive collecting over 400 cans donated to Manna Pantry. Collectively, they would like to use monies raised for new recess equipment (soccer nets, painting football lines, balls) and also to upgrade the drinking fountains at the Middle School. They should all be very proud of their efforts as they are doing an awesome job!
- BRMS students are reaching new levels of interaction in Language Arts learning with the help of the adoption of a StudySync curriculum. Working on Chromebooks, students are able to get a deeper understanding of literature through higher-level thinking questions and skill activities. BRMS Teacher Devann Hattis expressed, "The best part is how excited students are about the process." She added, "The kids are definitely benefiting from this new curriculum!"
- The BRMS 8th Grade Band performed at the Michigan Music Conference on Friday, January 20, 2017. The band had to go through an application process and was one of only two middle school bands selected to perform from across the whole state of Michigan. BRHS students Mollie Weber and Jacob Bleeker performed with the 8th Grade Band as featured soloists. This was the eighth time a BRPS band was selected to perform at the MMC since its inception many decades ago, and the first time BRMS has ever had a band perform.
Big Rapids High School
BRHS is enjoying another great year with a wide variety of activities happening at any given moment. Here are a few:
- A variety of our groups continue to support humanitarian and/or school related projects. Our Key Club, in cooperation with the BRHS staff, collected 50 gifts for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree for the holidays. 36 volunteer hours were tallied by 18 student ringing the bell for the Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign and 30 students volunteered to assist the Brookside PTO with their Holiday Gift Shop. In addition, NHS has been busy tutoring after school 4 days a week, volunteering at the animal rescue coalition once a month on Saturday mornings, running a pet food drive for the ARC (we collected over 60 pounds of pet food, along with treats and toys), and sponsoring blood drives for the American Red Cross. Our 3rd blood drive of the year is scheduled for March 9th from 8:30 - 2:15
- In addition to the usual concerts, festivals and Solo and Ensemble events, our BRHS choirs have had many “extra” opportunities in 2016 – 2017. Arya Rao will be performing with the SSAA State Honors Choir at MMC in DeVos on Saturday, January 20 th 2017. Five BRHS students participated in the MSU Vocal Leadership day back in October, and 11 students participated in the U of M Vocal Arts Day Saturday, January 7. In December, our BR Choirs caroled at the hospital tree lighting ceremony and participated in the Artworks “Evening of Harmony”.
- In April, our BRHS choirs will have a joint concert with the BR community women’s chorus “Voca Lyrica”! We will also host State Solo and Ensemble. May brings State Choral festival and spring concerts!
- Our BRHS women’s ensemble will be singing with the West Michigan Opera Company in “LeNozze di Figaro” in Grand Rapids in January – and then again in Big Rapids in February! On February 27, our BR Choirs are hosting a performance by “The Cat’s Pajama’s” – an a cappella vocal ensemble from Branson, Missouri – they’re amazing!
- Our Theatre Department presented the one act musical Once on This Island, a story of a peasant girl on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring together people of all classes, In December. Members of our thespian troupe performed at the State theatre festival as well. 17 students performed and presented events for college and professional theatre adjudicators. Every student earned at least one superior rating! 2 students earned scholarship offers from four year universities!
- The Big Rapids High School Bands had one of its most successful fall marching programs - African Sketches. The music was powerful and emotional and the color guard and visual design was the best it has ever been with real, authentic fabric and head wraps from Ghana and Tanzania. The marching band won 1st place in Class B at the Red Flannel Invitational in Cedar Springs and earned another straight-I performance at District Marching Festival for the 7th consecutive year. We are also honored to have 4 students chosen for the MSBOA High School All-State Band - Allyson Johnson, Jacob Bleeker, Mollie Weber and Joseph Vajda. They performed at DeVos Performance Hall as part of the Michigan Music Conference on Saturday January 21 st.
Big Rapids Virtual School
The school year, 2016-2017, marks the 4th year for Big Rapids Virtual School. There have been a few changes this year. The curriculum was switched to a new provider which gives students the advantage of a wider selection of electives. Another plus for staff is the availability of more efficient reports, which helps in track student progress. The addition of operating hours is another change for BRVS. New start times for Tuesday and Thursday allow more learning time. It is a benefit for students who utilize BRPS transportation, as they now can attend school five days a week. Also, we are able to offer breakfast Monday through Friday.
BRVS continued their foreign language blended learning class where the students come to get instruction from Mrs. Maggie Keating. Students not only work online, as with all of their classes, but they also meet with Mrs. Keating to go over the language speaking aspects.
BRVS had their largest graduating class. They graduated 18 students on May 20, 2016! We are on track to graduate at least 23 students for the 2016-17 academic year.
The Virtual School began the BRVS mentor program. 14 BRVS students were matched up with school and community members that worked with them during the school year.
BRVS had nearly 20 students attend the MOISD Career Center in a variety of programs. Not only did they attend but they were very successful.
BRVS is excited to announce they currently have over 100 students enrolled!
Big Rapids Athletics
In the fall, the BRHS football team qualified for the State Playoffs. The girls’ golf, girls’ cross country, and boys’ cross country teams claimed CSAA Conference Championships. Both cross country teams also qualified for the State Finals with Madison Hammer bringing home all-state honors! Girls’ volleyball wrapped up the fall by claiming a district championship!
The winning atmosphere continued into the winter as boys’ and girls’ basketball claimed league titles. Wrestlers Nick Worden and Desaun Griffin earned a spot in the State Tournament. The boys’ basketball team also made a historic run as they won a regional title, quarterfinal game, and earned a spot in the Final Four for the first time in school history! It was quite a ride for our students, staff, and community!
Spring finally arrived and the season has been fast and furious! The girls’ soccer team and boys’ golf team clinched league titles. Madison Hammer, Avery Montgomery, Christian Hector, and Mark Jacobs have already qualified for the State Finals in track. Our boys’ golf team also won the district championship and will continue on in the state tournament.
A number of our student-athletes also received All-Conference, All-Pioneer, and various other honors throughout the year! Tournament time is right around the corner and our athletes are ready to compete! Be sure to come out and support them as they finish the year strong!
Big Rapids Food Service
BR Food Service successfully ran the High School sports concessions and gave funds to BR Sports Boosters.
All schools passed their health inspections with flying colors! The Middle School kitchen was noted as “the cleanest kitchen I have ever seen” by the state inspector.
The Food Service Department fed an average of 1,284 BR student lunches a day. We fed an average of 396 BR student breakfasts a day, which totals 201,106 lunches to date and 60,460 breakfasts to date!
We are gearing up for our 9th 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 13th and August 19th from 11am to 1pm to any area child to join in the fun and get nourished with a healthy, free lunch. The Food Service Department takes pride in keeping our children healthy and active!
Big Rapids Facilities/Custodial Department
Our Facilities Department has eight custodians responsible for ten buildings. The buildings are approximately 330,000 square feet! That means they clean 41,200 square feet in one eight hour shift. If you compare that to the average size of a Michigan home (2,350 square feet) it translates to each custodian cleaning approximately the equivalent of 20 homes per eight hour shift.
In addition, our custodians provided service for over 700 total events this school year, outside of the normal school day.
The Maintenance staff of 1 is responsible for 10 buildings and completed approximately 900 maintenance work orders in this school year! What’s more, the department converted a custodial closet to a family restroom at the High School and gave Central Office an internal face-lift
Big Rapids Transportation Department
Our bus drivers transported, on average, 835 students per day. This year, our buses safely traveled over 175,000 miles for routes, trips, and athletics!