Points of Pride
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.
BRHS, Brookside and Riverview Elementary have been recognized by the State of Michigan as a Michigan HEARTSafe School.
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 12 to 1 student to instructional staff ratio.
Together, Brookside and Riverview Elementary Schools averaged a 91.68 School Performance Index! They earned the top two scores in the entire MOISD when measured on student growth, proficiency, success, school quality, and participation.
BRPS students excel in Advanced Placement courses. BRPS students also earned 450 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.
Big Rapids Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This is the second consecutive year that Big Rapids has been honored with this award. Only 623 districts were recognized nationwide for this honor!
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.
- Academics & Technology- We are very proud to continue to receive high academic ratings from the Michigan Department of Education. In the last 5 years, we have received a “Beating the Odds & High Progress School” award. Current technology aids in the delivery of individualized instruction and enhances our daily curriculum.
- Leader in Me - Nationally Recognized as a Lighthouse School! Schools that achieve “Lighthouse” certification shine as an example of the Leader in Me process, taking it to its deepest and most impactful level of implementation. This outstanding title is awarded by Franklin Covey, to honor the attainment of a well-rounded leadership model. The Leader in Me provides our children with solid principles and skills to be successful beyond the school day and well into their future! For the last 6 years, we have been dedicated and committed to implementing and instilling the 7 Habits, “life-ready” skills from Dr. Stephen Covey. We join the elite 32 schools out of 146 in Michigan that have received Lighthouse status. Thank you to our student leaders and parents for their continued support for this initiative. We are committed to empowering leaders! Please follow www.leaderinme.org to see how schools are embracing new life-changing paradigms.
- 3,778 LIM Schools (521 Lighthouse awarded) in the United States
- 4,820 LIM Worldwide (589 Lighthouse awarded) in 54 Countries
- School Wellness - Recipient of the 2019-2020 & 2018-2019 School Wellness Gold Award by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Our continued efforts to promote and enhance the health and wellness of students through policy and environmental improvements have led to this achievement. Over the last 6 years, participation in several programs and many grants has improved physical activity, healthy eating habits, and overall student wellness. The Fuel Up To Play 60 & CATCH program continues to provide support in this area with over $19,000 in grant funds to create many opportunities for students to eat healthily and be physically active in school. Additions at Brookside include new playground accessories, soccer goals, activity sets, classroom brain break supplies, outdoor seating for small groups, flexible seating for the classrooms, enhancements to encourage healthy eating choices, and equipment to support our universal breakfast program.
- Community Mentors - This unique, 7-year initiative connects a community member with a classroom to become their mentor and super-hero. This relationship develops during the school year with visits, field trips to their place of business, and continuous collaboration throughout the year. Building positive relationships between school, students, parents, teachers, and community is an integral part of educating students at Brookside.
- Community Involvement - Brookside continues to celebrate student success with many activities throughout the year. We thank our PTO as well as our Parent Lighthouse Team for their commitment to parental involvement activities. Each year brings the following outstanding events and opportunities showcasing student leadership roles and achievement: Annual Leader in Me Leadership Day, Leadership Showcase, Community Service Projects, Science Share, Family Literacy Night, PTO Walk-A-Thon, Caught Being a Cardinal Monthly Assemblies, Sharpen the Saw Days, March is Reading Month Activities/Bagels & Books, Track & Field, Lunch on the Hill and 4th Grade Celebration.
- Riverview Elementary was one of just 15 schools in the state of Michigan to be recognized as an 'exemplary high performing school' with the honor of the National Blue Ribbon Award for 2020.
- 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 new interactive projectors, Chromebooks, document cameras, 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, student teachers, “Reading Literacy” work-study students, volunteers from FSU Athletic Department, social work students, psychology interns, 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 on the community/school relationship.
- The staff at Riverview look for the best 21st Century learning opportunities for students, and actively engage them by using the latest academic content and interactive online programs.
- 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, concerts, health & fitness, and parent-teacher conferences.
- Throughout the school year, Riverview students participate in community service projects, such as holiday door tag hanging, celebrating Nurse’s Week, and card-making for our troops. They continually build relationships and partnerships with community organizations.
- The State of Michigan released school ratings in the spring and Riverview Elementary was in the Top 5% percentile twice in the last 5 years, nominated for the 2019 National ESEA Distinguished Schools Award by the State of Michigan, and received a School Wellness Award for 2019-20.
- 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 Adds New Electives Options for Students - This school year BRMS added three new elective opportunities for students. Those classes are English in Action, Computer Science and STEAM. English in Action focuses on having students work on their presentation skills as they practice written and spoken language to create and perform their own works of art. Computer Science explores how computing and technology can impact the world we live in. STEAM uses math, science, technology, and engineering skills to help students learn through a project-based learning approach.
- BRMS PTO Color Run 2019 - BRMS students did an amazing job raising more than $26,000 raising the most money in Color Run history! The Color Run is our PTO’s one-time ask that goes to support all of our middle school students and teachers. This year the Color Run fundraiser will be used to support field trips, classroom supplies, physical education equipment, art room equipment, our band and choir programs, student and teacher online subscription programs, in-school assemblies, support clubs, science fair, and geography bee.
- Math Counts - The BRMS MATHCOUNTS team is once again lead by Mr. Blatchford. This is his 24th season coaching our students. This will be Mr. Blatchford’s last season leading our talented middle school mathematicians as he plans on retiring from teaching this spring at the end of the school year. There are twenty students on the BRMS MATHCOUNTS team.
- BRMS Continues Cards Program - BRMS continues its CARDS Program recognizing students on a weekly basis as part of our positive behavioral intervention and support program. Teachers nominate students for a weekly drawing based on their positive behavior and demonstrating Compassion for others, positive Attitudes, Responsibility, Determination, and Success in the classroom. This year the BRMS CARDS program was funded as part of a grant that was received from the Mecosta Canadian Lakes chapter of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel awarding BRMS $1,000.
- BRMS Farewell Parade - Hundreds of students, family members, and staff members participated in a farewell parade at BRMS on the last day of school June 4th. The parade was a great success allowing everyone the opportunity to say goodbye for the summer and an opportunity for our staff to wish our 8th graders well as they look forward to starting at Big Rapids High School this fall. BRMS also said goodbye to three of its retiring staff members at the parade including choir teacher Katie McInnis, 8th grade math teacher Lane Blatchford, and Counselor Sue Lenahan.
- BRMS Academic Awards Celebration - BRMS recognized 289 students in grades 5-8 this spring for earning the Presidential Gold Academic Award for maintaining a GPA 4.0 - 3.50 for the school year. Another 148 students earn the Presidential Silver Academic Award for successfully completing the school year with a cumulative GPA of 3.49 - 3.0. BRMS also recognized four 8th grade students Elise Devries, Joel Hardesty, Katherine McLeod, and Hayden Smalley for maintaining a perfect cumulative 4.0 grade point average throughout all four years at BRMS.
Big Rapids High School
BRHS has had an excellent 2019-20 school year with many highlights.
While it was a strange and unprecedented school year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, BRHS still had an excellent 2019-2020 school year with many highlights. We are very proud to be included again in the rankings for the U.S. News and World Report 2020 America’s Best High Schools! In addition, Big Rapids Public Schools is the recipient of the 2020 Best Communities for Music Education Award.
Congratulations to Big Rapids High School Top 10 Graduates of 2020 for academic excellence. The list includes Lucas Ashby, Hanna Brock, Payton Fuller, Jenna Hatchew, Vincent Johnson, Lewis Macdonald, Chloe Mathewson, Michael Mills, Joslin Prince, and Jonah Weber.
- Our Band Program enjoyed another successful year as they sent 3 students to the MSBOA All-State Band at the DeVos Performance Hall in January! Jacob McLeod, Jonah Weber, and Walker Weirts auditioned in October and earned the distinctive honor to be chosen to perform. Sara Daniels, class of 2019, had her poem "To My Mother" chosen for publication in Central Michigan University's first issue of The Great Lakes Platform. According to the producers, the publication is "a series of academic and creative works from high school students throughout the Great Lakes region" and is compiled by the Central Michigan University Honors Program. Only 21 pieces were selected for the volume.
- Every year Scott’s Body Shop sponsors our Commendable Cardinal Awards Program. The program is designed to nominate and honor students who have demonstrated positive behavior, character, habits, and attitudes each trimester. Students are nominated by BRHS staff and enjoy an invite to a special breakfast and earn one of eight chances to win a $15 gift card and pay it forward by selecting a school program of their choice to send $15. Thanks, Scott’s!
- BRHS partners with Ferris State University, Mid-Michigan College, and Lake Superior State University to offer students college courses on our campus. 87 students earned over 450 college credits!
- Our BRHS Rapidonian Yearbook staff submitted work to the International Honor Society for High School Journalism Competition for State and National Awards. Ann Nelson, Keegan Sims, Jordan Snow, Hannah O’Roarke, Makayla Kaiser, and Jacques Atwood earned 1st place finishes for their respective categories at the State level. Anika Lipar (Organization Writing) and Ann Nelson (Sports Feature Writing) earned the Quill and Scroll Honorable Mention National Awards. In addition, both Ann Nelson (Photo Illustration) and Jacques (Photo Illustration) were recognized as the Quill and Scroll First Place National Award Winners in their respective categories.
Big Rapids Virtual School
- Courses Completed – 505, Active Enrollment – 108, Total Students Served – 153
- 505 Classes Passed: BRVS students set a new record and surpassed 500 total classes passed for the first time in program history (previous record 465 classes.) Despite the coronavirus shutdown, our students continued to make progress toward graduation.
- Class of 2020: While BRVS delayed its graduation commencement ceremony in response to the Michigan Executive Order, we will celebrate 21 students who have met the requirements to become alumni of Big Rapids Virtual School. We are so excited to celebrate them on August 21, 2020 at 7:00pm at the BRHS Auditorium.
- Class of 2020 Grad Tour: On May 29, the BRVS staff took to the graduation celebration on the road and visited the homes of some of our Class of 2020 graduates. Staff members carpooled and set up a “stage” with a podium, backdrop, balloon arch, and graduation props - not to mention a megaphone and some thumping music!
- Hoodie Bunch: Students who complete four courses in a single trimester earn a BRVS hooded sweatshirt and join the annual Hoodie Bunch! This year’s bunch includes 22 students!
- 2020 Senior Cruise: BRVS would like to formally thank some special community members for organizing an incredible community celebration in light of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on normal graduation events. Thank you Shannon Kelley for making sure our kids felt special and thank you to Loni Sprague of Dezigns with Loni, who sponsored the signs for each of our 2020 BRVS graduates. The event was sponsored by B103.9 and certainly made our kids feel special despite the unfortunate school shutdowns.
Big Rapids Athletics
Team Highlights 2019-20
- Girls’ golf won the CSAA title, Regional Championship, and placed 5th at the State Finals. This was the highest place ever by a girls’ golf team and they also set the school record with a 331 score at the Regional Tournament. Hope Thebo placed 5th overall at the State Finals and Coach Mark Posey was inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in February!
- Cross Country had two athletes (Hanna Brock and Kaden Torres) advance to the State Finals.
- Boys’ basketball finished their 12th straight winning season; accumulating 212 wins during that time.
- Girls’ basketball claimed the CSAA title on their way to a 21-2 overall record.
- Girls’ bowling qualified for the State Finals as a team and Hope Thebo won the program’s first-ever State Championship! Hope qualified as the #9 seed for the tournament but upset the #1, #4, and #8 seeds on her way to the finals. In the finals, she beat her opponent by 28 pins!
- Wrestling sent Brody Sleeper to the State Finals!
- Numerous programs and individual athletes received Academic All-State honors!
- The spring season was canceled due to COVID-19, but our coaches and athletes continued to keep connected through social media, zoom, and google hangout! We are proud of how everyone handled the difficult situation! We are BR!
Other Highlights - Five female student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to participate in athletics at the Division II level! Congrats to Hanna Brock (cross country/track), Grace Fath (volleyball), Joslin Prince (softball), Eden Short (tennis), and Hope Thebo (golf). Four of the five young ladies will be at Ferris State University this fall while Grace heads to Wisconsin-Parkside. We also had a number of other student-athletes sign to compete at the community college level and Division three level. Wishing all of our student-athletes the best of luck at the next level!
Three-Sport Athlete Award - Jack Somsel and Chloe Miller were awarded plaques recognizing their efforts in becoming three-sport athletes. Jack participated in soccer, hockey, and baseball all four years of his career at BRHS. Chloe participated in golf, basketball, and soccer for three of her four years. Both were involved in other school activities while balancing their academics and athletics. Congrats to Jack and Chloe on their success both in and out of the classroom at BRHS!
Big Rapids Food Service
- Big Rapids Food Service served 153,941 lunches, 78,935 breakfasts, and 5,791 after-school snacks during the regular 2019-2020 school year. In addition, we served over 292,000 lunches and breakfast for the Unanticipated School Closure.
- Food Service has implemented Universal Free Breakfast at both Brookside and Riverview Elementary. The breakfast is offered, at no charge, to all students every morning throughout the school year. It has been a huge success with students, staff, and parents. We will continue this program at Brookside and Riverview Elementary for the 2020-21 school year.
- The Food Service Department takes pride in keeping our students healthy, happy, and active! On top of our regular training, four of our Food Service Employees hold certificates to accommodate students’ allergies.
Big Rapids Facilities & Grounds Department
- The BRPS Facilities and Grounds Department works daily on safety. We have certified BLS (Basic Life Support) trainers on staff, staff certified in lead paint safety, certified locksmith, asbestos contractor supervisor, certified asbestos inspector and Auditorium Manager. All Facilities Staff are CPR, AED and asbestos awareness trained.
- Some maintenance items include 12 District AED’s; First Aid Kits; sharps disposal and Safety Data Sheets.
- Schedule and maintain all annual State of Michigan required and other inspections for: 2 elevators; 2 multi-section bleacher systems; 6 fire panel reporting systems; 176 smoke sensors; 14 heat sensors; 45 duct detectors; 114 pull stations; 274 audiovisual notification devices; 2 kitchen fire suppression systems; 116 fire sprinklers; 181 fire extinguishers; 10 backflow cross contamination devices; 373 tests on potable water devices and 16 boilers; 1 chiller; 26 air conditioning units.
- Maintain air quality by regular preventative maintenance on air movement equipment in each room/space/hallway, filters, and filter media.
Promoting BR Pride, every day!
Big Rapids Transportation Department
- Our transportation staff includes 12 four-hour drivers, 2 six-hour drivers, 3 substitute drivers, a lead driver/secretary, a mechanic, and a supervisor.
- According to our Student Count Day numbers, our drivers safely provided 1,908 rides each day, covering approximately 989 miles.
- We safely transported students a total of more than 201,800 miles over the year.
- Our drivers also traveled over 5,000 miles transporting Big Rapids Early Childhood program students to and from Eastwood.
- Drivers enjoyed transporting for extracurricular activities and, in total, provided over 24,900 students and athletes with rides.
- Bond funding has allowed us to update our bus fleet and replace some older, high mileage buses. We are so thankful for the support and safety of staff and students.
Consider this: BRPS Transportation department provided a total of 368,360 rides in the 2019-20 school year. That's more than the population of Grand Rapids, MI (190,739) or the entire Upper Peninsula (311,361!)
Technology Resource Center
- The number of Chrome Devices in the district has grown from 935 in 2016-17 to 1650 in 2018-19.
- The Technology Resource Center improved internet connectivity for the district by adding more bandwidth, an additional internet connection, and a new district firewall. BRPS users download about 19 Terabytes of data, and provides outside users about 1.5 Terabytes of internet data each week.
- The Technology Resource Center improved security and safety of users’ internet experience by adding a new content filtering product. The new content filter provides robust tools to configure content filtering, improved reporting, and the ability for our classroom teachers to monitor student use of their devices. Teachers can remotely oversee student screens, keep students on task, share their screen, and block and allow specific sites within their classroom.
- The Technology Resource Center received over $38,000 in Erate grant funding to pay for Internet and WAN connecting the High School, the Middle School, Brookside, and Riverview Elementary Schools.
- The Technology Resource Center received Erate funding to help pay for over $34,000 to maintain and upgrade to District network infrastructure.
- The TRC deployed its first 1 to 1 technology initiative to students in 5th grade at Big Rapids Middle School. Each student was provided a chromebook to "own" the entire school year at school. As a result, students took ownership of the devices, decreased repair requests, and were able to use devices not only in their classroom, but also in band, art, physical education, and other 'specials' courses in which they were enrolled.