District Information

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.

  • BRPS students excel in Advanced Placement courses.  BRPS students also continue to earn hundreds of college credits each year.  

  • 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 third consecutive year that Big Rapids has been honored with this award.  

  • Our elementary and secondary schools have also earned the State awards of "Michigan Blue Ribbon Exemplary School," "Michigan Beating the Odds School,"  "Michigan Rewards School", and a "Lighthouse Leader in Me" school award.

  • 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 receiving high academic ratings from the Michigan Department of Education. 1-1 technology supports the delivery of individualized instruction and enhances our daily curriculum. Teaching with a focus on supporting and nurturing all areas of students' development and learning is a priority. 

  • 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 9 years, we have been dedicated and committed to implementing and instilling the 7 Habits, “life-ready” skills from Dr. Stephen Covey.  

  • School Wellness - 2019 & 2020 Michigan School Wellness Gold Award recipient. “The Michigan schools recognized with School Wellness Awards have gone above and beyond to create healthy environments that support lifelong healthy habits.” Robert Gordon, MDHHS Director. This program aims to engage schools statewide in creating healthy school environments and sustaining policy and environmental changes. Schools that have achieved all of these elements are recognized with the top-level Gold Award. Brookside was recognized as one of 16 1st place Gold award winners in the state.

  • Community Mentors - This unique, 9 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 the community is an integral part of educating students at Brookside. 

  • Community Activities - Brookside continues to celebrate student success with many activities throughout the year. We thank our PTO as well as our community for their commitment to building events & activities. Each year brings the following outstanding events and opportunities showcasing student leadership roles and achievement: Annual Leader in Me Leadership Day, Community Service Projects, Science Share, Family Literacy Night, PTO Move-A-Thon, Caught Being a Cardinal Monthly Assemblies, “Sharpen the Saw” Days, March is Reading Month Activities & Family Bagels & Books Event, Track & Field, Lunch on the Hill and 4th Grade Celebration.

  • The Michigan Department of Education nominated Riverview Elementary for recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.  Riverview met several criteria based on the performance of students with the state assessment in reading (or English language arts) and mathematics. Riverview was awarded as a National Blue Ribbon School for Exemplary High Performance in 2020 making them one of the top 15% of schools in the country.

  • 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 look for the best 21st Century learning opportunities for students, and actively engage them by using the latest academic content and interactive online programs.

  • Our learning environment is enhanced through a partnership with Ferris State University, which includes FSU 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 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!

  • Academic:  This spring the middle school recognized 255 students in grades 5th- 8th that earned the Presidential Gold Academic awards for GPAs that ranged from 3.5 - 4.0.  Another 125 students earned recognition for Presidential Silver awards for having a GPA 3.0 - 3.49.  This school year eleven 5th graders, ten 6th graders, 13 7th graders, and 16 8th graders earned perfect 4.0 GPAs.  BRMS also gave special recognition to our 8th graders that maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA throughout all four years at BRMS.  Those students were Abby Doering, Elizabeth English, Cooper Flachs, Kennadi Fuller, Cole Haist, Adalyn Kiebala, Lily Lacross and Noah Sweppenheiser. 

  • Activities and Clubs:  The middle school robotics program hosted its first-ever home Robotics competition in May.  This year's team, nicknamed FTC Robotics, placed second in the event out of 19 schools from northern and western Michigan regions.  Coaches Cory Pitney, Marty Aldrich and Ken Draves lead the way for our 7th/8th grade team.

  • High School Musical:  This past February Big Rapids Middle School Drama presented “High School Musical Jr.”! Based on the hit Disney Channel Original Movie.  Director Devann Hattis, assisted by 8 BRPS staff members, 17 high school drama students, and a cast of over 60 students, told the story of Troy, Gabriella, and the students of East High as they learned to navigate the status quo of being in high school.

  • BRMS PTO:  Middle school students raised over $30,000 this fall’s PTO Foam Frenzy!  The Foam Frenzy was the first of its kind for BRMS.  The event course wound through Hemlock park along Big Rapids scenic Riverwalk where students were covered in bubbles.  The Foam Frenzy is our PTO’s one-time ask that supports all students and staff.  This year’s fundraiser supported field trips, building & classroom supplies, school assemblies, academic events, subscriptions and the geography bee. 

  • Boys Basketball:  This winter saw our 8th grade boys basketball team navigate the CSAA undefeated.  The boys finished with a perfect 12-0 season.  The Cardinals were led by veteran coaches Kent Ingles and Brennan Walsh. 

  • Spring Track and Field Records Fall:  This spring both our boys and girls track and field teams had very successful seasons with many athletes on both teams setting their personal bests.  This spring also saw multiple school records fall.  8th grader Madelyn Koepke broke her own school record this school year in the long jump and 7th grader Nalaya Fricke broke two school records in the 200 m & 400 m dash.

  • Big Rapids High School has been ranked by US News and World Report as one of 2022's Best High Schools in America.  BRHS has earned the distinction as one of America's best high schools several times over the past decade.  Rankings are calculated including criteria such as college readiness, State assessment proficiency, and graduation rates amongst other criteria.  BRHS ranked in the top 18% of all high schools in the US.

  • The marching band earned straight Division I ratings at the marching festival in Reed City last fall.  Both Concert Band and Wind Symphony earned straight Division I ratings at the band & orchestra festival last spring hosted here at BRHS.  We also raised over $10,000 this fall for new uniforms and we are ordering them for next school year!

  • The choir program saw growth and achievement at every level this past school year! Three of our high school choirs got top ratings at the Festival, and all of our District and State Solo and Ensemble participants earned top ratings as well. Student leaders at both schools are mentoring younger students in our Choir Buddies program, a pen pal mentoring opportunity between middle and high school students. All choirs are singing music at a higher level than they were last year, and numbers continue to grow, especially at the high school level. Fifty students auditioned and signed up for Serenade in the fall!

A special moment for the program was during the third trimester. All choirs at the middle and high school learned a piece called “Prayer of the Children”. All students from 6th to 12th grade performed this piece at both spring concerts dedicated to the people of Ukraine. A social studies teacher from each school came in as a guest teacher to each classroom to make sure the students had a clear understanding of the conflict in Ukraine and what the people of Ukraine are going through. At the concerts, we accepted donations to Ukrainian Red Cross. Connecting to and understanding current world events is an important part of a choral music curriculum, and there's no better way than through song. Plus, everyone got to meet and sing with their choir buddy! The middle school students were especially inspired by the sound, maturity, and musicality of the high school singers.

  • The Drama Program performed Our Town, Game of Tiaras, Once Upon a Mattress, and two Night of Theatres. Students attended the National Theatre Festival and the two performances both earned superior ratings. Students earned many superiors at State Festival and the three seniors earned over one million dollars in college scholarship offers Including Alex Dubowski, Alexandra Busch, and Aliza "Sally" Taubitz.

  • We would like to give a shout-out to Scott’s Body Shop.  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!

BRVS expanded to offer flexible learning opportunities for ALL students, grades K-12!  Typical active enrollment ranges between 90-100 students.  The 2021-22 school year saw numbers increase to the 170-180 student range, with over 50 K-8 students participating in BRVS!

  • Four Green Fields Farm:  BRVS students closed out Trimester 1 with a field trip to 4GFF this year.  Students roasted hot dogs, took on the corn maze, and enjoyed a wagon ride of the farm.

  • HS Classes Passed: BRVS high school students have completed over 215 courses so far this year and are on track for another year of 400+ courses. 

  • Dual Enrollment: Over the past three trimesters, BRVS students have earned a total of 16 college credits through dual enrollment opportunities.

  • Career Center: 12 BRVS students have been enrolled at the MOISD Career Center this year and several of those students have been recognized for their outstanding effort in those programs.

  • Homeschool Connection: A total of 15 homeschool students have participated at BRVS this school year.  Our homeschool connection brings resources and supports to homeschool families who want the flexibility of a homeschool experience but who can also take advantage of access to an aligned curriculum!

  • BRVS at the DLAC: Mr. Tim Buckingham once again represented BRVS on the national stage at the annual DLAC conference in Atlanta, GA.  Mr. Buckingham continues to advocate for students here in Big Rapids and well beyond, helping other schools create alternative learning options for kids.

  • Making the Grade: Thomas Peterson, Class of 2022 senior student, represented BRVS on the local television show Making the Grade.  Thomas joined Mr. Cumings as they discussed BRVS and what makes it such a special program for local students.  Video Link:  https://vimeo.com/656844440

Team Highlights 2021-22

  • Boys’ Soccer won a district championship!  Aden Herron set a school record with 30 goals in a season and earned First Team All-State Honors.  Brady Fox was All-State honorable mention.

  • Boys’ Tennis finished 7th at the State Finals!  Owen Westerkamp and Nathan Sanders earned individual All-State Honors!

  • Cross Country sent Ryan Ososki to the State Finals!  Ryan has signed a NLI to run at Ferris State University and Kate Langworthy signed to run at Northern Michigan University.

  • Football made another trip to the playoffs!  Wil Strickler and Jamal Strickland were named All-Region honorees.

  • Girls’ golf finished 5th at regionals.  Emily Mathewson was named First Team Academic All-State.  Kiali Stout qualified for the State Finals!

  • Boys’ basketball claimed another CSAA Title!

  • Girls’ basketball finished second in the CSAA and Rylie Haist was All-State honorable mention.

  • Bowling sent Johnny Cook to the State Finals.

  • Softball claimed a CSAA Title and District Championship on their way to setting numerous school records!  Rylie Haist and Marissa Warren were All-State honorable mention.

  • Girls’ soccer won the CSAA championship and claimed a District Title!  Julia Waltz and Kyra Couch were named All-State honorable mention.

  • Boys’ golf claimed their 19th straight CSAA title and a regional championship!

  • Track sent Owen Westerkamp and Makenna Rautio to the State Finals!

  • Numerous teams received Academic All-State honors!

  • Nine student-athletes signed to play at the collegiate level!

  • Mark Posey was named the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association (MIGCA) Boys’ Golf Coach of the Year!

This summer marks the 15th year for the Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Food Program!  It is hosted at the Big Rapids Middle School, weekdays from June 7th through August 12th from 11:00am to 1:00pm.  The Summer Fun Program is free and includes a healthy meal, various crafts, activities, and a Summer Reading Program.  It is available to all children 18 years of age and younger.

Big Rapids Food Service served approximately 118,077 breakfast and 244,581 lunches during the regular 2021-22 school year.  This is an average of 775 breakfast and 1600 lunches per day.

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.

 

  • 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!

  • Our transportation staff includes thirteen regular route drivers, two sub drivers and eighteen buses in fleet.   

  • According to our Student Count Day numbers, our drivers safely provided 1,084 rides each day, covering approximately 942 miles. 

  • We safely transported students a total of more than 169,560 miles over the year.

  • Over the course of the school year, we have provided 195,120 safe rides for students.

  • 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 for staff and students.

 

  • 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.