Two Western Michigan University professors have almost $30 million to improve education in Grand Rapids Public Schools. From the WMU Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications on Tuesday, Drs. Patricia Reeves and Jianping Shen were awarded a $29.5 grant through the U.S. Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods Program.

Through their efforts, WMU is teaming up to bring success to students, starting even earlier than Kindergarten.

“Western along with a group of partners, including Baxter Community Center, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Family Futures, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kent Intermediate School District and LINC UP, will create a complete continuum of cradle-to-career solutions for both educational programs and family and community supports, with great schools at the center.”

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The five-year project will address a pipeline of 14 evidence-based solutions for student success, focusing on school readiness, literacy and math success, transitions to middle and high school, post-secondary prep and a variety of student and family health and security targets.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which has invested in Grand Rapids and built the prototype for the partnership, helped bring organizations together for this important work.

"We are proud to have partnered in the collaborative effort that has led to the exciting announcement of a Promise Neighborhoods award for Grand Rapids," says Yazeed Moore, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "At the Kellogg Foundation, children are at the heart of everything we do, and we know that for all children to thrive, their communities need to be equitable places of opportunity.”

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