GV receives $15.5 million grant to partner with Battle Creek


GVSU hopes to encourage Battle Creek’s students to seek out higher education through summer programs. COURTESY | GVNOW

Sarah Edgecomb, News Editor

This May, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation granted Grand Valley State University $15.5 million to work with Battle Creek Public Schools to bring higher education to its students. The partnership will span five years and aims to help both students and teachers at BCPS through educational programs, mentorships and hands-on university experience.

We know how education positively affects the entire climate of a region, and we look forward to a fruitful relationship and successful outcomes for the students, teachers and members of the community,” said former president Thomas J. Haas.

Since its creation, the partnership has opened summer camps for BCPS students to broaden their horizons and introduce them to GVSU’s campus. STEPS was a June camp that allowed middle school girls to explore STEM fields by building a radio-controlled airplane. 40 BCPS students also attended the 10th annual sHaPe camp, which taught students about health care professions through hands-on learning.

WKKF president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron said that the partnership will affect the economic growth in Battle Creek through easier and earlier access to education.

“This new partnership reflects the commitment to collaboration that is guiding our shared efforts for children and families in Battle Creek,” Montgomery Tabron said. “It is creating a new pathway in our community — one that ultimately can increase access to jobs and talent in our region.”

Along with enrolling in STEM-focused summer camps, high school students will be eligible to enroll in university education and health science classes. Camps will also be aimed at young girls to increase gender equity in STEM fields as well as spur interest in higher education. Teachers will also benefit through the partnership with mentorship opportunities, instructional help and curriculum development. Additional programs will support classroom assistants in becoming certified teachers and bring more teachers to the Battle Creek school district.

Superintendent Kim Carter said that the emphasis on developing their current teachers will benefit the district greatly.

“The GVSU partnership will create a student-teacher pipeline to develop the next generation of local teachers right here in Battle Creek and help further develop our current teaching staff through university-led mentorships and professional development,” she said.

To aid with easy access, GVSU has opened an outreach center in Battle Creek to make student services accessible within the community.