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Kalamazoo Promise

 

 

The Kalamazoo Promise is a unique scholarship that provides up to 100 percent, post-secondary tuition and fee assistance for every Kalamazoo Public Schools graduate. Begun in 2005, thanks to the generosity of anonymous donors, the Kalamazoo Promise has provided more than $67 million scholarships to more than 4,000 students. 

Eligibility: One of the most unique elements of the Kalamazoo Promise is its scope of eligibility. The scholarship is open to ALL students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools, 2006 and beyond, are residing in the district and attending KPS for four years or more. Enrollment and residency must be continuous. The tuition benefit is graduated, with students who attend kindergarten through 12th grade receive 100 percent tuition coverage. The amount of tuition decreases for subsequent years of enrollment ending with students who enroll by at least ninth grade receiving 65 percent. 

The Promise is good at all public universities and colleges in Michigan, as well as at the private schools associated with the Michigan Colleges Alliance. Sixty-two institutions participate in the program.

For more information, visit our Kalamazoo Promise page

State of the District

 

By Dr. Michael F. Rice, Superintendent

As we begin the 2017 school year, we are proud to announce that the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) graduated more students this year than any year in the Promise era: 648 students. In addition to very large graduating classes at Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix—292 and 274 students, respectively—we also graduated the second largest graduating class in Phoenix history: 68 students. Finally, our new, small, hybrid high school— the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program—graduated 14 students, with dozens more earning high school credits.

While the state has yet to announce high school graduation rates for 2017—typically, the state releases the rates in the winter, after extensive review—we are optimistic that our rates will continue to rise when the state announces them this winter.

The good news, though, is not limited to high school g r a d u a t e s . It extends to improvement on the state’s M - S T E P reading and math tests, given last spring, whose results the state released on Aug. 29.

M-STEP is a challenging series of tests, one that came out of a national movement to create greater rigor in curriculum across the country. In fact, statewide, in only one grade in only one subject (grade 5 English language arts) did the state’s students exceed 50 percent at or above proficiency. In all other grades in both English language arts and math, the state’s percentage of students at or above proficiency was between 34 and 44 percent.

That said, progress is progress. Comparing spring 2016 and spring 2017 M-STEP English language arts (reading) results, KPS raised its performance in 5 of 6 grades tested: in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. Performance declined in only one grade: grade 7. By contrast, the state had lower performance in 5 of 6 grades: all but grade 5.

When measured by free and reduced-price lunch percentage, KPS is approximately 50 percent poorer than the state as a whole. Test results—particularly standardized or state test results—are often highly correlated with socioeconomic status. All else being equal, schools with higher concentrations of middleclass students tend to outperform schools with higher concentrations of working-class and poor students.

While the state’s results on M-STEP exceed the district’s, the gap between the state and KPS has begun to narrow. Indeed, in all but grade 7, KPS narrowed the gap with the state. KPS narrowed the gap by 3 percentage points (30 percent) in grade 3, 3 percentage points (33 percent) in grade 4, 6 percentage points (50 percent) in grade 5, 1 percentage point (8 percent) in grade 6, and 5 percentage points (36 percent) in grade 8.

Comparing spring 2016 and spring 2017 M-STEP math results, KPS again raised its performance in 5 of 6 grades, as did the state. However, KPS narrowed the gap with the state in all six grades tested. KPS reduced the gap by 4 percentage points (33 percent) in grade 3, 2 percentage points (18 percent) in grade 4, 1 percentage point (11 percent) in grade 5, 2 percentage points (17 percent) in grade 6, 1 percentage point (7 percent) in grade 7, and 1 percentage point (8 percent) in grade 8.

We certainly have more work to do as a district and as individual schools, but so too does the state as a whole. Importantly, though, we are making progress, not simply on M-STEP, but on other measures, including graduation rates, as well. The greater rigor is a challenge for teachers and students, administrators and support staff, parents and others in the community, but collectively we are rising to the greater challenge. It’s a positive way to begin 2017-18.

2017 Graduation Rates

2017 State of the District PowerPoint

Frequent Questions
  • How many schools are in the district? We offer classes at 26 buildings. We have 17 elementary schools, five middle schools, and four high schools.
  • How many students attend Kalamazoo Public Schools? We have approximately 13,000 students. 
  • Do you offer preschool classes? Yes. KPS offers Pre-kindergarten Early Education Program (PEEP), which is a Great Start Readiness Program. The program has full- and half-day sessions, in select elementary schools across the district. Meals are provided and transportation may be available. For more information, call (269) 337-0095.
  • How old do you have to be to enroll in  kindergarten? Students must be 5 by Sept. 1 of the year they enroll. Each spring we hold a Kindergarten Orientation. The next one will be held March 14. If you'd like to register outside of orientation, please call Student Services at (269) 337-0161.
  • What documents do you need to register? To register, you will need a child's birth certificate, immunization record, proof of hearing and vision screening (if available), and two proofs of residency (such as: utllity bill, a lease agreement or mortgage document).
  • How do you know which attendance district a house is in? There is a boundary map on the right side of this page. If you click on it, it will take you to a map and a street directory, which will list addresses and school assignments. If you have questions, call KPS Communications at (269) 337-1572.
  • I’m interested in learning more about KPS, is it possible to tour the district? Yes. Please contact the KPS Communications to schedule a tour at (269) 337-1572 or email communications@kalamazoopublicschools.net .
  • What academic enrichment opportunities exist for students? KPS offers the A/T Program for academically talented students in early elementary. Older elementary students participate in Avant-Garde. In middle school, students can test into the Academically Talented program at Western Michigan University. High-achieving high school students can test for the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center. In addition, our high schools offer a wide range of Advanced Placement courses, through which students can earn college credit. High school students may also dual enroll at Western Michigan University or Kalamazoo Valley Community College. 
Curriculum

 

Kalamazoo Public Schools offers a curriculum to provide challenge, rigor, richness, and to promote high academic achievement. The curriculum is based on performance standards aligned to the Michigan Department of Education grade-level and subject expectations, as well as best teaching practices.

At the elementary level, there is a new comprehensive math curriculum called Eurkea Math. Students connect to real world skills that build math confidence, learn to be fluent in mathematics, and learn to visualize math, and develop reasoning skills. The elementary schools will also launch a writing series, called “Being a Writer.” It connects academic and social-emotional learning through the writing process. The teacher starts with discussions and models examples for students, and students develop their own writing voices through an exchange of ideas. Both will be implemented in the 2017-18 and  2018-19 school years.

Our secondary level curriculum emphasizes mastery of core subjects to prepare students for post-secondary education and the changing work force of the future. There are exploratory courses at the middle-school and high-school levels in areas of specific interest. The district offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses to challenge students to help them earn college credit. Other options for students include Early Middle College with more than 30 career paths leading to a high school diploma, associate’s degrees, or certificates; Education for Employment (EFE); Education for the Arts (EFA); and online courses.

 

Assessments

Students in KPS take the NWEA-Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test for pre- and post- assessments to guide teachers in their instruction and monitor academic progress throughout the school year. This national assessment helps to support student growth and mastery for every student. Teachers are able to target instruction to meet the needs of students.

Students take the state assessment, M-STEP, at the designated grade levels for English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. PSAT is given to ninth and 10th graders. The SAT is given to 11th graders along with WorkKeys. MI-Access is used for students with disabilities at the designated grade levels.

In addition, the district provides benchmark assessments to monitor growth for elementary students to and district common growth assessments at the secondary level. This includes the core curricular areas as well as PE, art, and music. High school students in Advanced Placement courses take the end-of-year advanced placement tests.

 

Maps

About Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is located in Southwestern Michigan approximately 136 miles west of Detroit and 145 miles east of Chicago. Founded in 1831, the city is the county seat and is easily accessible from both I-94 and U.S. 131, which cross the state from east to west and north to south, respectively. It is located just 45 minutes east of Lake Michigan.

Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. It has two nationally recognized healthcare systems, diverse and affordable housing, and many parks, lakes, and golf courses.

A wide variety of industries and businesses call Kalamazoo home, including major players in the pharmaceutical, medical science, and craft beer industries. The city also offers an array of cultural attractions including professional theaters, dance trouples, an award-winning community theater, a major keyboard festival, museums, visual arts, and more.

For more information on Kalamazoo, visit www.kalamazoocity.org/ or www.discoverkalamazoo.com.