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Grand Valley State University comes to Battle Creek, widening region’s access to college and career programming


Robyn Rosenthal        
W.K. Kellogg Foundation   
Tel: 810.444.0285             
Email: robyn.rosenthal@wkkf.org

Battle Creek, MI – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) today announced a partnership to increase regional access to higher education programming, strengthening the economic vigor of the community and ensuring children and families thrive. The partnership aims to expand the path to higher education options in Battle Creek, underscoring the commitment by area leaders to increase jobs, talent and create a culture of vitality in the city.

A five-year $15.5 million grant from WKKF to GVSU will enable the university to partner with BCPS to provide middle and high school students a pathway to high-demand jobs in the health care and education sectors; offer teachers enhanced professional development and mentorship opportunities; and continue to build a pipeline of talented educators here in Battle Creek.

Additionally, GVSU will open an outreach center in downtown Battle Creek this summer to coordinate student services, also enabling the entire community to inquire and access the university’s resources.


“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Kellogg Foundation and we are honored they looked to us to provide targeted educational programs in Battle Creek,” said Thomas J. Haas, president of Grand Valley State University. “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.”

The grant to GVSU marks the beginning of a strong partnership and vision to increase access to higher education options and build a powerful talent pool locally. It builds on a series of long-term investments to support the economic growth of the region. 

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


Jobs in science, technology and health are not only among the most high-paying jobs, but they are industries that continue to grow and need more skilled workers. Middle and high school students enrolled at BCPS will be able to attend STEM-focused summer camps where they will get hands-on experience in the health care, engineering and science fields.  They will receive valuable and highly-coveted exposure to a range of jobs available, and these programs will help encourage and position them to pursue these careers. High school students can enroll in university classes in education and health sciences to get a head start in their pathway to college and career.  Additionally, special camps will encourage young girls to explore math and sciences to promote greater gender equity in these fields.


Recognizing the need to invest in and retain public school teachers in Battle Creek, GVSU’s College of Education will offer professional development opportunities to Battle Creek Public School teachers through new teacher mentoring, leadership development and various programs to support curriculum design and instructional practices.  Additionally, classroom assistants will receive support to become certified public school teachers, and pipeline programs will be established to bring more educators to Battle Creek.

“The GVSU partnership will open up new, creative ways for BCPS to attract and retain talented teachers, 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 mentor-ships and professional development,” said Kimberly Carter, Battle Creek Public Schools superintendent. “We are thrilled that this partnership will help us continue to scale up excellence for our BCPS educators and students.”

Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs of Grand Valley State University, said the university looks forward to building a strong partnership with the district and community.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to work with Battle Creek Public Schools to offer their talented teachers professional development and teach students about the vital careers in health care and education,” Cimitile said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in learning and community engagement. We are excited to contribute our faculty’s expertise to help in the growth and economic health of the community.”


About W.K. Kellogg Foundation: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

About Grand Valley State University: Grand Valley State University, one of the 100 largest universities in the nation, attracts nearly 25,000 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university serving students from all 83 Michigan counties and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers 91 undergraduate and 41 graduate degree programs, and has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland. The university offers programming and classes from centers in Traverse City and Detroit. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.

About Battle Creek Public Schools: Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) is a school district located in Calhoun County, Mich., serving the City of Battle Creek as well as parts of Emmett, Pennfield and Bedford townships, and the City of Springfield. With a bold goal of achieving 100% success for every Bearcat, the district offers a broad range of educational experiences to meet the individual needs of students at all levels, including experiential learning, individualized instruction, advanced and accelerated curricula, and outdoor education. In 2017, BCPS received a historic investment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The district is now in the second year of a five-year transformation plan, advancing bold, top-to-bottom changes to provide a world-class career-, college- and culture-ready education for every student, in every grade, at every school.

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