Engaged Parents + Community Partners Provide Supportive Network at Kalamazoo Public Schools

KPS Kalamazoo Public Schools

Kalamazoo Public Schools Welcome Over 12,000 Students Annually in its Classrooms

Kalamazoo Public Schools
1220 Howard Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

If you live in the Kalamazoo area, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Kalamazoo Public Schools. As one of the largest school districts in the region serving over 12,000 students, they’re a hard one to miss.

This large student population also requires a lot of real estate: KPS consists of 25 schools (17 elementary, four middle schools, and four high schools) plus a virtual program for K-12 students.

Within those 25 buildings and the surrounding community, a supportive team of educators, parents, and community organizations work tirelessly to improve student achievement and prepare students for post-secondary success.

Kalamazoo Public Schools provides free preschool, instructional technology, bilingual support, advanced course offerings, and community engagement.

Through these efforts and many others, students have more opportunities to thrive in and out of the classroom.

KPS by the Numbers

Students: Over 12,000 in 25 schools
Buildings: 17 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle Schools, 4 High Schools
One Virtual Program: K-12
Community Partners: 250+ Organizations
2022 High School Graduates: 751*
2005 High Schools Graduates: 454
*based on preliminary data

KPS Graduation Numbers Continue to Climb

With an increase from 454 graduates in 2005 to over 750 graduates in 2022, it’s clear that Kalamazoo Public School’s investments in its students are paying off.

One major contributing factor to this growth is The Kalamazoo Promise.

What is The Kalamazoo Promise?

The Kalamazoo Promise is an anonymously funded scholarship program providing up to 100 percent of tuition and mandatory fees paid for at in-state post-secondary educational institutions.

The Promise scholarship can be applied to over 60 Michigan institutions, trade programs, community colleges and universities.

Since it began in 2005, The Promise has awarded more than 7,000 KPS graduates with more than $180 million in scholarships. 

District-Wide Programs Help Students Thrive

KPS supports its students and their families through district-wide programs and initiatives.

They offer bilingual support, social-emotional learning resources, instructional technology and the Newcomer Program, which supports families who recently immigrated to the United States.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Kalamazoo Public Schools supports all learners, including those who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL).

Among its diverse population, KPS includes families that come from approximately 60 different language backgrounds.

ESL Program Goals

The goals of the ESL program in Kalamazoo Public Schools include the following:

1 – To enable students to become proficient in English.
2 – To enable students to achieve at grade level in content area instruction.
3 – To help improve students’ self-concept.
4 – To increase parental involvement.
5 – To increase the effectiveness of all mainstream teachers and other staff when working with English Language Learners.
6 – To increase awareness and understanding of language acquisition and the strategies that support the learning of English Language Learners.

El Sol Elementary School

In addition to a robust ESL program, KPS also offers a unique dual-language immersion program at El Sol Elementary School.

Students spend 50 percent of their instructional time in English and 50 percent in Spanish. This program offers full-day kindergarten, a diverse student population, and instruction that focuses on strong academic achievement in all core areas.

Instructional Technology

Using computers and other technologies, KPS teachers enhance their instruction and engage students in new ways.

Tools such as Smartboards and document cameras make classes more interactive and fun. And by using the Internet, students can travel to other parts of the world without leaving their classrooms.

KPS also teaches common software platforms such as Skype and Timetoast to ensure students stay up to speed with the newest learning methods in a fast-changing environment.

Kalamazoo Public Schools provides a Chromebook to all students and will continue to invest in instructional technology to elevate classroom learning methods.

The Social Emotional Learning (SEL) & Professional Development Center

KPS values the importance of the social-emotional health of its students and staff; this support is evident through the opening of the only SEL center in Michigan in November of 2021.

Through a $1 million grant from the Stryker Johnston Foundation, KPS created the Social Emotional Learning and Professional Development Center in the former Oakwood Elementary School.

What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social-emotional learning (SEL) encompasses self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

SEL Center Features & Programs

The SEL Center is not just for students: this center will be a community resource for KPS staff, students and their families:

• Lending library
• Meeting rooms
• Sensory equipment including wobble chairs and fidget tools

• Family nights
• Classes for adults learning English
• Food pantry
• Clothing closet
• Book clubs
• Training sessions

Newcomer Program

All families are welcome in Kalamazoo Public Schools, including ones that have just recently moved to the United States.

The Newcomer Program provides a structured approach to provide the academic, social and cultural tools to help K-12 students and their families transition to becoming successful members of the community.

“Newcomer Centers” are located in three schools and work with students and their families for a few weeks or months until they are comfortable fully transitioning into mainstream classes.

KPS Newcomer Centers
• Lincoln International Studies School
• Milwood Magnet School
• Phoenix High School

Resources for Parents
• ESL classes
• Childcare
• Social supports

How KPS’ PEEP Preschool Program is Different

Kalamazoo Public Schools has made preschool a priority for its residents with its comprehensive Pre-Kindergarten Early Education Program (PEEP), for KPS families.

PEEP is a State of Michigan Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) offering high-quality, free, or low-cost preschool to more than 400 KPS students annually.

Students attend mornings, afternoons, or full-day preschool in 11 of KPS’ elementary schools with highly qualified teachers and a structured curriculum.

Is PEEP Really FREE?

Yes. PEEP is a free preschool program for qualifying KPS families.

Families with income above 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level pay a small fee for PEEP services, as required by the state legislature.

For a family of four, 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level is a yearly income of approximately $64,000. Tuition fees are charged through Kalamazoo RESA. 

Four Reasons Why KPS Kids Thrive in PEEP

Kalamazoo Public Schools recognizes the value of early education for children and therefore offers a high-quality preschool program for its residents.

“When you think of building a house we do not start with the roof, we pour a strong foundation for a strong structure. The same applies to education, if we pour into our youngest students, we help them develop strong skills for school success.”

– Elizabeth Jackson-Spaner, Early Childhood Education Coordinator/Greenwood Elementary Principal

1 – Preschoolers Maximize One-on-One Time With Small Class Sizes

KPS knows that a low-class size is ideal for little learners, allowing more time with their teachers.

As a State of Michigan Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), PEEP meets the highest standard for the very lowest class size with only 18 children in a class.

Classrooms with 18 students have a teacher, associate teacher (paraprofessional), and tutor. PEEP’s adult-to-child ratio is one adult for every six children. This provides for individualized attention and teaching.

2 – PEEP Offers a Strong, Structured Curriculum

KPS fosters learning with an organized, engaging curriculum for its PEEP preschoolers. This strong foundation for school readiness uses the HighScope Preschool Curriculum.

The PEEP curriculum focuses on eight content areas:
• Approaches to learning
• Social and emotional development
• Physical development and health
• Language, literacy, and communication
• Mathematics
• Creative arts
• Science and technology
• Social studies

3 – PEEP Teachers Have Advanced Education & Training

Teachers must have a four-year degree and teaching certificate with an early childhood education or child development endorsement or specialization. Associate teachers must have a Child Development Associate’s (CDA) or the equivalent.

4 – KPS Provides Flexible Schedules & Transportation

PEEP’s preschoolers receive instruction five days a week with multiple scheduling options. Families can select mornings, afternoons, or full-day instruction.

KPS also provides bus transportation from home or childcare (located in the district) to school and back.

PEEP Enrollment Requirements

PEEP is available for children that turn 4 by December 1. This program currently serves almost 400 children across 11 KPS elementary schools.

Enrollment Paperwork
1 – Proof of household income (W-2, pay stubs, proof of SSI or other assistance)
2 – Proof of residency in KPS district
3 – Child’s birth certificate
4 – Child’s immunization record

Three Ways to Apply
1 – Mail it: PEEP Office/Greenwood- 3501 Moreland St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007
2 – Email it: Peep-office@kalamazoopublicschools.net
3 – Online Application

Schedule a Preschool Tour

If you have questions or would like to schedule a tour of a PEEP classroom, please call the PEEP office (269) 337-0095.

Elementary Schools

Kalamazoo Public Schools has 17 elementary schools to serve children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

For many students, kindergarten is their first full-day school experience and is a big step to starting their Promise journey in KPS.

Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Kindergarten Program

Full-day kindergarten is offered at all 17 elementary schools within KPS. To enroll, a child must be 5 years old by September 1.

Waivers are available for kids that turn 5 between September 1 and December 1.

School assignment is initially based on home address; families can use this locator to determine assigned schools.

Kindergarten Skills & Areas of Focus

Kindergarten encourages learning through play, and there is plenty to learn in a KPS classroom.

Students enrolled in KPS kindergarten classrooms learn the following:
• Sharing and reading books
• The alphabet/letter recognition
• Counting
• Identifying sounds and words
• Drawing and writing
• Writing sentences
• Gross and fine motor skills
• Speech and language
• Social skills, including cooperating and working with peers

Kindergarten Enrollment FAQs

Is busing provided?
Elementary students (K-5) are eligible for transportation if they reside more than one mile from the school, and are attending their designated boundary school or a magnet school.

When is orientation?
Elementary schools will host orientation sessions on March 8, 2023.

What papework is required for enrollment?
1 – Child’s birth certificate
2 – Child’s immunization record
3 – Proof of hearing and vision screen (if available)
4 – Two proofs of address (utility bill, lease agreement, mortgage)

Elementary School Spotlight: Northglade Montessori Magnet School

Launched in 2001, Northglade is an American Montessori Society-accredited school designed around the educational philosophy developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori.

A public Montesorri elementary school is a rarity in Michigan, and this one is special: the Northglade family is a tight-knit community with an active PTO.

Following Montessori practices, Northglade supports self-directed learning in multi-age classrooms. Social-emotional skills are also emphasized here including critical thinking, independence, citizenship and accountability.

Northglade students look forward to recurring activities including Breakfast Buddies, the Northglade Fun Run and the Black History Month Wax Museum.

Northglade Montessori’s Fun Run

Middle & High School

KPS wants to ensure its graduates are ready for both post-secondary education and the workforce of the future.

Through advanced course offerings and innovative programs, Kalamazoo Public Schools is setting its students up for post-graduation success.

Advanced Course Offerings

KPS offers a variety of advanced classes and programs for its secondary students in its rigorous and diverse curriculum:

Middle schoolers can enroll in Algebra I, Spanish I, Basic Design, and Computer Applications, giving them a jump start on high school.

Similarly, high school students can earn college credits from more than 20 Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

The Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) at Western Michigan University offers advanced and accelerated math and English classes for students beginning in seventh and eighth grade.

Additional Options for High Schoolers
• Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC)
• Early/Middle College (KVCC)
• Education for Employment (EFE)
• Education for the Arts (EFA)
• Dual enrollment with WMU or KVCC
• Online courses

Summer STEM Program

Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Math and Science Summer Institute offers a STEM boost for incoming ninth graders before they start high school.

Summer STEM students earn a half credit of high school science while participating in engaging activities such as computer-aided design to create bug catchers, collecting invertebrates at a local lake, and canoeing at a park to take water quality samples.

They also conduct experiments, analyze data and present their findings to teachers and their peers.

STEM Program Partners
• Michigan College Alliance
• Kalamazoo College
• The Kalamazoo Promise
• Kalamazoo Nature Center

What is “STEM?”

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM programs can help generate interest in science-based fields and encourage graduates to pursue STEM-based careers.

Career Launch Kalamazoo (CLK)

KPS has a unique youth apprenticeship program called Career Launch Kalamazoo (CLK) available for high school juniors, seniors, and graduating seniors.

Students in the CLK program learn through paid, on-the-job training under the direction of an industry mentor. Youth apprentices also take college classes related to their apprenticeship.

All education, training, equipment, tools and uniforms costs are covered. Students start earning $15 an hour with the option for regular increases and can earn industry-based certifications and college degrees as they climb the career ladder.

CLK Apprenticeship Industries
• Information Technology
• Healthcare
• Education
• Business Services
• Manufacturing

Students explore career options at MiCareerQuest Southwest

Community & Parental Support

KPS knows that a student’s success can only happen when support comes from both inside and outside of the school’s walls.

Parental Engagement

Children excel when parents are engaged in their children’s education. When parents are involved, children benefit academically, behaviorally, and socially.

To build this community, KPS parents are encouraged to join their school’s parent organization. The parent organization’s role goes well beyond school fundraising; it provides a strong collaboration and connection between parents and staff.

Community Support

In addition to the schools and students’ families, KPS works with over 250 different organizations within the community.

The support these partners provide includes tutoring, extracurricular programming, and donations.

Featured KPS Community Partners

The Kalamazoo Promise
The Promise is an anonymously-funded scholarship program providing free college tuition to KPS graduates.

Community in Schools of Kalamazoo
CIS places coordinators on-site in schools to connect students with resources and services. They boast over 700 volunteers committed to addressing high school dropout rates.

Kalamazoo Public Library
Open since 1872, KPL serves over 115,000 people through five locations in the Kalamazoo area.

Gryphon Place
For 50 years, Gryphon Place has served the community through suicide prevention, conflict resolution, housing and utility payment assistance. Its restorative practices help keep kids in the classroom.

Community Investment

Kalamazoo citizens also believe in Kalamazoo Public Schools, showing their support through bond approvals.

The 2022 bond was approved overwhelmingly by voters and will provide funds to construct a new El Sol Elementary School, for building, technology and safety upgrades, and new school buses.

The 2018 bond provided funds for a new Edison Academy which will open its doors to students in August 2023.

Kalamazoo Public Schools

1220 Howard Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 337-0100

Kalamazoo Public Schools