"It's dual immersion, so they're learning English and Spanish speaking skills."

Steve and Nora Faber’s commitment to the Grand Rapids Public Schools and their neighborhood is one in the same.

The couple said they know a strong city is dependent on a vital school district that’s responsive to its family’s needs. As young parents, the couple banded together with neighbors in their Belknap/Lookout neighborhood and committed to each other that they’d send their kids to what is now Coit Creative Arts Academy, back when the Grand Rapids Public School was considering closing the building.

“When we moved in they were starting to talk about closing the school but through Nora’s work as a teacher and mine working with urban youth we could see how important that little neighborhood school was to the future of our neighborhood and its ability to draw new families,” Steve Faber said.

The couple has since made what for them was a hard choice to leave Coit and send their two sons to Southwest Community Campus, one of GRPS’s many theme schools. The school offers a rigorous two-way Spanish English immersion program, including the usual array of elementary school subjects, where their kids spend half the school day being taught in Spanish and the other half in English.

The Fabers said the school fulfills a number of personal values, especially exposing their kids to different cultures.

“Southwest was really consistent with our values of living in the city, and really all kinds of things like social, environmental, and even economic diversity.” Steve Faber said. “Both of our kids have thrived.”

The Fabers said they’ve been impressed with the range of opportunities offered by GRPS. They said they wouldn’t have left the great experience at Coit without the equally exciting program at Southwest.

“After we saw the opportunities that Grand Rapids Public Schools was offering, it was just a great fit,” Steve Faber said. “Once you’re in there, you realize I would stack up a GRPS elementary school with any school anywhere.”


Act now! Apply today! Seats for theme schools and Centers of Innovation are limited and an application is required. Apply online at apply.grps.org, or visit any GRPS school or the Administration Building at 1331 Franklin St SE for a paper application.