Dick DeVos Part of Grand Rapids Downtown Development

Dick DeVos doesn’t like urban sprawl. That’s why when Grand Rapids leaders floated an idea to build a sports and convention center north of downtown, Dick DeVos made plans to keep the venture in the city limits. At the time, DeVos was moving up the corporate ladder on his way to CEO of Amway Corporation. However, DeVos put that aside to start convincing community leaders that a downtown venue was the way to go.

 

If you asked Devos, he would say that he saw what happened when Detroit built major entertainment venues outside of their downtown area. He didn’t want Grand Rapids to suffer a similar fate. DeVos said that Detroit was a telltale “lesson,” and he wanted better for his City of Grand Rapids.

 

DeVos organized his informal lobbying group with the name Grand Action. The group was made up of local business leaders who wanted to see Grand Rapids entertainment stay in Grand Rapids. The group is responsible for the development of much of the Grand Rapids skyline including DeVos Place, DeVos Performance Hall, Van Andel Arena and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Because of their efforts, Grand Rapids has seen a renaissance. Old factories have been converted to apartments and condominiums, and more young people than ever are making downtown a destination. The City of Grand Rapids has followed suit making Rosa Parks Circle the hub of downtown activity.

 

The DeVos family didn’t just stop with business development as a way to improve the city. Rick DeVos, son of Dick DeVos is the founder of Art Prize, an art competition held semi-annually in Grand Rapids. Artists from around the world partner with businesses to display their work throughout the City of Grand Rapids. Visitors can see the art for free and vote on their favorites. Artists can win prizes based on the community vote as well as based on juried decisions from art experts.

 

While many wealthy families send their children to expensive boarding schools, Dick DeVos decided local was best for his own family. His children attended nearby Grand Rapids Christian High School. The school attracts local Christian families from a variety of economic backgrounds throughout the city. The DeVos family is also a donor and supporter of Potter’s House, a charter school for families of all incomes in the Grand Rapids area. DeVos and his wife Betsy Devos say that it’s their goal to make quality education available to families of all economic backgrounds.

 

Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.

Rocketship Schools Showing Leadership In Education and Throughout the Community

To ensure that students are successful in the classroom, they must have a strong foundation, built on leadership, with parents and teachers working together to help children excel in their education. No other charter or public school understands this better than Rocketship Public Elementary Charter Schools.

Rocketship Schools are raising the bar, setting the new standard for child education and overall student involvement. Their educational curriculum emphasizes the critical studies of STEM: consisting of the sciences, technology, engineering and math. The teachers of these studies heavily engage with their students, familiarizing themselves with the parents and families of their students and providing personal, tailored instructions for them to become better students. This becomes quite impactful for a student’s education, because now that the teachers have created a healthy and positive dialogue between them and the parents, the parents are now empowered to take the necessary actions needed to help their child excel; not mention, the parents are aligning with other parents, expressing the importance and benefits of teacher/parent collaborations. Rocketship fully understands that engagement between the teacher and parent is key to student success, as this is shown in the results, as communities that have Rocketship Schools in them are more cohesive, where the teachers and families of the students operate more as partners in education, rather than separate entities. The results are also shown from a national standardized testing standpoint, where Rocketship students largely outperform their charter and public school comrades in ELA and Math testing and score impressive retention rates of 90%, crushing the notion that children can’t obtain a great education in low income areas.

With same fervor needed to secure the success of their students, Rocketship places just as much value and care into their students as they do with their students’ families and communities. Best example given, would be when Rocketship came to the aid of fellow San Jose Rocketship student, Cesar and his surrounding community. Cesar, along with his mother Dulce and their family, were victims of the Coyote Creek flooding disaster in the San Jose area, which devastated a large portion of the area, leaving homes destroyed and thousands of families displaced, looking for shelter to start life anew. Rocketship took the opportunity to help out immensely, raising over $60,000 for Cesar’s family along with 30 other families whom children attend the San Jose Rocketship School and were impacted from the flood. The funds raised went to the families for rent deposits, home repairs, other high cost expenses and amenities needed in a time of relief. Dulce thankfully praises Rocketship for being such a community leader, stating, “My family is so thankful for the support we received from everyone at Rocketship, for giving us nights where we could rest knowing our children were safe and sound.”

Rocketship Public Elementary Charter Schools is a national nonprofit network of public elementary charter schools catering to low-income communities, making sure that the children of these communities have the opportunity to receive an excellent education.

Founded in 2006, Rocketship’s mission is to work as a collective of teachers, parents, and leaders to close the achievement gap by building a scalable and sustainable school model that magnifies student success, in underprivileged communities throughout the United States. Rocketship places high value in authenticity, community, tenacity, innovation and excellence.