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  • Writer's pictureRick Joseph

Great Things Happening in Greenville

Greenville, a community of over 8,000 people located 35 minutes northeast of Grand Rapids, was once known as the Refrigerator Capital of the World. While manufacturing jobs have dwindled - following state and national trends - the commitment in Greenville to quality public education has never been stronger.

In fact, one of the ways that Greenville is reinventing itself is its embrace of Chinese language and culture through a dynamic Chinese immersion program at Walnut Hills Elementary School. Beginning in kindergarten, kids spend half their day with a Chinese-speaking teacher and half their day with an English-speaking teacher. The results are astounding. As a bilingual/ELL teacher myself, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear English-dominant kids, who have grown up in English-only homes, speak a target language with no accent. I witnessed this repeatedly in Greenville.

There is so much more amazing work happening in Greenville as these images show. If I could go back to school and do it all over again, I'd want to be in schools like the ones I visited in Greenville Public Schools.

Dedicated and talented educators are the heart and soul of Greenville Public Schools

Students in the Chinese Immersion Program learn language, geography and culture

Greenville students learn Chinese from native speaking teachers

Research shows that immersion is the most effective way for students to learn a world language

Hollie Stephenson is the Immersion Programming Coordinator and a dedicated champion for Greenville Public Schools

Students learn in Chinese effortlessly as it is the language of instruction

Chinese is part of everyday life in Greenville

Chinese culture is manifest and enshrined

Students are immersed throughout their learning environment in meaningful ways

Pre-school students learn to count using appealing manipulatives

Language is powerful

Media specialists promote and encourage literacy at all levels. This is truly the case in Greenville.

Kids read all over in a reading workshop class

Teachers conference one-on-one with students to support their ongoing reading growth

Student choice matters during independent reading time

Differentiated support is the norm in Greenville

Students get lost in the world of literature

A blend of print and digital technology is on display

Students at all levels are helpful in Greenville

High School students work together to solve problems

Collaboration is a key component of meaningful learning

Sharing thoughts and rationales is a central component of learning in Greenville

Business principles are applied at the school store

Commitment to graduation and the future is key at Greenville High School

Elementary students learn about the global economy and the role of small businesses

Makerspaces like this one engage and motivate all students

Stereotypes are shattered in Greenville as all are empowered to learn and grow to their highest potential

Collaborative problem solving for the real world

Individualized support is the norm for Greenville teachers

Making is meaningful!

Janet Ralph (center) dedicates countless hours to Greenville Public Schools in her role as Board Chair

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