The announcement was made June 2 during the ceremony. Barry Hall, the assistant director of charter through college at GVSU, was the keynote speaker and announced the surprise to the 40 students. Timberland Charter Academy is among the charter schools authorized by GVSU.
Barry Hall, the assistant director of charter through college at Grand Valley State University, announced the surprise guaranteed free tuition to GVSU to the 40 eighth-grade students.
The Pathway to GVSU pipeline program grants admission to GVSU for students who qualify. Timberland Charter students must graduate from high school with at least a 2.8 GPA and register for a GVSU Passport to attend college preparedness workshops.
“When I, we, received the information from GVSU regarding the Pathway program and Timberland being the first and only middle school in West Michigan, all the Timberland community was ecstatic,” Principal Stephen Evans said. “The news was and is still unbelievable. Staff members, students, parents, and governing board members, cried with jubilation.”
Dr. Hall was also the keynote speaker.B. Donta Truss, GVSU vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said it’s the first such agreement with a West Michigan area school. Three similar announcements are planned at Detroit area schools later this month.
“The Pathway to GVSU program pulls the veil back on what going to college means,” Truss said. “For these students, we will have four years to provide them with resources to help them navigate college and become advocates for themselves when they, hopefully, arrive at Grand Valley.”
Truss also said pipeline programs align with the Grand Valley Pledge, a program that grants free tuition for qualified students from families with incomes less than $50,000.
Celebrating Grand Valley State University’s announcement are (L to R): Lamar Bankhead, Timberland ABSS; Elizabeth Russell, GVSU; Dr. Barry Hall, GVSU; Dorothy Scott, Timberland Board President; Tim Bunnell, Timberland Board Vice Present; Ken Armstrong, Timberland Board Director; Tammisha Morris, Timberland Board Secretary; and Stephen Evans, Timberland Principal.
“We have been working with GVSU on efforts of inclusion and access,” Evans said. “The Pathway Program and Dr. Hall’s announcement was never expected. We’re so thankful to GVSU for their commitment to education and our community.
“Simply stated, how this will impact our students, and students yet to come, is generational. These efforts set forth by GVSU are efforts that change generations. They change futures. We hope other university chartering agencies will follow this example.”
Timberland Charter Academy is a free public charter school in Muskegon, Mich., serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more Is information, visit nhaschools.com.