Through Homegrown, the Grand Haven Area Public Schools classrooms will partner with leaders from business such as Klever Innovations, Automatic Spring Products Corp., Herman Miller, Beacon Recycling and GHSP. By using design thinking and project-based learning methods, students will help find solutions to a challenge that faces the business.
Homegrown is a collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg.
Throughout the year, Grand Haven educators who previously participated in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s futurePREP’d program discussed ways the district could support bringing the project-based learning and design thinking into their classrooms.
Homegrown was one of those outcomes, said Superintendent Andy Ingall.
The program will take students through the design thinking process, give educators a chance to see what’s happening in the business world and will give business partners a chance to work with schools.
Homegrown also gives district staff the chance to provide education and instruction in a format they want, and it’s a way to engage students and business partners outside of education, Ingall said.
As students participate in Homegrown and talk with their parents about what they’re working on, it will help parents gain awareness about problems facing the business world, Ingall noted.
While the program will primarily involve K-4 students, it will also involve some fifth-graders. Ingall said it’s important to give students experiences throughout their formative years.
The local Chamber of Commerce has been part of the discussions throughout the year. Ingall said the Chamber has been a “wonderful partner” as they’ve worked together with opportunities such as Boomerang.
Nancy Manglos, director of talent and leadership development for the Chamber, said they’re excited about the partnership and intentional awareness they’re bringing about career opportunities.
Eighth-grade students begin to plan for their high school classes and their futures when they’re in high school, and Manglos said if they don’t begin preparing students early, they will miss the opportunity to help them make a good plan.
Manglos said they hope to expand the Homegrown program to other sectors beyond manufacturing businesses in the future.
Whether students remain in West Michigan or their future leads them to other locations, Ingall said they hope it shows students the opportunities that are available everywhere.
Ingall noted he hopes the new program expands and enhances students’ educational experience.
“We think the real life experiences are a big win for our kids, but the experiences they get through the design thinking process are applicable in all studies,” he said.