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Coopersville, GRPS broaden horizons with student exchange | News

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Coopersville, GRPS broaden horizons with student exchange

COOPERSVILLE, Mich, (WZZM) -- We count on our schools to help prepare our kids, not just for college, but also for life. And sometimes the best preparation has nothing to do with tests or grades.

Two West Michigan schools specialize in that curriculum. 25 students from Grand Rapids Innovation High School and Coopersville High School each spent time at the others' school, learning about their similarities and differences.

On a recent cold, February morning, the most interesting thing in class at Grand Rapids Innovation High School isn't the course work. And that is the primary purpose for this experiment in diversity.

The only item on the syllabus: get to know each other.

Each Coopersville student is paired with a Grand Rapids Innovation student. They follow them through their day and into their classes. Quickly, they see differences in their buildings and technology. But the real lesson is what they learn about each other.

Now in its second year, the exchange program has students getting to know each other outside class.

Many students from Coopersville and Grand Rapids say they don't have friends of a different race. And the Coopersville student got a little exposure of what it's like to be a minority when they visited Grand Rapids Innovation High School.

But pushing comfort limits is the point. And learning those limits are far more flexible than they realized gets everyone a passing grade.

The schools plan on doing the exchange again next year, and they hope to increase the number of students participating.