West Michigan Academy of Arts & Academics

Why WMAAA?

West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics (WMAAA) is a kindergarten through 8th grade Public School Academy. It was chartered by Grand Valley State University in 1996. WMAAA is located in Ferrysburg, Michigan, a small town approximately 30 miles North of Holland and 10 miles South of Muskegon.

The school began with 108 students 19 years ago and ended the 16-17 school year with 490 students.


Demographic Figures

Students at the Academy come from 12 surrounding school districts within a 20 mile radius, with the majority of the students residing in the Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Fruitport School Districts.

WMAAA's student population is 81% Caucasian 7% Hispanic 2% African American and 2% Asian which is reflective of the population of the districts where the students reside. Currently, WMAAA has a 21% free and reduced lunch population. 11% of our students qualify for special education services..

WMAAA has 30 full-time teachers with an average of 10 years experience. One third of the staff possess advanced degrees in education related fields.  Six full-time arts' teachers are also on staff.

We have a full service special education department that consists of 2 resource room teachers (K-4, 5-8), social worker, psychologist, special education coordinator, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and reading and math interventionists.


Fiscally Responsible

WMAAA has maintained a balanced budget for the past several years in light of state budget cuts and continued to grow and expand upon course offerings and experiences for students.


Continuing Growth

WMAAA is located in the midst of the Grand Haven and Spring Lake Public School Districts, both with strong academic reputations.

According to survey and anecdotal data, parents seek out the Academy because of its small class sizes, strong parental involvement, and its arts-focused curriculum. The district is growing in size.

In 2011, the Board of Directors voted to add a third kindergarten class due to the high demand. As a result, in the fall of 2015, there will be three sections of 4th grade.  Because of the increase in sections, WMAAA completed Phase 1 of a 2-Phase expansion project, adding 4 more classrooms, a new art room, a set design room, and a 496, state-of-the-art, Performing Arts Center.  We are now in the process of saving money by being fiscally responsible and launching a new capital campaign to raise funds for Phase 2.  This will add 6 more classrooms, another computer lab, a glass-front lobby for the PAC, expand the playground and parking, upgrade technology and safety/infrastructure.


Academically Focused

Multiple measures are used to evaluate the results of the programs at WMAAA. We use these measures to gauge academic achievement, social markers, technology needs, and relationships. One of our primary sets of data are the standardized tests that are mandated by the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP). The data shows that WMAAA students perform significantly above state averages in all subject areas. WMAAA has made great gains in the Michigan Top to Bottom rankings, moving from a 77th percentile ranking to a 93rd percentile ranking achieved in the last school year. One area that has contributed greatly to this success has been the minimal achievement gap that exists between our free/reduced lunch population and students not qualifying for free/reduced lunch. This lack of gap is attributed to our progressively improving Response to Intervention (RtI) program.


College Preparation

WMAAA was the recipient of the Skills 4 Success grant funded through the Ottawa ISD.  This was a three-year grant that allowed WMAAA to adopt and implement a secondary instructional model that emphasizes key instructional strategies, motivational activities, organization, and test-taking strategies. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a curriculum rooted in college exposure and preparatory activities. Students are chosen to participate in this elective course but "AVID Essentials" are taught in all core content areas in 5th thru 8th grade.


Performance Evaluation

The Michigan Association of Public Schools Academies (MAPSA), in the interest of how their 227 academies are performing, has analyzed their member data and complied a top 20 list. West Michigan Academy or Arts & Academics is in this select group. Grand Valley State University requires that we have multiple measures of performance assessment. In the spring of 2005, GVSU piloted the Northwest Evaluation Association test titled Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).


Individualizing Instruction

We are now in our 10th year of testing students and utilizing the data for the purposes of individualizing instruction and reducing the achievement gap in all sub populations. The program requires a fall and spring assessment cycle. This allows individual student growth to be measured. The fall test results in reading, language usage and mathematics provide our baseline and the spring test determines student growth.


Achievement

The Michigan Association of Public Schools Academies (MAPSA), in the interest of how their 227 academies are performing, has analyzed their member data and complied a top 20 list. West Michigan Academy or Arts & Academics is in this select group. Grand Valley State University requires that we have multiple measures of performance assessment. In the spring of 2005, GVSU piloted the Northwest Evaluation Association test titled Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).


Building Relationships

One of the greatest strengths WMAAA has is the ability to build relationships with families and students.

Survey results consistently indicate that relationships are strong, appropriate, and part of what makes the school so strong. Students typically enrolled in kindergarten stay with us through 8th grade which has led to consistent, high expectations for our middle school students.

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