The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) support of Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) is an investment in the future of Battle Creek. The success of BCPS and its students is directly tied to the vitality and well-being of the community. The transformation of BCPS has been driven by a belief in the importance of centering community. When communities drive their own transformation — when they determine how problems are defined, how decisions are made and how solutions are created — meaningful and enduring change is possible. BCPS has continued to build partnerships with local organizations and businesses in order to keep the community-driven essence of the transformation alive.
Throughout the transformation process, BCPS has cultivated strong relationships with families, providing them the tools and resources they need to build supportive learning environments in their homes — a need which became especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the transformation process, improving academic outcomes for BCPS students has required community-wide collaboration, to meet the needs of every student inside and outside the classroom.
Community engagement is key to sustainable change. Local companies depend on the pipeline of talent coming out of Battle Creek Public Schools, just as families rely on job security and stability in the local economy. With the support of WKKF, BCPS has partnered directly with local government and businesses to help support the economic success of the community at large.
In order to help care for each student’s overall well-being, BCPS works closely with local health providers to ensure students have access to physical and mental health care services both within and outside of the school setting.
Five years ago, BCPS struggled with a negative reputation in the community. Without proactive communications from BCPS to the community and families, the district’s narrative was shaped by racist stereotypes about schools where a majority of students are of color, and many community members believed that BCPS schools were unsafe and dirty.
The district’s approach to communications has fundamentally changed since the transformation began, and the district now communicates proactively to share the many great things happening at BCPS, with frequent updates, video shares and media stories. Increased awareness of the positive opportunities and environments BCPS offers has been critical to support increasing enrollment and attracting local partnerships.
Thanks to communications activities, the district’s reputation within the community continues to improve. The Burrell brand tracker survey found favorability toward the district is high (61%). The brand tracker also found high levels of awareness (74%) of BCPS communications among city parents whose children attend and don’t attend BCPS.
All city parents showed an increase of 11% in favorability toward BCPS from last year’s survey.