Kalamazoo Public Schools is a district of about 12,000 students, the largest school district in southwest Michigan and the second largest on the west side of the state. Since the Kalamazoo Promise was announced in 2005, giving free college tuition for KPS high school graduates, KPS has improved its schools in a whole host of ways. We have gained more than 2,100 students since the announcement of the Promise, more than 1,100 additionally in the last four years after the 1,000-student increase of the Promise's first year. We increased the number of kindergarten students in full-day kindergarten from 176 in 2007-2008 to 883 students in 2008-2009, to 944 students in 2009-2010. Full-day kindergarten provides an additional 370,000 instructional hours for kindergarten students in KPS. We have added a dual-language school, El Sol Elementary, and a middle school alternative learning program. Prairie Ridge Elementary School, which opened in the fall of 2008, was the first new school built in Kalamazoo in 36 years. Prairie Ridge was awarded LEED Gold Certification, the first K-12 school in Michigan to receive this prestigious certification. Linden Grove Middle School, the second brand-new building to open in the past several years, welcomed approximately 700 students on the opening day of the 2009-2010 school year.

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