Berrien Springs Public Schools GrapeSEED Customer Spotlight

Celebrating Diversity

Berrien Springs Public Schools is rich with diversity. Located in a rural area of Michigan and less than two miles from Andrews University, one of the most diverse universities in the country, Berrien Springs serves over 2000 K-12 students in the surrounding rural farming community as well as children from over 30 different countries and those from other districts who entered as part of the “Schools of Choice” program. More than half of the student population comes from economically disadvantaged homes.

Building Unity

In 2010, Berrien Springs Schools began using GrapeSEED with English Language Learners in kindergarten through second grade. Seeing immediate improvement in the children’s language skills, the district expanded GrapeSEED to preschool students participating in the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) provided by Berrien Regional Educational Service Area (RESA), a support agency for local schools, and then to all kindergarten classrooms.

GrapeSEED helped me get ready for Kindergarten

“GrapeSEED oral language listening and speaking supplemental curriculum implementation led to marked improvement in our students kindergarten readiness. GrapeSEED, the only variable in our 2 year study of kindergarten readiness, led to an amazing gain from 43% to 63% kindergarten ready based on multiple assessments.”

– Eric Hoppstock, Assistant Superintendent and school psychologist Berrien RESA

GrapeSEED helped me learn English faster

GrapeSEED typically closes the language gap in half the time required by other English curriculums. National research shows that children typically take 6-8 years to reach grade level proficiency. GrapeSEED students reached proficiency in speaking and reading in just 2-3 years.


GrapeSEED is a research-based oral language acquisition and critical listening program that is helping 4 to 8-year-old students close the achievement gap in oral language. The program supplements existing Language Arts and Literacy curricula and is proven to help students develop into proficient readers by third grade. It is used in a variety of settings, including early childhood classrooms, Response-to-Intervention (RTI) initiatives, Title programs for struggling learners, ESL/ELL classrooms, as well as with subgroups of students struggling with oral language.

The Challenges

The educators of Berrien Springs knew they needed something different to help all their young students build a foundation in oral language and quickly reach language and reading proficiency.

District challenges include:

  • Many students start school with a lack of foundational language skills because: they come from a low socioeconomic background, English is not their native language, or a combination of both.
  • Improving oral language skills to help the growing ELL population reach state proficiency targets at a rate faster than the standard span of 5-6 years
  • Finding a program and material to supplement their literacy curriculum that fits more than one or two students at a time.

The Results

Berrien Springs Schools Principal Darla Campbell at Mars Elementary is thrilled with the positive results the district has seen with GrapeSEED over the past six years.

“The students learn how to speak in complete sentences, learn how to have polite conversations and are able to choose extension activities related to the learning in GrapeSEED. The best part of GrapeSEED is the level of student engagement it fosters. The students demand their GrapeSEED time. I have not seen another tool that engages students as full as this program does while growing language skills.”

– Darla Campbell, Principal at Berrien Springs Public Schools

The Research

In the 2011-2014, independent research was conducted by Oakland University to determine the effectiveness of GrapeSEED with groups of students from the Berrien RESA GSRP preschool program, including Berrien Springs Public Schools. You can download the comprehensive research report at to learn more about these and other assessments, student samples, results, and the positive impact GrapeSEED is having on young learners.

CONCLUSION: GrapeSEED enabled GSRP Preschool at-risk students to grow faster than national peers in every category of language fundamentals.

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) – PRESCHOOL

SIX SUBTESTS OF THE CLINICAL EVALUATION OF LANGUAGE FUNDAMENTALS (CELF) test were administered in the Fall and Spring of the 2013-2014 school year to 432 GSRP preschool students participating in GrapeSEED lessons. The percent of students performing at or above their age norm increased significantly from the Fall to Spring assessment. The difference is due entirely to the improvement of at-risk students since all students who performed at or above their age norms in the Fall assessment maintained that status in the Spring assessment.

GrapeSEED students grew faster than expected for their age (“age norm”) in all six categories. The growth was deemed highly significant, meaning it could not happen by chance. Students naturally grow over time and the CELF test accounts for this by using nationally normed data (normal growth would show as a flat line). The upward slope shows the GrapeSEED students growing much faster than their national peers in every category.

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) Grade PreK-K


This DRA study evaluated the effectiveness of GrapeSEED based on four groups of 114 total kindergarten students in Berrien Springs Schools who either did or did not receive GrapeSEED in preschool (at-risk students) or kindergarten. To evaluate the impact of the program on literacy, all students were assessed in the Fall, mid-year, and Spring using the DRA Text Level. GrapeSEED students performed better than those who didn’t receive it. Those students who received GrapeSEED instruction in both preschool and kindergarten scored higher than those receiving only one year of GrapeSEED. The more GrapeSEED instruction, the better their performance.

ESL Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade GrapeSEED students reached proficiency in 2-3 years, half the time of the national average

In the three-year study below, ESL students from Berrien Springs Schools who spoke 22 different languages received GrapeSEED in Grades K, 1, and 2. In Spring 2014, students were tested using the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) tests.

By the end of second grade, 75% of the ESL students reached reading proficiency. National research shows that children typically take 6-8 years to reach grade level proficiency. GrapeSEED students reached proficiency in speaking and reading in just 2-3 years.

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