School Details

Union High School

1800 Tremont Boulevard Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 819-3160

(out of 10)

Public Grades 9-12 932 students 17 students/teacher (MI avg is 18)

Test Scores by grade


Michigan Merit Examination (MME)

In 2013-2014 Michigan used the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) to assess students in grade 11 in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The MME is a standards-based test, which measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Michigan. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard. Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, the Michigan State Board of Education implemented new definitions of what it means to be proficient on the MME test. In addition, they have recalculated past years' results using these new standards for proficiency, making the above year-over-year results comparable.
  • This school in 2014
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools average
  • Michigan state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

About this school

Union High School is a public high school in Grand Rapids. The principal of Union High School is Karl Nelson, whose e-mail is 932 students attend Union High School and are mostly Multiracial; Hispanic; and Black, non-Hispanic. 86% of the 932 students here have subsidized lunches. The ratio of students to teachers at Union High School is 17:1. Union Community School is one of the nearest high schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Chorus
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra
  • Photography
  • Theater drama
  • Video film production

Languages Taught

  • French
  • Spanish


  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Crew
  • Cross country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • P.E. classes
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Multiracial 8% %
Hispanic 52% 28%
Black, non-Hispanic 22% 39%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 2% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 2% 1%
White, non-Hispanic 16% 20%
Asian 0.6% %
Hawaiian 0.2% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.1% 1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.08% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 86% 86%

Community ratings & reviews

  • (3 years ago)

    PARENT/ALUMNI REVIEW My husband and I are GRPS grads (Union '99 and Creston '95 respectively) and it is because of our experiences at the secondary schools that we homeschool. Despite taking honors classes and having a handful a caring teachers/coaches every day was "Lord of the Flies". It certainly shaped my adolescent years for the worse. There were fights at least once a week. The halls were so crowded that you'd get pushed into fights already in progress. No respect from students and the staff was apathetic to it all (can't blame them!). As adults we wouldn't put up with kind of behavior from our co workers. Why should our kids be subjected to this? Not much has changed in 10 years. When I was helping my husband coach I walked the halls between classes and the behavior was atrocious. It was like watching animals in rut. The feeder schools are putting out poverty stricken illiterate socially/financially dependent young citizens. In my opinion it starts at home. The parents (many who are GRPS alumni) lack a moral compass and value system to pull themselves out of poverty and regain middle class values. If you care about your child's education look elsewhere.

  • (7 years ago)

    Well i would just like to say that i really love Union High School...I've been there since freshman year and i plan on graduating from that school..when Mr.Shalhoup came in and took charge I immediatly knew that our school was going to change for the good...I really do enjoy going to school..for me they have a good system..when something that doesnt seem right to us or to the staff Mr.Shalhoup has a meeting about it and explains to each class and i personally enjoy hearing whats going on at our school..its not a 'bad' school as many people of the community see it..I should know Since I attend UHS. The school itself is not bad just those few kids is what ruins our name.

  • (7 years ago)

    I was at first 'iffy' about the new principle they pulled in unlike most students I actually care about school. Shalhoup was quite a surprise. He earned the name 'The Godfather' for a reason. During assemblies if a kid is disrespectful for even a second he/she is escorted out and most of the time suspended. This kind of discipline is what Union needed. Most of the teachers are really great some seem like they could care less (but who could blame them when their students feel the same?). The only problem I see with the school in general is that being interested in arts there aren't enough advanced art classes (or teachers) to help me further my skills.

  • (7 years ago)

    The quality of Union High School has increased tenfold in the past year. The current principal is dedicated to putting quality and community back into Union High School and it shows in the classroom in the hallways in extracurricular activities. I am a parent volunteer at the school active in PTO Athletic Boosters and Band Boosters - which all have dedicated and enthusiastice members. Look for good things to come as it expands it's curriculum oppor-tunities especially in the arts; through various grants awards and donations the school has recently recieved.

  • (8 years ago)

    i use to go to union and there is no issues with it. i actually really like the school. there is great people there and i miss it.

  • (9 years ago)

    I feel that this school's overall quality in GENERAL has decreased over the last few years. There are only a few good teachers most of the staff don't do their work. I see little to no support for students. There aren't many choices in art programs. Administrators don't know how to handle problems. Students behave in bad ways ( I feel parents are to blame for student's behavior though).

  • (9 years ago)

    I think there are many passionate teachers there I for one graduated from Union and I wouldn't trade my four years there for anything. The staff treat you with the same attitude and respect that you treat them. And you wonder why your child isn't respected there maybe they should change their attitude. Talk to the teachers find out what the problem is instead of just blaming them.

  • (9 years ago)

    this is the worst school i have ever seen they don't care for the students at all there is to much favortism among staff and students. the rate of crimes in this school is unbeleivable although the school staff would never admit to it there are a few very good teachers here that care but not enough to make a difference the vice principle and some other staff have their favorite students and tend to forget the others or single out students and harasse them throughout the year

  • (9 years ago)

    i attended this school for all 4 years of my high school career. i'll admit that coming into the school from a small catholic school was rather intimidating but once you find your spot you're fine! i wouldn't give my experience at union for the world it is an excellent school but you do get out of it what you put into it... if you don't try to do well you won't to be quite honest

  • (9 years ago)

    I am a former 5 year student of this school. The first year that I started at that school I didn't think it was all that bad. Then the next school year wasn't that great but not the horrible year. I thought my junior year was the worst school year of all. Then my fourth year wasn't that bad then the fifth year seemed kind of bad. I do not think that the administrators enforce the rules at this school.

  • (9 years ago)

    My daughter is in the ACE high school at Union. The program is excellent. I've had no problems with the teachers or students at Union ~ the teachers have been great. Basically you get what you give when it comes to raising children. I'm very pleased. My daughter has had an excellent experience with the GRPS. Thanks.

  • (10 years ago)

    there are a few really great caring teachers in this school but there are others that just don't care at all. this used to be a really good school what happened? I for one as a concerned parent have thought of withdrawing my child and putting them in alternative schools this school is just to dangerouse with kids getting jumped and beaten as well as the level of thefts. there are many truly dangerouse kids in this school that are allowed to remain in this school why?

  • (10 years ago)

    I am a former student from this school. I know that the ratings seem low but this really was the best school for me. If only more parrents had gotten involved while I attended here the stats would be higher. While I attended Union they booted out a lot of the old run down teachers. The extra curricular activities are their the students just have to make the best possible effort to go for them. Sports wasn't my thing but I still found things to greaten my time at Union. I had after school Dual enrollment art the last two years of being there. That allowed me to earn 9 college credits. Also I helped build sets and control lights for the musicals we had done. over all this was really a school that was whatever you made it. I loved it.

  • (10 years ago)

    While my daughter is happier here than she has been at any other school in many years I am extremely frustrated by the lack of response I get from teachers. My child is not doing well at all yet is highly capable. I try to be an involved parent but I do not get return phone calls or emails. So much for wanting parental involvement. It is given lip service but little else. I am at my wits end with good test scores terrible grades and no one will work with me to turn help her turn it around.

  • (10 years ago)

    All of my kids have gone to this school and it was good until the current principal took over. The school has been going downhill ever since. The principal doesn't try to keep any control and the kids do what ever they want. The teachers try but with bad leadership their hands are tied.

  • (10 years ago)

    Good school. Teachers that care. Coaches that stress the classroom and respect. Excellent prep in language arts. My child was able to take the AP exams and earn 12 credits of college english. Keep up the good work.

  • (11 years ago)

    As a student who graduated from Union in 2000 and having a sibling who graduated in 2003 I feel that the school is going down hill. It's not only the fault of the staff. Parent involvment has gone downhill in the last seven years. The school can only go so far with parents that don't get involved in their childs education. If you want you child to succeed in this school it has to be your goal to work with the staff to make that happen. Students in the school have gotten the 'I don't care' attitude. The staff of the school does not go out of their way to make sure that students are learning. Please if your child will be or is attending this school take it from me get involved to make the best out of it.

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Overall score

(based on 43 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement


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