Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

by Karen Wojcik Berner

Kalamazoo is the county seat of Kalamazoo county and lies along the Kalamazoo River. Its name comes from “kikalamazoo,” Native American for “mirage” or “reflecting river,” which describes the mirror-like waters of the Kalamazoo River.

It is home to several Fortune 500 companies, as well as many small businesses.The city has a diversified manufacturing base, which includes medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, as well as metal and plastic products.

Kalamazoo was named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” in 2010. This award recognizes the city’s efforts to improve the well-being of children through programs that help keep them in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce.

Twenty neighborhoods surround a vibrant Art Deco downtown filled with quality dining, unique shops and galleries, and historic homes. Several theaters, as well as numerous parks, lakes and golf courses, provide residents with many entertainment choices. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, with its emphasis on 20th century American and German expressionistic art, is home to 3,000 prints, photographs, paintings, sculpture and ceramic pieces. Kalamazoo also has its own ballet company, symphony orchestra and festival chorus.

If sports are more your style, Kalamazoo is the headquarters of the Kalamazoo Kings, independent Frontier League baseball, the Wings International Hockey League team, the National Women’s Football Association’s West Michigan Mayhem, and the Xplosion, minor league indoor football team. The city also has its own rugby club and roller derby team.

Summer is festival time in Kalamazoo. The city hosts the annual Russian Festival, a Scottish Festival, the Taste of Kalamazoo, and the Island Festival, which features reggae music and Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine.

Western Michigan University has four campuses throughout the city. Kalamazoo College also is located here. There are many public, private and charter schools in the city, including the Kalamazoo Public School District’s seventeen elementary schools, three middle schools and three high schools.

Kalamazoo School Districts


Comstock Public Schools
Comstock Public Schools is a school district that serves approximately 2,420 students for the grades of prekindergarten through 12th.

Gobles Public School District
Gobles Public School District is a school district that serves approximately 977 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Gull Lake Community Schools
Gull Lake Community Schools is a school district that serves approximately 2,875 students for the grades of prekindergarten through 12th.

Kalamazoo Public School District
Kalamazoo Public School District is a school district that serves approximately 12,503 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Mattawan Consolidated School
Mattawan Consolidated School is a school district that serves approximately 3,876 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Otsego Public Schools
Otsego Public Schools is a school district that serves approximately 2,322 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Parchment School District
Parchment School District is a school district that serves approximately 1,784 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Paw Paw Public School District
Paw Paw Public School District is a school district that serves approximately 2,386 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Plainwell Community Schools
Plainwell Community Schools is a school district that serves approximately 2,796 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Portage Public Schools
Portage Public Schools is a school district that serves approximately 8,873 students for the grades of prekindergarten through 12th.

Schoolcraft Community Schools
Schoolcraft Community Schools is a school district that serves approximately 1,181 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools
Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools is a school district that serves approximately 1,231 students for the grades of kindergarten through 12th.

Kalamazoo Community Resources

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