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Student & School Showcase


Burton International Academy claims top prize in Get Schooled Attendance Challenge with a 3.5% increase

17 middle and high schools across Detroit Public Schools participated in the latest Get Schooled Detroit Attendance Challenge aimed to boost school attendance

DETROIT (January 28, 2015) — Burton International Academy has been named champion of the latest Get Schooled Detroit Attendance Challenge, earning a $1,000 prize for boosting its attendance by 3.5% and a celebration event at the school.

Burton International Academy students enjoyed a dance party on Wednesday, Jan. 28 hosted by a Get Schooled DJ and received a $1,000 check. Students were surprised to learn that a portion of the award funding will be used for new uniforms for Burton International Academy’s dance team, supporting fine and performing arts at the middle school. The remaining funds will purchase new technology equipment for the computer lab and support field trips.

Seventeen Detroit Public Schools’ middle and high schools across the city participated in the latest challenge, held from October through December of 2014, and more than 75% of the schools reported an increase in attendance.

Beginning in 2013, DPS has partnered with the Get Schooled Foundation and the foundation’s founding partner Viacom, through Viacom’s Viacommunity social responsibility umbrella, in an effort to combat chronic absenteeism across the district. The 2014 National Attendance Challenge launched in October and ran through December. To participate and compete for points and prizes, schools encouraged their students to show up for school every day and engage in educational activities at GetSchooled.com.

During the three-month challenge, more than 3,000 DPS students were active and engaged in the campaign by checking into school every day on the Get Schooled website and participating in online discussions about school involvement, college and career aspirations, and study tips. Schools also earned points if they posted an increase in their attendance this Fall.

“Detroit schools and students continue to post tremendous increases in their school attendance,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled. “We are excited to recognize their hard work and determination.”

A total of 210 Burton students in grades 6-8 participated in the challenge. Led by computer instructor Denice D. McGee, the students were encouraged to log on to GetSchooled.com daily with the help of five Burton Student Ambassadors.

“Visiting the website to track their attendance and engage in online discussions was so much fun for our students,” said McGee. “Get Schooled makes learning and having great attendance fun for them. I believe this is why the Attendance Challenge is so successful.”

“There is no substitute for being present,” added Principal Dr. John T. Wilson. “At the great Burton International Academy, our focus is to prepare our students for the real world. We stress to all students that being present is the first step that leads to success. This contest provided a perfect foundation to inspire and motivate our students to be present. We thank Get Schooled for their continuous support.”

Schools involved in the Get Schooled Detroit Attendance Challenge included: Noble Elementary-Middle School, John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy, Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School, Foreign Language Immersion & Cultural Studies School, Durfee Elementary-Middle School, Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern, Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Burton International Academy, Catherine C. Blackwell Institute, Bates Academy, A.L. Holmes Elementary-Middle School, Detroit International Academy for Young Women, Renaissance High School, Osborn Evergreen Academy of Design and Alternative Energy, and West Side Academy.

For more details on the Get Schooled campaign, visit www.getschooled.com. To learn more about the DPS Attendance Policy, visit www.detroitk12.org/attendance.

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About Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools is creating Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools at 97 campuses with a mission to provide a comprehensive educational experience that is high-quality, challenging and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society. DPS offers a wide variety of educational advantages to students and parents including Individualized Learning Maps for all students. New this year, arts/music and sports leagues for boys and girls are being offered at every elementary/middle school. Prekindergarten offerings have been expanded to 70 schools across the district for all qualified 4-year-olds. Twenty-one schools are now open as Community Schools, offering extended hours and services. Students in grades 8-12 enjoy take-home Netbooks and students in grades 6 and up have access to Netbooks in school. An outstanding Fine Arts program with instrumental music, vocal music and dance is also offered. Ongoing advantages include eight parent resource centers, Parent University and additional parenting programs, enhanced safety initiatives, a district-wide Customer Service focus, nine Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools and DPS-authorized charter schools led by educators with proven track records of raising achievement. In 2014, DPS graduates earned $138 million in grants and scholarships. To learn more about Detroit Public Schools, visit www.detroitk12.org or call 313-240-4DPS.

About Get Schooled
Get Schooled is a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Get Schooled is the premiere education brand for young people – linking students with high quality, cutting edge resources and tools they need to succeed. Get Schooled has developed a track record of success because it engages with young Americans using the media, technology and popular culture that is an integral part of their lives. Get Schooled’s work is boosted by partners like Viacom, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google.

School of the Week: Noble Elementary-Middle School

Home of the Noble Knights!

Stern, structured and straight to the point are just three ways to describe the culture at Noble Elementary-Middle School. Principal Angela Broaden believes it is never too early to instill professionalism in her young scholars.

Noble is a prekindergarten through eighth-grade school located in a beautiful and historic, yet modernized, building where all staff members are focused on providing not only a top-notch education, but also leading by example. Teachers aim to showcase the utmost professionalism to prepare their students for high school and beyond.

Broaden, a 20-year plus Detroit Public Schools veteran educator, became Noble’s leader just over three years ago. The tough-love principal, often referred to as a “master of reorganization and restructure,” brought along her successful strategies to help the school go from an enrollment number of 300 to now nearly 600 students.

“My teaching style is simply to leave all baggage at the door. Here at Noble, we do what we have to do to reach success and we are very confident in what we do,” Broaden explains.

Fifth-grader Taylor Sweeny proudly represents her school by being a Hospitality Leader. Hospitality Leaders are school ambassadors who showcase a high level of respect for teachers, exude positive behavior and maintain exceptional grades.

“My mom raised me to be just like her by getting good grades, respecting my teachers and having good behavior,” Sweeny proudly says.

Perrion Ridley, a fifth-grader and vocal music enthusiast, says that he loves how all of the teachers at Noble support the students and help each one of them understand, complete and advance throughout their coursework.

“Since my teachers respect me, I respect them in return,” Ridley says. “It is important to respect our teachers because they help and encourage us to do our best.”

Jason Posey, a third-grade homeroom teacher, explains to his students daily the importance of turning their homework in on time, coming to class prepared with pens, pencils, folders and/or everything else they need. He stresses these concepts because he knows when the students are in high school and then their adult careers, they are going to need this prepared mindset to succeed.

“I am a firm teacher and I enjoy teaching my students about responsibility,” explains Posey. “The students here at Noble are eager to learn, and we provide structure, responsibility and self-respect to prepare them for their futures.”

Posey also makes it a habit to dress and present himself professionally at all times in hopes that the students will subconsciously begin to pick up on his traits. Posey wants to show students how a professional male dresses and carries himself.

“I want my students to be able to act out what I am modeling for them in their futures,” Posey explains.

Aside from instilling students with the professionalism needed for their futures, he also incorporates technology into his daily lessons to engage students and allow them to become educated on topics they can relate to visually.

Stop, drop and read!

Instead of your typical bell to alert students that it is passing or dismissal time, Noble students enjoy fun catchy tunes that echo throughout the halls to inform them that it is time to read.

Noble is a second-year Success For All (SFA) school. SFA is a school-wide reading initiative designed to ensure success for all students in reading. The school also exposes its students to computer-based programs such as accelerated reading and math to enhance their skill development.

As a School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipient, classrooms are becoming populated with the latest technology, including interactive white boards and computers. With Noble being a data-driven school, teachers are provided with data trainings – also through the SIG grant – to ensure consistency of students’ learning success.

Science Teacher Dr. Barbara Wisniewski, also known as “Dr. Wiz,” brings to the Noble team an impressive doctorial background in education, evaluation and research. Dr. Wiz says her data-driven perspective enables her to help interpret and educate her team and more importantly her parents with the information needed to help the students succeed.

“We are firm, we are strict, but with a lot of love just like a parent. I tell my parents that I treat your child just like I treat my own,” Dr. Wiz says.

Also through the SIG grant, City Year has developed a strong presence at Noble. City Year volunteers are at the school regularly to aid the teaching staff in helping students stay on track to graduate. According to City Year, volunteers offer attendance monitoring and engagement, socio-emotional support, support in math and English, and assist with school-wide activities.

Principal Broaden credits the ongoing success of her school to her excellent staff members, who are continuously willing to tirelessly work together as a team.

“I am grateful to work with a wonderful group of people. Every day is different, every day is a challenge and the students keep you young and they keep you learning. As I teach my students, I continue to learn as well,” Dr. Wiz says.

School of the Week: Nichols Elementary-Middle School

A 2014 Excellent Schools Detroit “Top K-8 School”

Monday mornings are typically said to be one of the most “unlooked-forward-to” days of the week for many individuals. It is routinely the morning to hit the snooze button a few times or drag your heels as you prepare for a school or work day, but the students and staff at Nichols Elementary-Middle School beg to differ.

Each and every Monday morning, Principal Regina Haywood leads her school with a clever concept she likes to refer to as “Monday Morning Matters.” Monday Morning Matters is a weekly assembly Principal Haywood utilizes as a tool to kick off the school week with encouraging words, acknowledge positive student behavior, highlight extraordinary teachers and simply sync each and every Nichols school member in order to ensure a successful teaching and learning environment.

“I want my staff and students to be recognized for what they do. It is important to come together to make sure everyone is on one accord because ultimately it is not just my business, but their business too,” Haywood says.

Nichols, which has been in existence for more than 100 years, is described as a family-centered community, with many parents, grandparents and great-grandparents having history of attending the school. Staff member are laser-focused on attendance and retention and stress the concept of being On time, All day, Every Day, which is the district’s attendance slogan. The school currently boasts at least a 90% daily attendance rate.

With Nichols students understanding the importance of their attendance and attention to their academics, many of the school’s young scholars perform many grade levels above their actual grade.

Ridgeley Hudson, a seventh-grade student at Nichols, currently reads at an 11th grade reading level and credits the school and his teachers to his accomplishments thus far. Hudson plans to become a politician, president and already is a self-exclaimed genius!

“If Nichols was a high school and a college, I still would attend Nichols,” says Hudson, “but since it’s not, I would like to go to Cass and then Harvard to study law and political science. Ever since I was a little boy I’ve wanted to be a politician and, to be more specific, the president.”

It is no surprise Nichols students are so driven. Nichols was amongst 16 Detroit Public Schools ranked by Excellent Schools Detroit (ESD) in 2014 as the top schools in the city!

Science projects, recycling and gardening… oh my!

If you want to learn something new, now is a perfect time to visit Nichols. Currently the halls are engulfed with wall-to-wall science boards as students prepare for the district-wide science fair competition. But don’t fear; once the competition comes to a conclusion the students will willingly recycle all necessary items as Nichols has a strong recycling program.

In 2013, the Nichols Garden Collaborative broke ground at its new school garden at 3000 Burns Street in Detroit. Students at Nichols along with their parents and members from the surrounding community filled six 4 x 8 ft. raised beds with soil and compost, in order to plant vegetables that will be used in the cafeteria for school lunches. The vegetables include delicious: squash, cucumbers, beans, radishes and a variety of greens such as collards, spinach, kale and mustard. The innovative program is part of the Detroit School Garden Collaborative and the Farm-to-School initiative inspiring access to healthy foods.

Programs such as gardening and recycling are only two of the many reasons Nichols has been able to keep up with its century-strong community foundation. Nichols has robust partnerships with local community members and organizations who regularly visit the school to mentor and tutor students. The Indian Village Home and Garden Tour brings in numerous community members who do not have current students attending Nichols, but want to be involved because of the reputation the school has upheld with its community members. During the visit, members tour the school and the garden and see first-hand what Nichols has to offer for not only its students but also the community.

“We have a very small, close-knit community surrounding Nichols. We have a lot of parents whose children are maybe grown and have moved on, but they still continue to watch over our school and students, and we continue to be forever grateful,” Principal Haywood says.

Something you didn’t know…

The Nichols Garden Collaborative not only benefits the school students with yummy healthy treats, but the community as well. Principal Haywood welcomes anyone who visits Nichols to take home items from the garden and share their scrumptious experience with their families.

Detroit students can receive FREE tickets to see the Academy Award-nominated film “Selma”

7th, 8th, and 9th graders who attend any school in Detroit can show Student ID or report card at any of the Detroit locations listed below for free admittance WHILE TICKETS LAST

HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 16, 2015) – Detroit has joined the growing movement led by African-American business leaders to raise funds for students across the country to see the Academy Award®-nominated film “SELMA,” expanding the first-of-its-kind campaign to 25 locations nationwide.

Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country’s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students across the U.S. will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last.

The business leaders contributing to the Detroit effort are:

  • Faye Alexander Nelson, President, DTE Energy Foundation
  • Tonya Allen, President & CEO, The Skillman Foundation
  • Lisa Dancsok, Vice President, Quicken Loans
  • Mariam C. Noland, President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Vivian R. Pickard, President, General Motors Foundation
  • Laura Trudeau, Managing Director, Detroit, Kresge Foundation
  • Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

“Detroit students will have the opportunity to join with students across the country to view ‘SELMA’ thanks to the generosity of a group of national and local foundations and corporations. We are pleased to help coordinate the generous commitments of the DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Foundation, General Motors Foundation, Kresge Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, and Quicken Loans,” said Noland.

The participating Detroit theaters are:

AMC Star Fairlane 20 Dearborn
AMC Star Southfield 20 Southfield
Bel Air 10 Theater Detroit
Emagine Novi Novi
MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 Sterling Heights

The 12 new locations joining the movement are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Central Florida/Orlando, Connecticut, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Montgomery, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and St. Louis. They follow the lead of those in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sarasota, FL, Washington D.C. and Westchester.

“This was an important opportunity to educate our children about the heroes of the civil rights movement and keep an important legacy intact. I am proud that our community seized the moment,” said Fletcher “Flash” Wiley, Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, who organized the efforts in Boston.

The nationwide efforts are inspired by the success of the program in New York City, in which 27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free. Due to the overwhelming demand, the New York City effort sold out in the very first weekend and was expanded to 75,000 tickets.

Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, which is distributing “SELMA,” is coordinating the programs with participating theaters in the U.S.  For a list of participating theaters in select cities offering free admission to students during this program and for information on group sales, visit www.SelmaMovie.com/studenttickets

The students who present a current student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater will receive free admission while tickets last.

To help get the word out about the program, tweet using the hashtag #SelmaForStudents.

Directed by DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “SELMA” is nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common & John Legend. The film earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films present “SELMA.” Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, the film is executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales. The film is written by Paul Webb. “SELMA” is directed by Ava DuVernay.

“SELMA” is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s “SELMA” tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The film also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”

“SELMA” is playing in theaters nationwide. To learn more about the film, go to http://www.selmamovie.com

 

 

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