About Detroit Public Schools

Detroit Public Schools is creating Centers of Excellence in every school in every neighborhood. The district’s primary mission is educating students to perform at high academic levels. DPS offers educational advantages to students and parents/guardians across the system and reforms throughout the district’s schools. Those include:

  • $138 million in student grants and scholarships
  • Art/Music enrichment for every elementary-middle school student
  • High Quality Pre-Kindergarten
  • Individual Learning Plans
  • Free healthy breakfast and  lunch for every child
  • Eight different world languages offered across the district
  • New Parent University and abundant parent programs
  • Safety initiatives with more community volunteers
  • Netbooks for every student in grades 6–12 and take-home Netbooks for grades 8–12
  • A new Career Academy, and high schools focusing on science and medicine, the arts and aviation

Learn more about Detroit Public Schools »


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School of the Week: Spain Elementary-Middle School

Early in 2014, the non-profit Aspen Institute and Detroit Symphony Orchestra were looking for a performing arts-focused Detroit school to hold an Arts Strike, which is defined as an event in which celebrated artists engage educators and students, and other to share the unique power of the arts to empower, enrich and educate.

The choice was obvious: Spain Elementary-Middle School, which has worked closely with the Symphony, is near Orchestra Hall and has been offering students a comprehensive performing arts curriculum combined with top-notch academics for more than 40 years.

The Arts Strike on April 4, 2014 brought legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer and Director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program Damian Woetzel to Spain. Yo-Yo Ma and Woetzel, and other acclaimed artists and musicians from around the world, performed for and collaborated with Spain students, offering them a once-in-a-lifetime artistic experience.

The event was undoubtedly extraordinary. But then again, Spain students are used to “extraordinary.”

“Students in Tune with Excellence”

“What makes Spain special is our academic excellence,” Principal Ronald Alexander. “We believe in giving students the best education possible. We have high standards for our children, and they reach for that.”

But to be a well-rounded student, Alexander and his school staff passionately believe that students should experience and master a wide array of extra-curricular activities, including a special emphasis on music and the performing arts, for which the school is renowned.

“Music is the universal language,” said Alexander, a former music teacher who sings in his church choir and plays the piano and a variety of instruments. He added that music incorporates elements of all the core subjects including English-Language Arts (writing and reading music); math (counting beats and notes); science (formulas of sounds and musical combinations) and social studies (history of musicians and genres).

“Music brings children alive,” said Alexander, who has been principal of the Midtown school for 18 years. “It allows them to express themselves. When (our teachers) find ways to make meaningful connections to the academics, as well as to music, our children begin to blossom, they begin to grow… We want our students to be ‘in tune with excellence.’ That’s our motto.”

Being in tune with excellence is easy for DaAna Gardner, 13. She’s a straight-A student who likes playing basketball, is an advanced violinist and who plays the keyboard, sings and dances.

“Music is my thing,” she said, taking a break from the perfectly perpendicular high steps she was doing with her dance class in the school’s ballet studio. “I love anything to do with music. When I’m angry, it calms me down.”

That’s the case with so many students, Alexander said. For some of them, music and other electives are the connection that keeps them excited about coming to school and learning. Many Spain students play more than one instrument and have had the opportunity to travel the world, including to South Africa, with the school’s musical groups.

“When I play music, I’m so happy inside,” said Amber Colvin, a 4.0 student who plays the clarinet, flute, piano and violin.

That’s a significant reason why Spain places such a heavy emphasis on performing arts with offerings that include dance, drama, vocal music, orchestra, and art. The school is even built for musical excellence, housing the Zodie A. Johnson Performing Arts wing that includes the dance room/ballet studio, chorus room, and the high-tech, acoustically designed auditorium built in 2000.

But Spain also offers a wide array of STEM courses for students who are not musically inclined. Other electives and course offerings include chess, academic games, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP); computer applications and an abundance of sports.

New this year: the school employed creative scheduling to offer debate as an elective, thanks to Resource Room teacher Ivy Bailey, who volunteered to teach the class.

Culture of respect

Elective courses, like debate, also help students raise their achievement in core subjects and bring about passion in students, Bailey said.

“I felt that debate was a way to give them an opportunity to take criticism constructively,” she said. “Students are also learning there is a way to argue formally.”

The philosophy of learning to “argue formally” fits in with Spain’s culture of respect. The hallways are quiet during class. Students raise their hands in class. When in the halls, they walk in straight lines.

“We don’t allow commotion here,” Colvin said. “We are very smart students.”

Mr. Alexander often walks up to groups of students in the hall and holds impromptu “family meetings,” talking to students about their schoolwork, their families and taking the opportunity to coach them on tucking in their shirts and standing up straight.

“I love my students,” he said, adding that they are his passion and the school is like a family. And as with any family, the head of the household sets the tone.

“He demands respect from everyone – parents, students, and teachers,” Bailey said of Mr. Alexander. “It makes for a good atmosphere.”

Something you didn’t know:

The school’s performing arts wing is named after former Assistant Superintendent Zodie A. Johnson, who was a supporter of the arts. When then-Spain teacher Victoria Miller approached her with the idea to infuse Spain with a performing arts curriculum, legend has it that Johnson exclaimed: “Let the baby be born.” Miller, after whom the auditorium is named, went on to Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, where she led the band to acclaim and world travels.

Cody Comets and LifeRemodeled celebrate dedication of NEW Hope Field, STEM labs, Inspiration Station and more!

Cody parents, students, staff and volunteers from Life Remodeled held a dedication ceremony to unveil the makeover of “Hope Field,” a new $1 million football field built through grant funding from the Skillman Foundation and other donations in conjunction with the Life Remodeled transformation at the school.

Students also gave tours of the new state-of-the-art Medical Simulation Lab; Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab; Academy of Public Leadership Lab and home economics room. 

Detroit Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance unveil renovated media center at Carver STEM Academy

Pistons also host FIT Clinic promoting health and wellness following unveiling

The Detroit Pistons unveiled a new library/media center at Carver S.T.E.M. Academy on September 25 as part of the “Reading Room Makeover” contest presented by Farm Bureau Insurance.

Pistons players Greg Monroe and Caron Butler, along with Pistons Legends Rick Mahorn and Earl Cureton, were on hand during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Carver.

“We are thrilled to have worked with Farm Bureau Insurance to present a new library to the deserving students and staff at Carver S.T.E.M. Academy,” said Dennis Mannion, CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons.  “This is an excellent opportunity to make an impact in the community and give these kids a functional space that is inviting and makes learning fun.”

The Carver library, renovated by Pistons and Farm Bureau volunteers, has seen a six-week facelift with new paint, carpet, furniture and themed graphics including a basketball themed reading area.  Twenty schools from across the state of Michigan submitted applications including images of their school’s library to be considered in the selection process. Palace Sports & Entertainment and Farm Bureau Insurance representatives then narrowed the applicants, visited the finalist’s sites and selected Carver as the winner.

“Farm Bureau Insurance’s goal for this makeover was to provide the Carver staff and students with an organized, clean and safe reading room and library,” said Vic Verchereau, Farm Bureau Insurance Vice President of Marketing. “With the help of many of our staff members and of course the dedicated team at the Pistons, this new space is that and so much more. The real gift is what each of us took home after completing work at the school. We couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of something so wonderful and can’t wait to see the Carver educators and students in their new reading room and library. I personally look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things that this staff and their young students will achieve in the years to come.”

Following the unveiling, students had the opportunity to join Monroe and Butler on the court as part of a Pistons FIT clinic. The clinic focused on promoting health and wellness through the game of basketball.

The Detroit Pistons have renovated 30 facilities as part of the NBA’s Live, Learn and Play Program at schools, community centers, and hospitals in Michigan.  The Carver S.T.E.M. Academy library is the 31st facility renovated through the program.

About Live, Learn and Play: The NBA’s commitment to youth and family development is highlighted by the creation of Live, Learn or Play Spaces. These new and refurbished basketball courts, libraries, playgrounds, homes, fitness facilities and technology rooms are created in conjunction with NBA league and team community and business partners.  Upon completion of each project, NBA family members officially dedicate the project by participating in educational activities and games with the local community.  These spaces provide the critical resources that pave the way for children’s future success. Since October 2005, there have been more than 900 of these places created in more than 25 countries and territories on five continents.

About Farm Bureau Insurance: Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did.  Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why they are known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state.  Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more—protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.

It’s Makeover Week in Detroit Public Schools! Bates Academy kicks off the week unveiling $2.7 million interior makeover to parents and students Wednesday

Carver STEM Academy, Cody Academies Campus, and Durfee Elementary-Middle School to also host makeover events in conjunction with partners including Target Corp., The Heart of America Foundation, the Detroit Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance

Bates Academy parents, students and staff participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s $2.7 million interior makeover on Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. to kick off Detroit Public Schools’ first-ever Makeover Week, which began on Wednesday, Sept. 24 and will culminate on Wednesday, Oct. 1, the statewide pupil Count Day.

Four schools total will celebrate makeovers including Carver STEM Academy unveiling a new Media Center donated by the Detroit Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance on Thursday, Sept. 25; Cody Academies Campus will host a dedication ceremony for its new $1 million football field on Friday, Sept. 26 in conjunction with the Life Remodeled transformation at the school, as well as tours of the new state-of-the-art Medical Simulation Lab, Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab, Academy of Public Leadership Lab and home economics room. The dedication of the new “Hope Field” at Cody will precede the first home game played on the field in six years.

Makeover Week will be capped off with a celebration at Durfee Elementary-Middle School on Wednesday, Oct. 1, the statewide pupil Count Day. Volunteers from Target and The Heart of America Foundation will unveil a newly renovated library, which features 2,000 new books, furniture, carpet and shelves, and a complete technology upgrade, including new iPads interactive White Boards and more.

Makeover Week Events:
Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. – Bates Academy, 19701 Wyoming: Bates received a $2.7 million makeover this summer to transform its interior learning environments, marking the beginning of a multi-phased and multiple-year renovation of the school. Parents, students and community members are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony as the improvements are unveiled. Upgrades include new heating/cooling units and ceiling replacements in all classrooms; bright new paint to stimulate a creative learning environment in all classrooms; full-scale upgrades of the lighting to replace the outdated incandescent and florescent lighting with modern and more energy-efficient lighting; bathroom upgrades; and a kitchen, servery and cafetorium makeover that includes new lighting, upgraded kitchen equipment, heating and cooling improvements and updated acoustics.

Thursday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. – Carver STEM Academy, 18701 Paul Street: The Detroit Pistons will unveil a new library at Carver as a part of the “Reading Room Makeover” contest presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Pistons players Greg Monroe and Caron Butler, along with Pistons Legends Rick Mahorn and Earl Cureton will be on hand during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Carver. The new Carver STEM Library, renovated by Pistons and Farm Bureau volunteers, has seen a six-week facelift with new paint, carpet, furniture and themed graphics including a basketball themed reading area.  Twenty schools from across the state of Michigan submitted applications including images of their school’s library to be considered in the selection process. Palace Sports & Entertainment and Farm Bureau Insurance representatives then narrowed the applicants, visited the finalist’s sites and selected Carver as the winner. Following the unveiling, students will have the opportunity to join Monroe and Butler on the court as part of a Pistons FIT clinic. The clinic will focus on promoting health and wellness through the game of basketball. The Detroit Pistons have renovated 30 facilities as part of the NBA’s Live, Learn and Play Program at schools, community centers, and hospitals in Michigan.  The Carver STEM Academy library will be the 31st facility renovated through the program.

Friday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. – Cody Academies Campus, 18445 Cathedral: Cody parents, students, staff and volunteers from Life Remodeled will hold a dedication ceremony to unveil the makeover of “Hope Field,” a new $1 million football field built through grant funding from the Skillman Foundation and other donations in conjunction with the Life Remodeled transformation at the school. Beginning at 3 p.m., students will give tours of the new state-of-the-art Medical Simulation Lab; Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab; Academy of Public Leadership Lab and home economics room. The field dedication and ceremony will begin at 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m – Durfee Elementary-Middle School, 2470 Collingwood: Durfee Elementary-Middle School staff, students, parents and volunteers from Target Corp. and The Heart of America Foundation will unveil a newly renovated library. Several hundred volunteer hours were invested in the redesign and construction of the library space, which features 2,000 new books, furniture, carpet and shelves, and a complete technology upgrade, including new iPads, interactive White Boards and more. By reimagining school libraries and transforming outdated spaces into state-of-the-art learning centers, Target continues to foster a love of reading in students across the country.

 

 

Budget and Salary/Compensation Transparency Reporting Annual Education Report

News & Press Releases

DPS partners with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to host Count Day Attendance Challenge; Forman Mills to donate more than 100 uniform vouchers to students in need
10/1/2014

School of the Week: Spain Elementary-Middle School
9/29/2014

Cody Comets and LifeRemodeled celebrate dedication of NEW Hope Field, STEM labs, Inspiration Station and more!
9/27/2014

Pershing junior runner Jaishala Seal named PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week
9/25/2014

Detroit Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance unveil renovated media center at Carver STEM Academy
9/25/2014

East English Village junior linebacker Andrew DeMoss named PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week
9/25/2014

New home football field Cody High’s pride and joy
9/25/2014

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