DPS News Highlights

Earhart student’s float design comes to life

Eighth grade student Naomi West of Earhart Elementary-Middle School in Detroit saw her artistic creation brought to life for the first time today at The Parade Company when she was announced as the 23rd Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest winner.

West’s drawing entitled “Children’s Pet Cuddle & Care Club” was transformed into a magnificent float which features a giant bobble head dog sitting five feet in diameter with a dog bowl large enough to hold up to 20 gallons of water. The 30 foot long float also boasts a bag of puppy food which can hold 30 regular-sized bags of dog food. The float features an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2014 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites. West, who was the runner up winner in the 2013 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest, will be joined by her family as she accompanies her float along the parade route during America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van.

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Detroit Public Schools fall enrollment meets budget, exceeds projections

Retention strategies, strategic programs aid academic, enrollment progress

Unofficial student enrollment in Detroit Public Schools for Fall 2014 surpassed DPS’ budget forecast for the 2015 FY, and for the second consecutive year exceeded professional demographer projections.

DPS, on November 12, concluded the mandated 30-day period following the Fall Count Date by certifying that 47,238.01 “FTE” (full-time equivalent) students are enrolled across the District’s 97 schools. The FTE figure, once audited, is the basis for the per-pupil funding from the Michigan Department of Education, which provides educational resources.

The numbers reflect an increase of more than 49 students over the budget target, and nearly 1,080, or 2.3%, more students than demographic predictions. Last year, the district exceeded demographer predictions by 1,035 and also gained one percent of “market share” of Detroit’s estimated resident school-age population.

The reduction of 1,686 pupils equates to a dip of 3.4% from 2013. In 2013, the dip from the previous school year was 1.7%. Both years’ enrollment performance reflect a change in  decades of losses, which for the previous six years amounted to 10.4% annually, and have been recorded despite increasing competition from other educational providers and an expected 2,175 fewer school-age children in Detroit.

Emergency Manager Jack Martin credited newly implemented strategic initiatives to enhance rigor, replicate successful academic programs and provide comprehensive enrichment, customer service and safety for the comparable enrollment stability. Specific expanded/enhanced programs, including the Academy of the Americas 9th grade academy and Mark Twain School for Scholars gifted and talented program, recorded enrollment increases of greater than 10%, and enrollment across 12 DPS schools in southwest Detroit, where the district implemented a comprehensive strategy, is up two percent.

In addition to focusing on academic strengths, DPS focused on retention by conducting a joint Summer Literacy Initiative with partners including the Detroit Public Library, holding Academic Family Nights in September at all schools, surveying all parents twice annually and holding culture-and-climate training for all school security officers.

The district continues to work with the community to implement its 2013-2017 Strategic Plan and will study school-by-school enrollment figures in the context of academic programs, while also taking into account the range of population trends across Detroit’s neighborhoods, to determine program enhancements as well as process improvements for the 2015-16 school year.

School of the Week: Diann Banks-Williamson Educational Center

The focus on students’ abilities starts early, continues every day, at Diann Banks Williamson Educational Center

Outdoors, the first snow flurries of the season and a cold westerly wind combine to make the large, shared high school campus even chillier in the emerging daylight at 7:50 a.m.

But indoors, 10 Diann Banks Williamson Educational Center swim team members are already in the warm, Olympic size pool. Under the direction of Coach Kenneth Dudley, they are training for the Special Olympics, as they do for 55 minutes at the start of each day.

Everything seems to start buzzing early for the ninety-two, 14- to 19-year-old Moderate Cognitive Impaired, Severe Cognitive Impaired, and Severe Multiple Impaired students who will complete the program with MI-Access participation and supported independence levels in mathematics, science, social studies and English language arts, as well as instruction in life management skills, personal management, remedial reading and vocational training.

Instruction is based on the Michigan Curriculum Framework Extended High School Content Expectations (EHSCE) and the Common Core Essential Elements State Standards. Students are assessed with the Michigan Alternative Assessment, known as the MI-Access.

Many staff members arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. Busses arrive at 7:15 a.m. and students go to the cafeteria for a hot breakfast consisting of grits and French toast. All students not in the pool during the first hour are in one of eight classrooms collectively focused on Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS). Second-year principal Roslyn Fluker and her educational team instituted the school-wide program this year and made it the focus for the full first class period each day.

“Let’s make sure we have a good day, the whole day.”

The uniform focus during the first hour extends throughout the school day with the intent of making the environment as conducive to learning in every manner possible. Just as the teachers here use data to drive instruction and physical development, PBIS is a tool to effectively manage the whole building and remain proactive if hot spots arise. There are PBIS reminders, signs and symbols on nearly every wall of every classroom and common area. Charlotte Buck, a mathematics teacher, has a sign posted in her classroom that states, “ATTENTION: Only Positive Attitudes Allowed in the Area.”

The pool is one of four shared spaces with adjoining East English Village Preparatory Academy (EEVPA), along with the cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium. Diann Banks-Williamson staff members consider it an asset to share these spaces with the 1,500 EEVPA students who are in a comprehensive high school. When some of Diann Banks-Williamson students share these spaces with their non-disabled peers, they are maximizing their participation level. Monthly field trips also support that mission of exposing students to the world around them.

“We focus on the students’ abilities, not their disabilities.”

Coach Dudley’s swimmers do well at Special Olympics, but it’s really about progressively developing confidence in the 10, predominantly-MOCI students in the pool. They begin in the shallow water, but at this point two months into the fall semester, the students are swimming lengths and diving in the deep end. The focus on progression means that the life vests that the swimmers currently wear will be removed in January.

“It’s part of the whole-child development,” he says, noting that the swimming provides health, fitness as well as leisure benefits. He introduces one swimmer who he says would have every chance of becoming a Life Guard professionally if the procedures surrounding the entrance test could be modified to accommodate him.

Dudley began the swimming instruction 10 years ago when this educational program was housed in the former Kettering West Wing. The new facility opened 15 months ago and provides a 20,000 square-foot, top notch center-based special education building that is earth-friendly with modern technology, a dedicated clinic, computer lab, showers and changing rooms.

“Every student yearns to learn.”

Principal Fluker credits her team of certified teachers, support staff and teacher assistants with continually addressing what they describe as the yearning for learning. It’s evident in each well-focused and active classroom, all before the 8:45 a.m. bell rings to end first hour.

In Felicia Whitted’s MOCI classroom, the students’ recent quilted art project and voting posters are on display as the laser focus on learning new things and developmental progress is evident through a repeated chant the students say together:

Here’s a Little Story I’ve Got to Tell
… About Something You Don’t Know So Well

In Ruth Theisen’s English Language Arts class with SCI students at the other end of the school, she and a total of five assistants emphasize that participation is the most important focus and completing the task is everyone’s goal.

In the main hallway, physical therapist Bruce Rabey is also focused on assisting students in making progress as he assists a young girl with navigating a large tricycle through the doorways and passageways. His goal is to move the student, who typically relies on a wheelchair, to use a walker or walking machine to eventually walk independently.

The swim students have an additional, cross-curricular academic opportunity in the classroom setting each Friday, with a study guide for review, assessments, and an opportunity to view video analysis of themselves and others swimming.

The students are able to think deeper and work on other academic skills such as language arts. As a result, they leave with their own swim class portfolio with evidence of their hard work.

There are Data Boards at each end of the wing for each group of students displaying progress on such factors as Fine Motor Skills and pre-Handwriting.

Fluker says of the clean, well-lit, specially designed facility, simply, “It works. This is how our house looks every day.”

DPS to host NEW Teacher Hiring Fair with onsite interviews, on-the-spot hiring and offer letters to eligible candidates

Signing bonus will be provided to educators hired in critical shortage instruction areas

Teacher Hiring Fair FlyerDetroit Public Schools will host a new Teacher Hiring Fair on Friday, November 21, 2014 from 3–7 p.m. at Hotel St. Regis Detroit, 3071 W. Grand Blvd. Candidates will have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one interviews with current school principals and walk away with conditional offer letters.

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To help recruit high-quality educators in critical shortage areas, the district will offer a signing bonus to certified teachers in Aeronautics, Agriculture, Bilingual Instruction, Early Childhood, Horticulture, Math and Science at the secondary level, Social Studies, Special Education and World Languages (Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Bengali and French).

In addition to critical shortage subjects, DPS is also seeking educators in American Sign Language, Art, English Language Arts, Homeroom, K-8 Math and Science, Music, Secondary Vocational-Day Trade (Nursing, Marketing, Ergo Science) and substitute teachers.

Fingerprinting will be available onsite. Candidates should bring a cashier’s check or money order in the amount of $62.50, payable to: MorphoTrust.

Qualified candidates must be certified teachers, with the exception of Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Robotics, Computer Science and World Languages for grades 9-12. Applicants in these subject areas are only required to hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in the subject, and two or more years of professional experience within the last five years. *World Languages applicants are not required to have two or more years of experience.

Current teachers employed by the district do not need to attend. Candidates interested in filling any teaching position must visit detroitk12.org/employment/ and complete an online application for the appropriate job posting in order to be admitted to the Teacher Hiring Fair. Applicants can also call (313) 873-6897 or (313)240-4377 for more details.

DPS JROTC commemorates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War during 9th Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade

As one of their community service projects, more than 1,300 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps high school students from 16 Detroit Public Schools commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War during the 9th Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade. The parade, held by the Metropolitan Detroit Veterans Coalition, took place on Saturday, Nov. 8 on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit.

About Detroit Public Schools’ JROTC programs:
Since 1920, Detroit Public Schools has upheld a strong tradition of JROTC participation among its high school students. The current Corps of Cadets consists of 3,229 students in 17 high schools, which is 23 percent of the district’s high school student population. DPS hosts 15 Army programs, one Air Force program and one Navy program, the most in Michigan.

View video footage from the event and photos, courtesy of Harold Harris Photography.



Budget and Salary/Compensation Transparency Reporting Annual Education Report

News & Press Releases

Detroit Public Schools expands 6-month-old Parent University, adding expert-led parenting courses in partnership with Wayne State University, Detroit Public Library, Black Family Development and more

Cynthia Estrada Charity Fund donates $20,000 for two new bilingual textbooks series at expanded Academy of the Americas PreK-9

K-8 Youth Sports League to host Middle School Girls Basketball Championship Game & Jamboree Saturday, Nov. 22

Drew Transition Center, a center-based school for students with special needs, opens a Farmstand with vegetables harvested by students

Cass Tech’s offensive line a powerful force in the state playoffs

Cass Tech’s Mike Weber first PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week twice in same season

Congratulations Earhart student! The Parade Company brings winning student’s design to life during 23rd Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest.

Parent Resources

Upcoming Events

HBCU College Fair at EEVP
11/18/2014 6:00 am – 8:00 am

Breithaupt Thanksgiving Buffet
11/21/2014 11:00 am – 1:30 pm

"O'Give Thanks" Thanksgiving Buffet
11/21/2014 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Schools Closed
11/27/2014 – 11/28/2014

Schools Closed
12/22/2014 – 1/2/2015

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