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DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes’ Responses to Questions from the Detroit Board of Education & Community Members from the May 18, 2016 Board Meeting

DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes’ Responses to Questions from the Detroit Board of Education & Community Members from the May 18, 2016 Board Meeting

 

Transition Manager Update: Statement by Judge Rhodes regarding charges filed by US Attorney Barbara McQuade

Dear Detroit Public Schools Staff,

I wanted to share with you the statement that I released earlier this afternoon regarding the charges filed by US Attorney Barbara McQuade today against six current and seven previous DPS employees. This is the link to the press release from the Department of Justice issued today.

Sincerely,

Judge Steven Rhodes
Transition Manager

Public Statement

Detroit Public Schools was advised this morning by US Attorney Barbara McQuade of the charges being filed against six current and seven previous DPS employees. The District has been cooperating fully with the US Attorney’s Office since the beginning of the investigation. Upon learning of the charges, I immediately instructed the District’s Employee Relations Department to place those individuals who are current employees on unpaid administrative leave.

I cannot overstate the outrage that I feel about the conduct that these DPS employees engaged in that led to these charges. And I am sure that this sense of outrage is shared by the other dedicated and committed DPS employees, as well as DPS parents and everyone who is interested in the future success of DPS.

The actions of these individuals are reprehensible and represent a breach of the public trust that has deprived our students of more than $2.7 million in resources.
This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and will never be tolerated. Illegal behavior of any kind will result in immediate suspension and possible termination.

DPS has suspended business with Mr. Shy and all of his companies. We will no longer do business with him or his companies.

To ensure that this does not happen again, we are immediately putting into place the following checks and balances:

  • Suspend all purchases by individual schools until further notice;
  • All school-based purchases will require Central Office approval;
  • Suspend, until further notice, the ability by Principals and Assistant Principals to sign-off on or execute any vendor agreements and contracts without Central Office approval by the Superintendent’s Office, Finance and/or Procurement;
  • Require two signatures (principal and Deputy Network Leader of Operations) on all school-based invoices before they will be paid;
  • Conduct a review of all purchases made by the DPS employees identified by the US Attorney;
  • Begin a full review of all school-based vendor contracts to determine if all or a portion need to be terminated and rebid;
  • Recruit an independent auditor to do a thorough review and assessment of procurement processes and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations.

Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather is working to ensure that the six schools affected by this situation have leaders in place when students return from Spring Break on Monday, April 4, 2016.

The affected schools and their new leaders are:

  • Bennett Elementary: Dina Bonomo (current AEA in the building)
  • Marcus Garvey Academy Kim Marie Lane (current AEA in the building)
  • Jerry L. White Special Education Center: Ramona Vincent (current AEA in the building)
  • Marquette Elementary-Middle School: Deborah Sinclair (current assistant principal)
  • Spain Elementary-Middle School: Oneika Newman (current AEA in the building)
  • Thirkell Elementary Middle-School: Denise Connelly (current assistant principal)

This unfortunate situation should not be a reflection on the vast majority of DPS’ dedicated, responsible and ethical employees.

I want to encourage any DPS employee who has a concern about potential fraud or criminal activity to immediately contact the District’s Fraud Prevention Hotline at (313) 870-3436.

I took this job because I want to help the children of the city of Detroit. I will not let these circumstances distract me from my goal of leading the orderly transition of DPS from state control to local control, as promptly and efficiently as possible.

Finally I call upon everyone who is interested in creating a successful future for public education in Detroit to forge ahead with full attention to the needs and interests of our children.

 

DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes Promotes from Within to Fill Key Transition Team Role; Names Alycia Meriweather Interim Superintendent  

Long-time DPS educator to work with Judge Rhodes to prepare District for return to local control; lead day-to-day operations of Academics, Talent and Strategy Divisions

Detroit Public Schools Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes today announced that he has named long-time DPS educator Alycia Meriweather to be the District’s Interim Superintendent.  Meriweather, who is a Detroit resident and DPS graduate, will lead day-to-day operations in DPS’ Academics, Talent and Strategy Divisions, while Rhodes retains the balance of leadership responsibility for the District. They will work in partnership to transition the school system to local control as provided in legislation pending in Lansing.

“It was important to me that we looked within Detroit Public Schools – as well as the city of Detroit – to identify a qualified individual to fill the Interim Superintendent’s position,” said Rhodes. “As a veteran educator who has served at many levels of Detroit Public Schools’ Academic operations, and has also played a key role in the strategic direction of the District over the last year, Alycia’s skills and experience make her uniquely qualified to serve in this critical leadership position. It is also important that Alycia has strong respect and support among her peers both inside and outside the District. I look forward to working with her.”

Meriweather, who began her career at DPS in 1995 as a science teacher at Farwell Middle School, most recently was Executive Director of the Office of Curriculum. Prior to her appointment to that position, she spent four years as the Deputy Executive Director of the District’s Office of Science, as well as two years as the Supervisor of Middle School Science. For the last several years, Meriweather has also led the Academic and Programmatic leadership over DPS’ Detroit Children’s Museum, as well as Camp Burt Shurly, the District’s overnight camp facility in Gregory, MI.

Additionally, for the last seven years, she has served as the Director for the Detroit Mathematics and Science Center, one of 32 centers in the Michigan Mathematics and Science Center Network. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan, a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Wayne State University, and is currently working on her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Wayne State.

“I have been with Detroit Public Schools since I was a four-year-old in the District’s Head Start program. I am a graduate of DPS and a lifelong resident of the City of Detroit. The success of DPS and its students is personal for me,” said Meriweather. “Since I was a little girl teaching my stuffed-animal students in the attic of our house in Detroit, I knew that I would be a teacher in Detroit Public Schools. My time at DPS has been the most rewarding experience of my life. To be able to bring my range of academic experience and incorporate educator insight and perspective is critical to Detroit Public Schools’ future. As a voting Detroiter, I am in full agreement with Judge Rhodes, that returning DPS to local control needs to happen as soon as possible.”

Potential candidates for the position of Interim Superintendent were submitted by a broad range of individuals and groups. All candidates were vetted jointly by Judge Rhodes and the Governor’s Office. Also, the leadership of the Detroit Federation of Teachers played a key role in identifying the most important qualifications for the position.

“I want to thank DFT leadership for their significant assistance in this process, and I look forward to their continued support and cooperation as we transition DPS to local control,” said Rhodes.

Meriweather did not initially seek the position. Her name was advanced to Judge Rhodes by both teachers within the system and members of the community.

“While I did not put my name forth for consideration, I am extremely honored that my peers and colleagues had such confidence in my abilities that they would,” said Meriweather. “Moving forward, their continued support of me, and their ongoing support of the District they have dedicated their lives to, will be essential to making the changes necessary to bring about improved academic outcomes for all of our students.”

One of Meriweather’s top priorities will be visiting each of the District’s 97 school buildings. During these visits, she wants to spend time in classrooms with teachers and students to, “see what they see, hear what they hear and experience what they experience.”

She will also be focusing on standards-based academics, differentiated instruction, District culture and climate, career and technical education, early childhood literacy and improving experiential/alternative learning environments and opportunities for DPS students.

“The Detroit Public Schools still face large challenges. But with the talent and expertise of Judge Steven Rhodes and Alycia Meriweather at the helm, we will see a smooth transition to local control,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “And with the passage of my $715 million improvement plan for the District, that local control will start fresh with the resources it needs to provide a quality education to Detroit students and teachers in the environment they need and deserve to have.”

DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes Names Alycia Meriweather Interim Superintendent

 

Eighty-three Detroit Public Schools staff members headed to U-M for intense training and planning with top international experts

This week 21 Detroit Public Schools Principals and teachers, along with 18 academic/curricular leaders, 24 additional educational support leaders and the entire DPS Cabinet are among 83 school district leaders who will participate in a customized two-and-a-half day leadership/organizational development training conducted by international experts from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

The Michigan Ross Team, led by Dr. Kim Cameron, the William Russell Kelly Professor of Management & Organizations in the Ross School of Business and Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education, and Dr. Robert Quinn, the Margaret Elliott Tracy Collegiate Professor in Business Administration in the Ross School of Business, are conducting all aspects of the program at no charge to the district. This is part of a new partnership with U-M Ross to accelerate the district’s strategy planning and reinvent and transform the district’s business operations to support high achieving schools over the course of the next year.

“The bottom line is that we must restructure the services that the District provides to schools and families to focus on academic success, first and foremost, and to ensure that our schools’ progress not only continues, but accelerates,” said DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. “The critical work being undertaken by the U-M Ross and DPS teams is tangible proof of my 10-Point Management Plan in action and, I am certain, will help guide our way to moving the District toward long-term financial stability and educational competitiveness.”

The DPS team members headed to U-M on Tuesday have been identified as “positive energy innovators” and will spend these extended sessions at the Ross School, as well as time in Detroit with follow-up visits to DPS by Ross faculty over the coming months, as part of a new tailored executive leadership program designed to set a clear path forward for the district’s efforts to restructure its operations and re-engineer the way the District provides services to and supports its schools and students.

“Our aspiration in partnering with the Detroit Public School System leaders is to help provide a leadership foundation that will produce extraordinary performance in DPS,” said Professor Cameron of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The positive energy and commitment exemplified by DPS leadership is an important prerequisite in helping a system that has been struggling become a benchmark for the rest of the nation.”

The Michigan Ross faculty members partnering with the District have successfully assisted leaders to achieve high levels of performance in such diverse organizations as Oracle, Bank of America, the National Intelligence Agencies, U.S. Army General officers, Prudential, Pfizer and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, along with dozens of others.

As part of the training program, the DPS leadership team, under the direction of Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, has committed to:

  • Create a high performance environment;
  • Provide the tools, resources and technology to accomplish work activities;
  • Utilize comprehensive performance management in a clear and transparent decision process, and;
  • Recognize and reward behaviors that reinforce a lean, agile performance-driven culture.

Professors Cameron and Quinn have been published in more than 200 academic articles and more than 30 scholarly books between them. They are co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan. Both are also integral faculty members of the Ross Executive Education Program, which offers open enrollment and custom programs to executives and companies on a host of leadership and management issues.

 

Detroit Public Schools accelerates innovation planning with top international experts from U-M Ross School of Business

Michigan Ross faculty have experience with Fortune 500 companies, local, state, federal and international government agencies

Detroit Public Schools and top international management experts from one of the country’s highest ranked business schools have partnered to accelerate the district’s strategy planning and reinvent and transform the district’s business operations to support high achieving schools.

DPS this week has brought on board senior faculty and organizational leadership and development experts from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Under the guidance of U-M professors, a new tailored executive leadership program will both speed up and work to sustain the district’s efforts to re-engineer, synchronize and align all of the District’s performance-driven operations. Michigan Ross faculty are offering the project pro bono to DPS.

“Michigan Ross shares a common bond with our colleagues of the Detroit Public Schools and that is our belief that a quality education is transformative,” said Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.  “We applaud DPS for making a commitment to ongoing leadership development and strategic planning for their future, and the future of their students, and are proud to offer our expertise to support this partnership.”

These faculty members have successfully worked on turnaround models with such diverse organizations as Oracle, Bank of America, the National Intelligence Agencies, U.S. Army General officers, Prudential, Pfizer and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, along with dozens of others.

As part of the partnership, the DPS leadership team under Emergency Manager Darnell Earley has committed to:

  • Create a high performance environment;
  • Provide the tools, resources and technology to accomplish work activities;
  • Utilize comprehensive performance management in a clear and transparent decision process, and;
  • Recognize and reward behaviors that reinforce a lean, agile performance-driven culture.

Led by Dr. Kim Cameron, the William Russell Kelly Professor of Management & Organizations in the Ross School of Business and Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education and a team of Ross School senior faculty, the work will include teams of DPS senior leaders along with teachers, principals and staff identified as “positive energy innovators” spending extended sessions at the Ross School and in Detroit with follow-up visits to DPS by Ross faculty throughout Earley’s 18 month tenure at DPS.

Professor Cameron holds a Ph.D. from Yale. His past research on organizational virtuousness, downsizing, effectiveness, corporate quality culture, and the development of leadership excellence has been published in more than 120 academic articles and 15 scholarly books. Cameron served as Dean at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and is the co founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan.  Cameron is also an integral faculty member of the Ross Executive Education Program, which offers open enrollment and custom programs to executives and companies on a host of leadership and management issues.

“We’re in an upward trajectory with recent successes in terms of academic progress as evidenced by last week’s release of greatly improved graduation rates that show we are closing the gap with the state of Michigan, along with enrollment stabilization, and new programs,” Earley stated. “But we must re-engineer the services that the District provides to schools and families to focus on academic success, first and foremost, and to ensure that this progress not only continues, but accelerates. We must also take successful programs and continue to replicate them.”

In restructuring, DPS will partner with additional universities and other key stakeholders and develop comprehensive funding strategies to support this important work. DPS will also continue to focus on a review of all contracts, policies and procedures, including the key areas of central office administration, special education, curriculum and instruction, grants, and staffing models, as well as non-core programs.

“The bottom line is that all players in the Detroit education market must not only improve individually, but also work together to create an efficient and effective public education delivery system in Detroit. We must never forget that a strong public school system is essential to the future of Detroit, Southeast Michigan, as well as the State of Michigan,” Earley said.

The partnership with the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan will help guide implementation of Earley’s 10-Point Management Plan that is moving the district toward long-term financial stability and educational competitiveness. The District’s Michigan Ross partnership will also complement the work DPS staff members have done as a part of their participation in the reform recommendation efforts being led by The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren. Since the inception of the Coalition, senior DPS executives have participated, assisted and taken a leadership role, in conjunction with other educators and stakeholders, in framing the issues and the resulting recommendations in the areas of support services, academics, governance, special education and finance. Their collective, 100-plus hours of service to the group’s subcommittees is in addition to the major roles that DPS principals, teachers, parents and staff have played in shaping the Coalition since its formation in late 2014. Earley also met and talks regularly with Tonya Allen and other Co-Chairs of the Coalition.

 

Darnell Earley named new emergency manager as community discusses future of city’s public education

LANSING, Mich. – Detroit Public Schools remains under a financial emergency as community leaders start discussions about a long-term reinvention to build a stable, financially secure system that creates a brighter future for all city students, Gov. Rick Snyder said.

With the district struggling with a nearly $170 million deficit, Snyder said it is necessary to continue with an emergency manager while community discussions move forward. He today announced the appointment of Darnell Earley, following the provisions of Public Act 436 of 2012. Earley replaces Emergency Manager Jack Martin effective today.

The transition in Detroit Public Schools comes as the Coalition for Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, convened by the Skillman Foundation, starts a community discussion about the future of all the city’s schools. That work will continue and Snyder plans to meet with the coalition members later in the week.

“A thriving public school system is an essential part of Detroit’s comeback,” Snyder said. “Financial challenges unquestionably hinder efforts to improve academics. I appreciate the hard work of Jack Martin, who oversaw the district during an extremely challenging period. Darnell Earley has a track record of success and can guide the district as we work collectively and collaboratively to turnaround the fiscal crisis and ensure a quality education for the city’s school children that they need and deserve.”

Snyder made the announcement at Detroit Public School District’s Burton International Academy.

Earley has served as the city of Flint’s emergency manager since September 2013. His experience includes serving as Saginaw city manager, Flint city administrator and Ingham County’s budget director and deputy controller. Earley is a municipal finance expert known for working closely with community organizations.

Earley will be replaced in Flint by Jerry Ambrose, who since December 2011 has served as financial adviser to Flint’s emergency manager. Earley’s term in Flint was expected to expire in April, and the city is still expected to transition back to local control at that time.

“Important community discussions are underway about creating a brighter future for education in Detroit,” Earley said. “It’s vital for the district to be on firmer financial footing so this work can move forward. Education must be a cornerstone of a strong, revitalized Detroit.”

Snyder praised Martin for his leadership of the state’s largest school district during challenging times. Martin worked to stabilize the district’s enrollment after 20 years of significant losses. He also restored art, music and athletic programs at elementary and middle school levels and redesigned career tech programs to address current needs in the skilled trade marketplace.

Martin also refocused the district’s real estate strategy, selling and leasing a number of unused properties to generate several million dollars for the city schools.

“I took this job because it meant I would be helping children get the education they need to be productive, successful members of our community,” Martin said. “Every action I’ve taken over the last 18 months has been about the students and fixing the system so every child in Detroit can receive the quality education they deserve.”

 

Detroit Public Schools Reorganizes Academics Division to Support Continued Academic Achievement and Accelerate Educational Progress in the City of Detroit

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin today announced a reorganization of the District’s Academics Division designed to sharpen DPS’ focus on providing high quality schools for all students by achieving maximum efficiencies in school operations, curriculum development, central office support for instruction and, most importantly, to assist in accelerating current positive momentum in student achievement.

“I have stated many times since I began my tenure as Emergency Manager that the only way Detroit Public Schools will be able to compete as a premiere educational provider, maintain and grow enrollment, and thereby stabilize its finances, is to offer a superior academic product,” said Martin. “While we have made definite progress in this area, there is still much work to be done. This reorganization sets the stage for this work to occur with greater accountability in an optimum environment, and to cement DPS’ role in ensuring quality education, college and career readiness and student-focused educational environments in all Detroit neighborhoods as part of the city’s revitalization.”

Key changes focusing on innovative, service-oriented, high-performing academic support teams in the departments of Curriculum, Professional Development, Innovation, School Turnaround, College and Career Readiness, Pupil Population Management, Accountability and Strategic Planning are as follows: 

Curriculum

Changes in the Curriculum area focus on leadership of both content areas and delivery of instruction at schools and will significantly enhance the District’s continued professional development in a relevant and updated way.

The Core Curriculum areas of Math, Science, Literacy and Social Studies will be consolidated under the newly created position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, which will report directly to Superintendent of Academics Karen Ridgeway. These areas formerly reported to the Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of Academics. The change in reporting structure and the consolidation recognizes the fundamental relationship and need for more coordination, planning and integrated curriculum development among these core content areas, under the focused supervision and guidance of an experienced curriculum leader, as a necessary means to improve and increase student achievement.

Finally, the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum will also assume direct supervision over the Office of Professional Development in order to enrich, improve and inform the professional development of teachers with the collective knowledge and experience of the core content and other curriculum areas. This realignment also embeds professional development throughout the academic organizations of the District, recognizing that developing educational leaders and teacher professional development must be done within the context of the District’s curriculum in order to maximize the opportunity for academic achievement and maintain professional development’s relevance to the actual needs of teachers and meet the District’s instructional goals.

Dr. Irene Norde, a veteran DPS educator who most recently served as the Executive Director of the Office of Mathematics, has been appointed to this new position.

In addition, the curriculum areas of Multicultural/Multilingual, Fine Arts and Health & Physical Education departments, which formerly reported to Assistant Superintendents of Schools, will be consolidated under the direct supervision of the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.

These realignments will give the Assistant Superintendents of Schools a singular focus on managing, supporting and assisting the portfolio of schools under their supervision.

As a result, the new structure will increasingly hold the Assistant Superintendents accountable as the key instructional leaders over each constellation of schools.

Chief Innovation Officer

Several key academic functions, particularly early identification of those addressing significant academic challenges and the need for innovation to resolve them, are being reassigned to the Office of the Emergency Manager under the supervision of the District’s Chief Innovation Officer. These functions include the Offices of School Turnaround, Community Schools, Charter Schools and Self-Governing Schools, as well as Strategic Planning and Management.

As a part of this shift, all priority schools will now be supervised by the Office of School Turnaround, and all non-priority schools currently within the portfolio of the Office of School Turnaround will be transferred to the Assistant Superintendents of Schools.

DPS’ Chief Innovation Officer is Lamont Satchel, who holds experience in developing innovative frameworks for problem solving within organizations including the Detroit Medical Center, the City of Detroit and Detroit Public Schools where, during his 11-year tenure, he served in several executive leadership positions, including Interim Superintendent.

Chief Academic Accountability Officer

A lynchpin of the reorganization is the newly created position, which will report directly to the Emergency Manager, and is in the process of being filled. This position will be filled by a visionary leader dedicated to achieving the highest quality of teaching and learning and will have as its primary responsibility the creation of an enhanced performance management framework to monitor implementation and steady progress of improvement based on best practices among peer districts and national benchmarks. The Chief Academic Accountability Officer will play a key role in implementing the realignment of curriculum, instruction and school improvement initiatives, as well as developing school leaders and talent acquisition to support the long-term strategy to improve student achievement.

The Chief Academic Accountability Officer will also have direct supervision and responsibility for the Office of Adult Education and Office of College and Career Readiness, and collaborate closely with the Chief Innovation Officer and Superintendent of Academics in addressing academic issues related to student achievement.

Office of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability (OREAA)

Because this function plays a significant part in the objective evaluation of academic progress and programs, school-based operational issues, third-party research beneficial to the District and government-mandated reporting, it will now report directly to the Office of the Emergency Manager.

The new reporting structure will allow for improved objective assessment of District academic performance and school-based operations, eliminate any appearance of conflict of interest and provide the Office of the Emergency Manager a greater role and input in the evaluation and assessment of the District’s core mission.  This reorganization complements, supports and enhances the Office of the Emergency Manager’s increased oversight of the academic progress of DPS in conjunction with the creation of the new Chief Academic Accountability Officer position.

The Executive Director of the Office of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability is Dr. Sibyl St. Clair.

Pupil Population Management

Several functions of the Office of Pupil Population Management (PPM) will be relocated to the Office of General Counsel and the Division of Technology and Information Services.

Specifically, the Office of Student Code of Conduct will be supervised by the Office of the General Counsel in recognition of the historical relationship between these offices. The Office of the General Counsel has historically managed student expulsion hearings for the office and has provided assistance with professional development on implementing the Code of Conduct in schools. Many school districts locate this function within their legal operations to improve and align student disciplinary actions with state and federal law and school district policy. This realignment will provide for greater legal compliance and oversight of the implementation of restorative practices in schools. EM Martin has emphasized the need for the code of conduct to be implemented in a manner that is least disruptive to individual students’ educational pathways with an emphasis on in-school and alternative educational settings.

Additionally, the PPM Database, Student Records and the Archivist functions will now be supervised by the Division of Technology and Information Services as the nature of these functions have more commonality with traditional and current IT operations. Further, many of the processes and systems embedded in these functions are not operating at an optimal level and require the expertise and resources that the Division of Technology and Information Services can leverage to improve these functions.

This move also creates new opportunities to leverage 21st Century learning models, online learning opportunities and new instructional technology models through a closer link between Academics and Technology Support.

All other functions of PPM, including student attendance, and pupil accounting and auditing, will continue to report to the Superintendent of Academics.

“DPS’ ability to advance student achievement depends on significantly improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all of its students, particularly those being served in our priority schools,” said Martin.  “This reorganization will allow DPS to consistently and continually reexamine, expand and adapt our approach to the delivery of instruction and support of educational operations at the school level to meet this goal.”

The District will continue to implement the community-driven five-year Strategic Plan with a focus on 21st Century Learning environments, replicating successful academic programs, enhanced educational enrichment, customer service, safety, partnerships, nimble responses to population trends and a lean and leveraged business environment to support these in the context of reduced general fund resources.

DPS has seen academic successes during this time, with these strong indications of progress:

  • Since 2010, DPS student scores on the MEAP have increased in 14 of 18 subjects/grades tested. In the vital reading and writing assessments, DPS “closed the gap” (demonstrated increases in performance exceeding statewide increases) in 5 of the 6 grades tested.
  • DPS has also been successfully moving schools from priority (lowest 5%) status. DPS has: 1) decreased the number of schools on the Michigan Lowest 5% list; 2) increased the number of Reward Schools, 3) reduced the number of schools added to the Priority List; 4) increased the number of schools remaining off the Priority List; and, 5) has a significant number of schools increasing in percentile rankings.
  • DPS schools have comprised the majority of the top-rated schools within Excellent Schools Detroit’s report card rankings. In all of the recent report cards, DPS schools have represented a preponderance of the best schools: 12 of 18 were DPS schools in 2013, 18 of 31 were DPS schools in spring 2014, and 16 of 30 were DPS schools in fall 2014.
  • Since 2011, DPS students’ academic achievement on the MME has closed the gap with their statewide peers on all five subjects tested. For example, scores have shown an increase of 12 points in reading (versus six points statewide), 11 points in writing (versus 3.9 statewide) and 8 points in social studies (versus 2.7 statewide). And, DPS students’ college readiness scores increased.

Martin has served as DPS Emergency Manager since July 15, 2013. During his 18-month tenure (which is dictated by PA 436), he immersed himself in the complex operations of the school district, understanding the system’s strengths and weaknesses.

He stated that the organizational and administrative changes taking place were developed from this in-depth examination and will support a culture and climate that is mission-driven to accelerate academic progress and will be essential to the continued revitalization of the City of Detroit.

 

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.

 

Detroit Public Schools’ Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, released today, focuses on advancing academic quality, stabilizing enrollment, extending successful programs and leveraging resources

 DPS “poised to become a driving force for accelerated positive growth in the city”

-EM Jack Martin

Detroit Public Schools’ Proposed Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Budget, which reflects an anticipated revenue decline of approximately $49.3 million, is focused on the district’s ability to create and offer increasingly relevant programs, undertaken on new platforms, presented to new markets, leveraged by public and private resources, while devoting new across-the-board energy to retention strategies.

Importantly, for the first time in six years the budget does not call for the closure of any schools for the 2014-15 school year, which the district has come to understand can have an extremely adverse impact on enrollment recruitment, retention and revenues.

“Success will be defined by Detroit Public Schools’ ability to advance academic quality and raise standards while stabilizing and growing enrollment,” said Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “The Detroit Public Schools budget plan is centered on creating high-quality seats for Detroit’s children through neighborhood-centered quality schools situated in 21st century learning environments, and an increasingly relevant portfolio of educational services to students from birth through career readiness, adult education, training and retraining of residents.”

The budget plan also includes plans for the launch a new gifted and talented school program, extension of successful dual immersion bilingual programs into a 9th grade collegiate prep setting, expansion of career academy and adult educational regional center programming, support for a K-12 International Baccalaureate program, an additional prep period for K-8 teachers, as well as programs for early childhood families, through reorganizing current programs and securing private and foundation support.

“In Detroit’s recent history, there has never been a time when marketplace, technological, social, housing, employment and economic trends shifted at the rate of change witnessed during the past several years,” Martin said. “Detroit Public Schools is poised to become a driving force for accelerated positive growth in the city, region and its schools.”

In 2013 the district engaged customers and implemented the initial stages of a set of strategic, customer-focused initiatives aimed at halting and reversing market share losses. As a result, Detroit Public Schools increased market share of Detroit school-age children in Fall 2013, while Detroit-based charters and suburban traditional districts’ “choice” programs declined in enrollment.

Since 2006 the District has been faced with budgetary and financial challenges. The general fund deficit has ranged from as high as $327 million to a low of $76.5 million. The current deficit is projected at $127,054,101 for FY 2014. This proposed FY 2015 Budget reduces that legacy deficit to $125,747,592. Factors contributing to the FY14 deficit increase include general fund charge-backs for planned grant expenses in middle school instruction and special education services, prior year Medicaid services overpayment, enrollment, increases in rates from the Detroit Public Lighting Dept. and Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept., and additional campus security. Overall, DPS anticipates a revenue decline of approximately $49.3 million.

Detroit Public Schools is in line to eliminate the legacy deficit and show a positive fund balance by the conclusion of the 2017-18 fiscal year. There has been strong progress. For example, over the last five years DPS has reduced expenditures, in areas that will not directly harm its classrooms, by over $225 million. There has been substantial financial and operational progress confirmed by external reviews, as evidenced by this past year’s action by the United States Department of Education to remove the district from High Risk status, as well as a resolution of $53 million in audit findings and a sharp reduction in audit findings from 84 in 2008 to 9 this past year.

The school district is committed to constantly review all expenditures for further, responsible reductions. All Central Office Units participated in a Zero Base Budgeting process for the third consecutive year and presented strategies to reduce expenditures by 10-20% for each department. “Decision packages” were developed and final reductions represented those actions that would not negatively impact the educational programs or result in potential enrollment declines. Through the implementation of Zero Base Budgeting throughout central administration departments, DPS has identified $20 million in cost savings and a reduction of 41 full-time positions.

The FY 2015 budget is based on a total membership for funding purposes of 47,750, which is a conservative decrease of 2% over the FY2014 Amended Budget.

Other significant adjustments assumed in FY15 planning include:

Revenues:

  • $50 annual increase in Foundation Allowance: $2.2 million
  • Increase in Sale of Capital Assets: $11.7 million
  • Revenue Enhancement Millage: $14.8 million

Expenditures:

  • District Reorganization and Technology Implementation savings: $4.4 million
  • Employee Severance Plan savings: $5.8 million
  • Restructured Health Care Benefits savings: $13.3 million

The proposed budget maintains class sizes for children in the early formative years in grades K-3 (at 25 students), and raises class sizes by 5 students in grades 4-12. The budget provides an additional prep period for teachers in grades K-8 to allow teachers to remain effective and efficient in providing students instruction and support.

From December 2013-February 2014, the district conducted a comprehensive survey completed by 7,271 participants (21% of total families). Insights derived from the results are that districtwide parental satisfaction on program quality, customer service, facilities, parental involvement and safety equates to 4.0-4.1 on a 5.0 scale, with the lowest satisfaction regarding “outside” safety (safe routes to schools). With individual results by school and level provided to every building, taken alongside data on contacts to the new Parent Help Line and District Ombudsperson, substantial new ability exists to identify areas for improvement and resulting targeted resources and energy. Doing so provides additional substantial opportunity to strengthen the existing customer base and increase retention rates.

“We look forward to continually working with our leadership team, staff, bargaining units and external agencies to put the district on a path of long-term and sustainable fiscal stabilization,” EM Martin said.

The Public Hearing for the FY 2015 Budget will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive. Copies of the proposed budget will be available for public inspection at the Office of Management and Budget located in the Fisher building, 11th Floor, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the District’s website on Thursday, June 19, 2014 through Thursday, June 26, 2014.

FY 2015 Proposed Operating Budget

 

EM Update – Welcome to the 2013-14 School Year!

EM Update-Back to School Welcome Letter

 

EM Update – Detroit Banktruptcy Will Have No Direct Impact on DPS

Please find a statement from Emergency Manager Jack Martin regarding the affect of the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing on DPS.

J.M. Statement-DPS & Detroit Bankruptcy

 

Emergency Manager Update: Gov. Rick Snyder Appoints New DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin

Gov. Rick Snyder Appoints New DPS Emergency Manager

 

 

EFM UPDATE: Revised Deficit Elimination Plan Positions DPS to become an effective, efficient district with a focus on growing enrollment

Roberts DEP Employee Correspondence

 

Detroit Public Schools becomes strategic sourcing trailblazer while reducing back-to-school supply costs by over $800,000

Use of national online marketplace tool FedBid reduced costs by up to 53%. DPS saved nearly $104,000 on a single classroom handbook purchase

Michigan Chronicle Coverage

Detroit Public Schools in June became the first U.S. school district to use a national online marketplace tool for public sector commodity buys and has since generated over $800,000 in savings during the mission-critical back-to-school period during which essential supplies are procured and delivered to 100 schools in time for the first day of teaching and learning.

DPS saved nearly $104,000 on a single classroom handbook buy, $15,000 on school supplies and $14,000 on pipefitting accessories. The district reduced costs by up to 53% on a number of academic and operational purchases while increasing overall competition as well as utilization of small, disadvantaged and minority businesses.

The savings were recorded after new DPS Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer Dr. Tracy Joshua implemented DPS’ first strategic sourcing program. The FY2013 adopted Detroit Public Schools budget calls for $5 million to be shaved from the cost of procuring goods and services, and Joshua expects the use of FedBid will result in $3 million of that savings goal this year.

Overall, savings were obtained in purchases ranging from school furniture to A/V equipment, from books, dictionaries and clothing to enrollment marketing materials, and training aids.

Under the FedBid system, each “buy” stays open in the marketplace for approximately three days, during which the company’s support service team offers customer support while sourcing and building competition from a pool of qualified suppliers.

In one case study, due to FedBid’s “reverse auction model,” the buyer’s suggested source needed to re-bid to stay competitive, which led to 28% further savings from the original pre-FedBid quote the supplier provided for school supplies. According to Southeastern Louisiana University Professor of Management David Wyld, in a reverse auction, a single buyer makes potential suppliers aware of their intent to buy a specified good or service, and during the course of the actual reverse auction event, the suppliers bid against one another to secure the buyer’s business, driving the price to be paid for the item downward.

DPS’ Joshua states that the new system enables Detroit Public Schools to include additional quality suppliers in its supply base that can deliver overall value including best service and price.

“This is an absolute must for Detroit Public Schools,” Joshua commented. “It is our responsibility to provide excellence in education for all the children that we serve, which means we must be good financial stewards. FedBid gives us a tool to very effectively drive competition like never before.”

The FedBid tool requires no investment by DPS.  Instead, it provides tremendous benefits for the suppliers who participate by expanding their business reach.  Detroit Public Schools is leading the way with innovative business processes and DPS will be used as a model for other school districts as well as other public and private sector organizations.

 

DPS to hold hearing for the proposed 2012-2013 budget

Detroit Public Schools will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget for the 2012-2013 school year at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive, Detroit, MI 48235, beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Copies of the proposed budget will be available for public inspection at the Office of Management & Budget located in the Fisher Building, 11th Floor, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and the District’s web-site on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 through Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

The property tax millage rate proposed to be levied to support the proposed budget will be a subject of this hearing.

 

Teacher Interview Schedule for Fall 2012

All interviews will be by appointment and scheduled.

Teacher Interview Schedule fall 2012

 

Education Achievement System Chancellor Holds Last Detroit Statewide Strategic Planning Meeting in December

Students and recent graduates are encouraged to attend

Detroit residents who want input into the design of Michigan’s new Education Achievement System are being invited to a strategic planning meeting to be held in Detroiton Monday, December 19 at Wayne County Community College District – Downtown campus,1001 West Fort St.Detroit, MI 48226.

The session, which is open to the public, will run from noon until 3 p.m. and is the final of three sessions being held inDetroit.  Lunch will be provided for all participants.

Students and recent graduates are encouraged to attend this meeting along with key stakeholders that include parents, business and community leaders, elected officials, teachers and members of the clergy. If you are planning to attend, please contact Lydia Scott-Barnes at (313) 456-3010 or scott-barnesl@michigan.gov. All reservations should be received by noon Friday, Dec. 16.

“It is important that the community participates in this critical step of planning the Education Achievement System’s structure,”Covington said.  “We need to gain input from the entire community including students and recent graduates.”

The strategic planning meetings are designed to seek input from members of the community and answer the following questions regarding the structure of the new system:

  • What should be the mission of the EAS?
  • What core values should drive EAS’ work throughout Michigan?
  • Are there particular design elements that should be included in EAS schools?
  • How might the EAS schools look different from a traditional school system?

“We don’t want to reproduce what is already in place,” Covington said. “We need something different for 21st century education. We need to address the needs of children who are born with a cell phone in one hand and a laptop in another.

“We also need to build a system that educates students who are prepared to compete in the global workforce, whether they attend college or not.”

The strategic planning meetings began on Friday, Dec. 9 and have taken place in Waterford, Detroit and Flint. They have been well attended by members of the community of all ages. Meetings will continue in other parts of the region and state through January. The community is encouraged to locate a session near you to participate.

The EAS is a new statewide system of schools that will operate the lowest performing 5 percent of schools inMichigannot achieving satisfactory results on a redesign plan or that are under an emergency manager. It is designed to provide a new, stable, financially responsible set of public schools that create the conditions, supports, tools and resources under which teachers can help students make significant academic gains. It will begin operating its initial schools in the 2012-2013 school year.

DETROIT

Monday, December 19, 2011

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Lunch will be provided)

Location:WayneCountyCommunityCollege-Downtown

1001 West Fort Street

Detroit,MI48226

RSVP: LydiaScott-Barnes – 313.456.3010 or scott-barnesl@michigan.gov


 

DPS, prosecutor, law enforcement, computer theft recovery tactics lauded nationally

Nearly 400 laptops recovered since June 2009 

Detroit Public Schools has been identified as a national leader in the use of high tech law enforcement and computer tracking techniques to recover stolen educational technology equipment.

DPS is the only school district in the nation to have identified, disrupted, dismantled and successfully prosecuted an organized criminal group, according to the firm that markets the tracking product, Absolute Software. In September, 2010, ten subjects were charged with DPS thefts from several schools. Working with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the DPS case has resulted in eight subjects pleading guilty. The other two are pending prosecution.

387 DPS laptop computers have been recovered since June 2009, a recovery rate of 20 percent that compares favorably nationally. DPS is one of seven major school districts using this software. Los Angeles Unified School District, with a student enrollment over 700,000 and a squad of several officers dedicated full time to the recovery of laptop thefts, has recovered 1,000 stolen laptops over 4 1/2 years. Using much less personnel, DPS has recovered nearly 400 in 2 1/2 years.

Continue reading

 

DPS adds teachers as enrollment grows

Detroit Public Schools has updated data regarding class size issues that have arisen in recent weeks as additional students enroll. Overall enrollment has risen to exceed budgeted projections by almost 300 students, and the district responds to unexpected needs caused by teacher retirements and resignations.

“The good news is that children are still enrolling,” said Steven Wasko, Assistant Superintendent for Community Relations and Chief Communications Officer. “We also know that there are many classes that have as few as 15 or 17 students. For the remaining cases exceeding our limits, affecting 22 out of more than 4,000 classrooms, we are resolving the issues at this time.”

Specifically, the district’s academic leadership had been made aware of 89 requests for additional teachers from principals at 34 schools as of October 19. Forty-four of those teachers were deployed as of Wednesday.

The additional 45 teachers have been recalled, a process that allows the teacher up to 10 days to report based on the current union contract. Of those 45, 23 have already reported and the remaining 22 will return within that 10-day window. In those 22 classrooms spread across eight schools, the district has deployed substitutes in all cases.

 

DPS is expanding citizens patrols which are part of a comprehensive multi-agency program credited with sharp reductions in incidents

Detroit Public Schools announced today that it is expanding citizens patrols which are credited as part of a comprehensive multi-agency program that have helped to spur a sharp reductions in incidents. DPS also reported that its cross jurisdictional effort, including Detroit Public Schools Police Department, Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police and many new high tech monitoring systems, has resulted in a 25 percent decrease in police reports and a 65 percent increase in felony warrants obtained during the first seven weeks of the school year.

As part of the ongoing effort, Detroit Public Schools Police Chief Roderick Grimes issued a call for additional volunteers today. Schools are seeking volunteers for new eyes-on patrols at several large high schools and at other locations, including the neighborhood around Marcus Garvey Academy, where a student reported an assault while walking to school earlier this week. To volunteer, call (313) 748-6008.

Highly active men’s patrol groups have been watching routes and bus stops near Cody High School, where Brothers on Patrol has a presence, and Osborn High, where MADE Men have patrolled for the past two years. The M.A.N. Network also patrols around DPS schools, including Denby, Osborn, and Brenda Scott. The district also has a group of volunteers called the Parent and Community Academy, who wear yellow jackets and act as safety volunteers, monitoring youth traveling to and from school, in school hall ways and lunch rooms, and around the school.

Decreases were reported in the number of larcenies (down 50%), armed robbery (down 81%), unarmed robbery (down 14%), misdemeanor assaults (down 13%), felony assaults (down 66%), narcotics crimes (down 57%), disorderly conduct (down 33%), violation of school ordinance (tresspass/fights) (down 57%) and B&Es (down 13%) although the number of incidents to open school buildings decreased 40 percent. Increases were reported in the cases of seven allegations of sexual assaults and 21 crimes to vehicles.

 

DPS Special Education programming in compliance with state, federal requirements for first time since 2007

State reinstates $4.8 million in funding following district’s efforts to improve procedures, service

Detroit Public Schools is in compliance with state and federal requirements for Special Education for the first time since 2007.

As a result of coming into compliance in the area of Educational Environments, the Michigan Department of Education reinstated $4.8 million in funding, which represents 20 percent of requested federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds that were withheld during the 2010-2011 school year.

The Michigan Department of Education requires school districts across the state to comply with 15 Performance Plan Indicators, which are areas that ensure students are being effectively served and districts are in compliance with the IDEA and Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education. As of June, DPS has been in compliance in all 15 areas, following completion of two Corrective Action Plans.

The district most recently met all the steps outlined in its state-approved Corrective Action Plans in the areas of Educational Environments and Suspension/Expulsion.  To come into compliance in the area of Educational Environments, DPS increased the percentage of students who spend at least 80 percent of their school day in general education settings from 27.8 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in the 2010-2011. The district also developed handbooks and codified procedures for dealing with Special Education students and did extensive staff training to improve service.

To come into compliance in the area of Suspension/Expulsion, DPS implemented extensive staff training in how to properly suspend children who have disabilities. The district also revised its discipline handbook, rewrote procedures and improved parent communication.

The district had been out of compliance in the areas of Educational Environments and Suspension/Expulsion since 2008.  As a penalty, 20 percent of federal IDEA funding was withheld during the 2010-2011 school year.

 

DPS to blanket community with safety message through partnership with DPTV, WRCJ-FM and hundreds of principals, pastors and community leaders

Detroit Public Schools, which is mounting a massive effort to keep Detroit students safe in and around schools, is blanketing the community with safety video messages through a partnership with the city, state and leaders across the region.

Working with Detroit Public Television and WRCJ 90.9 FM, the district has created a five-minute safety-start-up video and is matching it with personalized introductions from principals throughout DPS, pastors, and community leaders.


DPS Safety Video

The goal is to have leaders and principals from across the city create individualized messages which they can disseminate to their respective communities that stress the importance of keeping children safe. Using the powerful networks and tools of social media, the district hopes to have the safety message blanket the city.

See example videos below, with and intro by DPS principal Brenda Belcher and Reverend Charles Christian Adams of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, which can be cut and pasted into any email, twitter message, or website for an individual school’s parents, teachers and students to view or any community audience.

Rev. Christian Adams of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church

The safety videos are part of an unprecedented multi-agency school safety partnership between the DPS Police Department, Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police, citizen patrol groups, community leaders and Detroit Public Television to keep students safer in and around schools.

The partnership includes broad and in-depth strategies, including enhanced security and improved cameras, alarms and visitor monitoring technology on school campuses; newly-defined safe routes to three schools deemed hot spots, which will include heightened multi-agency patrols; crime data analysis and registered sex offender locations shared among agencies; crime prevention strategies developed among departments based on data analysis; youth character development training for officers; social media analysis to identify burgeoning problems; and expanded citizen patrols through a Call to Action for more volunteers to patrol in and around schools.

To read about all the DPS safety initiatives, go to:
DPS Safety initiatives

 

Concessions FAQ

Concessions.HealthCare.FAQ[1]

 

DPS high school students have secured nearly $77.4 million in scholarships and grants

Continue reading

 

Demolition of former Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School has begun

Demolition of the former Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School has begun, with excavators on site today, tearing down the administration and science lab wings in the first phase of demolition. It will take about four weeks to raze the 230,000-square-foot school that was built in 1963.

One of the largest projects in the Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million bond construction program voters approved in 2009, the MLK project includes razing the 48-year-old building facing Lafayette Street. The auditorium of the former school will remain in use. The new school, complete with a new athletic complex and cyber café, will connect to the auditorium that is receiving upgrades that include interior finishes and systems.  

The new $46.4 million facility will face Larned and McDougall streets with the focal point being the glass façade of the MLK Center which will house the cafeteria and a small amphitheater for student assemblies. More than 1,000-square-feet of 4ft. by 8ft. Vision glass panels have been installed to the commons area to capture the largest amount of natural light and make the LEED Gold-certified building more energy efficient. 

Jenkins/Granger, a 49% Detroit-headquartered firm, is the design builder for the MLK project. TMP Architecture is the architect.

Construction of the new MLK school began in Summer 2010 and will be open for students in September.

Detroit voters approved Proposal S in Nov. 2009 which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also includes technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by Sept. 2012.

Since work began just over a year ago in one of the city’s largest construction projects that will build and renovate 18 Detroit Public Schools facilities, nearly 500,000 hours have been logged by workers employed by Detroit-headquartered companies at 14 active job sites. Four school projects are 100 percent complete where students spent their last weeks of this school year in modernized classrooms, gymnasiums and theater rooms.

By the start of school in the fall, nine more schools will open for the city’s schoolchildren, and demolition of the nearly 90-year-old Cass Technical High School will be complete, for a combined total of $325 million in construction-related spending funded by $500.5 million Proposal S dollars voters approved in 2009.

 

Detroit Public Schools students start work today on construction job sites

Students hired to work through the district’s $500.5 million capital improvement program will earn $250 per week with $900 incentive bonus in nine-week construction program

More than 135 Detroit Public Schools students started work today on nine construction sites as part of a nine-week trades program where they will combine classroom instruction with on-site job experience in the industry.

Western International High School in Southwest Detroit, where a $27.8 million renovation and construction of a new athletic complex is underway, was one of the job sites where a group of students reported to work today. They performed construction management tasks such as reading blueprints and surveying the job site under the supervision of the Colasanti / DCI design build team, a 100% Detroit-headquartered firm that is renovating the school.

Student workers are paid $250 per week with a $900 incentive bonus once they complete the program as part of the district’s $500.5 million capital improvement project funded by Proposal S bond dollars.

“The summer program was open district-wide to currently enrolled or recently graduated DPS students,” said Carol Weaver, Director of the Construction Bond Department. “Applicants also had to pass an interview evaluation and maintain a 2.5 grade point average or higher to be accepted in the program.”

Continue reading

 

Detroit Public Schools provides parents and students 24-7 access to textbooks, assignments and other educational resources via online portal

Parents by January will have access to online Grade Books, immediate intervention notifications and more

Detroit Public Schools announced today that parents and students can soon access a variety of education resources, including online textbooks and class assignments, from anywhere with an Internet connection, thanks to a brand new robust online parent portal called the DPS Learning Village.

And by January, parents, teachers, and counselors in all schools will have access to unparalleled and immediate electronic communication about students’ progress tied to students’ grades, absences, and more. The system is connected to an online, password-protected Electronic Grade Book.

Through the Parent/Student Learning Village tool, parents and students will receive a username and password and can pull a variety of educational resources for all grade levels, including class assignments, class syllabus, online textbooks, event calendars, activities, and education programs like Destination Reading and Math. Related links to other helpful resources also are available on the homepage, such as the Michigan Department of Education and Discovery Education, a website with digital educational materials.

Continue reading

 

Detroit Public Schools students to graduate with a high school diploma and associate’s degree

At a graduation ceremony tonight, seven students from the Detroit Allied Health Middle College Program at Kettering High School Middle College will receive a high school diploma, having also simultaneously received an Associate’s degree from Wayne County Community College.

About the program:

The Detroit Allied Health Middle College Program at Kettering High School Middle College is providing Detroit students a marketplace of secondary school options that accelerate postsecondary opportunities in the field of allied health. This is part of Detroit Public Schools’ mission to have every graduate complete high school with the skills necessary for success.

Since 2007, the Middle College has partnered with the administration of Detroit Public Schools, Wayne County Community College District, and the Detroit Medical Center.

Students receive preparation to meet ever-increasing opportunities in marketable Allied Health occupations and, if successful, receive both a high school diploma and an Associate Degree or two years of transferable college credit from Wayne County Community College District at the end of the 13th year.  Currents students have earned college credits and have participated in personalized discussions with health professionals, job shadowing, and paid summer internships through the Detroit Medical Center.

As of January 2011, approximately 100 students had enrolled in the Middle College Program; 43 now completing their 13th year commitment and seven (7) students graduating with an Associate’s degree tonight from Wayne County Community College. The remaining 36 have received 40 or more transferable college credits.

Through this counselor-driven program current students, who may not have even envisioned themselves attending college after high school, have already earned college credits and have participated in personalized discussions with health professionals, job shadowing, and paid summer internships through the Detroit Medical Center.  Much interest has been displayed in Detroit Allied Health Middle College High School and recruitment for a new 10th grade cohort for next school year has already begun.

“This is an noteworthy opportunity for students to accelerate their postsecondary options in a fast-growing, 21st century career field,” said Cedric J. Thompson, Director of the DPS Office of College and Career Readiness.

The mission of Middle College is to serve young people who are interested in the Allied Health careers and to give experience that will bridge the adjustment gap between high school and a college campus.  The instructional program is rigorous and relevant, and focuses simultaneously on the core academics and the health sciences for students who are academically capable and in need of motivation and/or an alternative learning environment.  Career opportunities within the allied health field are realistic and available for those individuals who excel, Thompson said.

About Detroit Public Schools’ Academic Plan

Under the District’s five-year academic plan, students are seeing a more rigorous academic curriculum at every school. The academic plan includes extended time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum; pre-algebra for 7th graders; tutors for pre-kindergartners through the Volunteer Reading Corps; additional language courses; more Advanced Placement courses; and more opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships.

 

18 local and national organizations submit bids to transform 50 schools to charters as part of DPS’ Renaissance 2012 plan

Eighteen local and national organizations submitted bids to transform 50 schools, including some duplicates, into DPS-authorized charters as part of the DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan, a transformative plan to engage proven charter school operators and create a portfolio of outstanding schools.

Detroit Public Schools is working with The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the national leader in charter school authorizing, on the proposal and startup for Renaissance initiative, including the competitive and rigorous RFP (Request for Proposal) process. Bids were due Monday. Continue reading

 

Detroit Public Schools launches first phase of massive technology upgrades to bring 40,000 laptop computers to 57 schools

Netbooks go live at Denby and Bethune-Fitzgerald schools this week

Detroit-Students of the Robotics Team at Denby High School were taught their first virtual lesson today using brand new laptop computers as part of a massive technology infusion initiative that will wire 57 Detroit Public Schools for 40,000 laptop computers this year.

The technology upgrades are funded by a $35 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant combined with the voter-approved Proposal S bond issue.

“This investment will ensure that any barriers to technological accessibility are removed for our students and open up their classrooms to the world,” said Emergency Manager Robert Bobb.

Students in grades 6-12 at Denby High School and Bethune-Fitzgerald Academy are among the first in the Detroit Public Schools to participate this spring in the pilot program. An additional 55 schools will be wired this summer for the ASUS EEE Netbooks that were purchased through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Infrastructure to support the wireless technology upgrade in each school is funded by the DPS School Construction Project through Proposal S dollars voters approved in Nov. 2009. Continue reading

 

Demolition of former Cass Technical High School begins

Demolition of former Cass Technical High School beginsDetroit-Demolition of the former Cass Technical High School began today on the 1981 addition of the building that housed the athletic wing, cafeteria and some classrooms. It will take about 10 weeks to complete the first phase of the demolition. The second phase to take down the original nearly 90-year-old part of the school will begin in June when students leave campus for summer.

The $3.1 million project, part of Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million bond construction program voters approved in 2009, includes razing the entire 830,000-square-foot building, cutting and capping off of all utility connections, and targeted salvage of historical building artifacts. The demolition is following strict guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure the safety of students in the adjacent structure through June.

Once demolition is complete this summer, the site, bounded by Second Avenue, the Fisher Freeway service drive and Grand River Avenue, will become a green space on the campus for outdoor school activities. A permanent perimeter fence will be installed around the grounds that will be backfilled, graded and seeded. Continue reading

 

DPS presents Renaissance Plan 2012 to radically restructure academically-failing schools, significantly reduce operating costs under model to seek charter proposals for 41 schools

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; Cell: 313-212-5636; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; Cell: 313-401-9018; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

Plan has significant advantages to school closings; EFM Bobb, finance team also present state budget proposal impact on DPS and long-term restructuring alternatives to current Deficit Elimination Plan

The Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb this morning presented the DPS Renaissance Plan 2012, a transformative plan to radically restructure academically-failing schools and significantly reduce operating costs by seeking proposals from local and national groups and charter school operators for 41 of the district’s 142 schools. These schools, including some high schools, currently enroll some 16,000 students and selected operators based on a competitive and rigorous RFP (Request for Proposals) process would operate the schools as public school academies with Detroit Public Schools as the authorizer. The identified schools will be announced this week and the RFP is expected to be released at that time.

The plan supports the district’s Deficit Elimination Plan by reducing operating costs by $75-$99 million and represents a dramatic new approach to declining enrollment for the 2011-12 fiscal year, a radical restructuring of academically failing schools and is an alternative to closing schools. Schools identified for charter operation will include those with the lowest academic performance in the District that have not been recently restructured or have not received major bond investments, along with other selected schools.

Bobb told the Detroit Board of Education at a public finance workshop at the Detroit International Academy today that the plan has the following advantages over the traditional approach to school closings:
– Academic failure will not be tolerated
– The best and most innovative approaches to educating students from across the country will be introduced in the District
– No students will be relocated from their current schools
– No additional vacant and boarded schools will impact Detroit neighborhoods
– The District will experience significant financial savings by eliminating all of the operating costs of the schools
– Immediate budget savings will be realized
– No costs will be incurred for closing and securing schools, an estimated savings of $22 million
– An estimated $21.85 million in revenue will be generated from leases to charter schools
– $7 million in non-general funds can be re-directed to other schools

Bobb stated that DPS charters will also have significant advantages over other types of charters within the state. “Students living within the neighborhood will be given priority enrollment, and charter operators will be contractually required to meet all special education needs of enrolled students,” he said. “Rather than simply closing schools, this plan seeks to transform DPS into one of the nation’s premier urban school districts by recruiting some of the best, proven school operators to serve Detroit’s children and remake schools that have been failing them for years.”

DPS facilities will be made available to Charter operators at competitive rates and will be equipped with materials, furniture and equipment. In the event that one of the proposed schools does not receive a qualified proposal, the school will close and students will be transferred to adjacent DPS schools.

Bobb stated that the current Deficit Elimination Plan required by law, which calls for shared services, reducing building principals, and increasing class sizes, will not provide for a viable educational system and that an alternative restructuring of DPS must be implemented. Several approaches were presented:

Under one model, DPS’s revenue would be used to pay off all outstanding debts and to close out the existing system and a brand new district would be established from the ground up with new systems, contracts and staffing levels. Existing schools would be transferred to this new system and the transition would be as seamless as possible for students and parents. Another option would hold the district harmless against revenue loss from declining enrollment for a period of time while other financing and operational strategies are developed to resolve the deficit over the long term without the draconian cuts of the Deficit Elimination Plan. Under a third option, a system of charter schools and traditional public schools would be created to replace the existing DPS. Additional options would blend aspects of all three plans.

 

New athletic gym completes $8.4 million renovation of Bethune-Fitzgerald Academy

An $8.4 million renovation of Bethune-Fitzgerald Academy, 1845 Puritan Street, that includes a brand new 10,100-square-foot athletic wing addition, equipped with a 10-foot climbing wall, is complete. The Bethune-Fitzgerald project, finished in just eight months, is the second school to be 100% completed under of the DPS School Construction Program funded by voter-approved Proposal S dollars.

The new 10,100-square-foot gymnasium addition includes:
– A 10-foot climbing wall
– 6 basketball hoops: 2 for full-court play and 4 additional for half-court play
– Electronic scoreboard
– Bleacher seating for 200
– Finished wood flooring with stanchion poles for a volleyball court set up
– Locker rooms with shower facilities
– Air conditioning.

“It is apparent that Robert Bobb and his administration realized the needs that existed in this district,” said Principal Melissa Scott. “We want to thank them all for their support and quick response as it relates to our new gym. It will serve as a Beacon of light in this community and satisfy some of the health and safety needs that exist for our children and this community.”

Other renovations to the $8.4 million Bethune-Fitzgerald project include:
– Two existing classrooms on the second floor repurposed as a media center
– A new parents’ area and additional classroom space
– A reception area and conference rooms for the administration offices
– A teachers’ lounge
– A remodeled main entry vestibule for a secure point of entry for the school
– Roof repair, lighting upgrades, floor replacement, exterior lighting repairs, HVAC and electrical system upgrades
– A new parking layout with additional spaces.

“This $8.4 million renovation of Bethune-Fitzgerald Academy, which includes a new 10,100-square-foot athletic wing addition, a 10-foot climbing wall, a new media center area, new secure entrance and classroom spaces, new parents’ and reception areas and more, was completed in just eight months, demonstrating that our bond construction work continues at rapid pace across the district. We are delivering our promises to Detroit voters to quickly and efficiently create Centers of Excellence so that our children have all the resources they need to succeed,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb.

“Like the John R. King PreK to 8 School renovation, which is equipped with a new state-of-the-art black box theater, and the programs at Marcus Garvey Academy and Dixon, this school also shows how school consolidations can be very successful at retaining strong programs and creating new ones,” Bobb said. “That’s a credit to the hard work of Principal Melissa Scott, the parents, staff and solid community partnerships, like those with Hartford Men United “Ministry of Presence,” and City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown’s entire office, which has adopted this school and shared a plan to wrap the whole school in services.”

Jenkins Construction Inc., a 100% Detroit-headquartered firm, was the design builder for the Bethune-Fitzgerald project. SDG Associates was the architect.

Renovations to the interior and construction of the new Bethune-Fitzgerald gym addition began in July 2010 and is the second school to be 100% completed under the bond construction program. John R. King PreK to 8 School, equipped with a new state-of-the-art black box theater, was completed in early September.

Detroit voters approved Proposal S in Nov. 2009 which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by September 2012.

 

Detroit Public Schools completes $231 million short term cash flow financing, ensuring the district will make payroll, meet obligations

Detroit Public Schools, through the Michigan Finance Authority, priced a $231,000,000 short term cash flow financing today, Thursday, March 3.

The issue was sold in two series, the first, Series 2011 A-1, will be issued in the amount of $120,000,000 at an interest rate of 6.45%, maturing February 20, 2012. The second series, Series 2011 A-2, in the amount of $111,000,000 was sold at a rate of 6.65%, and matures March 20, 2012. The issues pledge a portion of the District’s future State Aid revenues for the repayment of the notes.

“While the rates were higher than we secured on our 2010 notes, we are pleased this sale allows us to make payroll and meet our obligations,” said Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager.

The financing rate was higher than the interest rate the District paid on its cash flow financings issued in 2010. The higher interest rates were the result of a number of factors including the general volatility of the municipal market, concerns over the ending of the District’s covenant not to file for bankruptcy which will end with Bobb’s term as Emergency Financial Manager, recent discussions and plans outlining the drastic cuts that will need to be made in order to eliminate the District’s legacy deficit, and the resulting impact that could have on the District’s future enrollment.

One other main concern cited from potential investors was the potential of the early redemption of the 2005 debt payments which will occur if the District is unable to get the required bankruptcy insulation legislation in place by December 31, 2011, and its impact on the investors. The interest rates on the District’s cash flow borrowings over the past 18 months have ranged from 3.875% to 9.50%.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to fund the operational cost of the District until August 2011.

 

Opening of new Drew Transition Center marks upgrade in building, programming to serve adult special-needs students

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401
steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
kisha.verdusco@detroitk12.org

$5.2 million renovation adds onsite police station and space for Special Education Directors

Detroit Public Schools this week opened the new Charles R. Drew Transition Center, facility that will significantly improve the educational opportunities and services provided to special-needs adults ages 20-26.

The center is housed in the former Drew Middle School, which recently underwent a $5.2 million renovation that allows DPS to adequately serve the nearly 500 students who previously attended Detroit Transition Center East and Detroit Transition Center West.

“I have been an advocate for special-needs students for many, many years, and when I visited the Detroit Transition Centers last year and saw how inadequate the facilities were, I knew something had to be done,” said DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. “We were able to tap unused dollars from the 1994 bond to give these students and their families a building that finally gives everyone equal access to the wonderful programming offered here.”

Students who attend Drew Transition Center are visually impaired, hearing impaired, moderately and severely cognitively impaired, physically impaired, otherwise health impaired, and autistic. They learn independent living and employability skills in real-life environments, both within the school site and out in the community.

The renovated school combines the best programs of DTC East and DTC West in a bright, well-equipped facility that features a Main Street retail promenade that includes a new wheelchair-accessible theater, along with a working bank, laundry facility, beauty salon, retail clothing store, convenience store, gym and post office. Life-sized images of real banks and post offices and even the new Drew Store, along with benches and trees add realism to the facades along Main Street.

The renovated building features:

  • 32 classrooms
  • 11 life skills labs that teach work skills in packaging and light assembly, landscaping/horticulture, cosmetology, clerical and custodial, so students can obtain employment. There are also two simulated apartments and a personal grooming lab for teaching independent living skills.
  • 10 Main Street simulated environments: a bank, fitness center, copy center, government center, post office, retail store, convenience store, theater, salon and Laundromat
  • A gymnasium
  • Nurses clinic
  • Occupational therapy/physical therapy room
  • Speech and language therapy room
  • Psychological services / School Social Work services room
  • Student and teacher lounges

“We strive to give our students an experience that closely mirrors what they will encounter when they are on their own,” said Principal Rita Footman. “Our goal is to have students leave us equipped to live on their own, obtain employment and support themselves. The new building provides a more realistic environment and will ease their transition to life after Drew.”

The former Detroit Transition Centers included simulated environments, including a personal grooming lab, convenience store and caf

 

Detroit Public Schools gives first behind-the-scenes look at design features of nine schools under $500.5 million bond construction program

Detroit Public Schools gives first behind-the-scenes look at design features of nine schools under $500.5 million bond construction program Detroit-Project management team members and architects today presented a first behind-the-scenes look at the design features of nine schools being newly built or renovated as part of Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million bond construction program. Interior and exterior design elements included color schemes, tile and flooring patterns, artwork and sculptures, exterior brick work, courtyard renderings, and more, that are unique to the culture and history of each school.

All combined, the five high schools and four PreK to 8 schools represent $272.6 million of the $500.5 million DPS School Construction project funded by Proposal S bond dollars voters approved in Nov. 2009.

Emergency Financial Manger Robert Bobb said school community groups were highly involved in the planning process with the architects and design builder teams to incorporate artistic elements that reflect the identity of each school and the personality of its students and staff.

“While we’ve been able to get maximum value and reduce long term maintenance and operations costs by using consistent mechanical, electrical and structural components for these schools, the customized designs reflect local school and neighborhood input and the culture of the community the school will serve,” Bobb said. “The result is the ability to utilize buildings with similar floor plans and major components that fit well on a local site and that take on the very diverse visual settings once complete.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School
The new $46.4 million Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School scheduled to open this fall will commemorate its namesake with a large statue that will be the focal point inside the two-story, glass front fa

 

DPS reaches 62 percent graduation rate, the highest since state began new cohort methodology in 2007

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; Cell: 313-212-5636; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; Cell: 313-401-9018; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb announced today that DPS has reached a 62 percent graduation rate, the highest since state began new cohort methodology in 2007.

The dropout rates for black males and females also fell over the past two years, to 23 percent for black males in 2010, down from nearly 33 percent in 2008; and to 14 percent for black females in 2010, down from 20 percent in 2008.

“Thanks in part to aggressive academic improvements and school leadership restructuring, we are pleased that DPS has reached the highest graduation rate since the state launched a new cohort formula in 2007,” Bobb said.

“We still have much work to do to reach our goal of 98 percent of students graduating by 2015, but this is a true testament that our reforms are working and that we are delivering on our promise to ensure more students stay in school. Now, we must redouble our efforts to track every student’s progress and deliver the excellent teaching and support needed to ensure every student graduates and is prepared for higher education,” Bobb said.

Graduation and Dropout Rate Data for the Detroit

Year Graduation Rate Dropout Rate
June 2006
(old formula)
66.80 10.03
June 2007 (new formula) 58.42 29.99
June 2008 58.22 27.08
June 2009 59.65 21.20
June 2010 62.27 19.09

To meet its ambitious graduation and student achievement goals, the district under Bobb reconstituted 22 K-8 schools and 17 high schools, replacing the leadership and significantly modifying the teaching staff within each school.

The system also transformed most of its elementary schools to a new prek-8 configuration, reassigned / hired 91 principals, established principal performance-based contracts, identified and engaged a number of nationally recognized partner providers to support transformation at the school level, created and administered quarterly benchmark assessments aligned to the MEAP and NAEP in grades 3-12 and developed a comprehensive plan of support for the district’s persistently lowest achieving schools.

Under Bobb’s leadership, the district also launched a five-year academic plan, which focuses on creating centers of excellence at every school in every neighborhood reforms throughout the district’s 142 schools, including expanded time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum, pre-algebra for 7th graders, a tutor for every pre-kindergartner through the Volunteer Reading Corps, additional language courses, Advanced Placement courses available at every high school, more opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships. The district also commenced millions of dollars in school building improvements as part of a voter-approved bond.

The school system has worked aggressively to launch new programs that aid the college preparation process and assist students in attending college.

Last week, the district announced that 5,500 DPS juniors will receive free ACT Online logins and usage for more than a year to prepare for the college entrance exam, thanks to a donation from Kaplan K12 Learning Services. This service donation is available to current Grade 11 students until February 27, 2012, allowing students who will take the ACT on the national test days to have a preparation resource at their disposal 24 hours a day.

 

 

Experienced search firm will identify candidates for five key DPS positions

Detroit Public Schools announced today that PROACT Search LLC, a Wilmette, IL-based executive search firm, will conduct an executive search in order to provide the DPS Search Committee with candidates that meet identified attributes deemed necessary to fill five key executive positions with the District.

The Executive Positions to be filled are Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Budget Director, and Director of Special Education.
Detroit Board of Education President Anthony Adams Esq. said, “This action is significant in continuing the progress moving forward to seat new leadership for Detroit Public Schools at this key time and in identifying an excellent pool of candidates to present to the Search Committee made up of community members, Board members and educators.”

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb stated, “This is a firm with experience in hundreds of executive searches for large urban school districts, and its substantial presence in front of well-qualified urban educators will serve Detroit well in securing the most qualified pool of candidates possible.”
Terms of the contract will be released after they are finalized.

 

Windows go up at the the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School

Windows go up at the the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School

Building: New Construction

Location: 3200 E. Layette Street

Project Cost: $46.4 million

Design Builder: Jenkins Granger LLC, 49% Detroit-Headquartered firm

Architect: TMP Architecture

Construction Start: Summer 2010

Construction Complete: Fall 2011

The New MLK

The new $46.4 million building will replace the existing Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School with a LEEED Gold Certified state-of-the-art facility emphasizing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Curriculum. The new building will have a cyber café and media center and will connect to the current auditorium and performing arts building, which will be remodeled. The opposite end of the school will feature a new varsity gymnasium and a multi-lane natatorium. MLK students will attend classes in the existing facility throughout construction; once students are relocated, the old building will be demolished.

DPS School Construction Program

Detroit voters approved the Proposal S bond issue in November 2009 which enabled DPS to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects through President Obama’s economic stimulus package. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

All combined, the DPS School Construction Program includes new facilities for the DPS Police Headquarters & Command Center and seven schools, major renovations at nine more, in addition to demolition projects and security and technology upgrades. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by September 2012.

 

Three DPS high schools receiving major renovations to classrooms as part of the $500.5 million capital improvement project ; 130 classrooms to be renovated

Detroit-Students in three Detroit Public High Schools are learning or will soon be introduced to 130 brand new classrooms that will be completely transformed as part of the district’s $500.5 million construction project. Students at Denby, Henry Ford and Western International high schools will benefit from technology upgrades, new classroom lighting, new flooring, fresh paint, science equipment and more.

In total, 130 classrooms for general education and science laboratories at Denby, Henry Ford and Western International high school will be modernized through the Proposal S bond issue voters approved in Nov. 2009.

Western International High School, located at 1500 Scotten Street in Southwest Detroit, is one of the first high schools to complete an initial phase of classroom renovations. When renovations are complete this fall, a total of 50 classrooms, the school’s auditorium, cafeteria, hallways and more will all be upgraded to better serve the school’s 1,600 students. In addition to the standard upgrade package, renovations at the three-story high school that opened in the 1890s include installation of acoustical wall panels designed to absorb sound for a more focused learning environment, and old chalkboards are being updated with new dry-erase marking boards.

Classroom renovations have been rapidly progressing about four to five weeks to turn over a room from start to finish.

Colasanti / DCI , a 100% Detroit-headquartered firm is the design builder for the Western project.

Detroit voters approved Proposal S in November 2009 which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by September 2012.

 

DPS Police Department, Office of Inspector General policing, investigative techniques yield high rate of arrests for B&E’s, sharp drop in computer thefts

Contacts:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542, Cell: 313-212-5636, steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401, Cell: 313-401-9018, jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

A sharp reduction in computer thefts, a 70 percent arrest rate for burglaries of vacant schools, an overall arrest rate of 46 percent, and a tripling of the number of criminal warrants sought, was reported by Detroit Public Schools Police Department and Office of Inspector General today.

From August 15, 2010 through January 9, 2011, 65 adults and 26 juveniles have been arrested for burglary. Criminal arrest warrants increased from 40 in 2009 to 144 in 2010, as a result of the hiring of a new Inspector for Investigations in summer 2010 and overall reorganization of the police department’s management team.
Just three break-ins involving laptop cart thefts have been reported since September, compared with a rate of three to four monthly from June 2009 through February 2010.

In February 2010, local search warrants were executed in Washtenaw, Oakland and Wayne counties pursuant to a DPS Office of Inspector General investigation into the December 2009 theft of 17 laptops from Burns Elementary. On September 21, 2010, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and the Office of Inspector General announced criminal charges against 10 individuals responsible for the Burns School B&E. These individuals were responsible for six burglaries during which a total of 148 laptops were stolen.
Additional measures credited with the drop in burglaries include:
– The addition of a second K-9 unit and a third K-9 unit that is in training at this time.
– Electronic security upgrades such as door alarms, motion detectors, cameras and reinforced steel doors on steel frames.
– 24-hour deployment during the recent holiday break of Securitas security officers at 15 “hot spot” schools

“We have said from Day One that we won’t tolerate criminals coming into our schools and stealing precious resources from our students,” said Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager. “It’s a credit to the innovative policing techniques and dogged investigations of the DPS Police Department and Office of Inspector General that we are bringing justice to DPS and putting people in jail, creating safer learning environments for our students and staff.”

The restructuring of the Police Department and changes are part of a new $41.7 million district-wide security initiative, including an innovative school security system and a new Command Center that will serve as the base of operations for the district.

“The restructuring of our Police Department under Chief Roderick Grimes brought 21st century policing and investigative techniques to this department, resulting in more arrests, fewer break-ins and a tripling of the number of criminal warrants sought,” said DPS Inspector General Wilbert Van Marsh. “This is just the beginning. With the opening of a new Police Department Command Center next week that will be tied to surveillance cameras in our schools and include state of the art processing equipment, holding cells and more, we expect to ratchet up the monitoring and safety of our buildings to unprecedented levels.”

DPS officers will be able to monitor campuses 24-hours a day using high-tech video surveillance cameras and alarms at the new $5.6 million, 23,000-sq ft. state of the art Command Center. Schools will be updated with alarm and video surveillance packages installed throughout the interior and exterior that will be feed to video systems at the Command Center. Built from the ground up in just 6 months at the site of two abandoned schools, the Command Center will open next week, January 20.

The community is invited to attend.
Overall, the DPS Police Department handled just short of 4,000 calls for service since September 1 of last year. The nearly 4,000 police runs handled since September 1 represents an 8 percent increase in run volume over the same period in 2009.

“I’d like to thank our hard-working police officers, campus officers and security guards who have contributed to the reduction in criminal activity, the increase in warrants executed and the increase in closed cases,” said DPS Police Chief Roderick I. Grimes. “The statistics show our hard work is paying off in safer schools for our students and staff.”

DPSPD 2010 / 2011 STATISTICAL REPORT
(Based on reports received for the period of August 15, 2010-present (present school year))
ASSAULT & BATTERY = 110
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT = 19
ARSON = 2
UDAA (Unlawful Driving Away of an Auto ) = 1
ATTEMPT UDAA = 5
B&E AUTO = 29
B&E OCCUPIED BLDG = 65 (18) CLOSED ON ARREST
B&E VACANT BLDG = 50 (35) CLOSED ON ARREST
B&E ARRESTS TOTAL = 91 (65) ADULTS & (26) JUVENILES
LARC FROM MOTOR VEH = 10
BOMB THREATS = 2
CCW ARRESTS = 5
FACSIMILE FIREARM= 3
ALLEDGED CSC (Criminal Sexual Conduct) = 14
DIS CONDUCT ARRESTS = 60
FA (Felonious Assault) REPORTS = 23
FA (Felonious Assault) ARRESTS = 20
FEL WARR ARRESTS = 5
VIOL SCHOOL ORD ARRESTS = 80
RA (Armed Robbery) REPORTS = 20 (8) CLOSED ON ARREST OR PATTERN)
ATTEMPT RA = 3
RNA (Robbery not armed )= 11 (5) CLOSED ON ARREST OR PATTERN)
LARCENY = 74
MDP (Misc Destruction Property )= 18
NON FATAL SHOOTINGS = 3 (2) INCIDENTS (1) CLOSED ON ARREST
NARCOTIC ARRESTS = 20
ARREST STATISTICS (BASED ON REPORTS RECEIVED)
TOTAL ADULTS ARRESTED = 233
TOTAL JUVENILES DETAINED = 196
TOTAL ARRESTS THIS SCHOOL YEAR = 429
TOTAL FOR FELONIES = 189
TOTAL FOR MISDEMEANORS = 240

 

Banks, major university, hotel partner with DPS in new Volunteer Business Corps aimed at improving student achievement

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546
steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
kisha.verdusco@detroitk12.org

From left: Robert Bobb, Richard DeVore, PNC Bank, Roop Raj, Fox 2, April Brooks, Doubletree Fort Shelby, Penny Bailer, City Year Detroit, Karen O'Keefe, Office Depot, Brooke Franklin, Detroit Regional Chamber, Gompers Elementary Principal Bobbie Posey Milner, and Chuck Rivers of Michigan State University.

From left: Robert Bobb, Richard DeVore, PNC Bank, Roop Raj, Fox 2, April Brooks, Doubletree Fort Shelby, Penny Bailer, City Year Detroit, Karen O'Keefe, Office Depot, Brooke Franklin, Detroit Regional Chamber, Gompers Elementary Principal Bobbie Posey Milner, and Chuck Rivers of Michigan State University.

Banks, universities, hotel partner with DPS in new Volunteer Business Corps aimed at improving student achievement

Leaders from banks, a major university, an aviation company, the philanthropic communities and other firms on Thursday joined DPS to launch a new school adoption program aimed at improving academic achievement and supporting the district’s rigorous five-year academic plan.

Flanked by representatives from PNC Bank, The Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel, Michigan State University, Office Depot, Fox 2 News, the Detroit Regional Chamber and City Year Detroit, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb announced the creation of the Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D. program (Businesses/Organizations Optimizing Learning in Detroit), which aims to create new school partnerships throughout the district and ensure those partnerships are working to the maximum benefit of both schools and organizations.

“The range of business partners who already have committed to helping Detroit’s schoolchildren succeed and learn, including major banks, hotels and universities, and recently General Motors’ extraordinary commitment of support, shows that this community believes in DPS and knows that we all have to work together to create a world-class school district,” Bobb said. “With the greatly enhanced rigor we’ve instituted in the classrooms, it’s the right time for all businesses — large and small, in Detroit and the suburbs — to join with us so that every school has the resources it needs to become a Center of Excellence.”

Over the last 13 months, test scores from the math
and reading portions of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that Detroit schoolchildren scored the lowest marks in the history of the 40-year test. The results underscored the fact that even though the district has begun to undertake dramatic reforms, far more needs to be done – and the district cannot do it alone, Bobb said.

The DPS Volunteer Business Corps Office will assist with all partnerships, including existing partnerships that choose to continue under the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D. model. Organizations representing the public and private sectors, including Chase Bank, the Skillman Foundation, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Freemasons and Barnstormers, a 20-employee flight company that transports VIPs and others into and out of the city, have committed to operating under the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D.

“We are excited about continuing our very successful partnership with Gompers Elementary through the new Volunteer Business Corps,” said Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel General Manager Shannon Dunavent. “Adopting a school isn’t simply about giving back, it’s about making sure the future leaders of this city and beyond have the guidance and resources they need to succeed, and I encourage other business leaders to make this commitment to the children of DPS.”

“PNC’s $2.1 million investment in the children of Detroit, in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools, will help prepare kids for the demands of a knowledge-based economy,” said Ric DeVore, PNC regional president, Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “This effort is part of PNC’s signature program, Grow Up Great, a 10-year investment to help prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life. We’re pleased to align Grow Up Great with the B.O.L.D. program and other businesses that are helping to move DPS forward.”

Each partnership will be unique because it will be designed by the partner in conjunction with the school’s principal or designee and with support from the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D office. Together, schools and their partners will develop programs that will specifically address each school’s academic needs. For example, Fox 2 will be paired with Communication and Media Arts High School, which is getting its fledgling broadcast curriculum off the ground, and Barnstormers will be paired with Davis Aerospace High School, where students learn to fly airplanes.

Volunteers inside school buildings will be required to submit to background checks and to participate in training before they begin volunteering. Principals will also receive professional development on the management of partnerships.

Businesses and organizations that sign up will be required to participate in a one-day school service project and an annual partner recognition event and to provide two of the following:

Tutoring

  • Provide tutors who focus on reading, writing, math, social studies and/or science for no more than five students per session.
  • Required contact time minimum is 12 hours per student, per semester.
  • The structure can be tailored to fit school and company needs, example: one person offering one hour of tutoring for 12 weeks or two hours every other week, etc.

Education to Life

  • Provide job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships or employment opportunities for students.
  • Guide students toward future careers through exposure to the organization’s specialty.
  • Assist students in gaining knowledge about the job-search process, the interview process, college application and scholarship seeking, employment skills and resume writing.
  • Opportunities can include using extra-curricular activities that will enhance academic achievement, including experiences that can connect students to collegiate opportunities or career experiences

Mentoring

  • Provide weekly one-on-one mentoring of a student.

School Beautification/Facility Improvement

  • Coordinate projects to improve the learning environment twice a semester. Projects could include remodeling of a classroom, implementing a sustainability/greening project, sponsoring or facilitating environmental education projects, school building or classroom repairs and school grounds upkeep.

Organizations may also become financial sponsors of the program without participating. Contributions will go toward administrative costs of the program and supporting special events.

A kickoff event for the B.O.L.D. program is scheduled for Thursday January 27, 2011, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive. Businesses and organizations will learn more about how they can get involved in the program.

To sign up or to learn more, call (313) 870-3799, email businesscorps@detroitk12.org or visit http://detroitk12.org/businesscorps.

 

Hard Hat Tour of New Martin Luther King Senior High School

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – On Monday, Dec. 20, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb provided an update of the $500.5 million DPS Capital Improvement Program during a tour of the new $45.3 million Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School currently under construction. The tour included interior and exterior work areas of the new school’s new athletic wing, main common area and academic neighborhoods.

 

Major Construction in Progress at Detroit Public Schools

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542, steven.wasko@detroitk12.org or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401, jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

Detroit-One year into the Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million capital improvement program funded by voter-approved Proposal S dollars, major construction is under way at Detroit Public Schools construction sites that includes poured concrete foundations, roof installation, interior electrical work, and selective demolition of outdated buildings.

Among the tangible signs of construction progress are: Roofing and steel work at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School gymnasium and athletic wing; Masonry and steel work for the new Gompers PreK to 8 School in Brightmoor; Foundations for the new PreK to 8 School at Clark Park in southwest Detroit; Concrete work on the new Western International High School athletic complex; Auditorium renovation at Denby High School; New flooring and tile for the recently constructed gym at Fitzgerald Elementary and; Final finishes and high tech wiring at the brand new Public Safety Command Center.

DPS Emergency Financial Manger Robert Bobb said many of the projects are fast-tracked and are ahead of schedule.

“Voters put their faith in us when they overwhelmingly passed a $500.5 million bond issue for new and modernized school facilities; and 13 months later, we are showing them tangible proof we are delivering on our promises, with construction started on 10 projects and one major renovation already finished at John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy,” Bobb said.

“All you have to do is look at the workers operating cranes at our various construction sites, see the foundations being poured, or look at the concrete walls going up to know that we are Detroit’s economic stimulus package, as evidenced also by the fact that more than 70 percent of prime contracts have been awarded to Detroit-headquartered firms.”

Bobb signed the final contract this fall at the site of the new Finney Crockett High School. Construction started this summer on 10 projects, with a major renovation 100 percent completed in three months at the John R. King Performing Arts Academy School. The remaining projects broke ground this fall. All projects must be completed by 2012 to comply with federal regulations.

All combined, the DPS School Construction Program includes new facilities for an Office of Public Safety Headquarters and Operations Center and seven schools, major renovations at nine more, in addition to demolition projects and security and technology upgrades.

Photos of construction activity can be downloaded at www.dpsschoolconstruction.org and are included with this release for the following schools:

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School
Location: 3200 E. Lafayette Street
Project: New Building
Cost: $46.4 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Fall 2011
Project Activity: Interior masonry and steel work in progress Roofing work in progress

Gompers PreK to 8 School in Brightmoor
Location: 14450 Burt Road
Project: New Building
Cost: $20.6 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Fall 2011
Project Activity: Construction of masonry walls in progress Steel work under way

PreK to 8 School at Clark Park
Location: 1000 Scotten Street
Project: New Building
Cost: $20.7 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Fall 2011
Project Activity: Rough site grading completed Foundation piers installed Concrete foundations being poured

Western International High School
Location: 1500 Scotten Road
Project Type: Major Renovation
Cost: $27.8 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Fall 2011
Project Activity: Phase I classroom renovation underway Roof replacement completed for the season Concrete foundations for the athletic addition completed

Denby High School
Location: 12800 Kelly Road
Project: Major Renovation
Cost: $16.5 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Fall 2011
Project Activity: Auditorium renovation underway Selective demolition – including the smoke stack – in progress Fence repair work in progress

Fitzgerald Elementary School
Location: 8145 Puritan Road
Project: Major Renovation
Cost: $8.4 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Winter 2011
Project Activity: Parking lot completed Fence repair in progress Gym floor and ceramic tile work to begin

DPS Public Safety Headquarters & Police Command Center
Location: Clay & I-75
Project: New Building
Cost: $5.7 million
Construction Started: Summer 2010
Construction to be Completed: Winter 2011
Project Activity: Exterior and interior finishes being installed Bullet-resistant glazing being installed Building IT and security wiring being installed

Detroit voters approved Proposal S in November 2009 which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by September 2012.

 

Rick Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale; $225,000 Bid in Auction Benefits Detroit Public Schools Foundation

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; Cell: 313-212-5636; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; Cell: 313-401-9018; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

DETROIT – Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevrolet Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14.

“This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community,” said Hendrick, an avid car collector. “I have been a Chevrolet dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976.

“Hendrick Motorsports has been racing Chevys since 1984, and any success we’ve had is due to the quality of our people,” continued Hendrick, who has won a record 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championships. “The Detroit Public Schools will prepare the next generation of talented engineers and technicians who will help Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports compete at a high level on the racetrack every weekend.”

“This is another example that we are at a turning point in corporate support for Detroit Public Schools, as evidenced by this largest-ever GM gift to DPS, the $27 million contribution for small schools, other support from national companies like PNC Bank, and the launch just yesterday of the DPS Business Corps to connect every one of our 142 schools with a new business partner,” said DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb.

Detroit Public Schools Foundation President and CEO, Chacona W. Johnson, believes the donation will make a meaningful difference for many Detroit students:

“With Mr. Hendrick’s contribution, we have the opportunity to inspire thousands of children to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Johnson. “That inspiration will help make Detroit Public Schools students more successful in higher education, and better prepared for careers in the 21st century workforce.”

Here are a few examples of what the foundation could provide to Detroit students with $225,000:

Send 4,500 students to compete in a science fair

It costs $50 per student to compete in the annual Science and Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit, including entry fees and bussing expenses. The fair is open to students in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties, from grades six through 12. Each year up to eight students from the Detroit competition may be selected to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Provide 800 kits for robotics competitions

The $280 kit for the FIRST Lego League robotics competition includes everything a team needs to build an autonomous robot. The competition, for students in grades four through eight, is based on students’ scientific research, as well as their robotic construction and programming.

Send 140 students to NASA space camp

It costs $16,000 to send 10 students and chaperones to NASA space camp in Huntsville, Ala., including tuition and travel expenses. During the five-day camp, students apply classroom math and science skills to shuttle training missions, such as moon walking practice and orbiter-egress training.

“Every aspect of the Volt – from its aerodynamic shape to its battery chemistry – is a testament to the importance of math and sciences,” said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. “Now, the first Volt will help cultivate the next generation of engineers who will build upon the Volt’s innovative technologies.”

The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.

Chevrolet began shipping Volts from Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly this week. Hendrick will take delivery of his Volt later this month.

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates is centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of more than 4 million vehicles in 130 countries. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly” solutions, such as Chevrolet Cruze Eco with an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon highway, and the Chevrolet Volt offering 35 miles of electric driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
About the Detroit Public Schools Foundation The Detroit Public Schools Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting Detroit students. Our mission is to raise, manage and steward funds and other resources to support value-added programs and activities for the benefit of the Detroit Public Schools and its students. For more information, visit www.detroitpsfoundation.org.

About Detroit International Academy, A DPS all-girls school

Detroit Public Schools’ Detroit International Academy is the only all girls’ K-12 public school in Michigan. The school’s academic focus is on math and science, and the program boasts a variety of Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) extra-curricular activities and class offerings at every grade level, including FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, Lego League and “You Be the Chemist.”

The school’s mission is to equip students with the skills to be positive, competitive, articulate and competent leaders in the school, community and in an ever-changing global society.

Students and staff, who wear uniforms, are creating a “community of sisters” that stresses academic achievement. The older students are part of a “Sister to Sister” mentoring group, tutoring elementary and middle school students before school, after school and during the lunch hour. The academy’s seventh-grade students participate in “Project Citizen,” a program sponsored through the Center for Civic Education that earned Superior ratings in both state and national showcases.

Detroit International Academy also has a heavy emphasis on reading, sponsoring a “100 Book Challenge,” where students are challenged to read 100 books or more. Last year, nine students met the challenge and were awarded Kindle book readers.

The academy also offers competitive sports and activities, such as volleyball, basketball, swimming, tennis, cross-country, cheer, citywide dance, and a JROTC battalion, whose Color Guard was designated first place in the district.

The school’s all-girls robotics teams are highly competitive. The robotics program offers four branches: a robotics class for students in grades 9-12 where students learn C++ programming, sensors, mechanical and electrical engineering concepts and more; an after-school Lego robotics team for grades 5-8; and after-school VEX team; and an after-school FIRST team in its fifth year, which recently won first place in a local competition for its robot that can target and launch T-shirts 40 feet away. The VEX team recently placed in the top 4 percent in the 2010 VEX Robotics world championship.

 

Coming Soon: The DPS Volunteer Business Corps

Detroit Public Schools is getting ready to launch a new initiative that will create robust partnerships between schools and area businesses to improve academic achievement in the district.

Details of the Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Business Corps: Businesses/Organizations Optimizing Learning in Detroit will be announced in January. The district will work in partnership with the business, faith-based and non-profit community to launch the program, which will provide tutoring, mentoring, school beautification and much more.

Organizations that are interested are invited to fill out the online survey. To learn more, e-mail: businesscorps@detroitk12.org or call (313) 870-3799.

 

Half million-plus donation from First Student to DPS Foundation resurrects dormant All-City High School Marching Band

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; Cell: 313-212-5636; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; Cell: 313-401-9018; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

Photo Credit: by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit www.tellusdetroit.comThe six-year dormancy of Detroit Public Schools’ Rose Bowl-honored All City High School Marching Band will officially end as a result of a $560,000 donation announced today.

In response to Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb’s community-wide appeal earlier this year, the donation from First Student Transportation will be used for uniforms, instruments, staffing and travel for the students to and from local, state, national and international music events.

The donation is the second largest to-date for the DPS Foundation.

Photo Credit: by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit www.tellusdetroit.com“With this support from First Student, we are now able to unpack those All City Band uniforms that have been carefully stored away, but we plan to unpack the musical talent of our students that has been stored away for far too long,” said DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb. “Our students deserve every opportunity to be successful, and we plan to ensure they have those opportunities.”

Bobb celebrated the donation along with the Detroit School of Arts and Cass Technical High School marching bands, the principals of both schools, Detroit Public Schools Foundation COO and General Counsel Taylor Teasdale, First Student Transportation president Linda Burtwistle and interim director of the Office of Fine Arts Education, Willie McAllister.

First Student will allocate the donation in $112,000 annual installments for the next five years. First Student’s first installment also completes a $25,000 match announced earlier this year by The Pickard Family Fund.

Photo Credit: by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit www.tellusdetroit.com“We are delighted to be able to help Detroit Public Schools nurture these young musicians to their fullest potential,” First Student Transportation president Linda Burtwistle said. “There is nothing more important than investing in students who deserve every opportunity to be successful. We trust that this donation to the foundation will go a long way toward funding the needs of the All City High School Band.

Earlier this year, Bobb resuscitated the band, seeking in-kind services and donations to defray the costs of uniforms and new instruments. He called for the donations after learning the band’s gently-used uniforms had been packed away and stored at the district’s CDC Warehouse for several years.

The Detroit Public Schools All City High School Marching Band, which had a successful launch in 2001, ceased to exist in 2004 for lack of funding.

Photo Credit: by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit www.tellusdetroit.comPhoto Credit: by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit www.tellusdetroit.comThe band will be composed of 200 of the district’s best musicians that meet the criteria for instrumentation. They must audition successfully. Each applicant also must be enrolled in the band program at his/her current DPS school high.

Successful eighth grade applicants must join the band program in their DPS high school. All applicants must establish and maintain a minimal 2.2 grade point average in order to remain an active participant in the All City High School Marching Band. The G.P.A. of each successful applicant will be reviewed after each marking period to ensure compliance with this policy.

Rehearsals are mandatory and will be scheduled four days per week.

 

DPS unveils two luxury buses donated to Detroit Public School League, highlights league transformation

DPSL Bus

DPSL Bus

Contact:
Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
chuck.johnson@detroitk12.org
313-870-5863

Detroit Public Schools on Thursday unveiled two newly-donated 47-seat luxury coaches donated by First Student for use by the school district’s athletic teams as part of a major rollout touting enhancements this year to the Detroit Public School League.

DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb and DPS Athletic Administrator Alvin Ward celebrated the buses’ arrival, along with the cheerleaders and football teams from Cass Tech and Central High, Cass Tech’s marching band and principals of both schools, before addressing sweeping changes to enhance the stature of the PSL, which has a storied athletic legacy.

New initiatives include:

  • Strengthening academic standards for athletic eligibility. Beginning in the fall semester of 2011, all PSL scholar-athletes must have and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in the core courses of math, English, science and social studies to be eligible to compete. This academic preparation is invaluable when the time comes for our scholar-athletes to enter college.
  • Increasing athletic participation and fan support by raising the profile of the PSL. The football season’s Game of the Week, a Holiday basketball tournament, a new Sports Information Director, the Detroit Public School League page on Facebook, and a regular new feature honoring the league’s top boy and girl athletic performers — the Proud Strong Learners of the Week – are all geared toward generating positive exposure for the PSL.
  • Increased oversight of PSL gate receipts. Through an audit conducted by the Office of Auditor General last year, the district found that cash management procedures at athletic events were inconsistent and not in compliance with policies outlined in the School Financial Management Manual and the DPS Interscholastic Athletic Manuals. Since then, the district has instituted improvements to the process of tracking and safeguarding the funds, including working with the Finance Department to establish cash management processes that allow greater monitoring of school athletic events.
  • Premium on good coaches. All PSL coaching positions were filled after a required interviewing process that sought to hire coaches with the most-qualified leadership abilities for our young scholar-athletics.
  • Rebranding the PSL through a fresh new logo that is included in the buses’ design. The PSL’s new slogan — Proud Strong Learners — emphasizes the district’s thrust toward a higher academic standard for athletic eligibility.

“It was clear that Detroit’s PSL needed new leadership, new direction, a new commitment to academic standards and fiscal and managerial accountability, as well as new measures to draw fan interest and generate student and adult participation,” Bobb said. “The PSL has recorded significant gains in each of these arenas in a short span of time.”

The luxury buses donated by First Student will help elevate the PSL’s public profile. The buses are equipped with air conditioning, an on-board restroom, plush reclining seats with headrests, footrests and tinted windows. The coaches cost $450,000 each new; the value is $150,000 refurbished.

“We are pleased to provide these buses to the students of DPS,” said Kevin Middleton, First Student executive vice president, Engineering and Fleet. “It is vitally important to give back to the communities in which we do business, and we look forward to transporting student athletes to and from games safely, securely and comfortably.”

Cass Tech and Central are the PSL’s recently-crowned A Division and B Division football city champions, respectively, and represent the caliber of teams that will likely be using the coaches for travel to competition away from the area.

“We’re thankful to First Student for this very generous donation,” DPS Athletic Administrator Alvin Ward said. “These buses will enable our scholar-athletes to travel in style and comfort when they compete outside the local area. The buses are a real asset to the district and the PSL.”

Ward also acknowledged donations of $20,000 from Comcast-Channel 900, which will televise several PSL basketball games this winter in an ongoing sponsorship; and $20,000 from Compuware Corporation. These donations come on the heels of a $10,000 contribution from General Motors Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson.

“On behalf of the Detroit Public School League and the school district, we thank Comcast, Compuware and Mr. Akerson for contributing to our athletic program,” Ward said. “These funds will be put to good use by helping with the purchase of needed equipment for our teams.”

About the Detroit Public School League

The Detroit PSL (PSL also stands for Proud Strong Learners) comprises the scholar-athletes and athletic teams of the 22 public senior high schools in the state of Michigan’s largest school district. Please visit http://detroitk12.org/showcase/sports and Detroit Public School League page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Detroit-Public-School-League/343538741098/

 

Public Service Announcement thanks voters for approving Proposal S for students, jobs one year later in $500.5 million capital improvement program

DETROIT-IT’S ELECTION DAY! One year after the Proposal S Bond Referendum was approved by a 62 percent margin in the 2009 general election, Detroit Public Schools will begin airing a Public Service Announcement this week thanking voters for supporting the $500.5 million bond issue, and reports the 18 construction projects are on time and under budget in the capital improvement program.

The PSA can be viewed at www.dpsschoolconstruction.org.
Bond oversight committee members Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson, NAACP Chairman Rev. Wendell Anthony, Michigan Regional Council Carpenter and Millwrights Director Toney Stewart, DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, in addition to DPS principals and students thank voters for approval of Proposal S that is building 21st Century schools for Detroit students and has created thousands of jobs for local workers.

“Since voters approved Proposal S just one year ago, we have been on an aggressive timeline to move these projects forward on time and under budget,” said Bobb. “We are keeping our commitment to voters and thank them for supporting the students of DPS and bringing jobs and development to their communities.”

The PSA announces all 18 projects have been contracted to Detroit-based companies less than one year after voters approved the bond issue. The projects have come in under budget.

The 30-second spot also thanks voters for giving DPS students the opportunity to learn in new state-of-the-art facilities that will include a new Mumford High School and PreK to 8 schools in the Brightmoor and Southwest Detroit communities, in addition to the thousands of jobs filled by local workers to complete the schools.

“It’s great to see the construction activity going on around the city and to have labor unions working together with the community to give these students the kind of first-rate facilities and technology they deserve,” said Stewart.

The PSA will run for two weeks on local television affiliates, radio stations and other media outlets.

Bobb last week signed the final contract in the bond program to build a new $43.6 million Finney Crockett High School on the east side.

Approval of Proposal S allowed the district to access $500.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

All combined, the DPS School Construction Program includes new facilities for an Office of Public Safety Headquarters and Operations Center and seven schools, major renovations at nine more, in addition to demolition projects and security and technology upgrades.

Construction started this summer on 10 projects, with a major renovation 100 percent completed in three months at the John R. King Performing Arts Academy School. The remaining projects will begin this fall. All projects must be completed by 2012 to comply with federal regulations.

 

DPS announces details of $46.3 million Finney Crockett High School and signs final construction project contract less than one year after voters approved Proposal S

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit- Less than one year after voters approved a $500.5 million bond issue, Detroit Public Schools announced details for the new $46.3 million Finney Crockett High School and signed the final construction project contract as part of its three-year Capital Improvement Program.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb signed the final contract at a groundbreaking today for the new Finney Crockett High School, 17200 Southampton St., which is one of three new high schools that will be built from the ground up using Proposal S funds. Martin Luther King Jr. High School was the first project to break ground this summer and will be completed in 2011. The district broke ground last week on a new $50.3 million Mumford High School.

The groundbreaking at Finney Crockett comes before the one-year anniversary voters approved the Proposal S Bond Referendum, which gave the district access to $500.5 million for facility improvement and construction projects.

Tooles-Clark, a 55 percent Detroit-headquartered business, is the prime contractor for the Finney Crockett High School project.

All combined, the DPS School Construction Program includes new facilities for an Office of Public Safety Headquarters and Operations Center and seven schools, major renovations at nine more, in addition to demolition projects and security and technology upgrades. Construction started this summer on 10 projects, with a major renovation 100 percent completed in three months at the John R. King Performing Arts Academy School. The remaining projects will begin this fall. All projects must be completed by 2012 to comply with federal regulations.

“When we closed the old Finney and relocated students temporarily, we promised to rebuild on this site. We also committed to the parents of Crockett that their very strong academic programs will have a permanent home for the future,” said Bobb. “Today we are keeping those commitments and ensuring that this far east side community is served by the quick implementation of the bond projects for which we have now signed all contracts.”

The new 221,000-square-foot Finney Crocket facility will accommodate up to 1,200 students in a move that will consolidate both campuses when the school opens for the 2012-2013 academic year. The existing structure on Southampton Street will be demolished and a new facility will be built on the site.

The new school will be a LEED Gold Certified state-of-the-art facility featuring four wings for eight science laboratories, a high-tech media center, athletic area with a community health clinic, and a performing arts section. The performing arts wing will include an 800-seat auditorium, a small black box theater with a scene shop and dressing rooms, a 2,400-square-foot band room, and a 1,900-square-foot choir room. A cafeteria commons will anchor the four wings that will also function as an assembly area for programs and events.

The indoor athletic wing will have a gymnasium with 1,300 bleacher seats, an eight-lane pool and diving well with balcony seating for 230. Outside facilities include a football and track and field complex with stadium seating for 1,100, four tennis courts, varsity baseball and softball fields and event parking.

More than 200 sophomore students from the Finney and Crockett high schools joined the groundbreaking celebration with DPS administrators, faculty, alumni and community groups. The sophomore class will be the first class to graduate in the new facility in the spring of 2013.

Detroit voters approved Proposal S last November which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the sixth largest allocation in the nation.

The improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all projects must be completed by September 2012.

 

DPS launches $49.3 million in construction projects at three PreK to 8 schools

Detroit- Heading into the one-year mark since voters approved a $500.5 million bond issue for Detroit Public Schools by a 62 percent margin, DPS is launching $49.3 million in construction projects at three PreK to 8 schools, including two new schools and an extensive remodel at another that includes a new dance studio, instrumental and choral rooms.

Since voters approved the Proposal S Bond Referendum 11 months ago, contracts to Detroit-based firms have been awarded for 16 of the 18 school projects.

DPS launches $49.3 million in construction projects at three PreK to 8 schoolsGroundbreakings took place today for the three latest projects- Detroit School of Arts East – Duke Ellington at Beckham, Munger and Mackenzie PreK to 8 schools-which will be built by teams including Detroit-headquartered companies. Construction will begin this fall. When completed, the schools will provide an educational home for more than 2,500 students and will be a source of community pride and renewal for three city neighborhoods.

Construction has begun at other nine schools as part of the $500.5 million program, with one renovation project at John R. King PreK to 8 School completed over the summer. The remaining $210.54 million in capital improvement bonds were sold last week, giving DPS the necessary funding to finance the rest of the projects through 2012.

“It’s unprecedented in the past two decades that, leading up to just the one year mark after voters passed the bond referendum, that 100 percent of projects will have been contracted, in this case, totaling more than $400 million,” said Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Financial Manager. “This has quickly become Detroit’s academic and employment stimulus project.”

New facilities for the Munger and Mackenzie schools will be built from the ground up. Construction at both schools will start this fall and will be completed by 2012.

The $22.3 million Munger project, located at 5525 Martin Street, will include an elementary and middle school wing connected by a two-story “student arcade” that will function as a dining court, student center and school square. The school is being located at the site of the former Munger and Chadsey schools in a thriving section of Southwest Detroit. Bright, sustainable classrooms will line colorful corridors centered around an academic commons area and teacher work centers. The school is designed to accommodate between 850 and 1,100 students.

The $21.8 million Mackenzie project, located at 9275 Wyoming Avenue, will include a large open media center serving the needs of the school’s middle and elementary students. The building design will focus on student safety and will be environmentally-responsible through the adherence to national standards set by CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The minimum goal is set at a Silver LEED Certification.

Renovations at Detroit School of Arts East – Duke Ellington at Beckham PreK to 8 School, 9860 Park Drive, totaling $5.2 million, will include an academic wing addition with eight classrooms and an arts addition with a dance studio, instrumental and choral rooms. It also will receive an upgraded security entrance. Duke Ellington East students will relocate to the new Beckham facility once the two additions are complete in 2011. The Duke Ellington East at Beckham program serves as a feeder school for the Detroit School of Arts, and the new addition is expected to enhance the school’s artistic offerings.

“We are extremely excited about the joining of two of the greatest schools-Duke Ellington and William Beckham-along with the building of the two additions,” said Yolanda Herbert, principal of both schools. “The school, community, students and staff will be forever thankful.”

Detroit voters approved Proposal S last November which enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the 6th largest allocation in the nation. More than 3,900 direct and indirect jobs have been created under the capital improvement program, according to the state of Michigan employment formula.

The DPS School Construction Project includes a total of seven new schools and 11 renovations. The improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with Proposal S dollars. To comply with federal guidelines, all bond dollars must be spent within three years and all 18 schools must be completed by September 2012.

 

Detroit Public Schools and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announce new Teen Courts and Safe Schools Project

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, left, announced the Teen Courts and Safe Schools Program during a press conference at Southeastern High School.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, left, announced the Teen Courts and Safe Schools Program during a press conference at Southeastern High School.

Detroit Public Schools and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office have teamed up to launch the first two DPS Teen Courts, where students will serve as jurors, at Denby and Southeastern High Schools. The agencies are also partnering on the new Safe Schools Project pilot program, where five assistant prosecutors are assigned to work collaboratively at Detroit and out-county high schools to address issues of safety, truancy and school violence.

The Teen Court program is a juvenile diversion program created for juveniles who have no previous juvenile court record and who become involved in minor violations of the law. Classrooms at Denby and Southeastern have been transformed to resemble real courtrooms, where offenders, between the ages of 11 and 16, who commit certain specified minor misdemeanors, and who are willing to admit responsibility at the outset, will appear before a jury of high school teenager peers.

The new Safe Schools Project is a collaboration between the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, DPS and out-county schools to address issues related to school violence. Some components of the program include working with schools to establish anti-bullying hotlines, determining if there are unregistered sex offenders within the safe school zone and following up with police, identifying abandoned and neglected houses near schools and notifying municipalities, creating teen courts and more.

“Parents too often tell me that their top concern – even above improving academics – is improving safety in our schools. The new Safe Schools Program and the collaboration with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will be additional strong support for our $41.7 million safety and security initiative to help improve the safety in our schools,” said Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools. “The teen courts also offer an excellent opportunity for our students to gain experience in the legal system as they deliberate on real cases, while encouraging them to take an active role in their community.”

“School violence is an issue that has plagued America for years,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy. “We have to step out of our comfort zone and work earnestly to address it. Since May, 2010 school prosecutors have been working in this pilot program with Wayne County school administrators, teachers, parents, community members, and the faith based community in 17 identified schools. We are trying to get at the root problem of what is troubling our schools and I commend these partners for taking this bold step.”

“I have to recognize former Inspector General John Bell who months ago saw the value of the Teen Court concept in DPS high schools and helped to make it a reality in just a short period of time,” said DPS Inspector General Wilbert Van Marsh. “I stopped in and saw Southeastern teacher John Mayberry during the second day of school during his Teen Court class. The students were engaged. Not only will our students have the opportunity to learn about our system of criminal justice and hand down actual sentences to their peers in a responsible way, their exposure to the process may inspire some to seek careers as lawyers, court reporters, judges, bailiffs, and law enforcement officers.”

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Safe Schools Project is led by Chief James Gonzales of the Special Operations Division. Principal Attorney Bradley Cobb oversees the operations of this special unit. The programs included in the Safe Schools Program are:

– Non-compliant sex offenders – Determining if there are unregistered sex offenders that are located within the safe school zone and forwarding them to Michigan State Police for verification and possible arrest.

– Truancy – Attending school on time and everyday increases a student’s earning potential and positive opportunities through life. It is also the law. The Safe Schools Project prosecutors will work with school administrators to help make sure all of our children are in school to receive the benefits of education. Truancy intervention is an effort by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to improve school attendance by working with students, parents, schools and the community to ensure a faster, more effective response to truancy. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will work with business owners to discourage them from allowing students to use their establishments during hours when they should be attending school.

– Teen Court – a juvenile diversion program created for juveniles who have no previous juvenile court record and who become involved in minor violations of the law. Any high school student in grades 9 through 12 can serve as a Teen Court juror. After questioning the youth offender and his/her parent(s) or guardian, the “Teen Jury” determines an appropriate disposition, which cannot involve any form of detention. Dispositions typically include community service, oral and/or written apologies, restitution if applicable, maintenance of acceptable school attendance and grades, and counseling. The program uses students who are taking classes in law or Advanced Placement Government. Teen Court jurors participate in a responsible and meaningful role as they deliberate over real cases. Through Teen Court presentations, youths also learn about how the criminal justice system works, differences between the adult system and the juvenile system, and the difference between real life criminal justice systems and those portrayed on television. Moreover, it has been demonstrated across the country that juveniles whose cases are heard in Teen Court have a lower recidivism rate than youths who go through the formal court system, in large part due to that fact that the offender’s sentence is being fashioned and justified by his/her true peer group. The Teen Jury’s ability to relate to the youth offender also encourages a more meaningful determination of consequences for the youth.

– Anti-bullying Hotline – Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys will encourage all schools to establish and monitor hotlines to report instances of bullying and to prevent other crimes from occurring.

– Abandoned and Neglected Houses in the Safe School Zone – Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys have requested a list of these houses and have forwarded them to the City of Detroit for investigation and demolition.

– Gang Violence – Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys will assist administration in identifying issues related to gangs as well as bullying and cyber bullying issues. They will work on an action plan to address social networking issues that present problems in schools.

– Community Meetings – Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys will establish community partners and stakeholders interested in working on school issues. The Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity committed to help with non-academic issues surrounding why children are truant from school.

– Criminal Justice Education Program – A four-week course taught at each of the Safe Schools partner school locations. The course of study includes: American System of Justice, Juvenile Justice Process, Crime and Consequences, Constitutional amendments (as it relates to law enforcement) and Street Gangs. Two schools, Canton-Plymouth and Henry Ford High School, will also have a two-week Teen Citizen’s Academy.

– Cases – Assistant Prosecutors will try cases that originate in the designated schools.
The five assistant prosecuting attorneys are assigned to 17 schools.

DPS’ participating schools in the Safe Schools Program are University of Central Preparatory High School, Mumford High School, Frederick Douglass College Preparatory Academy for Young Men, Pershing High School, Denby High School, Crockett High School, Kettering High School, Henry Ford High School, Southeastern High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School.

Out-county schools include: Harper Woods High School, 20225 Beaconsfield, Harper Woods; Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (3 schools: Plymouth High School; Salem High School and Canton High School), 46181 Joy Road, Canton; Edsel Ford High School, 20601 Rotunda Drive, Dearborn; John F. Kennedy High School, 13505 J.F. Kennedy Drive, Taylor; Crestwood High School, 1501 N. Beech Daly Road, Dearborn Heights

The initial DPS teen court sessions will be Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at Southeastern, and Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 10:10 a.m. at Denby.

 

10 Defendants Charged in DPS laptop theft scheme

Kym Worthy and Office of the Inspector General

Kym Worthy and Office of the Inspector General

Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy has charged 10 men in connection with an organized scheme to steal and fence laptop computers from Detroit Public Schools from December of 2009 through 2010. The investigation revealed that approximately 104 computers valued at over $158,000 were stolen. In February 2010 the case was referred the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office by Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and former Detroit Public Schools Inspector General John Bell. The charges are the result of a collaborative effort involving the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Public Integrity Unit and Criminal Investigations Division; Detroit Public Schools Inspector General Wilbert Marsh, Deputy Inspector General Diana Sobczak and Special Investigator Robert Barenie; Michigan State Police; the FBI; High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Absolute Software.

Dell and Apple Macbook computers were stolen from Coffey School, 17210 Cambridge, Detroit, MI; Burns Elementary School, 14350 Terry St., Detroit, MI; Northwestern High School, 2200 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI; and Westside Academy Alternative School, 1851 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI. The computers were then sold on eBay, Craigslist and to friends and acquaintances of the defendants.

Three defendants, Brian Rogers, Dwaine Scott and Mark Scott have been identified collectively as members of the Helly Helly Bois gang and have been charged with Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony. They allegedly broke and entered into the schools and stole computers, later selling them to others.

Brian Rogers, Dwaine Scott and Mark Scott along with Jaisaun Holt, Dezmen Faqua, Juan Legardy, Dion Sims, Nicholas Tisdale, Danny Tiwaini and Christopher Schambre have been charged with Receiving & Concealing Stolen Property.

The investigation in this case revealed that stolen Detroit Public Schools computers were found in Arizona, California, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Robert Bobb said, “Today’s charges show that we don’t care if you are the cowardly two-bit criminal wearing ski masks and raiding one of our schools in the middle of the night; or whether you’re a football player from one of our state’s biggest universities trafficking in stolen goods in your off-time; or whether you’re a sophisticated marketer of DPS’ stolen goods on the Internet. To us, you’re all a bunch of thugs, and you’re going to soon see what happens to thugs who steal from our kids.”

“These defendants allegedly stole these laptops from Detroit Public Schools and some of them ended up halfway around the globe. Meanwhile, right here in Michigan, Detroit’s schoolchildren were without the proper technology to be able to compete in this world, ” Prosecutor Worthy said. “Other people were getting ahead on their equipment.”

“The Office of the Inspector General and DPS Police Department will continue to dedicate resources, including partnering with local and federal law enforcement when necessary, in order to bring to justice those responsible for stealing property from our schools and as a consequence depriving many of our students the tools they need to learn and compete,” said Inspector General Wilbert V. Marsh.

 

Construction underway, one major renovation complete and 100% of remaining contracts out to bid for construction projects under $500.5 million capital improvement program

Detroit-Detroit Public Schools is making rapid progress with work on its $500.5 million capital improvement program, with one major school renovation complete, construction underway at nine other sites totaling $180.4 million, and 100 percent of procurement contracts out to bid for remaining projects.

Detroit Public Schools today released a construction activity progress report on the first 10 projects, which have an average Detroit-headquartered business participation of 70 percent at the prime contract level. Three elementary and middle school interior renovations will be completed on time for students’ arrival Sept. 7.

Renovations totaling $27.7 million were completed over the summer at John R. King PreK to 8 School, Marcus Garvey PreK to 8 School and Bethune Academy in just over three months.

“We are delivering on our promises to voters and residents that we will stay on time and on budget with every project that is part of the DPS School Construction Program,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. “We are also guaranteeing priority to Detroit residents first for jobs, with 70 percent of procurement contracts in the first ten projects awarded to Detroit-headquartered firms.”

The most extensive upgrade to the John R. King project is the new state-of-the-art 5,500-square-foot black box theater with dramatic overhead lighting to support the school’s performing arts-centered curriculum. A second phase of construction will continue through the fall at the two other schools with the addition of a new gymnasium at Bethune Academy, and the new Harambee Center at Marcus Garvey which will serve as a gathering place to support the school’s African-centered curriculum.

The status of the 10 projects is:

New PreK to 8 School in Clark Park, 1000 Scotten Road
Groundbreaking for the new $20.5 million facility was held July 9. The Earhart School has moved into its temporary home at Southwestern High School and design work and preparations for construction are progressing at the Earhart School site.

DPS Police Headquarters and Command Center, 8500 Cameron Street
Groundbreaking for the new $5.6 million facility was held July 16. The foundations are substantially completed and the contractor is currently working on the installation of underground utilities and exterior masonry walls. Once completed, DPS police and security personnel will be able to monitor and control security technology throughout the district.

Denby High School, 12800 Kelly Road
Construction began in July on the $16.4 million Denby High School renovation, which will be complete in 2011. Work in progress includes the refinishing of the basketball court, the demolition of the smoke stack, and the replacement of the roof.

Bethune Academy, 8145 Puritan Road
The renovation component of the $8.4 million project will be complete this week. The interior signage is being installed and work on the administrative suite is being finished. IT and security installation is also in progress. A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy was issued on Aug. 23 and furniture has been moved back into classrooms. Approval from the State for a new gym addition has been acquired and foundations are being poured. The new gym addition is scheduled to be completed by December 2010.

Marcus Garvey Academy PreK to 8 School, 2301 Van Dyke
Construction on the $8.8 million renovation project will be complete this week. A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy was issued on Aug. 23. Tack boards and marker boards are being installed, kitchen and science lab work and IT and security installation are in progress and scheduled for completion this week. Furniture is being moved back into classrooms. The Harambee Center addition has been submitted for State site approval and is scheduled for completion by February 2011.

Gompers PreK to 8 School in Brightmoor, 14450 Burt Road
Groundbreaking on the new $20.5 million new school in Brightmoor was held July 9. Demolition on Harding Elementary School, the site of the new facility, is underway. Site work activities will commence upon completion of demolition work. Once completed, this school will replace three DPS schools – Gompers, Harding, and Vetal PreK to 8 schools.

Henry Ford High School, 20000 Evergreen Road
The $16.6 million renovation of Henry Ford High School was awarded on July 16 and is scheduled to be completed in September 2011. Design work is ongoing in preparation for renovations to begin during the upcoming academic year. The project will feature two sustainable technology labs for student instruction, as well as several green building elements, including solar photovoltaic panels, green roof and vertical wind turbines.

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, 3200 E. Lafayette Street
Groundbreaking for the $45.3 million project was held June 18. Excavation and foundation work are in progress and the masonry work has begun. Once construction is complete in 2011, the new MLK building will be a LEED gold certified, state-of-the-art facility that will emphasize a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum, house a cyber caf

 

DPS makes AYP as a district for the 2009-10 school year; New status shows academic reforms are working

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit Public Schools met state requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress as a district for the 2009-2010 school year, which is evidence that the reforms the district put in place are improving student achievement. The school system as a whole has not made AYP since 2006.

“This is the start of what can become long-term academic success for Detroit Public Schools and the creation of Centers of Excellence at every school if we follow the course of academic reforms we’re putting in place under our academic plan,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb. “We have increased the rigor throughout our schools as part of our ambitious five-year plan, which has been launched and will be fully executed this fall, as part of our strategic vision for system-wide improvements. The new AYP status is further evidence that the finances and academics of this school system cannot be separated.”

The district is in Phase 2-Corrective Action. The school system made AYP for one year. The district must make AYP for a second year to be at Phase 0.

Under the district’s five-year academic plan, which will be rolled out in full this fall, students will see a more rigorous academic curriculum in every school. The academic plan includes:

Expanded time for reading and mathematics under common core curriculum
Instructional time in reading and math will be expanded to 120 minutes daily in every kindergarten through eighth-grade class. For most students, that will mean a dramatic increase in exposure to these two core subject areas.

Pre-algebra for 7th graders
All seventh-grade teachers will receive professional development to support the curriculum change and to prepare them to use research-based techniques in the classroom. All students will receive new text books and supplemental materials.

A tutor for every pre-kindergartner through the Volunteer Reading Corps
More than 5,500 volunteers, representing 130 municipalities, have pledged at least one hour a week for the next three years to tutor DPS students in reading. Volunteers are screened before being assigned to schools.

Additional language courses available
Students at more DPS schools will have access to foreign language courses.

Advanced Placement courses available at every high school
Students at every DPS high school will have access to Advanced Placement courses, which allows high school students to earn college credits.

More opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships
Students will have greater access to programs that will give them college credits and/or work experience under the district’s five-year Academic Plan.

The district is also doing the following:

Millions of dollars in school building improvements
The DPS School Construction Program will build seven new schools and eleven more will receive extensive renovations or additions. All 18 schools are scheduled for completion by September 2012 to comply with federal guidelines.

New safety and security systems in every school
A $41.7 million new public safety plan will significantly increase the level of detail in security monitoring throughout schools. The centerpiece of the plan is a new alarm and digital camera system. The systems include video surveillance, monitoring systems for the district’s police and a notification system tied to each school’s P.A., phone, bell and clock systems.

Extended Day and Summer School programs
Students have more opportunities to recover credits – for free – than ever before. Combined, the DPS Summer Academy and DPS Extended Day Program gave nearly 1,200 students who were behind the opportunity to graduate without having to complete another year of school.

As part of the academic plan, the district set ambitious targets for improvement, including:

– 100 percent of students scoring advanced or proficient on reading and math in grades 3-8 on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), high school Michigan Merit Examination (MME), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
– All schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
– 99 percent or more student retention at all grades
– 98 percent daily student attendance rate
– More children who move out of special education
– 98 percent graduation rate
– 100 percent application and acceptance rate to postsecondary institutions
– Additional National Board certified teachers
– Dropout rate lowered to 3 percent
– DPS expects decreases in students retained at each grade, student suspensions and expulsions, and referrals and placement of students in special education.

 

DPS holds summer commencement

Thousands of students, parents, school faculty and administrators packed the auditorium at Cass Technical High School on Wednesday July 28 for summer school commencement exercises. Some 415 students from 29 DPS schools earned their diplomas after taking summer classes. Combined, the DPS Summer Academy and DPS Extended Day Program gave nearly 1,200 students who were behind the opportunity to recover credits so they could graduate without having to complete another year of school.

 

DPS to open new teacher-led school, which will focus on excellent teaching and have extended hours, robust curriculum

A group of highly-qualified Detroit Public Schools teachers are creating the vision for a new school that will be operated by teachers and focus on excellent teaching at the site of the former Barbara Jordan School this fall.

The new teacher-led school, located at 3901 Margareta, will have extended hours and a robust curriculum, including arts, clubs, sports, robotics and dance. Foreign languages will be offered to the youngest students in the PreK-8 school, and character development will be woven throughout the curriculum.

Because research has shown having an effective teacher improves student learning, this school will place a heavy emphasis on excellent teaching and high standards in every classroom. The school will not have a principal but will instead be operated by the teaching staff, who will meet routinely to assess and build programming based on the needs of children they see every day in their classrooms.

The teachers will be assisted by an executive administrator, who will be in charge of required reporting, such as budgetary documents and enrollment, allowing teachers to focus on the curriculum. The school also will strive to be staffed by teachers who have achieved National Board Certification, a tough certification process where teachers have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment, and peer review. The certification process can take up to three years to complete.

“Where teachers lead, students succeed. That’s the motto,” said DPS teacher Kimberly Kyff, Michigan’s Teacher of the Year for 2007 and one of the teachers planning the school.

“When the entire building is based around high teaching standards, student achievement will improve,” said Kyff, who also has achieved the rigorous certification. “In a congressionally mandated study, National Board Certification was recently recognized by the National Research Council as having a positive impact on student achievement. Increasing student achievement is the heart of all we do.”

Detroit Public Schools has more Nationally-Board-Certified Teachers than any other district in the state of Michigan. DPS teachers traveled to Milwaukee and Chicago to talk to experts on best practices and to view a teacher-led school. They came away with a concept that will put the needs of each student first.

“This school will be focused totally on the educational needs of every child,” said Ann Crowley, a 22-year DPS teacher who is working on the vision for the school. “Children will not fail. Once you are in this school, you’re in.”

In the first year of operation, the teacher-led concept will be fully in place for grades PreK-4 and will build each year through grade 8. The school will house students through grade 8 this fall, and the students in the upper grades will begin a transition into the program. Valued programs now in place at Barbara Jordan, such as the school-wide recycle program and other successful programs, will remain.

“As part of our academic plan, we understand that a range of programmatic options are necessary to suit our students,” said Robert Bobb, the district’s Emergency Financial Manager. “We expect that this teacher-led school will allow the teaching staff to cut through the bureaucratic layers that can delay necessary programmatic changes from reaching the classroom and children quickly. Instead, this school will strive to have a lightning-speed response to the meet the needs of children.”

Other concepts to be included will be team-teaching and grade looping. Under the grade-looping concept, teachers will stay with their students for more than one grade in order to build relationships with students. As part of the team-teaching concept, teachers will work in large and small groups to evaluate students, assess their needs and alter teaching accordingly.

Teachers involved in the program development also intend to build strong relationships with the neighboring community and will bring multiple partnerships to the school, including a connection to a local college or university.

“We are wholly supportive of this program and will do everything in our power to assist the teachers in building a successful school because we know that teachers know better than anyone what their students need to succeed,” said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor. “And this school and the professionals working there will be held to the same high standards and achievement goals that we have set for all schools.”

For their students to be admitted, parents or guardians must sign a Parent Contract to ensure they support the concept of the program.

“The teacher-led school presents a unique and unprecedented opportunity to DFT and DPS,” said Keith Johnson, President of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. “This school will allow teachers to take ownership and direct responsibility for the educational destiny of the children to be served through implementation strategies for the curriculum, selection of staff, budget management, supplemental educational support and tutoring programs, and student/staff accountability.

“As a community-based school, there is also the opportunity for parents and community members to enlist their services and expertise to insure the school is an academic success,” Johnson said. “We are grateful for the challenge and the opportunity to make DPS the standard by which other urban school districts can be measured.”

 

Detroit Public Schools Open Enrollment begins July 6

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401
steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
kisha.verdusco@detroitk12.org

Detroit Public Schools parents will be given the opportunity to enroll their children in almost any DPS school they choose – regardless of geographical boundary — under the Open Enrollment Initiative that begins Tuesday July 6.

DPS is already an open enrollment district, but this formal initiative is unprecedented and will be parents’ only window of opportunity to change their children’s school assignments.

“The Open Enrollment Initiative is critical because it will help create an orderly academic environment from Day One when the new school year begins this fall,” said Karen Ridgeway, executive director of the Detroit Public Schools Office of Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability. “We will be able to generate student schedules sooner so valuable instructional time won’t be wasted.”

Letters containing information and a questionnaire are being sent to all district parents today and a marketing campaign aimed at getting all students re-enrolled will be launched on Tuesday, ahead of an August general campaign to boost enrollment. Parents are expected to fill out one questionnaire for each child and will be allowed to select first, second and third choice schools.

The Open Enrollment Initiative does not apply to examination high schools or application schools, which have separate enrollment processes, but it will allow parents to select the school they think best suits their child’s needs. To help guide the decision, a new edition of the Detroit Public Schools Guide 2010-2011 will be available at enrollment service centers.

There will be three enrollment periods, with priority dates given to students whose schools are closing. Those students will be assigned to a school based on their address, but they may choose another school. The enrollment periods are as follows:

Students whose schools are closing: July 6-16
Students whose schools are not closing: July 16-23
Students who need special education services: July 6-Aug. 31

Enrollment will take place Mondays through Fridays at nine service centers throughout the city. They are:

DPS Welcome Center, 3031 W. Grand Blvd., (313) 873-9974, 8:30 a.m.-4:40 p.m.
Harris Building, 3700 Pulford, (313) 866-3775, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Breithaupt Career & Technical Center,9300 Hubbell, (313)-866-9550, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Central High School, 2425 Tuxedo, (313) 852-6995,7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Cody High School, Room 112, 18445 Cathedral, (313) 866-9497, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Brenda Scott School, 18400 Hoover, (313) 866-6268, 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Duffield Elementary, 2715 Macomb, (313) 494-8350,8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Priest Elementary School, 7840 Wagner, (313) 216-5675,7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Charles Wright Academy, 19299 Berg Road, (313) 538-3024, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Students may enroll in their school of choice as long as the school has not reached capacity for their particular grade. Enrollment preference will be given to students who live within the boundary of a school, and those students will be provided transportation if they meet the district’s criteria. Students who choose to attend schools outside their boundaries will not receive transportation

As part of the initiative, all Detroit Public Schools families:

  • Will receive a letter that confirms the selection for each student in the family and informs them of the school in which each child is expected to attend this fall. Students must attend the assigned school on the first day of school. Transfer requests will not be honored during the first weeks of school.
  • Are expected to have all students to report to school and attend all classes the first day of school, Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
  • Attendance agents will be sent to the homes of students who did not report to class the first day of school. Parents will be required to re-enroll all students who did not attend school on the first day.

Additional Resources

 

Detroit Public Schools Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

Creating Centers of Excellence at Every School, Every Day, for Every Child in Every Neighborhood

Budget

Presentation

 

Detroit Public Schools break ground on first school in $500.5 Million Capital Improvement Project

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit-Detroit Public Schools parents, students, faculty and officials, joined by civic and community groups, broke ground today on the new $45.3 million Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Senior High School. Once construction is complete in 2011, the new MLK building will be a LEED gold certified, state-of-the-art facility that will emphasize a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum, house a cyber caf

 

Detroit Public Schools Master Facilities Plan undergoes significant changes following input from community

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401
steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
kisha.verdusco@detroitk12.org

After an exhaustive community vetting process, which included more than 40 local community meetings and nine Town Hall meetings since the list of candidate schools for closure was announced just over two months ago, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb has made significant changes to the district’s five-year Master Facilities Plan, a $1 billion strategy in two phases to ensure most students attend classes in new or recently renovated schools that are equipped to offer a 21st century education.

The first phase of the Master Facilities Plan, which includes a $500.5 million “Proposal S” voter-approved construction project beginning this month, will transform the district by renovating some schools, replacing others with brand new buildings and consolidating student populations to create a smarter, leaner DPS. The plan will reduce 3 million square feet of excess space and save the district $28 million over the next three years, with more savings to come as more efficient buildings are put into use. Capital improvements beyond those funded through Proposal S are subject to future voter approval through a community-led process.

Thirty-two school buildings and one support building will be closed this year, nine school buildings will be closed in the 2011-2012 school year and four school buildings will close in the 2012-2013 school year, totaling 45 school buildings closed over the three-year period. Some programs will see dramatic changes, including the expansion of Detroit International Academy, which serves girls in grades 6-12 into a K-14 school. Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, which serves boys in grades 6-12, will also see a K-14 expansion. Seven schools will see grade reconfigurations and the Barbara Jordan program will close and the building will house the new teacher-run University District Preparatory Academy.

“To make the right decisions in the best interests of the students and families, we needed to hit the ground and go right to the heart of each affected community. The plan we have today reflects that,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. “The reality is that schools must close, but we have done our best to ensure that in every case children will benefit from our decisions.”

“This plan is focused on improving schools in every neighborhood so all DPS students can attend a safe, secure facility that promotes academic success,” Bobb said.

Additionally, more school closures could take place next year, with some likely to be schools that fall into Michigan’s Recovery Zone, which is comprised of the lowest-achieving 5 percent of schools in the state.

The closures being announced today, which will be effective this month, were based on a variety of factors, including enrollment, demographic trends of the surrounding community, cost of operation, building condition and academic performance. Also taken into account was City of Detroit development data. Students who qualify for busing will continue to receive transportation to their new schools. Summer school programs will continue as planned at campuses slated for closure.

The schools that were removed from the closure “candidates” list are: Bagley, Carstens, Communication and Media Arts High School, Detroit City Alternative High School, Detroit Day School for the Deaf, Dossin, Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women, Glazer, Hally Magnet, Kettering High School, Kettering West Wing, MacDowell, Mason, Sherrill and Southwestern High School and Thirkell.

Dossin will remain open after parents and staff recruited more than 90 new families who were served by a nearby charter school that is closing. The students and staff at MacDowell and
Mason made impactful presentations about the strength of their programs and the need to protect the district’s northern borders from competing entities. Glazer will remain open given development initiatives undertaken by nearby Focus: Hope, with whom DPS will partner.

Northwestern High School, which was slated to be replaced by several alternative programs, will remain open. The Northwestern building will become the site of Ben Carson Academy, a new high school focusing on the medical professions. The school, which is named for the famous neurosurgeon and DPS graduate, will partner with one or more of the nearby hospital medical campuses, beginning with a freshman class in the fall of 2011.

Southwestern High will temporarily house Earhart Middle in a wing while a new PK-8 school is built on the Earhart site. The area near the school is expected to see some development, which will make the school more viable.
Communication and Media Arts, which was initially slated for closure because the building is in poor condition, is a finalist in a national competition to win a building makeover. The School community made a strong commitment to maximum the capacity of the building by recruiting “new” students to its school and the District.

In addition, Detroit Day School for the Deaf will be expanded to serve high school students through a special inclusion program that will allow students to take core subjects at the school and other subjects at traditional high schools, through sign language interpreters. Middle school students will have an inclusion program with Edmonson, which is expanding to eighth grade. The programs will be compliant with state and federal laws.

Catherine Ferguson Academy will accept teen mothers from the Boykin Continuing Education Center, which will close. Catherine Ferguson will become a transition school, where students will be expected to move on to traditional high schools.

Kettering High will serve students from Trombly in a wing of the school, which will reduce costs and raise the enrollment of the building, while giving more students access to the newly repaired swimming pool and other amenities at Kettering.

Thirkell will accept students from the closing Jamieson Elementary, located less than a mile away.

Academically achieving programs at Bagley, Carstens, Hally and Sherrill will remain open.

In addition, the program at Malcolm X Academy, Detroit Public Schools’ first African-centered program, will move to a location within Durfee School.

The new closures will be: Barsamian, Hancock, Longfellow Annex and Detroit Transition Center East and West. The school district will work with the communities affected at those schools.
Students who currently attend Detroit Transition Center East and West, where facilities are inadequate to meet the needs of students it serves with severe mental and physical challenges, will attend classes at the Drew building, which will receive $5 million in renovations to accommodate them. The building has only one story, which will make navigation easier for physically impaired students. Drew will be moved to Parker.

Bobb stated that the district will work with the communities at two schools that serve expelled students, the Barsamian Preparatory Center and the Hancock Center, to determine potential alternatives to serve those students due to extremely high operating costs per students, as high as $41,000, that far exceeds state reimbursement at the existing schools.

Some of the closures, including Harding and Earhart Middle schools, will be temporary because new schools are being built on the same sites.

More than 30 receiving schools will receive improvements in lighting, fencing, mechanical systems, roofing and security this summer to prepare them for additional students. The district will spend approximately $19 million from Proposal S, a $500.5 million voter-approved bond measure, to improve the learning environments at schools that will be reconfigured.

On the west side of the city, Lessenger Elementary will be reconfigured as the Dixon PK-8 program and the school will receive mechanical upgrades, bathroom renovations and improved lighting. Murphy, Taft and Emerson, which have successful academic programs, will also receive capital improvements to support their grade reconfigurations and new students. On the east side, Spain, Golightly, Duffield and Kettering High School will also see improvements this summer.

The 2011-2012 school closures will be: Duke Ellington, which will become part of the Detroit School of Arts East program in the Beckham buildings. It will serve as a feeder program for DSA High School. Gompers, Maybury and Vetal will close to move into brand new buildings, while Hamilton, which has seen declining enrollment, will be closed and its boundary absorbed by Brown and Carstens.

Among the 2012-2013 closures will be Barton, O.W. Holmes, Logan and Parker, which will close that January and the students moved into brand new schools built, with Barton and Parker students attending the new Mackenzie PK-8 school to be built nearby the former Mackenzie High School and O.W. Holmes and Logan students attending the new Munger PK-8 to be built at the current Chadsey/Munger site. Crockett and Finney High schools will close later that year and move into a new building. Rutherford PK-5, which has declining enrollment, will close that year and its boundary will be absorbed by Bow PK-8 and JR King PK-8.

The Detroit Public Schools Master Facilities Plan:|
– Supports the district’s Academic Plan by expanding the number of PK-8 programs, developing PK-14 campuses that offer Dual Enrollment and College Suites and creates or expands specialized programs for Arts, Communications, Math, Science and Technology
– Reduces 3 million square feet of space and cuts operating costs by $21.3 million in 2010 and ensures lower maintenance costs when newer facilities come on line in the future
– Has the potential to invest more than $1billion throughout the city, with the goal of strengthening each neighborhood by closing outdated, underutilized schools and placing students into modernized or rebuilt structures that facilitate 21st century learning
– Will coincide with the district’s $41 million security plan that will ensure safety and security at every school

Phase I will see the investment of $500.5 million from federal stimulus bonds, starting this summer, while Phase II will require a future investment of $500 million.

 

DPS’ $500.5 million capital improvement project to start on three Detroit Public Schools

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School Rendering

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School Rendering

Detroit-Detroit Public Schools is launching the first three construction and renovation projects as part of the district’s $500.5 million bond program that together total $64.1 million dollars in contracts, and will mean more jobs for Detroit residents and more work for Detroit-based companies.

The DPS School Construction Project, which will build and renovate schools and includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives, are part of the Detroit Public Schools’ three-year capital improvement construction project being funded with $500.5 million federal stimulus dollars following voter approval in November of Proposal S.

Up to 1,375 Detroiters will be hired for the first three school projects.

“Today is an exciting day for Detroit Public Schools, Detroit residents and the City of Detroit,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. “Thanks to voters for passing Proposal S, DPS is about to launch three major construction and renovation projects that will mean state-of-the-art learning facilities for our students that are bound to attract families and improve neighborhoods. And as we promised during our campaign, we are pleased that the bond program is aiding Detroit’s economy by awarding work to Detroit residents and Detroit companies.”

Work at the first three schools, totaling $64.1 million, is set to get underway in June. They are:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, 3200 E. Lafayette, which will be completely rebuilt
  • John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy, 15850 Strathmoor, which will have major renovation
  • Marcus Garvey Academy, 2301 Van Dyke, which will have major renovations

Bobb announced the projects today on the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School campus where a new school will be built.

A new $45.3 million building will replace the existing Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School with a state-of-the-art facility emphasizing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Curriculum. The new building will have a cyber caf

 

DPS Master Facilities Plan to create leaner, more efficient system of schools by closing, renovating and building schools

Five-year plan complements city’s efforts on neighborhood revitalization

Detroit Public Schools will be transformed over the next five years from a district with many under-capacity schools in aging buildings to one in which about 75 percent of all students will attend new or recently renovated schools, under a new Master Facilities Plan released Wednesday.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said the Master Plan creates a leaner, smarter DPS by taking into account citywide demographic trends, school performance, condition of school buildings, operating costs, the new Academic Plan, community partnerships and other factors.

“Most importantly for the residents of the City of Detroit and the parents in the Detroit Public Schools, it invests more than $1 billion in city neighborhoods, including new schools, athletic complexes, health clinics and public spaces,” Bobb said.

 

DPS successfully addresses audit findings; achieves a clean audit

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit Public Schools has made great strides in several key financial areas since March 2, 2009, including reducing the district’s deficit from a projected $305.9 million to $219 million and addressing many of the previous problematic audit findings.

Those and other findings come from the district’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and Annual Single Audit for the year that ended June 30, 2009.

“We are focused on the district’s financial condition like a laser beam and will continue to do whatever is necessary, even if it means midyear cuts based on reductions in state aid, as we reforecast the budget,” said Robert Bobb, DPS’ Emergency Financial Manager. “We will not ever again repeat the actions and inaction that led to this budget being out of control, including seven consecutive years of deficit spending. And, we know that our financial operations are directly linked to providing strong academic programs.”

Detroit Public Schools submitted its fiscal Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and Annual Single Audit for the year that ended June 30, 2009 to the State of Michigan six days earlier than the deadline – on Tuesday, Nov. 10. All Michigan school districts must complete their annual financial audits by Nov. 15. (Since Nov. 15 falls on a Sunday, this year’s deadline is Nov. 16).

Last year, the district did not submit its CAFR and Annual Single Audit to the State until Dec. 10, 2008. In addition, DPS receives an “unqualified” or clean audit opinion from the external auditors – Rehmann Robson — for the fiscal year 2008-09 financial statements.

DPS’ Status Report on Addressing Prior Year Audit Findings

The last year’s audit reported a total of 84 findings or issues. There are two types of findings. Fifty-three (53) of the findings were related to financial reporting and thirty-one (31) were for administering and compliance of federal programs. DPS received nearly $200 million in federal grants in fiscal year 2007-08 and approximately $255 million for fiscal 2008-09. Accordingly, federal grants are critical to the success of the District.

In early March 2009, Bobb established a working group comprised of Ricardo Kisner, Chief Financial Officer; Kevin Clinton, Executive Director of Federal and State Programs; and Christopher Nelson, Chief Information Officer, to develop and implement a comprehensive corrective action plan to eliminate these deficiencies. As a result of the efforts of a number of dedicated DPS employees, the following was achieved for this year’s audit:

Financial Reporting Findings:
Resolved, 47, 89%
Partially Resolved, 4, 8%
Not Resolved, 2, 4%

Federal Program Findings:
Resolved, 17, 55%
Partially Resolved, 7, 23%
Not Resolved, 7, 23%

Total of All Findings:
Resolved, 64, 76%
Partially Resolved, 11, 13%
Not Resolved, 9, 11%
(Note: percentages are rounded)

The following are among key issues that the district has addressed and that are now being implemented:
– Correcting numerous audit findings.
– Implementing a comprehensive corrective action plan to improve internal controls and integrity of financial information.
– Restructuring the Finance Division to recruit, develop, retain, and attract competent staff at all levels.
– Establishing leadership and management development programs to prepare finance staff for new roles in the organization.
– Re-engineering all internal fiscal processes to optimize efficiencies and cost effectiveness.
– Regularly benchmarking with governmental and private sector organizations to adopt and implement best-in-class processes.
– Preparing comprehensive written policies and procedures that cover all aspects of the District’s financial operations.
– Leveraging new technologies to implement a new budgeting and forecasting system that will integrate with the District’s PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning system.
– Establishing an internal capital asset program planning unit within the Office of Budget and expanding the Office of Accounting Fixed Asset Group to better monitor and track the bond program and other assets of the District.
– Partnering with colleges and universities to establish internship programs.
– Establishing the Finance Division’s annual business plan and performance measures that links to the District’s strategic plan and academic plans.

Other areas where DPS has shown marked progress is in reducing overall audit costs and incurring an accumulated general fund deficit significantly less than originally budgeted and forecasted.

Reduction in Audit Costs

DPS spent approximately $1.9 million in professional fees for the prior year audit.

For this year, the total cost of the audit, plus outside accounting assistance, is $1.3 million – a $600,000 or 31.6% reduction. By competitively bidding the audit, providing training and support to DPS finance staff, and adhering to strict timelines and schedules, DPS was able to reduce the cost and the number of days required to complete the audit. In addition, the district received an “unqualified” or clean audit opinion from the external auditors.

Actual Accumulated Deficit Significantly Less Than Originally Anticipated

One of the key purposes of this year’s financial audit is to determine the district’s actual accumulated general fund deficit. In March 2009, Bobb authorized an independent review of DPS’ financial situation in order to forecast the accumulated deficit at June 30, 2009 if no corrective action was taken. At that time, it was estimated that the deficit would balloon to be over $305.9 million by June 30, 2009 [see page 44 of the June 30, 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report]. Bobb took immediate action to reduce personnel; conduct various internal audits to weed out fraud, waste, and abuse; cancelled unnecessary and exorbitant contracts; maximized the use of federal, state, and private grants and donations; and established a new culture of accountability.

According to the report, DPS’ June 30, 2009 financial statements as audited by Rehmann Robson reflects an accumulated general fund deficit at June 30, 2009 of $219.0 million or $86.9 million less than the original estimate of $305.9 million.

“We fully acknowledge that significant work still needs to be done to completely eliminate the deficit over the next three to four years,” Kisner said.

Additional Resource

2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Single Audit Report

 

DPS to hold investigative hearings on questionable real estate transactions

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit Public Schools will hold unprecedented public investigative hearings beginning Thursday, Oct. 22 to probe decision-making into questionable real estate transactions.

Robert Bobb, DPS’ Emergency Financial Manager, will preside over the hearings. Bobb will call witnesses to testify before him under oath.

“It is important to bring closure in the public’s mind to the allegations regarding past real estate transactions of the Detroit Public Schools, wherein large sums of cash were disbursed,” Bobb said.

Hearings will begin at 10 a.m. at the DPS Welcome Center, 3031 West Grand Blvd., classroom 1.
Some of the real estate deals to be probed include the purchase of a condominium in the Fisher Building; lease of space in the Fisher building; and the construction of Cass Technical High School and the Detroit School of Arts. The district will also seek answers on certain long-term leases of school sites and other transactions.

Bobb is calling on anyone with information on past real estate deals to step forward and call the DPS Inspector General hotline at (313) 870-3436.

 

Recent DPS audits, financial reviews save the district nearly $20 million

Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or
Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Detroit Public Schools’ ongoing departmental audits and other financial reviews over the past six months mean millions of dollars in cost savings, including in the areas of healthcare, transportation and overdue vendor payments.

Those include:
* $5.2 million in projected savings after an audit of healthcare eligibility
* $3.6 million in projected savings from reduced taxi cab routes
* $4 million in projected savings by reorganizing and eliminating some traditional yellow bus routes
* $6.3 million in savings from reductions in amounts due to vendors
* $404,490 in reimbursements from Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI after discovery of miscalculated late fees

The audits of healthcare eligibility, the analysis of taxi cab service and other departmental reviews are part of a series of operational audits that Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb ordered to be conducted throughout Detroit Public Schools’ departments to streamline the district’s finances and uncover misspending and wrongdoing.

“Finding cost savings is a critical part of our mission to improve the finances of Detroit Public Schools,” Bobb said. “We cannot afford to lose one cent that should be devoted to the classroom.”

An audit to determine eligibility of healthcare dependents initially showed 411 ineligible people on the rolls, including some who were deceased. The number of ineligible dependents dropped from the rolls has since increased to 1,545. The annual savings is estimated at $5.2 million.

The school system is significantly reducing transportation costs, particularly in the area of taxi cab service for some students, resulting in a projected annual savings of about $3.6 million.

Bobb and his team undertook a review of transportation in the spring of this year looking for improvements in both effectiveness and efficiency.

In the school year 2008-09, the district used taxi cab service along 447 cab routes and serviced 1,155 students at a cost of $4.6 million. In the school year 2009-10, the district is using cab service along 106 routes, servicing 162 students at an estimated cost of $1 million.

Taxi rides are primarily for Special Education students. Many students live in difficult locations for regular buses to reach without requiring a lengthy bus ride to a student’s assigned school. But recognizing it is preferable that Special Education students ride with regular education students on a yellow bus, where possible, the district conducted an analysis of bus routes and was able to accommodate more students on traditional routes.

Additionally, through negotiations, Bobb worked with the four taxi companies that have serviced DPS this summer to reduce the daily rate per taxi ride from $60 to $50.

The district is also reducing transportation costs by increasing the bus tiers from one run to two or three runs. This means one bus runs three trips per morning and per afternoon, driving down the cost per student. The district transportation office estimates a reduction of approximately $4 million in yellow bus costs. That is in addition to savings in taxi costs.

Other financial reviews also have meant large cost savings.

After a recent review of late fees, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI (BCBSM) earlier this year agreed to credit Detroit Public Schools about $404,490 after it was discovered that late fees were miscalculated on healthcare costs.

That amount equals the difference between a 2 percent charge for late fees that was previously assessed versus a 1 percent charge that should’ve been assessed for late fees in some cases since July 1, 2007, based on a new contract.

The error was found through a contract review by DPS’ benefits consulting firm, Southfield-based Aon Consulting. The consulting firm also pointed out that DPS paid about $700,000 in late fees in the past year, an amount Bobb called “unacceptable.” The district is developing new processes to ensure bills are paid on time, he said.

Meanwhile, the district’s accounts payable balances, or past due payment to vendors, have been reduced from $76.7 million to $35.9 million during this six-month period since Bobb came on board.

The Finance Division is still aggressively negotiating discounts with a number of large vendors. Those have resulted in $6.3 million in saving to date.

 

Some DPS schools exceeding enrollment projections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2009
Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb on Tuesday said he has received reports from principals that enrollment is exceeding projections at some schools.

“This is Detroit’s moment,” Bobb said at a press conference at Western International High School. “It is Detroit’s educational community’s moment. And, it is without question Detroit Public Schools’ Moment. And in this moment, and coming out from this time of crisis, we have done big things.”

Bobb spoke of a transformed DPS that includes new leadership, new staff members, restructured schools, high school redesigns, national school turnaround partners, public safety transformations, $148 million in academic stimulus funding, $34 million in summer construction work completed and a service-oriented and streamlined central office.

“It’s a great day in Detroit Public Schools and great things are happening in DPS!” he said. “It appears, at least anecdotally, that some great things are happening with enrollment as well. I want to stress that these are anecdotal stories, and the real numbers are not yet in, but based on reports I have received from principals over the last 72 hours, there are some extraordinary things happening with our enrollments.”

Bobb said the district will know more about district-wide enrollment as the week goes on, but he is encouraged by some preliminary examples:

– At Western and Mumford High School, enrollment surpassed projections by more than 200 students at each site.
– At Crockett High School, the 894 students enrolled exceeds projections by nearly 11 percent and includes 45 students who have enrolled from out of district or from charters.
– At Fisher, where some 900 students have enrolled, the numbers are 160 over projections.
– At Ann Arbor Trail, the school has run out of space for the K-8 students and also has a waiting list of 18 and counting for preschool. The district will install portable classrooms to respond to the enrollment increase.
– Based on over-the- counter enrollments for Cooley High School, the principal has noticed an increase in enrollment from out-of-district students, including students from Clintondale, Plymouth-Canton, Michigan Health Academy, Linden Mckinley in Ohio, Old Redford Academy, Hamtramck, Academy of Oak Park, Cherry Hill, Taylor, Flint Northwestern, Southfield, Crossroads, Detroit Service Learning Academy, University Prep, David Ellis Academy, River Rouge, and ABT Academy, among others.
– Thomas Parker, principal of Osborn Prep, reports several families came in for transfers from the district and were encouraged to remain with DPS. The three children from one such family will now attend Osborn School of Small Schools. The mother loved the options available for 9th graders in a small school setting.
– At Cody’s small schools, the enrollment at each exceeds expectations.
– On Friday, Northwestern High School Principal Belinda Raines enrolled a Nigerian student who was attending school in Switzerland but will now attend school at Northwestern, as well as several students returning from private schools or charters.
– At J.R. King, the school has enrolled 130 new students to the building over the counter during the past 2 weeks. The school has an additional 25 students for Kindergarten and will open a new classroom. Their projection is 1,080, if all students remain at the site.

To assist parents, Bobb said the district will maintain a hotline during this first week of school–313-240-4DPS-to address questions and concerns.

 

Detroit Public Schools Foundation to be launched

After waiting more than seven years for the school district to have a leader in which they had confidence, a group of prominent Detroit attorneys launched today a revived Detroit Public Schools Foundation to support the city’s school children.

The Detroit Public Schools Foundation was formed in 2002 by a group of attorneys who held an interest in improving the conditions for Detroit Public Schools students through outside support and funding. In 2003, it received its IRS determination of tax exempt status and, since that time, has remained current in its paperwork and filings.

After forming, the group made a conscious decision to remain dormant until such time that there existed sufficient confidence in the leadership of DPS that the Foundation would both have a partner to work with and that it could reputably represent to private donors and funders that their support of DPS would be responsibly received, spent, and accounted for, according to Board Chairman Leroy Richie, of counsel with the Detroit law firm of Lewis and Munday.

“As we all know, during the course of these seven years the district has had five permanent or interim administrative leaders; the district’s governance was structurally altered; and a series of conditions led to what the governor and the state superintendent determined to be a financial emergency in the district, resulting in the appointment of an emergency financial manager to lead the schools,” Richie said.

“And while it may seem on one hand to be the most odd time, during a state-declared fiscal emergency, coming as it does on the heels of seven consecutive years of deficit spending on the part of the district, and when decisions about the district’s course are in the hands of an emergency financial manager currently serving a one-year term, a most odd time to step forward to make the Detroit Public Schools Foundation active, we believe, in fact, that it is the right time, in fact the very best time,” The DPS Foundation chairman said.

“We have no doubt, and can represent without any hesitation to donors, that resources this Foundation raises to help Detroit children will be responsibly and professionally handled.”

The Foundation Board acted last week to appoint Chacona Johnson as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Johnson served in a variety of capacities at the University of Michigan for more than 20 years, including Associate Vice President for Development, Senior Counselor to the President, and Chief of Staff to the President.

At U-M, among other duties, Johnson coordinated the University’s leadership gift program, managed a pool of leadership gift prospects through cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities, served as a campaign advisor to schools and campuses, advised the President and coordinated issues among senior officials, participated in communication and policy development, coordinated activities with development volunteers, and planned and directed principal gifts of $2.5 million and above.

She additionally has experience with the Hudson-Webber Foundation, Wayne State University Libraries and New Detroit Inc. Johnson has served on the Boards of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, among a host of other community activities. She is married to Dr. Arthur Johnson.

Additional Foundation Board Members include Gerald Watson and Elliott Hall.
PNC Bank Foundation is among the significant partnerships that the DPS Foundation will launch with.
PNC Bank Foundation is contributing $100,000 towards early childhood education in Detroit Public Schools as part of its Grow Up Great initiative.

“We are dedicated to supporting the communities we serve, especially with our commitment to early childhood education,” said David Boyle, President for Michigan, National City now part of PNC Bank. “With today’s gift, The PNC Foundation becomes a leading sponsor of the DPS Foundation. This is the first grant in our state from Grow Up Great, PNC’s 10-year, $100 million investment in early childhood education.”

Grow Up Great provides the leadership, advocacy, funding, tools and volunteers to help parents, caregivers and communities prepare young children to be successful in school and life. PNC will introduce Grow Up Great in Michigan in the spring of 2010.

 

DPS unveils $500.5 million construction project to modernize buildings, create Centers of Excellence

The Detroit Public Schools on Tuesday unveiled a $500.5 million capital improvement program to rebuild or completely renovate 18 schools as part of the district’s mission to create Centers of Excellence in every school in every neighborhood.

The project, to be completed in 36 months, would take advantage of historic stimulus bond financing under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

The federal stimulus program makes this project possible with no tax increase.

“The opportunity to modernize and secure our buildings, provided through federal stimulus funds, will help us continue the academic transformation taking place in the Detroit Public Schools,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb. Bobb made the announcement at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, which would be torn down and completely rebuilt into a $54.5 million 21st Century learning facility. Ground would be broken on that project in January.

Voters would have an opportunity to consider the $500.5 million capital improvement program through a November ballot measure. The State of Michigan already has reviewed and approved the bond application.

The project is central to the district’s academic vision to modernize school buildings with the most up-to-date technology. It will also support the district’s ongoing high school transformation to create smaller learning communities in schools, increase safety and security and allow the district to standardize the pre-K to grade 8 model.

“By taking advantage of these historic funds, we will be able to create 21st century learning environments for students who are now in dilapidated and outdated schools,” Bobb said. “This construction project will also greatly improve the district’s operational efficiency and general fund solvency and will mean safe, modern schools that are specifically designed to support research-based learning.”

The project also would help stabilize local property tax values by building new and remodeled buildings in communities throughout the city and would generate at least 3,725 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs.

Community meetings will be held after the start of the school year to allow for full input in neighborhoods where schools would be recommended for closure for the following school year.

As an important accountability measure, Bobb will establish an oversight committee that will be in charge of reviewing every aspect of the ongoing construction and funding.

“Because we believe this project is so important to enhancing learning environments for Detroit’s schoolchildren, we want to give voters full confidence in it,” Bobb said. “That means making the process fully transparent and open to review. An oversight committee will ensure that.”

The combination of new schools, closures and renovations will allow a net reduction in overall capacity of the school district of nearly 1 million square feet and more than 10,000 seats through the start of the fall 2013 school term. At that point, the district would operate 19 fewer schools than it presently does.

Annual fixed operating costs would be reduced by approximately $12 million and annual operating efficiencies and avoidance of repair and maintenance costs would be reduced by $2.7 million.

Project totals are $314,875,000 in new construction; $165,180,000 in renovation; and $19,945,000 for decommission and demolition.

The capital program builds upon Detroit Public Schools’ successful 2009 Summer Enhancement Program, a construction project that is an integral part of the District’s Facility Consolidation and Reinvestment Plan. The district invested $32 million in enhancements to 42 schools, which included new lighting, walls, roofing, playscapes, restroom upgrades, safety upgrades with security and signage and heating and cooling repairs and replacements.

The program also directly ties into the district’s ongoing initiatives to take full advantage of stimulus funding for academics, including a $148.4 million reinvestment plan to transform the educational system that was announced in July. That initiative includes programs that result in class size reduction, extended day programs, high priority school partnerships, Netbooks for all DPS students in grades 6-12 as well as their teachers, “Double Dosing” of high school math and ELA instruction, expanded professional development and supplemental learning materials.

About the stimulus program:
* The Federal Government has allocated $246,540,000 of Qualified School Construction Bonds directly to DPS for 2009 and 2010. The residents of Detroit will be asked to cast their vote to take advantage of this opportunity.
* Another stimulus opportunity available only in 2009 and 2010 is Build America Bonds, allowing $254 million of these bonds to be issued as a part of the program and this ballot.

The capital projects include:
Bethune Academy, $ 8,605,811, Renovated Facility
Brightmoor PK-8, $32,180,556, New Facility
Chadsey High School, $41,488,148, New Facility
Cooley High, $8,306,132, Renovated Facility
Denby High School, $24,819,339, Renovated and / or New Facility
Duffield, PK-8 $8,578,108, Renovated Facility
Finney High School, $53,467,428, New Facility
Ford High School, $20,594,893, Renovated and / or New Facility
JR King PK-8, $15,896,250 Renovated Facility
Marcus Garvey PK-8 $11,271,996 Renovated Facility
Mark Twain PK-8 $8,597,281 Renovated Facility
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School $54,469,031 New Facility
Maybury PK-8 $37,406,135 New Facility
McNair PK-8 $21,979,291 New Facility
Mumford High School $54,746,160 New Facility
Munger PK-8 $18,374,295 New Facility
Northwestern High School $26,870,380 Renovated and / or New Facility
Western International High School $28,610,966 Renovated and / or New Facility

 

Healthcare audit saves $2.1 million; audit of Public Safety shows lack of controls, excessive overtime, no weapons inventory

For Immediate Release
August 5, 2009

Contact: Steve Wasko at 313-873-4542; cell 313-212-5636; steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; cell: 313-401-9018; jennifer.mrozowski@detroitk12.org

An audit of Detroit Public Schools’ Office of Public Safety over a two-year period showed a lack of controls over cash management, excessive overtime by some Police and Security Officers and unused or wasted inventory. Meanwhile, an audit of healthcare dependents showed 411 ineligible people on the rolls, including some who were deceased.

The audit of the Office of Public Safety and an audit of healthcare eligibility were the latest in a series of operational audits that Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb ordered to be conducted throughout Detroit Public Schools’ departments to streamline the district’s finances and uncover misspending and wrongdoing.

“We commend the work of our Police and Security Officers in trying to make our schools safer,” Bobb said. “And yet, the audit of the Office of Public Safety showed a lack of controls that could place our children, staff or the citizens of Detroit in harm’s way, including no weapons inventory. That’s unacceptable.”

“Improving the safety in our schools is critical. This audit provides the basis for a reorganization of the operations of the Office of Public Safety to include better controls and cash management procedures and a necessary overhaul of our inventory system,” Bobb said.

Bobb also said the audit of healthcare eligibility produced needed savings in healthcare, which is one of the district’s fastest-growing expenses, and helped rid the rolls of people who should not be receiving costly district-paid healthcare.

“The healthcare audit, where we found 411 ineligible people on the rolls, including some who were deceased, brings an immediate savings of $2.1 million,” Bobb said. “Both audits help us achieve our mission to root out waste, fraud and corruption.”

Police Chief Roderick Grimes, who was appointed chief in June, said his department welcomes the review and is putting new systems in place to ensure better attendance, improved cash management and proper inventory. In addition, the department will make use of equipment that was discovered. Items that cannot be used will be disposed of or sold.

“This audit will help improve operations in the Office of Public Safety, which is a necessary step to ensuring that safety permeates every corner of the district and its schools,” Grimes said.

Among the audit findings:

*Poor attendance: Poor work attendance by Public Safety Officers has resulted in excessive overtime expenses for the department. On average, Police and Security Officers worked one month less than the minimal number of days assigned. That means in some cases, an officer takes 25 vacation and 17 sick leave days, 12 District holidays – and another month off. In addition, for the two-year period of 2008 and 2009, 55 Office of Public Safety (OPS) employees were on Workers Compensation and 11 received workers compensation both years. The number of missed work days results in manpower shortages. The actual amount of overtime in 2007-08 was $790,604 — or $740,604 over the budgeted $50,000 for overtime. Although the overtime expense of $465,369 was much lower in 2008-09, it still exceeded the budgeted amount by over $400,000.
Corrective action: Attendance and overtime is now being monitored.

*Missing or unused equipment: An inventory of OPS stock items found 160 blackberry phones, 97 two-way phones, 1,872 master locks, 132 safety kits, 50 hand-held radios and 13 printers stored at OPS facilities that were not recorded in the inventory records. Some of the items were new and could have been used by other departments or sold.
Corrective action: A plan has been put in place to make use of or sell unused equipment.

*Lack of weapons inventory: OPS did not have a master inventory list for weapons. The audit process included tracking 107 weapons, including two reported stolen and one that is at the Detroit Crime Lab.
Corrective action: A master weapons list now has been created.

*Unused vehicles: OPS did not maintain a vehicle log and personnel could not validate the number of fleet vehicles assigned to the department or where they are located. The audit found that OPS vehicles are located at various locations throughout the city (OPS Headquarters, Grant School, Farnsworth and East and West Terminals). An inventory was taken of all OPS vehicles; 80 vehicles were accounted for. However, 15 were inoperable, including 12 that were considered scrap and 3 with accident damage. The audit found 11 motorcycles that have been unused for 8 to 10 years, with mileage as low as 168. All the vehicles are registered and insured.
Corrective action: An inventory has since been created and a plan put in place to make use of or sell unused equipment and vehicles.

*Lack of cash management controls: A review of OPS’ cash management process for replacement badges found $750 in money orders in the desk drawer of the former Chief of OPS, according to the audit. The money accounted for 30 badges at $25 each, but auditors found no documentation of such activity, and they could not identify where any prior monies collected for replacement badges were deposited in a bank account. The auditors also noted that more than 75 percent of OPS expenditures were paid to three vendors over a three-year period, with more than 60 percent going to one vendor who provided integrated security services on school-based surveillance systems. OPS did not monitor vendor performance and specifically failed to review vendor invoices to ensure services that were billed were actually performed, resulting in overpayment for hours worked in one case.
Corrective action: A review of vendor contracts is under way, vendor performance is being monitored and a new cash management system has been put in place.

*Ineligible dependents: The healthcare audit provided a grace period for employees to remove ineligible dependents from their district-paid insurance. Based on Detroit Public Schools’ per-member per-year cost for 2009 of $4,790, the removal of the 411 ineligible dependents, including some who were deceased, will save the district about $821,000 from now to the end of the calendar year. For 2010, the full year savings, assuming health care inflation of 8 percent, would be about $2.1 million.
Corrective action: Ineligible dependents removed from health care rolls. District will pursue repayment, hereafter, when employees place ineligible dependents on rolls.

 

DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO TRANSFORM FAILING SCHOOLS, REINVENT EDUCATION MODEL

The Emergency Financial Manager today announced an unprecedented redesign strategy that will allow four educational partners with a proven track record of raising student achievement to spearhead an historic transformation of 17 of the district’s lowest-performing high schools.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said that bold action was necessary to reinvent the district’s educational model and build centers of excellence in every school for every child in every neighborhood.

“These schools have been failing our students for too many years,” Bobb said. “We refuse to wait any longer,” he said at Central High School, one of the schools slated for redesign because it has not met federal achievement goals for six years. “Detroit Public Schools students deserve to have every option available to ensure their success.”

“We are confident that this redesign will ensure students have the tools they need to achieve excellence and compete against their peers in the best suburban districts,” he said. “This is what parents want.”

The educational partners overseeing the schools’ redesign are: New York-based Edison Learning, Cincinnati-based EdWorks, New York-based Institute for Student Achievement, and Bellevue, Washington-based Model Secondary Schools Project. These organizations will each have performance-based, multi-year contracts and will be monitored to ensure success.

The historic redesign of the high schools is part of a wider overhaul of 40 of the district’s schools, including every school that did not meet required federal goals, called Adequate Yearly Progress. Schools being redesigned were in Phase 4 or higher of AYP, meaning they did not meet federal goals for five years or more and were federally mandated to be overhauled.

Of the district’s 22 high schools, 17 – about three-fourths of the district’s high schools – will be redesigned with educational partners. These include Cody and Osborn high schools, which launched a planning process last year to create smaller, themed schools.

The schools to be redesigned are:

Central, Crockett, Henry Ford, King, Western, Cooley, Denby, Finney, Kettering, Mumford, Southeastern, Pershing, Detroit Tech, Southwestern, Cody, Northwestern, Osborn

Bobb, along with Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the district’s Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor, have been working with principals to select among several redesign programs. Each of the schools will be supported by a team of professionally-trained adults whose focus will be ensuring students are prepared for 21st Century learning.

“The redesign of our high schools with the purpose to dramatically improve teaching and learning for our students is core to the transformation of the district and takes us closer to ‘Building Centers of Excellence, in Every School, For Every Child, In Every Neighborhood,'” Byrd-Bennett said. “This model is designed to dramatically improve these historically failing schools.”

The educational partners will work with teachers and principals to strengthen and add rigor to the curriculum, align schools with 21st Century learning standards and help transform schools to be high achieving. The new models will be developed in partnership with the staff at each building.

About the partners:

Edison Learning, New York, founded in 1992 as the Edison Project, Edison Learning works to transform schools by using top talent, creating a school culture where students are engaged, having demanding content and customized instruction and establishing management that is achievement-driven. Last school year, Edison served more than 350,000 students in 24 states and the United Kingdom.

EdWorks, Cincinnati, has improved schools and impacted 25,000 students, while training more than 2,000 teachers through a multi-year leadership plan. EdWorks assists in transforming schools into small learning environments, emphasizes team-teaching and personalizes classroom instruction. Its Ohio schools’ graduation rates have improved by more than 30 percent.

Institute for Student Achievement, New York, which is working with 80 small schools and small learning communities that serve about 18,000 students, creates rigorous learning environments and personalized school communities and provides leadership and coaching. An analysis by The National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University shows that more than 70 percent of students in their affiliated schools pass math, English, social studies and science classes.

Model Secondary Schools Project, Bellevue, Washington, works with schools to improve instructional practices and provides assistance and coaching to redesign schools into small learning academies, ninth grade academies and other models. MSSP works mostly with low-achieving urban public schools with high poverty rates, including Cleveland, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Rochester, New York and Boston, Massachusetts.

 

DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS LEADERS MEET IN WASHINGTON, D.C. WITH NATIONAL UNION LEADERSHIP

Washington, D.C. – Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb and Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson today met with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten at AFT Headquarters. Also attending the meeting were DPS Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Michigan AFT President David Hecker, and additional AFT representatives.

Bobb described the meeting as “Setting out a good foundation for a good relationship moving forward, one in which I am totally committed to reforming the central and administrative functions of the district as part of reforming the way we support teachers, in order to create an environment for 21st century teaching and learning.”

Johnson said, “The most important aspect of what took place today was the feeling of collegiality. All of us agree about the importance of working together, not only in reforming the district but transcending the district into one which we can all be proud of. We want to revolutionize public education in Detroit and to do so will take everyone. It is gratifying that the national AFT President is willing to get involved and spearhead the movement.”

A major outcome of today’s meeting is the agreement to hold a Professional Development Workshop in Detroit, planned for May 26, 2009, involving all DFT members. That session would be keynoted by Randi Weingarten.

 

FINANCING WILL ENSURE PAYROLL AND PENSION OBLIGATIONS, AND ADDRESS VENDOR PAYMENTS

Detroit, MI – On May 1, 2009, Robert C. Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager for the Detroit Public Schools, signed a contract on behalf of the District to sell $169,000,000 of state aid notes to the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority (MMBA). The notes are being issued to assist the District in managing its cash flow needs for the next several months, and will allow the District to make payrolls, pay vendors and avoid the need for requesting further advances of state aid from the Michigan Department of Education. The District is scheduled to receive the proceeds of the notes on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. The notes will bear interest at the rate of 4.75% and will mature in January, 2010.

The Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager initiated a process with the Michigan Department of Treasury and MMBA to sell and receive proceeds from a cash flow borrowing, known as the 2009A Bridge Note, through the MMBA. Mr. Bobb now intends to place funds in a “lock box” to ensure that they are available for the purposes of meeting payroll, pension fund and vendor obligations.

“While this particular action does nothing to improve our deficit standing, this is nonetheless an extremely important point in the long process of achieving fiscal stability for Detroit Public Schools. The school district’s recent inability to assure that our employees are compensated for legitimate work completed and our vendors are paid for delivery of approved goods and services, has in many cases had an escalating negative effect on our ability to move forward,” Bobb said. “As an example, the various credit holds that vendors have placed on the schools creates new problems. Even in the case of schools attempting to spend our Federal funding for educational services, principals and educators are blocked from doing so because they are in many cases working with the same vendors who have not been paid for General fund purchases.”

The district continues to work at a fast pace with the Michigan Department of Education and the Department of Treasury to implement a deficit reduction strategy and to restore fiscal stability.

Bobb expressed a great deal of appreciation to the Michigan Department of Education, Superintendent Michael Flanagan, and the Department of Treasury for their assistance in this process.

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NEW DPS FINANCE TEAM APPOINTMENTS INCLUDE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, AUDITOR GENERAL AND INSPECTOR GENERAL

Detroit, MI – Robert C. Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager, Detroit Public Schools, today introduced the new members of the DPS Finance Team.

Bobb announced the appointments of Ricardo A. Kisner, CPA as Chief Financial Officer, John E. Bell, Jr. as Inspector General, and Odell W. Bailey as Auditor General. Bobb noted the more than 93 years of collective experience that the three bring to their positions, and the community and Detroit ties they possess.

“Moving forward, Detroit parents, staff, and community members and leaders should be assured that today we have significantly strengthened our abilities to establish and maintain financial credibility, employ internal controls, assess risk, maintain compliance, and investigate improper or illegal practices,” Bobb commented.

Kisner most recently served as Chief Financial Officer/Deputy Village Manager for the Village of Glenview, Illinois. The Detroit Cass Technical High School graduate previously served as Finance Director/CFO for the City of Daytona Beach, Florida and as Chief Accounting Officer, and Director of Fiscal Operations for the Strategic Management Center (SMC), for the City of Detroit. The SMC served as a best-practice “think tank” for City government, and in his capacity as Director Kisner developed the “New Start Government Model” formulated from activity-based management, lean government, and balanced scorecard methodologies. Kisner holds a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He served on the Governor’s Transition Team for Detroit Public Schools.

New DPS Inspector General Bell holds more than 39 years of law enforcement and investigative experience. He served from 2002 – 2005 as Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Air Marshall Service Detroit Field Office after 32 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where his roles included Special Agent in Charge of all FBI investigative operations in the State of Michigan, including organized crime, drug, foreign counterintelligence, violent crimes, major offenders and white collar crime. He also served as Special Agent in Charge over FBI operations in the State of Indiana, and Chief of the FBI Drug section, overseeing all investigations in the U.S. and abroad. He began his career in 1966 as a Deputy with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department. He is past treasurer of the Alliance for a Safer, Greater Detroit. Bell holds a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University.

The Inspector General role is a new one for DPS, although other national urban districts including Chicago Public Schools, Houston Independent School District, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools have such functions as part of their structure.

“The role of the Inspector General, quite frankly, is to investigate and audit waste, fraud or abuse,” Bobb said. Teams of investigators and auditors will work within this division, and Bobb encouraged staff members and community members to immediately report instances of waste, fraud or abuse to the Inspector General, whose office has established a confidential hotline, 313-870-3436 and email address, inspectorgeneral@detroitk12.org . Bobb has fielded confidential communications since his first week in Detroit on two hotlines that his office maintains, 313-870-3725 and financialmanager@detroitk12.org . He encouraged staff and community members with recommendations for improvements and efficiencies to continue to contact him directly as well.

New DPS Auditor General Bailey served as Interim Auditor General, Deputy Auditor General and Audit Manager for Wayne County government. Prior to that he served as an Evaluator in Charge and Senior Evaluator for the United States Government Accounting Office, evaluating federally funded programs related to education, defense, housing, energy and regulatory compliance of mobile source emissions. He holds a bachelors degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a masters of science in finance from Walsh College. Bailey is a certified internal auditor and certified government financial manager. He is a Detroit Mumford High School graduate.

The Auditor General is the director of the internal audit department which is an independent function with the primary responsibility for assessing the level of risk in district operations and processes and ensuring that the internal control system in place is effective in mitigating such risks. This is achieved through auditing the district’s financial activities, operational programs and compliance with applicable laws and regulations on an ongoing basis.

Bobb is in his 21st day of a one-year appointment by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Last week he issued the first five in a series of Orders to rein in school district spending. He plans to present to the community during the first week of April the extent of the budget deficit and plans for moving forward.

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The appointment of the Emergency Manager is for a period ending June 30, 2011.



We would like to thank those vendors who have agreed to a 25 percent reduction in outstanding invoices which has saved our schools, to date…

$7,400,000.00