Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes Presents Balanced FY2017 Budget for New Detroit Public Schools Community District

Proposed budget, based on realistic assumptions, presents fresh start for children and families of Detroit

Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes today presented the citizens of Detroit with a proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the new Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD).  It is a balanced budget based on realistic assumptions.  Because all projected expenditures will be paid from expected revenues, the budget does not require any new debt.

“This honest budget will enable the new district to pay its hard-working staff and its vendors when our obligations to them are due, allowing us to regain the public’s trust and attract and retain the best people to work in our schools,” said Judge Rhodes. “While challenges remain, we are on a path to create a sustainable new school district that is poised for long-term success and ready to be governed by an elected school board.”

The proposed budget reflects five major priorities for the new district:

  • Meeting all financial obligations;
  • Balancing the budget in a realistic way;
  • Supporting academic innovation;
  • Improving student safety; and,
  • Improving facilities.

“This budget does more than just meet our current and historical financial obligations,” stated Judge Rhodes. “It also focuses on directing resources toward instruction in our classrooms, because improving academic outcomes is critical to the success of the new district, and makes critical investments in improving the district’s financial accountability and transparency. Chief among these investments is the reinstatement of the Office of Inspector General to ensure that the fraudulent actions of a few individuals do not stain the reputation of the district and its dedicated and committed employees.”

DPSCD is projected to receive $671.6 million in FY17, which includes $25 million in State-provided transition funds as a result of the package of education reform bills that were recently signed by Governor Snyder.

Revenue assumptions guiding this number include an enrollment of 45,511. This is approximately 1.8% lower than the previous year’s enrollment (which declined by a similar number) and signals a continued enrollment stabilization. The revenue assumptions also include an increase of $118 in per-pupil funding from the State of Michigan, as well as a projected $6 million in asset sales.

DPSCD is budgeting to spend $654.3 million in FY17, including $7.7 million of the $25 million in State-provided transition funds. Approximately 75% of the budget is dedicated to instruction and student support. Additional expenditures provide for school operations and maintenance, transportation (including funding for additional bus passes for high school students living beyond 1.5 miles from their assigned school), and technology.

Expenditure assumptions also reflect savings realized through a right-sizing of the district’s Central Office that took effect in January 2016, and that for the third consecutive year there will be no school closures.

The $7.7 million in expenditures from the $25 million in State-provided transition funds will be used as follows: $1.9 million for academic programming enhancements/innovations, $5 million for facilities/maintenance, and $800,000 for improving school safety (including the return of some school-based security personnel).

The remaining $17.3 million of the transition funds will provide a minimum cash balance for FY17, and will also be retained for use in future years. Total investments in each category are projected at $8 million in academic initiatives, $10 million in facilities maintenance and $2 million for safety, and $5 million for minimum cash balance.

The remaining $125 million of the state-provided transition funds will stay with the old district to cover obligations such as vendor payments, and wages for teachers who spread their paycheck out over the entire calendar year, and to bridge the gap between when the District begin to incur expenses (July) and when it receives its first State Aid payment (October).

Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes Presents Balanced FY2017 Budget for New Detroit Public Schools Community District

 

DPS Seniors Receive More Than $164 Million in Student Scholarships and Grants for 2015-16 School Year

More than $75 million of the steadily growing number is fully dedicated to academic subsidies including six prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarships valued at $600,000 each!

With exams and graduation ceremonies complete, Detroit Public Schools is pleased to announce that its 2,592 graduating seniors, have earned $164,518,555 in student scholarships and grants for the 2015-16 school year.

According to the DPS Office of Guidance and Counseling, this amounts to an average of $65,886 per student. The total dollars earned by this year’s graduating class is nearly $50,000 more than that earned by 2014-15 graduates.

Students from across the District spent countless hours researching and applying for opportunities to alleviate some of the financial challenges that often hold many back from perusing a college degree.

Ranking third at Western International High School and earning more than $930,000 in scholarships and grants, Kaitlyn Luszczynski has held a part time job since the age of 14 to make sure she had the means to get to college.

“Ever since I was younger I’ve always dreamed of going to college,” said Luszczynski. “I thought it was the greatest accomplishment in the world and I decided that because it was so expensive I was going to work the hardest that I could and to my highest potential to get to college and pursue my dreams.”

Kaitlyn, who will attend Wayne State University on a full-ride scholarship this fall, credits a large portion of her college success to her high school college counselor. In fact, many students early on begin to visit and explore possible options with their college counselor or transition advisors as they prepare to start applying for their next phase of education.

Dr. Derschaun Sharpley, a college transition advisor at Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine, encourages students to prepare for the scholarship process as early as 9th and 10th grades in order to obtain funds for their futures.

“College doesn’t have to be expensive if you seek out scholarships,” said Sharpley “There are billions of dollars available for higher education, but you must do the work by applying. Students shouldn’t let even one available dollar go unclaimed.”

Among the District’s scholarship and grant totals, six DPS seniors also secured the highly coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship award in which only 19 were selected in total from the state of Michigan.

The highly-regarded Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a full-ride scholarship covering all college expenses including tuition, housing, books and supplies through graduate school to use at any college or university of their choice. The DPS recipients will attend top-ranked colleges and universities, including Michigan State University, Hampton University, Spelman College and the University of Chicago.

The 2016 DPS recipients include:

  • Benjamin Carson High School for Science and Medicine- Mushtary Chowdhury
  • Cass Technical High School- Makaila Jackson and Tre Lee
  • Detroit International Academy for Young Women- Hawa Rahman
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School- Jana Goodwin
  • Renaissance High School- Desiree Smith

“Congratulations to our six -steadfast- successful- seniors who mastered the most competitive scholarship that provides cost-free undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Dr. Barbara K. Smith, Director of DPS’ Office of Guidance and Counseling. “Further, we must acknowledge the eight finalists who were not selected as recipients, but put in many hours to produce compelling and commendable essays. We are extremely proud of all 14!”

According to the GMS program website, this is the largest and most successful minority scholarship program in the country. Thousands of students annually submit their applications in hopes of full-ride scholarships to countless post-secondary institutions.

Mushtary Chowdhury, a senior at Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine, said finding out that she was a Gates recipient meant absolute confidence in her future.

“When my parents pulled out the thick envelope labeled Gates Millennium Scholarship, I didn’t even wait for them to hand it to me. I instantly started jumping up and down shaking the entire house with my excitement,” said Chowdhury. “This scholarship not only allows me to focus on college without the worry of my finances, but also showed me that I am capable of achieving whatever I set my mind to.”

Jana Goodwin, senior class president at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, explains that she has faced a challenging life which included the death of three family members all while completing her sophomore year of high school. But through her determination she continues to succeed.

“Though I suffered and struggled greatly, I’ve persevered and push harder for what I want in life,” said Goodwin. I have dreams of being successful and I surround myself with people who share that same dream.

Goodwin is currently deciding between Spellman College, Hampton University and Michigan State University to pursue a Ph.D. in child psychology.

With the more than $164 million in student scholarships and grants for 2016 graduates, DPS is committed to supporting all families and providing the highest quality public education available to its students.

For more details, visit detroitk12.org/enroll or call 313-240-4DPS (4377).

“I Love DPS” Essay Contest Winners

In support of Detroit Public Schools’ Annual Literacy Fair, the Office of Enrollment invited all DPS students to express their DPS Love in an essay contest! Participants were asked to show their DPS Love by expressing what Detroit Public Schools (or an individual DPS school) means to them!

2016 “I Love DPS” Winners

Academy of the Americas (Winning Essays)
Uriel Hernandez
Berelim Espinoza
Eder Maciel
Moriana Segura
Ricardo Meza
Osvaldo Covarrubias

Cass Technical High School (Winning Essay)
Kalil Whitehead

Chrysler Academy (Winning Essay)
Logan Hrabowski

Davison Elementary-Middle School (Winning Essay)
Ma’Kya Bentley

Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern (Winning Essay)
Duantile Turner

Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School (Winning Essays)
Kamaya Bedell
Deshawn Davis
Aniyah Hutchins
Zaire Fuller
Chaste Humphal
Apollo Andres

Maybury Elementary School (Winning Essay)
Cheysea Torres

Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts (Winning Essay)
Jon’Niyah Lightle

In addition, the selected 18 original essays will be on display at the Detroit Public Library, main branch (first floor, near the Children’s Library) until August 2016.

WXYZ All Star: Jana Goodwin inspires a whole new generation of her peers!

Seniors everywhere are wrapping up high school and preparing for college. And though they all persevered to get their diploma, one Detroit student is inspiring a whole new generation of her peers, through her strength.

This week, our All Star is an incredible 17-year-old from Martin Luther King Jr. High School who is overcoming so many obstacles and now, she has big dreams for the future.

“Humble, humility, sunshine, light, all positivity,” Principal Dr. Deborah Jenkins said to describe student Jana Goodwin… Read the full story!

Cass Tech seniors reap benefits of education provided by DPS

A 34 composite on the ACT and full ride to Harvard, three Gates Millennium finalist, 12 Scholastic Art awards and a major in Medical Illustration and $925,000 in scholarships have been awarded to Cass Tech’s Senior Scholars.

Detroit Public Schools was established in 1842, now in 2016 DPS isn’t nearly the system it was years ago. Even though the district is facing appalling conditions, it is still able to produce future leaders of tomorrow… READ THE FULL STORY!

Written by: Kiryn Swain and Alyson Grigsby, Dialogue Detroit

15 DPS “All A” Students Awarded for Academic Achievements with All-Access Shopping Spree at Office Depot in Oak Park Valued at $15,000

Students from Ben Carson, Cass Tech, DIA, Osborn MST, Renaissance and Western select items such as laptops, tablets, specialty calculators, etc. in preparation for college with individual $1,000 gift cards donated by Office Depot

Office Depot, Inc. awarded 15 DPS “All A” students with $1,000 Office Depot gift cards on Thursday, June 16, to purchase school supplies in preparation for their freshman year of college. The recent graduates are recipients of the 2016 Office Depot and OfficeMax Scholarship program and also DPS Excellence Awards honorees. The students were acknowledged during a celebratory ceremony immediately before they began an in-store shopping spree.

DPS Office Depot and OfficeMax Scholarship recipients from:

Benjamin Carson High School for Science and Medicine

Alexis Barker, University of Michigan
Mushtary Chowdhury, University of Michigan

Cass Technical High School

Rumi Deb, University of Michigan
Ki’ya Fulwood, University of Michigan
Raheida Khalique, University of Michigan

Detroit International Academy for Young Women

Hawa Rahman , College for Creative Studies

Osborn Collegiate Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology

Dayla Reed, Wayne State University

Renaissance High School

Kayla Byrd, University of Michigan
Nadira Chowdhury, University of Michigan
Paige Sims, Michigan State University
Desiree Smith, University of Chicago
Alia Wood, Princeton University

Western International High School

Fabiola Orozco, Eastern Michigan University
Lucero Perez, Wayne State University
Mario Zuniga, University of Michigan

MIKE MORSE LAW FIRM PARTNERS WITH DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO PROVIDE BACKPACKS TO STUDENTS IN GRADES K-8 FOR THE 2016-2017 SCHOOL YEAR

Mike Morse is expanding the backpack program to provide more backpacks and supplies for more students

Today the Mike Morse Law Firm announced a bigger and better partnership with Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to include backpacks filled with school supplies for students from grades K-8. Mike Morse has been working with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation to ensure students are ready for the first day of school.

“Given the hardships many Detroit residents face, it’s important that students have the proper school supplies to begin the year winning,” said Mike Morse, Mike Morse Law Firm. “The disadvantages these students face by going to school without proper supplies can be devastating, affecting their self-worth, self-image, confidence, attitude, behavior and willingness to participate and to learn.”

Last year, the Mike Morse Law Firm provided over 22,000 backpacks full of school supplies to DPS students, grades K-5. The effort met with resounding success, for which the firm garnered a “Spirit of Detroit” award.

“This can be a major game-changer for some students,” said Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent for Detroit Public Schools. “Being able to start the school year with appropriate supplies is a great first step in being well prepared for a successful school year.  On behalf of Detroit Public Schools, I want to thank the Mike Morse Law Firm for choosing to invest in our students in this tangible way so that our K-8 students can start the year with a baseline of school supplies all across the district.”

Approximately 31,500 backpacks will be distributed with supplies this fall. Please watch for more information by visiting detroitk12.org in August.

Morse continues, “Our goal is to increase every child’s chances for academic success by leveling the playing field as much as possible from the outset. Having the proper supplies increases a student’s ability to perform. It provides dignity and confidence. And showing them there are people out there who care, who have their back on this, is huge to them. We’re glad to do more this year by expanding the number of students we serve.”

The Mike Morse Law Firm is Michigan’s largest personal injury firm, handling cases statewide, with their main office in Southfield, Michigan. If you or your company would like to help in the school supplies initiative, visit 855MikeWins.com to learn more.

Detroit Goodfellows Seventh Annual Goodfellow Teacher of the Year Contest Winner is Theresa McCants of Fisher Magnet Lower Academy

The Detroit Goodfellows announced today the winner of the seventh annual Goodfellow Teacher of the Year contest — Theresa McCants, a fourth grade teacher at Detroit Public Schools’ Fisher Magnet Lower Academy!

Detroit Goodfellows board members surprised McCants in her classroom with the news and presented her with a $200 gift card to buy classroom supplies. Additionally, she will be acknowledged at the Detroit Goodfellows Annual Tribute Breakfast this fall.

The Goodfellows Board of Directors selected the winning teacher from nominations by Detroit Public School students in grades 3 through 8 who designated their favorite teachers by answering the question: “Why is your teacher so special?” in 50 words or less.

This year, nominations from two 9-year-old, fourth-grade students at Fisher Magnet Lower Academy, DeAsia Jones and Tyreion Wiggins, were so strong they were both chosen as winners. Each winning entry is below:

“Out of all my teachers the one I admire the most is Ms. McCants.  She is competitive like NBA star Stephen Curry.  She always pushes us to win.  She talks about our great country.  She tells us we are blessed like Barak Obama.  No education is wasted in her class.” – DeAsia Jones

“My favorite teacher is Ms. McCants.  She reminds me of Rosa Parks.  Like Rosa Parks she teaches us to stand our ground.  She makes sure we never give up.  She says, ‘winners make the grade, whiners make excuses!’ She tells me ‘my education is important!’ “– Tyreion Wiggins

McCants has been a teacher with Detroit Public Schools for 30 years and at the Fisher Magnet Lower Academy for 10 years. The fourth grade teacher is a resident of Detroit.

The Detroit Goodfellows sponsors the Goodfellow Teacher of the Year contest to show its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Detroit Public School administrators, teachers and support staff who, each year, work so diligently to identify students in need of its holiday gift packages.  The 102-year-old charity’s mission is to ensure that there is “No Kiddie Without a Christmas.”

“We are so proud of Ms. McCants! Her dedication to her students and her passion for education shine through all that she does,” said DPS Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather. “As a former teacher, I know how much this acknowledgement from her students must mean to her. I want to thank her, and all of our educators for everything that they do each and every day to make a difference in the lives of their students.”

Founded in 1914, the Detroit Goodfellows is the original and oldest Goodfellow organization and is not affiliated with any other Goodfellow group. It also sponsors an emergency dental program for children, awards scholarships through Wayne State University, provides free shoes to children in need and helps send hundreds of needy children to camp each summer.

The Detroit Goodfellows holds a four–star rating from Charity Navigator. As America’s premiere charity evaluator, Charity Navigator provides donors with information to give them confidence in their charitable choices. The four–star rating is the highest rating given by Charity Navigator. To view the Detroit Goodfellows Charity Navigator listing, please visit www.charitynavigator.org and search under Old Newsboys Goodfellow Fund of Detroit.

For more information about the Goodfellow Teacher of the Year contest or the Detroit Goodfellow organization, please contact Sari Klok-Schneider at (586) 775-6139 or via email at sarigoodfellows@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.detroitgoodfellows.org.

Congratulations Elementary-Middle School Track and Baseball Championship Winners!

Detroit Public Schools Middle School Track Championship was held Saturday, June 4 at Renaissance High School. Middle school teams from across the district took the track, but Bunche Preparatory Academy took home the back-to-back championship title for boys and girls! Congratulations athletes and special shout out to Coach Plonka who does a wonderful job at getting his Bunche athletes out to participate!

Participating boys teams included:

  • Bunche Preparatory Academy
  • J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy
  • Thirkell Elementary-Middle
  • John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy
  • Ludington Magnet Middle School

Participating girls teams included:

  • Bunche Preparatory Academy
  • Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School
  • John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy
  • Thirkell Elementary-Middle
  • J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy
  • Burton International Academy
  • Ludington Magnet-Middle School

Also held at Renaissance was the Elementary-Middle School Baseball Championship games! Burton beat Schulze 7-6 for elementary, and FLICS beat Earhart 10-8 for middle school.

Congratulations to the winning teams, Coach Becker (Burton) and Coach Reece (FLICS) for a job well done!

Statement by DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes on Passage of Education Reform Legislation

Below is a statement from DPS Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes on the passage, yesterday, by the Michigan Legislature of education reform legislation.

“The Michigan Legislature has moved forward with the creation of a new, debt-free school district that will be governed by a school board that the people of Detroit will elect. Our leadership, staff, educators, parents, community stakeholders, and the newly elected school board will continue the work necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the new district. We are especially excited about the opportunity to provide more resources for the education of our children, and about offering new academic programs for our students, such as the first public Montessori/Open School program in Detroit, enhanced blended learning at A.L. Holmes Elementary-Middle School, an over-age English Language Learner (Arabic) classroom at Priest Elementary-Middle School, and the Cooke S.T.E.M. Academy in North Rosedale Park. We also look forward to working creatively with the Governor’s Office, the State Superintendent and the Michigan Department of Education to identify the remainder of the critical resources necessary to educate our students.”

DPS Academic Advisory Council to create new long-term academic plan

DPS Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather implements Academic Advisory Council to develop new Academic Plan

More than 100 DPS staff members respond to Interim Superintendent’s call to action to create a data-driven long-term academic plan

Detroit Public Schools Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather today announced the implementation of an Academic Advisory Council that will steer the development of a long-term Academic Plan for DPS students. The council consists of approximately 120 DPS staff members, including the academic division at Central Office, educators, principals, and other school-based staff throughout the District’s 97 schools.

“Our current Academic Plan sunsets June 30, 2016, and we are designing our new vision and plan in a transparent and collaborative manner through the Academic Advisory Council (AAC).  Now is the time to dream big!  Now is the time to consider what we can become, and what we can implement in order to provide a competitive teaching and learning environment,” said Interim Superintendent Meriweather. “Detroit Public Schools has the talent, the dedication and the grit to create a new plan that will chart the course for our next generation of scholars.  This plan will span eight to 10 years, which research shows is the timeframe required to produce change in a large system like DPS.”

Initial planning for the Academic Advisory Council began on April 22, 2016, with Meriweather hosting the Academic Leadership Team (Network Leaders, Curriculum Department, and members of the Accountability Department) for an all-day working session to review current data and discuss the question, “Who do we (DPS) want to be?,” and explore the critical issues that need to be studied as part of the new plan.

Based on feedback from that April meeting, and in multiple sessions held since, it became clear to Interim Superintendent Meriweather that this process needed to be much more inclusive than in previous years. In an effort to recruit as broad a cross-section of people from the District as possible, she included a call to action in her weekly message. She made it a point to say that participation in the AAC is open to any person in DPS.

“Although this process will be more time consuming than past practice,” said Meriweather, “I believe that tapping into the talent and passion that exists in Detroit Public Schools will result in a higher quality product, with more inherent buy-in and support, since the plan will not only be well grounded in the school-based experience, but also will have been vetted by a large group of various stakeholders prior to its release.”

The Academic Advisory Council is comprised of multiple committees that have been charged with collecting research articles on their topic/issue, identifying best practice models from other cities and districts, and then makes recommendations to the entire AAC relative to what should be implemented in DPS. The committees are: school planning (building utilization, expansions, closures), grading schools, culture/climate, promotion, attendance and behavior policies, innovation, literacy, career technical education, wrap-around services, parent and community, capacity building, accountability, curriculum & instruction, and educational programs (afterschool, arts, blended learning).

 

“It’s important that we base our recommendations on a careful review of the data gathered, as well as the needs of our children in order to enable an avenue to develop creative problem solving,” said Meriweather. “Our goal is to create a plan that puts us on a trajectory of success with a keen focus on students first.”

The first working meeting of the Academic Advisory Council took place on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. More than 95 participants shared in a review of data around the educational landscape of Detroit, teaching and learning, and finances before entering into committees for topic-specific discussions.

“There was very positive feedback at the end of the first meeting, as participants described their experience with words such as encouraged, hopeful, and positive,” said Meriweather. “Participants also expressed their excitement about being invited to be actively engaged in this important work, which has not been past practice. I believe transparency is critically important and I am committed to ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard in this process.”

The final Academic Plan will be a result of the recommendations submitted by the AAC committees and the Central Office Academic Team. The District will also seek input and feedback from parents, the community, and other key stakeholders.

The initial work will be posted on our website by June 29, 2016 for public response, and announcing an opportunity for further dialogue and input from external stakeholders.

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New Montessori, more STEAM, Honors, Language Immersion schools and programs planned in Detroit Public Schools

Program innovations selected from those submitted by educators in the second year of the District academic proposal solicitation process

Detroit Public Schools Interim General Superintendent Alycia Meriweather announced today that innovative programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) will expand, and the first public Montessori schools in Detroit will open as a result of proposals selected from 36 school initiatives developed by teams of DPS principals, teachers and  educators.

The dozen innovations announced today include an Arabic Dual Language Immersion and Technology Academy, an expanded Academy of Blended Learning, accelerated academic programs and smaller high school learning communities.

“Detroit Public Schools teachers, principals and educators are not only focused on their ongoing passion to educate Detroit schoolchildren, but on the task of improving education and making the District more competitive by adding programs that will allow us to better meet the current and future needs of our students and families,” said Interim General Superintendent Alycia Meriweather. “We were thrilled with the number of proposals that our educators submitted this year, which is the second year of this solicitation process at DPS. This year, we received proposals that covered programming in a total of 43 DPS schools, which is 44 percent of our school portfolio.”

All of the new initiatives are designed to raise academic achievement, better service children and families, invigorate communities and enhance enrollment. Academic review teams considered the initial letters of intent from educators, and then sought full proposals on 18 of these through a process that began in February. A total of 12 proposals made the cut for implementation.

The new initiatives for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years include:

  • Montessori/Open Schools;
  • Arabic Dual Language Immersion and Technology Academy;
  • Smaller Learning Communities at Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern;
  • Project Lead The Way at Cass Tech High School;
  • Additional STEM Academies (Cooke S.T.E.M. Academy of North Rosedale, ready to go for 2016-17; John R. King STEM and Performing Arts Academy, to begin transformation for 2017-18 school year);
  • Over-Age ELL Classroom at Priest;
  • Accelerated program at Mark Twain;
  • Additional outdoor learning opportunities at Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy;
  • Expanded choice offerings for innovative programs at A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning and Clippert Multicultural Honors Academy
  • Grade extensions will take place at Ronald Brown Academy, which will retain its 7th grade, as well as planned grade level additions at Academy of the Americas High School, A. Philip Randolph Technical High School and Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy;
  • DPS has also confirmed that for the third consecutive year there will be no school closures. All current programs will remain active for the 2016-17 school year.

In many cases, such as the Cooke S.T.E.M. Academy of North Rosedale and the A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning, the new programs and offerings will be ready for this school year. In some cases, such as the Montessori/Open Schools, further review is necessary to establish an opening for 2016-17 or for the following year. That determination will be made no later than the end of May. In all cases, it will be assured that programs will be implemented with fidelity, and that all proper planning is in place for success.

The District will also launch a broader effort to look at STEAM and STEM in a holistic way that supports each of the schools interested in this model.

Earlier initiatives implemented successfully in DPS resulting from the first year of the annual academic proposal solicitation process include: Academy of the Americas and A. Philip Randolph High Schools, Ludington Magnet Middle School Honors Program, International Baccalaureate pathway from FLICS and Renaissance High School, Sampson Webber Leadership Academy’s partnership with Lawrence Technological University, and Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy.

These programs have played a key role in recent District enrollment stabilization, helping to raise enrollment by more than 20 percent at some schools, and assisting with the reversal of enrollment declines by up to 35 percent. Taken together, the new programs announced today, when all fully implemented could result in an additional 638 students enrolled or retained in the District, or a potential for more than $4.8 million in added revenue.

To enroll or receive further information on these innovative new programs, parents should call 313-240-4DPS or go to www.detroitk12.org/enroll. Updates on the new programs will be posted at www.detroitk12.org/schoolinnovations .

 

Program Thumbnails

  • Implement the first two PK-2 Montessori/Open School programs in the City of Detroit to create new educational opportunities for parents who want their children to have opportunities to explore, build, negotiate, and create, and to bring to Detroit Montessori’s rich tradition at raising student success for students in most need.
  • Phase in an Arabic Dual Language Immersion and Technology Academy in partnership with key community and educational providers to raise academic performance, increase enrollment from current and new families and serve as a new magnet for educational and social-support services for families whose predominant home languages are English or Arabic.
  • Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern will adopt the smaller learning community concept for educating students beginning Fall 2016.  Each themed academy would be an integral component of the core of the school campus.  These will include a 9th grade Success Academy, Science Technology Engineering Medicine Academy, and Entrepreneur and Community Leadership Academy, and the Learning Community theme into instruction is expected to occur at all grade levels and within all content areas.
  • Phase in both the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Biological and Computer Science pathways at Cass Technical High School over the next three years. PLTW is a K-12 nationally certified and recognized curriculum and is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. PLTW offers a learning approach in science and mathematics that enables students to think deeply, make sense of information, and be able to solve complex problems.
  • Cooke S.T.E.M. Academy (CSA) of North Rosedale will offer all students one hour of hands-on Mathematics infused Science, Technology or Engineering (Robotics or Small engine) exposure daily. The school will also offer monthly Saturday workshops where teams of students will be immersed in real-world applications of a STEM education by completing labs, building models, preparing presentations, or engaging in environmental projects.
  • The transformation of John R. King (STEM) and Performing Arts Academy into two pathways creates options for both students and parents where the school can bring new, emerging students to the school and assist those who are in need of assistance in the Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
  • Priest Elementary Middle School, along with the support of staff and community, will add a classroom for over-aged English Language Learner (ELL) students that is designed to teach basic skills in English. These students will learn the necessary listening, speaking, reading and writing skills that will allow them to effectively communicate with their English-speaking peers.
  • Mark Twain School for Scholars will offer an Accelerated Scholars Advanced Program (A.S.A.P). The impetus behind designing this program is to meet the needs of students who demonstrate advanced skill in the academic area of reading and math. A.S.A.P. will begin on a small scale and continue to grow over the course of three years.
  • Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy is working with partners to transform three vacant lots in front of the school into a Nativescape. Another outdoor classroom would be created to supplement the school’s rich use of outdoor science learning currently.
  • A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning: A.L. Holmes was one of the first K-8 schools in the nation to implement this model schoolwide. The key components of a station-rotation model of blended learning include: flexible student groups, a teacher-led small group instruction rotation, a technology rotation and an independent/collaborative rotation.
  • Clippert Multicultural Magnet Honors Academy: The Honors School choice for Southwest, consistently ranked in the top 5% achieving schools in the State.

Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather’s Welcome Back Message

Greetings DPS Family,

I want to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back from spring break, and to share some thoughts about how this new season relates to Detroit Public Schools and our important work at hand. Please read below or listen.

The last several years have been extremely challenging for Detroit Public Schools, leaving many of us feeling discouraged and frustrated.  A culture of distrust, fear, and retaliation has been prominent in this District making it very difficult for people to feel good about our working environment.  However, because of our love for our students and a deep desire for them to have what they deserve, we have stayed dedicated to the mission of providing not only instruction, but also multiple other elements of support to our students, parents and each other.  I want to thank each of you for your sincerity and your sacrifice, consistently placing the needs of our students ahead of your own, and withstanding conditions that have been very difficult.  In many ways, I feel that what we have experienced as a district has parallels to the negative traits often affiliated with the winter season.  Usually, Michigan winters are harsh, unforgiving, and seem to last too long.  We all wait with anticipation for spring.

As we observe the current seasonal change, I am struck by the fact that this district needs spring now more than ever, and we have been waiting for a very long time.  We are in need of new growth and life, additional light that provides new perspective, and the time-honored tradition of Spring Cleaning that allows us to sort, retain, and remove.

Alyicia's daffodils for webJust a couple of days ago, the daffodils in my front yard bloomed.  I took a picture and shared it here.  Significant to me is not only the green of the leaves and the yellow of the flowers, but also the contrast between those colors and the dreary brown of the dead leaves left over from the winter.  Interestingly enough, the dead leaves provide compost, nutrients, and insulation for the bulbs hidden underground, but we don’t usually celebrate dead leaves.  There are some DPS traditions and embedded culture that we need to put to rest, and in a very strange way, those decaying experiences have provided a very clear outline of how not to do business, and also allow us to celebrate new beginnings all the more.  There are certainly some things that we have done traditionally that remain beneficial but it is also time for DPS to come from the space that has confined us and move into new ways of thinking and doing business.  I also want us to consider the daffodil as a symbol of a new District culture — a culture of positive and servant leadership, integrity, respect, kindness, and compassion — and to really strive to be what we want our students to see and to become.

The second feature of spring that is important for us to consider is around light.  Once we pass the vernal equinox, the number of minutes of light per day continues to increase.  The additional light allows us to get more done, see things we haven’t seen in recent months, and simply makes us feel better. Additional light is important for DPS because we need to see things we haven’t seen before, and we need to shed light on issues and concerns that have previously been ignored, hidden, or denied. The only way for us to improve is to use the light to our advantage, and have honest dialogue about what should and can be changed, without threat of retaliation or consequence.  Specifically, I want to challenge us to consider what ideas have been abandoned, dismissed or ignored, and placed into the category of “that won’t work here”. These ideas need to be revisited and where appropriate given life. This applies to every level of the organization, from central office to the school level, to the individual classroom.  As a secondary note, just having more light doesn’t automatically cause us to change our perspective, or become honest.  Those are intentional choices.  My second challenge to the DPS family is to be intentional around using the light to call things out that are not correct, to expand our perspective, and to contribute solutions.

Finally, probably one of the most necessary events during this season is Spring Cleaning.  While there may be a few of you reading this who really thrive on this tradition of washing windows, dusting, scrubbing, sorting, and discarding, most of us do not enjoy the process but do appreciate the results.  Detroit Public Schools must do a figurative and literal Spring Cleaning.  We must take an unapologetic approach to examine every angle of our District’s operations; this includes personnel, programs, policies, and personal interactions, both at central office and throughout the district.  Every decision made must be well informed, and be in the best interest of students, staff, and the district as a whole.  I need to be transparent here and say that this Spring Cleaning process, although necessary, will not be easy and may result in decisions that everyone will not like.  However, I am committed to a more inclusive process, so that when major decisions are made, they are not completed in secret by small groups of people.  We need everyone’s help in order to understand the educational ecosystem in Detroit including the assets and liabilities of the current Detroit Public Schools and the creative solutions that may exist with both internal and external partners. My third challenge to the DPS family is to actively participate in the Spring Cleaning process individually within the arenas where you have direct control, to provide honest feedback when asked, and finally to be an active listener when others are sharing their understandings and insights.

In the last few weeks I have received several hundred emails, mostly from current DPS teachers.  The majority of the emails were well wishes, encouragement, and commitments to pray for me and for our district, all of which are much appreciated sentiments.  The other common theme in most emails was around hope; people stating that for the first time in a very long time, they have hope for our District and who we can be in the future.  As the spring season brings hope, it is my intention that we learn some lessons from this natural phenomenon that will provide new life, new perspective, and a time of Spring Cleaning for Detroit Public Schools.  Embracing this process will allow us to become a District that we can collectively be committed to-and proud of-moving forward for the benefit of our students, staff, and this city. I invite each and every one of you to join me on our mission as we usher in a new beginning for Detroit Public Schools. As you know, no one person can do this work alone.  I’m looking forward to working alongside you as we undertake this historical transformation in Detroit Public Schools. Just as the daffodils are transforming my yard’s gloomy space left over by winter, we must do the same for our District, providing both our students and ourselves hope for a bright and successful future.

In gratitude for your faithful service and with hope for a better future,

Alycia Meriweather
Interim Superintendent

There will be an Academic Advisory Council Public Meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School.

Carstens Academy of Aquatic Science at Remus is closed today June 28, 2016 due to a building problem.

There will be an Academic Advisory Council Public Meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School

 

 

Family Farm Day at Drew Farm!

Don’t miss Family Farm Day on Saturday, July 9! The event is 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Drew Farm on DPS’ Charles R. Drew Transition Center campus, 9600 Wyoming (corner of Wyoming and Chicago).

Activities to include:

  • Drew Farm Tour
  • Learn how to plant and harvest your own food
  • Nutrition lesson (make your own smoothies!)
  • Take home fresh Detroit grown produce!
  • Lunch provided!

Please email garden.program@detroitk12.org, or call 313-651-3457 to register.

Ilitch Holdings Announce New Internship Program With Cass Tech

Ilitch Holdings Cass Technical High School recently announced a new internship program where CT students will have the opportunity to work at Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars, Olympia Entertainment and more!

Full story: Ilitch Holdings and Detroit Public Schools’ Cass Technical High School Announce New Internship Program

Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes and State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo to Host Joint Public Meeting

Meeting to provide details on the District’s FY17 budget and an update on recent DPS legislation

Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes and State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo will host a joint public meeting to provide the residents of Detroit with a legislative update, as well as give details on the FY17 budget for the new Detroit Public Schools Community District. Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather will also provide an academic update.

Where:
Renaissance High School
6565 Outer Drive
Detroit, MI 48235

When:
Thursday, June 23, 2016
5:00-7:00 p.m.

Who:
Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes
Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather
State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo
State Representative LaTanya Garrett
State Representative Brian Banks

DAPCEP Excellence at Pasteur Elementary School

Under the leadership of Pasteur Elementary School’s Science Instructional Specialist Tracy King students were able to use science inquiry while conducting scientific investigations in preparation for the 2016 SEFMD (Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit). Students received five gold (1st place ribbons) and five blue (2nd  place ribbons) at this metropolitan science fair.

This accomplishment is monumental because it is rare that students at an elementary level compete in the SEFMD and place at such a high ranking during their first submission to the metropolitan science fair

The educational achievement truly “took a village” teachers assisted students as they conducted primary science investigations while being guided and mentored along the way using the scientific method. The students were instructed on how to take accurate measurements, how to perform numerous trials for their projects and the importance of documenting observations. The students were also guided on how to use empirical data gathered when constructing their science reports.

The 6th grade students participated in the in school DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre College Program) during the 2015-2016 school year at Pasteur and deserve to be recognized for their excellence in academic achievement.

Please allow these notable accomplishments of the students, parents and staff to be a testimony on the crucial importance of continuing STEMM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine) programs such as DAPCEP in the Detroit Public Schools.

Submitted by: Wendell Massey M.S.Ed., Pasteur Elementary School