PSL male athletes meet and greet new Lions head coach at UAW-Ford sportsmanship banquet

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

Detroit Lions new head coach Jim Caldwell was the special guest speaker Wednesday at an athletic banquet titled “Sportsmanship; Developing the Total Athlete” that was hosted by UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles and the UAW National Ford Department, and was presented to an invited audience of coaches and 300 male student-athletes from the Detroit Public School League.

The student athletes came from the PSL’s 18 football-playing high schools but they compete in a range of sports.UAWFORDPSLSPORTSMANSHIP 146


(From left) UAW vice president Jimmy Settles, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin at UAW-Ford sportsmanship banquet for PSL male athletes

Caldwell delivered a powerful message about the importance of discipline  and integrity. He then tested the audience’s attentiveness by quizzing the student-athletes on what he talked about and handed out Lions’ merchandise as prizes for correct answers. He also fielded the youngsters’ questions.


Detroit Free Press article:

DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing also delivered inspirational remarks. Other notables in attendance included former Detroit Lions All-Pro offensive lineman Lomas Brown, former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves, former Northern High, Syracuse and NBA star Derrick Coleman, former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Reggie McKenzie and Detroit Lions defensive lineman Andre Fluellen.


Life Remodeled kicks off major fund-raising campaign for radical make-over of Cody High School grounds, field and classrooms

Nonprofit commits to remodeling one DPS school per summer moving forward

Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Manager Jack Martin joined with nonprofit organization Life Remodeled, as well as dozens of partners, volunteers, donors and students, to kick off an unprecedented fund-raising initiative to radically transform the Cody High School campus by fall.

“Someone recently said to me, ‘Partnership is the new leadership.’  I believe that Life Remodeled and all if its supporters embody this philosophy and are true community leaders,” Martin said. “Given our current financial challenges, this extensive remodeling work could not be undertaken. We can’t thank Life Remodeled enough for their commitment and generosity, and urge anyone interested in helping Detroit Public Schools to join with us in this effort.”

As part of the initiative, Life Remodeled organizers pledged to secure funding and in-kind services to do painting, landscaping, window replacement, roof repair, electrical and plumbing repair, at least one classroom renovation, and installation of a new track and football field at the high school, which is located in northwest Detroit.

“We chose Cody High School for this project for two reasons: need and hope. There may be great need, but there is even more hope – which will be instrumental in sustaining the transformation of the school and the neighborhood,” said Chris Lambert, President of Life Remodeled. “We anticipate having over 10,000 volunteers, so we will undertake a very large-scale effort to remove blight and create beauty, establishing safe and inspirational pathways for kids traveling to and from school.”

Life Remodeled is a non-profit organization with a mission to remodel lives—one neighborhood at a time. That strategy includes remodeling a Detroit Public School each summer in order to create academic and athletic improvements, Lambert said.

The organization also aims to partner with local residents of each area served to remove blight in the surrounding neighborhood, and create safe and inspirational pathways to the school with the goal of sustaining and building up a neighborhood that radiates hope to the rest of the city. For the 2013 Life Remodeled Project, the organization exceeded its goals and built a brand new home, boarded up 253 dangerous houses, beautified 65 blocks and renovated 36 homes in 6 days, with help from over 5200 volunteers.

“We couldn’t be more thankful for this make-over project and the investment that these wonderful Life Remodeled partners and other organizations have committed to Cody High School,” said Michelle Parker, principal of the Medicine and Community Health Academy at Cody.

“In the past three years, Cody has undergone a true make-over of its curriculum and now houses three top-notch academic programs in the building,” she said. “With that investment, we are making great strides in our academics and graduation rate, but now it’s time to have a building that matches our high expectations and supports our rigorous curriculum.”

“We believe 2014 will be bigger and better, but we need the support of the entire metro Detroit community,” Lambert said.

In addition, Life Remodeled plans to renovate up to 20 student homes in the surrounding area and demolish at least 10 burned houses. Nearby Mann and Henderson elementary schools are also scheduled to receive light “facelift” projects.

“We are honored to be serving with Detroit Public Schools, the Governor’s Office and the City of Detroit,” Lambert said. “All of these entities – working together – are excited about Life Remodeled and the leadership role we are taking to make a difference in a deserving neighborhood.”

The project is expected to kick into high gear August 11- 17, culminating in a celebration on August 17. Life Remodeled is seeking people who are interested in being leaders, as well as donations of materials and labor.

Go to for more information and to see a video recap of the Detroit 2013 Project.

Documentary trailer:

Kroger “I Can Make History” contest winners

Renaissance High School students placed at the 2014 Kroger I Can Make History contest Saturday, April 5. Sophomore Gabrielle Jackson won second place in the music category and freshman ReJaylen Bradley placed second in the essay category. Jackson and Bradley were competing amongst 1,900 entries in divisions including poetry, music, essay and art.

Participating students had the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes totaling more than $71,000. Both Renaissance students won a family pack of four tickets to the Charles H. Wright African American Museum and a $50 gift card to the reception at the Henry Ford Lovette Hall for an award luncheon.

TODAY: DPS kicks off Two-Day Technology Fair

Hundreds of DPS students to attend today’s event, featuring student-led technology and robotics demonstrations; “Promethean Bus” will be onsite for students to enjoy interactive Promethean boards with Pete Jones, Promethean National Education Consultant

Detroit Public Schools will host its 2nd Annual Two-Day Technology Fair April 15 and 16, 2014 at Randolph Career and Technical Center to showcase the district’s vast technology offerings. Today, April 15 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., has been designated as “Student Field Trip Day,” and April 16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is open to the community.

This event is presented by the DPS I.T. Division as part of Technology Month and will feature a display of student robotics and student-led technology demonstrations by Gompers, Bennett, Bates and FLICS; interactive technology stations for attendees of all ages; a student interactive room; video presentations; a heavy-duty construction equipment simulator and many more exciting activities.

All DPS staff, students, parents, community members, and business partners are invited to attend. Technology giveaways and prizes will be provided each day for students and adults.

Time: 11 a.m. – Noon
Date: TODAY-Tuesday, April 15, 2014 “Student Field Trip Day
Location: Randolph Career and Technical Center, 17101 Hubbell St.
Who: Hundreds of students of all ages will attend the Technology Fair on April 15 as part of a district-wide “Student Field Trip Day.” Paws from the Detroit Tigers will also attend today’s event from 11 a.m. – Noon for students to take photos with the mascot. The “Promethean Bus” will be onsite for students to enjoy interactive Promethean boards and more. Pete Jones, Promethean National Education Consultant, will also be onsite.

Joining DPS in its mission to educate students to perform at high academic levels, Promethean recently invested $40,000 in interactive technology and professional development to three DPS elementary schools: Chrysler, Bagley and Cooke.

The donation is part of an annual grant program in partnership with the National Alliance for Black School Educators (NABSE) to close the achievement gap through modernizing classrooms with the goal of making them more interactive and accessible for all students. The Promethean donation included: ActivBoard 587 Mobile System – (6) interactive whiteboard systems; ActivTable – (6) multi-user collaborative touch displays; and ActivExpression – (6) 32 set student response devices.

The Technology Fair will also feature conference sessions presented by Gaggle and Absolute. Participating vendors include: HP, Toshiba, SMART, Gaggle, Promethean, Epson, Office Depot, Microsoft, Comcast, CDW, NBC Learn and more.

Throughout the month of April 2014, the DPS Division of Technology and Information Services is hosting the 2nd Annual Spring into Technology: April is Technology Month initiative. As part of Technology Month, free weekly Parent Computer Training Workshops were offered with both English and Spanish courses. The dates were: April 2, 3, 9, 10 with morning and afternoon sessions. April 29 is the final course date.  The courses were free and registration was required.

Through the Parent Computer Training Workshops, parents learned essential computer skills. Class 1: Intro to PC included turning on a PC; logging on/off; launching programs; introduction to Microsoft Office tools such as Word and Excel; navigating through the internet; email basics; internet safety; and more. Class 2: Advanced PC Concepts included creating a resume with Word; creating a budget with Excel; backup and recovery; advanced email; extended internet safety; downloading; and more.

The goal of Technology Month is to empower Detroit Public Schools staff, students, parents and community members with facts and tools that will improve their understanding and increase interaction with technology information and devices used to protect and educate the children in the City of Detroit.

Final Course Date and Location:
April 29
Eastside Adult Education Building, 13840 Lappin, Detroit, MI 48205

Class Sessions                       AM ONLY                                  
Class 1                                      10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Class 2                                      11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Technology across DPS
Promoting educational excellence not only during school hours, but also at home, all students in grades 6-12 have access to Netbook computers, and students in grades 8-12 enjoy take-home Netbooks. Every teacher also has a Netbook for classroom and home use, and new Apple MacBooks, iMac computers, iPad tablets and Smart Boards are available in most classrooms.

Drew Transition Center, Keidan, Mason and Western are closed Tuesday, April 15 due to a City of Detroit Public Lighting Department power outage.

2014 African American Pacesetters contest winners

KarLee Graves, a third-grader at Marcus Garvey Academy, and Jose Pelcastre-Herman, a fourth-grader at Bennett Elementary will receive prizes for winning the 2014 African American World History Pacesetters contest. Graves will receive 20 new books and a stuffed animal as her reading buddy and Pelcastre-Herman will receive a Kindle eReader.

The purpose of this activity is to increase and assess students’ knowledge of the contributions made by African American pacesetters through the reading of biographies, autobiographies and African American Literature. The outcome will be students’ increased knowledge of African American contributions to the world and improved reading comprehension of informational text and narrative text.

School of the Week: Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School

It takes a team, and there are many, to support the educational mission at Greenfield Union

Teamwork. Community. Family.

They come in many forms.

At Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School, there’s the teachers and staff who continually go the extra mile, such as the middle school teachers (known as the ‘Mighty Middles’) who came in during a recent break week to paint every locker in the historic wing of classrooms, changing them from a peeling orange to calming blue-matching the blue paint they applied to every classroom door, along with new red “I’m In” ribbons.

There’s the leadership team comprised of Principal Beverly Campbell, Academic Engagement Administrator Geraldine Chestnut, Science Instructional Specialist Rudaina Kainaya and Special Education Lead Teacher Anna Knott, who provide vision and direction to a family of teachers who are attracted to the learning community which they seem to agree they’ll not soon leave.

And there’s the community, both the immediate community and supportive partners. Campbell and her team are just as comfortable stepping outside, visiting the homes and walking the streets or assisting students crossing E. Seven Mile Rd. as they are welcoming the 20 or more parent, church and foster grandparent volunteers who show up for active duty as tutors, classroom aides and helpers each day.

That community, including neighbors directly across the street, look out for Greenfield Union’s students, families and teachers as any strong block club would do, reporting any unusual activity and during one of the winter’s many snowstorms keeping the street clear to ensure no one got stuck in a rut or a driveway.

Every Day Community

“We are a family of high-quality teachers and staff. We can walk the community because we know the community,” Campbell says. “They receive us because we’re always in the community.”

The families, community and Greenfield Union teams come together most often to raise academic achievement, provide for student and family needs, and ensure a safe and nurturing learning campus. One of the results has been an upward enrollment trend for two years after some significant declines over time. Greenfield Union has become a renewed catalyst for families to remain in the immediate neighborhood even when moving or upgrading.

The school actively engages the organization that is developing new homes in the community and the efforts to remove blight, and this summer will plant an Art in the Garden project in conjunction with a farmer’s market opening across the street from the school. That project will include student work, partnerships with Michigan State University, scholarships, and healthy foods for local residents.

“You see people coming in every day, all day,” says Instructional Specialist Kainaya. “It’s not once in a blue moon; it’s every day.”

Professional Learning Communities

The Mighty Middle Teachers are organized not just around locker painting but as a Professional Learning Community Team. The same is evident in the curriculum, hallway bulletin board themes, and instructional approaches to Differentiated Instruction in the classrooms and hallways of the newer elementary school on the dual building, well-organized and tidy campus.

This adds to the magnetic appeal for both older and newer teachers. Special Ed Lead Teacher Knott says, “Once the teachers get here, they don’t ever want to leave.”

Pre-K ECDD teacher Cynthia Nicholas is a relative newcomer to the staff who started in 2012 after 14 years as a teacher and substitute elsewhere. Now she drives the 70 mile trek each school day from her home in Byron, MI, often staying late, and doesn’t envision ever working anywhere else. “You want to come to work because it’s fun,” she says.

“I’m not here for the job. It’s a career,” says Nicholas. “When you go to school for so long for teaching, it’s got to be some place you want to be. We’re all here for the same reason.”

Second year Greenfield Union teacher Nicholas’ sentiments are shared by 3rd grade instructor Laucetta Edwards, who has taught at the school for more than 30 years. On Thursday afternoon last week her classroom mirrored others, with some students working in groups, others independently, one reading a book with a headphone and several others utilizing a bank of computers. In other classrooms where teachers were engaging in direct instruction, students were eager to give answers but sat quietly and intently as one of their peers spoke.

The Broader World

Campbell says there’s a conscious effort to expose the students to the world around them. The school has a robust field trip schedule, with 15 more trips planned before the end of this school year. The sites visited include traditional local favorites but also more unusual and distant locations such as the Toledo Zoo and the Spring Valley Trout Farm.

Even for the local trips, it’s an unbeatable opportunity for the children, most often their first such outing. Kainaya says that after a group of 76 students recently returned from the Detroit Institute of Arts, she polled them and found that for 74 this was their first visit to the museum.

AEA Chestnut says the Trout Farm visit was planned because most of the students never go fishing. Staff work hard to ensure that all students can participate in such opportunities.

Tutors, volunteers by the dozens

St. James Episcopal Church tutor Barbara Small has been coming each week to Greenfield Union as part of a team of 25 volunteers from the church who assist Kindergarten through 3rd graders with reading and math and also help to ensure that holidays are filled with clothing and baskets.

These volunteers and others are in virtually every classroom, hallway and corner. For foster grandparent Anna Garcias, who has tutored for 14 years at the school “because I love it. It gives us a chance to share knowledge and love with the kids.”

Parents who come up to the school can gather in the Parent Corner in the school’s main lobby, with comfortable furniture and posted school information, as well as home energy facts,

Student- and Teacher-of-the-Month features, and Marzano’s educational theory. It’s all part of the educational-community environment that has grown and flourished under Principal Campbell’s team.

Detroit Public Schools 2nd Annual district-wide Mathematics Bee a huge Success

Saturday, April 5, 2014 marked the 2nd Annual Mathematics Bee for Detroit Public Schools students held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School. The Mathematics Bee was organized to instill and encourage a love for mathematics to aspiring mathematics scholars. This event allowed for two divisions of competing students: 1st – 2nd graders and 3rd – 5th graders. Fifty schools participated in the district-wide Mathematics Bee. There would be three winners from each division and along with bragging rights; the first place winner received a trophy as well as having a trophy presented to their home school to display in their trophy case.

The bee was sponsored by the Office of Mathematics Education led by Executive Director, Irene Nordé, Ph.D. Dr. Nordé indicated to all students on stage that, “You are already winners.”  Parents applauded and gave a huge shout-out to their children telling them how proud they were of them prior to the start of the competition.

The morning division of competitors began with approximately seventy (70) 1st – 2nd graders.  There were tense moments in the audience as each child was given 6 seconds, 4 seconds, and then 2 seconds to complete an addition or subtraction problem.  A final round included two-step addition/subtraction problems, example: 6 + 9 – 2. They were able to read the problem from a projection board as well as hear the moderator verbally give them the problem. A panel of three judges determined if an answer was valid or invalid based on the ring of the buzzer.  Several students answered on the ring and were allowed to continue to the next round. By round 4, there remained only two competitors, 2nd grader Magaly Gutierrez and 2nd grader Kristopher Wheeler.

The afternoon division was held in the same fashion with approximately 80 students for grades 3rd – 5th.  First students answered one-step multiplication or division problems.  Each was given 5 seconds, 3 seconds, and then 2 seconds to respond. Round 4 mathematics problems were slightly more difficult as they were two-step multiplication/division problems, example: 9 x 8 x 2. There was an initial 4-second time limit with many students leaving the stage. Finally, the Championship Round consisted of 5th graders Mohammad Muntakim and Jaelin Collins. 

Parents, students, educators and other staff all enjoyed the event. Although most participants would walk away with a participation certificate, the most important benefit was the exposure. The first, second and third place winners went home with trophies. The first place winner’s school was also awarded a trophy. Parents and staff indicated that they were very proud and happy that DPS has a district-wide Mathematics Bee.

Morning Bee
1st Place – Magaly Gutierrez
2nd Place – Kristopher Wheeler
3rd Place – Ricky Owens

Afternoon Bee
1st Place – Mohammad Muntakim
2nd Place – Jaelin Collins
3rd Place – Yasin Ahmed

 - Story by: Irene Nordé, Executive Director, DPS Office of Mathematics Education

–Photos by: Harold Harris

UPDATE: Clippert, Charles Wright, Emerson, Ludington, Blackwell, Western, Neinas, Maybury, Drew Transition Center and Mason will have a delayed closure today Monday, Apr. 14 due to a City of Detroit Public Lighting District Power Outage.

As part of second annual “Green Weeks in DPS,” the district announces planned enhancements at 10 schools through energy-efficient equipment, better lighting, new thermal comfort systems

DPS and partners will also hold dozens of Green Living parent workshops, unveil a new Healthy Recipes Cookbook and challenge staff and students to demonstrate healthy living and green lifestyles through a variety of contests

As part of the second annual “Green Weeks” in Detroit Public Schools, the district today is announcing that it is utilizing $150,000 of up to $1.8 million in energy tax credits to plan and design energy efficiency projects at 10 schools. This will in turn help reduce operating costs at those buildings and vastly improve the learning environments for thousands of students through superior lighting, improved thermal comfort and better air quality. Additional schools will be targeted for energy efficiency assessments and upgrades with the remaining tax credits.

The projects will include swapping of incandescent and florescent lighting with LED lighting and replacing of older, inefficient boilers with modern, efficient digitally-controlled equipment.

“These tax credits translate into real dollars that partnering companies are using to design high-quality, sustainable educational environments for our students. Building upgrades will result in lower annual operating costs and environmental impacts. Upgrades will include new thermal comfort systems, better indoor air quality equipment, energy-efficient lighting and more effective control systems that create an academic environment conducive to student teaching and learning,” said Roderick Brown, Chief Strategy Officer and former Executive Director for the 2009 Bond Project.

As a tax-exempt entity, DPS can allocate credits and rebates to design and construction firms involved in the 1994 and 2009 bond program for consideration to offset future professional fees and costs related to capital improvements. DPS is eligible for up to $1.8 million in tax credits and energy rebates as part of the IRS Section 179D and other efficiency improvement programs for capital improvements made between 2005 and 2013.

The schools expected to receive energy-efficiency improvements are Bates Academy, Bow Elementary-Middle School, Burton International Academy, Carstens Elementary-Middle School, Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Harms Elementary School, Mason Elementary-Middle School, Nichols Elementary-Middle School, Pulaski Elementary-Middle School, and Spain Elementary-Middle School.

Today’s announcement of the energy tax credits initiative is among a host of events occurring during Green Weeks at DPS: April 14 – April 25.  This year’s Green Weeks highlights include:

  • The first-ever Rainbow Plate Challenge – This initiative by the Office of School Nutrition and the Office of Science challenges students and staff to eat healthy fruits and vegetables representing all colors of the rainbow.
  • The first-ever DPS Healthy Recipe Book – The Office of School Nutrition will release a cookbook of healthy recipes compiled by 50 DPS students and staff.
  • Green Weeks Photo Contest – Staff and students will be asked to submit photos of themselves “going green” and compete for prizes by submitting them to the DPS Go Green Team and on Facebook.
  • Green Parent Workshops – Hosted at the Parent Resource Centers in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Office of Science and the Office of Energy Management, a variety of partners and agencies will offer an array of topics including Home Energy Savings; Recycling and Composting; and Healthy Cooking. Parents will be able to participate in make-and-take activities with their children.
    • Green Living Science will host “Fun Recycling Activities!” with make-and-takes that include T-Shirt Bags, Bird Feeders, and Plarn, a type of yarn made from recycled materials.
    • Greening of Detroit will host “Taste the Rainbow: Food Sampling & Fun” with make-and-takes such as a Rainbow Plate, Recipe Cards, and a Rainbow Smoothie.
    • 2nd Attention Strategies will host “Cool Composting & Cooking!” with make-and-takes that include how to build a Solar Cooker to use at home, how to create an Indoor Garden and how to build an Energy Savings Device.
    • EcoWorks and THAW are partnering for an “Energy Saving Workshop.” EcoWorks will teach low and no-cost ways to lower a home energy bill and provide free materials to help participants save energy at home. THAW will be available for billing assistance.
    • DPS Go Green Challenge In conjunction with the DPS Office of Energy and Sustainability and partnering agency EcoWorks, schools again will participate in Detroit Public Schools’ (DPS) “Go Green” Challenge, which was established in 2012 as a call to action for all schools in the district to become more green and sustainable.  The DPS Go Green Challenge focuses on four areas of impact: energy and water conservation; recycling and resource management; gardening and nutrition; and innovation.
      • Schools again are engaging in DPS Go Green Projects and Contests – and creating ways to celebrate going green at each school.
      • Last school year, DPS Go Green schools saved $395,000 in energy costs – earning those 34 schools $30,000 in incentive awards.
      • Adding to “Green” success, 23 schools and 10,000 students also started recycling, and 17 energy-saving parent workshops were held.  In addition, DPS schools completed over 100 green projects at schools – from planting gardens, to energy audits, and many more.
      • This year schools have already completed over 200 DPS Go Green Projects.

Green Weeks activities will contribute to the DPS Go Green Challenge which last year saved the district $390,000 in utility costs through conservation and efficiency.  Results of the challenge will be celebrated at the DPS Go Green Challenge Award Ceremony, Wednesday, May 21, when the district will be awarding $25,000 in incentive prizes to the leaders in the energy and water savings, recycling, and healthy eating challenges.

DPS also is demonstrating its commitment to quality, healthy and sustainable learning environments through its ongoing LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification pursuits as part of the 2009 Bond Program.  According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.


DPS Projects Certified to date:

Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Addition             Certified Gold

Gompers Elementary-Middle School                         Certified Silver

Earhart Elementary-Middle School                            Certified Silver


DPS Projects in Process of Certification:

East English Village Prep Academy                                        Final Application – Anticipated Gold

Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School                                   Final Application – Anticipated Silver

Munger Elementary-Middle School                           Final Review – Anticipated Gold

Diann Banks-Williamson Education Center                Preliminary Application – Anticipated Gold