DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti Unveils New 3 Year Strategic Plan

Strategic plan to serve as the blueprint for the district’s transformation work.

DETROIT – October 26, 2017 – The Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti announced the unveiling of the Board approved new three-year strategic plan today at a news conference focused on five priorities: outstanding achievement, transformative culture, whole child commitment, exceptional talent and responsible stewardship. The plan includes the District’s new mission, vision, core values and priorities.

“Our strategic plan will guide the District’s work over the next three years to achieve our ultimate goal of providing a high-quality education for every student we serve,” said Superintendent Vitti. “With this plan, we are making a commitment to our families, students, leaders and teachers to improve achievement, transform our culture, champion a whole child approach, build an excellent team to act as responsible stewards of this historic and essential institution.”

The Detroit Board of Education approved the District’s new three-year strategic plan during a board meeting earlier this month.

“I commend Dr. Vitti and his team for refining the board’s concepts, delivering them to the community for feedback and producing our newly adopted mission, vision and values,” said Sonya Mays, Treasurer, Detroit Board of Education.

Feedback used to inform the plan was compiled from several focus groups resulting in the collection of 800 ideas. In eight days, the District hosted 15 meetings comprised of students, families, staff, teachers, and community stakeholders. A consistent message emerged: Every student deserves an excellent education and an opportunity for success in the City of Detroit.

As a result, Superintendent Vitti will focus on five priorities that will serve as guideposts to lead the transformation work.  Each priority is associated with strategies and metrics designed to evaluate progress and hold leadership accountable.

“If we expect our students to be successful, we must deliver quality education at scale – where education is delivered equitably to all students – this includes implementing systems and processes to help guide and develop stronger wraparound services, safety improvements, a commitment to customer service, up-to-date curriculum in each classroom and professional development and support for all teachers and leaders,” said Superintendent Vitti.

According to Derrick Anderson, a DPSCD parent advocate, parents are ready for the change. “Parents, it’s a brand-new day and a brand-new district, come on out and be part of it.”

The District has more than 50,000 students enrolled in 115 schools across metro Detroit, making it the largest public education district in Detroit and Michigan.


Download the strategic plan here.

Application period now open for Detroit College Promise Scholarship

The Detroit Public Schools Foundation will accept applications for the Detroit College Promise beginning Friday, November 17. This scholarship provides a one-time financial scholarship for DPSCD high school students planning to attend a Michigan college or university. Visit dpsfdn.org to apply today!

Requirements and deadlines:

  1. Students must attend a school within the Detroit Public Schools Community District for grades 9-12
  2. Earn an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher
  3. Must submit online the listed requirements by the following deadlines:
    • February 9, 2018: ID and transcript
    • April 20, 2018:
      • A) Scholarship acceptance and Authorization to Release Records form
      • B) Student Aid Report (SAR) after completion of FAFSA
      • C) College/university acceptance letter

*Note: Steps 2 and 3 are the next steps ONLY for students notified by the Detroit College Promise of their acceptance after February 9.

Detroit College Promise Flyer


The science behind salmon in the classroom

For the third year, Munger Elementary-Middle School welcomed the delivery of 140 salmon eggs. The Salmon in the Classroom program, led by Michigan DNR, gives students the opportunity to watch the salmon cycle unfold over a seven-month timeframe. Students are responsible for keeping data on water quality, development of the salmon and maintaining the tank. In May 2018, students will release the salmon into the Clinton River.

“This educational program not only shows students the importance of raising healthy fish, but maintaining the water quality of our Great Lakes,” says Ellen Hoyer, science teacher at Munger.

The Parade Company brings winning student’s design to life during 26th annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

New Float, “The Snowing Mountains,” Inspired by Detroit 7 th Grader to Debut in America’s Thanksgiving Parade Presented by Art Van

DETROIT – (November 15, 2017) – The Parade Company and Skillman Foundation today announced the winner of the 26 th Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Seventh grade student, Yuliana Ortiz, from Clippert Academy, was joined by her family, teachers and school administrators today as she saw her winning design, “The Snowing Mountains,” transform into a larger-than-life float.

The float, which features a snow-covered house on a hill, kids ice skating, snowmen and trees, will be led by Ortiz and her family during America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. The float also includes an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2017 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites.

“We are proud to partner with The Parade Company for another year marked by the inspiring designs and creativity of local Detroit students,” said Tonya Allen, president & CEO of Skillman Foundation. “We were impressed by the amazing submissions by students this year. Yuliana’s designs will be the perfect complement to this year’s parade as it rolls down Woodward Avenue.”

“Skillman Foundation’s dedication to Detroit’s students continues to inspire us year after year,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We are grateful for our continued partnership and are proud to help them bring Yuliana’s vision to life.”

The Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest provides Detroit students, from grades four through eight, an opportunity to design a float to appear in America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Five 2017 honorable mention winners were selected and invited to see their designs on display. The students include:

  • Makiyah Degraffenreid – Fisher Upper Magnet, 7th Grade “Circus of Colors”
  • Kimberly Orozco – Clippert Academy, 7th Grade “Carousel”
  • Khyra Norman – Fisher Upper Magnet, 8th Grade “Thanksgiving is About Giving”
  • Jordan Jones – Weston Preparatory Academy, 6th Grade “Dream Neighborhood”
  • Monica Britt – Bates Academy, 7th Grade “The Neighborhood Zoo”

The theme of the 91 st America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van is “Woodward!! Avenue of Dreams!” The theme celebrates the beauty of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue as well as the completion of the QLine Detroit. Woodward Avenue is the backdrop of this annual iconic parade, which will be broadcast locally on WDIV-TV Local 4 and in more than 190 cities across the country. The Parade Company will make a series of announcements for the 91st year including new float builds and celebrities.

Recognized as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel, America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van will be held on Thursday, November 23. The Parade will be featured on WDIV-TV Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 190 major cities across the country. News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith will host a live pre-parade show from 6 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. CBS Radio will provide live parade coverage hosted by 104.3 WOMC’s Bobby Mitchell and Stacey DuFord (Mornings WOMC) from 10 a.m. – noon. For more information, visit theparade.org.

The Skillman Foundation

Created in 1960, the Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.

About The Parade Company

Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region. The Parade Company is celebrating more than 90 years of Parade tradition in Detroit and is committed to funding, creating and executing the best family events in Michigan. The Parade Company staff, board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit and the region including the Ford Fireworks, Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, and America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Follow The Parade Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Get informed and engaged at Autism Family Night

DPSCD and Centria Autism Services will host Autism Family Night on Friday, November 17 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Durfee Elementary-Middle School. The free event is open to DPSCD families who have a child with autism or are looking for more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Parents, children, siblings and friends are welcome to enjoy a sensory-friendly Santa, bounce house, face painting, Thanksgiving arts and crafts, obstacle courses and more. Parents can get engaged during an informational talk with Deborah Washington, DPSCD ASD Supervisor and pediatrician Dr. Steve Merahn.

Autism Family Night Flyer

Questions? Contact Sarah Jardine at (313) 656-8065 or Matt Blouin at (248) 342-2092

It’s never too early for a Thanksgiving meal!

Start your weekend off with a Thanksgiving buffet prepared by our DPSCD culinary students at Breithaupt and Golightly Career and Technical Centers this Friday. Buffets are open to the public and reservations are encouraged by calling each school. Stop by your closest location on your lunch hour and see how CTC classes are preparing our students for the future.

Breithaupt Buffet:

  • 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • $15 General, $12 Seniors, $6 Children 4-10
  • Reserve your spot by calling (313) 866-9550
  • 9300 Hubbell St., Detroit 48228

Golightly Buffet:

  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • $17 General
  • Reserve your spot by calling (313) 822-8820
  • 900 Dickerson at East Jefferson, Detroit 48215

Welding and roofing and plumbing, oh my!

National Apprenticeship Week, celebrated November 13-19, is a national celebration to offer education, business and labor partners a chance to display their support for apprenticeship. Randolph Career and Technical Center will host the 2nd Annual Apprenticeship Expo from 4 – 7 p.m. for those interested in starting a career in the skilled-trade field. Hands-on exhibits include carpentry, electrical, HVAC, welding, plumbing and more. Parents, students and the community can learn about skilled trade requirements, apprenticeship training programs, Detroit-area projects in need and employment resources.

Contact Renee at (248) 515-1941 with any questions or concerns.

National Apprenticeship Week 2017 Flyer


Christmas video contest to offer $500 prize to creative students

Now is the time for our students to show their festive creativity! The Better Business Bureau invites all DPSCD students to participate in the 12 Scams of Christmas Video Contest by singing or acting out the 12 Scams of Christmas shown in the photo. One winner from each division (grades K-5 and 6-12) will be awarded a $500 cash prize. Videos will be posted to BBB’s Facebook page no later than December 11 and public voting will being immediately through December 15 at 12 p.m. The video with the most “likes” will be deemed the winner. Students may work together as a team for the video and split the grand prize which will be awarded no later than December 19 at the winning team’s school.

Videos and additional questions may be submitted to Amanda Hill at ahill@easternmichiganbbb.org

Teacher hiring continues with two fairs this month

DPSCD will continue its Teacher Recruitment Fairs this month to seek qualified educators in all subjects, with a critical need in elementary/middle, mathematics, science and special education. The fairs will take place on November 16 and November 30 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Ben Carson High School.

As usual, interested candidates are encouraged to apply online at detroitk12.org/employment prior to the fair.

City, DPSCD partnership to provide 9 after-school centers through end of school year

Located within DPSCD schools, centers will be open to all Detroit youth ages 6-13.

City will provide programming including, chess & other board games, athletic activities and homework help.

Detroit youth ages 6-13 can sign up to attend nine after-school recreation centers across the city where they will have access to a range of activities, including chess and other board games, as well as various athletic and educational activities, Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti announced.

The new partnership is an outgrowth of the successful Summer Fun Centers the city and DPSCD opened at 16 schools over the summer.  The after-school centers are free of charge and will be open from 3-6 p.m. every school day through the end of this school year. Each of the city’s seven city council districts will have at least one center.

Here is the list of locations:

School Site Address District
JR King 15850 Strathmoor D1
Gompers Elementary-Middle 14450 Burt Road D1
Pasteur Elementary 19811 Stoepel D2
Mason Elementary 19955 Fenelon D3
Wayne Elementary 10633 Courville D4
Thirkell Elementary 7724 14th St. D5
Priest Elementary 7840 Wagner D6
Mackenzie Elementary-Middle 10147 W. Chicago D7
Gardner Elementary 6528 Mansfield D7

The After-School Rec Centers are available to Detroit children only. Parents must register their children online at www.detroitmi.gov/recreation or they can register in person at any of the nine DPSCD Detroit After School Centers.

“We are committed to providing our students with opportunities that support learning and the development of the whole child,” said Superintendent Vitti. “The opening of these centers helps to insure our students have access to engaging and productive environments outside of school hours, and further demonstrates the City’s commitment to providing safe spaces that promote learning.”

Similar to the Summer Fun Centers, the City of Detroit will provide and pay for recreational programming and a team of Play Leaders to supervise the children.  The nine locations are open to all Detroit children ages 6-13 regardless of whether they attend a public, charter or private school. The cost of the program is approximately $400,000 or about $45,000 per location.

Activities will include:

Self-Directed Time Instructor Led/Assusted Programs Leisure Activities
Card Games Homework Help Storytelling
Connect Four Tournaments Table Games Environmental Education Activities
Pictionary Cultural Games Ice Skating*
Chess/Checkers Gym Games Special Events*
Arts and Crafts Archery* Pistons Games*

“This is another great example of how the city and school district can work together to improve the quality of life for our young people,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Vitti and his team, and the support of City Council, families in Detroit are going to have a new option for their children to have a safe and supportive place to play and learn after school.”


Students learn life lesson through theatre

Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School K-5 students learned an important life lesson during a performance by JET Theatre. In recognition of Bully Prevention Month, “I was Just Kidding” tells the story of three friends and the hurtful things said when we’re “just kidding.” Students learned that their words can unintentionally harm others. They also learned that “I was just joking” does not excuse them from the harm they cause. At the end of the day, the students pledged to refrain from bullying others.

“This was a beneficial lesson to our students because it taught them that teasing and saying ‘just joking’ is a form of bullying,” said Ervin Colston, Technology Specialist at Hutchinson. “People react to words differently based on their past experience. We need to be conscious of that when we are speaking.”