DPSCD restores teacher pay and recognizes years of experience after Financial Review Committee approves the Letter of Agreement

DPSCD can now retain and competitively attract certified teachers who will receive equitable pay and begin to reduce large class sizes, transforming students’ learning experience

DETROIT – May 11, 2018 – Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced the restoration of teacher pay after the Financial Review Committee (FRC) approved a Letter of Agreement (LOA) made with the District, the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) and the American Federation of Teachers Local Unit 231. The agreement provides a one-time bonus of $1,373.60 for the 2018-2019 school year to more than 2,000 top step teachers – as well as the District’s crediting of internal and external teaching service to current and future teachers, and the repayment of the Termination Incentive Plan (TIP) funds.

The recommendation was approved by the DPSCD Board and the FRC, following their approval of the District’s 2018-2019 budget of $732 million. Previously, the District was restricted to recognizing two years of experience, which limited its ability to recruit teachers. Now, the District can offer competitive salaries and recognize outside experience, enabling DPSCD to be a competing option for certified teachers who are currently considering suburban school districts.

“This is unquestionably one of the longest steps we have taken toward rebuilding the District,” said Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD superintendent. “It simultaneously moves us closer to making teachers whole after Emergency Management while also having a sustainable impact on our children by limiting vacancies and reducing class size.”

“I am pleased about today’s Financial Review Commission approval of the District’s plan to better compensate educators who have endured years of salary cuts and step freezes,” said Ivy Bailey, Detroit Federation of Teachers President. “This effort should help to retain current teachers, recruit more, and reduce class size—a major concern of DFT members. We’ve always stated what’s best for educators is best for students. Many challenges and concerns remain but this is a step in the right direction.”

On July 27, 2017, the DFT ratified a new contract agreement with the District benefiting approximately 3,900 teachers and other school-related personnel. Since its adoption, the District saw a decrease in teacher vacancies – which were approximately 275 last year, and are currently 190 – while the District added 250 additional classrooms with the return of the Education Achievement Authority schools.

“As a school board and leadership team, we understand to reach our goals and realize our vision, we need to act boldly and strategically,” said Iris Taylor, DPSCD board president. “Dr. Vitti has problem-solved and developed trust with our teachers and DFT to strategically move our budget to address the Board’s priorities. We are now positioned to be successful by attracting and retaining employees needed to do this urban public education reform work.”

The Importance of School Nurses at DPSCD

The administration of medication by registered nurses in a school setting is a service that is provided to promote wellness, decrease absenteeism and remove a barrier to learning.   When there is a need for one of our students to receive medication in school, safe and proper administration is essential. There are currently 18 Registered Nurses employed by Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) who are responsible for the delivery of School Health Services in all of our schools.

Many of our students need medication during school hours.  Medication includes both prescription and non-prescription medications taken by mouth, taken by inhaler, are inject able (ie: auto-inject epinephrine, insulin and glucagon), applied as drops to the eye, nose and ear or applied to the skin.

During the 2016-2017 the district’s outreach nurses saw the need to improve on the way that School Health Services training was being delivered to DPSCD employees.  The decision was made to elevate our current use of computer technology in order to make training more accessible to more people.   The outreach nurses used training resources from American Diabetes Association, Epilepsy Foundation, Michigan School Nurses Association and Mylan Incorporated. The nurses partnered with DPSCD IT Department, led by Jefferson Nichols to develop online training modules. A video was filmed and edited to demonstrate The State of Michigan’s Medication Policy, with the help of DSA Teacher Mr. Clinton Chico and students from Detroit School of Arts. The students provided assistance in front and behind the camera. Mr. Chico provided the voice-over on the video and a portion of the training modules.

The health training modules include:  Medication Administration, Asthma, Food Allergies, Seizures and Diabetes. The training consists of two parts:  online courses (6 hours) with a quiz that requires an 80 percent pass rate and a hands on skill validation check-off that is required for completion of each course.

Since the roll out of the training in the Fall of 2017, nearly 600 hands on skill validation have been conducted and this is thanks to the hard work of the following DPSCD Nurses, Training Team Leader Krystal Turner, Lucia Snell, Sharon Black-Johnson, Cawhana Williams, Janice Wedlow, Glori Edge, Letrice Nash, Malvina Harris, Donna Castone and Felecia Foster-Gibson.   None of this would have been accomplished without the support and leadership of Ms. Pamela Joy, Director of Nursing.  It is our goal, in the near future to add to the list of health courses that DPSCD staff can access.

DPSCD is proud of its registered nurses for educating our staff and community on health and safety concerns.

Thank you for all the work you do!

Cody students and staff travel to Europe for a trip of a lifetime

Students and staff from Medicine and Community Health Academy at Cody traveled to London and Paris to experience the sights, sounds, tastes, and history of the wonderful cities. While on the trip, the teachers tied classroom learnings to their visit. In London students visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Parliament, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye.

After their learning about the rich history in London, the students then traveled to Paris via Eurostar to experience the French culture they learned in their history classes.

While in Paris, students visited the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa and other original pieces of created artwork. They also visited Notre Dame Cathedral and walked the many stairs to reach the Bell Towers. Students walked up the steps of the Arc d’Triomphe, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, took a riverboat cruise along the Seine at night, and were witnesses to the great architecture of one of the most beautiful cities on Earth.

Thank you to the many donors who made this trip possible. It is one the students will never forget.

DPSCD alumnus is drafted to a Super Bowl Championship team

Former Martin Luther King High School football, basketball and baseball player Avonte Maddox was drafted by the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. He was a 2014 graduate of King and held a 3.6 grade point average upon graduating.

Rated by 247sports as a three-star prospect after graduating King, Avonte committed to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was an immediate contributor as he played in all 13 games as a freshman and started all 13 games at cornerback as a sophomore in 2015. During his senior campaign he had a team-high 11 pass breakups and three forced fumbles. He earned All-ACC honors from both the media (second team) and the coaches (third team).

DPSCD is proud of Avonte on his monumental success and will be rooting for him throughout his career in the NFL.

Avonte Maddox

Avonte Maddox

Detroit NAEP Results Provide Meaningful Baseline as District Pursues Strategic Reform

Detroit NAEP results provide meaningful baseline as district pursues strategic reform

The Nation’s Report Card reinforces the urgency of the district’s improvement efforts

DETROIT – April 10, 2018
– Results from last year’s administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as “the nation’s report card” – were released today in Washington, D.C. The assessment, administered every two years to fourth and eighth grade students, provides a common measure of reading and math achievement across the country, and allows states and select urban districts to understand their progress.

Detroit Public Schools has participated in NAEP since 2009, but this year’s results are particularly important for Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai P. Vitti and the school board as they seek to establish a baseline for measuring improvement in the district. The 2017 results were sobering, but not surprising:

Fourth graders attending public schools in large cities scored an average of 213 in reading and 232 in mathematics; Detroit under-performed every other participating district, with average scores of 182 and 200 respectively.

  • Just 5 percent of Detroit’s fourth graders were at or above proficient in reading. Only 7 percent achieved proficiency in mathematics.
  • Detroit’s fourth grade reading results were not significantly different from the average score in 2015, but in mathematics, the average score declined significantly, dropping from 205 to 200.
  • Eighth graders attending public schools in large cities scored an average of 258 in reading and 274 in mathematics; Detroit underperformed every other participating district, with average scores of 235 and 246 respectively.
  • Detroit’s eighth grade reading and mathematics results were not significantly different from the average score in 2015.
  • Just 4 percent of Detroit’s eighth graders were at or above proficient in reading. Only 5 percent achieved proficiency in mathematics.

“Our community has rallied around our student-centered priorities for improving the district over the past year, and these results reinforce the urgency of the reforms we are making. I have my eye on the 2021 administration of NAEP, when our current first graders will take part. That is when we will see what our students can do when they are working with aligned curriculum, have teachers who have been supported, and have consistent access to resources that help their students succeed,” said Superintendent Vitti.

The Superintendent’s plan for improving results is a proven one, as the district he led prior to accepting his position in Detroit, Duval County, Florida, was one of just six urban districts to show a statistically significant improvement in the tested grades and subjects while also ranking first in fourth grade mathematics among large urban school districts and in the top tier of districts in other grades and subjects tested.

“Our results show that we have tremendous work to do, but they also show that we have the right Superintendent in place to lead the necessary reform,” said Board President, Dr. Iris Taylor. “When we began our superintendent’s search last spring, the Board understood the gravity of the decision we were making. We knew our children were losing ground, and we knew we needed a proven urban superintendent. We have one.”

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, also voiced his support for the reforms underway to improve these results. “Already, the district’s leadership has conducted a curriculum review and a special education audit to help shape its future reforms along with taking a number of other important steps to get the system on track. We have confidence in the district’s leadership and considerable hope in the direction that the superintendent and board are setting,” he said.

About Detroit Public Schools Community District
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is the state’s largest public education system located in Detroit. It is governed by a locally-elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has 106 schools and educates 50,000 children.


The Parent Academy 2018 Spring Catalog Now Available!

DPSCD recently launched The Parent Academy – a program that promotes parental involvement that supports student and family success. Expected to serve over 7,000 parents and caregivers, The Parent Academy offers FREE classes, training and workshops in schools, libraries, community centers and faith-based institutions across Detroit. The mission of The Parent Academy is to provide the necessary tools and skills to build capacity and confidence in parents in order to support students academically, socially and emotionally.

The Parent Academy focuses on three key pillars:

  • Student Achievement – workshops and activities that provide strategies and tools for parents to support academic achievement at home and in school
  • Personal and Professional Development – workshops that build confidence while addressing basic needs, employment, family support, financial literacy and goal setting for the healthy development of families
  • Parenting/Advocacy – workshops for parents and caregivers to build and increase their effectiveness in advocating and leading on behalf of children

If you are interested in attending a workshop, please review The Parent Academy 2017-2018 Spring Course Catalog and submit your contact information to begin the registration process.

All Parent Academy courses are free of charge and designed for parents, caregivers and community members. Students are welcome to attend along with their families if appropriate. Dates, times and locations are accurate at time of publication; courses listed in this guide are subject to change.

For questions or assistance with registration, call 313.873.7490 or email parent.academy@detroitk12.org

DPSCD – Parent Teacher Home Visit Program

Important Update Regarding Palmer Park Preparatory Academy

The following letter will be sent home via students to Palmer Park Preparatory Academy parents and families on March 27, 2018.

Palmer Park Academy parents and families:

As committed, the District released the third-party, independent, environmental report from ATC Group Services LLC (ATC) on Palmer Park Academy’s facility concerns to the faculty and staff this past weekend.

Please note, the report’s findings do not indicate that mold levels pose a (significant, unusual or long-term) risk of harm to students, staff or visitors. Nevertheless, we will continue to work with health officials to further assess any potential health risks. Students and staff will continue this school year at the DIA building until all Palmer Park repairs have been made.

Mold testing is typically conducted by comparing the indoor mold levels to outdoor mold levels. Normally, indoor mold levels are less than outdoor mold levels. This is how environmental engineers assess whether there are elevated levels of mold inside a building. This type of indoor/outdoor mold comparison was used by ATC. ATC collected 82 indoor samples and compared them to 2 outdoor samples.

Of the 82 samples, eight (8) instances of elevated mold levels were identified due to water damage, and another eight (8) instances of fungus resulted from the water damage.

Out of the 16 instances identified four (4) were categorized as “Black Mold” (Stachybotrys). For example, Stachybotrys is not air borne and is localized. This means that you would have to be physically in the room where black mold is present, to be in contact with Stachybotrys. Further, we note that the 2nd Floor of the school, where the mold was found, was closed off by the district in 2011 and has not been utilized for student activities since. To that end, minimal persons should have been exposed to any mold (black mold or otherwise) located on the 2nd Floor of school.

Now that testing has concluded, the district will move forward with the remediation recommendations found in the report. Further, we will begin structural/cosmetic repairs to prepare the building for students and staff to return in Fall 2018. Such repairs include but are not limited to:

  • A new roof
  • Repair and restoration of the 2nd Floor or middle school wing that has been closed for use since 2011
  • Painting of walls throughout the school
  • Replacement of water stained ceiling tiles

Please know that your child’s safety and education has always been our utmost priority and continues to be at the forefront of each decision we make to ensure every DPSCD child is part of a healthy and conducive learning environment.

You can obtain a copy of the report at the school’s office or on the District’s website at Detroitk12.org.


Nikolai P. Vitti, Ed.D.
Superintendent, DPSCD

Download Letter: DPSCD_PalmerParkParentLetter_MAR272018



Important Information for Palmer Park Families and Students

Attention Palmer Park Parents and Guardians,

Effective March 19, 2018 the Palmer Park Preparatory Academy will resume classes and activities at the Detroit International Academy for Young Women (DIA) located at 9026 Woodward Ave for the remainder of the school year.

The decision for this temporary transition was made by Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, Palmer Park Academy teachers and faculty due to the immediate repairs needed for the building.

Classes will resume on March 19 with a new bell time. School will begin at 9:20 a.m. and dismiss at 4:30 p.m. Please note, students reporting directly to DIA cannot be dropped off before 9 a.m.

Because Palmer Park is separate from DIA, a designated entry and exit has been assigned for students. All Palmer Parks students will enter and exit through door number 15, which is located on Josephine Street.

Additionally, transportation accommodations have been made. If your child is serviced by the Office of Transportation, they will continue to receive services. If your child walks to school or if you drop your child off at school, a shuttle bus will arrive at Palmer Park on Pickford Avenue at 8:45 a.m. and depart at 9 a.m. to transport these students to DIA. Should your child miss the 9 a.m. bus, there will be an additional pick up at Palmer Park Academy at 9:15 a.m.

Students will be dropped off at the same location where they were picked up.

We thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time. Should you have any questions regarding the transition to DIA, please continue to call the school’s telephone number (313) 494-7300.


5,000 Role Models of Excellence – Join Today

The Detroit Public Schools Community District will announce and launch the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project on Tuesday, February 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Southeastern High School.

This project is designed to develop a leadership pipeline for young men utilizing school-based and community mentors and role models through various methods of support including themed weekly meetings, a monthly speaker series, community service projects and college access support. The Detroit Board of Education members voted 7-0 to launch the 5000 Role Models Project to create and develop a pipeline of leadership from within the walls of the District’s schools. This project is a proven mentoring program that prepares young men for success, generated by role models in our schools who are supported by male mentors in the community. On Monday, October 30, 2017, representatives from DPSCD visited Miami, Florida to meet with staff from the 5000 Role Models Project department. The program was established in Miami 25 years ago by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and is currently operating in two additional counties in Florida. This year marks the Silver Anniversary of the project.

National, state and district data indicates the need for strategic support for males of color. While African-American and Hispanic males make up 50% of the students enrolled in the District, data trends indicate they perform lower than their counterparts in each academic indicator. Detroit has the overall challenge of the highest rate of poverty among the nation’s largest cities; the strategic plan to identify male role models is paramount to the success of our students.

The initial implementation of the 5000 Role Models Project will begin with 6th graders and continue through 12th grade. Middle school students will have the option to continue participation in the project if they transition to a participating high school.

The six participating pilot schools will identify 50 students annually and identify a role model to work with students. The 300 students identified will participate in various academic and behavioral supports as well as cultural and educational experiences. Students will serve as ambassadors for the program and the school district throughout the City of Detroit.

Based on formal and informal school data, the following schools have been selected as the 2018-2019 cohort:

High Schools

  • Central
  • Southeastern
  • Pershing


  • Durfee
  • Mackenzie
  • Law
5000 Role Models Logo

Become a Role Model
For additional information, contact Dwight Jones at dwight.jones@detroitk12.org

DPSCD Hosts Master Teacher Info Session on May 19

Are you an experienced educator who enjoys the classroom, is seeking a leadership opportunity to transform instruction, and is committed to raising student achievement? As exceptional practitioners who lead from the classroom and cultivate their peers’ abilities, Detroit Public Schools Community District is seeking passionate, experienced educators to serve as math or literacy Master Teachers in elementary, middle and high school. Prospective Master Teachers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • At least three years of successful teaching experience
  • Valid certification in literacy or mathematics
  • Three successive years of Highly Effective or Effective Ratings (or equivalent)

To learn more about the DPSCD Master Teacher Program, please stop by and meet members from the Curriculum and Instruction Team as well as current Master Teachers:

  • When: Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Detroit Children’s Museum, 6134 Second Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

This information session is open to all teachers who meet the general eligibility requirements. If you have questions about the information session in advance, please email master.teacher@detroitk12.org. We hope to see you on May 19!

Brewer Academy is closed today, May 9, due to a power outage. DTE has been notified.

Brewer Academy is closed today, May 9, due to a power outage. DTE has been notified.


Randolph CTE Hosts Annual Open House and Construction Trade Expo

Randolph Career and Technical Center will host its annual Open House and Construction Trade Expo on Wednesday, May 9 from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Students and parents have the opportunity to explore the classes and culture Randolph Career Technical Center has to offer as well as meet teachers.  The Open House and Construction Trades Expo will help students discover the many high-wage and high-demand careers that are available in construction trades. Students can participate in fun activities such as:

• Arts & Sparks Demonstration
• Painting Virtual Reality Art
• Tour Randolph’s Student Built House
• Operating Engineers Heavy Equipment Simulation

Additionally,  the Open House and Construction Trades Expo will feature information about enrollment and programs available at Randolph, career exploration opportunities while enrolled at Randolph, as well as opportunities to speak with current professionals in the industry.

All high school students and their parents are welcome to attend; light refreshments will be served.  Randolph is located at 17101 Hubbell Street, Detroit, MI 48238. For more information please call (313) 494-7100.

Communication and Media Arts High School, Duke Ellington, Hutchinson and Southeastern are closed today, May 7 due to partial power outages at those buildings.

Cass Tech Building Update: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dear Cass Tech Families and Staff,

As you should know, we informed you yesterday evening through a robocall that school was open today. That information was accurate. Unfortunately, the city’s three major TV stations reported, without confirmation, that the school would be closed. We immediately contacted the media to retract the misinformation.

Although there appear to be continuing complaints of an odor, the District performed a quality air test and the building was cleared for use.

Due to the TV stations’ error, all student and teacher absences will be waived for today, Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

Cass Tech is open May 2: news falsely reported closure

Families, Students, and Staff:

Today, Wednesday, May 2 several news outlets falsely reported that Cass Technical High School was closed through their automated school closure system. Cass Tech is open today and all classes will follow the normal schedule.

Please contact communications@detroitk12.org if you have any questions.

A special announcement for Emerson Elementary-Middle School

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We need to inform you that we have discovered German roaches in the cafeteria. As a result, we are closing the kitchen to ensure it is thoroughly cleaned and all signs of pests are eradicated. We will be using a chemical treatment applied by Eradico Services, a licensed pest control contract that is approved to be used in our schools. This product has been approved as safe to be used in a school environment. In the meantime, breakfast and lunch will be delivered to the school for your children.

In an effort to eradicate the pests, the treatment for roaches will occur on Thursday, May 3rd after school is dismissed. As a result, all after-school activities and tutoring will be cancelled on Thursday, May 3rd to ensure students’ safety from chemical exposure.
Please reach out to me if you have additional questions or concerns.

Brenda Carathers, Principal