97 Little Free Libraries Planned For All DPSCD Schools To Kick Off Superintendent’s Summer Reading Challenge

Community call-to-action: Detroit Little Libraries Need Help Providing 97 Lil’ Libraries for Schools

Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather along with Detroit Little Libraries, the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation and Community Stakeholders are joining forces to provide students with multiple-reading resources this summer.

A special Ribbon Cutting celebrating the District’s Little Free Library Campaign was held at Marcus Garvey Academy on Thursday, July 28. 

We have a lofty goal to raise funds to ensure that all 97 schools have a Little Free Library with the help of Detroit Little Libraries, the DPS Foundation, individuals and corporations. At the time of this advisory, there are 27 commitments from a variety of organizations, community members and individuals from around the U.S., including Montana and Alaska, who are investing in Detroit’s children by donating Little Free Libraries to reside on the schools’ campuses. Little Free Libraries are installed in public places where books can be shared based on the Little Free Library motto “Take a book, leave a book.” The idea is to take a book, read a book, leave a book or keep a book.

This is in harmony with the Superintendent’s Summer Reading Challenge that kicks off today as summer school concludes. The Detroit Public Library has ensured that many of the titles are stocked and students will have access to books. In addition, the community is encouraged to assist the schools by stocking the Little Free Libraries. The condensed suggested reading list by grade level is attached below along with a link to the full list.

Students who participate in the READING CHALLENGE are encouraged to read 150 minutes per week and log in the number of minutes read each day.  Students are encouraged to register their minutes and monitor their progress on a special Scholastic Reading website designed to perform the tracking and praise success. When the students meet the challenge goals at the end of the week the students are awarded success badges.

Each year students lose valuable learning time during summer break. On the last day of Summer School 2016, Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather is leading Detroit Public Schools Community District on an exciting reading challenge for all students and families during the time between now and the first day of school. Along with community partners, Meriweather’s goal is to ensure that all Detroit students have access to quality books. Students will be able to check out suggested titles at their local Detroit Public Libraries, visit DPSCD school campuses and other community locations to check out books in the Little Free Libraries.

“We are encouraging students to continue to learn through reading even though schools are closing at the conclusion of summer school and will not reopen to students until September 6, 2016. We have partnered with the Detroit Public Library to ensure that they carry the titles listed on our reading challenge.  Additional details about the Reading Challenge, including a link to the full list of recommended book titles by grade level, can be found by clicking here.

Additionally, bookmarks are being sent to each summer school location to be sent home with students on the last day of summer school to encourage them to read.”

 Program participants included:

  • Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Kim Kozlowski, Detroit Little Libraries
  • Pamela Moore, President, DPS Foundation
  • A.J. Funchess, Detroit Public Library
  • Ian Larsen, Life Scout, Troop 229 (Eagle Scout Candidate)
  • Ndubisi Okoye, Artist

Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent’s Summer Reading List:

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
1. Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure – Doreen Cronin
2. A-Tisket, A-Tasket – Ella Fitzgerald

Grade 1
1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
2. Are You a Bee? – Judy Allen & Tudor Humphries

Grade 2
1. Abiyoyo – Pete Seeger
2. A Chair for My Mother * – Vera B. Williams

Grade 3
1. 4 1/2 Friends and the Secret Cave –Joachim Friedrich
2. 11 Birthdays – Wendy Mass

Grade 4
1. A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story – Linda Sue Park
2. A Stranger at Home: A True Story – Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Grade 5
1. 2030: A Day in the Life of Tomorrow’s Kids –Amy Zuckerman & James Daly
2. A Friendship for Today – Patricia C. McKissack

Grade 6
1. 12 Brown Boys – Omar Tyree
2. A Tale Dark & Grimm – Adam Gidwitz

Grade 7
1. 90 Miles to Havana – Enrique Flores-Galbis
2. Acceleration – Graham McNamee

Grade 8
1. A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 – Diane McWhorter
2. Al Capone Does My Shirts – Gennifer Choldenko

Grade 9
1. Abarat – Clive Barker
2. A Curse Dark as Gold – Elizabeth C. Bunce

Grade 10
1. A Crack in the Line – Michael Lawrence
2. A Girl Named Disaster – Nancy Farmer

Grades 11 & 12
1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
2. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway

Full Recommended Reading List: Superintendent’s Summer Reading Challenge / Recommended Reading List

DPSCD Announced S.T.E.A.M.y Summer Learning Events

DPS STEAMy logo3Fun Summer program provides Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Focus 

Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent, for Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), today announced the S.T.E.A.M.y Summer in DPSCD program. It is a broad community partnership to engage students in active learning programs this summer through a series of large-scale free, fun and engaging learning/back-to-school readiness events scheduled in August. The full schedule is attached, the first two events kick off on Saturday, August 6.

“We are extremely excited about our upcoming S.T.E.A.M.y Summer in DPSCD Back-to-School Readiness Campaign,” said Meriweather. “We know that too often, students tend to fall behind academically over the summer months when they are not actively engaged in learning. In education we call this the summer slide. But we are hoping this series of events, including another initiative we plan to unveil next week centered on Summer Reading, will help our students be more prepared to return to school ready to learn on the first day of school– September 6.”

The new district joined forces with The Michigan Science Center, The DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland’s Office, the Wayne County Family Aquatic Center, Detroit Children’s Museum, HAP, the Detroit Health Department, the Ford Motor Company Fund and Office Depot to host and support the events. Each venue will have educational activities centered on a S.T.E.A.M. (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) theme.

“The Michigan Science Center inspires curious minds of all ages to discover and appreciate STEM,” said Michigan Science Center President and CEO Tonya Matthews. “We are excited to partner with DPSCD and offer free access to our hands-on experiences. This event is a great way for teachers and students alike to get ready for back to school.” The Michigan Science Center, thanks to support from the Ford Motor Company Fund, is hosting a Free Family Day on August 13, in which DPSCD families and prospective families will have early bird registration access to visit the Center and engage in STEAM activities.

Families will also have the opportunity to have their children immunized on August 13, as well as obtain free school supplies, while they last. All students in grades K-8 enrolled in a DPSCD school will receive a back pack provided my Mike Morse of the Mike Morse Law Firm.

The new district’s Enrollment campaign touts new academic programming enhancements/innovations including Montessori programs, building improvements, a blended learning academy, smaller learning academies and more! Check out the new Picking the Perfect School Guide for a full catalog of schools and their programs.

The DPSCD S.T.E.A.M.y Summer partners on Wednesday underscored their commitment to the new district’s Back-to-School Readiness effort.

 “This shared notion that learning should be a year-round thing is what this partnership is all about,” said Councilman Gabe Leland, City of Detroit, who is supporting an event on Detroit’s West side at Brennan Pool. “I’m thrilled to be partnering with DPSCD and a number of business and philanthropy leaders to work with our young people to keep them mentality active in preparation for the upcoming school year. Our school age children and their families need more opportunities to participate in fun activities in a safe learning environment and this program accomplishes that goal.”

“Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and the Wayne County Parks Division proudly support the Detroit Public Schools Community District Back-to-School Initiative. We are honored that our Wayne County Family Aquatic Center will serve as a learning environment and registration sight on Saturday, August 20 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. We encourage families to come and join us” said David Cartwright, Deputy Director of Wayne County Parks Division.

HAP, a supporter of the district’s Volunteer Ambassador Program, also renewed its support.

“HAP is committed to helping our communities wherever we can and has been a long-time supporter of the Detroit Public Schools,” said Tom Spring, HAP’s director of wellness and community outreach. “HAP was founded in Detroit more than 50 years ago and has been headquartered here ever since. It’s our privilege to serve the children of the community that we, too, call home.”

“A good education is the cornerstone of a successful career, especially if it is built on a solid foundation of STEAM skills and innovative thinking,” said Yisel Cabrera, community relations manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Ford is happy to support programs such as S.T.E.A.M.y Summer that add an extra element of fun to the equation and help kids get excited about learning.”

“Our schools are the place where we grow our valuable resource – our future,” Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Executive Director and Health Officer, Detroit Health Department. “We stand in solidarity with Detroit Public Schools Community District and its students to promote health and well-being as our students learn and grow.”

About the Detroit Public Schools Community District

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is the new public school district for the Detroit community. It was created through the Michigan Legislature’s passage of the education reform bills a few weeks ago. DPSCD has replaced the former Detroit Public Schools. It will maintain all 97 schools, as well as with its necessary support services, including transportation, school nutrition, special education, early childhood learning and much more. In addition, DPSCD will emerge with new and innovative academic programs and support, along with facility improvements and enhanced security. Most significantly, DPSCD emerges with virtually no past debt obligations.


Saturday, August 6th / 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Space is limited – first come, first served.
Register online to reserve a space at www.detroitk12.org/enroll

Saturday, August 6th / 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FAMILY FREE DAY and S.T.E.A.M. activities
Space is limited – first come, first served. Refreshments will be available.

Saturday, August 13th / 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
ENROLLMENT FAIR AT THE MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER, supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund, 5020 John R Street, Detroit, MI 48202. This FAMILY FREE DAY will include immunizations and free school supplies, while they last, as well as shuttles from four locations throughout the city. Early bird registration for DPSCD/Prospective DPSCD families is at: www.mi-sci.org/dps/

Saturday, August 20th / 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FAMILY FREE DAY* / S.T.E.A.M. Activities
Space is limited – first come, first served.

Saturday, August 27th / 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
DETROIT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM. 6134 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
FAMILY FREE DAY* / S.T.E.A.M. Activities
Space is limited – first come, first served.

SAVE THE DATE: The District’s Special Enrollment Open House
Saturday, August 27th / 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
All district schools will be open with activities and tours.

Ronald Brown Academy Science Teacher Receives Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

Jennifer Edwards, a science teacher at Ronald Brown Academy, has been selected as an Honorable Mention for the 2015-16 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. Edwards will receive a Presidential certificate from U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and CEQ Managing Director Christy Goldfuss.

An award ceremony will be held at the White House on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 to recognize Ms. Edwards as well as additional winners and honorable mentions.

Congratulations on this outstanding achievement Ms. Edwards!

Picking the Perfect School!!!

Hot off the presses! Take a look at the 2016 Picking the Perfect School Guide!2016 Picking the Perfect School

From Dual Language Immersion to single-gender schools to African-Centered Education, Detroit Public Schools Community District has a school for your student’s unique learning needs including Montessori classrooms!

See the full guide here: 2016 Picking the Perfect School Guide

Learn more about our “Best Kept Secrets,” like our offerings at Camp Burt Shurly and Sampson Academy’s classroom to college scholarship program.

Did you know ALL Detroit Public Schools Community District grads can apply for the Detroit Promise scholarship program. Enroll Today!!

To pick up guides to take out to your neighborhood, grocery stores or businesses, call the DPS Enrollment Growth room at (313) 873-6345. Or sign up to be an AMBASSADOR!

Become a DPS Ambassador!

See our GREAT students and the fantastic learning opportunities happening in Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Qualities needed for our new DPSCD School Board

The last day to file the papers necessary to become a candidate for the new school board of the Detroit Public Schools Community District is Tuesday, July 26, 2016. The new seven-member board will be elected in the general election on November 8, 2016 and will take office on January 1, 2017.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is the new public school district for the Detroit community. It was created through the Michigan Legislature’s passage of the education reform bills a few weeks ago. DPSCD has replaced the former Detroit Public Schools. It will maintain all 97 schools, as well as its necessary support services, including transportation, school nutrition, special education, early childhood learning and much more. In addition, DPSCD will emerge with new and innovative academic programs and support, along with facility improvements and enhanced security. Most significantly, DPSCD emerges with virtually no past debt obligations.

The installation of the new board will complete the goal held by virtually all Detroiters – the return of governance over public education in Detroit to a democratically elected board. It is a goal I share and it is the primary reason why I agreed to accept the role of transition manager for DPS and the new Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Our fundamental goal of our new district is to provide excellence in academics for all of our children. The most effective means to achieve that goal is through local control and accountability, achieved through our dearly-held democratic processes. But it is important to remember that local control is not an end by itself.

Each school board member is a trustee for the school district. The primary beneficiaries of a member’s trusteeship are the students. At the same time, each board member is also accountable to our students’ families, to the district’s staff, and to the community. The consequences of members’ collective decisions can endure for generations. Their responsibilities are profound.

Equally profound, however, is the responsibility of our community to identify, support and elect candidates who have demonstrated the qualities necessary to lead DPSCD to a successful future. Based on my service as transition manager, I offer the following list of these qualities:

1. A commitment to service as a trustee for the benefit of the district’s students. A trustee is fiduciary and is not permitted to serve any self-interest, such as, for example, business interests or an overriding ambition for other public office. The sole commitment must be to the students’ education.

2. A commitment to excellence in academics.

3. A commitment to education as a necessary component of our democracy. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

4. A commitment to education as a necessary component to a productive, fulfilled life. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”

5. A commitment to education as a necessary component of a revitalized Detroit and a better Michigan.

6. A commitment to a vision of a successful future for DPSCD that is focused on creating a successful future for each student. Many of the components of a successful education are necessary for all students. Other components must account for the diversity of the students’ needs, interests, aptitudes and abilities. A candidate who aspires to be an effective board member must have already thought deeply about how to achieve educational success for each student. The upcoming election must be about which candidates can most clearly articulate their visions for that future and which candidates’ visions are likely to be the most effective. Only that focus in this election will serve the interests of our students and our district.

7. A commitment to facilitate the important role that parents and guardians play in the education of our students.

8. A commitment to facilitate the important role that teachers, principals and all other district employees play in the education of our students.

9. A commitment to harness the extraordinary resources that the community offers to the students of DPSCD.

10. A commitment to collaborative processes among board members and to public processes that are open, honest, fair, respectful and responsive.

11. A commitment to cooperative process with the Financial Review Commission. Many are critical of this continuing State oversight function. Still, the law that imposes it must be respected.

12. A commitment to a balanced budget and to honest and accessible financial books and records that are the product of best reporting practices. These are the keys to a future for our district that is under complete local control, free of oversight by the Financial Review Commission. More importantly, they are the right things to do.

13. A commitment to advocate for our students and our district. Strong advocacy is needed to achieve necessary financial support for education in Michigan and full equity in its allocation. Sixty percent of our students live at or below the poverty level. To effectively close achievement and opportunity gaps, additional resources are required. We also have a higher portion of special needs and special education students. An appropriate educational experience also requires additional resources. These and other funding inequities must be corrected, and appropriate funding for all schools must be provided.

Strong advocacy is also necessary to achieve the Detroit Education Commission (DEC). The City must have a means to rectify the irrationality that plagues the present geographic allocation of schools and burdens revitalization of neighborhoods. The DEC will do that. It will also raise the academic achievement level of all schools in the City, public and charter. How much stronger the City will be when parents who currently enroll their children in schools outside the City decide to reconsider and enroll their children in schools in Detroit.

14. A commitment to cooperative and advantageous interactions with all education interests in Michigan. This includes the charter interests and those in the Michigan legislature who focus on education. It also means working to end the “us vs. them” view that some hold both within Detroit and outside the City.

15. A commitment to model and enforce the ideals of honesty and integrity in all dealings. There is no “culture of corruption” in the district. Still, even isolated instances of waste, fraud and abuse must be rooted out and dealt with firmly, decisively and promptly.

16. A commitment to commencing and continuing the process of learning how to be an effective school board member.

Ultimately, the awesome responsibility to educate students in the new Detroit Public Schools Community District falls upon the residents of the City of Detroit. Everyone in this city has the responsibility to study the qualifications of school board candidates, to engage in opportunities to learn more about the candidates, to vote in the school board election, and to hold the successful candidates accountable for the success of our students and our school district.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Steven Rhodes
Transition Manager
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Public Montessori programs to open in three neighborhoods this fall as part of new DPSCD innovations

ury-old proven focus on educating the whole child now equitable and accessible to all; funds made available through recent state legislation enables implementation after 5 months of planning

The first seven new public, tuition free Montessori classrooms will open in Detroit for the start of the 2016-17 school year, Detroit Public Schools Community District Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather announced today.

The district has begun taking applications for early childhood (ages 4-6) and early elementary (grades 1-2) multi-age classrooms at Edison Elementary School, 17045 Grand River Ave.; early childhood classrooms at Spain Elementary-Middle School, 3700 Beaubien St., and an early childhood classroom at Maybury Elementary School, 4410 Porter St. The early childhood classrooms utilizing the approved Montessori curriculum complement the district’s more than 175 pre-kindergarten classrooms offering the High Scope curriculum.  Funding for this innovative program was made available through the recent state legislative transition investment for Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The Detroit Montessori pathway will make Montessori’s time-tested, state-recognized instructional approach accessible to more families in Detroit, and provide a rigorous, child-centered program that will complement the district’s efforts to increase expectations and improve outcomes for all students. Detroit joins a number of the nation’s major city school districts, including Milwaukee, Chicago, Memphis and Dallas, in bringing the traditional private, fee-based program to a fully equitable and accessible level for students most at-risk.

“We are excited to bring public Montessori to three locations this fall, based on best practices and lessons learned in other successful implementations across the country,” stated Meriweather. “We want to create new educational options for Detroit parents who want an alternative learning environment that facilitates opportunities for students to explore, build, negotiate, and create, and to bring Montessori’s rich tradition at raising student success to Detroit families, without tuition fees.”

According to the American Montessori Society, a Montessori education offers children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life. Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence; students are part of a close, caring community; students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge; and self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach.

Meriweather said that, as the new district’s first major school-based innovation program, the Montessori program will also set a new high standard for academic program fidelity and quality. The district has partnered with local and national training programs to ensure all participating teachers and classroom assistants, as well as program leaders, will receive the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education-accredited certification held by Montessori teachers nationally and internationally. That training, 250-330 hours, is taking place this summer in the classroom as part of a year long practicum experience. In addition, all premium quality classroom Montessori materials will be sourced by manufacturers with more than 20 years experience and selected by certified Montessori researchers. The district has also worked directly with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

“We believe it’s transformative that Detroit has chosen to join the national movement to open public Montessori schools,” said Keith Whitescarver, NCMPS Executive Director. “Detroit will join over 500 public Montessori schools across the country in moving toward a vision of education that is unrelentingly committed to the developing mind, body, and spirit of all our children. We are fully supportive of this effort and applaud DPS for committing to a rich and well-proven route to focus on the child and cease focusing exclusively on a narrow definition of student achievement.”

This is the first of the 12 new school-based innovations being implemented beginning this fall across DPSCD that were developed this past Winter and vetted as part of the district’s internal academic proposals process. Innovation is one of the five key pillars of the district’s new Academic Plan, currently under development. For the Montessori project, 49 teachers, principals and academic administrators stepped forward voluntarily to help plan all aspects of the new program, including classroom development, school selection, parental engagement, and national research into best practices.

Initial parental surveys of the families of 201 current students showed that 78-87% of parents expressed a desire to have their children participate in a Montessori program. The district will launch a comprehensive parent education/engagement effort for current and prospective parents at participating schools. The district plans to expand the age cohorts as well as number of schools offering Montessori in the future. Eight additional DPSCD schools have expressed interest.

Funding for the classrooms includes Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program grant and per-pupil funding for K-12 students. From the recent $25 million in new district transition funds passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Gov. Snyder, appr. $8 million has been set aside by DPSCD for academic innovations over a three year period. $452,000 is being used to seed, launch and transition the new Montessori classrooms this year.

To register, parents may go to www.detroitk12.org/enroll or call 313-240-4377.

Detroit Public Schools Community District kicks-off exciting enrollment campaign

Interim Superintendent Meriweather announces back-to-school enrollment campaign, new academic innovations for the upcoming school year, community engagement and extensive summer learning opportunities for the new District

New district’s campaign touts new academic programming enhancements/innovations including Montessori programs, building improvements, steps challenge and more!

Today Interim Superintendent for the new Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), Alycia Meriweather, announced an enrollment campaign centered on investments in academic innovations for the new school year, such as first-ever Montessori programming and more dual language immersion classes, as well as a robust community engagement call-to-action and extensive free summer learning at major educational venues emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (S.T.E.A.M.), to ensure students are prepared on the first day of school and ready for this school year.

DPSCD is the new public school district for the Detroit community created through the passage of the education reform bills a few weeks ago. DPSCD will replace the former Detroit Public Schools but maintain all 97 schools along with its various support services including transportation, school nutrition, special education, early childhood learning and much more. In addition, the new district will emerge with new and innovative instructional support along with facility improvements and enhanced security.  Most significantly, DPSCD emerges with no past debt obligations.

“For the first time in a long time we can return our primary focus to teaching and learning, instead of finances and budget. We will no longer have a portion of our per pupil allocation taken immediately to pay past debt, which means that we will now receive the full per pupil allocation for educating our students. We have a clear path forward and we are seizing this opportunity by implementing our innovative academic initiatives, and challenging all schools to embrace innovation and improvement. We are fully aware that challenges still exist and are prepared to address them proactively. Our first good example of a challenge turned opportunity is to involve the larger community to create the new long-term Academic Plan that will serve as the foundation for our future,” said Meriweather. “I am a product of Detroit Public Schools and a resident of the City of Detroit.  For all of us who are either residents, graduates, or both, we should feel a special responsibility to ensure that all of our children have great educational opportunities and that the school system as a whole improves.  This is critical work and we need your help to have a community-wide focus on teaching and learning, and a cycle of continuous improvement until we reach a place where all of us can be proud to support every single DPSCD school.  Please consider joining in Phase II of our Academic Advisory Council.  We are excited about debuting the new Academic Plan later this summer, as well as our new programs and summer learning opportunities.”

As part of the new DPSCD Back-to-School Enrollment Campaign, district staff, parents and volunteers will join forces in an extensive grassroots effort to inform current and prospective parents about new initiatives, including:

  • Investments of $7.7 million of the $25 million in State-provided transition funds to support new school-based innovations. Those include Cooke STEM Academy of North Rosedale, A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning, small learning academies including three new themed academies at Detroit Collegiate Preparatory Academy at Northwestern, Accelerated Program at Mark Twain School for Scholars, and the Over-Age English Language Learners program at Priest Elementary-Middle School.
  • Detroit’s first public Montessori programs, to create new educational options for parents who want an alternative learning environment that facilitates opportunities for students to explore, build, negotiate, and create, and to bring Montessori’s rich tradition at raising student success to Detroit families, without tuition fees.
  • Free educational and enrollment activities open to DPSCD families, prospective families and teachers at four large, fun public venues such as the Michigan Science Center; S.T.E.A.M.-y Summer in DPSCD; an academic-themed events focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education; and at the conclusion of Summer School, a DPSCD/Detroit Public Library Summer Reading Challenge will be issued, along with a document that identifies other suggestions of local learning opportunities where families can spend the remaining summer weeks preventing traditional summer learning loss.

The Campaign also includes teams of DPSCD Ambassadors comprised of school leaders and staff, parents, school partners and central office staff who will again walk neighborhoods and attend dozens of community events to ensure retention and enrollment gains for this fall. The campaign is highly specific, school by school, to highlight programs and successes that are of interest to parents and families.

The district will soon unveil a new texting initiative to allow interested supporters to volunteer directly from their mobile device.

“We absolutely need the support of the community to complete a successful transition with the new district, while still honoring our past legacy, so that the students of the new Detroit Public Schools Community District can have an extremely bright academic future,” said Meriweather. “The health of our city is completely intertwined with the success of our public school system.  I believe that citizens of the City of Detroit truly want to support us, so I hope to have thousands of people join us in our Back-to-School Enrollment Campaign to walk the blocks. I have also issued a Steps Challenge during the Enrollment Walks as it’s also a great way to get fit! I invite you to join us!”

The Campaign builds upon earlier initiatives implemented successfully in DPS through an internal proposal process, which generated innovations including the Academy of the Americas and A. Philip Randolph High Schools, Ludington Magnet Middle School Honors Program, International Baccalaureate pathway from Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies, Renaissance High School, Sampson Webber Leadership Academy’s partnership with Lawrence Technological University, and Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy.

For more information on innovative new programs, parents should call 313-240-4DPS or go to detroitk12.org/enroll.


DPS’ Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather’s Academic Advisory Council Presented Phase I of the New District’s Academic Plan that will Serve as the Foundation for the New District

Meriweather issued a call to the community to join the committees in Phase II

Detroit Public Schools Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather held a public meeting Wednesday at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School along with the District’s 15 committee Academic Advisory Council.

The Council is comprised of more than 150 employees, staff, and parents who committed their time to develop recommendations for a long-term pathway forward for the new District. Meriweather also issued a call for the community to join Phase II. Phase II will be the development of the actual plan, which will require input from all stakeholders.

Each committee presented in their respective category from curriculum development to wraparound services for students and their families.

Some of the recommendations from the 15 committees include:

  • Redesigning the elementary curriculum to include cross-curricular and integrated thematic units that address the standards for the core subject areas;
  • Providing literacy intervention kindergarten through grade 12. Implement a process to identify at-risk students by first grade, district-wide;
  • Implementing an appropriately staffed Focus/In-school Suspension Room to provide students with reflection time along with out of class instruction;
  • Making wraparound services available to all students with the recommended staff to student ratios to provide individualized intervention services, assessments and resources:
  • Developing capacity within the District to maximize the potential of each employee and,
  • Restructuring the district’s attendance, promotion/retention, and behavior policies.

“I am greatly encouraged by the recommendations from the Council. People were excited to be able to participate in the initial stages of information gathering, conversation, and collaboration in an effort to advise the development of the new Academic Plan,” said Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent, DPS. “More than 150 people have invested time and resources in creating a foundation that will enable our students to excel academically and be prepared for their futures. As we move to Phase II, we welcome additional community stakeholders to join in our Academic Plan development process.  We believe that one of the only ways for the new District to be successful is through collaboration, as well as constructive criticism. We are committed to improvement.”

The 15 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 and instruction, and educational programs (afterschool, arts, blended learning).

Committees were charged with collecting current research articles on their topic/issue, identifying best practice models from other cities and districts, and engaging in dialogue around the specific needs for the Detroit Public Schools Community District moving forward. Today’s recommendations will provide the appendix for the District’s new Academic Plan. Phase II will be the development of the actual plan, which will require input from all stakeholders. Please send an email to academic.excellence@detroitk12.org if you are interested in participating in Phase II, or if you would be willing to provide feedback on the plan as it is developed.

The presentation is included here: https://vimeo.com/172845319 , along with a survey requesting feedback from the public. This can also be found at detroitk12.org.


Some of the recommendations for the Detroit Public Schools Community District include the following:


  • The district can become a community district in more than name only. Detroit Community Public Schools would become integral to the communities they serve, potentially even to individuals without students enrolled. People living and working in our neighborhoods will have a voice that has a legitimate impact. Students will have strong options to stay in our district pre-K through 12, and parents will easily know the options their students have.

Curriculum and Instruction

  • Redesign the elementary curriculum to include cross-curricular and integrated thematic units that address the standards for the core subject areas. Include project-based learning and service learning opportunities at every level.  Develop a New Teacher Induction and Mentoring Program that is sustainable throughout the district.

Grading Schools

  • Build capacity within DPSCD to do long-term school grading work. A robust accountability team must have the expertise, funding and capacity to produce interim and annual district report cards, surveys and other feedback.


  • Provide Literacy Intervention kindergarten through grade 12. Implement a process to identify at-risk students by first grade, district-wide. Provide targeted intervention in grades 6-9 to divert ninth grade dropout. Provide block scheduling to ensure intervention at critical grade transitions (elementary to middle school, middle to high school).


  • Create a systemic attendance plan that incorporates the city of Detroit, Faith-based organizations, local businesses, neighborhoods, and current district partners and resources.


  • Provide an appropriately staffed Focus/In-school Suspension Room to provide students with reflection time along with out of class instruction.

Career Tech Education

  • Students participating in CTE camps, exploring CTE options through hands on project based learning.

Promotion and Retention

  • Mandated summer school for students recommended for retention


  • Full implementation of Reading Recovery in all schools.


  • Certified arts educators in every art discipline in every PK-12 school (Dance, Music, Drama, and Fine Arts)

Blended Learning

  • District provide schools with innovative technologies (i.e. wearables);
  • Policies are developed around technology standards and blending learning models.

Parent and Community

  • Community in schools model in every school fully funded;
  • Solicit funding from corporations/businesses to fill funding gaps and
  • Establish DPS Community District pace as a global model.

Wrap Around Services

  • Wraparound services available to all students with the recommended staff to student ratios to provide individualized intervention services, assessments and resources.

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 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.


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

Congratulations Team Detroit Youth Travel Baseball Athletes

Congratulations to our Team Detroit Youth Travel Baseball athletes for representing Detroit at the Piper Davis International Inner City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama on July 10. Several HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) coaches were present for the purpose of looking to offer scholarships.

Nine athletes were offered and three were DPSCD students:

  • Daniel Little- Renaissance High School, offered by Alcorn State University
  • Jonathan Darby- Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, offered by Wiley College
  • George Osborn- Southfield High School, offered by Stillman College

The team competed well in the tournament but fell short losing 5-2 to a team from Puerto Rico.

Way to go Team Detroit and Coach Norman Taylor!

DPS and Emergency Loan Board closed on Approved Loan to help transition the District

The emergency loan will ensure 26-pay to teachers and startup costs for new district

Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes signed off on documents today to close the $150 million emergency loan approved by the state’s Emergency Loan Board and supported by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“I’d like to thank the Emergency Loan Board Members and the Michigan Department of Treasury for promptly approving and closing the loan today. Today’s closing is another significant step in the direction of returning Detroit Public Schools Community District to local control,” said Judge Rhodes. “These funds will ensure that teachers are paid, transition costs are covered and our three startup priorities are addressed. Our three priorities to ensure a quality education include critical investments in academics, facilities and safety.”

The $150 million loan will be used to transition Detroit Public Schools to Detroit Public Schools Community District. $125 million of those funds will remain with Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and be used to pay the legacy DPS obligations (26-pay for teachers, June payroll, vendor liabilities, etc.). The remaining $25 million in state transition funds will be transferred to Detroit Public Schools Community District from Detroit Public Schools to be allocated in the following ways: $8 million in academic initiatives, $10 million for facilities, $2 million for safety, and $5 million for minimum cash balance.

The interest rate for the loan is 1.3 percent. The loan will be paid back through the 18 mil non-homestead property taxes made possible through the Michigan Legislature’s passage of the education reform bills in June 2016.

“Our team is working hard on the legal and financial tasks that are necessary when starting a new entity,” said Rhodes. “Our next steps include helping to educate the upcoming school board candidates for the November election.”





No          School Names

1              Academy of the Americas

2              Bates

3              Blackwell

4              Bunche

5              Brewer

6              Carver

7             Clippert 

8             Cody Small Schools

9              Communication Media Arts

10              Cooke

11           Davison

12            Detroit International Academy

13           Detroit Lions Academy

14           Dixon

15           Dossin

16           Durfee

17           Edison 

18           Gardner

19           Garvey

21           Holmes, A.L.

22           Ludington

23           Mason

24           Mann

25           Marshall

26           Maybury

27           Nichols

28           Osborn Small Schools

29           Palmer Park Preparatory

30           Pasteur

31           Robeson/Malcolm X

32           Wayne

33          Western International

34          Wright, Charles

35           Vernor @ Ludington


The following schools will close today due to a Boil Water Advisory issued by the City of Detroit, Water and Sewerage Department:

DSA Vision Male Ensemble to Participate in the Ihlombe! South Africa Chorale Festival

Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Vision Male Ensemble from the Detroit School of Arts has been invited to participate in the Ihlombe! South Africa Chorale Festival July 21 through July 30, 2016. As a part of the festival, the young men will perform in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

Vision is an all-male ensemble who perform a variety of genres of music from Motown to gospel to classical! The opportunity to perform in the South African festival would give them the opportunity to develop a global view of what the world can offer them and what they can give back to the world.

Congratulations Vision and BEST OF LUCK in South Africa!

New Detroit Public Schools Community District Leaders Unveil Major Summer Back-to-School Readiness Initiative Centered on STEAM

New District’s Enrollment campaign touts new academic programming enhancements/innovations including Montessori programs, building improvements and more!

Wednesday, July 20 at 10 a.m.

Michigan Science Center, Toyota Engineering Theater
5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202
Note: Limited parking for media available in the front lot on John R

Judge Steven Rhodes, Transition Manager, Detroit Public Schools Community District and Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District

Partner representatives from:

  • The Michigan Science Center
  • The DNR Outdoor Adventure Center
  • Councilman Gabe Leland, City of Detroit
  • Wayne County Family Aquatic Center
  • Detroit Children’s Museum
  • The Detroit Health Department
  • HAP
  • Office Depot

DPSCD Instructors Figure Out “Who Did It!”

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) instructors participated in a Crime Scene Investigation workshop hosted by Lawrence Technological University (LTU) July 11-15. During the workshop, 15 instructors studied Forensic Science which is also a part of DPSCD’s S.T.E.M. curriculum.

The workshop topics included:

  • Blood work
  • Fingerprinting
  • Forensic glass analysis
  • Vehicle accident investigation and more!

Using their newly gained knowledge and experience, they were able to process and solve a crime scene and figured out “who did it!” Special thanks go out to LTU for hosting this wonderful week of learning!