Detroit Public Schools joins with local leaders, alumni to launch extensive 2014-15 Retain/Gain Enrollment Campaign during first “Ambassadors Breakfast”

DPS unveils new branding – “See It Believe It”

Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Manager Jack Martin joined dozens of community leaders, alumni and other partners Thursday, July 31, to launch the district’s 2014-15 Retain/Gain Enrollment Campaign following the district’s first “Ambassadors Breakfast.”

DSC_0040Martin informed the partners of the district’s newest developments, academic programs and goals, while securing their partnership in the important enrollment initiatives.

“We wanted to ensure our partners heard firsthand the strategies to bolster our 2014 fall enrollment,” Martin said. “To ensure that we transform our schools, we realize that it requires the inclusion and partnership of all stakeholders including: civic, faith, grassroots and labor leadership.”

Martin also unveiled the district’s new branding, “See It Believe It.” The new branding was developed over the course of the last year using the “design thinking” process, which sought extensive input from key stakeholders, including parents (those with students in DPS, as well as those who no longer attend or never attended), principals and administrators, and the community.

DPS FINALS NEED PMSThe new branding seeks to demonstrate the school system’s commitment to providing academic programs and initiatives that families desire, and making strategic decisions to attract and retain families.

Ultimately, what the district came to understand is that the public needs to be reminded that amazing things are happening in each and every one of its 97 schools each and every day; that programs are being offered at Detroit Public Schools that parents can’t get anywhere else. And, if people take the time to visit/explore our schools and interact with the students, teachers and administrators in those schools, they will see proof of this progress.

Detroit-based creative agency Skidmore Studio assisted the District with developing its new branding.

“Detroit Public Schools’ 2014-15 budget – and our decision-making – are focused on creating and offering increasingly relevant programs, undertaken on new platforms, presented to new markets, leveraged by public and private resources, while devoting new across-the-board energy to retention strategies,” Martin said.

New strategic initiatives designed to bolster enrollment being offered this year include:

  • No school closings for the 2014-15 School Year: For the first time in six years, the budget does not call for the closure of any schools for the 2014-15 school year, which the district has come to understand can have an extremely adverse impact on enrollment, recruitment, retention and revenues;
  • A renewed commitment to working with all partners on ensuring safe and healthy environments for all students, including on the routes to and from school;
  • Creation of a new gifted and talented school program;
  • Extension of successful dual immersion bilingual programs into a 9th grade collegiate prep setting;
  • Expansion of Career Academy and adult educational regional center programming;
  • Support for a K-12 International Baccalaureate program;
  • Addition of a prep period for K-8 teachers;
  • Expansion of programs for early childhood families, through reorganizing current programs and securing private and foundation support;
  • Art/Music expansion for elementary and middle schools. Across the district, DPS provides robust instrumental music, choral music, general music and visual arts instruction to help every student reach their full academic and creative potential;

“In all cases, these new, expanded and restructured programs follow our detailed strategy to replicate successful academic programs, and to raise the bar academically throughout the city,” Martin said. “We know that the only way we will continue to stabilize and grow enrollment –which will bring with it long-term fiscal stability – is through academic excellence.”

To underscore the “See It Believe It” Campaign, Martin also highlighted tangible progress, including that the number of newly enrolled high school students reached a three-year high, and increased by more than 50 percent from the 2012-13 school year; Detroit Public Schools continues an upward academic trajectory, having closed the gap with state peers in all five subjects on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) since 2011; DPS’ 2014 seniors earned nearly $138 million in scholarships and grants; DPS this year had five Gates Millennium Scholars; and Renaissance High School was named the best high school in Detroit by U.S. News and World Report.

“We are making changes at DPS… positive changes. And we appreciate the support of our partners in ensuring the community is aware – and that they “see” and “believe” in the great things happening at our schools,” Martin said.



Detroit Teachers Participate in Global Change Institute

Twelve middle and high school teachers spent a week at Michigan Technological University recently in a five-day Global Change Teacher Institute. They studied the effects of global change on ecosystems, including the impact of climate change on forests, such as elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels, nitrogen saturation, acid rain and invasive species.

Participating from Detroit Public Schools were Diana Koss and Zakiya Jackson from Ralph J. Brunche Preparatory Academy.

“This was an amazing experience!” Koss said. “I am still in awe that I participated in something this wonderful!”

The institute included field trips to Little Mountain in Baraga County, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the US Forest Service Research Station in Houghton and a Michigan Gradient Study site near Michigan Tech.

The teachers received a copy of the new Michigan Environment Education Curriculum Support climate change unit for use in their schools.

The institute was coordinated by the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach. Professor Andrew Burton, from Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, was the lead instructor. The institute is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Michigan Technological University ( is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

Pasteur Camp “Anywhere and Read”

A first-ever community LitFest was featured at 37 schools holding summer school on Thursday, July 24. Students at Pasteur Elementary School celebrated by pitching tents and participated in group writing activities, oral story sharing and interacted with live storytellers. A total of 7,000 books were distributed during LitFest.

Detroit Public Schools announces major educational initiatives in Southwest Detroit, including new dual-immersion high school program, new adult education site, new gifted and talented program

Announcement follows deep community engagement process and planning with Southwest Detroit community and organizations

Detroit Public Schools has announced several major educational initiatives for schools in Southwest Detroit, including a new dual-immersion high school program, new adult education site, a new gifted and talented program and much more, following a community engagement process with many parents, students, partner organizations and agencies in Southwest Detroit.

“Through our new five-year Strategic Plan initiated in 2013, we’ve implemented many bold and courageous changes to benefit our students, staff, parents, stakeholders, and employees because we realize that ALL of these individuals are our customers – in a sense – and the product they seek is a high-quality public education for our students,” said Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “The exciting new programs we are launching in Southwest Detroit answer many of the needs and desires for quality educational options and programs that our families in this vibrant area have told us they want.”

“These new initiatives have involved many community organizations and stakeholders in their development,” Martin said. “The devotion of their time and energy to weekly planning meetings, as well as ongoing input through forums, surveys, and the DPS Strategic Planning process, is a true testament to their partnership.”

Numerous partnership organizations lauded Detroit Public Schools for its community engagement process, which included a rollout of the new initiatives before more than 150 people at the regular monthly meeting of the Partnership for Youth, Southwest Counseling Solutions.

“Today, in order to educate children so that all students graduate prepared for college, career and life, we all must work together toward that goal. We cannot afford to work in isolation,” said Helena Lazo, Project Coordinator, Partnership for Youth, Southwest Counseling Solutions. “We must be able to hear all voices, including the voices of youth. Too often we have done things ‘for’ youth, but now we need to do things with youth.”

The new programs include:

  • A brand new high school program! Detroit Public Schools is expanding the Academy of the Americas Pre-K to 8 to include a 9th grade in the fall at a new site. The Escuela Preparatoria Academia de las Americas will offer a dual language curriculum, honors classes, and rigorous academic standards.
  • A new adult education center! Beard Southwest Detroit Adult Education and Early Childhood Community Learning Center, 840 Waterman, will house a new Adult English Language Learner program for Spanish and Arabic and a Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum all on one campus.
  • A new 5th grade at Maybury Elementary School, 4410 Porter! Maybury now houses Pre-K to 4 and offers a dual language immersion program, yoga, a new golf program, music and more.
  • A new Gifted and Talented program at the Mark Twain School for Scholars, 12800 Visger! Twain will offer an International Curriculum, Art, Band, Choir, Sports, Foreign Language and an Academic Pathway to the best High Schools.
  • Trained customer care staff fluent in the language of the community at all campuses!
  • Added opportunities at DPS Neighborhood Schools! Detroit Public Schools educates more than 7,800 students in 13 schools in the Southwest Detroit community. Those include Academy of the Americas – Beard – Bennett – Clemente – Clippert – Earhart – Harms – Neinas – Maybury – Munger – Priest – Mark Twain – Western International
  • Enrollment opportunities at the area’s best schools! Six DPS schools are ranked among the best in Detroit by independent Excellent Schools Detroit. Those are Bennett, Roberto Clemente, Clippert, Harms, Maybury and Munger.

Walmart surprises DPS teachers with $1,000 donation and gift baskets filled with back-to-school supplies

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Walmart paid a surprise visit to teachers at Bagley Elementary School to present a dozen baskets filled with back-to-school supplies to teachers working during the summer.

Walmart Store Manager Tracy Simon also provided a $1,000 Walmart Gift Card to help the entire school purchase supplies for the upcoming school year. The donation is part of a nation-wide movement to celebrate teachers where Walmart executives are visiting schools across the country to surprise teachers with much-needed classroom items. More than 50 students and parents were able to witness the surprise donation, which took place during the school’s LitFest.

About the DPS LitFest

To combat the “Summer Learning Slide,” the learning loss that happens when children are not engaged in reading during the summer, Detroit Public Schools, the non-profit LitWorld and the Detroit Public Library have launched a new district-wide summer reading initiative called Everything Literacy! to keep kids engaged with learning throughout the summer. The Everything Literacy! initiative uses a variety of strategies to accomplish this goal, including a first-ever LitFest held at 37 DPS schools on Thursday, July 24. The LitFest included group writing activities, oral story sharing, live storytellers, and a distribution of 7,000 books to participants.

Detroit Public Schools announces multi-year plan to reduce lost school days due to power outages

DPS and DTE working to set priorities and improve reliability

In a move to reduce the number of lost school days due to power outages, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) today announced a plan to transition all schools’ electric power from the City of Detroit Public Lighting Department (PLD) to DTE Energy.

DTE already has begun the process of strengthening the existing system. As a result, some areas should start seeing a reduction in outages this fall.

DPS schools’ electric systems will still be at risk for harsh weather conditions bringing down power lines during storms. However, DPS is hopeful that the overall response to these issues will be much faster than it has been in recent years.

“Our teachers, principals and administration shared the extreme frustration of our parents this past year as the failure of the City of Detroit’s power grid repeatedly hindered the educational process for our children who needed to be in class and learning every single day to ensure academic achievement continues to progress,” said Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “This transition to another power provider was long overdue. Although we know that the DPS electric service may still be at risk as a result of ‘mother nature’ bringing down power lines during storms, we are hopeful that restoration will be much faster than it has been in recent years. The district is encouraged by the progress already underway by DTE to help ensure lost school days will be minimized.”

DTE Energy has already begun to build redundancy into circuits servicing several schools including the circuits connecting Emerson and Ludington schools.

Martin emphasized that while none of the changes are quick fixes – noting that the former PLD system has been in disrepair for years – the collaboration between the city and DTE throughout this process has been excellent. He added that he is pleased both the school district and DTE are working together to find solutions that minimize outages.

“While the complete transition to DTE power lines will take about 5 years, DTE already has taken responsibility for all of PLD’s former customers,” said DPS Chief Operating Officer Mark Schrupp. “Therefore, when we have an outage, we call the DTE service hotline and DTE is responsible for restoring power.”

DTE and DPS officials have met to work out protocols for giving easements to bury new lines and place transformers on district sites, which will also help create more reliable power distribution to DPS schools.

The top five schools that were most affected by PLD power outages during the 2013-14 school year were:

  • Emerson – 12
  • Mason – 12
  • Edison – 10
  • Greenfield Union – 10
  • Bates, Dixon, Mann, Palmer Park Preparatory Academy – 8 each

Detroit Public Schools, LitWorld and Detroit Public Library launch new DPS summer reading initiative: Everything Literacy!

Detroit Public Library & Detroit Public Schools to work together to ensure that every DPS student has a library card

library card campaign flyer_Page_1To combat the “Summer Learning Slide,” the learning loss that happens when children are not engaged in reading during pivotal out-of-school time, Detroit Public Schools, the non-profit LitWorld and the Detroit Public Library are announcing a new district-wide summer reading initiative called Everything Literacy! to keep kids engaged with learning throughout the summer.

The Everything Literacy! initiative engages a variety of strategies to accomplish this goal, including a first-ever LitCamp in conjunction with LitWorld, Accelerated Reader online reading quizzes, and free books for many students, with support from Scholastic Inc.

Through this new partnership, the Detroit Public Library also will work with Detroit Public Schools to ensure that every DPS student has a library card and access to the world of fun and educational resources that a library card provides.  The Library will also work with DPS families to ease existing fees and fines on their child’s library record that keep many students from full use of the Library.

Activities for the Lit Fest

LitFest Flyer

Library Card Information

Library Card Campaign flyer and Card Application

Everything Literacy! seeks to challenge students to read throughout the summer to ensure they are ready to learn on the first day of school this fall,” said Dr. Deborah Winston, Executive Director of the DPS Office of Literacy.  “Research shows that children lose the academic skills they learned throughout the school year if they don’t keep their skills sharp and continue reading throughout the summer.”

A renowned 2007 study by Johns Hopkins University researchers that documented the “Summer Learning Slide” showed that while impoverished children progressed in reading at rates comparable with middle-income students during the school year, reading skills slipped away during the summer among low-income students. The researchers found that the achievement gap in ninth grade can be traced mostly to the differences in summer learning between those two groups throughout the elementary years.

library card campaign flyer_Page_2“The Detroit Public Library understands the importance of summer reading to ensure academic success.  Through this partnership, the Library and DPS will nurture a love of reading that will serve these students for a lifetime,” said Jo Anne Mondowney, Executive Director of the Detroit Public Library.

Pam Allyn, Executive Director of LitWorld and renowned literacy expert, author and speaker, has worked full force to combat the Summer Learning Slide.

“Reading matters so much to a student’s lifetime academic achievement, in fact, that even a summer away from nearness to books and experiences with reading has a detrimental impact on our children,” she said. “By sixth grade, the Summer Learning Slide can account for 80% of the achievement gap.”

This summer, Allyn and the LitWorld team are collaborating with DPS to run the first-ever DPS Summer LitCamp, a literacy and enrichment program designed by LitWorld specifically to combat the Summer Learning Slide. DPS, LitWorld, with support from Scholastic Inc., will also host a community-wide LitFest, an intergenerational reading celebration, in late July. LitWorld is dedicated to working with DPS to give children in the district the tools they need to stay on track this summer, and well into the future.

“LitClub and LitCamp programming cultivate a new generation of leaders, storytellers and academic achievers, effecting change for themselves, their community, and their world,” Allyn said. “We truly value our relationship with Detroit Public Schools, as we work together to create positive literacy outcomes for the wonderful children of this great city.”

The Everything Literacy! program includes:

  • A first-ever community LitFest to be held across all 37 schools holding summer school on Thursday, July 24, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The LitFest will include group writing activities, oral story sharing, live storytellers, and a distribution of 7,000 books to participants; Click to see the  Summer School LitFest Sites!
  • A free book for thousands of DPS children to take home through partnerships with LitWorld and Scholastic Inc.;
  • A new partnership with the Detroit Public Library to ensure that every DPS student has a library card.  The Library will also work with DPS families to ease existing fees and fines on their child’s library record that keep many students from full use of the Library;
  • Access to Accelerated Reader Quizzes in Detroit Public Libraries thanks to a partnership with the Detroit Public Library. Parents and students received reminders prior to the end of the academic year and during the summer school session;
  • An Accelerated Reader Contest open to students of grades 1 – 6, sponsored by the Office of Literacy. Contest winners will receive books and the sixth-grade winner will receive a NOOK;
  • DPS’ first-ever LitCamp in partnership with LitWorld at Marcus Garvey Academy — a one week camp engaging 60 female students in reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities. Campers will also participate in activities such as vocal music, scrapbooking, and yoga. Through the innovative combination of active literacy support, community building, and interactive lessons that span a variety of disciplines and interests, LitCamps provide children with a fun, joyous, and safe way to learn and grow academically and personally and to see the value of a reading culture while creating one together;
  • A one week writing camp for DPS students in grades 3 – 12 through a partnership with the Office of Literacy and the Meadowbrook Writing Project of Oakland University. The fee is $100. Camp dates are:
    • July 14-18, 3-5th grade
    • July 14-18, 6-8th grade
    • July 21-25, 3-5th grade
    • July 21-25, 6-8th grade

Carleton students tour WDIV

The acclaimed Andrew Humphrey, WDIV meteorologist, invited 20 Carleton Elementary School students and their counselor, Valerie Henderson, to the Channel 4 station for a special Career Day tour on Saturday, June 28. Humphrey gave the students a sneak-peek into what goes on behind the scenes including working with a green screen and other high-tech equipment.

Pasteur Elementary celebrates Independence Day

The students and staff at Pasteur Elementary School dedicated the entire week of June 30 to celebrate Independence Day.

Classes learned about the historic day by researching the meaning of the 4th of July and reenacted the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Students showcased their patriotic enthusiasm by creating their own flags, banners and posters. The week concluded with an Independence Day Parade on June 30th outside of Pasteur.

DIA teacher puts DPS on the LitWorld map

Not only are the students at Detroit International Academy (DIA) for Young Woman showcasing their creative sides, teachers are too! DIA Teacher Carmen Perry created a fun and engaging song titled, “Read Along” for the students in her LitClub, an organization that fights women’s illiteracy. Now that same song is sung by girls across the globe.

According to Detroit Public Schools Office of Literacy Executive Director Deborah Winston, DPS is the only district in Michigan that has a partnership with LitWorld.

To view LitClubs in India and Haiti as they sing the “Read Along” song created by DIA, click the links below.

Haitian Creole-
Gujarati from India-