NEWS from Detroit Public Schools
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Detroit Public Schools General Superintendent Connie K. Calloway, Ph.D. invited the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) to send Peer Review Teams to audit the district’s curriculum and instruction, finance, procurement, information technology and facilities areas. The site visits began in 2007. The final reports were presented to the public today at a Special Meeting of the Detroit Board of Education.

Council Executive Director Michael Casserly, Ph.D. said, “We thank General Superintendent Dr. Calloway who first called us in after just two months in her current position. It is not easy to ask for the kind of review that a project such as this entails. It takes leadership, courage, openness, and an uncompromising commitment to the city’s children. She has those qualities in abundance. There have been substantial outside forces over the last decade that have led to conditions facing the district today.”

Dr. Casserly continued, “This is baseline data from which a proactive agenda can be developed. Detroit Public Schools troubles are long-standing and deep.”

Dr. Calloway commented, “We thank the Council of Great City Schools, which is well respected, and the experienced school administrators from peer districts, for their work. We welcome this and view the findings, along with the earlier Governor’s Transition Team Report and the 2006 – 2007 audits, as components of an overall Blueprint for Change moving forward.” She noted that some actions recommended by the Council have already been put into place even before the final report was completed. These include, among others, the hiring of a Chief Information Officer, the creation of a parent newsletter and other communications vehicles, full day Kindergarten and a long-range facilities committee to review building usage including school closures that will assure that whenever a school is closed that the affected students will be offered stronger academic options.

Detroit Board of Education President Carla D. Scott, M.D. noted that the CGCS report concludes by giving Detroit hope in light of the fact that other large urban districts have made the same tough decisions. Leadership including the Board, administration and the Coalition of Bargaining Unions have the responsibility to work together to overcome the Herculean system challenges for the benefit of the children of Detroit Public Schools.

Drs. Scott and Calloway agreed with the report’s recommendations that Information Technology is the most urgent goal and that a commitment of full financial and human resources have to be made to address issues in this area, which supports all of the other operations of the district. “The district is committed to this first step in a cycle of continuous growth and improvement.”
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