For Immediate Release
July 16, 2009

Contact: Steve Wasko at 313-873-4542; cell 313-212-5636;
Or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; cell: 313-401-9018;

Detroit Public Schools today announced a $148.4 million reinvestment plan to transform the educational system that, when approved, would result in class size reductions in early grades, enhanced extended day programs, high priority school partnerships, Netbooks for nearly all DPS students in grades 6-12 as well as their teachers, “Double Dosing” of high school math and English Language Arts instruction, expanded professional development and increased supplemental learning materials.

To pay for these programs, the district is submitting applications to the Michigan Department of Education for Federal stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama to create and save jobs, jumpstart our economy, and build the foundation for long-term economic growth.

And soon, the district will announce a massive facilities modernization and investment plan, which will be a key piece of the puzzle to reinventing the district’s education model and ensuring student success.

“In DPS we have taken a strategic approach to the stimulus dollars to innovate within the system. These stimulus funds will provide tangible assistance as we work to build centers of excellence in every school in every neighborhood, by helping us to continue the academic transformation taking place in the Detroit Public Schools,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb. “There is no better way to build the foundation for the long term than starting in the classroom. These investments have immediate and long term benefits for our community. This is focusing on children, something that we must doggedly do, like a laser beam, every waking hour. We know that not doing so over many years has caused irreparable harm to the children.”

Funding for the academic improvements would be available as soon as September 1, if approved by the Michigan Department of Education. DPS has sought to begin work early on several of the items.

“To our parents,” Bobb said, “we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that your students receive the very best education in the most rigorous classroom setting we can provide. If you partner with me and us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf.”

Key portions of the $148.4 million budget for academic enhancement include:

* $ 18.2 million for class size reductions in the early learning grades.

* $15 million for Learning Village, a web-based product that features
online lesson plans, on-going assessments to measure student achievement,
and supplemental literacy materials, all of which will ensure that teachers
are able to create, organize, and deliver effective, individualized

* $16.5 million for an extended day program consisting of two hours a day,
three days a week for 20 weeks, which is designed to provide additional support in
reading and mathematics.

* $1 million for a Professional Development software tracking program
that will ensure that teacher professional development activities are
directly tied to student achievement and will assist administrators to
determine additional professional development needs for their buildings.

* $1.7 million for “Double Dosing” ninth grade mathematics and English
language arts courses for struggling students to ensure success in ninth grade, which is the greatest predictor of improved high school graduation rates.

* $14.2 million for Netbooks, supporting over 36,000 students and 4,000
teachers in grades 6-12 through cost-effective access to technology that will
support hands-on, project-based learning.

* $25 million to provide supplemental materials for the mathematics and
literacy initiatives to fill the gap between the district’s adopted
materials and state assessments and to offer support to students who need additional learning opportunities.

* $1 million for NovaNet, which will provide credit recovery
opportunities for students, helping them to stay on track with their
graduation requirements.

* $11.2 million for extensive professional development to support these initiatives.

And building on an announcement the district made last week to turn around failing high schools, the plan also includes $20 million for all 40 high priority schools so each will have a Turnaround partner with a proven track record in raising student achievement — such as EdWorks, Edison, Model Secondary Schools Project or Institute for Student Achievement.

The Title I stimulus funding will save a total of 192 jobs of educators.

“These initiatives are key to building Centers of Excellence in every school for every child in every neighborhood,” said Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the district’s Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor.

“Our academic plan, coupled with the district’s equally historic reconstruction plan to be announced soon, sets the stage for an unparalleled reinvestment in Detroit’s children and their future. Today, we are saying that Detroit’s children deserve the same opportunities as their peers in suburban districts and private schools, and we intend to give them those opportunities,” she said.

Bobb also pointed out that the school district will implement a financial tracking system to effectively monitor the spending of funds and that, separately, the district is working on completing the Michigan Department of Education’s Project ReImagine application.

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