DPS schools score successes with mergers, relocations

Several Detroit Public Schools’ principals are touting successful transitions after their schools merged with other buildings or relocated.

Southwestern: Stefana Romanov, principal at Southwestern High School, received students from Chadsey High, now closed. “There were several factors which contributed to a smooth transition at Southwestern,” Romanov said. “First, there were so many improvements made to our building that it feels like a new school even to former students.”

The staff Romanov selected is a blend of teachers from the two schools plus several from other buildings. They collaborated prior to the start of school to form a new team. Romanov also introduced a series of rules and expectations regarding dress code, attendance, behavior and academic performance which were communicated to students and parents and which are being enforced every day. This also contributes to a feeling of being in a new school for all students, staff and parents “and nobody can claim the home advantage,” Romanov said. Former Chadsey students can also pick up a bus at the closed school to take to Southwestern daily. Southwestern is at 6921 W. Fort Street.

Durfee: Durfee, Birney and Winterhalter students are blending together as a family, said Tracy C. Johnson, Principal of Durfee PreK-8 School. Middle school students wear different uniforms to distinguish who they are according to grade level and have the third floor to themselves.

The students are well-behaved, in good spirits and enjoying the upgrades to the building, she said. Durfee was part of the district’s $32 million in summer rush construction. The total investment cost for Durfee was $1,064,920. Durfee is at 2470 Collingwood Street.

Garvey Academy: Garvey merged with Barbour and Butzel schools. “We had a clear plan and mission and vision and articulated that to parents and staff,” said Principal James Hearn.

The school community came together with helping supervise children. Separate meetings with students, staff and parents outlined expectations. Hearn will hold an assembly tomorrow with elementary students around 1 p.m. to talk about being a school family. Garvey is at 2301 Van Dyke Street.

J.R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy: At J.R. King, the school has enrolled 130 new students to the building over the counter during the past 2 weeks. The school has an additional 25 students for Kindergarten and will open a new classroom. The projection is 1,080 if all students remain at the site. It’s all about teamwork, and about not dwelling on what was, or used to be,” said parent leader Dolores Smith Jackson. “We started visiting the new site even before the end of the last school year, and with the leadership of Principal Vivian Hughes-Norde formed a committee that included all key school and district stakeholders. Everyone worked together.” The total summer construction investment cost for J.R. King Pk-8 is $2,491,392. J.R. King is at 15850 Strathmoor Street.

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