Banks, major university, hotel partner with DPS in new Volunteer Business Corps aimed at improving student achievement

Contact:
Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546
steven.wasko@detroitk12.org
kisha.verdusco@detroitk12.org

From left: Robert Bobb, Richard DeVore, PNC Bank, Roop Raj, Fox 2, April Brooks, Doubletree Fort Shelby, Penny Bailer, City Year Detroit, Karen O'Keefe, Office Depot, Brooke Franklin, Detroit Regional Chamber, Gompers Elementary Principal Bobbie Posey Milner, and Chuck Rivers of Michigan State University.

From left: Robert Bobb, Richard DeVore, PNC Bank, Roop Raj, Fox 2, April Brooks, Doubletree Fort Shelby, Penny Bailer, City Year Detroit, Karen O'Keefe, Office Depot, Brooke Franklin, Detroit Regional Chamber, Gompers Elementary Principal Bobbie Posey Milner, and Chuck Rivers of Michigan State University.

Banks, universities, hotel partner with DPS in new Volunteer Business Corps aimed at improving student achievement

Leaders from banks, a major university, an aviation company, the philanthropic communities and other firms on Thursday joined DPS to launch a new school adoption program aimed at improving academic achievement and supporting the district’s rigorous five-year academic plan.

Flanked by representatives from PNC Bank, The Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel, Michigan State University, Office Depot, Fox 2 News, the Detroit Regional Chamber and City Year Detroit, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb announced the creation of the Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D. program (Businesses/Organizations Optimizing Learning in Detroit), which aims to create new school partnerships throughout the district and ensure those partnerships are working to the maximum benefit of both schools and organizations.

“The range of business partners who already have committed to helping Detroit’s schoolchildren succeed and learn, including major banks, hotels and universities, and recently General Motors’ extraordinary commitment of support, shows that this community believes in DPS and knows that we all have to work together to create a world-class school district,” Bobb said. “With the greatly enhanced rigor we’ve instituted in the classrooms, it’s the right time for all businesses — large and small, in Detroit and the suburbs — to join with us so that every school has the resources it needs to become a Center of Excellence.”

Over the last 13 months, test scores from the math
and reading portions of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that Detroit schoolchildren scored the lowest marks in the history of the 40-year test. The results underscored the fact that even though the district has begun to undertake dramatic reforms, far more needs to be done – and the district cannot do it alone, Bobb said.

The DPS Volunteer Business Corps Office will assist with all partnerships, including existing partnerships that choose to continue under the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D. model. Organizations representing the public and private sectors, including Chase Bank, the Skillman Foundation, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Freemasons and Barnstormers, a 20-employee flight company that transports VIPs and others into and out of the city, have committed to operating under the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D.

“We are excited about continuing our very successful partnership with Gompers Elementary through the new Volunteer Business Corps,” said Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel General Manager Shannon Dunavent. “Adopting a school isn’t simply about giving back, it’s about making sure the future leaders of this city and beyond have the guidance and resources they need to succeed, and I encourage other business leaders to make this commitment to the children of DPS.”

“PNC’s $2.1 million investment in the children of Detroit, in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools, will help prepare kids for the demands of a knowledge-based economy,” said Ric DeVore, PNC regional president, Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “This effort is part of PNC’s signature program, Grow Up Great, a 10-year investment to help prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life. We’re pleased to align Grow Up Great with the B.O.L.D. program and other businesses that are helping to move DPS forward.”

Each partnership will be unique because it will be designed by the partner in conjunction with the school’s principal or designee and with support from the Volunteer Business Corps/B.O.L.D office. Together, schools and their partners will develop programs that will specifically address each school’s academic needs. For example, Fox 2 will be paired with Communication and Media Arts High School, which is getting its fledgling broadcast curriculum off the ground, and Barnstormers will be paired with Davis Aerospace High School, where students learn to fly airplanes.

Volunteers inside school buildings will be required to submit to background checks and to participate in training before they begin volunteering. Principals will also receive professional development on the management of partnerships.

Businesses and organizations that sign up will be required to participate in a one-day school service project and an annual partner recognition event and to provide two of the following:

Tutoring

  • Provide tutors who focus on reading, writing, math, social studies and/or science for no more than five students per session.
  • Required contact time minimum is 12 hours per student, per semester.
  • The structure can be tailored to fit school and company needs, example: one person offering one hour of tutoring for 12 weeks or two hours every other week, etc.

Education to Life

  • Provide job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships or employment opportunities for students.
  • Guide students toward future careers through exposure to the organization’s specialty.
  • Assist students in gaining knowledge about the job-search process, the interview process, college application and scholarship seeking, employment skills and resume writing.
  • Opportunities can include using extra-curricular activities that will enhance academic achievement, including experiences that can connect students to collegiate opportunities or career experiences

Mentoring

  • Provide weekly one-on-one mentoring of a student.

School Beautification/Facility Improvement

  • Coordinate projects to improve the learning environment twice a semester. Projects could include remodeling of a classroom, implementing a sustainability/greening project, sponsoring or facilitating environmental education projects, school building or classroom repairs and school grounds upkeep.

Organizations may also become financial sponsors of the program without participating. Contributions will go toward administrative costs of the program and supporting special events.

A kickoff event for the B.O.L.D. program is scheduled for Thursday January 27, 2011, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive. Businesses and organizations will learn more about how they can get involved in the program.

To sign up or to learn more, call (313) 870-3799, email businesscorps@detroitk12.org or visit http://detroitk12.org/businesscorps.

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