2011 February 21 – Great Things are Happening in DPS

Midwinter Break News Flash

Parent Resource Centers are open for business with workshops during MidWinter Break

Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Parent Network officials announced new plans for parent and family workshops to run throughout next week’s Midwinter Break at all district Parent Resource Centers. The district and DPN, which are committed to tracking and improving parental involvement through a performance-based contract, also unveiled data showing that the 10-month-old Parent Resource Centers have logged more than 10,000 visits! The workshops ongoing Midwinter break build upon parent academic kits distributed over the recent Christmas/New Year’s break to keep students engaged during periods when classes are not in session. Workshops are ongoing in the Centers whenever school is open.

Workshops for Winter Break, from Feb. 21–25, include:

Play and Learn – Michigan State University: This session is for parents to engage with their children ages 4-5 to learn math, motor, and other early learning skills through interactive music and song. Parents can gain tips on how to use practical items in the home to create a musical festival. Every family will leave with a musical gift.

Money, Money, Money – Sponsored by PNC BANK: Cannot open a new account because of past problems? Parents can learn how taking one session can wipe the slate clean and set up a new account with a bank. This workshop is geared to help parents stop using the checks cashed system, which has high fees and interest rates. Parents will also engage in fun activities while learning to develop and manage a budget; discuss affordable educational saving options; and qualify for cash raffles.

GAME DAY—Family Challenge—African American History: This is a fun interactive series of educational games that focus on African American History. Families can win a movie night out or a family bowling night and compete with other families while learning the history and contributions of African Americans.

TAX TIME – Sponsored by United Way for Southeast Michigan: Parents can take advantage of free online tax filing for individuals or couples who make under $57,000 each year. During the break, Beehive Volunteers will be onsite to assist individuals who may have questions or need clarity as they walk through this easy-to-use online system to file your taxes.

Detroit Public Schools has eight Parent Resource centers geographically spread across Detroit.

More information and locations »


Construction Update

Glass goes in at the new Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School

DETROIT — Glass panels are being added today to the front façade of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. More than 1,000 square feet of 4-foot by 8-foot vision glass panels have been installed to the commons area that will house the new school’s cafeteria and an amphitheater for smaller assemblies. The glass façade was designed to open the building to the neighborhood. The roof overhang faces southwest at Larned and McDougall to capture the largest amount of natural light and make the LEED Gold-certified building more energy efficient. Construction of the façade and installation of the windows took about 30 days.

The school is scheduled to open this fall. The new $46.4 million building will replace the existing Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School with a LEED Gold Certified state-of-the-art facility emphasizing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Curriculum. The new building will have a cyber café and media center and will connect to the current auditorium and performing arts building, which will be remodeled. The opposite end of the school will feature a new varsity gymnasium and a multi-lane natatorium. MLK students will attend classes in the existing facility throughout construction; once students are relocated, the old building will be demolished.

Jenkins/Granger, a 49% Detroit-headquartered firm, is the design builder for the MLK project.


Community artisans salvage bricks, limestone archways at Munger/Chadsey demolition site for a community garden in Southwest Detroit

Local artisans preserving a piece of Southwest Detroit’s history are digging through piles of debris and rubble to salvage bricks, limestone archways, and o ther historic materials from two of Detroit’s public schools being torn down to build a brand new $22.3 million PreK to 8 school in the community. Members of 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios have been granted access by Detroit Public Schools to dig through tons of piles of debris and rubble to salvage historic building materials from the former Munger Middle School and Chadsey High School that were built in the 1920s. Heavy demolition of both schools is underway at the intersection of Martin and McGraw streets. Salvaged items will be preserved and relocated to a community garden that will be developed on the grounds of the Detroit Public Library Conely Branch this spring. The nonprofit arts group, along with other Southwest Detroit-based community organizations, received a grant from the Skillman Foundation and other charitable organizations to develop a community garden to be developed around the neighborhood’s public library, located at Martin Street and Michigan Avenue several blocks from the school campus. Work by volunteers on the community garden will begin this spring.

“The Munger and Chadsey schools are an important asset to this community and belong to the people here,” said Jacob Martinez, 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios member. “This neighborhood that has roots that go deep and we want to preserve as much as we can for the next generation.”


Maintenance contract

DPS Employees come out in full force for Job Fair

Nearly 700 Detroit Public Schools’ facilities management employees participated in a job fair being held by Sodexo recently and seven local minority-owned business partners who will assume custodial, building repair, maintenance, engineering and grounds services for the district. The job fair was held exclusively for DPS employees at the DPS Welcome Center in Detroit’s New Center area. Each employee completed a job application and received an individual interview, as well as undergoing a background check and drug testing. The new contract will mean a five year savings of $72.1 million, onetime savings and annual rental income totaling $3.6 million, resulting in a total five year savings and income of $75.7 million.

“Our goal was to interview all 699 DPS current facilities management employees as well as some who were on leave of absence by the end of the job fair,” said Patricia Bryson, Sodexo Human Resources Director. “We have met that goal and interviewed 699 applicants. We are extremely pleased with this overwhelming turnout.” Sodexo is notifying everyone who participated in the job fair the status of their application. An orientation is next week.

Read more


DPS partners

PNC Bank employees’ clothing drive benefits DPS pre-K students

More than 1,200 pairs of boots, socks and underwear collected by PNC employees at 116 branches in the bank’s Detroit market were distributed on Valentine’s Day to students at seven Detroit Public Schools as part of the $2.1 million Grow Up Great early childhood initiative. Grow Up Great in Detroit is a partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the Detroit Science Center and the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts to establish new programs in science and the arts. The program has equipped classrooms with musical instruments and art supplies, and students are being exposed to a variety of arts programs through field trips. The program is made possible by the largest donation to date to the DPS Foundation.

DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan helped distribute the clothing items to pre-kindergarten students at Emerson Elementary. Across the city, PNC employees also distributed items at Beard Early Childhood Center, Beckham Academy, Blackwell Institute, Burton International, Priest Elementary and Schulze School.


Detroit Public School League

Detroit Public School League pays tribute to Class of 2011 college football scholarship recipients

A week after severe winter weather forced cancellation of the Detroit Public School League’s National Letter of Intent Signing Day ceremony, the PSL’s 23 college football scholarship recipients had their day in the sun in front of parents, family, administrators and coaches. The scholar-athletes and their supporters filled the Albert Kahn Building library for the PSL recognition program, which was widely covered by the media. Each college-bound player was introduced and ceremoniously signed a poster with their college’s name and emblem.

Renaissance High’s Lawrence Thomas, ranked the top recruit in the state by both the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, and Southeastern High linebacker Ed Davis both signed with Michigan State.

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Alumni Association

“Diana Ross,” “Aretha Franklin,” “Henry Ford” and “Gerald Ford” recruited for DPS Alumni Association for first-ever Drop and Drive event

Diana Ross (Cass and Commerce High Schools), Aretha Franklin (Northern and Commerce), Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, Rosa Parks, Mayor Coleman Young (Eastern and Miller), Art Van Elslander (Denby), Elijah McCoy, “Bo” Schembechler Jr. and other famous Detroiters – or more accurately, their likenesses — recruited new members for the Detroit Public Schools Alumni Association recently for the district’s first-ever Drop and Drive event. Thanks to a loan from the Parade Company, the Papier-mâché Big Head likenesses of 11 famous Detroiters were outside the New Center One Building, soliciting memberships from motorists and passersby. The Papier-mâché heads came from the Parade Company’s “Heads of Detroit” collection are among those seen every year in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. DPS thanks the Parade Company for the loan of the Big Heads.

Register for the DPS Alumni Association at detroitk12.org/alumni. Click on “Register Now ”.


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