2011 March 7 – Great Things are Happening in DPS

Student achievement

DPS reaches 62 percent graduation rate, the highest since state began new cohort methodology in 2007

Detroit Public Schools has reached a 62 percent graduation rate, the highest since state began new cohort methodology in 2007. The dropout rates for black males and females also fell over the past two years, to 23 percent for black males in 2010, down from nearly 33 percent in 2008; and to 14 percent for black females in 2010, down from 20 percent in 2008.

“Thanks in part to aggressive academic improvements and school leadership restructuring, we are pleased that DPS has reached the highest graduation rate since the state launched a new cohort formula in 2007,” Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb said.  “We still have much work to do to reach our goal of 98 percent of students graduating by 2015, but this is a true testament that our reforms are working and that we are delivering on our promise to ensure more students stay in school. Now, we must redouble our efforts to track every student’s progress and deliver the excellent teaching and support needed to ensure every student graduates and is prepared for higher education.”

To meet its ambitious graduation and student achievement goals, the district reconstituted 22 K-8 schools and 17 high schools, replacing the leadership and significantly modifying the teaching staff within each school.  The system also transformed most of its elementary schools to a new prek-8 configuration, reassigned/hired 91 principals, established principal performance-based contracts, identified and engaged a number of nationally recognized partner providers to support transformation at the school level, created and administered quarterly benchmark assessments aligned to the MEAP and NAEP in grades 3-12 and developed a comprehensive plan of support for the district’s persistently lowest achieving schools. The district also launched a five-year academic plan, which focuses on creating centers of excellence at every school in every neighborhood and institutes reforms throughout the district’s 142 schools, including expanded time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum, pre-algebra for 7th graders, a tutor for every pre-kindergartner through the Volunteer Reading Corps, additional language courses, Advanced Placement courses available at every high school, and more opportunities for student apprenticeships, internships, shadowing and mentorships.

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Special Needs Students

Opening of new Drew Transition Center marks upgrade in building, programming to serve adult special-needs students

Detroit Public Schools this week opened the new Charles R. Drew Transition Center, a facility that will significantly improve the educational opportunities and services provided to special-needs adults ages 20-26.  The center is housed in the former Drew Middle School, which recently underwent a $5.2 million renovation that allows DPS to adequately serve the nearly 500 students who previously attended Detroit Transition Center East and Detroit Transition Center West.  Students who attend Drew Transition Center are visually impaired, hearing impaired, moderately and severely cognitively impaired, physically impaired, otherwise health impaired, and autistic. They learn independent living and employability skills in real-life environments, both within the school site and out in the community. The renovated school combines the best programs of DTC East and DTC West in a bright, well-equipped facility that features a Main Street retail promenade that includes a new wheelchair-accessible theater, along with a working bank, laundry facility, beauty salon, retail clothing store, convenience store, gym and post office. Life-sized images of real banks and post offices and even the new Drew Store, along with benches and trees add realism to the facades along Main Street.

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Parent Resource Centers

Come visit! Parent Resource Centers hold workshops on budgeting, student achievement and more

Detroit Public Schools’ eight Parent Resource Centers are stocked with information and offer workshops and services to help parents. The Resource Centers are comfortable community gathering spaces equipped with multiple computers as well as phones, sofas, small libraries, play areas for children and more. Parents can come to the Resource Centers to get an “I’m In” card that carries discounts to area stores, such as Mr. Alan’s Shoes and Sportswear, Goodyear on W. Grand Blvd., Distinctive Styles Hair Salon in the Fisher Building, and more. The more workshops parents attend, the more incentives they receive by using their Parent Involvement card. Get one today!

Workshops include:

March 1–4
Parenting – Lessons learned from your childhood can help your child be successful academically; Parents are the first teachers to their children. Teaching them what YOU know!
Leadership Series: Title I – What is Title I; Connecting to support parents while increasing student achievement

March 7–11
Family: What Matters the Most? – Traditions, family and forgiveness; Time, routines; money management and homework –how this affects your child’s academic success
Leadership Series: School Improvement – Creating the team to support your school improvement plan; Getting it done! Moving from a plan to action

March 14–18
Home: Is It Really Home Sweet Home? – Building a positive learning environment at home to support your child academically; Doing what’s best for your children
Leadership Series: School Improvement – Creating the team to support your school improvement plan; Getting it done! Moving from a plan to action

March 21–25
Parent(HOOD): The payoff for doing the right thing – It’s time to take the trash out –Eliminating barriers to parenting; Making childhood memories that engage your child academically
Leadership Series: Budgeting – Great parent programs require a plan –you’ve got to budget; Connecting budgets and programs to meet the needs of your parents

March 28–April 1
Connecting: Putting It All Together – Finding the balance between family, home, school and YOU!; The joy of parenting can lead to your child being successful in school

PRC Locations: Osborn High School, Central High School , Cody High School, Priest Elementary School, Marcus Garvey Academy, Detroit School of Arts West-DSA Langston Hughes Campus, Phoenix, the Welcome Center

Workshop times & more information »


College Classes

Nearly 2,600 DPS students enrolled in college classes at their schools through new program with Wayne County Community College

Nearly 2,600 Detroit Public Schools students are now taking college classes through Wayne County Community College District as part of the new Concurrent Enrollment Program, which gives 11th- and 12th-grade students at the district’s 23 comprehensive high schools the opportunity to earn tuition-free college credits. The program is incorporated in DPS’ five-year academic plan, which vastly increased the opportunities for students to learn outside the traditional curriculum, including more extended day opportunities and a robust summer school program. Only about 400 students were participating in dual enrollment opportunities prior to this program. Cass Technical High School leads the way with 470 students enrolled, followed by Denby High School with 293 and Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School with 194. Catherine Ferguson Academy, a school for young mothers, has 27 students enrolled. Some 1,481 students are enrolled in 17 three- and four-credit courses that are taught by WCCCD instructors. These include Business, Psychology, Math, English, Biology and Political Science. Two one-credit courses – Career and Professional Development and Community College Orientation – have a combined enrollment of 1117. DPS and WCCCD are covering students’ costs, with students required to pay only $50 per three-credit course to help defray the cost of textbooks. Applicants were required to be juniors or seniors with an endorsement from their principal, a 2.5 grade point average and no major code-of-conduct issues.

More information »


School construction

Finney High School Demolition begins; The new $46.3 million Finney Crockett High School will be built on the same site

Demolition has begun on the old Finney High School, 17200 Southampton Street, to make way for a new $46.3 million facility that will be built on the same site and merge with Crockett High School.  Demolition crews will take approximately two months to level the vacated building. The new 221,000-square-foot Finney Crocket High School will accommodate up to 1,200 students in a move that will consolidate both campuses when the school opens in 2012. Finney Crockett is one of three high schools that will be built from the ground up in the Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million bond construction program. Design features of the new school are warm, neutral tones for the brick exterior to create a timeless, sustainable look.  The mosaic tile inside the school will be a composition that blends the culture and community using purple, teal, kelly green and white, the four school colors from both Finney and Crockett. The new Finney Crockett will be a LEED Gold Certified state-of-the-art facility featuring four wings that will accommodate eight science laboratories, a high-tech media center, an athletic area with a community health clinic, and a performing arts section. The performing arts wing will include an 800-seat auditorium, a small black box theater with a scene shop and dressing rooms, a 2,400-square-foot band room, and a 1,900-square-foot choir room. A cafeteria commons will anchor the four wings that will also function as an assembly area for programs and events. The indoor athletic wing will have a gymnasium with 1,300 bleacher seats, an eight-lane pool and diving well with balcony seating for 230. Outside facilities include a football and track and field complex with stadium seating for 1,100, four tennis courts, varsity baseball and softball fields and event parking. This year’s sophomore students will be the first class to graduate in the new facility in the spring of 2013.

Read more about the DPS School Construction program »

Community takes a behind-the-scenes look at new MLK

About 100 parents and residents conducted a walk-through of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. The new $46.4 million building will replace the existing Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School with a LEEED 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. Construction scheduled to be complete in Fall 2011.

More community tours are scheduled on new and renovated schools

Public tours and community meetings for five schools in the Detroit Public Schools’ $500.5 million bond construction program will be held this month to update parents, students, facility and stakeholders about the construction progress at the schools. The meetings are free and open to the public. A hard hat tour of the new $20.5 million Gompers PreK to 8 School, 14450 Burt Road, will be held for the Brightmoor community Wednesday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. The Gompers school is the first PreK to 8 facility under construction that is open to the public.  Construction started on the new Gompers school last summer on the site of the former Harding Elementary School. The new LEED Silver Certified school will consolidate and replace three older buildings—Harding, Vetal and Gompers elementary schools—when it opens this fall. Community meetings for four other schools in the bond construction program will be held this month. Attendants will have the opportunity to speak with design builder teams and view renderings, blueprints, and design features of the new and renovated facilities. Four community meetings scheduled this month are:

  • Henry Ford High School, 20000 Evergreen Road
    Thursday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Mumford High School, 17525 Wyoming Street
    Thursday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Bunche PreK to 8 School, 2175 Macomb Street
    Tuesday, March 15 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Munger PreK to 8 School, Detroit Public Library Conley Branch, 4600 Martin Street
    Tuesday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m.

For more updates, visit dpsschoolconstruction.org and follow us on Facebook.


Facilities transition

Sodexo and Partners Begin Work at DPS under New Contract

Sodexo and six minority-owned business partners, four of which are Detroit-headquartered, have assumed responsibility for all custodial, building repair, maintenance, engineering and grounds maintenance for the Detroit Public Schools. Kwame Watkins, Sodexo’s Vice President of School Services/Detroit, will reside in Detroit and lead the team of partners in their efforts to effectively manage DPS property at 136 schools, covering 14.7 million square feet of facilities, so that teachers and administrators can focus on their core mission of educating Detroit children. Sodexo has offered employment to all former DPS employees who have successfully completed the pre-employment process. Sodexo plans to hire a minimum 733 hourly employees which will create a minimum of 34 new jobs, not including management positions. Applications are still being processed for those DPS employees who were not able to attend the job fair. A recent orientation introduced new employees to Sodexo and its partners’ processes and gave them tools to ensure a smooth transition.

“We were very gratified by the positive response from former DPS employees and look forward to a smooth orientation process and a smooth transition,” said Watkins. “The employees were very upbeat and optimistic as they went through the job fair and we are confident that will continue as we prepare for schools to reopen after their winter break this week.”


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