Eighteen local and national organizations submitted bids to transform 50 schools, including some duplicates, into DPS-authorized charters as part of the DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan, a transformative plan to engage proven charter school operators and create a portfolio of outstanding schools.
Detroit Public Schools is working with The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the national leader in charter school authorizing, on the proposal and startup for Renaissance initiative, including the competitive and rigorous RFP (Request for Proposal) process. Bids were due Monday.
The bidder organizations include: Innovative Education Programs (I.E.P.); Peak Performance; Education and Management Networks, Inc. (EMAN); International Education Group; Universal Management; Global Education Excellence; Mosaica Education; Charter School Administration Services (CSAS); Leona Group; Visions Education; Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO); Aims Inc.; Urban Charter School Network; Robert Shumake/Take the Land Nonprofit Housing Corp.; Northstar Academies; Choice Academies; American Charter Education Services / Midwest Management Company; and New Paradigm For Education.
“We are pleased with the broad experience of many of the organizations that applied and their potential to transform academically-challenged schools,” said Emergency Manager Robert Bobb. “In a number of cases, the applicants already run one or more schools that significantly outperform the DPS schools they seek to operate, as measured by the Excellent Schools Detroit report cards.”
“It is gratifying to see the outpouring of interest in this initiative,” said Greg Richmond, CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. “Detroit should be proud of itself. People are stepping forward to do the hard work that is needed to provide better schools for children.”
As part of the overall process, some bidders identified a school or schools they wished to operate. Multiple schools were sought by several of the companies, with 18 unique DPS schools listed in the proposals. Following the evaluation process, some operators may be asked to consider providing services to alternate schools as identified by the district or be given conditional approval to operate a school in 2012.
The schools named in the proposals by interested operators include: Jemison, Gardner, Carver, Howe, Davison, White, Loving, Burns, Noble, Nolan, Stewart, Brewer, Detroit City High, Catherine Ferguson Academy, Hancock, Barsamian, MacDowell and Clark.
Applicants additionally submitted proposals for 26 DPS schools for potential charters but did not specify the schools sought. As was envisioned under the proposal process, DPS will work to match qualified applicants with schools earlier identified as eligible for chartering during Phase I of the Renaissance Plan.
The DPS Renaissance 2012 Plan seeks to radically restructure academically-failing schools and significantly reduce operating costs by seeking proposals from local and national groups and charter school operators for 45 of the district’s 141 schools. DPS will serve as the authorizer of the charter schools beginning in fall 2011.
The district sought only experienced organizations that would be charged with raising student achievement in the schools that were identified by DPS for possible conversion.
Operators are only being considered if they have run a charter school in Michigan for at least 3.5 years. DPS sought operators that meet the following criteria:
- Demonstrate at least a 90 percent graduation rate in an existing school or schools;
- Have a recognized model for academic quality;
- Have at least 75 percent of students show proficiency on state math exams;
- Have at least 75 percent proficiency on state reading exams;
- Have experience in urban educational settings with more than 500 students;
- Have a willingness to hold conversations with communities surrounding each school.
Charters from DPS would be for 5 years, with renewals based on performance.
NACSA and DPS now will evaluate applications for the new charter schools that seek to open this fall and will make recommendations to the Emergency Manager on those applications by early June. NACSA will also monitor the start-up activities of the approved schools over the summer and will develop the application process for schools to start in the fall of 2012.
The district is making rapid progress on the plan. On Saturday, the National Charter Schools Institute provided training for more than 50 residents of more than 200 who stepped forward to join new Detroit Public Schools-authorized charter school boards. A second workshop on May 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DPS Welcome Center, Conference Room A, 3031 W. Grand Blvd, is full. DPS soon will announce an additional date for June.
The district also held a bidder conference, drawing more than 70 organizations and conducted 67 walk-throughs for operators interested in transforming district schools into charters.