DPS selects three charter operators with proven track records for raising student achievement to run the first 5 DPS-authorized Renaissance charters

Detroit Public Schools on Thursday announced the selection of three charter operators with proven records of raising student achievement to run five new charter schools beginning in fall 2011 under the district Renaissance 2012 plan.

Following an extremely rigorous bidding and community vetting process, conducted in partnership with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, DPS has selected the following companies:

  • New Paradigm For Education (NPFE), which currently operates Edison Public School Academy, one of Detroit’s top 10 elementary schools, has been chosen as the new operator for Glazer Elementary and Loving Elementary. Edison’s students had an average proficiency of 87 percent in reading and 88 percent in math over the last three years.
  • Global Education Excellence (GEE), which raised student achievement at its existing schools, will operate Edmonson and White.
  • Educational and Management Networks (EMAN), which has significantly raised academic achievement at Oakland International Academy, will operate Hamilton. Oakland International Academy school boasts 95.2 percent proficiency in third grade math and 74.6 percent proficiency in reading, a 19.3 percent increase over reading scores five years ago.

Open Houses:

  • The parents of Hamilton will have an opportunity to meet representatives of EMAN and to learn more about their programs in a meet-and-greet scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday June 14, 2011 at the school.
  • Parents of White will have an opportunity to meet representatives of GEE and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday June 14 at the school.
  • Parents of Edmondson will have an opportunity to meet representatives of GEE and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday June 13 at the school.
  • Parents of Loving will have an opportunity to meet representatives of New Paradigm and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for Wednesday, June 15 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the school.
  • Parents of Glazer will have an opportunity to meet representatives of New Paradigm and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for Thursday, June 16 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the school.

The district selected those proven operators from among 19 local and national organizations that submitted bids to transform 50 schools 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.

The DPS schools selected for transformation had an average performance of 44.5 percent passing reading and math tests combined, according to the Excellent Schools Detroit report card.

Detroit Public Schools has been 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. The district has also held training for more than 100 people interested in becoming members of the new charter boards.

“The main concern for Detroit Public Schools should be creating the best educational opportunities for parents and students,” said DPS Emergency Manager Roy S. Roberts. “Today, we are demonstrating our commitment to creating a system of outstanding schools by selecting three proven operators with track records of success for raising student achievement to run five of our lowest-performing schools.”

“We followed a rigorous vetting process and involved parents, community leaders and stakeholders to select the best operators,” Roberts said. “We will continue to involve the community and call on everyone to work together as we transform the Detroit Public Schools system into one that is fully focused on creating a system of excellent schools.”

Open Houses will be held for the school communities and their new operators and letters are going home to all parents with information about the new operators.

“These three organizations met high standards for approval,” said Greg Richmond, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.  “They are already running good schools and they demonstrated the ability to open more schools on a tight timeline this summer.  This is an exciting time for Detroit because thousands of children will be attending better schools this fall.”

Detroit Public Schools will serve as the authorizer of the new charter schools and will hold the schools accountable for meeting student achievement goals and other requirements.

About the operators:

Educational and Management Networks (EMAN)

EMAN, which operates Oakland International Elementary and Middle Schools, has received recognition for academic excellence: 2009 “Good Schools Award” from the Skillman Foundation; 2010 Skillman Foundation “Making the Grade High Performing Schools. The Oakland-International Academy High School has a graduation rate of 90 percent and meets the 75 percent proficiency requirement in reading. EMAN has significantly raised academic achievement at Oakland International Academy in Detroit over the last eight years of managing the school. Test scores at the 7th grade level in math and reading have risen 70.3 and 37.3 percent, respectively, over the last five years under EMAN’s management.  The school boasts 95.2 percent proficiency in third grade math and 74.6 percent proficiency in reading, a 19.3 percent increase over reading scores five years ago.

EMAN expressed clear plans to engage prospective school communities by developing surveys and hosting open house and forum events. EMAN proposes a 7:50 am to 3:00 pm school day with a schedule consisting of extended blocks of English/Language Arts and Math. The school will also offer after-school programming every day. EMAN’s proposed curriculum is aligned to the state and local requirements. The proposal indicated several research-based and unique strategies to improve academic performance. Strategies include differentiated instruction, cross-curricular approaches with emphasis on the core standards, and the cohort/looping model. The cohort model involves teachers following students through grade-level progression. EMAN purports that this cohort approach will lessen the learning curve and allow teachers to effectively work with the strengths and weaknesses of the students.

EMAN articulated a clear and comprehensive understanding of the process to identify, assess, and refer students with special needs. EMAN’s approach to serving students with special needs includes providing planning time for special and general education teachers to meet and collaborate, as well as lessen a student’s time outside the classroom and instead provide in-class aides for small group work.

Open House:

The parents of Hamilton will have an opportunity to meet representatives of EMAN and to learn more about their programs in a meet-and-greet scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday June 14, 2011 at the school.

Global Educational Excellence (GEE)

Global Educational Excellence (GEE) proposed an academic program that is likely to yield success in improving the academic performance of students who have historically not met academic standards. In particular, a sound curricular program is proposed that is combined with a cohesive educational approach, instructional strategies, and assessment plan. GEE has demonstrated success in managing charter schools, raising achievement at existing schools.

The academic program aligns well with the mission to promote lifelong learning by nurturing academic excellence, positive character, and appreciation of cultures.

GEE plans a compelling academic program that will lead to improved student achievement with its focus on readiness strategies and the establishment of a sound school climate. The readiness strategies promote a culture focused on improved student performance and are research-based. The daily schedule will use 120-minute learning blocks for literacy and 50-minute blocks for math, which are necessary to address the likely deficiencies that students may possess.

The curriculum is aligned to the Michigan Curriculum Framework benchmarks, grade level content expectations, and Common Core Standards. The curriculum will be augmented by sound instructional strategies, including learning blocks, Teaching for Mastery, and sheltered instruction. Appropriate professional development is planned. The school will also offer services before, during, and after school with an emphasis on developing English language fluency for ELL students. The school will offer enrichment programs, including Saturday school and programs for parents. The proposal includes goals that are aggressive, but necessary for a successful turnaround. A Chief Academic Officer will oversee the assessment program; data will be monitored on an ongoing basis and in various ways, including test data results, walkthroughs, student success, and use of specific programs, and used to make decisions about curriculum and instruction. Data will be housed in the Test Wiz database, which allows for quick data analysis to identify what needs to happen for students, such as differentiates instruction or intervention. GEE has appropriate plans for addressing the needs of ELL and special needs students.

Open Houses:

Parents of White will have an opportunity to meet representatives of GEE and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday June 14 at the school.

Parents of Edmondson will have an opportunity to meet representatives of GEE and to learn more about their programs in a special meet-and-greet scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday June 13 at the school.

New Paradigm for Education (NPFE)

New Paradigm for Education (NPFE) currently operates Edison Public School Academy, one of Detroit’s top 10 elementary schools, has been chosen as the new operator for Glazer Elementary.

According to the Excellent Schools Detroit Report Card, Edison’s students had an average proficiency of 87 percent in reading and 88 percent in math over the last three years.  In addition, the school was the first charter school in Michigan to receive the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the state’s Department of Education following a rigorous review process.

New Paradigm for Education has an incredibly robust plan to replicate the existing model at Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA). The replication schools will utilize the same curriculum and educational model as DEPSA, which includes 90-minute blocks in math and reading. Instruction is supported by a tiered assessment plan, which includes regular assessments every eight weeks. School culture includes tangible rituals, activities, artifacts, and policies, as well as clear expectations for students and families.

The team has assembled a strong Charter Management Organization (CMO)/Educational Service Provider (ESP) to manage DEPSA, as well as future replication school(s). The CMO is comprised of qualified individuals with diverse skill sets and expertise, including several with charter school start-up and turnaround experience. The new schools will benefit from the close partnership with Focus HOPE, a long-standing civil and human rights organization that provides numerous services to the community in which DEPSA is located. The partnership with Focus HOPE will aid NPFE in the turnaround effort by promoting parent and community buy-in and providing comprehensive services to the community.

The new schools will stress the importance of impeccable uniforms, meaningful student work throughout the school, parent volunteer opportunities, a clean school environment, morning meetings recognizing students to promote ownership, and pride assemblies. Expectations for students and families will be established at the outset. For example, the school will pay close attention to teacher attire because teachers model success by “dressing the part.”

The replication schools will utilize the same curriculum and educational model as DEPSA – a high performing school that has demonstrated consistent growth and exceeds the 75 percent proficiency threshold established for this process. The DEPSA model offers a robust curriculum aligned to state standards, and an extended day schedule, which includes 90-minute blocks in math and reading using research-based programs, such as Everyday Math and Success for All. As a foundation, the replication schools will also use Scott Foresman for science and Houghton Mifflin curriculum for Social Studies.

The robust assessment plan, which includes an intake assessment, includes SMI/SRI assessments every eight weeks, and common grade-level assessments designed by teachers. Students who are performing below grade level, as determined by the intake assessment, are expected to make the equivalent of one and a half years’ growth annually. Those students who are not progressing, based on the interim assessments, are assigned to individual tutoring until they begin to advance. Students with more significant academic needs are referred to the “Solutions Team” for increased assessment to determine weaknesses and develop an individualized plan. The Solutions Team, a strategy being implemented at DEPSA, is a small collective of parents, teachers, and administrators who work together to identify some of the underlying issues that contribute to low student achievement and/or academic growth.

Background on the Renaissance 2012 Plan

To qualify, DPS sought operators that met 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.
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