DPS is launching a program to keep some schools open over the holiday break, providing parent workshops, as well as meals and academic learning to students in need

The district is calling for a communitywide effort to recruit hundreds of volunteers to help run the first-time-ever program

Detroit Public School announced today that it will keep a portion of the district’s schools open and expects to serve thousands of students over the holiday break by providing extended academic opportunities, free meals and food baskets for the first time ever this year. The full list of schools will be announced Monday.

Through the brand new Holiday Learning Fest, a program sponsored in part by the Office of Food Services, schools will remain open to students for six days (December 27, 28, 29, 2011 and January 3, 4, 5, 2012) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide learning, fun activities and nourishment for students. The district also will be offering special parent workshops in the eight Parent Resource Centers.

“During the break, we know that many of our children could benefit from a continuation of academic opportunities that serve as supplemental or remedial,” said Karen Ridgeway, Superintendent for Academics. “We also know that, in these difficult financial times, many of our children will not receive the adequate nutrition they normally receive through the DPS Office of Food Service.”

Therefore, the district is calling on the entire community to step up to volunteer their time for this first-time effort.

“In this season of giving, there is no better gift than to give the gift of time and caring to children in need,” said Steven Wasko, Assistant Superintendent for Community Relations. “We will need an army of volunteers for this massive initiative to keep schools open and assist our teachers and staff. Therefore, we are asking the entire community to rally around this effort and support our students by volunteering time over their own holiday break to support our students.”

To volunteer, call (313) 873-7490 or fax the registration to (313) 873-7446. DPS will hold two volunteer in-service trainings on a date that will be announced soon, as well as volunteer training for the building leader/coordinator. DPS is only seeking volunteers who have already undergone a criminal background check with fingerprinting and can show proof.

Holiday Fest Registration Form

The Holiday Learning Fest will be focused on those students with an identified academic need and can only be operated at Title I schools.

Key components of the Holiday Learning Fest include:

  • Breakfast and Lunch will be provided to all students and parents who participate at no charge
  • Free food baskets and other donations will be available for students to take home
  • Each site will be funded for two Teachers-in-Charge (one mathematics and one English Language Arts) to plan and lead learning enrichment activities (approximately 2 ½ hours per day) that can be facilitated by volunteers

The partnership will include assistance from the DPS Office of Food Services, Detroit Parent Network, which will provide additional volunteer support for each school that participates, and the DPS Police Department, which will provide security at each site.

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