Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts on Wednesday announced school changes, academic initiatives and key dates and timelines for parents for the 2012-13 school year.
“Today I am announcing, almost four months earlier than I was in a position to do so last year, the key changes affecting our Detroit Public Schools families for the upcoming school year. By doing so early, much earlier than has traditionally been the case in Detroit, parents can make plans for enrollment and also seek information about their children’s schools,” Roberts said.
The facilities changes include closure of nine school buildings where in some cases entire programs will relocate to other buildings, four schools to become new DPS-authorized charters, and consolidation of seven outdated schools into four brand new buildings.
Academically, DPS will also begin to create an individualized learning plan for each student in the district to help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. The individualized learning plans will be automated and built electronically from existing data systems, using tests scores from the MME, MEAP, and benchmark assessments as well as other data, such as attendance.
Roberts said, “This is a critically important time in the history of Detroit Public Schools and for our city. I have stated frequently that Detroit Public Schools must not only be a part of Detroit’s comeback, it must LEAD it. We have been using an outdated educational model that we must discard. We must embark on a bold and ambitious journey that I believe will return this City to its rightful place as the world class leader in public education, a position it once held.”
The closures and consolidations will save the school district an estimated $7.5 million annually in operating costs. First-year closing and decommissioning costs total $2.7 million.
The key components of the transitions, which collectively will directly impact one of every three current DPS students:
- Nine school buildings to close (one to be repurposed for consolidation of other administrative functions)
Due to declining enrollment and shifting demographics, DPS has 69,616 students, preK-12th grade, in a district with seats for 110,660 students. The vacant seats, taken together, represent what would be equivalent to the second largest school district in the state. Future trends call for continued reductions in school-age population. Rather than continue to support buildings that are far under-utilized, DPS will close, consolidate and merge schools, allowing for additional resources for a smaller group of higher-quality facilities and to the students in those buildings. In a number of cases, achieving programs such as Ludington Magnet Middle School and Mason Elementary School will remain intact, while the programs will move to newer, better facilities with room to serve additional students.
Buildings to be closed: City High, Day School for the Deaf, Jemison, Kettering High and West Wing, Ludington (program moving to current Langston Hughes which will renamed Ludington Magnet), Mason (program moving to current Farwell which will be renamed Mason), Maybury, Robeson Early Learning Center (kindergarten students moving to main Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy and pre-K to palmer Park), Southwestern
- Two schools to be chartered with DPS as the authorizer
Detroit Public Schools will charter two schools that face enrollment and facilities challenges and have been under-performing based on state standards. The rigorous DPS process to select proven charter operators that have demonstrated success with raising academic achievement will provide a new opportunity for these schools. DPS will continue to serve as the charter authorizer and will monitor the schools’ academic and fiscal progress.
Schools affected: MacDowell and Rutherford
- Seven schools to consolidate into four brand new school buildings
DPS will open four additional brand new schools for the fall as part of the district’s bond construction project, which will allow the district to consolidate 7 outdated buildings so that 4,500 children may start the year in state-of-the-art facilities designed for 21st century learning. These four schools represent $150 million in educational investments thanks to Detroit voters. Already, some 10,000 Detroit students are learning every day inside new or renovated buildings opened the past two years through this program.
Schools affected: Logan and O.W. Holmes to new Munger, Parker and Barton to new Mackenzie, Mumford to new Mumford, Crockett and Finney to new East English Village Preparatory Academy (a new application school for 9th graders with current 10th-12th graders at Finney and Crockett High Schools offered enrollment)
- DPS Schools to the Education Achievement Authority to be named by March 15
Roberts and Chancellor John Covington of the new Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, will place 15 historically low-performing schools in the new system, where they will be wrapped in additional resources and given greater autonomy to succeed. The schools selected are among the 5 percent of schools that ranked lowest in the state for achievement. Based on data-driven decisions, the 15 schools needing the most support will be selected. This list will be presented prior to March 15, the open enrollment period. DPS has notified the schools that were new to the PLA list this year, they will not be among those transferred to the EAA. According to information as published by the Michigan Department of Education regarding Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools, the Detroit Public Schools has seven schools that are new to the list. The schools are as follows: Bow, Carstens, Garvey, Palmer Park, Priest, Pulaski and Wilkins. These schools that are new to the list have submitted reform plans for implementation September 2012. To include these schools in the EAA would be premature because they have not had an opportunity to improve using their selected reform models. By definition, EAA was designed for schools that are not achieving satisfactory results on a redesign plan.
Schools to be announced prior to March 15 Open Enrollment period
Roberts has met with families and teachers of schools affected by closure, and DPS has placed phone calls, personalized with information for each school’s transition, to the homes of all affected families at schools to be closed, consolidated or chartered. The district will send home customized letters for each student.
New Individualized Learning Plans for every DPS student
Superintendent of Academics Karen Ridgeway stated, “The new Individualized Learning Plans for each student will help us create a new academic blueprint for our teachers and staff to know each child’s needs and take the guesswork out of the equation for parents as well.”
Ridgeway announced a new parent-friendly academic blueprint to outline what children should know at each grade level. This will be a simple tri-fold guide that specifies the concepts children should be able master in each subject for the grade they are currently in, the previous grade and the upcoming grade. These guides will be widely available to parents. Additionally, every school will have a School Improvement Plan based on a compilation of data from all students. Every principal and every teacher will be evaluated on an annual basis, per state law.
The DPS Academic Team has been rewriting the district’s academic plan, building it around the state’s common core standards and state curriculum, as well as the National Assessment for Educational Progress standards and nationwide best practices.
Open Enrollment and Application Periods
A new Open Enrollment period for families will be held from March 15 – April 16 to allow for important decisions to be made. DPS, new DPS-authorized charters, and EAA schools to be announced will participate. DPS application schools will participate in an earlier application period from February 20 – April 16.
“Wrapping up the school assignments for current students early will allow for staffing and budgeting decisions to be made on a timely basis, to ensure a smooth start to the new school year including the placement of a teacher in front of every child on the first day of school,” Roberts said.
Complete information is available at detroitk12.org/achievement