Detroit Public Schools is seeking highly qualified and committed citizens to serve on the councils of an initial cohort of 10 DPS Self-Governing Schools where decisions about hiring, curriculum and budgets will all be made at the school level, as well as on the boards of two new DPS-authorized charter schools.
DPS Emergency Manager Roy S. Roberts said this initiative builds on the research that local school communities require consistency and stability for school improvements to truly take root and that a “one-size fits all” model to educating over 60,000 students does not make sense. By shifting authority to make vital decisions to the school level, DPS offers schools both the ability to maintain consistency in their programs and the ability to make decisions that best serve the needs of their particular students.
An Office of Self-Governing Schools within DPS will manage the 26 self-governing schools – 16 DPS authorized charters and 10 small high schools – beginning next school year. Together, these schools will educate approximately 7,500-8,000 students this fall. Chief Innovation Officer Doug Ross will lead this effort.
The boards of the schools will be comprised of four citizens with backgrounds that will contribute to the governing of a school and one parent. Charter board members and self-governing schools council members will be formally appointed by the Emergency Manager.
The 10 DPS schools included in this initiative include the small schools at Cody and Osborn high schools, as well as Detroit School of Arts, Dr. Benjamin Carson High School for Science and Medicine and Detroit Collegiate Preparatory Academy. The district is also seeking board members for two new DPS-authorized charter schools at Rutherford and MacDowell schools.
Interested citizens should e-mail resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under this innovative model DPS will do the following:
- Set clear academic and financial goals for each self-governing school that must be met if the school wishes to retain its self-governing rights and status.
- Select a governing council for each school that will be made up of civic, community, business, government, and local leaders, along with parents, that will take responsibility for the performance of that school in partnership with the Principal and teachers at the school. These councils will have control over budgeting, hiring, curriculum, and operations, with DPS providing close and careful oversight. The success of this initiative rests on the willingness of community leadership to step forward and provide highly qualified and committed citizens to serve on the councils that will govern these schools.
- Place 97% of state funds at the school level after debt service and fixed cost obligations are deducted, as well as 100% of available federal funds to the schools. Governing Councils and principals will be empowered to make decisions about budgeting, hiring, curriculum and operations to best meet the needs of their schools.
With these actions, principals will be required to be instructional leaders, not chief administrative officers, and principals and teachers in self-governing schools will be expected to take advantage of the new autonomy and flexibility at the school level to pursue learning strategies that will work, Roberts said.