Detroit Public Schools and representatives of some of the area’s leading arts organizations on Monday announced a groundbreaking partnership intended to transform the Detroit School of Arts into America’s top public arts school through a new collaborative governance with prestigious arts and education institutions.
A new governing council for DSA, which is expected to lead to significant joint ventures and unprecedented opportunities for DSA students, include representatives from the Detroit Arts Corridor Organization, the University of Michigan School of Education and Hudson-Webber Foundation. Partners include the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Sphinx Organization, Mosaic Youth Theater, and University Musical Society.
This is the first governing council named as part of a broader initiative by DPS to have highly qualified and committed citizens and parents serving on new 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.
“We recognize that schools 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,” DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said. “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.”
“The goal is to help Detroit School of Arts become the highest performing arts-infused high school in America,” Roberts said.
The newly-named governing council members are:
- Ms. Katy Locker, Program Director, Hudson-Webber Foundation, Detroit
- Dr. James Kelly, Founding President and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and former co-director of Strategic Management of Human Capital
- Dr. Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Counselor to the President for the Arts, Diversity and Undergraduate Affairs, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music, University of Michigan
- Dr. Elizabeth Birr Moje, Acting Dean, Associate Dean for Research, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, School of Education, University of Michigan
- Mr. Stuart Frankel, Owner and Founder, Stuart Frankel Development Company; and Chair of the Detroit Arts Corridor Organization
- Dr. Glenda Price, President Emeritus, Marygrove College; Dr. Price serves as Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan trustee, Detroit Institute of Arts director, Detroit Symphony Orchestra secretary, Focus: HOPE chair, The Center for Michigan director, and Michigan Colleges Foundation trustee
An Order signed by Roberts requires the appointment of a parent to this council as well.
“As an educator and member of the Board of Directors of both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, I have had a long term interest in the Detroit School of Arts,” Dr. Price said. “Therefore, I am pleased to be a part of the process which will enhance the educational opportunities for the students at DSA. The rich cultural history and intellectual resources that these institutions will bring to the students will ensure that they receive an education in the arts that is unparalleled in this country.”
“We are humbled by the trust this signals and the awesome responsibility it entails,” Moje said. “As such, we are committed to developing young people’s capacities as learners, as artists, and as community leaders, and identifying and tapping resources from multiple state and national arts and academic groups for the benefit of student learning. We are also committed to integrating the arts into academic course work and to working with the teachers and school leaders to offer the highest level of academic curricula and professional development for teachers. In sum, we are committed to a collaborative partnership with school leaders, teachers, parents, and students, and look forward to embarking on this work with the community.”
The Self-Governing Schools model allows DPS to 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.
- 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.
The DPS Office of Self-Governing Schools within DPS will continue to manage the district’s 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 leads this effort.
The boards of the schools generally are comprised of five to nine citizens with backgrounds that will contribute to the governing of a school, including one parent. Charter board members and council members of the self-governing schools 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.