Extending beyond the traditional school day to offer services such as job skills training, child/elder care, financial literacy, food distribution and even medical care, 21 Detroit Public Schools’ buildings will soon become “12/7 Community Schools” to better serve the needs of families district-wide.
Among the services to be provided at the Community Schools, the Michigan Department of Human Services and DPS announced today a joint collaboration to fund success coaches and Community Schools coordinators for each site through the “Pathways to Potential” program.
The district has plans to engage the National Center for Community Schools to work with its schools for first-year assistance in fully implementing the program.
Similar to the Cincinnati Public Schools “Community Learning Centers” model recently praised in the New York Times, DPS has selected 21 school sites that will serve as neighborhood hubs by housing community-based programs and partnerships to provide a system of services to students, parents and community members during extended hours. The district aims to offer services 12 hours per day and seven days per week at the schools.
The 21 Community Schools include: Bagley Elementary School, Bennett Elementary School, Clark Preparatory Academy, Cody Campus, Detroit International Academy, Earhart Elementary-Middle School, East English Village Preparatory Academy, Fisher Magnet Lower Academy, Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, Marcus Garvey Academy, Golightly Education Center, Gompers Elementary-Middle School, Harms Elementary School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, Ludington Magnet Middle School, Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Munger Elementary-Middle School, Osborn Campus, Priest Elementary-Middle School, Mark Twain Elementary-Middle School and Western International High School.
The schools were selected based on existing community-wide programs already offered at the sites. From that pool of potential schools, educators and principals were required to complete training for the Community Schools model and submit a detailed proposal to the Office of Academics.
During today’s announcement at Clark Preparatory Academy—one of the new Community Schools—representatives from partnering organizations joined DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin to unveil the new Community Schools sites. Attendees included Maura Corrigan, Michigan Department of Human Services Director; Bernard Theisen, Lear Corporation-Global Trim Group Vice President; Odell Tate, MorningSide Community Organization President; and other partnering organizations.
Prior to the announcement, community leaders also attended a Visioning Session at Clark to outline the scope of what DPS Community Schools will offer.
“Today, we are one step closer to ensuring DPS’ quality schools serve as the hub of every community across the district to provide the highest level of support possible to neighborhood families,” Martin said. “We, as well as our valued partners, realize that in order to truly help our students achieve academic success, we must also help the adults in our communities by providing access to essential services.”
“We also know that communities and schools have a strong connection—the success of one depends greatly on the other,” Martin added. “In order to build strong, viable neighborhoods across the city and a work force that will drive the city’s comeback, we have to make an investment in our communities.”
The launch of the Community Schools model falls under the district’s new five-year Strategic Plan to initiate bold new methods to better serve the needs of students and families. Entitled, “Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools,” the plan involves 12 major goals focused on three central themes: Starting earlier and working longer, working harder and working smarter, joining together and expecting more. Additional initiatives being implemented this school year, which starts September 3, include Universal Pre-Kindergarten for eligible students, Arts/Music enrichment for all elementary-middle school students, Enhanced Safety Patrols, Parent University and Customer Service programs.
Among the new initiatives is adopting the Community Schools model by consolidating services provided by multiple agencies in one location with extended hours.
At each of the 21 schools, after-school and weekend programs will be gradually phased in depending on the needs of the community. Services will be developed based on what local schools and parents want and may include homework assistance, language programs, child care and elder care, literacy development, prenatal training, technology skills, financial literacy, and other professional services.
“One year ago, we launched the Pathways model at Clark Prep., and the Governor called it ‘an exciting opportunity,’” Corrigan said. “Pathways to Potential has been a great success. Working together, and now in 91 schools in the city, we have provided better services to the people of Detroit as well as those in other Michigan communities.”
An example of the Community Schools model was showcased in April when JPMorgan Chase made an investment of $1.5 million to expand services and neighborhood revitalization efforts for DPS children and families in southwest Detroit.
Three Detroit Public Schools in southwest Detroit, including Harms Elementary, Maybury Elementary and Western International High School, will benefit from enhanced school-based services and additional neighborhood revitalization efforts provided through the grant.
The JPMorgan Chase partnership supports the Pathways to Potential program and an expansion of Southwest Solutions’ Centers for Working Families program in each of the three schools. The grant also provides assistance to a number of organizations that provide support services including job training for youth and parents and financial literacy.
DPS currently offers similar services through the district’s eight Parent Resource Centers (PRCs), which are comfortable community gathering spaces equipped with multiple computers, phones, sofas, small libraries, play areas for children, check-out academic tool kits and more. They offer expert-led workshops, child care, GED support, job training, support groups, MEAP assistance, book clubs, sessions on Title I programs, college information, coffee talks on parent engagement and other offerings.
The centers are designed to involve, connect and empower parents to help children reach academic success and serve as a hub for training and resources.
The District currently operates Parent Resource Centers at the following locations:
- Bennett Elementary School
- Cody Campus
- Detroit International Academy
- Drew Transition Center
- Ludington Magnet Middle School
- Marcus Garvey Academy
- Osborn Campus
- Priest Elementary-Middle School
“Our intent is to merge the existing Parent Resource Center programs with the Community Schools program and grow them both in scope and in coverage to other schools,” Martin said. “By growing our existing Parent Resource Centers and opening school sites as 12/7 neighborhood hubs, we are raising the standard to ensure student achievement and we are helping to revitalize our neighborhoods.”