Open enrollment events draw hundreds to DPS ‘Open Doors Day’

Schools gain on-the-spot enrollments, showcase offerings to prospective parents
Open Enrollment Now – May 20

Hundreds of parents and students attended the new series of ‘Open Doors Day’ events held Saturday, May 3, 2014 at schools across the district.

Dozens of schools reported on-the-spot enrollments and interest from prospective parents, proving the value in hosting open house events, said Emergency Manager Jack Martin.

“If schools were able to enroll even one new student at their events this past Saturday, it is a true gain for the district and continues the positive enrollment momentum we began last fall,” Martin said. “Hosting events like this, on the weekend and during afternoon hours, is convenient for parents and families and is another example of our commitment to serving our current families, as well as those who might be interested in taking advantage of a DPS education.”

Four events geared toward specific audiences were held from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday.

The events included a Specialized Services Fair at Jerry L. White Center to showcase district programs for students with special needs, a Cinco de Mayo Enrollment Fair held at Western International High School that highlighted 13 schools in Southwest Detroit, the annual K-8 All-Schools Open House, and the district’s second High School & Career Academy Fair at King High School showcasing all DPS high schools in one location for incoming ninth-graders to peruse.

The event series was launched with “Spend a Day in K,” a Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Week April 28-May 1, where every DPS elementary school engaged pre-kindergarten students in daily transition activities with kindergarten classrooms.

On Thursday, May 1, Beard Pre-K students and their parents traveled to Roberto Clemente while Fleming Pre-K students and their parents traveled to Pulaski. Families were able to tour the kindergarten classrooms, meet kindergarten teachers, learn about the curriculum, and enroll in kindergarten.

On Friday, May 2, every school that houses a Pre-K program hosted Pre-K enrollment events for parents and students, including Pre-K classroom tours and curriculum overviews by Pre-K teachers.

At each enrollment fair on Saturday, the Office of School Nutrition provided free lunch. During the K-8 All-Schools Open House & Kindergarten Round-Up, all elementary-middle schools were open across the district with creative itineraries to engage families with tours at each site. Elementary schools also hosted a kindergarten round-up.

All high schools and CTCs were represented at the city-wide High School Fair. Attendees learned about all high schools, Career Tech Academies and scholarship opportunities in one location as every school had a booth and representatives on-site.

Dr. Darrius from Radio One’s Hot 107.5 served as the emcee and engaged families in several drawings for a free PlayStation 4 Giveaway, courtesy of ABC Warehouse; a $200 Target Gift Card drawing; and Walmart Gift Card drawings throughout the event.

The high school fair offered a number of exciting elements, including details about specialty programs and career pathways, as well as scholarship information. Parents and students also received details about the district’s new Career Academy, where high school students can earn a comprehensive high school diploma, associate’s degree through Henry Ford Community College, heavy machine operator certification and a paid internship through coursework in plumbing and pipefitting, HVAC, electricity, carpentry, masonry, horticulture and interior furnishings.

This new program will begin in September 2014 and include a four-week summer “bridge” program in June at the restructured A. Philip Randolph Technical High School.

The Cinco de Mayo Enrollment Fair at Western International High School showcased all Southwest schools in one location. The event coincided with the weekend-long Cinco de Mayo celebration in Southwest Detroit. In addition to the Southwest schools, including Academy of the Americas, Beard, Bennett, Clemente, Clippert, Earhart, Harms, Mark Twain, Maybury, Munger, Neinas, Priest, and Western, the Office of Bilingual Support, various PACSA parent ambassadors and community organizations were also in attendance.

The schools competed in a contest for the best decorated booth. The winning schools were Bennett, Clippert and Academy of the Americas. Guests enjoyed giveaways, Walmart Gift Card drawings, face painting, a Southwest-inspired lunch of chicken and beef tacos and nachos, and performances from the Academy of the Americas Mariachi Band, the Western Drumline, and the Jarabe Tapatio Folklorico dancers of Western.

All Specialized Services Departments and Special Education Centers were showcased in one location for the first-ever Specialized Services Fair at Jerry L. White Center. Guests enjoyed student performances including a rendition of Pharell’s “Happy” and gained information about exclusive special education programs within the district. A gourmet lunch included baked chicken and zucchini bread prepared by the students of Jerry L. White.

The Open Enrollment event series is part of DPS’ five-year Strategic Plan to change the course of the district’s enrollment trajectory so that more students will be retained, and more students not already in DPS will enroll.

The events also fall under the district’s new year-round marketing strategy and seek to build on the positive momentum gained from the successful Winter Retain and Gain Campaign and the Summer Enrollment Campaign. Both campaigns stemmed traditional enrollment losses and helped schools to gain market share.

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