School year begins with outpouring of support for students’ journey to success
DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools is prepared to greet families and students on the first day of school with free backpacks, new programs and initiatives and a new network structure to support our school leaders that will jumpstart their journey to success on Tuesday, September 8.
Generous donors such as Ally Financial, ARaymond and the Office Depot Foundation have provided backpacks to schools across the district. In addition, the Kids in Need Foundation, in partnership with the Mike Morse Law Firm, are donating more than 22,000 supply-filled backpacks to all K-5 graders in the District during the first week of school.
“DPS’ leadership team, principals and teachers, along with a broad cross-section of key community partners have made extensive preparations over the summer that will support every DPS students’ success this school year,” said Darnell Earley, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager. “I am confident that these preparations, along with the critical restructuring work we have been doing that places a focus on pushing resources into our school buildings and closer to our students will make for a strong start to the school year.”
A central aspect of DPS’ restructuring, is its new network structure, which is designed to better support school leaders and assist them and their teams in improving student achievement. Each Network is comprised of a dedicated group of eight to nine members whose objective is to improve overall academic achievement by providing more coordinated coaching and development of school leaders and teachers in the schools and reducing the administrative burden. School leaders are also being empowered to make decisions based on the needs of their students.
As the district has stabilized enrollment through a renewed focus on customer service and year-round recruitment and retention efforts, the next step is implementing new programs and initiatives that have been designed/developed based on parent and student feedback.
New Initiatives, Resources and Programs: A DPS School for Every Child
- New school honors program: Ludington Magnet Middle School is offering a new honors school within the existing school building for its 5-8th grade students. The program will engage students in project-based learning and a curriculum to ready them for Advanced Placement high school courses, college and eventually careers. Students who are interested must complete an application and interview and will be admitted based on grades, assessment scores and student’s “display of grit.”
To Apply: Parents should review application procedures and complete instructions located on Ludington’s site at detroitk12.org/schools/ludington.
- Extension of K-8 and High School dual language immersion programs:
Neinas Elementary School in southwest Detroit has added a sixth grade—and is introducing a dual language immersion program. Newly named Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy, the program’s new focus will help the majority of native Spanish speakers learn how to speak, read and write fluently in English and Spanish. This program will increase the students’ levels of language proficiency and increase their cognitive abilities with creativity and problem solving, said Neinas Principal Natalia Russell.
Fun Fact: Neinas Elementary School has educated students in grades pre-K-5 for almost 100 years.
The Academy of the Americas, which currently teaches pre-K-9 students, is adding a 10th grade to its high school program this fall. Principal Nicholas Brown said the objective is to develop bilingual, bi-literate students who will graduate with a college preparatory curriculum and total fluency in two languages, preparing them for the 21st century job market.
Looking Ahead: The Academy of the Americas is planning to add an 11th and 12th grade in subsequent years.
- Return of K-8 sports: Elementary-Middle school students can participate in a wide range of afterschool sports including flag football, basketball, soccer, track and field, baseball, golf and archery. Students are taught not only how to participate and play but there is an emphasis on professionalism, honesty, integrity and teamwork. DPS Director of Elementary-Middle School Athletics Edward Tomlin said by playing in sports students are staying out of trouble and are likely to do better academically.
Fun Fact: The Detroit Public School League for high school students has been around for 100 years. Visit the Office of Athletics for a full listing of offerings, schedules and highlights.
- Extended STEM/STEAM programs: Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy added the new Blue Devil Scholars STEAM Program, a partnership with Lawrence Technological University (LTU). The program is designed to engage students in activities that foster knowledge about science, technology, engineering art and mathematics (STEAM) education for students starting in 6th grade and continue through high school and ultimately through college. Parents will be engaged in the programming to ensure their full support. Students who wish to apply should visit detroitk12.org/schools/sampson/.
Fun Fact: LTU is making a $3.5 million scholarship commitment to attract larger numbers of DPS students and prepare them for opportunities in STEAM fields.
- Earn and Learn Parent University Initiative: Through the DPS Office of Parent and Community Engagement Parent University Program (Parent U), the district will offer paid parental employment and a better understanding of how to support student learning – “Parent Earn and Learn” — to lay a foundation for improved attendance and academic achievement. The program offers parents an opportunity to build their employment capability and capacity by attending classes which are grouped in four key areas of interest: Academics, Life Skills, Parenting and Professional Development. Engaging parents through Parent University will provide an opportunity to understand parental learning styles in the interest of employment and teaching them how to more effectively support their child’s education.
- The Office of Multilingual-Multicultural Education has hired a new translation coordinator, Tina Villarreal-Hernandez. The district has also launched a new translation policy to assist our ESL parents/guardians.More information on Multilingual-Multicultural Education
Did you know? DPS translates communications into the five most commonly spoken languages of DPS students: English, Spanish, Arabic, Romanian and Hmong.
Parents can take school tours, meet the staff and enroll students during Open Doors Day on Saturday, Aug. 29. Schools will be open district-wide from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Parents are encouraged to prepare early by enrolling prior to the first day of school. For more information about all DPS Schools, parents are encouraged to visit detroitk12.org/enroll or call the enrollment hotline at (313) 240-4377.