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"Enroll Detroit" wants parents to have a common application, enrollment system

Mar 31, 2016

Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

It may soon get a little easier for Detroit parents to figure out which schools are the right fit for their kids.

Navigating the maze of options – and enrollment deadlines, and application processes – from Detroit Public Schools, the Education Achievement Authority, and charter schools can feel overwhelming for some families.

Starting Friday, a new program called Enroll Detroit will offer parents a common application and enrollment system.

It's a new experiment from the folks at Excellent Schools Detroit: create spaces where parents can call or walk in to one of six centers around the city, staffed with “Ed Guides” to help walk them through the process, starting with figuring out what’s important to them in a school.

"Maybe it’s transportation, maybe their child has an IEP," says Bernita Bradley, the outreach and engagement manager for Enroll Detroit. "Some parents don't even know. They're just like, 'well, I just want to find a good school - can you show me what the good schools are?' So our biggest thing is to always help the parent identify what they want."

Enroll Detroit is also launching a common application for Detroit schools. So far, 40 schools are opting in – but Detroit Public Schools isn’t.

“Detroit Public Schools actively participated in the policy discussions surrounding the development of a common enrollment system for schools in Detroit,” DPS spokesperson Michelle Zdrodowski said in a statement this week.

“However, given the state of transition that currently exists in the District, we elected not to join in the pilot program. Further consideration of the District's participation in the initiative moving forward should be made by the duly elected school board once DPS completes its transition to local control after passage of the $715 million education reform package by the Michigan Legislature. Until the time that the board is elected, DPS will continue to be open to discussion about future participation.”

Enroll Detroit will still include information about DPS schools, Bradley says.