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detroit schools

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Detroit education officials are working to address shortfalls in the school district's special education program after audits found it's failing to meet student needs.

The Detroit News reports that the Detroit Board of Education on Tuesday approved Superintendent Nikolai Vitti's plan for sweeping reforms to its special education department. Two audits identified that the district lacks an effective system for identifying and evaluating children who may be eligible for special education services.

Grow Detroit's Young Talent Website

More than $11 million has been raised to support Detroit's youth summer jobs program.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday that 8,210 young people ages 14 to 24 will receive six weeks of training, on-the-job experiences, professional contacts, and exposure to potential career paths as part of Grow Detroit's Young Talent.

The city says most participants will work 20 hours per week at more than 500 sites with companies of various sizes. The companies include auto suppliers and law firms.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week could be pivotal for a massive class action lawsuit connected to the Flint water crisis. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit demanding literacy rights for Detroit children.

Filed in 2016, the suit attempted to force the state of Michigan to improve the condition of city schools. A week ago, Detroit school officials released a report pegging the cost of repairing the city’s school facilities at half a billion dollars.  

But in an opinion issued Friday night, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III dismissed the suit.

The Mackinac Policy Conference is held at the Grand Hotel
Deb Nystrom / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference kicks off today.

Big names in Michigan politics, business, philanthropy, tech, education, and more will be on Mackinac Island for the annual event put on by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

SpecialKRB / flickr

Quicken Loans is introducing computer coding to 5,000 Detroit students.

The mortgage lender says Code(D)etroit will teach modern coding fundamentals to 1,250 students each day, beginning June 18, during the Techstars Startup Week Detroit.

Quicken Loans is partnering with Detroit-based technology training institute Grand Circus. Grand Circus will work with Quicken Loans to find and train volunteer instructors for the code training.

The Spoke Folks, a Grand Rapids non-profit, wants to put "More Butts On Bikes" and help people maintain them.
user kconnors / morgueFile

Nearly 500 Detroit second-grade students have received new bikes, helmets, locks and bells after completing a bicycle safety program.

The bikes and other items were given Tuesday to the students by the Detroit Red Wings, Chevrolet and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation during a special assembly at Little Caesars Arena.

The students attend 10 schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. They have been practicing riding and learning road safety since April in their physical education classes as part of the Road & Bicycle Program.

The washing machine at A.L Holmes Academy of Blended Learning
Courtesy of Tammy Mitchell

 


 

It's no secret that kids who aren't sitting in class aren't learning, and Detroit has the highest rate of chronic absenteeism in the country, according to a 2016 Associated Press report

 

We hear policy recommendations and deep-dive discussions about how to boost school attendance, but, as first reported in Chalkbeat Detroit, one Detroit school has a different solution: a washing machine. 

Palmer Park Preparatory Academy.
via Facebook

One Detroit school that’s shut down because of building problems will be housed in another school building for the rest of this year.

Palmer Park Preparatory Academy was shut down because of a leaky roof and mold problems. The Detroit Public Schools Community District closed the building for the rest of the year to replace the roof.

school bus
Shinichi Sugiyama / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Getting kids to school in Detroit can be a real hassle. Some parents drive their kids nearly 30 minutes to get them to their school of choice, whether that’s a public school or a charter school.

In his State of the City address this week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined a plan: Pick an area, then offer bus service from school to school, public or private, and to a center for daycare.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed a city-wide education commission, but lots of key details are still in the works.

The commission would be “convened” by the mayor’s office, and include teachers, parents, and other representatives from both traditional public and charter schools. It would mainly serve in an “advisory” role, and would lack the power to do things like open or close schools, according to Duggan’s office.

Pension paybacks for Detroit district employees may show up in March

Feb 27, 2018
A person writing a check
RikkisRefuge Other / FLICKR - creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Thousands of Detroit district school employees may reap the benefits of a lawsuit over pension funding as soon as March.

School employees who worked for Detroit’s main district between 2010 and 2011 can expect refund checks in their mailboxes soon, district leaders say, but making sure the money ends up in the right place will be difficult.

The reimbursements are the outcome of a controversial move during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration to withhold additional money from employees’ paychecks to pay for retiree health care benefits.

COD Newsroom / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

There are a lot of bright, accomplished high school students in Detroit who see college as out of reach. They’re never told about student aid. They’re not aware of courses to help them do well on SAT or ACT tests. They might not be aware of the Detroit Promise, a program to set aside tax dollars to fund two-year college scholarships.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers passed a bill today that would make it harder for school districts to prevent former school buildings from being used for new education purposes.  

The deed restrictions are often meant to keep competitors from opening schools that would siphon students away from the district.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Enrollment in Detroit Public Schools Community District is up for the first time in 15 years. The recent fall count is 50,100 students, up ten percent from last year's 45,500. 

According to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, this year saw the lowest departure of students to charter schools in four years, with fewer students leaving for surrounding districts and more returning. 

Vitti said enrollment is one of the most important indicators of the health of a school district.

Delaney Ryan

The Next Idea

Helping underserved young people embrace education, get into college and go on to be world-class citizens is the mission of a program called FATE. It's operated as part of the cause-based clothing company Merit Goodness.

Give Merit  Executive Director Kuhu Saha and 2016 FATE graduate Asha Stewart joined Stateside to share how FATE provides a space where students can create aspirations.

Eleleleven / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

More Detroit school kids could get art instruction, if a non-profit group succeeds in raising the money.

Last year, Art Road provided art teachers in four Detroit public schools. It hopes to boost that number in years to come.

This weekend, the group is teaming up with the Michigan Glass Project for its third-annual glassblowing festival at the Russell Industrial Center.

Citing nationwide trends towards cuts in art programs in schools, Art Road's Carol Hofgartner says the organization's mission is to replace those missing classes in schools that have need. 

Little Caesars Area being built in June of 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Let me start out by saying that Robert Davis, usually referred to as a Highland Park activist, is a man easy to despise. He has won a reputation as a gadfly who is constantly filing lawsuits demanding transparency in government and attacking corruption.

Some see him as a crusading knight in shining armor and others as a relentless self-promoter trying to make a name and have us forget his past.

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Friday marks the last day of the Education Achievement Authority, Michigan's controversial state-run turnaround district. 

The EAA's 15 schools will stay open, but they'll be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Sonya Mays, treasurer for the DPSCD school board, says the district is working with the EAA to make it a smooth transition for students. 

Students raise their hands inside a classroom
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The new superintendent for the Detroit Public Schools Community District could begin work  as early as Tuesday. Dr. Nikolai Vitti’s five-year contract was approved by the Detroit school board earlier this month, but the commission that oversees the district’s finances still has to OK the contract. The Detroit Financial Review Commission is expected to vote Monday afternoon. 

If approved, Vitti has his work cut out for him.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature is back in Lansing after a two week break. Before they left for vacation, lawmakers in the House and Senate were at odds over how to fund a fix for the sinkhole mess in Macomb County. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether legislators will be able to play nice long enough to get this sorted out.

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District school board has chosen Nikolai Vitti as its first permanent superintendent. Vitti grew up in Dearborn Heights and is currently the superintendent in Duval County, Florida.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what the district's new pick means for Detroit schools. 

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

Courtesy of Chris Lambert

The Next Idea

 

As goes a school, so goes the neighborhood.

 

That’s the idea behind a new project by the group Life Remodeled, said founder and CEO Chris Lambert. Life Remodeled is a non-profit organization that invests about $5 million in a Detroit neighborhood project every year. This year’s project: turn the former Durfee Elementary and Middle School into a “community innovation center.”

Mapping the options for kids in failing Detroit schools

Jan 25, 2017
map of Detroit with possible closures marked
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

There are 25 schools in Detroit waiting to hear whether they’ll be closing their doors at the end of the school year.

So, where would all those students end up if those schools did close?

Click on the map to see the nearby options for each possible closure and how they stack up academically.