Detroit '67: 1966 student walkout at Northern a sign of things to come

It's been more than 50 years since Ivory Williams sat down with his high school guidance counselor George Grech, but the Detroiter can still remember their conversation, in the spring of 1966, with extraordinary clarity. Williams had walked into the discussion thinking it would be somewhat perfunctory. A junior at Northern High School — a since-closed Detroit public school on Woodward and Clairmount, around the corner from his childhood home — the then 16-year-old anticipated a simple discussion about the classes he would take his senior year. (Detroit Free Press)


Former teachers and principals on team helping to lift Detroit schools

Nikolai Vitti has wasted no time in rebuilding the Detroit Public Schools Community District, orchestrating a revamp of his cabinet and the central office staff that has led to the departures of some of the district's top leaders, but has brought in people he says will be key to the academic turnaround that's needed. Vitti, who began the job as superintendent of the district May 23, has built a cabinet that includes a mix of people who've been with the district for years; several who've worked in education in Detroit, including a former assistant chancellor from the Education Achievement Authority; two people he worked with in Jacksonville, Fla., including that district's former chief of schools, and a woman who led the Detroit Parent Network.  (Detroit Free Press)


Detroit district may rethink authorizing charter schools

From almost the moment Michigan began allowing charter schools more than 20 years ago, the Detroit school district has been active in authorizing them. But that could soon change. Members of the board of education for the district have indicated in recent meetings they want to have a deep discussion about the district's role as an authorizer — a role that has contributed to the growth of charter schools in the city. And last week, new Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he would recommend the Detroit  Public Schools Community District get out of the charter school authorization business and instead focus its efforts on improving traditional public schools. (Detroit Free Press)


Detroit district seeks to renegotiate Durfee school $1-a-year lease agreement

Detroit schools officials are seeking to renegotiate an agreement — entered into in the waning days of state control last year — that turned one of the district's schools over to a nonprofit that is creating a small-business incubator inside the building. But the renegotiation likely won't satisfy some of the biggest critics of the $1-a-year lease agreement, including some members of the district's board of education who want the Durfee Elementary-Middle School building to continue educating students. Life Remodeled, the nonprofit, plans to turn Durfee, at 2470 Collingwood, into a community center that houses businesses and organizations. In May, Life Remodeled had commitments from companies to locate inside the building, including a pizzeria and organizations that will teach students to write software codes and excel in music. (Detroit Free Press)


Detroit's Southeastern High name change hits snag

Plans to change the name of Detroit's Southeastern High School hit a snag before the Detroit board of education tonight, with members opting to put off making a decision in order to seek more input from the community over the name. The board's academics subcommittee last week had OK'd the change to Southeastern College Preparatory High School. That change would go along with a new academic focus at the school. Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the school will become an examination school, meaning students would have to take and pass an exam in order to gain entry. (Detroit Free Press)


Detroit schools fined for drinking water violation

A state workplace safety and health agency has fined Detroit’s public school district for violating sanitation laws at one of its schools as recently as May 31 and ordered that potable water be provided by July 24. According to a June 20 ruling by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Detroit Public Schools Community District did not provide employees at John R. King Academy with potable water for hand washing, food washing, washing, eating and cooking utensils during an inspection period from March 30 to May 31, when school was in session. The state agency fined the Detroit district $4,000 and ordered it to provide clean water at the school in the next three weeks. (Detroit News)

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