Detroit education advocacy group closes doors

Excellent Schools Detroit, an education advocacy group formed in 2010 for Detroit schoolchildren, closed on June 30 and transferred its initiatives to other organizations in Detroit. “In our seven years of operation we have launched a number of initiatives to help improve opportunities for Detroit school children,” said ESD board Chair Shirley Stancato in a statement. “Much of the work involved with those initiatives has involved other organizations. To eliminate duplicate efforts and maintain a sharp focus on results, we have decided to sunset ESD.” The organization issued a statement that said the organization’s school scorecard and the data will be housed at New Detroit in partnership with the Skillman Foundation. (Detroit News)


Could Detroit’s main school district be entering unchartered territory?

Even as new superintendent Nikolai Vitti plows ahead with shaking up district leadership in his quest to improve the city’s 100-plus traditional schools, much of the focus this week has been on the future of the district’s charter schools. The district has been overseeing charter schools for more than two decades. Now, Vitti says it potentially should get out of the charter school business to focus on traditional schools. That could lead to charter schools closing — like this one that the district quietly closed last month amid concerns about its poor financial footing. (Chalkbeat)


The Detroit school district fought to keep 24 struggling schools open. At the same time, it was closing an east side charter school

Leaders of Detroit’s main school district spent much of this year fighting to keep schools open.

At the same, however, the district was preparing to shut a school down. That school, the Ross-Hill Academy charter school, quietly closed forever last month after serving Detroit children on the east side for 19 years. The kindergarten to eighth-grade school had taken on too much debt, district officials said, and was in danger of not having enough money to stay open through the next school year. (MLive)


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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