Despite teacher shortage, Detroit schools superintendent says district is building momentum

Oct 18, 2017

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been through its first count day of the school year. It’s an important day, because the number of kids in attendance helps determine the amount of money the district receives from the state.

Vitti said the district is doing better at recruiting and retaining teachers compared to last year.
Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD’s new superintendent, joined Stateside to report how the day went in Detroit and to explain what the district is doing amidst teacher shortages and other challenges.

To start, Vitti said count day was “very successful.”

He said the district counted about 48,500 kids on count day, but that the number will likely rise to around 50,000 when the count is completed.

“On that first day, we exceeded what we budgeted for this school year,” Vitti said. “And it’s the first time since 2002-2003 since the district had an increase in enrollment.”

Vitti said some may try to attribute that increase to the re-inclusion of Education Achievement Authority (EAA) schools to the district.

“But the reality is apples to apples, looking at DPSCD schools last year to this year, we’ve seen an increase,” he said.

While this news is exciting, Vitti said the district is “far from satisfied.”

“Our intent is to increase enrollment substantially each year, because we do believe that traditional public schools are superior at scale than any other educational offering in Detroit,” he said.

Listen above for the full conversation. You’ll learn what the district is doing to compensate for teacher shortages and why Vitti says his district is building momentum.

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