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detroit public schools community district

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Detroit students walked out of class in protest on Wednesday, the same day the state uses student attendance numbers to decide how much per-pupil funding school districts receive.

The students say they did it to draw attention to water contamination in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The district cut off drinking fountains and other drinking water sources before the school year started, after tests found high levels of lead and copper in some schools.

drinking fountain
Flickr

Students across Michigan are heading back to school this month, and in some cities, students won’t be getting their water out of drinking fountains.

In August, Detroit Public Schools Community District announced that all drinking water in the district would be shut off indefinitely after elevated lead and copper levels were discovered. As of September 19, results found elevated levels in water fixtures at 57 of 86 schools tested so far. And in Flint, the public schools plan to continue using water bottles until January.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

What do you get when you combine Detroit Public Schools, the Kresge Foundation and the University of Michigan?

Answer: A place called Hope.

Nearly two years after Detroit’s Marygrove College faced financial collapse, the tiny school is opening a new chapter, thanks to some of the region’s biggest players. And the Detroit Public Schools Community District gets a chance to prove its mettle under new leadership.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
Flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On today's Stateside, the students in Detroit's public schools are starting the year drinking bottled water after high levels of copper and lead were found in some drinking fountains. Plus, trips to Michigan's sand dunes are a classic summer activity, but could climate change reshape the state's beloved natural landmarks? 

Nikolai Vitti
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest school district was back in session Tuesday, as around 50,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District headed back to class.

Students and staff came back to a handful of big changes, some more visible than others.

drinking fountain
jasongillman / Pixabay

Detroit students won't be drinking out of water fountains when school starts next week.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District announced Wednesday that students will be using bottled water after tests showed elevated lead and copper levels at some of the schools.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is not doing a good job educating children with disabilities. That’s according to a recent letter from the U.S. Department of Education.

Michigan was the only state rated as needing federal intervention after failing to meet special education standards.

A few weeks before that letter became public, Detroit Public Schools Community District announced it would be doing a massive overhaul of its special education program.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District / Facebook

 


Years of neglect have taken a terrible toll on school buildings in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The district has just completed a review of its facilities, and the result is stunning.

The cost to fix Detroit school buildings is $500 million. If the district doesn't address the problems soon, in just five years that cost will balloon into the billions.

A map of the GOAL line bus route.
city of Detroit

Despite their ongoing competition for students, the Detroit Public Schools Community District and charter schools will team up to provide some joint services for students and families.

The city’s newly-formed Community Education Commission will take on that task. Its first order of business: running a bus loop connecting six DPSCD and four charter schools on the city’s west side.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

2,000 Detroit public school teachers are getting a bonus.

It’s part of the district’s plan to attract and retain teachers.

Fitzgerald High School
Fitzgerald Public Schools

Violent threats have closed down more than two dozen schools across metro Detroit Thursday.

Those include two entire school districts: Oak Park Public Schools in Oakland County, and Fitzgerald Public Schools in Macomb County. Oak Park schools will be closed again Friday due to social media threats against multiple schools.

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.

Detroit schools chief: District can now pay for counselors, art classes, and gym in every school

Mar 14, 2018
Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

After months spent talking about expensive new programs he’d like to see, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he’s found money in the Detroit district’s budget to hire a slew of educators who’ve been missing for years from city schools.

The budget framework he presented to a school board committee Friday calls for every city school to have a guidance counselor, an arts or music teacher, a gym teacher, and a “dean of school culture” who would be in charge of student discipline and creating in-school suspension programs.

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.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Principals and assistant principals in Detroit Public Schools Community District could soon get their first raises in nearly a decade. Monday the district’s school board’s finance committee approved the proposed increase – a priority for Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

“One of our many strategies in rebuilding the district is to recruit and retain the best talent, and salary pays a role in that,” Vitti said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan lawmakers this week may discuss changes to a law that prevents school districts from having a say on what happens to former school buildings.

A charter school operator wants to turn a former Detroit public school building into a new school. But there’s a problem: a deed restriction on the property says they can’t. 

The district no longer owns the school, but the deed restriction gave it control over the future use of the building. 

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

There are new guidelines for boosting early childhood development efforts in Detroit, and they come with a $50 million investment.

“Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Community Framework for Brighter Futures” emerged from a year’s worth of planning efforts.

It has a variety of suggested strategies, some more concrete than others. But one thing is concrete: it comes with a $50 million pledge from the Michigan-based Kresge and Kellogg Foundations.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

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.

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.

Tracy Samilton

Nikolai Vitt, the new superintendent of Detroit's public school system, says he expects the district to be fully staffed with teachers at the beginning of the school year in 2018.

This year, the district had to begin classes despite being 250 teachers short. 

Vitti spoke to a capacity crowd at an event in Detroit sponsored by the Citizen's Research Council. 

He says he's starting with a base of loyal long-term teachers who've stuck with DPS even when they had other choices.

Inside Nikolai Vitti's early effort to transform Detroit's battered public school image

Sep 13, 2017
Erin Einhorn

Three months after taking on one of the most daunting tasks in American education, Nikolai Vitti was having a fit over pizza — $340,000 worth of pizza.

Vitti, Detroit’s new school superintendent, had just discovered that the district had set aside that eye-popping sum of money last year to pay Domino’s Pizza for what he assumed were hundreds of thousands of slices for parties in schools.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is starting the new school year with an old problem: teacher vacancies.

But new DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the district has “momentum” on fixing the problem.

The district still has about 200 classroom spots to fill before school starts Tuesday.

Michigan has to solve its education crisis

Aug 22, 2017
kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There’s remarkably broad agreement across the political spectrum about something: There is a deep crisis in education in Michigan - and nationally --at virtually all levels.

Tomorrow, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will release a new report on skyrocketing college tuition, something that makes higher education less and less affordable in an era when education beyond high school is more necessary.

tables in a classroom
Frank Juarez / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit's public school teachers have approved a three-year contract that includes a roughly 7 percent wage increase over the next two years.

The contract with the Detroit Public Schools Community District was approved by teachers on Thursday. It includes a 3 percent increase in year one and a 4.13 percent increase in year two. 

A house for sale on the Detroit Land Bank's online auction site.
Detroit Land Bank Authority

A new incentive program hopes to entice more Detroit educators to live in the city.

The Detroit Land Bank sells former city-owned properties through an online auction.

Now, Detroit school employees who bid on those homes can receive a 50% discount on the final sale price.

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, wants more teachers who work in Detroit to live there too.

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Federation of Teachers members are set to start voting on a new contract agreement this week.

Nir Saar is the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit.
Courtesy of Nir Saar

Michigan's experiment in running a school district ends this week.

The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) will cease to exist as of Friday. Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Nir Saar, the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit, joined Stateside to look back at the EAA's legacy and what we can learn from it.

Nikolai Vitti
via Twitter

Detroit’s new schools superintendent knows he’s taking on a tough job, but he’s also convinced the troubled district can turn around, and prove that “traditional urban public education works.”

Nikolai Vitti has started laying the groundwork for that. He took over as superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District last week.

Nikolai Vitti shakes hands at a teacher recruitment fair at Detroit's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s new schools superintendent says it’s “time to think differently” about some pressing issues—including the district’s chronic, ongoing teacher shortage.

It’s Nikolai Vitti’s first week on the job as head of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

On Monday, Vitti met with teachers’ union leadership, visited two schools, and stopped by a teacher recruitment fair. He said the lack of teachers in too many classrooms is taking a toll on everyone in DPSCD schools.

Flickr user Frank Juarez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Public School Community District confirmed Dr. Nikolai Vitti as its new superintendent Monday.

The Financial Review Commission, which oversees the school's finances,  voted yesterday to approve a five-year contract with Vitti, who previously had been superintendent of the Duval County Public Schools in Florida. 

In a statement, president of DPSCD’s Board of Education Dr. Iris Taylor said the board is thrilled to work with Vitti.

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