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Nikolai Vitti

A group of students wearing masks look at a book on a desk together
JR-50 / Adobe Stock

Update: 8:55 p.m.

At a meeting on Thursday evening, Detroit public school board members adopted a plan to maintain a pause on in-person instruction through May 11. The district will open schools for learning labs where students receive staff oversight on virtual learning on April 26. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the district would consider suspending all in-person instruction through the end of the school year if the current COVID-19 surge continues. Positivity rates on COVID tests in Detroit are 20%.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Around 20,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District are expected back in classrooms on Monday.

DPSCD suspended in-person learning when COVID-19 cases spiked in November. Now that community positivity rates have dropped well below 5%, the district decided it was time to re-open its doors, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest public school district will be re-opening to in-person instruction next week.

Officials with Detroit Public Schools Community District say face-to-face instruction will resume next Monday, March 8. The district suspended in-person classes in November, as COVID-19 case rates in the city climbed in November.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says with infection rates in the city down and teachers having access to coronavirus vaccines, the district can again provide an in-person learning option. 

Glenn Carstons-Peters / Unsplash

Michigan’s public schools have moved online, following orders from the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nobody wanted to conduct a school year like this, least of all Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). Since fall, the school district offered a hybrid model of instruction including online and in-person. Making that decision was difficult.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals throughout Michigan are nearing capacity. A reporter who’s been following the story talks us through when a vaccine might be distributed to Michigan's frontline health workers. Also, the head of the state’s largest school district speaks to the challenges of 2020 and beyond. Plus, support for kids and families navigating grief this holiday season.

Kids wearing masks at computers
Mediteraneo / Adobe Stock

Michigan's largest school district will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes as coronavirus cases rise significantly around the state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Detroit school teachers are not happy with a plan to return to the classroom this month during the COVID-19 pandemic. They took part in a car caravan protest on Monday.

Last month, members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers voted to authorize a “safety strike” if the Detroit Public Schools Community District didn’t “implement basic science-based safety protocols before schools reopen during the continuing coronavirus pandemic.”

school hallway
Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools

Detroit Federation of Teachers members have given their leadership the go-ahead to strike if the union’s return-to-school safety demands aren’t met.

In a Wednesday evening vote, 91% of participating DFT members voted to authorize a “safety strike” if the Detroit Public Schools Community District doesn’t “implement basic science-based safety protocols before schools reopen during the continuing coronavirus pandemic.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District wants parent input about how their students will be learning in the fall.

DPSCD is offering both fully virtual and face-to-face instruction. District officials say they want a parent feedback survey completed by August 4, though the “drop-dead deadline” for responses is August 21.

school hallway
Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools

Michigan’s largest school district has approved a re-opening plan that includes in-person learning.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District board voted for the plan Tuesday night. It calls for schools to make a number of adaptations to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Hundreds of Detroit students started in-person summer school programs in Detroit Public Schools Community District buildings on Monday, in the face of some public opposition.

A small group of protesters blocked the exit to a school bus depot on the city’s west side, preventing the buses from picking up more than 200 enrolled students, said DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Today on Stateside, summer school started for students in Detroit. We check in with the superintendent of schools in the city to find out how summer instruction will work, as well as the district’s plans for the fall. Also, a parent reflects on how systemic racism in the U.S. demands that Black children grow up far too fast. Plus, the COVID-19 virus image as an artifact of design.

school hallway
Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools

City of Detroit, community and business leaders are donating $23 million to give Detroit Public Schools Community District students wireless tablets and internet access.

DPSCD estimates that 90% of the district’s students do not have access to an internet-ready device and internet service itself.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

The Detroit Public Schools Community District will start making assignments and teacher instruction videos available next week, according to the district’s superintendent, Nikolai Vitti.

Online course materials will be posted on the district’s website. Paper copies will also be available at sites throughout the district, starting at its food distribution centers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools Community District officials are changing the way the district provides free meals to children in response to the governor’s order to “stay at home” during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nicole Honeywell / Unsplash

This is the first week of school for many Michigan kids. Most classrooms share some basic features – desks, chairs, a blackboard or dry-erase board, but what makes for a good classroom? That’s a question Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer has been asking different people in education for years. She recently got some new answers from Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent Nikolai Vitti. Kaffer spoke to Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about what she learned. 

Nikolai Vitti
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, is strongly opposed to an education bill making its way through the state's lame-duck legislature. SB 5526 narrowly passed with some amendments in the state House around 3 a.m. Thursday morning. The bill goes next to the state Senate.

Russell Kirk
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti joined Stateside to react to a lame-duck bill that would create a statewide A-F grading system for Michigan schools. Plus, what would Michigan native Russell Kirk, a founder of American conservatism, think of the ideology today? 

“This is colonialism”: Detroit schools chief blasts lame-duck A-F grading plan  

 

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.

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.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti at a Detroit school
Erin Einhorn / Chalkbeat

 

Nikolai Vitti is marking the one-year anniversary of becoming the superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Erin Einhorn, editor for Chalkbeat Detroit, joined Stateside to break down Vitti's first year for us. 

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.

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.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Detroit schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti is crystal clear about his position on potentially arming teachers: It’s a bad idea, and the vast majority of teachers feel that way too.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has a different view: that arming some highly-trained, qualified and vetted teachers would provide an “extra layer of security,” and is one option for making schools into “harder targets” for attacks like mass shootings.

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.

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. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers grilled Detroit’s school superintendent for not moving faster to implement new policies to grading school performance and merit pay for teachers.

Dr. Nikolai Vitti told the House Education Reform Committee he’s had other priorities, as he tries to fix the problem-plagued district.  

During one exchange, Vitti responded to Saginaw lawmaker Tim Kelly, who pressed Vitti on why Detroit has not moved faster on accountability standards.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thursday morning, the state House Education Reform Committee takes up a bill that would channel tax money raised by county school districts to charter schools.

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.

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