Dr. Maya Angelou spoke before hundreds, if not thousands, of Detroit Public Schools teachers, principals and staff on Thursday. Her main message was the impact that these teachers have on the lives of the students that they serve.
"I know and you know that many of the children who come through you have been abused and are being abused one way or another or sometimes in several ways,” Angelou said. “But they come to you for a release for liberation. So you can help them to liberate themselves from ignorance. My Lord what a blessing."
The first ever Back To School Teaching and Learning Symposium kicked off with Angelou as the keynote speaker.
“To be able to see and hear a world renowned speaker come in and encourage us to keep doing what we're doing for children in spite of whatever is happening around us. keep children first,” said DPS staff member, Willie McAllister. “I think it's going to have a great impact on the administrators."
"This whole teaching and learning symposium is going to give a tremendous kickoff to our whole school year,” said DPS principal, Josette Buendia.
DPS staff packed the Renaissance Ballroom at the Renaissance Center. This three-day event gives them a chance to attend any of 80 classes and workshops as they get ready for the 2013 school year.
"Everything is about the kids getting set for the first day of school, the first week of school," said McAllister.
The Back to School Teaching and Learning Symposium comes just days after the district announced neighborhood centered community schools. This is all in an effort to show that the district is committed to serving the students and families in the area.