Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin has joined dozens of community leaders, alumni and other partners to launch the district's new 2014-15 Retain/Gain Enrollment Campaign.
The announcement came following DPS' first Ambassadors Breakfast, in which Martin informed the partners of the district's newest developments, academic programs and goals while securing their partnership in the important enrollment initiatives.
"We wanted to ensure our partners heard firsthand the strategies to bolster our 2014 fall enrollment," Martin said. "To ensure that we transform our schools, we realize that it requires the inclusion and partnership of all stakeholders, including civic, faith, grassroots and labor leadership."
Martin also unveiled the district's new branding, See It Believe It. The new branding was developed over the course of the last year using the design-thinking process. This particular process sought extensive input from key stakeholders, including parents of those with students in DPS, parents of students who no longer attend or never attended DPS, principals, administrators and the community.
The new branding seeks to demonstrate the school system's commitment to providing academic programs and initiatives that people desire and making strategic decisions to attract and retain families.
The district ultimately came to an understanding that the public needs to be reminded that amazing things are happening in each and every one of its 97 schools each and every day. There are also programs being offered at Detroit Public Schools that parents can't get anywhere else. If people take the time to visit and explore the schools and interact with the students, teachers and administrators, they will see proof of this progress.
"Detroit Public Schools' 2014-15 budget – and our decision-making – are focused on creating and offering increasingly relevant programs, undertaken on new platforms, presented to new markets, leveraged by public and private resources, while devoting new across-the-board energy to retention strategies," Martin said.
New strategic initiatives designed to boost enrollment being offered this year include:
· No school closings for the 2014-15 school year. For the first time in six years, the budget does not call for the closure of any schools for the 2014-15 school year. Closings can have an extremely adverse impact on enrollment, recruitment, retention and revenues.
· A renewed commitment to working with all partners on ensuring safe and healthy environments for all students, including on the routes to and from school
· Creation of a new gifted and talented school program
· Broadening of successful dual immersion bilingual programs into a ninth grade collegiate prep setting
· Expansion of Career Academy and adult educational regional center programming
· Support for a K-12 international baccalaureate program
· Addition of a prep period for K-8 teachers
· Expansion of programs for early childhood families through reorganizing current programs and securing private and foundation support
· Art and music expansion for elementary and middle schools. Across the district, DPS provides robust instrumental, choral and general music and visual arts instruction to help every student reach their full academic and creative potential.
"In all cases, these new, expanded and restructured programs follow our detailed strategy to replicate successful academic programs and to raise the bar academically throughout the city," Martin said. "We know that the only way we will continue to stabilize and grow enrollment which will bring with it long-term fiscal stability – is through academic excellence."
To emphasize the "See It Believe It" Campaign, Martin also highlighted tangible progress, including that the number of newly enrolled high school students that reached a three-year high, and increased by more than 50 percent from the 2012-13 school year.
Detroit Public Schools also continues an upward academic trajectory, having closed the gap with state peers in all five subjects on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, MEAP, since 2011, along with DPS' 2014 seniors having earned nearly $138 million in scholarships and grants. DPS this year had five Gates Millennium Scholars, and Renaissance High School was named the best high school in Detroit by U.S. News and World Report.
"We are making changes at DPS – positive changes," said Martin. "And we appreciate the support of our partners in ensuring the community is aware, and that they ‘see' and ‘believe' in the great things happening at our schools."
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