Education – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Fri, 20 Jul 2018 20:42:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 LISTEN: Could Highland Park Get A New High School? An Interview With School Board President Alexis Ramsey Wed, 16 May 2018 17:39:42 +0000

Highland Park’s school district is a shadow of its former self following years of state emergency management, the closure of its high school in 2015 and its subsequent demolition. But the district is now out of financial oversight and looking to grow.

Last week, while recording an episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we ran into Highland Park School Board President Alexis Ramsey. We spoke with her about what’s new with the struggling district … its relationship with a for-profit charter school operator … and where she and others want the district to go from here.

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News Byte Podcast: New MoGo Bikes, Jefferson Bike Lanes, Facebook Funding Training In Detroit And A New Highland Park High School? Tue, 15 May 2018 21:53:17 +0000

From the bustling heart of Midtown over a couple Faygo pops, this is your Daily Detroit News Byte for Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

Here are your stories for today.

  • Jefferson on the east side is getting smaller for cars… and bigger for bikes
  • Detroit’s Bike sharing service gets new adaptive bikes
  • Facebook is funding more software training in Detroit
  • And Highland Park is laying plans for a new high school. Sven Gustafson talked to their school board president, Alexis Ramsey.

Like the show? Follow the link here for back episodes and to subscribe with your favorite podcast app. And don’t forget, we have an Amazon Alexa skill.


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News Byte Podcast: PGA Tour Coming To The Motor City, Growing Detroit’s Young Talent & More Tue, 08 May 2018 21:25:34 +0000

Here’s your Daily Detroit News Byte Podcast for Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Development gets moving at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull…
The PGA Tour looks like it’s coming to Detroit. What could that mean having such an event in a Detroit neighborhood?
City Year Detroit & Gensler Detroit have teamed up to improve a Detroit school…
Comerica Park gets a farm-to-table restaurant, partnering with RecoveryPark
And we talk about a summer program that looks to Grow Detroit’s Young Talent and keep kids off the street as school winds down.
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PODCAST – Detroit: Become Human, The Largest Robotics Competition In The World Comes To Detroit, Daffodils & More Mon, 23 Apr 2018 20:24:30 +0000

Here’s your Daily Detroit News Byte For Monday, April 23, 2018 recorded in beautiful Grand Circus Park.

  • A video game set in Detroit, “Detroit: Become Human” is about to launch. A playable demo comes out Tuesday.
  • The largest robotics competition in the world is coming to Detroit this week
  • Detroit’s harnessing some flower power
  • A Cass Corridor jazz club relaunches four decades after it was shut down
  • And we attended a very contentious meeting between Detroit’s big 4 leaders. We break down where the break down is happening.

Here’s that daffodil map we talked about in the show:

Sven and Jer are your hosts. Thanks to Milo Digital, Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, and Podcast Detroit for their support.

Of course, if you like the show? Subscribe to this Detroit-based podcast in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.

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Facing Dead-Last National Test Scores, Detroit’s Public School District Approves New Teaching Materials Thu, 12 Apr 2018 14:22:58 +0000

The Detroit school board Tuesday adopted a new, $7.1 million curriculum that Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says is a key part of his plan to bring Detroit schools up from the bottom of national rankings.

Earlier Tuesday morning Detroit was ranked last — for the fifth time — among urban school districts on a national test known as the Nation’s Report Card. Vitti’s former school district, Duval County Schools in Jacksonville, Florida, showed significant gains in fourth-grade math and posted the highest scores among 27 urban districts in the nation in that subject. He told Chalkbeat the curriculum he used in Duval is the same one a committee of educators recommended to the board last month.

“The gaps between the standards and the materials being used in the district is very relevant” to the poor performance on the national test, Vitti said at the school board meeting at Mumford High School.

“So the fact that we are last…it’s not surprising,” Vitti said on a radio show on Wednesday. “Let’s specifically talk about what affects those test scores — quality curriculum. We did an audit this year that show the materials are not only outdated but not aligned to the standards.”

This change in teaching materials is one of the biggest investments the district has chosen for the 2018-19 school year. For math, K-8 students will begin using Eureka Mathematics materials at a maximum cost next school year of $1.8 million, and will use the Expeditionary Learning curriculum from Open-Up Resources for reading at a maximum cost of $5.3 million. The total yearly recurring cost will be $3,074,151.

There are no changes in curriculum for high school students at this time.

An audit completed earlier this year showed that the district’s current curriculum is woefully unaligned to state standards — it set kids up to fail on standardized tests like the one released this week.

“I didn’t realize how low the bar for our current curriculum is right now until we saw this one,” said Brandy Walker, a teacher at the Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School who served on a committee of educators tasked with helping choose the materials.

The district has estimated that the new materials will boost reading scores by 3.46 percentage points per year, and by 3.1 percentage points in math every year.

“This year we have focused on rebuilding the district’s infrastructure using the same strategies that led to some of the highest performance among large urban school districts in Duval, Miami-Dade, and Florida in general,” Vitti said. “We simply need time and space to build capacity, and improvement will be seen by 2020’s” next round of testing.

It’s a critical time for improving reading scores. In 2020, a new reading law will force schools to hold back most third-graders who are not reading at grade level. Last year, only about 10 percent of third-graders passed the state’s annual English Language Arts exam.

Teachers will begin training in the summer and be given all new materials to review far before the start of the school year, Vitti said.

The district can pay for the materials mostly because of an increase in enrollment, and thus an increase in total per pupil funding from the state, said Jeremy Vidito, the district’s chief financial officer.

The school board approved a budget of  just under $732 million for next year on Tuesday, which pays for the new teaching materials and allocates money for gym teachers, art or music teachers, guidance counselors, and more.

The district is currently recruiting at universities around the country, and specifically targeting historically black universities. The approved budget also allocates money to centralize services for bringing new teachers on board to make the hiring process easier and faster.

The district has roughly 180-190 teacher vacancies, Vitti said, compared to about 265 at this time last school year.

Vitti is negotiating with union representatives to offer higher salaries to experienced teachers coming from outside the district. Salaries for new teachers start near the bottom of the district’s pay scale.

“If we can fully recognize experience outside Detroit, we will be much closer to being fully staffed,” Vitti said.

“In my experience as a teacher, teachers are overwhelmed by how many students are in their class,” said John Lambert, a teacher at Burns Elementary-Middle School. “I think budgeting for more teachers is one of the wisest things the district could do.”

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools. Daily Detroit syndicates their content with permission.

Chalkbeat Detroit

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PODCAST: Detroit Nonprofit Day, Warren Wants To Create A Downtown, Detroit Councilman Sued & More Sat, 31 Mar 2018 20:19:05 +0000

This is your Daily Detroit News Byte podcast for Saturday, March 31, 2018.

-The suburb of Warren is trying to create a downtown

-A Detroit councilman is being sued

-Local furniture maker Floyd is opening up a retail shop in Eastern Market

-The State of Michigan adds 21 more schools to their possible closure list. Three, all charters, are in Detroit.

-The Michigan Science Center is hosting a week long spring break camp

-I talk to Amanda Lewan about Detroit Nonprofit Day

-And since it’s the end of the week, I check in with Sven Gustafson about who he’s chatting with for the Daily Detroit Happy Hour

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Michigan’s Schools Are In Deep Trouble But There Is Hope To Fix Them With Ron French, Bridge Magazine Fri, 23 Mar 2018 01:53:13 +0000

Michigan’s schools are in trouble. Although many parents believe their school and their teacher are fine, compared to the rest of the nation the state ranks very poorly.

It wasn’t always this way. Over the years, other states like Tennessee and Florida have surpassed Michigan. Fighting between factions has locked progress in Michigan’s schools in place.

The status quo – for instance, Michigan is one of only five states in which reading skills declined between 2003 and 2015 – isn’t going to cut it when it comes to attracting businesses and outside talent.

But there are possibilities. Our guest on this episode is Ron French, Senior Reporter at Bridge Magazine. He recently penned a piece where he went through 12 different reports and shared a bunch of things he learned from them that he shared on their website here. There are common threads among the reports.

French joins Sven Gustafson to talk about the state of education in light of these reports. It’s a very informative conversation that should sober you, but leave you with a sense that something can be done.. if we’re willing to find common ground.

Don’t miss another episode. Subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download your favorite shows.

Also, thanks to the Podcast Detroit studios where we recorded today’s episode.

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News Byte Podcast For 3/15/18: There’s A New Mass Transit Plan, Castalia Cocktail Bar, NCAA Hitting Detroit & More Thu, 15 Mar 2018 22:02:59 +0000 This is your Daily Detroit News Byte For Thursday, March 15th, 2018.

  • Wayne County Exec Warren Evans has a new plan to improve regional transit
  • March Madness comes to Detroit
  • GM invests in autonomous vehicle production in Michigan
  • Detroit businesses will get grants to improve their facades
  • Zingerman’s is Michigan’s only James Beard Award finalist
  • A Detroit school is closed due to mold
  • Drag Queen Bingo Gets Boozy
  • Third Man Records has Jack White tickets for just five bucks
  • And there’s a new craft cocktail bar for not just booze – but your nose.

To subscribe to the show, find us in Apple Podcasts or wherever podcasts are found:

Or at our friends at Podcast Detroit:

The show is sponsored in part by Milo Digital:

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A Mold-Infested Detroit School Will Be Closed For The Rest Of The Year Thu, 15 Mar 2018 18:22:00 +0000 A water-damaged, mold-infested elementary school building in northwest Detroit will be closed for the rest of the school year while crews replace the roof and make other repairs.

District superintendent Nikolai Vitti notified the school board about plans for the Palmer Park Preparatory Academy during a board meeting Tuesday night that became so raucous, the board called a recess for nearly an hour before voting to end the meeting without addressing most of the items on its agenda.

The meeting was ended after security guards attempted to remove a loud protester from the meeting, prompting objections from her supporters.

Vitti told the board that the 500 students at Palmer Park will be relocated to two nearby schools.

“Starting on Monday,” Vitti said, Palmer Park classes will resume “in other buildings where we have space.”

Specifically, he said, elementary school students will likely go to the now-closed former Catherine Ferguson building and middle school students will move into extra classroom space at Bethune Elementary-Middle School. Bus transportation will be provided, he said.

The district is checking to see if this week’s five-day closure will require the district to add extra hours to comply with state class time requirements.

The potentially dangerous health conditions in the school, which teachers say caused some educators to become ill, were among several matters that had a large group of protesters angry with Vitti and board.

Earlier, protesters led by activist Helen Moore had loudly urged the board as it met at Mumford High School to discuss Mayor Mike Duggan’s plans, announced during last week’s State of the City address, to create collaborations between district and charter schools to grade Detroit schools and to work together on student transportation.

The activists warned that the mayor was trying to usurp the authority of the elected board.

“That’s how they take over,” Moore shouted.

The crowd also shouted loudly as Vitti discussed the district’s response to the Palmer Park situation, suggesting the district had put children’s health in harm’s way at buildings throughout the district.

Vitti acknowledged that the condition of district buildings is poor.

“I still am horrified by the overall condition of our buildings, specifically at certain locations,” Vitti said. “But I will continue to say that if you look at the day-to-day operations and use of these buildings, children are safe.”

When the audience yelled “nooo,” Vitti defended himself.

“I have nothing … to offer but integrity. My name is attached to this work,” Vitti said, noting that he has four children enrolled in the district. “If there is a child that is in harm’s way … then I will act immediately.”

The district is currently conducting a nearly $1 million study on the conditions of its buildings before making major investments in renovations.

But that timeline isn’t fast enough for one school board member.

“The building assessment won’t be ready until it’s almost time to return to school for the 18-19 school year,” board member LaMar Lemmons said. He blasted the Palmer Park situation as a “public relations nightmare.”

“If we don’t put in some damage control and get ahead of this, people will have a poor perception of the district, not only at Palmer Park but in its entirety,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools their content is syndicated on Daily Detroit with permission.

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7 Of Detroit’s Best Chefs Come Together For An Evening Of Awesome Food To Help Raise Money For Detroit Prep Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:47:21 +0000 What happens when seven of Detroit’s best chefs come together to cook?

Well, first of all I’m pretty sure that the food is going to be amazing.

And secondly, there is probably a really cool reason that they are all cooking together.

On Monday, April 30 that is exactly what is going to happen at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield. And it is for a really great cause.

The Chef’s Schoolyard is a fundraiser for Detroit Prep in Indian Village.

The free charter school is trying to raise $1 million to purchase and renovate an abandoned school. The school is located two blocks away from the school’s current location in the basement of a church.

The school will soon run out of space in their temporary location.

So, back to these chefs. You might be wondering who will be cooking up this fancy dinner?

Let me tell you, there are some real standouts in this group. Some of them are even James Beard Award semi-finalists and nominees.

John Vermiglio and Joe Giacomino from Grey Ghost Detroit will be joined by: James Rigato of Mabel Gray, Andy Hollyday of Selden Standard, Anthony Lombardo of soon-to-open SheWolf, Kate Williams of Lady of the House, Brad Greenhill of Takoi and Alex Clark of Bon Bon Bon.

The dinner will include a 7-course dinner which will be curated by the chef team. There will be an open bar and a silent auction as well.

All proceeds will go towards Detroit Prep.

Tickets are $250 per person and you can purchase them here. I know, it’s a lot of money. But it is for a really great cause.

The Chef’s Schoolyard will take place on Monday, April 30 from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

The Great Lakes Culinary Center is located at 24101 W. Nine Mile Road Southfield, Michigan 48033

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