Getting Students and Educators to Our Schools
What We Know
Schools receive funding based on enrollment. When so many Detroit students attend schools outside the city, funding declines, which undermines every program. Increasing the number of highly qualified teachers and improving school leadership are the two most impactful steps schools can take to improve student learning. But Detroit schools have a hard time competing with neighboring districts to recruit and retain the best teachers and principals.
For example, in the past 25 years, DPSCD enrollment has dropped 73 percent. About 25 percent of Detroit students are now educated outside the city; neighboring suburban schools have been active in recruiting our city’s students.
As for the adults, interest in teaching careers is declining all across the country; high-poverty, urban schools are especially impacted. Hundreds of teacher vacancies in Detroit mean many students are taught by substitutes day after day. The lack of common data collection and analysis by DPSCD and charters hobbles systemic, citywide approaches. Inadequate induction and mentoring efforts contribute to significant turnover of new teachers and leaders. Professional learning opportunities and career pathways are uneven.
STUDENTS: We want to attract the 25,000 Detroit children who attend schools in the suburbs and to enroll them in a high-quality school in the city.
- We acknowledge we must increase the number of city schools that include strong academics, sports, arts, safety, and culture, so that parents and students choose DPSCD schools and Detroit-based charters over suburban schools.
- Produce a citywide guide for families with simple, accurate, and accessible information on schools and early education opportunities. The guide will profile program offerings, provide enrollment information, and highlight the Detroit Promise Scholarship.
- Implement a well-coordinated “ground game” that includes an enrollment hotline, enrollment hubs
within the community, and enrollment fairs to help families choose Detroit schools.
- Launch a #DetroitProud marketing campaign, including all DPSCD and charter options, to highlight
and promote the success of Detroit students (current and alumni) and reinforce a positive image of
the immense talent and success within our city.
- Locate and stabilize schools in Detroit neighborhoods to strengthen the city’s recovery. Attracting students to Detroit schools will result in approximately a quarter-billion dollars reinvested annually in Detroit communities through our schools.
EDUCATORS: We want to make schools in Detroit so attractive that the most promising and accomplished educators in our region and nation – including those already here – choose to work in Detroit and offer high-quality instruction to our students.
- Create a compelling narrative about Detroit and launch “TEACH DETROIT, ” a citywide portal and recruitment and outreach campaign for current and new teachers and leaders, similar to other cities’ efforts across the country.
- Treat teachers with respect and appreciation. This means increasing compensation, benefits, and “voice” for current and new teachers and principals, including financial incentives (e.g. Land Bank housing or car discounts) and recognition (e.g. awards and supports to schools).
- Support new teachers and principals with a comprehensive, fully funded mentoring program to support their development.
- Help local candidates (e.g. current substitutes, paraprofessionals, youth workers, and career-changers) get high-quality, alternative teaching certifications to fill vacancies and sufficiently staff schools.
- Create a citywide teaching center, with a portfolio of professional development opportunities for DPSCD and charter educators, including practice-based teacher training, teaching resources and tools, and opportunities to learn local and national best practices.
- Launch a citywide principal’s academy to grow the pool of qualified school leaders who are instrumental in attracting and retaining great teachers to our schools.
There have to be way more resources provided to parents who are bilingual, in English and Spanish, and that has sparked me to think about different ways that I can help be an advocate for parents in this community.Cindy Gamboa