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Detroit Board of Education
On behalf of the Board, please see an opening of schools update from Board President Dr. Iris Taylor
September 28, 2020
On Friday, Governor Whitmer issued an order in the state requiring K-5 students – not just grades 6-12 – to wear masks in the classrooms. Please know DPSCD was already managing in this manner through the Board approved Reopening Plan.
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) continues to adhere to all Michigan’s health standards, while allowing students to return to the classroom with safety protocols in place. DPSCD now has 75 percent of students attending school online and 25 percent of our students, attending face-to-face learning in classrooms or in a dedicated learning center. The number of students attending a learning center grows weekly.
We continue to work well with Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. His recent accomplishment as a finalist of the Green Garner Award, presented to the nation's top urban school district superintendent, is another example of the board making the right decision three years ago. Dr. Vitti and the District leadership team, along with school principals, teachers, and staff continue to work through a very difficult pandemic. We know parents are legitimately frustrated at times with the challenges of online learning or limited face to face opportunities but no school system can give parents and students everything they need during this pandemic. We continue to listen and problem-solve at scale and on an individual level to address challenges and issues that can be rightfully solved. We are looking forward to the second quarter where will again survey parents and students about their learning preference for face to face or online and work to best accommodate their learning needs through school staff preference. This is another example of our commitment to parent engagement and empowerment.
Challenges we have addressed to date include: expanding the parent help desk to address technology questions and issues related to online learning while maintaining the homework hotline and mental health support. We know there is more that we must continue to do to identify better ways to support families during these unprecedented times. Please continue to share your input. We want to specifically thank the Detroit Health Department for ongoing guidance, readiness, and support. We ask the community to continue to share your ideas, philanthropy, and volunteerism to help us stay 100 percent focused on the individual needs of each child.
Dr. Iris Taylor, Board Chair
Detroit Public Schools Community District
Board of Education Live Tele-Town Hall on the District's Reopening Plan
Today the DPSCD Board of Education members will be hosting a live Tele-Town Hall on the District's Reopening Plan. They will be answering the community's most frequently asked questions and providing resources to ensure families and students are ready for the first day of school.
Attend the Board of Education’s Reopening Plan Tele-Town Hall Friday, August 28 at 4 p.m.
Join by computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83010401864
Or by phone: 1-646-558-8656
Webinar ID: 830 1040 1864.
TIME CHANGE - Finance Committee Meeting 8.28.20
The time for the Finance Committee Meeting scheduled for Friday, August 28, 2020 has been changed to 10:00 a.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
DPSCD Board of Education Approved Return to School Plan for 2020-2021 School Year
The Board approved the District's Return to School plan for the 2020-2021 school year. To review the approved plan, download the District's Return to School Plan.
Board Safety Task Force Statement
The Board takes matters of safety and the welfare of our students as one of our top priorities. We’ve heard community calls for defunding the District’s police department and on today appointed a Safety Task Force that will assess the safety of the District and make recommendations. The issue of defunding will be among the safety issues reviewed. This task force will be inclusive of community members and feedback. Over the last three years, the District has improved on every level and we plan to continue improving on this safety issue as well.
The Safety Task Force Interest Application Now Live
Thank you for your interest in supporting the district as we review our current safety procedures. Through participation on the task force, you will work with District staff to review current safety procedures and make recommendations for improvement. All experience is valuable, including teaching, leadership, community engagement, social work, and mental health. Please apply by Friday, August 21, 2020 at https://bit.ly/DPSCDSafetyTaskForceApplication.
1. What unique, qualities, skills, and experiences make you ideal to provide expertise in the area of safety?
2. What is your desire to serve on the safety task force?
3. What is your definition of a safe school environment? What has been your experience with this environment?
Please provide a current resume.
Thank you for your interest and willingness to serve.
Joint George Floyd Statement from DPSCD Board Members and Supt. VittiThe following is a joint statement from the DPSCD Board Members, Dr. Iris Taylor, Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Sonya Mays, Misha Stallworth, Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill, Georgia Lemmons and Bishop Corletta Vaughn and Superintendent Nikolai Vitti:This is only one step in acknowledging DPSCD's stand against historical systemic racism. The Board will present an official resolution at the June Board meeting echoing this statement and the District's commitment to its core values for all students, staff and families.“George Floyd’s death is yet another example of why racial justice still does not exist in our country. Everyone in our country has a responsibility to fight for racial justice and equality in their own way. The School Board and Superintendent fight daily to ensure that Detroit Public Schools Community District continues to improve to provide all of its children with the vehicle for empowerment through education. In many ways, this has been demonstrated through the advocacy of many of our students who have peacefully participated in the city’s protests. We are proud of their leadership and voice. Our work has only started but we have accomplished more success in the last three years than in the previous decades. Our struggle and fight continues until all of our students reach their potential as students and citizens.”###
Statement on Behalf of the DPSCD Board of Education
Today, the Governor made the right decision to settle the historic Right to Read lawsuit. This is a clear sign of this administration's understanding of the necessary changes that must occur as we work to reform education in Detroit and across Michigan. We thank our board members who fought alongside our community and worked with the legal team to see today's victory. For example, Member Georgia Lemmons, retired DPS teacher, was on the bus with Helen Moore and our Superintendent fighting for our students' rights this fall in Cincinnati. Before this local board was elected, the former administration and emergency managers blatantly disregarded the rights of our students. We now have an opportunity to chart a new course for our students and implement policies to make certain we never have to question the right to read of any child in Detroit, Michigan or America. We are looking forward to working with our business, civic, community leaders, and elected officials as we realize what a 21st Century public school education will be for all children. Our future depends on getting it right.
Virtual Public Comment Protocol for Regular Board Meetings
The Virtual Public Comment Protocol for all Regular Board Meetings is available for viewing as an attachment to the Calendar Meeting Event. Please contact the Office of Equity, Advocacy, and Civil Rights at 313.873.6891 to discuss procedures for persons with disabilities to participate in meetings.
The Board of Education Members and Superintendent Vitti joint statement regarding loss of Mumford student
Following the loss of our Mumford student on Monday, February 24, the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board through the Chair, Dr. Iris Taylor and Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti released the following statement:Yesterday’s loss of one of our students during school hours and at one of our schools has been one of the most difficult incidents we have endured as a School Board/Superintendent team. We are committed to determine what caused this tragic loss at the highest level of transparency once the facts surface regarding what occurred. If the conclusion of the investigation reveals any wrongdoing then we will be sure to hold any and all personnel or students accountable. At this point, the swimming teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation or the surfacing of more facts regarding the incident.We will provide Mumford students with grief counselors as they requested by our students, staff and parents. We sincerely request that the media respect the confidentiality of the student we lost and allow the District and law enforcement to complete our investigation of the matter. We commit to fully updating the media and community about the incident once additional facts surface. We have nothing to gain from hiding the truth of this devastating loss. We owe our student, his family, and the Mumford community the truth and justice they deserve—and we are fully committed to that conclusion.
The Board of Education Members and Superintendent Vitti continue to support the Denby Football team
Official Board Statement:The Detroit Public School Community District Board of Education remains extremely supportive of Denby High School's administration, coaches and student athletes. From the beginning the Board has been kept abreast about the incident at the Denby game. The Board appreciates the District leadership's prompt response and concerns over the hostile environment and actions tied to the recent Denby football game. Our Board continues to adhere to all privacy rights of our students who may have been involved. We also want to go on record in appreciation of the prompt and in-depth work to manage this situation led by Denby High School’s principal and a number of Denby school leaders. The Board and the Superintendent will continue to leverage their networks, maximize and exhaust resources to protect Denby students who may face allegations following the sheriff’s investigation.
REVIEW OF DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURING STATE MANAGEMENT
Statement from the Board
The Detroit Public Schools Community District School is turning the corner. We are showing steady improvement academically, enrollment has increased for the first time in a decade, chronic absenteeism has improved, state testing shows above average proficiency improvement, teacher vacancies have declined, and programming has expanded across schools. In addition, the District has maintained a balanced budget, created a 3 percent reserve, and dramatically reduced audit findings.
On Thursday, November 14, 2019, the Board of Education released a report succinctly detailing the substantial impact Emergency Management had on the District. It comes as no surprise that under state management the District suffered academically, fiscally, lost enrollment, and witnessed the disinvesment of personnel development.
While the District under local control has proven to improve outcomes for children, the legacy of Emergency Management coupled with the continuing effect of inequitable school funding, will inevitably cause the District to hit a ceiling and impede its current progress toward a complete turnaround of traditional public education in Detroit.
The most immediate and ever-present example of the negative impact of Emergency Management on students and employees is in the status of the District’s facilities. As further detailed in the Report, due to the failure of Emergency Managers to take appropriate action to maintain and address needed facilities maintenance and investment throughout the District, it does not have 1) adequate funds to maintain its facilities at industry standards, or 2) the ability to raise secure capital to address these concerns. This is unacceptable and perpetuates unequal opportunities for Detroit's children.
The District has scheduled community engagement conversations to re-engage Detroiters on this history and bring greater awareness to the inequity of school funding and the substantial capital needed for quality standard facilities. For more information and meeting times please visit detroitk12.org/facilities.
Report Download: REVIEW OF DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURING STATE MANAGEMENT
Public Comment Policy Change
The Board adopted a new policy for public Comment at the February 12, 2019 Regular Board Meeting that will take affect at the April 16, 2019 meeting. Those wishing to address the Board during Public Comment must sign up for public comment at the registration table. Each participant will receive a number that the chair will call for their turn to speak for public comment.
Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education
Detroit Public Schools Community District welcomed its new board of education at a public swearing-in ceremony at Cass Technical High School on January 11, 2017. The ceremony officially ushered in the return of the school district to local control under the governance of the seven-member board. The purpose of the locally elected board is to serve as the governing body of the District and to provide public education services to children residing within the geographic boundaries of the City of Detroit. The Board is fundamentally a policy-making or legislative body rather than an administrative body. It is the responsibility of the Board to see that schools are operated properly, and not to administer them directly. Please reference the DPSCD Bylaws for more information about the Board located in the documents section on this page.
Current Members of the Board are:
- Dr. Iris Taylor, President (term ending 12/31/2020)
- Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Vice President (term ending 12/31/2022)
- Misha Stallworth, Secretary (term ending 12/31/2020)
- Sonya Mays, Treasury (term ending 12/31/2020)
- Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill (term ending 12/31/2022)
- Georgia Lemmons (term ending 12/31/2022)
- Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn (term ending 12/31/2022)
Board Committee Chair Appointments are:
- Curriculum/Academic Committee – Angelique Peterson-Mayberry
- Detroit Public Library Commission Appointee Committee - Dr. Deborah-Hunter-Harvill
- Finance Committee – Sonya Mays
- Policy Ad Hoc Committee - Misha Stallworth
- Legislative Chair - Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill
- Code of Conduct - Georgia Lemmons
External Organization Representatives:
- Detroit Public Schools Foundation - Angelique Peterson-Mayberry
- Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) - Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill
- DPSCD Board Representative for State Policy - Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill
- Wayne County Association of School Boards (WCASB) - Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn
Members elected to the initial DPSCD Board (the “Initial Board”) shall be elected at the first November regular election date as established under section 641 of the Michigan election law, MCL 168.641, that occurs at least 90 days after July 1, 2016.
The two members of this Initial Board receiving the highest vote totals in that election among the 7 members elected shall be elected for a term of 6 years, the 3 members of the Initial Board receiving the next highest vote totals in that election among the 7 members elected shall be elected for a term of 4 years, and the 2 members of the Initial Board receiving the lowest vote totals in that election among the 7 members elected shall be elected for a term of 2 years.
Upon expiration of the terms of the Initial Board members, each member of the Board shall be elected at the November regular election date for a term of 4 years beginning on January 1 following the member’s election.
The term of a member of the elected Board shall begin on January 1 following the member’s election and has duration as provided by law and continues until a successor is elected and qualified.
Communicating with the Board
The DPSCD Board hosts monthly board meeting and sub-committee meetings. In addition, the board hosts quarterly community meetings for the general public to learn about the latest news. Board Member Misha Stallworth also hosts a general public board training session each quarter to help individuals understand how a board functions and how to understand what goes on during board meetings. Please check the calendar for dates, locations and times. If you have any questions, please contact the Board Secretary, Karen Morgan at 313.873.7860. If you require accessibility needs for meetings, please contact the Division of Operations at 313.873.6532 in advance of an upcoming meeting.