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DPSCD Survey Finds Students are More Engaged, Learning Expectations are Higher, and Perceptions are Improving

DETROIT – July 8, 2019 – Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) annual stakeholder feedback results are in and indicate significant progress toward the priorities of the District’s strategic plan, Blueprint 2020.

More than 32,700 students, 16,700 District families, and 5,600 employees participated in this year’s surveys, which the District uses annually to strengthen engagement, support student outcomes and prioritize improvement efforts. Students in grades 3-8 reported a significant four percentage point improvement in the rigor of academic experience at District schools, noting that their teachers are more likely to support them in understanding their classwork and keep trying when they feel like giving up.  The District also earned a significant increase in the percentage of families who would recommend the District as a place to send their child to school, with a nine percentage point increase to the number of families who are active promoters of the District to others.

“The data signals that we are transforming our culture,” said Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD. “In order to continue our process to rebuild the school district, we need to realize what is and isn’t working, measure our progress and use people’s voice to inform future decisions, support training and make improvements. I shared with the staff that I’m proud of this year’s data because we are beginning to see how the investments and changes we are making are being felt by our students, families and staff, including the strong student survey improvement we are seeing in the grades where we implemented new core curriculum.”

Employee results also improved this year in line with the District’s key reform initiatives. After investments were made in leader professional development and restructuring in human resources, principal and assistant principal perceptions of District support and resources aligned to academic standards improved by a staggering 29 percentage points over the last year; their experience of District support for teacher hiring was up by 16 percentage points.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the District funded additional support staff positions at the school level to address chronic absenteeism, discipline and customer service. The survey response rate dramatically improved for this cohort from 75 percent last year to 90 percent this year, and 88 percent of respondents said they were engaged and valued by the District.

In addition, teachers’ perceptions of opportunities for career advancement, onboarding, peer culture, professional development, observation and feedback, and instructional planning to support student growth, all showed improvement after investments were made in master teacher roles, at-scale professional learning opportunities, and work with leaders on observation and feedback.

“These results are promising, but the work is not done,” said Vitti. “We need to build on this momentum. We plan to place an intensive focus on our high school students and teachers as we roll out a long overdue, aligned high school curriculum in literacy and mathematics that meet grade level expectations and expand our Career Pathways initiative. We also plan to further improve our code of conduct as a mechanism for improving school climate and safety while deepening our partnership with parents inside and outside of our schools.”

Detroit Public Schools Community District is actively enrolling new families and seeking teachers who want to be part of the transformation. For more information visit


About Detroit Public Schools Community District  

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally-elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has more than 100 schools and educates 50,000 children. For more information, visit