Official DPSCD Statement from Superintendent Nikolai Vitti on Executive Order No. 2020-35
April 2, 2020
I want to begin by thanking Governor Whitmer for her steady and courageous leadership during these unprecedented times. We knew she cared about public education when she took office but her priorities, and most importantly, her decisions after taking office reflect that commitment. She listens to leaders, considers different viewpoints, and then acts decisively. This is the type of leadership we need in these difficult times.
I was one of the first leaders to call for the closure of schools this year, not because I do not want to see our children in school learning, but because I knew this was the best decision to ensure the health and safety of our children, employees, and the greater community as we continue to fight a virus that is ripping through our district, schools, and city communities.
I also advocated for an early decision regarding the closure of schools so we could shift our organization, employees, and resources to engage our students virtually and through printed academic packets. Our district staff has been working hard since school was closed to develop a new learning framework that will offer learning opportunities for PreK-12 students in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. This will include lessons for physical education and art as well. Learning will build from the curriculum our students are currently using with linked videos introducing learning concepts and assignments. All of our school level staff will have specific roles and responsibilities to engage students and families during the closure through phone calls and the virtual platform of “Teams.”
Our new learning platform will be released April 14. We will focus on students’ learning and their social emotional needs during these difficult times as well. All of the assignments will be printed as well to address the city’s digital divide. We are actively working with the business community to implement a strategy to provide all DPSCD families with a tablet and internet access. Our goal is to execute this commitment by early/late May. All assignments will be enrichment based. Although feedback will be given to assignments, they will not be graded, and grades will not be issued.
Lastly, we are in the process of developing the details regarding senior graduation and grade level promotion. Our intent will not be to use this crisis as justification to prevent students from graduating or being promoted to the next grade level. We are disappointed that the Legislature did not commit to maintain the same rate of funding through this fiscal year, but this is to be assumed by the Governor’s announcement today. We will work to ensure that our employees continue to receive their full pay and expected income as long as they participate in this learning and engagement shift with our students and families.
Nikolai P. Vitti, E.d.D
Detroit Public Schools Community District
You can read Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Executive Order 2020-35 here.
For more information, visit www.detroitk12.org/covid19.