Detroit Public Schools, Roberts unveil strategic district plan with expanded Pre-K, art enrichment

(WXYZ) - Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts unveiled what he called an ambitious and strategic plan Thursday.

The goal is to get the district operating successfully within its budget while improving student performance. 

At a press conference on Thursday, Roberts said the plan is focused on these central themes: Starting earlier and working longer, working harder and working smarter, joining together and expecting more. 

The plan calls for expanded preschool programs to get students learning early, expanded course offerings that include technical classes and an art and music enrichment program, and a new customer service initiative. 

Roberts added that the school district will create a blended school model which will focus on DPS' Centrally-Supported Schools and their Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools, which are self-governed. 

"These plans are designed to dramatically change our mindsets and the way we do things here. We must be courageous in our actions and do things that push us as a district – and you as a community – out of our comfort zones. From this point forward we are planning to win. And we know that will ultimately improve academic outcomes for all children," Roberts said in a statement.

 Back in January, Roberts said he expects the district would have to lose as many as 28 schools. Today, he announced that four schools would be closing. 

According to DPS, the schools will close through the following moves: 

The Duke Ellington Elementary-Middle School program will move to the building that currently houses the William J. Beckham Academy program and the school will be called Edward Duke Ellington at Beckham Elementary-Middle School.

Both the academic program and facility at Wilkins Elementary-Middle School will close and all students will be reassigned to A.L. Holmes Elementary-Middle School.

Both the academic program and facility at Oakman Elementary-Orthopedic School will close. Most Oakman students, special education and general education alike, will be reassigned to Noble Elementary-Middle School. A smaller group of students who are considered physically or otherwise health impaired will be relocated to Henderson Academy.

The academic program at Northwestern High School will close and the Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School program will relocate from the east wing of Northwestern into the main academic part of the facility. Because of the importance of the Northwestern name to DPS and the community, this new program will be called Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern. All DPS professional development services will relocate into the east wing of Northwestern, and the Harris professional development building will be closed.

Davis Aerospace Technical High School will move to the Golightly Career and Technical Center building, where it will share space with Golightly's programs. Davis will continue to operate as an independent, small high school within the Golightly building. Shuttles will take students to and from City Airport for their flight training and technical instruction.  The Davis and Golightly programs will operate as two separate schools under one roof.

"I truly believe that Detroit Public Schools is at the most important crossroads in its history.  We must make necessary and bold changes quickly in order to ensure that we will not just survive, but thrive," Roberts said in a statement.

For more on the strategic plan, go here:  http://detroitk12.org/strategic_planning/

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